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Introducing Primal Assistants: A framework for software agents | Primal

Introducing Primal Assistants: A framework for software agents | Primal | Infotention | Scoop.it

Primal does a lot of heavy lifting in knowledge representation and content filtering. If you ask it to grab you some relevant content around your interests, it will do precisely that.

But what if you don’t want to have to ask? Search engines are fantastic, but they still require that you go to them and then try to figure out how to formulate your query in a way that gets you decent results.

Primal already has the ability to understand what you want, and we’re now working on some technology that will let Primal deliver you the content that you truly care about before you know you want it.

Read on to learn more about Primal’s new software agent and content streaming framework.


Howard Rheingold's insight:

There was a lot of talk about software agents about ten years ago -- computer code that would seek, filter, and deliver information specific to your interests I have not tried this yet, but I'm interested that people are trying with today's technology -- and that RSS is one of its building blocks.

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Allan Shaw's curator insight, July 18, 2013 6:14 PM

This looks very interesting. One of my difficulties is using my precious time as effectively as possible to maximise my learning in order to make the learning environment better for the teachers and students I work with.

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Managing attention & information
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The Startling Effect Technology Is Having on Humans’ Attention Spans

The Startling Effect Technology Is Having on Humans’ Attention Spans | Infotention | Scoop.it
Just because we may be allocating our attention differently as a function of the technologies we may be using, it doesn’t mean that the way our attention actually can function has changed,” Morton told the Ottawa Citizen. “Digital technologies dovetail seamlessly into the information processing abilities of our brain.”

The study further reveals that the rate at which humans now process information is faster than before handheld technology took hold of everyday life. Among the top four factors that impact attentions spans the most are media consumption, social media usage, technology adoption rates and multi-screening behaviors.

With regard to these factors, the study found that attention spans vary according to how one consumes media and at which rate they adopt to using it.

For example, those who adopt to social media the quickest are able to process information from interactive environments (TV) better than people who adopt to social media at a slower pace. Reversely, the so-called “late adopters” of social media tend to process information faster in non-interactive environments (not TV).
Howard Rheingold's insight:

This new study by Microsoft seems to indicate that the average attention span has diminished from 12 seconds in 2000, to around 8 seconds today. The infotention angle is that those who use social media and multiple screens process information faster. Still a very crude measure, but the hypothesis I'd like to see pursued is that some people have taught themselves to coordinate their attentional mechanisms and their media more effectively. Classic Nass study on media multitasking indicates that it does not improve productivity; however, the Nass study was about more general media-related activities using unrelated information streams., not (as he told me) on how people consciously coordinate attentional activities and multiple related information streams.

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, May 15, 7:32 AM

Perhaps not that surprising to some, but it would appear that we now have evidence that the human species have an attention span of less than your average goldfish - 8 seconds vs. 9 seconds for a goldfish. You might just have time to read this before moving on to your next interruption! 

 

nukem777's curator insight, May 15, 5:34 PM

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TAGSExplorer: Interactively visualising Twitter conversations archived from a Google Spreadsheet | MASHe

TAGSExplorer: Interactively visualising Twitter conversations archived from a Google Spreadsheet | MASHe | Infotention | Scoop.it
As I start my exploration of tools like NodeXL it's very clear that being able to filter, probe and wander through the data provides far more insights to what’s going on.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

What this has to do with infotention: become skilled at the use of NodeXl and TAGSExplorer and you'll have a powerful tool or knowing where in Twitter (and to whom) to put your attention.

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, April 23, 6:12 AM

Know more about your relationship with your Twitter network.

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Information Overload: Why daydreaming not multitasking is the way to process the unprecedented amount of information we now face | The Big Picture

In this talk at the Royal Society of Arts in London, Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at McGill University in Canada, reveals the surprising effects that ‘information overload’ is having on our brains, and how we can best combat the data deluge. Some of the proven strategies, like taking short naps to recharge, could go beyond simply preventing brain drain and helping us maintain focus, but might actually make us better, more creative problem-solvers too. In fact, Levitin makes the case for regular daydreaming – 15 minutes every two hours – so that our brains benefit from a restorative mind-wandering mode, which he describes as their natural state.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Some good advice from someone who knows his stuff -- I've read his books (I recommend "This Is Your Brain on Music") -- about the cognitive side of infotention. The good news -- naps and daydreaming are also good tools for dealing with overload, distraction, and focus. Part of infotention is learning to assume more agency about where you direct your attention online. According to Levitin, letting go of your focus for naps and daydreaming can be useful, too

