How did a handful of web nerds kick-start a chain of events that will save the UK government billions of dollars each year? And how do 10 simple design principles underpin how the UK’s Government Digital Service is revolutionizing government online? Paul Annett, Creative Lead at the Cabinet Office, will discuss the cultural and technological shifts now underway, and how you can bring them to your workplace.
Interview with Cole Henley
Four Thought talks include stories and ideas which will affect our future, in politics, society, the economy, business, science, technology or the arts. Recorded live, the talks are given by a range of people with a new thought to share.
After the internet and social media, what will be the next technological revolution? Writer, blogger and social entrepreneur Russell M. Davies argues that like the early days of blogging, we are about to witness another flowering of individual creativity. This time, he says, it will unleash "all sorts of interesting gadgety things", and determine our relationships with them. "It’s about making your own stuff, which might be a bit silly and a bit trivial and pointless, but you get the satisfaction of making it yourself," he says. This revolution in individual gadgetry - and designing our relationship with them - will prove "exciting, radical, life-affirming stuff". Four Thought is a series of talks which combine thought provoking ideas and engaging storytelling. Recorded in front of an audience at the RSA in London, speakers take to the stage to air their latest thinking on the trends, ideas, interests and passions that affect our culture and society.
A presentation on digital preservation from the Build conference in Belfast in November 2011.
Our communication methods have improved over time, from stone tablets, papyrus, and vellum through to the printing press and the World Wide Web. But while the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. This presentation will look at the scale of the problem and propose methods for tackling our collective data loss.
We’re used to thinking of "obesity" in physical terms — unhealthful weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there’s also an obesity of information that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes: unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions.
In The Information Diet, open-source-Internet activist Clay Johnson makes the case for more "conscious consumption" of news and information. Johnson, the founder of Blue State Digital, which provided the online strategy for the 2008 Obama campaign, talks with NPR’s Scott Simon about ways to slim and stretch our minds.
Universal access to all knowledge, Kahle declared, will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. We are already well on the way. "We’re building the Library of Alexandria, version 2. We can one-up the Greeks!"
Start with what the ancient library had—-books. The Internet Library already has 3 million books digitized. With its Scribe Book Scanner robots—-29 of them around the world—-they’re churning out a thousand books a day digitized into every handy ebook format, including robot-audio for the blind and dyslexic. Even modern heavily copyrighted books are being made available for free as lending-library ebooks you can borrow from physical libraries—-100,000 such books so far. (Kahle announced that every citizen of California is now eligible to borrow online from the Oakland Library’s "ePort.")
As for music, Kahle noted that the 2-3 million records ever made are intensely litigated, so the Internet Archive offered music makers free unlimited storage of their works forever, and the music poured in. The Archive audio collection has 100,000 concerts so far (including all the Grateful Dead) and a million recordings, with three new bands every day uploading.
Moving images. The 150,000 commercial movies ever made are tightly controlled, but 2 million other films are readily available and fascinating—-600,000 of them are accessible in the Archive already. In the year 2000, without asking anyone’s permission, the Internet Archive started recording 20 channels of TV all day, every day. When 9/11 happened, they were able to assemble an online archive of TV news coverage all that week from around the world ("TV comes with a point of view!") and make it available just a month after the event on Oct. 11, 2001.
The Web itself. When the Internet Archive began in 1996, there were just 30 million web pages. Now the Wayback Machine copies every page of every website every two months and makes them time-searchable from its 6-petabyte database of 150 billion pages. It has 500,000 users a day making 6,000 queries a second.
"What is the Library of Alexandria most famous for?" Kahle asked. "For burning! It’s all gone!" To maintain digital archives, they have to be used and loved, with every byte migrated forward into new media evey five years. For backup, the whole Internet Archive is mirrored at the new Bibliotheca Alexadrina in Egypt and in Amsterdam. ("So our earthquake zone archive is backed up in the turbulent Mideast and a flood zone. I won’t sleep well until there are five or six backup sites.")
Speaking of institutional longevity, Kahle noted during the Q & A that nonprofits demonstrably live much longer than businesses. It might be it’s because they have softer edges, he surmised, or that they’re free of the grow-or-die demands of commercial competition. Whatever the cause, they are proliferating.
Bacon Ray covering The Afghan Whigs, live in Tallahassee, Florida, 1998.
- Merlin Mann - Vox and Rhythm Guitar
- Mike Coleman - BVov and Lead/Slide Guitar
- Brent McNeil - BVox and Bass
- Bruce Hamilton - Drums
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