Category: technology

  • A kink in the fire hose: Twitter search and ‘top tweets’

    The ‘top tweets’ feature undermines one of Twitter’s greatest strengths: disintermediated public access to primary sources.

  • iPad monism, ThinkPad dualism.

    For decades, there was a stark, definite division between physical objects and consumer electronics. Physical objects (couches and books and food) were sturdy and touchable and straightforward and simple. The computer was obtuse, button-infested, and brimming with circuitry. Apple blurred that line.

  • Smartphones: self-sedation, or self-improvement?

    Could a smartphone pull us back into the world rather than away from it? Could smartphones facilitate real life, instead of substituting for it? Can phones ‘nudge’ their users toward deeper, more genuine involvement in others’ lives?

  • Wirelessness: victory or defeat?

    Within my lifetime, American homes will go cord-free. Wireless connectivity continues to advance, and wireless power isn’t far behind. Such progress will obliterate that rat’s nest of cables behind your workstation. That unsightly rash of outlets infesting your walls will be cured. Electricity and networking will recede into the ether. Whose victory will this milestone […]

  • Technology’s unique vice

    If social media amplifies a particular vice, might it also amplify a particular virtue?

  • How ebooks mute texts.

    Texts used to speak for themselves. Once upon a time, the scribe hunkered over his parchment, squinting through the candlelight, ignoring his aching back and cramped wrist. Yet no matter how hard he concentrated, he made mistakes. Inevitably, words were duplicated, key letters left out, entire lines forgotten. In other words, the text asserted itself—it […]

  • Libraries and ebooks.

    Libraries may be doomed. The digital age will force these beloved community institutions to streamline, prioritize, and (ultimately) reinvent themselves. In fact, this transformation is already underway. Libraries (like mine) are incorporating digital assets into their collections. At the moment, I’ve got Born to Run, The Accidental Billionaires, and the A Game of Thrones quadrilogy […]

  • How little hardware flaws drive me crazy.

    Stuff breaks. Every so often, something I buy conks out, goes on the fritz, or just plain stops working. Blessed warranties to the rescue! Apple replaced my iPod touch at least twice: once for a stuck power button and again for a temperamental headphone jack. And Lenovo (after a month-long, maddening back-and-forth) fixed a blown-out […]

  • Why tweet?

    A week or two ago, I explained how Twitter is not just another inbox. It’s meant to blur by–a stream we visit occasionally but don’t follow post-by-post. Smart twitterers learn to ignore the service’s constant background noise. But this raises another question. If no one’s really listening, why tweet at all? Why post something that others may not […]

  • Don’t get Twitter? You’re doing it wrong.

    I used twitter for years without knowing why. The microblogging service long ago went viral, but I lingered on the shore of the mainstream. “What is this for?” No one I knew actually tweeted; I felt like a guest three hours early for the party. It is social media, after all, and I was shouting […]