Wish List for Next Upgrade of the iPad Kindle App

I’m very happy with yesterday’s update of the Kindle app, which added an inline dictionary. Now I am seriously considering it for assigning class texts. I do wish that the Kindle offered a few more things. The ability to tag or otherwise sort comments, and email just one set of tagged comments (so I could give students an in-class assignment to mark up a passage to explore a certain theme,…

The Decline of the Telephone Call

This generation doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. And we don’t just have more options than we used to. We have better ones: These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed. It deserves to die. […] The telephone, in other words, doesn’t provide any information about status,…

SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums

(A transcription of the text and scans of photos from a 1972 magazine article about the legendary space combat computer game. Stewart Brand, Rolling Stone.) October, 1972, 8 PM, at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory, moonlit and remote in the foothills above Palo Alto, California. Two dozen of us are jammed in a semi-dark console room just off the main hall containing AI’s PDP-10 computer. AI’s Head System Programmer and…

Passing The Holy Milestone: How To Meet Deadlines

Schedule deadlines as specific tasks, not the ends of phases. Rather than “Content will be completed by 4 April 2010,” state “Review the content over lunch on 4 April 2010.” This ties the deadline to an event at which results must be shown. Mini-deadlines tied to specific events are more powerful than general statements. Making up for minor time discrepancies during the course of a project is easier than facing…

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Satisfied Amazon Customer

The other day I was searching Amazon for a digital edition of the poems of Emily Dickinson, and was pleased to find a digital edition for a few bucks. I know that Project Gutenberg has a decent edition of the original publication of the version her family first published, but the first publication changed her punctuation and invented thematic groupings. I was very happy to see that Amazon appeared to…

@Twitter Users #Fail as Branding Automatons

If you are [in marketing], Twitter apparently looks like a heaven where brands and people interact constantly, the same way tweeters interact with other people. And every time brands and people interact with each other represents an opportunity to reinforce messaging about that brand. Our tires are safe! Our oil rigs don’t leak! […] However, the study finds, marketers can benefit from using Twitter to eavesdrop on what people are…