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Venkatesh Rao: Waste, Creativity and Godwin’s Corollary for Technology | RibbonFarm

Venkatesh Rao: Waste, Creativity and Godwin’s Corollary for Technology | RibbonFarm | digital culture | Scoop.it

If you are at all interested in technology and futurism, and spend even a little time talking about these subjects, you will notice something funny. No matter what you are talking about, be it cellphones or 3d printing or Big Data, if a conversation goes on long enough, somebody will mention either the Singularity or the idea of Collapse. I noticed the phenomenon in the Facebook discussion group we created after Refactor Camp. Then I checked a few other fora and realized it was not unique to our group.

 

It’s sort of like Godwin’s Law: every Internet discussion that goes on long enough will eventually mention Nazis or Hitler.

 

So I am calling it Godwin’s Corollary for Technology: every online discussion about technology that goes on long enough will eventually mention the Singularity or Collapse.

 

Both laws of course, derive from powerful dichotomies underlying their respective overarching grand narratives. In general discussions on arbitrary subjects, good versus evil is most likely to be the framing dichotomy, and that gives you Godwin’s Law. Since technological determinism often involves abandoning the good/evil dichotomy, you end up with the Singularity/Collapse watershed as the frame for Godwin’s Corollary.

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How Cricket’s Muve Music wants to become bigger than Spotify | GigaOm

How Cricket’s Muve Music wants to become bigger than Spotify | GigaOm | digital culture | Scoop.it

“Our vision is that one day, music will be like voice mail,” Muve Music founder and SVP Jeff Toig told me recently during a phone conversation. Muve was launched as a business division of Cricket Wireless in early 2011, and the music subscription service has since attracted more than 600,000 subscribers. Toig said that Cricket expects Muve to have “millions” of customers within the next 12 months – and it hopes that Android will help it to get there.

Cricket is introducing two new Android smartphone plans in September that both include a complimentary subscription to Muve Music, the company’s own music subscription service. The company will also launch up to nine more Android phones by year’s end. “Android represents a large and fast-growing segment of Cricket’s customer base,” said Toig, adding that 60 percent of Cricket’s new customers sign up for an Android phone.

The new plans come with a bit of a caveat for consumers: Cricket is moving away from offering unlimited data, and instead offer different data at varying price points. However, Muve Music downloads don’t count against a customer’s data plan. That’s because Muve focused on downloads instead of streaming from the very beginning. “Muve is very efficient for the carrier’s network,” said Toig.

 

Muve Music by the numbers:
600,000 subscribers by the end of June
Over 70 million song downloads each month
More than 230 million song plays each month
More than 30 hours of music listening per subscriber per month
All numbers according to Cricket Wireless.

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Smartphone Adoption Rate Fastest in Tech History | PCMag

Smartphone Adoption Rate Fastest in Tech History | PCMag | digital culture | Scoop.it

When smartphone technology was created more than a decade ago, it was simply a small step for connected man–no one knew what a giant leap for mankind it would become.
According to a recent Flurry report, global smartphone adoption has exploded, growing faster than any consumer technology in history.
The rate of Android and iOS device adoption among international users has out-paced the 1980s PC revolution, the 1990s Internet boom, and the social networking craze of the 'aughts, according to Flurry, which reported the rate of smartphone adoption to be 10 times that of what we might now perceive as the positively glacial pace of early personal computer adoption.
Five years into the smart device growth curve, uptake of the new technology "is rapidly expanding beyond early adopter markets such as North America and Western Europe, creating a true worldwide addressable market," the mobile analytics firm reports.
Flurry estimates more than 640 million iOS and Android devices were in use during July. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. led all markets with 165 million active smartphones, followed by China's 128 million.

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A Peace Corps for Civic-Minded Geeks | WSJ

A Peace Corps for Civic-Minded Geeks | WSJ | digital culture | Scoop.it

At least one hurricane expert put the odds of a mandatory evacuation of Tampa during the Republican convention at a reassuring 0.2%. Tropical Storm Isaac could pass right by. But that doesn't mean no bluster. And there will be even more of it at the Democratic convention. In the next few weeks there's no avoiding partisan froth. If we want our civic spirit genuinely cheered, we'll have to look away from the four men in rolled-up shirt sleeves and focus closer to home.

