Friday reading #27

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 2 November 2012

A bit later in the day than normal, but here is my weekly round-up of interesting essays and long(-ish) reads that have caught my eye about user experience, design, journalism and publishing. And as usual, I’ve wrapped them all up into one Readlist so you can get them bundled for the ereading device of your choice.

Friday reading

Doing less” — Mark Boulton, The personal disquiet of Mark Boulton
“When someone hires me for my work, they’re not paying me for what I give them. They’re paying for what I don’t give them.”[via @leisa]
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How We’re All Haunted By The ‘Feature Creep’” — Matthew May, Co.DESIGN
“Flooding our Co.Design headquarters this Halloween morning are hundreds of reports and sightings by technology writers and design analysts of what is undoubtedly the biggest and creepiest Halloween creep of them all: the Feature Creep.”[via @maireadoconnor]
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Nate Silver’s braying idiot detractors show that being ignorant about politics is like being ignorant about sports” — David Roher, Deadspin
“Silver isn’t more sure of himself than his detractors, but he’s more rigorous about demonstrating his uncertainty. He’s bad news for the worst members of the punditry, who obscure the truth so their own ignorance looks better by comparison and who make their money on the margin of uncertainty, too.”
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If You Can’t Beat ’em, Subvert ’em: Countering Misinformation on the Viral Web” — Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic
“Users love a picture that’s worth a thousand words, four thousand Facebook likes, 900 retweets, a bunch of hearts, and some reblogs: everyone likes being an important node. The whole system tilts towards the consumption of visual content, of pictures and infographics and image macros. Particularly in a situation like the build up to Sandy’s landfall, everyone is just itching itching itching to post something cool and interesting about the storm.”
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Data, uncertainty, and specialization: What journalism can learn from FiveThirtyEight’s election coverage” — Jonathan Stray, Nieman Journalism Lab
“FiveThirtyEight has obvious lessons for journalism about data-related topics such as statistics and uncertainty. But I think I also see wider implications for the evolving role of the political journalist. At heart, these changes are about the response of journalism to a world that is increasingly complex and networked.”
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The future of books and copyright” — Caleb Crain, Steamboats are ruining everything
“Playing the role of Luddite intruder among the futurologists, I gave a talk about the hazard that digitization may pose to research and preservation. Though there were a few librarians, leaders of nonprofits, and even writers present, most of my fellow conference attendees were lawyers who specialize in copyright, and I discovered that copyright lawyers see the world rather differently than do the writer-editor types with whom I usually rub shoulders. They don't expect publishing as I know it to be around much longer, for one thing.”[via @jbenton]
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Pirated novelist gets on board with rogue translator” — Alison Flood, The Guardian
“Upon realising what was under way, I felt a bewildering combination of pride and frustration. I could certainly use the $1,000 or whatever that I’d probably get if I’d sold the Russian rights. But, frankly, I didn’t sell them. The book had been out for a year so they’d had plenty of time to consider it. I understand that part of the reason that no one made an offer was probably precisely because of the emergence of this robust black market for ebooks in Russia. Still, I was thrilled that the book was going to have a readership in Russia. It’s sort of the sad fact of being a writer – we want to be read and we hope someone will pay us, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.”[via @MattPotter]
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Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction ” — Evan Ackerman, Dvice
“Rather than give out laptops to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever. Just like, ‘hey kids, here’s this box, you can open it if you want, see ya!’”[via @SamuelCoates]
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Remember who you are” — James Ward, I like boring things
James describes a trip to see David Icke’s long, long, long show at Wembley Arena: “Whenever people mention Icke, they always say that he thinks ‘lizards control the world’. I’m not sure why people always pick up on the fact they’re ‘lizards’. He’s talking about multi-dimensional beings from space controlling humanity. Is the oddest thing about that idea really the fact that those multi-dimensional beings happen to resemble lizards? ”
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Fear and loathing in Athens: the rise of Golden Dawn and the far right ” — Maria Margaronis, The Guardian
A depressing read about the country I called home for nearly three years.
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Things you may have missed

The UX of publishing for tablets and smartphones” — Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“You can debate all these things for as long as you want, but your audience has already chosen for you. They’ve already gone ‘mobile first’. You probably need to start playing catch up.”
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Forthcoming talks and events

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