Friday reading #16

 by Martin Belam, 17 August 2012

Whilst you are reading this, I’ll be standing in the rain waiting for the Green Man Festival to start in Wales. No wifi. No 3G signal. Blissfully unconnected - although possibly slightly missing the green ink brigade below the line.

But never fear, because, as Tom Baker’s Doctor might have observed: “The moment has been prepared for.”

Here are a bunch of links I rustled up earlier in the week for your reading pleasure.

Friday reading

“The Role of Product Managers” - Ben Yoskovitz, Instigator Blog
“I may be the one that makes the final decision — and I am the one ultimately responsible (and I believe you need someone in that role) — but I don’t design product top-down. Decision making isn’t solely in product managers’ hands either. While you own the product, you don’t have to own every single decision about it. You own the bigger decisions on product direction for example, but thousands of decisions go into a product every single day. You own the responsibility for those decisions, but you trust your team to make them.”
Read the full article

“Calling your web site a ‘property’ deprives it of something bigger” - Matt McAlister
“We’re all complicit. We buy a domain. We then own it and build a web site on it. That ‘property’ then becomes a thing we use to make money. We fight to get people there and sell them things when they arrive. It’s the Internet-as-retailer or Internet-as-distributor view of the world. That’s how business on the Internet works…or is it? While many have made that model work for them, it’s my belief that the property model is never going to be as important or meaningful or possibly as lucrative as the platform or service model over time.”
Read the full article

“Of Bears, Bats, and Bees: Making Sense of the Internet of Things” - Scott Jensen, Design Mind
“We need to remember that the web is not the internet. The web tends to think in terms of winner take all systems like Facebook. The internet, on the other hand, was a fairly humble and simple means of discovery and access: the plumbing of the digital world that allowed the web, and eventually Facebook, to be built. We have to start thinking in layers. It’s perfectly fine if the very top layers are proprietary; that is not the problem. It’s when companies try to own every layer that things go wrong.”
Read the full article

“A Fee-Based Twitter Is No More Ideologically Pure Than An Ad-Supported Twitter” - Mike Masnick, TechDirt
“None of this is to suggest that either model is ‘the right’ model. But it’s flat out ridiculous to suggest that either one is somehow economically pure or has interests more aligned with users. What amazes me, however, is so many people are repeating Caldwell’s assertions as if it’s absolutely true, when it’s clearly not.”
Read the full article

“Dead Again” - Leah Price, New York Times Sunday Book Review
“Every generation rewrites the book’s epitaph; all that changes is the whodunit.” This essay includes some great historical examples of perceived threats to books and reading
Read the full article

“Magazines Don’t Have a Digital Problem, They Have a Bundling Problem” - Hamish McKenzie, Pando Daily
“We will always need editors to commission and shape strong stories, but we don’t need them so much to bundle disparate pieces of content into one immutable chunk. Instead, many of the most savvy readers prefer to consume magazine journalism piece by piece, taking note of the source from which it sprung, but not necessarily paying heed to whatever else happened to be placed alongside it in that source that particular week or month.”
Read the full article

“Weapons of Mass Creation: Portable 3-D Printers Have Arrived” - Joseph Flaherty, Wired
“I grew up with MacGyver and reading the US Army Survival Guide and did I mention making stuff is the coolest way to learn things and have fun?”
Read the full article

“Glitch, Circuit Bending & Breaking as a Way of Knowing” - Trevor Owens
“Circuit bending and glitch art draw out attention away from the way things are intended to be presented, away from being seemless things that obfuscate their nature, and get us to peek behind the curtain of the technologies and see a bit of the logic of computing.”
Read the full article

“‘Girlfriend Mode’, Borderlands 2, And Why Being A Dude Rocks” - Daniel Nye Griffiths, Forbes
“My experience, though, is not common to a large number of gamers, present and past, who have to put up with far worse, and for whom ‘girlfriend mode’ is just another note in an unwelcoming chorus. What’s changing, perhaps, is that a counter-chorus is growing, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to subside. Which, by plotting the curves, means that unless something else changes this sort of thing is going to keep happening. One thing that could happen is a solid, serious discussion of the possibility of unconscious or endemic sexism in an industry where the development talent and executive leadership remains overwhelmingly male, of the possible damage that might do and the ways one might address it.”
Read the full article, but probably don’t bother with the comments which are full of the usual “I really don’t see how calling something ‘girlfriend mode’ is alienating to women. Unless they are the kind of person who is on the lookout for perceived slights” bollocks. Erm, dude, like maybe because they keep fucking telling you?

“Judgement without opinion” -Lucy Reed, Pink Tape
A brilliant examination of the restrictive social media guidelines recently issued to the judiciary: “We select judges for being thoughtful, careful people and it follows that those who dip a toe in the waters of blogging are likely to do so with appropriate caution and forethought (and in my experience they do so). We pay them to think before they open their mouths. So why not trust their judgment?”
Read the full article

“London’s East End shows limits of the state” - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
“Richard Florida, a US academic, is even more wary of the traditional approach to regeneration. Cities are turned round, he argues, when the ‘creative class’ moves in – artists, technology whizzes, even suited professionals who happen to have bohemian sensibilities. They enliven poor neighbourhoods with culture and cachet, quickly luring more conventional types. These squares provoke the creatives into moving somewhere edgier and the process of regeneration begins again. This, as much as skyscrapers and gleaming trains, has been the story of east London.”
Read the full article

“Understanding the New Google ‘Pirate Penalty’” - Jonathan Bailey, Plagiarism Today
“The main thing this move does is give extra weight to Google DMCA notices that are sent against sites that already have a lot of other notices filed against them, in particular uncooperative sites that don’t remove infringing content when asked.”
Read the full article

London olympic games digital round up - Alex Balfour
Take a couple of minutes to boggle at the numbers in this presentation...
Be amazed by these slides

Things you may have missed

This week I’ve published a bonus chapter of my Olympics book “Keeping the Torch Burning: Terror, Protest and the Games”. The bonus material examines protest and dissent at the London 2012 Games over the last couple of weeks, and is available for iBooks and Kindle, and as a PDF, and as a series of blog posts starting here.

Forthcoming talks and events

I’ll be talking and teaching at the following events over the next couple of months:

Keep up to date on my new blog