So-called Government 2.0, tapping online power to tackle offline problems from city hall on up, is an underappreciated, and still revolutionary, idea. Also, it seems to work. Take the new nonprofit Code for America (CfA), a kind of Peace Corps for geeks. This Gov 2.0 standout handpicks a team of sprightly tech stars each year to give up their lives and jobs for 12 months, offer their services to local governments nationwide and bring the Web to the wide-eyed. This year there are 26 fellows for eight cities, and 550 have applied for the 25 to 30 spots next year. Average age: 28.

Surely, their youthful idealism will get chewed up and spat out by the bureaucracy, right? Well, maybe not. These young folks aren't just writing the code, they seem to be cracking it.

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Copying Works: How Samsung’s Decision to Mimic Apple Paid Off in Spades | Farhad Manjoo @ PandoDaily

Copying Works: How Samsung’s Decision to Mimic Apple Paid Off in Spades | Farhad Manjoo @ PandoDaily | digital culture | Scoop.it

It’s tempting, after such a sweeping verdict in Apple’s favor, to conclude that Samsung’s decision to mimic the iPhone was a terrible mistake. The firm will now be on the hook for at least $1 billion in damages, and the judge could triple that amount. Samsung will likely face sales injunctions on many of its products, and will be forced to quickly design around Apple’s patents in its current and upcoming devices, if not to pay a steep licensing fee. Other companies that took inspiration from Apple—including Motorola, HTC and, at the top of the chain, Google—will also be stung by this decision.

But if you study what’s happened in the mobile industry since 2007, a different moral emerges. It goes like this: Copying works.

Of the three paths open to tech companies in the wake of the iPhone—ignore Apple, out-innovate Apple, or copy Apple—Samsung’s decision has fared best. Yes, Samsung’s copying was amateurish and panicky, and now it will have to pay for its indiscretions. But the costs of patent infringement will fall far short of what Samsung gained by aping Apple. Over the last few years, thanks to its brilliant mimicry, Samsung became a global force in the smartphone business. This verdict will do little to roll back that success.

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How Google Went From Search Engine To Content Destination | MarketingLand

How Google Went From Search Engine To Content Destination | MarketingLand | digital culture | Scoop.it

A search engine’s traditional role is to point to content, not to host content. Google’s moves into the content space threaten that contract. It (as well as Bing) is now trying to provide “direct answers” in addition to outbound links. Yes, providing a direct answer to 2+2 makes a lot of sense. Providing commonly known facts can, too.

But what happens when the best “answer” to a search for a song or a TV show is selling that content? Do we find our search results at Google propelling us to Google Play with the direct answer explanation being trotted out? If so, it sucks to be Apple or Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, what if Google wanted to buy it? After all, wouldn’t owning a major merchant better help Google with its new mission of providing services that let you get stuff done?

How about buying a publication like the New York Times, something Google dismissed in the past? If you’ve got news publishers as in Germany pushing a law requiring you to pay for linking to them, maybe the better “answer” and solution is to just own a news publisher yourself?

Arguments that Google isn’t being fair to other search engines have been laughable to me because it’s fairly absurd for a search engine to point to other search engines. But the primary job of search engines has been to point to destinations. As Google turns more and more into a destination, the fairness of its search results gets opened more and more to question.

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How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy | Scientific American

How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy | Scientific American | digital culture | Scoop.it
Face it, movie fans: the DVD is destined to be dead as a doornail.

Only a few Blockbuster stores are still open. Netflix's CEO says, “We expect DVD subscribers to decline steadily every quarter, forever.” The latest laptops don't even come with DVD slots. So where are film enthusiasts suppose to rent their flicks? Online, of course.

There are still some downsides to streaming movies—you need a fast Internet connection, for example, and beware the limited-data plan—but overall, this should be a delightful development.