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Conscious 2 - Mindfulness Minimizes Thought Overload by Ora Nadrich

Conscious 2 - Mindfulness Minimizes Thought Overload by Ora Nadrich | Infotention | Scoop.it
It is estimated that we can think up to seventy thousand thoughts per day. It’s no wonder therefore, that our minds can go into “thought overload.” But a great way to avoid that is by practicing Mindfulness, and making an effort to stay in the present moment.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Good infotention advice -- it applies, I believe, to the parts of the day when the flow of info online is akin to the flow of thoughts. Info overload is actually attention overload.

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Registration

Registration | Infotention | Scoop.it
This webinar is all about leveraging the power of visual thinking and organization for design and project planning.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I've used The Brain for projects and for teaching. It's an infotention tool in terms of advancing the way one transforms information into knowledge in a personally and visually organized form. If you haven't seen The Brain, check out Jerry's Brain.

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Apple doesn't want to talk about the real use for the Apple Watch

The thing is, the watch does have a use case, it's just one that’s hard for Apple to talk about. Last week Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch wrote that the best thing about the watch, according to the Apple employees who’ve been demoing it, was that it let them basically stop using their phone. Instead of fishing their phones out of their pockets every couple minutes, they could check incoming notifications on the watch and choose to ignore or respond to them. Panzarino
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Could this be true? The next year will be a mass experiment in the intersection of technology and attention. Let's check back on this.

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A Dashboard That Lets You Easily Connect Web Services, From Email to Twitter | WIRED

A Dashboard That Lets You Easily Connect Web Services, From Email to Twitter | WIRED | Infotention | Scoop.it

Netvibes is known for a website that lets you pull all your favorite internet services onto a single page, from news sites to email to weather. But now it’s taking a different turn.

The Paris-based company will soon offer a new service dubbed Dashboard of Things, which aims to provide a single place you can not only consume all sorts of internet content, but also automate your digital life. With this new tool—which is being previewed now and will be widely available later this year—you could program Instagram to automatically backup your photos to Dropbox, or tell Twitter to send out a tweet every time you update your website.

For Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini, Dashboard of Things aims to help the average consumer do things they typically couldn’t pull off without some serious computer coding skills. “We need to make everyone a programmer,” he says. “We want you to be a wizard of the Internet of Things and to do magical things.”

Howard Rheingold's insight:

I've used Netvibes as an RSS reader for years. I particularly how easy it is to sync my attentional priorities to my on-screen info-flow by dragging higher priority tabs to the left and positioning the most important feeds at the top of their tab pages. If I am more pressed for time, I can just skim the headlines in the leftmost tab and/or topmost row of feeds (of course the actual way one positions feeds and tabs is arbitrary -- the point is to pay attention to your priorities and go through the actions of rearranging your information flows to match. It's a tool for taking control of both the screen-side and mind-side aspects of infotention. This new service appears to be an expansion of the dashboard capabilities to include something similar to (and Netvibes claims more powerful than) IFTTT -- which I confess I have not done more than dabbled in.

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Paperless Productivity With Evernote & Pocket

Paperless Productivity With Evernote & Pocket | Infotention | Scoop.it
I needed a better way of getting what I wanted to keep in Evernote, but at the same time, keep Evernote clutter-free. Eventually, I came up with a process that has been working very well for me. It involves using Pocket, a “save for later” service like Instapaper. With Pocket, you can grab links, images, and videos and save them for later. Pocket also removes the clutter from the articles and presents them in an easy-to read format. Lots of applications integrate with Pocket, making it easy to send articles and other items. Best of all, you can send items from Pocket to Evernote.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Yes, I Scoop more than a few tips from Evernote -- because Evernote is a great infotention-tool, a smart, personalized, short-to-long-term memory augmenter. And because they are smart enough to show people how to use Evernote to streamline their finding, filtering, storing, and retrieving key bits from the info-flow.

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Crystal Renfro's curator insight, February 9, 10:27 AM

I liked this workflow using Pocket and Evernote.  Nice thing about Pocket is that it is both iPhone, iPad, Android and web browser compatible.

