The Chronicle of Higher Education Announces Plan to Limit, Curate Comments

By 2016, the terrain has shifted. Publications of all stripes are re-examining what it means to engage with their audiences and to encourage productive conversations. Quite a few of those conversations — including ones about our work — have already moved to social media. Many publications have played down comments or eliminated them altogether; others have gone in the opposite direction, devoting more time and energy to shaping discussions. Comments have been, at their best and at their worst, an integral part of the experience of reading The Chronicle online. We’d like to keep it that way. But our job goes…

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Male Microsoft Leaders Ignored Women Who Really Hated Clippy

I hated Clippy, not because it looked like it was leering at me, but because it was so intrusive. [T]he engineers in the room were willing to throw out the focus-group-provided data—data which they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for—because it didn’t cohere to their expectations. The software shipped with 10 male assistants and two female assistants, she adds.It turned out to be one of the most unpopular features ever introduced—especially among female users.This isn’t the only case of how design that assumes the prototypical user is male could go awry. —The Atlantic

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iMovie Glitch: Unplug Removable Media before Using iMovie

I spent a few hours today working on a video for Stage Right. I usually use Screenflow for my videos, but today for some reason I thought I’d try iMovie. Big mistake. Of the eight video clips I wanted to use in iMovie, seven seem to have imported properly, but the eighth has this little camera icon. I didn’t notice it until hours later when I was finished with the project and wanted to “share” it as a file (Apple’s annoying way of hiding the “export” function). I got the unhelpful error message “This item cannot be shared while it…

Television is Now the Second Screen for Kids with Tablets

Of course, not all kids have tablets, and at least some of what the kids are doing on their tablets is watching videos. There’s only so much one can draw from a survey-based study, and much more that could be learned from a controlled experiment that actually gives kids the choice and reports what they do. [I]n households where tablets and smartphones are accessible, they’ve now taken the lead with kids as the preferred way to enjoy and explore video content.TV has become the ‘second’ or even third screen for many of these kids. Parents in nearly half of these…

Time article with clickbaity headline: Web users annoyed by marketing tricks

This Time magazine article is a good one, but that “what you think you know is wrong” headline is more of the same obnoxious clickbait that the article itself critiques, so here’s a bit of what I found useful. Scrolling is more acceptable behavior than it used to be. We’re all much more used to scrolling now, especially when using mobile devices. Just because we click a link doesn’t mean we read or share what’s on the other end of the link; we still engage meaningfully with news, while we click on and ignore fluff. (So, marketers who trick us…

Mythbusting UX design: 7 misconceptions about user experience

Perhaps the most common mistake of any business marketing itself, is believing that it understands its audience, knows what they like, and what they expect from the company. This should be made clear to all businesses: you always love your product too much, and think that others must love it, too. The only way to achieve results is to test everything and collect clear, comparable and objective data. Source: Mythbusting UX design: 7 misconceptions about user experience

The Most Epic Demo in Computer History Is Now an Opera

This is nice, but what I really want to see is an Elizabethan-style revenge play featuring Clippy. December 9, 1968… in an underground convention center in the heart of San Francisco, Doug Engelbart gave The Mother Of All Demos, introducing the world to an astonishing slew of technologies including word processing, video conferencing, windows, links, and the humble mouse.

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Don’t Text While Parenting — It Will Make You Cranky

The study summarized in Time Magazine looked at adults in a fast-food restaurant, who are using their smartphones while in a group with two or more children. One child reached over in an attempt to lift his mother’s face while she looked down at a tablet, but to no avail. Another mother kicked her child under the table in response to the child’s various attempts to get her attention while she looked at her phone. A father responded in curt and irritated tones to his children’s escalating efforts to tear him away from his device. “What stood out was that…

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Sources tell Seton Hill University’s Dennis Jerz that TV news websites emphasize self-promotion over reporting the news

Sources tell Seton Hill University’s Dennis Jerz that online write-ups of TV news stories seldom miss the chance to self-promote. Sources tell Jerz that two of the first three paragraphs in the text version of this Miami CBS TV news story put the name of the TV reporter before any actual news allegedly spoken by some nameless source. Jerz, whose smiling headshot and mini-biography does not appear between the headline of the story and the lead, said he has little patience for the way the TV news media coddles its audience and promotes itself. Jerz, who has taught new media journalism at Seton…

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Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed)

I am not feeling the love for Apple’s iWristBrick. What do most contemporary smartwatches have in common? They’re mostly squarish, clunky, bulky, flat things with a screen that go on your wrist. They mostly do things your phone does, and they mostly rely heavily on your phone for a good portion of their functionality. They’re fairly expensive, and it’s not really clear that they do anything amazing that your other tech doesn’t already handle. —VentureBeat.

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What Twitter Changes Might Mean for Academics

This is one of the reasons I still consider my blog to be my main presence on the internet. Twitter and Facebook and all the other commercialized social media platforms regularly change their algorithm in oder to suit their business model, without warning and without the consent of their user bases. Even though I am dependent upon WordPress (and my blog host, and several free plugins, and to Google for incoming traffic), WordPress does not control how my content appears to the outside world. For those of us who use Twitter as a meeting-place for our professional community, as a…

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News Feed FYI: Click-baiting

It’s hard for me to think of Facebook as the “good guy” in any situation, but I am pleased to learn that FB is adjusting its algorithm to penalize click-bait headlines. A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months. We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook. via News Feed FYI: Click-baiting | Facebook Newsroom.

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Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and the paper readers: the emotional measures were roughly the same, and both groups of readers responded almost equally to questions dealing with the setting of the story, the characters and…

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The Myth of Multitasking

Psychology Today summary of research that debunks the myth of multitasking, with a nifty little practical test. Much recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain. That start/stop/start process is rough on us: rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds), it’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time it…

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RIP Flash: Why HTML5 Will Finally Take Over Video and Web in 2014

I am not a fan of Adobe Flash, which is a closed, proprietary system that requires your users to install a specific, resource-intensive player. Don’t build your business on someone else’s property. Long live HTML5. Cassette tapes, 8-tracks, and … Flash. All three of these mediums need a player to work, and all three mediums are either dead or dying. Just as CDs replaced tapes as a more efficient means of playing music, and digital files replaced CDs to do the same, HTML5 is making Flash obsolete. The HTML5 versus Flash debate has been a hot topic among Web developers…

Two computer screens aren’t better than one

I turned off the extra screen on my desktop computer. At first, the smaller workspace felt punishingly cramped. But after a few days of adjusting to the new set-up, an unusual serenity invaded my normally harried workday. With a single screen that couldn’t accommodate too many simultaneous stimuli, a screen just large enough for a single word processor or browser window, I found something increasingly elusive in our multi-screen world: focus. —theage.com.au.