Streaming movies offers instant gratification: no waiting, no driving—plus great portability: you can watch on gadgets too small for a DVD drive, like phones, tablets and superthin laptops.

Hollywood movie studios should benefit, too. The easier it is to rent a movie, the more people will do it. And the more folks rent, the more money the studios make.

Well, apparently, none of that has occurred to the movie industry. It seems intent on leaving money on the table.

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Internet Pirates Will Always Win | Nick Bilton @ NYTimes

Internet Pirates Will Always Win | Nick Bilton @ NYTimes | digital culture | Scoop.it

STOPPING online piracy is like playing the world’s largest game of Whac-A-Mole.

Hit one, countless others appear. Quickly. And the mallet is heavy and slow.

It is only going to get worse. Piracy has started to move beyond the Internet and media and into the physical world. People on the fringes of tech, often early adopters of new devices and gadgets, are now working with 3-D printers that can churn out actual physical objects. Say you need a wall hook or want to replace a bit of hardware that fell off your luggage. You can download a file and “print” these objects with printers that spray layers of plastic, metal or ceramics into shapes.

And people are beginning to share files that contain the schematics for physical objects on these BitTorrent sites. Although 3-D printing is still in its infancy, it is soon expected to become as pervasive as illegal music downloading was in the late 1990s.

Content owners will find themselves stuck behind ancient legal walls when trying to stop people from downloading objects online as copyright laws do not apply to standard physical objects deemed “noncreative.”

In the arcade version of Whac-A-Mole, the game eventually ends — often when the player loses. In the piracy arms-race version, there doesn’t seem to be a conclusion. Sooner or later, the people who still believe they can hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would be better spent playing an entirely different game.

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The NEXT Global Economy is Being Built Right Now, I’ll Help You Find It | Resilient Communities

The NEXT Global Economy is Being Built Right Now, I’ll Help You Find It | Resilient Communities | digital culture | Scoop.it
Pssst!   Here's a secret. A new, resilient global economy is emerging and the timing couldn't be better. How so?

 

It’s amazing luck that a new resilient economy is emerging at the very same time the current economic system is in the process of being reset. Fortunately, this new resilient economy will make it increasingly possible to re-localize economic life and will radically improve the quality, stability and prosperity of its participant’s lives over the long run.

 

Here’s An Example

 

A good example of the emerging resilient economy is a venture called the Solar Pocket Factory, founded by two MIT grads. This venture is dedicated to finding new and better ways to manufacture Microsolar cards.


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Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain? | Creative Commons

Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain? | Creative Commons | digital culture | Scoop.it

As reported a few weeks ago, OCLC has recommended that its member libraries adopt the Open Data Commons Attribution license (ODC-BY) when they share their library catalog data online. The recommendation to use an open license like ODC-BY is a positive step forward for OCLC because it helps communicate in advance the rights and responsibilities available to potential users of bibliographic metadata from library catalogs. But the decision by OCLC to recommend the licensing route — as opposed to releasing bibliographic metadata into the public domain — raises concerns that warrants more discussion.

OCLC says that making library data derived from WorldCat available under an open license like ODC-BY complies with their community norms. There are other options, however, that are equally compliant. Harvard Library, for example, developed an agreement with OCLC earlier this year that makes its metadata available under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This means that Harvard relinquishes all its copyright and related rights to that data, thereby enabling the widest variety of downstream reuse. Even though it puts this information into the public domain, Harvard requests that users provide attribution to the source as a best practice without making attribution a legally binding requirement through a license.

There are good reasons for relying on community norms for metadata attribution instead of requiring it as a condition of a licensing agreement. The requirement to provide attribution through a contract like ODC-BY is not well-suited to a world where data are combined and remixed from multiple sources and under a variety of licenses and other use restrictions. For example, the library community is experimenting with new technologies like linked data as a means of getting more value from its decades-long collective investment in cataloging data. And we’re happy to see that OCLC has released a million WorldCat records containing 80 million linked data triples in RDF. However, we believe that requiring attribution as a licensing condition introduces complexity that will make it technically difficult — if not impossible — for users to comply.


