Bookmarked The Rise and Demise of RSS by Sinclair Target (Motherboard)
Before the internet was consolidated into centralized information silos, RSS imagined a better way to let users control their online personas.
Sinclair Target unpacks the history associated with RSS, including the parts played
by those like Dave Winer and Aaron Swartz. This includes the forking to ATOM. Having come to RSS during the demise I was not aware of the background, especially in regards to ATOM, associated with the standard. (Although Cory Doctorow argues that Target focuses too much on the micro rather than macro.) Its interesting to consider that its demise stems from the rise of social media. Ironically, I came to RSS dissatisfied with social media. Also, I wonder what happens if social medias promise fails? A return to RSS or is there something else again in the development of the web?
Bookmarked Why Data Is Never Raw (The New Atlantis)
“Raw data is both an oxymoron and a bad idea; to the contrary, data should be cooked with care.” “Raw” carries a sense of natural or untouched, while “cooked” suggests the result of cognitive processes. But data is always the product of cognitive, cultural, and institutional processes that determine what to collect and how to collect it. In this sense, “raw data” is indeed a contradiction in terms. In the ordinary use of the term “raw data,” “raw” signifies that no processing was performed following data collection, but the term obscures the various forms of processing that necessarily occur before data collection. (Summary via Tom Woodward)
Sometimes I wonder if I write just to be glad when I find my thought more clearly articulated by somebody else. As I wrote elsewhere, data ain’t data, it is never raw, instead it is always involves some sort of bias and interpretation.

Assumptions inevitably find their way into the data and color the conclusions drawn from it. Moreover, they reflect the beliefs of those who collect the data. As economist Ronald Coase famously remarked, “If you torture the data enough, nature will always confess.” And journalist Lena Groeger, in a 2017 ProPublica story on the biases that visual designers inscribe into their work, soundly noted that “data doesn’t speak for itself — it echoes its collectors.”

via Tom Woodward

Bookmarked Same Audiobooks. Same Price. Different Story. (Libro.fm)
Libro.fm is the first audiobook company to make it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores. Get your first month for free.
An independent audiobook store that sells all the same audiobooks you can get on other platforms like Audible, Google Play, Apple, Downpour, etc, but unlike the industry leaders at Audible and Apple, they are DRM-free, and unlike all of their competition, they work with independent booksellers.

via Cory Doctorow

Bookmarked The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected by Craig Mod (WIRED)
Visionaries thought technology would change books. Instead, it's changed everything about publishing a book.
Craig Mod reflects on ‘books’ and the way in which they have and haven’t evolved overtime. He discusses the hype around interactivity that has never quite come to fruition. Tim Carmody argues that the idea of a networked collection of texts.

Marginalia

We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem.

To publish a digital book today, you still need the words, but you can skip many of the other steps. From a Pages or Microsoft Word document you can export an .epub file—the open standard for digital books. Open an Amazon and iBooks account, upload the file, and suddenly you’re accessing 92 percent of the digital book market.

Social media, however, is not predictable. Algorithms and product functionality have all the stability of rolling magma as companies refine how they engage, and extract value from, users. This means an investment in social media can go belly up in a few years. Take author Teju Cole, for example. His use of Twitter was both delicate and brilliant. He amassed a quarter of a million followers before unceremoniously dropping the service in 2014, perhaps feeling the growing invective so characteristic of the platform today. He then consolidated his promotional social media activity around Facebook. Today, he says, “My main experience of Facebook is that I have no idea who sees what. I allegedly have 29,000 people following the page. I doubt that more than a few hundred of them are ever shown what I post.” Of course, Facebook gently suggests that page owners can reach their full audience by paying for promotion. Considering the shift in demographics of Facebook usage, who knows if his audience is even checking their timelines, and would see the posts if he paid.By contrast, there’s something almost ahistorical about email, existing outside the normal flow of technological progress. It works and has worked, reliably, for decades. There’s no central email authority. Most bookish people use it. Today I’m convinced you could skip a website, Facebook page, or Twitter account, and launch a publishing company on email alone.

It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

Bookmarked Rhizomatic Learning – a somewhat curious introduction by dave dave
I apologize for leaving you without a definition or a clear theory of rhizomatic learning, however useful these things could be. Theories, like definitions, help create a shared common language. As we reify language into chunks it creates a shorthand that allows us to communicate faster and more effectively. It also means that we are less likely to misunderstand each other as we have a shared ‘meaning’ for the words that we are using. I am not able to provide this certainty. But with this loss of certainty of meaning there is freedom. Feel free to take this into your own hands and draw the conclusions that work for you.
Thank you Dave for this curious introduction. There is something about definitions that promises too much and maybe delivers too little? A while back I went through my contributions to #Rhizo14 and I kind of cringe at some of my comments. However, a part of me thinks that maybe this misses the point, that rhizomatic learning is a verb, rather than a noun?

I was intrigued by your reference to the impact and influence of technology on learning. Here I am reminded of Doug Belshaw’s work in regards to digital literacies. Even before ‘digital’ is added to the equation technology has had a part to play.

Before books went digital, they were created either by using a pen or by using a printing press. These tools are technologies. Literacy, therefore, is inextricably linked with technology even before we get to ‘digital’ literacies.

I am also taken by the subjective nature of your account. This reminds me of Ian Guest’s account of ‘nudges’ that led to his research.

Personally, my own learning has led me assemblages. See for example Ben Williamson’s work with Class Dojo. I wonder about this as an approach and how it might differ from rhizomatic learning?

Also on: Read Write Collect

Bookmarked Six Years With a Distraction-Free iPhone – Member Feature Stories – Medium by Jake Knapp (Medium)
If your phone gets in the way of whoever and whatever is important to you, don’t accept the compromise. Take matters into your own hands and design the phone you want.
Jake Knapp discusses his efforts to regain his attention by removing apps and notifications from his smartphone. Here are his seven steps:

  1. Decide WHY you want more attention.
  2. Set expectations.
  3. Delete social media apps.
  4. Delete news apps.
  5. Delete streaming video apps and games.
  6. Remove web browsers.
  7. Delete email and other “productivity” messaging apps.

The thing that bugs me is why it is the responsibility of the user to consciously choose to turn off distractions? Imagine if when setting up our devices we were asked which ‘distractions’ we want activated? I agree with Geert Lovink that sadly this is a battle we have lost, so the question is what now.

Bookmarked Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS Ltd)
The heart of MESS is the MESS Studio, a fully functioning sound production workshop representing one of the most unique, eclectic and historically significant collections of electronic instruments in the world. Working from within the studio is the MESS School, a place for people to engage with the history, technique and artistry of electronic sound and music creation presented in a format that is flexible, affordable and artist driven. Work created at the studio and school is supported by MESS Show to promote unique performance events and recording releases reflecting the diversity of sound created at MESS alongside historical releases from the vault of Australian electronic music . Finally MESS Schematic not only maintains the instruments in the MESS Studio collection, it also offers a space for the development of new instrument ideas focussing on design, engineering and construction.
I remember watching a YouTube video a few months ago with Jack Antonoff showing up his elaborate setup. I thought it would be fascinating to actually see all the original equipment. I did not realise that I had such a space in my own city. The list of equipment is phenomenal. Definitely going to be looking into this further.
Bookmarked Why is Paul Dempsey so good at playing covers? (Double J)

But what makes Dempsey's way with a cover so good?

Firstly, his understanding of what makes a song tick; he's the brains behind one of the most underrated songbooks in Australia, after all. Both as a solo artist and fronting Something For Kate, he's written music that's affecting, anthemic, and deceptively complex yet affably accessible. It's given him the toolset required to efficiently analyse and reproduce the ins-and-outs of songwriting.

Secondly, and more simply: that voice. Coming up with SFK during the late ‘90s landscape of post-grunge and emo, his singing ploughed with the emotional intensity and urgency of both scenes. His pipes have also proven to age like a fine wine, the gruffer edge of his grain now benefiting from a more refined and flexible falsetto. Just compare the larynx-busting yearning of ‘Captain' to the quiet resolve and dynamics of ‘Idiot Oracle'.

This post from Double J discusses Paul Dempsey’s perchance for covers.
Bookmarked CB’s Synesthesia by Chris Beckstrom
My brain is wired a bit differently than most other brains. I have synesthesia, a neurological condition where one sensory input can cause me to have more than one sensory experience.
Chris Beckstrom provides a primer to synesthesia and reflects on his own experiences. I remember reading once about Rollo Armstrong from Faithless creating music by colour, but Beckstrom unpacks this in more detail.

I am intrigued as to how this appreciation of sound differs from the ‘phonographic memory’ experienced by artists like Paul Dempsey:

He’s amused by “people close to the band” chiding him for being “wilfully obscure” as a writer. Can he help it if he finds Galileo, Max Planck, electricity, echolalia and “brains in jars” more interesting than girls in cars? Or if his uncanny ability to play anything on a range of instruments after a single hearing – his bandmates call it his “phonographic memory” – naturally attracts him to more challenging musical ideas?

I also came upon this extensive list of artists on Wikipedia.