Friday reading #22

 by Martin Belam, 28 September 2012

I’m in Rome for a few days, attending EuroIA where I’ve run my workshop on “Responisive IA” and will be talking about “IA in the touch-screen era” tomorrow. But in the meantime, here is my regular round-up of a collection of long(-ish) reads I found interesting this week about journalism, UX, writing historical fiction and a little bit of vintage computing and gaming. There is also a Readlist with all the articles bundled up for your Kindle or other ebook-reader pleasure.

Friday reading

“Remembrance of things past” - Lloyd Shepherd, Foyles
“But I found myself obsessing about the murders as being almost inexplicable, as if demons, not humans, had been involved. There seemed to be something very other, very odd, very fantastical about these killings. It's why they stayed with me. Which forced me to confront that key question, if I was going to write this story. What is the relationship between historical fiction and reality?”
Read the full article

“Books and Other Fetish Objects” - James Gleick, New York Times
“Where some see enrichment, others see impoverishment. Tristram Hunt, an English historian and member of Parliament, complained in The Observer...that ‘techno-enthusiasm’ threatens to cheapen scholarship. ‘When everything is downloadable, the mystery of history can be lost,’ he wrote. ‘It is only with MS in hand that the real meaning of the text becomes apparent: its rhythms and cadences, the relationship of image to word, the passion of the argument or cold logic of the case.’ I’m not buying this. I think it’s sentimentalism, and even fetishization.” [via @RianVDM in response to tweets by @kissane about an ebook going “out of print”]
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“Apple’s scorched-earth iPhone fight with Google” - Susan P. Crawford, Bloomerg
“Users of the iPhone whose maps application was swapped out when they upgraded to Apple’s iOS 6 platform have had a glimpse of what the carriers’ power could entail: Just as Apple chose to remove its reliable maps app that used Google (GOOG)’s data when the two companies’ business relationship became complicated, the cable companies can make services such as Netflix subject to data caps while exempting their own online video offerings. Users may be irritated, of course, but there’s nothing they can do about it.” Included not least because of re-telling the story of Easter Island
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“A matter of doubt in UX” - Tim Caynes
“Where I’m able to give less credence is when I’m simply directed to a method or practice, a voice or opinion, which is dependent on an assumed qualification to do so. Even if I’m taken with the proposition, without qualification, I have to question the validity if I have absolutely no idea what you’ve done, what you do, or whether you’re any good at it.”
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“What a Community Manager is Not” - Jenn Pedde, The Community Manager
“‘Community’ is not marketing, support, PR, product, or communications, but it sure plays a role in all of them, and should have a seat at the table for each area in order to bring the voice of the user/member/participant to the forefront.” [via @hrwaldram]
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“Journalists must learn new online habits, or risk compromising their sources and investigations” - Cleland Thom, Press Gazette
“Government legislation that gives the police and security services powers to monitor details about people’s emails, web history, phone calls and text messages means that journalists must learn how to work online anonymously and invisibly.”
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“‘Sex, lies & instant messenger’ - Alec Muffet at Hacks/Hackers”
And when you’ve read Cleland’s piece, this write-up of an Alec Muffet talk will give you some idea of what journalists are now up against.
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“Meeting A Troll...” - Leo Traynor
“In July I was approached by a friend, who's basically an IT genius, and he offered some help. He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses. I said yes. Then I baited them - I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before.”
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“Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help?” - Chris Higgins, Mental Floss
“To combat these problems, in the mid-1980s my friends and I somehow learned this secret: if we took out the cartridge, blew in it, and reinserted it, it worked. And if it didn’t work the first time, it eventually worked, on the second or fifth or tenth time. But looking back on it, I wondered: did that blowing actually help? And if it did…why?”
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“Me and My Computer by Thomas Turnbull” - The Centre for Computing History
“As the Commodore flashed information in digits and letters on a nine inch screen and said ‘Syntax error. Syntax error’ when Thomas fed in a deliberate mistake, he said: ‘Five years ago this computer would have cost around £6,000 pounds. The price has come down because of a new microprocessor’ He said small businesses would find it an extremely useful tool” A gorgeous little local newspaper piece from 1978
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Things you may have missed

“A week in the life of Emblem” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“On Friday it was exactly three months since my last day at the Guardian. So I thought I’d post my first ever set of “weeknotes” so you could see what I’m getting up to as Emblem.”
Read the full article

“Designing products with mobile users at the core” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
For nearly all of my adult digital life, people have been telling me that next year is going to be the big breakthrough year for the mobile web.
Read the full article

“What shall I get my blog for its tenth birthday?” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“What shall I get my blog for its birthday? On December 24 this year currybetdotnet will be ten years old, and that’s quite a long time to have been running a site.”
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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