Monthly Archives: December 2010

wikileaks as a harbinger of strange times

Wikileaks is turning out to be a profoundly interesting phenomenon. The questions it raises about communication in the age of the internet, particularly in the context of an ever-weakening U.S. empire, are so new and so complex that people and organizations who normally don’t have too much difficulty figuring out what side of a problem they are on, are scrambling for purchase on unsure ground.
Geert Lovink and Patrice Riemens’ Twelve Theses on Wikileaks is one of the more thoughtful pieces I’ve read so far.

a defense of pagination

Joseph Pearson of Inventive Labs, the developer of Monocle Reader and recently wrote an eloquent explanation of why we should bother to maintain some form of pagination even in the digital era. [this originally appeared on the private Read 2.0 list serve, re-posted here with permission.]
I’m perplexed by the suggestion that we chose pagination “for the sake of tradition”, since pagination is the one and only difficult problem with building a browser-based reader. It’s actually the only thing Monocle does, and I didn’t waste this year doing it without reflecting on it.
I’m delighted by the proposal that someone should build a serious scrolling browser-based reader, because I’ll have somewhere to send people who ask this question. And I’m greatly amused by the idea that we should inplement both modes and make it the reader’s choice — as if a responsible software designer COULD actually shrug their shoulders and say “Damned if I know, you decide.”
The software designer has to make the call — has to ask: “what is the best way to read content with these characteristics?” I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. Back in March I wrote up some notes on it, but didn’t publish them. I’ve pasted them below.
Nb: Monocle has a scrolling mode for “legacy browsers” that attempts to get around the problems with scrolling described here. Open a book in a recent Opera to see it. I’ve been told it “sucks” (thanks Blaine!), which is probably true.

excellent review of social reading

Kassia Krozser has posted a long thoughtful piece on social reading.

As much as the idea of enhanced ebooks brings the sexy to publishing, it doesn’t really do much for most of the books published. Enhanced, enriched, transmedia, multimedia…these are ideas best applied to those properties that lend themselves to multimedia experience (or, ahem, the associated price tag). While many focus on the bright and shiny (and mostly unfulfilled) promised of apps and enhanced ebooks, the smart kids are looking at the power of social reading.