Monday, March 30, 2009


This is probably the only time that I will blog J.K. Rowling. It seems that the author who is usually unnamed on TWH is upset that her novels are appearing on Scribd, a document social networking site. Shrug. While it is reprehensible that her content is bootlegged, there has to be the acknowledgment that there are so many peer to peer sites that Scribd is small taters compared to those that exist all over the Internet.

Furthermore, most of the content on Scribd is or other free out of copyright documents. There is also a lot of user generated content. I'm a homeschooling mum and I go to Scribd to find content that is created by my fellow homeschoolers or to find content similar to Gutenberg and Planet PDF, books that are all out of copyright. I also use Scribd to find information about open source technologies such as the cloud computing document that I am currently reading or the Linux/Ubuntu tutorials I need to sys admin my laptop. Several publishing houses, such as MIT Press, and political campaigns like Obama '08 have supported Scribd. The Partners link is always useful to check before casting stones at a technology.

I think that the to be unnamed author needs to research the particulars of social document sharing before disparaging sites like Scribd.

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today the Seattle Post Intelligencer published its last print newspaper. The journal will continue its presence online with a smaller staff. I feel sad at the demise of print media. I once worked at a college newspaper cutting and pasting with wax to layout stories for printing. Look how far I've come from worrying that I had the type pasted in a correct manner to typing pixels, and then sending them off to the world with one click of a mouse!

This ease of communication is amazing but also tragic as children in the future will not know what it is like to feel the natural texture of paper in their hands while they read or will be more isolated from their immediate environment in a web community. This was brought home to me when my daughter's acquaintance talked about her social network being in several different countries. The danger of having an Internet based news source is that many news companies feed off the same information pipes. There is no need to be original or local. Furthermore, there is the problem of those who do not have access to a computer. How will they get indigenous news?

I knew, as a blogger, that the end of printed media was inevitable. The new medium of the Internet has superseded an old form. However, this replacement may not be a salve for information acquisition and knowledge. There is more data but users tend to enclave in their own specialties and networks. A printed newspaper offers with, at least, its headlines the potential to put forth ideas for a common intellectual language. In the end of print, there is no shared lexicon and, as citizens, we have less to speak of with one another.

Technorati Tags: