We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump…
…Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. READ MORE: Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV | MIT Tech Review
Fantastic article relating to authoritative content on the web. Well worth the read start-to-finish.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be the most interesting website on the internet. Not because of the content—which includes fascinating entries on everything from ambiguity to zombies—but because of the site itself. Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers. It’s something the encyclopedia, or SEP, has managed to do for two decades. READ MORE: This free online encyclopedia has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of | Quartz
(Edmonton) When you live 400 kilometres from the nearest library, getting information can be a real challenge. Professor Ali Shiri of the University of Alberta’s School of Library and Information Studies is leading a project to address this issue. Together with co-investigator Dinesh Rathi, Shiri and a team of collaborators have begun to bridge the information gap for some of Canada’s most isolated people with a project called Digital Library North.
Currently, people in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region—an area that spans 90,650 square kilometres—must travel to the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre to access hard-copy information. The challenges with distance and winter above the treeline limit the access. The SSHRC-funded project will create a digital library infrastructure to address the unique information needs in Canada’s northern regions over the next three years. READ MORE: Creating the first cultural digital library in Canada’s North | University of Alberta.
When writing business documents (aside from emails), most people turn to word-processing software. That’s not the only option. You can do everything — outlines, drafts, revisions, and even layouts, if you’d like — in PowerPoint or similar presentation programs. That’s what I’ve used to write my books, internal documents, sales collateral, and web copy, for several reasons. READ MORE: Why I Write in PowerPoint | Harvard Business Review
Raise your hand if you like sitting through slide-show presentations. How about reading dense, jargony business documents? These are the staples of modern business communication, and yet they’re enjoyed by precisely no one. Enter Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design. Duarte thinks she can redesign business communication with Slidedocs, a new concept she defines as “a visual document, developed in presentation software, that is intended to be read and referenced instead of projected.” Think of it as a kind of a hybrid between slide-show presentations and prose documents—but one that eliminates the most annoying qualities of each. Duarte’s new book on Slidedocs, which she wrote entirely in PowerPoint, has just been released as a free download on her website. READ MORE: Book Written Entirely In PowerPoint Aims To Reinvent How Businesses Communicate | FastCompany
The B.C. Court of Appeal has released its decision in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, a closely watched case involving a court order requiring Google to remove websites from its global index. As I noted in a post on the lower court decision, rather than ordering the company to remove certain links from the search results available through Google.ca, the order intentionally targets the entire database, requiring the company to ensure that no one, anywhere in the world, can see the search results.
In May, the Obama Foundation announced that Chicago will be the future location of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will include a library and museum. The center will become the 14th institution in the National Archives and Records Administration’s presidential library system, which includes centers dedicated to all presidents from Herbert Hoover onwards.
Over the years, millions of public and private dollars and ostensibly, man hours, have been spent curating these institutions. Which begs the question: why?
Franklin D. Roosevelt began this tradition when, in 1939, he decided to hand over his personal and presidential records to the federal government when leaving office. Two years later, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was built in Hyde Park, New York to house these records. READ MORE: Why Do Presidents Get Their Own Libraries? | Atlas Obscura.
Maker Media founder Dale Dougherty speaks with such an infectious exuberance about creating and building that after speaking to him you want to go home and resurrect that project that’s been sitting in your garage or bedroom. From a magazine, to a series of faires and camps for children, Doughterty’s Maker Media reach – and enthusiasm – spans the globe and beginning today, it’s launching a beta of its new MakerSpace social network.
MakerSpace beta invitations are available [on request]. Like the Google model of beta invites, anyone that gets an invitation, can invite a few friends. If you don’t get into the beta, the full site will launch out of beta later this year. But, if you’re lucky enough to get onboard, you can create a profile, find and bookmark projects you find interesting, and post your own projects. Maker is calling it a place to “show and tell.” READ MORE: Makers are getting their own social network | Engadget
I just signed up! Looking forward to finding some ideas for the CoderDojo program I volunteer with. Also available from Makerspace.com is a free makerspace playbook with all you need to know about getting a makerspace up and running in their school or community.
I completed a web design for usability course during my MLIS program. For one of the sessions, guest lecturers with disabilities demonstrated how they accessed the Internet and provided insight into the challenges they experience with this activity. An eye-opening learning experience which I’m grateful to have had, which has provided me with greater understanding of the issues the disabled confront accessing the web and how designers can improve web content, layout and features to aid access. I highly recommend reviewing W3C Schools Accessibility Guidelines for more information on removing barriers to web information and communication. The article below discusses another challenge for the disabled when using tech: iterative updates.
WHEN THE AMERICANS with Disabilities Act was passed 25 years ago, it was intended to usher in a new age of accessibility. It promised recourse from discrimination in employment, transportation and communication—in other words, greater access to the physical world. Since then, the world has evolved in radical ways—physical boundaries have come down as our lives have transitioned by varying degrees to online spaces. It is almost impossible to imagine our daily routines without the use of personal technology. For people with disabilities like myself, technology has opened new doors in ways the historic legislation never could have conceived.
As a person with autism and apraxia—a condition that leads me to have great difficulty with planning and organizing everything from moving my mouth when I speak to the steps needed to wash my hands—I rely upon personal technology for many things. A device that translates my typed words into a voice is my link to the world. And the rise of social media and online classrooms has expanded my networks and ability to participate in activities once closed to me.
But often these are positive outcomes of technology made for the masses rather than benefits baked into the design. And as technology is iterated, I can already see ways in which it has and will continue to create new barriers unless its creators consider a more universal approach.
In 2004 a small website appeared that contained a browser-based game called Notpron, which has since been hailed as “the hardest riddle on the Internet.” It consists of a series of 140 puzzles and riddles that get progressively more complex. Completing the game requires knowledge in a diverse range of fields including HTML programming, sound and graphics editing, music apprehension, research skills, and even remote viewing.
Out of the 17 million players that have attempted the game in the last decade only 31 have completed it. That’s just one in every 550,000 players–or, to put it another way, the chances you’ll be hit by lightning once in your lifetime are 41 times greater than they are for you solving Notpron.
To celebrate the games 10th anniversary I asked David Münnich, Notpron’s creator, to go down the rabbit hole of how and why it was created–and what it all means.