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New Wave of Deft Robots Is Changing Global Industry | NYTimes

New Wave of Deft Robots Is Changing Global Industry | NYTimes | digital culture | Scoop.it

At the Philips Electronics factory on the coast of China, hundreds of workers use their hands and specialized tools to assemble electric shavers. That is the old way.

At a sister factory here in the Dutch countryside, 128 robot arms do the same work with yoga-like flexibility. Video cameras guide them through feats well beyond the capability of the most dexterous human.

One robot arm endlessly forms three perfect bends in two connector wires and slips them into holes almost too small for the eye to see. The arms work so fast that they must be enclosed in glass cages to prevent the people supervising them from being injured. And they do it all without a coffee break — three shifts a day, 365 days a year.

All told, the factory here has several dozen workers per shift, about a tenth as many as the plant in the Chinese city of Zhuhai.

This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution. Factories like the one here in the Netherlands are a striking counterpoint to those used by Apple and other consumer electronics giants, which employ hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers.

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Markus Kayser's 3D Solar Sinter Prints on Sand - Could Replace Concrete | GreenProphet

Markus Kayser's 3D Solar Sinter Prints on Sand - Could Replace Concrete | GreenProphet | digital culture | Scoop.it
Markus Kayser didn’t need tens of thousands of slaves to conjure something out of the desert. He used his own ingenuity to design and build a machine called a Solar Sinter. This machine uses photovoltaic panels to power a computer and the electromechanical workings of a 3D printer.

The print head holds a lens which concentrates sunlight from a larger Fresnel lens onto a tray of sand. This focused beam reaches temperatures of over 1400°C which sinters (melts) the sand to form a glass or ceramic object. 

Markus Kayser: 3D printing is moving in two directions – desktop DIY printers and prints on demand for so called ‘mass-customization’ of products. I think both will have a great impact in how products are consumed as well as on manufacturing. If for instance I can modify the product to my personal needs before I buy it, it might have an impact on the way I feel about the product, its usability and I might think twice before throwing it away as I was part of its ‘creation’. This again could lead to less consumption. Also the way in which DIY 3D printers are looking at recycling the printed products, reusing the once printed but now unwanted products to make new ones at home.

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The big debate: open data | Guardian

The big debate: open data | Guardian | digital culture | Scoop.it

The Commons public accounts committee recently slammed the government's open data policy for releasing too much unintelligible raw data. But releasing more government data is a cornerstone of government policy.

The open data white paper, published in June, states: "From the prime minister down, central government is committed to making open data an effective engine of economic growth, social wellbeing, political accountability and public service improvement."

How is this being translated across different public services? We asked public leaders how they are tackling the challenges, and reaping the potential benefits, of making more information available.

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Yes, Virginia, Regular Folks Can Be Taught to Code | Wired.com

Yes, Virginia, Regular Folks Can Be Taught to Code | Wired.com | digital culture | Scoop.it

Can regular people learn to code?

 

With so many resources for learning to program, from a children’s book that teaches basic computer science concepts to The Khan Academy’s new interactive programming lessons, you have to ask: Do any of them work? Is anyone out there learning to program and, more importantly, are they applying those skills to real-world problems?

 

Corinne Salchunas thinks so. She’s a data analyst at customer loyalty software company FreeCause. Earlier this year she learned to program in JavaScript and has already started contributing code to the company website.

 

Last February FreeCause announced its “Codinization Project” to teach all 60 of its non-engineering staff to code. CEO Mike Jaconi says the idea was inspired by a similar project at FreeCause’s parent company Rakuten, which taught English to all its employees in Japan.

 

“I wasn’t going to propose teaching Japanese to our English-speaking staff, but since FreeCause is a technology company, I wanted the employees to better understand the foundation that the company was built on,” says Jaconi.


FreeCause partnered with Codecademy, a company that provides free web-based JavaScript programming lessons. FreeCause gave employees some work-time to learn their new coding skills, and assigned them a mentor from the company’s engineering department. Jaconi says the project is already yielding some results, namely Salchunas’ work.

