Archive for the 'Valve' Category

4cast #83: Knol, Spam, Identity, Jargon

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Watch Your Back, Wikipedia

As Wikipedia has become increasingly huge (see 4cast #72, item 4), it was inevitable that for-profit competitors would emerge. But it wasn’t until last week that a truly terrifying rival appeared – Google, and its Knol project.

2. Spam? What Spam? Oh… You Mean All of THAT Spam.

Although Google claims that improved filtering technologies are causing many spammers to give up on junk e-mailing, another recent report shows that 95% of all e-mail sent in 2007 was in fact, spam. So who’s winning the war?

3. You’ve Got a Bad Online Reputation

A recent Pew Internet study shows that people are increasingly aware of their online identity and the importance of making sure their digital tracks don’t lead searchers (potential employers, for example) to unflattering places. Still, most Internet users either don’t worry or are completely oblivious to the amount of information that’s floating around about them online.

4. Premium Bibliographic Resources Fail to Engage Remote End-Users

From a non-librarian’s perspective, one of the biggest deterrents to using the public library is confusing industry jargon, both inside the library and on the library website. John Kupersmith, a reference library at UC Berkeley, has developed a comprehensive list of library jargon and alternative terms that a non-librarian might actually comprehend.

4cast #82: SAFE Act, Broadband, Search Trends, Beyond Google

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Good Guys, Bad Guys & Wi-Fi

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Act last week, it sent a shudder through coffee shops, hotels, libraries, and anyone else offering open Wi-Fi access to the Internet. While the new bill doesn’t appear to require that these entities actively police their wireless users for illegal online activities, it does up the pressure for them to report any such known or suspected activity.

2. It Sure is Slow Out in the Sticks

According to a recent Pew Internet study, 50% of all Americans now have broadband Internet access at home, but this number still lags far behind in rural areas. As the link between broadband penetration and economic health becomes more apparent, the FCC is coming under increasing fire for their inability to address the problem.

3. The Year in Guilty Pleasures

Google, Yahoo, and Ask have all released their 2007 reports outlining the top search trends, with interesting variations between the three engines. Social networking was huge across the board, and of course… troubled celebrities are always on our minds.

4. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Googling For

Google got your (or your patron’s) goat? There are always more – and in some cases, better – search options out there.

OPLIN 4cast #58

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Microsoft Surface Has Surfaced

Microsoft recently unveiled the Surface computer – a flat tabletop touch screen that allows users to move and manipulate data with their fingers, instead of a mouse or keyboard.

2. Where Dewey Go From Here?

A new public library is opening in Arizona that has everything you’d expect, except for one small detail – the Dewey Decimal System. Instead, the library will organize its collection the way most bookstores do, by topic. Librarians aren’t sure how to react to this development.

3. Learning to Live with Being Annoyed

According to a new Pew Internet report, as the overall volume of spam continues to increase, more and more computer users are simply learning to accept that the spammers are winning. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over.

4. It’s Tough Being a Social (Network) Butterfly

A number of librarians are realizing that too much social networking can leave you little time for anything else.

OPLIN 4cast #54

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Oh Dewey, You Old Coot

In his new book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger argues that the Internet and the onset of inherently chaotic organizational models (like tagging), are destroying traditional, structured, straightforward methodologies of describing things (i.e. traditional librarianship).

2. There’s Still Time To Be Ahead of the Pack

The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (PDF) report focuses on Internet usage among American adults, and finds that as the geeks obsess over Web 2.0, most of us still haven’t mastered Web 1.0.

3. Introducing the 21st Century Mob

Last week, an anonymous hacker, who was having trouble playing a lawfully purchased HD-DVD movie, managed to crack the hidden, 16-digit “key” that unlocks the DRM technology built into all HD-DVDs. When this number was posted on various websites, the group owning that technology (AACS) sent letters threatening to sue any site relaying the number. Outraged netizens responded by taking over the popular community-driven news website Digg, publishing the secret code anywhere they could, and provoking the legal wrath of the AACS.

4. Do Dusty Bytes Just Disappear?

When a book goes out of print, an old copy (or three) is probably preserved somewhere in a library. But what happens when a blogger stops writing? Or an article only available online disappears? Librarians and archivists are worried about a potential “digital dark age.”