Linda Weeks's curator insight, May 1, 8:20 AM

Research tool

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Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb

Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb | Infotention | Scoop.it
AS much as we love our digital devices, many of us have an uneasy sense that they are destroying our attention spans. We skitter from app to app, seldom alighting for long. Our ability to concentrate is shot, right?

Research shows that our intuition is wrong. We can focus. But our sense that we can’t may not be a phantom. Paying attention requires not just ability but desire. Technology may snuff out our desire to focus.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

A big part of infotention is simply recognizing the need to think about where your attention is going while you are online, and why, and how you can exert more control over it.

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How to Use Tags to Organize Evernote

How to Use Tags to Organize Evernote | Infotention | Scoop.it
Thomas Honeyman is a student at the University of Southern California and co-founder of a music collaboration platform. Recently, he found that focusing on tags gave him the most flexibility by associating the notes he creates to his tags.

Much like author Michael Hyatt, tags have become the engine that helps power the organizational success with how Thomas manages content in Evernote.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Evernote is an infotention tool that enables me to keep track of stuff without spending much time retrieving it. I can email and forward emails to Evernote notebooks (for example, when I get an email confirming an online order, I forward to my Evernote and by adding the term "@Orders" to the Subject line of the email, it automatically stashes it in my Orders notebook), send snapshots from my phone (and Evernote will OCR pix of text to make them into searchable PDFs). Tagging is an important tool for organizing Evernote. This post describes one student's tagging strategy.

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Teaching with Inoreader

Teaching with Inoreader | Infotention | Scoop.it
*THIS IS A NEW WEBSITE* Consult the left-hand navigation panel to see what pages are actually complete! In addition, you will see many new pages here in December 2014 and January 2015 as I prepare my classes for the Spring semester. More information here about How to Follow my Spring 2015 Inoreader Adventure.

Inoreader is one of the most powerful tools that I use for teaching online. In this website, I'll be sharing examples of how I use Inoreader to keep up with my students' blogs and also to connect with other educators online. THANK YOU, Inoreader, for helping me so much in my work!
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Laura Gibbs uses Inoreader, an RSS reader, as "a powerful tool for education" -- which it is -- but is also a useful general pupose RSS reader. She has many resources and good advice.

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Saving-Enhanced Memory

Saving-Enhanced Memory | Infotention | Scoop.it
With the continued integration of technology into people’s lives, saving digital information has become an everyday facet of human behavior. In the present research, we examined the consequences of saving certain information on the ability to learn and remember other information. Results from three experiments showed that saving one file before studying a new file significantly improved memory for the contents of the new file. Notably, this effect was not observed when the saving process was deemed unreliable or when the contents of the to-be-saved file were not substantial enough to interfere with memory for the new file. These results suggest that saving provides a means to strategically off-load memory onto the environment in order to reduce the extent to which currently unneeded to-be-remembered information interferes with the learning and remembering of other information.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Curation tools, especially Diigo, Delicious, and Scoop.it, are an essential part of my daily practice. This study offers evidence confirming my hypothesis that curation/saving resources has cognitive benefits.

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Turn Google Docs Into an RSS Reader with ImportFeed

Turn Google Docs Into an RSS Reader with ImportFeed | Infotention | Scoop.it
This tutorial shows how to use a Google Docs spreadsheet as an RSS Feed reader (see example). You can aggregate news feeds from different sources into one spreadsheet (similar to alltop, popurls or addictomatic) and then publish it as a web page.

If you have a blog, you can use the same trick to embed RSS feeds in web pages. The Google Docs approach is preferred over Flash or Javascript widgets because here you have complete control over the presentation layout and formatting of content.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Another slightly geeky but potentially useful approach to rolling your own RSS feed aggregator (like the previous entry, this one came as a tip from one of my Stanford students, Fang Li).

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, December 11, 2014 5:16 AM

How to roll your own RSS reader!

 

Reading time: 10mins

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Save One File to Remember the Contents of Another

Save One File to Remember the Contents of Another | Infotention | Scoop.it
Digital storage of data has become an integral part of our lives, whether in the form of contacts and calendars on smartphones or constant access to the vast stores of knowledge in the cloud. Previous research has suggested that saving information makes us less likely to remember it, presumably because we assume we do not really need to memorize something that is saved. But doing so should also free up mental resources, reasoned cognitive scientists Benjamin Storm and Sean Stone, both at the University of California, Santa Cruz. They found in a new study that saving some information enhances memory for new material.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

This is good evidence to back infotention theory -- knowing how to use the cloud as an extension of memory frees mental space for other activities.

