Jeff Jarvis on being a hypocrite

Jeff Jarvis, media commentator and apologist for Web 2.0 and all things new and shiny, asks his readers to forgive him for publishing his forthcoming love letter to Google in an old media format — a book (gasp). He quotes a few “graphs” from the end of the book:

I confess: I’m a hypocrite. If I had followed my own rules – if I had eaten my own dogfood – you wouldn’t be reading this book right now, at least not as a book. You’d be reading it online, for free. You’d have discovered it via links and search. You’d be entering into a conversation around any point in the book. You’d be able to correct me and I’d be able to update the book with the latest amazing stats from Google. This would be even more of a collaboration than it already is. We might form a society of Googlethinkers on Facebook and you’d offer better advice and newer ways to look at the world than I have been able to. I might make money from speaking and consulting instead of a publisher’s advance.

But instead, I made money from a publisher’s advance. That is why you are reading this as a book. Sorry. Dog’s gotta eat.

And the truth is, I already do most everything I describe above – on my blog. I believe the two forms may come together eventually. But in the meantime, I’m no fool; I couldn’t pass up a nice check from Collins, my publisher, and all sorts of services from Harper-Collins, its parent, including editing, design, publicity, sales, a speaker’s bureau, and online help. That’s why publishing is still publishing. The question is, how long can it stay that way?

I say not so fast. If cheerleaders like Jarvis really believe print is dead and that we all need to get in line with the “new business models” then they should be the first to try it. We’re no fools either.

Link: Apologizing for the book (warning: not exactly work safe now that Jarvis is running American Apparel ads)

Kevin Kelly’s List of Computer Drop-Outs

For some odd reason technology guru and Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly is trying to compile a list of what he’s calling “Neo-Amish” drop-outs:

Lots of people complain about being overloaded with email, blogs,
twitter, and so on. But very few who complain reach the ultimate
logical solution: turn it all off

I am interested in heavily mediated folks who drop out. Not partially,
only once in a while, on sabbatical, but drop off the internet
completely. Are they happy now? Don Knuth seems happy and productive.
How do others manage? Do they become a recluse, like the Unabomber? Do
they form communities with the like minded? Or, are internet drops so
rare that they are simple statistical outliers?

Link: Neo-Amish Drop Outs via Lifehacker

(Donald Knuth is a famous computer scientist who gave up on e-mail, for the most part, in 1990 and explained why.)

Why Kelly is calling such people neo-Amish instead of neo-Luddite I don’t quite know.

In the comments at Kelly’s blog, someone mentions the Lead Pencil Club, a group of self-identified neo-Luddites who proclaimed their opposition to intrusive/unfriendly technologies in the mid 1990s.  Coincidentally I recently read The Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club (which I must confess to buying at Amazon) and have been meaning to write something about it here (regarding the value of listening to grumpy Luddites and other things).

Slow Reading

A forthcoming book by John Miedema:

In the face of ever-increasing demands for speed-reading of volumes of
information fragments, some readers are choosing to slow down. While it
often seems necessary to read quickly, many readers share a conviction that
reading slowly is essential to enjoyment and comprehension.

The involuntary practice of slow reading has been a subject of much
research, but little is known about the voluntary practice. “Slow Reading”
examines the research, from the earliest references in religion and
philosophy, to the practice of close reading in the humanities, and the
recent swell of interest associated with the Slow Movement. It looks at the
diverse angles from which slow reading has been approached in education,
library sciences and media studies. Research in psychology and
neurophysiology provides a tentative explanation for the ongoing role of
slow reading.

“Slow Reading” brings attention to emerging ideas in technology and culture.
The traditional technologies of print and the book have persisted as part of
our information ecology because of the need for slow reading and deep
comprehension. The theme of locality in the Slow Movement provides insight
into the importance of physical location in our relationship with
information. Most of all, “Slow Reading” represents a rediscovery of the
pleasure of reading for its own sake.

Link: Slow Reading (Litwin Books), via Library Juice.

This is a really interesting topic and I’m looking forward to reading the book.  John Miedema has more information about slow reading on his blog, including earlier writings on the topic: Early Announcement: Slow Reading, the Book.

Google Privacy Math


Marissa Meyer at the official Google blog:

So, today we’re making a homepage change by adding a link to our
privacy overview and policies. […] 

Larry and Sergey told me we could only
add this to the homepage if we took a word away – keeping the “weight”
of the homepage unchanged at 28. […]

We think the easy access to our privacy information without any added
homepage heft is a clear win for our users and an enhancement to your

Link: What comes next in this series? 13, 33, 53, 61, 37, 28…

Bravo Google!  But you missed something: you also added a hyphen!  The hyphen weight is now a rather beefy three.  My gosh, that’s quite a lot of hyphens.  I think you ought to go crunch the numbers again.  Stay focused, people!