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Category Archives: digital

David Weinberger has done it again. In a breezy, scholarly mix of insight and hard data, Weinberger show us how knowledge itself has lost currency to be replaced by knowledge-networks and webs of data.

Showing both the dark side of ubiquitous information as well as the promise of unfettered access to knowledge, Too Big To Know traces the path we have taken starting from the contained static published book to where we are now in the digital age.

Using his signature chatty, pithy style, Weinberger gives us a full view of the changes in online communication including the dangers of ‘echo chambers’ but also the explosion of scholarly communities which are now more broad and inclusive.

Check out a good review by Jeff Jarvis.

Of course an A. Weinberger’s a favorite of mine and this one does not disappoint.

Clay Shirky’s most recent book highlights the power of social networks to enhance information and communication. Shirky is an engaging writer, conversational, and yet content rich. The book is peppered with lots of great examples. It’s a good read.

Solid A for content and readability

You want to be a starfish because if you lose a leg, you grow back a new one. The starfish is a model of decentralization.

The spider, in contrast, is highly centralized. All ‘administration’ is concentrated in the central part of the body. This leaves the spider more vulnerable. If you lose the center, you fall apart.

Decentralized organizations are stronger and more resilient and the internet encourages and fosters them. Collective repositories, open source software, and social networks all represent the decentralized starfish model. (Wikipedia, Apache, etc.)

An example of the spider model would be American auto makers: less flexible, unable to respond quickly to changing customer demands and needs.

The books was a great read: the prose is straightforward, not too many “big words”… especially good in mid-summer when half of one’s mind is on vacation anyway. Bring it to the beach if you want something a little more substantial than the latest Alexander McCall Smith installment.

Solid A.

I’m taking advantage of quiet, uninterrupted time to read OUE and am enjoying the chapter by Chris Meckie. He talked about a variant of Open Source Software (OSS), called Community Source Software(CSS).

In the CSS model, universities band together and work cooperatively towards building a product (Sakai is a good example of this). With strict reporting structures and formalized commitments of staff and resources on the part of member institutions, this model is a welcome breath of fresh air. In our age where capitalism is in its apparent end-game, and continues poisoning the world with toxic fruits and vegetables born of unbridled greed and robs average citizens of their life savings through rogue banking practices, it seems that initiatives like CSS and related cooperative endeavors in other domains signal a post-capitalist ray of hope for the introduction of more evolved methods of creating value and managing commerce.

I can’t grade this book! (It just wouldn’t be right, Vijay Kumar is my boss, its a conflict of interest) but there is awesome content here!

This guy breaks the mold. He’s dead smart but talks plain English. He understands the intersection between analog and digital as it relates to information like nobody else. And he’s got wild ideas: the digital world has unleashed the constraints of physical organization, and thus allowed, for the first time, the “miscellaneous” to have a place at the table, so to speak. (for his idea of the miscellaneous think Chris Anderson’s Long Tail but not just commerce).

Check out excellent video at Google Tech Talks.

A ++ baby.

What would Google do?

Jarvis’s take on Google’s success is worth looking into.

The book is bouncy, spare and bright …. and he shows how Google turns the profit model on its head. Whether you like it or not, Google is the success model of the future. Check out what they’re doing. Open this book.

My score: A. Solid.