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Robots will revolutionize the economy as PCs did | The Post Bulletin

Robots will revolutionize the economy as PCs did | The Post Bulletin | digital culture | Scoop.it

... visiting the design workshop of Rethink Robotics, near Boston's airport, where I did something I've never done before: I programmed a robot to perform the simple task of moving widgets from one place to another. Yup, I trained the robot's arms using a very friendly screen interface and memory built into its mechanical limbs.

 

And therein lie the seeds of a potential revolution. Rethink's goal is simple: that its cheap, easy-to-use, safe robot will be to industrial robots what the personal computer was to the mainframe computer, or the iPhone was to the traditional phone. That is, it will bring robots to the small business and even home and enable people to write apps for them the way they do with PCs and iPhones — to make your robot conduct an orchestra, clean the house or, most important, do multiple tasks for small manufacturers, who could not afford big traditional robots, thus speeding innovation and enabling more manufacturing in America.

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How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop and Why That Doesn't Matter | Wired.com

How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop and Why That Doesn't Matter | Wired.com | digital culture | Scoop.it
It's hard to say exactly what percentage of desktop and laptop computers run Apple OSX, but it's clear that the operating system has made slow but steady gains at chipping away at Microsoft's lead.

Why is that? Miguel de Icaza — one of the original creators of GNOME, a Linux desktop interface that has struggled to take hold — believes that a large portion of the software developers that could have taken Linux to greater heights defected to other platforms, including not only Apple OS X but — more importantly — the web.

Miguel de Icaza says the desktop wars were already lost to OS X by the time the latest shakeups started happening. And he thinks the real reason Linux lost is that developers started defecting to OS X because the developers behind the toolkits used to build graphical Linux applications didn’t do a good enough job ensuring backward compatibility between different versions of their APIs. “For many years, we broke people’s code,” he says. “OS X did a much better job of ensuring backward compatibility.”

But at the same time, development was shifting to the web. Open source on the desktop became a lot less important than open source on the server. The need to develop native applications was diminishing and at the same time OS X provided a good enough Unix-like environment that programmers could develop on a Mac and then deploy to a Linux server.

The web is where open source truly thrives. Even Steve Ballmer admits that Linux is beating Windows in the web server market. Even if you don’t have a single open source application installed on your laptop, if you use the web you’re probably being served by several open source technologies, including web servers like Apache and Nginx and programming languages and frameworks like PHP and Ruby on Rails all running on an open source operating system. The latest trends in web technology, from cloud computing to big data, are also built on open source technologies such as Apache Hadoop, MongoDB and the Xen hypervisor.

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Step-by-Step: Putting WorldCat Data Into Triple Stores | semanticweb.com

Step-by-Step: Putting WorldCat Data Into Triple Stores | semanticweb.com | digital culture | Scoop.it

Richard Wallis has followed up his recent announcement that WorldCat data can now be downloaded as RDF triples with an explanation of how to put that data into a triple store.


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Prodigies Leaping Beyond Electronic Dance Music | NYTimes

Prodigies Leaping Beyond Electronic Dance Music | NYTimes | digital culture | Scoop.it
These young, hyperdigital musicians are not dependent on record labels. But they really need their laptops.

Two years ago Zedd, whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, was making beats in obscurity in Germany. Now, riding the dance world’s accelerated career track, he’s recording with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, and the crowd at Red Rocks obediently followed his every fist-pumping dance command.

Where all of this fits within the traditional music industry is unclear. Record companies still play an important role, but the relationship has changed from the days when a label controlled most aspects of an artist’s career. Short-term, high-value record contracts are common, a sign both of how attractive E.D.M. hits can be as well as of a certain ambivalence about that genre’s long-term prospects.

Not long ago he had never been away from home for more than two weeks. Then it was six weeks, then two months, then six months. He, and his parents, are still coming to grips with the frenzied pace of his new life, he said.

