Open Government was published in 2010 by O’Reilly Media. The United States had just elected a president in 2008, who, on his first day in office, issued an executive order committing his administration to “an unprecedented level of openness in government.” The contributors of Open Government had long fought for transparency and openness in government, as well as access to public information. Aaron Swartz was one of these contributors (Chapter 24: When is Transparency Useful?). Aaron was a hacker, an activist, a builder, and a respected member of the technology community. O’Reilly Media is making Open Government free to all to access in honor of Aaron. #PDFtribute
I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to read this book and understand what activists like Aaron Swartz are fighting for.
If you are a scientist, your job is to bring new knowledge into the world. And if you bring new knowledge into the world, it’s immoral to hide it. I heartily wish I’d never done it, and I won’t do it again.
That’s Mike Taylor’s thoughts on publishing research, and I tend to agree. To me, hiding research behind a paywall — particularly publicly funded research — goes against the main purpose of research, which is expanding the knowledge and understanding of mankind. That’s not possible if very few people read it.
I currently have access to a lot of academic articles and research as a graduate student, but I won’t in a few years when I’m done. Most of this research will be ghettoized to academic circles. The knowledge and ideas contained within these academic articles would be relevant to me long after I leave school.
Most of the most eager and curious minds are students, particularly younger ones. And yet k-12 students don’t have access to this information. Is it realistic to expect a sophomore in high school to spend $20 to read an academic article?
But these young minds are exactly the kinds of people who should be influenced by this research and looking to push it forward.
The biggest reason cited for publishing in this closed academic journals is the need for tenure. Well, it’s time tenure commities stopped being part of the problem. Knowledge should be open, and the quality of the research, not the name on the journal should be what ultimately matters.
Personally, I think blogging research might be the best approach and then having this collected into open-access Web journals. This would make finding academic research easy, and would also make it easy to comment on and share. Imagine if academic research went viral on social media?
I’ve been frustrated for years, like other scholars and faculty members who take an interest in these issues, at the remarkable lassitude of academia as a whole toward publication, intellectual property and digitization. Faculty who tell me passionately about their commitment to social justice either are indifferent to these concerns or are sometimes supportive of the old order. They defend the ghastly proposition that universities (and governments) should continue to subsidize the production of scholarship that is then donated to for-profit publishers who then charge high prices to loan that work back to the institutions that subsidized its creation, and the corollary, demanded by those publishers, that the circulation of such work should be limited to those who pay those prices.
I cannot understand why academics and universities are OK with this. If the work academics do is for the betterment of mankind, why is it holed away, to be read by almost no one?
A lot of students struggle with carrying around expensive laptops and electronics on and off campus late at night, especially coming from the library during prime study seasons. This new initiative allows students to check out MacBooks and leave their computers at home:
Providing a solution to students who don’t want to carry a laptop while walking late at night from their dorm or off-campus housing to the library, Drexel introduced a 24-hour, self-service kiosk located in its Hagerty Library that will dispense MacBooks to students, faculty and staff. Drexel is the third university on the East Coast to introduce the vending machine, which holds up to 12 MacBooks that could be checked out free by anyone with a Drexel ID for five hours of use.
Some students may not be able to afford a decent laptop either, and this allows students to get work done on a top-flight machine. Some students still have desktops for whatever reason (tower computers are still the best route for someone who needs a lot of power and expandability). But make no mistake about it, some schools, particularly in more built-up areas, are not always the most fun to be lugging around expensive electronics in the wee hours of the morning.
I don’t care if this is a preview or what not. Something this unusable should not be shipped.
This video shows a textbook example of poor design. Let’s postulate that the reason he can’t sign into Skydrive is that there is a server issue; that’s an issue that all cloud-based storage solutions have to deal with.
Graceful fallbacks are what is needed. There should be a way to save locally and have it upload to Skydrive when it works. There should at least be a way to X out of this menu and choose a different save option.
Errors do happen and graceful error handling is so important.
News.me, the social news service built on top of Twitter (and Facebook), todayannounced it is killing its curation apps for iPhone and iPad. The company is blaming Twitter for the move and says it wants to focus on its Digg efforts instead.
They claim this will not impact News.me’s great daily emails, but who knows how much data you’ll be able to get out of Twitter moving forward. News.me is the first thing I check in the morning to see what’s going on in my world. It always highlights interesting stories by seeing what my Twitter and Facebook friends are up to. I don’t use Digg and don’t plan to any time soon.
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
Eagle-eyed gamers may have already noticed that the Xbox 360′s dedicated Twitter and Facebook apps have gone missing after the latest Dashboard update, and now Redmond has confirmed it’s put the applications out to pasture. According to a Microsoft representative that spoke to IGN, the firm is “retiring the Facebook and Twitter apps” as it works to streamline functionality. When asked if the pair of apps will ever make a comeback, Ballmer and Co. didn’t comment.
Updates from Tvs was a fad the last few years, and thankfully it’s going away. Why would someone want to check or update a social network from a TV? The XBOX 360 doesn’t even come with a keyboard, so I’m not exactly sure how this was supposed to ever work. All the data actually points to people using mobile devices to access social networks while they use their TVs. That makes sense.
That’s the gist that Slashdot is going with anyway, but I remain unconvinced that a laptop, especially one that isn’t convertible into a touch tablet, is much of competitor of a tablet.
People buy tablets because they want tablets, not because they want laptops. I have a Chromebook, and it’s OK, but it’s no competitor to my iPad (and certainly not competitor to my Macbook Pro). The only conceivable way that a Chromebook could be a competitor for a tablet is in the sense of a relatively cheap, light and portable computing device.
But wasn’t that supposed to be netbooks before this? I don’t see many people arguing for them anymore.
I stand by my previous statements that I believe ChromeOS is still best focused for business users. If your work is all in the cloud, and you don’t need desktop apps, ChromeOS is fast, efficient, reliable and largely secure. If your work has bought into the cloud and Web apps, ChromeOS is a very compelling business OS.
It just doesn’t work well for creative types who need powerful video, photo, audio, graphic, etc. software. Or for business people who need the full power of Excel (although Google Docs spreadsheets are good enough for most users).
I think ChromeOS could also be a good solution for someone who wants a laptop form factor at home and doesn’t need anything other than a Web browser. There are definitely people and uses that make sense for ChromeOS and Chromebooks.
But tablets, particularly the market-leading iPad, are much more than a lightweight and portable way to browse the Web. The iPad has some pretty great games on it. It also makes for a good way to watch movies, either lounging around or on the go. The iPad is also the best reading device I’ve ever owned, and the tablet form factor makes a lot more sense than a clambshell laptop for reading.
Let me put this to you: Would you choose a Chromebook over a tablet?
Cellular technology is fast becoming ubiquitous, even in poorer, less developed parts of the word. From The Economist:
3.2 billion people, or 46% of the world’s total population of 7 billion, have at least one active mobile (cellular) device.
Japan, Britain and the Nordic countries have about 9 out of 10 citizens using mobile technology, which is pretty mind boggling. And infants, prisoners and certain other parts of the population are unlikely to start using mobile devices. You also have to keep in mind that many of the people not using mobile technology in developed countries are older, less tech savvy citizens.
Cell phones fill access gaps – 10% of cell-mostly internet users point towards a lack of other access options as the main reason why they primarily use their phone to go online, with 6% saying that they do not have access to a computer and 4% saying that they do not have any other source of internet access beyond their mobile connection.