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EPI Search

EPI-Search helps you find documents that are highly relevant to your topic of interest. You simply enter the full text of a source that is representative of your topic of interest.

Enter notes or a draft document in the search box. The results display related sources from our library and the Web.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Enter up to 10,000 words and this knowledge engine recommends other works from their library and elsewhere. I don't know this outfit personally but what they are doing with "second-order science" looks intriguing.

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Can Matthew Crawford Deliver Us From Distraction?

Can Matthew Crawford Deliver Us From Distraction? | Infotention | Scoop.it
Crawford first shows how highly skilled people learn to develop an intelligent use of space, filtering out what they can afford to ignore. Part of developing one’s skill is to know where to look, to "jig" the space to pay attention to what’s most important. And you learn what’s most important by paying attention to people whose skills are much more developed than your own.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I have not yet read Matthew Crawford's new book "The World Beyond Your Head," but I have it on my queue. First I am planning to read his previous book "Shop Class as Soul Craft." It appears from this extensive review that Crawford has a chapter on attention, distractibility, and what to do about it.

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Using Communication Technologies Mindfully

Using Communication Technologies Mindfully | Infotention | Scoop.it
A burgeoning collection of communication technologies is often blamed for decreased empathy and attention spans. What if the problem lies not with the technology, but with the attitude of the user?
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I highly recommend the book this is excerpted from, In Real Life by Jon Mitchell. I read it in galleys. It was like drinking pure cool water after a long hot day. A very practical and unmystical approach to the spirituality and cognitive discipline necessary to use modern media mindfully.

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Peter Skillen's curator insight, March 28, 7:39 AM

Methinks I'll need to get this book. It fits with current thinking—the same thinking that got me called a luddite and digital immigrant—by my colleagues!—several years ago when I first mentioned the issue.

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Apple Watch Set To Revolutionise The Way People Ignore Each Other

Apple Watch Set To Revolutionise The Way People Ignore Each Other | Infotention | Scoop.it
INDUSTRY experts are predicting that the brand new smartwatch unveiled by Apple yesterday will totally change the way people ignore each other when it launches in April.
The device, known simply as the Apple Watch, will host a range of exciting features which will enable users to cocoon themselves in their own little world, avoiding interaction with fellow human beings.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

On the other hand...or should I say "on the other wrist?"

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, March 14, 12:03 PM

Waiting for that first case of RSI of the wrist!

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Content Curation Tools Supermap by Robin Good

Content Curation Tools Supermap by Robin Good | Infotention | Scoop.it
Pearltrees lets you organize all your interests
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Robin Good has taught me a great deal about RSS, news radars, filters, and curation, and is a master curator himself. I have not used Pearltrees recently, but it continues to evolve as a curation platform. Curation is an act of both personal and public infotention -- putting context and one's imprimatur on resources found to be useful, for one's own use and for the use of the commons.

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Create Custom News Streams Based on Your Specific Sources and Filters

Create Custom News Streams Based on Your Specific Sources and Filters | Infotention | Scoop.it
News defined by you.

Via Robin Good
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Robin Good is my mentor in using tools like RSS and filter apps to tune incoming information streams about specific subjects. He calls these combinations of streams and filters "news radars," and knowing how to put them together is important for journalists, researchers of all kinds, and any consumer of online information who wants to find relevant information without being overwhelmed.

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, February 10, 11:55 AM

Another excellent personal information management tool, HT to Robin Good for spotting.

Marta Torán's curator insight, February 11, 8:27 AM

Para leer las noticias que te interesan

Len Ferrara's curator insight, February 14, 12:31 AM

This looks great!

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Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen

Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen | Infotention | Scoop.it

"We have multiple set exercises throughout the day where you basically bring intentionality to your attention," he told me over the phone. They involve no newfangled brain-training software, or really anything at all new to neuroscience or philosophy—which may be why it's easy to dismiss them. For example, he might tell a patient to take on little tasks like, when they wake up in the morning—instead of ruminating on the day ahead or idling on their phone—thinking about five people in their lives for whom they're grateful. Maybe even send those people a little note. That strengthens relationships and makes those people feel appreciated, sure, but the real point of it, Sood explained, is that "by choosing where to deploy your attention and what you're processing, you're basically strengthening your attention."