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Caroline Barrio's curator insight, October 6, 2015 4:25 PM

It's inspiring to see young prodigies become famous through dedication and passion, simply doing what they love. It fuels my aspirations to become a DJ in the EDM music business. Zedd is an amazing DJ, and to understand his climb to success is quite remarkable forever memorable.

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Apple crushes Samsung in quest for global tech domination | Dan Gillmor @ Guardian

Apple crushes Samsung in quest for global tech domination | Dan Gillmor @ Guardian | digital culture | Scoop.it
A home-town jury has given Apple the world, or at least the United States, in its campaign to control the smart phone and tablet markets.

Samsung, which decisively lost the highest-profile case to date in Apple's sue-everywhere strategy against the Android operating system, will surely appeal the verdict handed down the San Jose, California, federal court on Friday afternoon. And even if Samsung ultimately has to pay the $1bn judgement, the company can afford it.

But we're likely to see a ban on many mobile devices from Samsung and other manufacturers in the wake of this case, as an emboldened Apple tries to create an unprecedented monopoly. If so, the ultimate loser will be competition in the technology marketplace, with even more power accruing to a company that already has too much.

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How do we make civic crowdfunding awesome? | Ethan Zuckerman @ …My heart’s in Accra

How do we make civic crowdfunding awesome? | Ethan Zuckerman @ …My heart’s in Accra | digital culture | Scoop.it

Civic crowdfunding is inevitable because it’s so consonant with other forms of internet-based organization. There’s widespread acceptance of the idea that software developers can build high-quality software, motivated not purely by financial gain (though there’s certainly a role for commercial enterprises within the open source ecosystem.) Wikipedia demonstrates that volunteers can produce a high quality reference work. The campaigns against SOPA/PIPA and the Susan G. Komen Foundation show that activists, loosely linked through the internet, can achieve social change. Civic crowdfunding leverages many of the same mechanisms: rapid and lightweight group formation, coordination of efforts, enlightened self interest.

Here are some thoughts on how we could embrace civic crowdfunding and avoid the downsides:

- Avoid rhetoric that posits crowdfunding as a remedy for government inaction and failure. 

- Crowdfund projects that leverage existing government opportunities.

- Use crowdfunding to brainstorm and innovate, and let governments implement. 

- Look for projects that create community capital through volunteering.

- Don’t let governments dump unfunded projects into civic crowdsourcing. Instead, let’s look for ways that people excited about civic crowdfunding can lobby and ensure that city, state and federal funding for transportation, public spaces and the arts isn’t cut any further. Civic crowdfunding should be about making public goods and services more awesome, not shifting responsibility onto the backs of internet-connected donors.

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Preserving Digital Culture: Art, Theater, Video Games and More | The Signal: Digital Preservation

Preserving Digital Culture: Art, Theater, Video Games and More | The Signal: Digital Preservation | digital culture | Scoop.it

One of the many highlights of the DigitalPreservation 2012 conference last month was the Preserving Digital Culture panel, which featured speakers discussing the preservation of born-digital art and other creative output. While much of the conference addressed the often automated management of big data, these speakers addressed materials that require much more individual attention. Similar to preserving physical artwork, digital art must be preserved meticulously to maintain the artist’s original vision.

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Unlocking the Secrets to Integrating Unstructured Data in Modern BI Architectures | Inside Analysis

Unlocking the Secrets to Integrating Unstructured Data in Modern BI Architectures | Inside Analysis | digital culture | Scoop.it

Within the world of business intelligence (BI) there is always much philosophical debate on what information architects refer to as “context.” However, while the debates of “one version of truth” versus “multiple perspectives” continue, we forget to realize the influence of context already embedded within the data.

Context can be the invisible lineage within data and not necessarily the data itself. The simple act of profiling or analyzing data in database tables has already inherited context. When you look through rows in a customer table in the data warehouse or rows of metrics in a fact table in a data mart, what do you see? That customer table has already organized data elements within the context of a provided definition of a customer. Perhaps that definition was derived from another operational systems’ definition of the context needed to process transactions associated with customers. And, perhaps the ancestors of that context were requirements for business processes from various business functions.

Often the data we work with every day is created, captured, transformed, and stored by this method of evolution, carrying with it a predefined definition of “context.” The best data modelers can see beyond this inherited context, rediscover the truth of what is being modeled, and provide access to data within a well-defined, consistent context. This article discusses the value of structured and unstructured data, and how we can bridge the gap between using both metadata and modern BI architectures to unite data and context, realizing the full potential of our BI.


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The Ongoing War On Computing; Legacy Players Trying To Control The Uncontrollable | Techdirt

The Ongoing War On Computing; Legacy Players Trying To Control The Uncontrollable | Techdirt | digital culture | Scoop.it

I don't think I've ever had so many people all recommend I watch the same thing as the number of folks who pointed me to Cory Doctorow's brilliant talk at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin last week. You can watch the 55 minute presentation below... or if you're a speed reader, you can check out the fantastic transcript put together by Joshua Wise, which I'll be quoting from.

The crux of his argument is pretty straightforward. The idea behind all these attempts to "crack down" on copyright infringement online, with things like DRM, rootkits, three strikes laws, SOPA and more, are really simply all forms of attacks on general purpose computing. That's because computers that can run any program screw up the kind of gatekeeper control some industries are used to, and create a litany of problems for those industries.

His point (and presentation) are fantastic, and kind of a flip side to something that I've discussed in the past. When people ask me why I talk about the music industry so much, I often note that it's the leading indicator for the type of disruption that's going to hit every single industry, even many that believe they're totally immune to this. My hope was that we could extract the good lessons from what's happening in the music industry -- the fact that the industry has grown tremendously, that a massive amount of new content is being produced, and that amazing new business models mean that many more people can make money from music today than ever before -- and look to apply some of those lessons to other industries before they freak out.

But Cory's speech, while perhaps the pessimistic flip side of that coin, highlights the key attack vector where all of these fights against disruption will be fought. They'll be attacks on the idea of general purpose computing. And, if we're hoping to ward off the worst of the worst, we can't just talk about the facts and data and success stories, but also need to be prepared to explain and educate about the nature of a general purpose computer, and the massive (and dangerous) unintended consequences from seeking to hold back general computing power to stop "apps we don't like."

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Printable Houses and the Future Opportunity Therein | World Future Society

Printable Houses and the Future Opportunity Therein | World Future Society | digital culture | Scoop.it

All the way back in March of 2004, working in his laboratory at the University of Southern California in San Diego, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, was working with a new process he had invented called Contour Crafting to construct the world’s first 3D printed wall.

His goal was to use the technology for rapid home construction as a way to rebuild after natural disasters, like the devastating earthquakes that had recently occurred in his home country of Iran.

While we have still not seen our first “printed home” just yet, they will be coming very soon. Perhaps within a year. Commercial buildings will soon follow.

For an industry firmly entrenched in working with nails and screws, the prospects of replacing saws and hammers with giant printing machines seems frightening. But getting beyond this hesitancy lies the biggest construction boom in all history.

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'Double' Turns the iPad Into a Telepresence Robot | Bits - NYTimes

'Double' Turns the iPad Into a Telepresence Robot | Bits - NYTimes | digital culture | Scoop.it

The Double, as the company calls it, looks like an ultra-simple robot that can navigate a far-off place through two iPads. One acts as the robot’s eyes and ears, and the other controls it through an iPad application.

In a video showing a demonstration of the new robot, the Double can be seen attending a meeting in an office. Later, a couple sitting on a couch controls a Double that is looking at artwork in a museum.

It seems to pair perfectly with the iPad, and it looks so slick. It’s as if Apple designed the robot itself.

“Double is the simplest, most elegant way to be somewhere else in the world without flying there,” the company said on its Web site. “You can stay at eye level, whether sitting or standing, by adjusting your height remotely, which makes conversations fluid and real.”

In my Disruptions column last week, Steve Cousins, Willow Garage’s president and chief executive, predicted that telepresence robots would be the first robots to become mainstream.

 

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