Theoretically a person could accomplish that same attention-building with other exercises—say, staring at a fish tank for a while, counting and naming the fish, and then introducing them aloud whenever one swims near another—but Sood likes to recommend practices that are more productive. 

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Mindfulness and attention training have become fashionable, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. The author is an MD and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. His approach does not specifically focus on training attention in the context of multiple screens and information input streams, but the basic exercises probably generalize -- particularly his emphasis on intention. He also has a popular video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZZ0zpUQhBQ

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The need for a sociology of thinking

The need for a sociology of thinking | Infotention | Scoop.it
How much time do you spend talking to yourself? If you put the question this way, it often makes people uncomfortable. An alternative phrasing: how much time do you spend engaged in “directed conscious thought”? This is what Tim Wilson et al investigated in a new paper published in Science. It’s exactly the sort of work I’m looking forward to engaging with when I start my sociology of thinking project later in the year:
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Can we train our attentional habits in the context of social media and enormous inflows of information? To what end? How? Is it efficacious? In what ways? These questions illustrate the relationship of infotention (attention to how we use attention online, and tools for managing information flows and attention) to studies of thinking. A "sociology of thinking" project sounds promising.

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A Student-Centred Conceptualisation of Critical Thinking

A Student-Centred Conceptualisation of Critical Thinking | Infotention | Scoop.it
One of the defining features of human evolution is the emergent capacity of human beings to think about thinking. The ability to think about thinking is often described as a metacognitive skill.  Cultural evolution is itself a metacognitive process, as each new generation thinks about the thinking of previous generations - the contents of thinking, the process of thinking, and the products of thinking - and modifies the culture of thinking in multifarious ways. 
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Thinking systematically about how you use information flows and your cognitive processes to gather, test, evaluate knowledge is key to the internal aspects of infotention. 

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Miloš Bajčetić's curator insight, January 5, 3:26 AM

"Understanding and influencing metacognitive skill development is essential for further cultural evolution, and ultimately, our survival, adaptation and flourishing as a species. Due to what can be considered an exponential increase in the creation of new information every year, higher-order, metacognitive skills are needed more than ever in order to aid individuals and groups in becoming more adaptable, flexible and better able to cope in the context of a rapidly evolving information society (Darling-Hammond, 2008; Jukes and McCain, 2002). It is widely recognized that the challenge of education implies more than a focus on developing domain-specific knowledge - also needed is metacognitive knowledge and skill, and approaches to enquiry that allow children and adults to approach problems, solutions, experiments, explanations, and simulated actions with a mindful, reflective, collaborative sensibility that facilitates adaptive action at individual and group levels."

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Use Your Mac’s Services Menu to Perform Quick Actions

Use Your Mac’s Services Menu to Perform Quick Actions | Infotention | Scoop.it
our Mac’s Services menu can be very useful. The Services menu has become a hidden feature used mostly be power-users, but it’s very easy to use. It’s a bit like the Share features on Android or iOS.

The Services menu is present in practically every application on your Mac, although it is easy to miss. Applications you install can add quick actions to this menu.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

On the info-tool side of infotention, there is the issue of exploring computer tools that have been staring you in the face forever, but which you haven't explored. Maintaining a strong sense of focus usually includes knowing what NOT to pay attention to, so many of us probably haven't used features like Mac's Smart Folders (want to try it? Make a smart folder from the file menu, then search for files over 250 megabytes. Delete files if you'd like, delete the folder if you'd like.) or the "Services" menu that is visible with most applications. This article gives a good introduction. However, you can see it in action by simply selecting some text in an app or on a web page, then holding down the services menu. Add to Evernote, add to iTunes as a Spoken Track, Make New Sticky Note, and more become instantly available.

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Benefits of Breathing: The Scientific Benefits of Breathing INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.

Benefits of Breathing: The Scientific Benefits of Breathing INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppälä, Ph.D. | Infotention | Scoop.it
The mind has a terrible time telling itself what to do. But this is where the breath comes in. I’ve summarized research on breathing techniques and the many ways in which they can impact our health and our well-being in one simple infographic.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Yes, infographics are overdone and a little cheesy, but the internal aspect of infotention involves mindful seeking and processing of information -- and breathe is a key to mindfulness. Especially online! Take a few seconds to breathe deeply and consciously a couple of times an hour when you are sitting or standing in front of your computer screeen.

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