David Weinberger

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[liveblog] Ed tech hackathon

David Weinberger

I’m at an education technology hackathon — “Shaping the Future” — put on by MindCET , an ed tech accelerator created by the Center for Educational Technology in Israel. MindCET’s headquarters are in Yeruham in the Negev, a small-ish town that’s been growing as tech companies migrate there. NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly.

[liveblog] Bas Nieland, Datatrix, on predicting customer behavior

David Weinberger

At the PAPis conference Bas Nieland , CEO and Co-Founder of Datatrics , is talking about how to predict the color of shoes your customer is going to buy. The company tries to “make data science marketeer-proof for marketing teams of all sizes.” ” IT ties to create 360-degree customer profiles by bringing together info from all the data silos. NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness.

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Knowledge is the network

David Weinberger

I forked yesterday for the first time. I’m pretty thrilled. Not about the few lines of code that I posted. If anyone notices and thinks the feature is a good idea, they’ll re-write my bit from the ground up.*

[2b2k][everythingismisc]“Big data for books”: Harvard puts metadata for 12M library items into the public domain

David Weinberger

(Here’s a version of the text of a submission I just made to BoingBong through their “Submitterator”). Harvard University has today put into the public domain (CC0) full bibliographic information about virtually all the 12M works in its 73 libraries. This is (I believe) the largest and most comprehensive such contribution. The metadata, in the standard MARC21 format, is available for bulk download from Harvard.

How a little bit of data ruined my morning run

David Weinberger

Since I was 21 years old, I’ve gone through long stretches where I have “run” outside for exercise — in quotation marks because I am passed by people who are running so slowly that I feel bad for them until I remember that they passed me. I’ve gone years running infrequently, and then other years I’ll run 3-6 days a week.

[2b2k] 13 reasons why the Britannica failed on paper

David Weinberger

In the straight-up match between paper and Web, the Encyclopedia Britannica lost. This was as close to a sure thing as we get outside of the realm of macro physics and Meryl Streep movies. The EB couldn’t cover enough: 65,000 topics compared to the almost 4M in the English version of Wikipedia. Topics had to be consistently shrunk or discarded to make room for new information.

[2b2k] Back when not every question had an answer

David Weinberger

Let me remind you young whippersnappers what looking for knowledge was like before the Internet (or “hiphop” as I believe you call it). Cast your mind back to 1982, when your Mommy and Daddy weren’t even gleams in each other’s eyes.

Keeping MOOCs open—platforms vs. protocols

David Weinberger

Tarun Vagani reports that Coursera has served notice that it is closing its archive of prior MOOCs (massive open online courses). As Coursera put it in an email: Effective June 30, 2016, courses on the old platform will no longer be available. Also, Coursera is phasing out its free certificates to those who successfully complete a course, according to CourseraJunkie. There’s nothing wrong with a MOOC platform charging for whatever they want to charge for.

The World According to TED

David Weinberger

Here’s some info about the 2,200 TED Talks based largely on the tags that TED supplies on its Web site; the data are a few months old. Keep in mind that I am grossly incompetent at this , so I’ve included the SQL queries I used to derive this information so you can see how wrong I’ve gone and can laugh and laugh. Number of unique tags. 378 of ’em. SELECT count( DISTINCT(tag) ) FROM tags. Most popular tags. # of talks tagged. technology. science. culture. global issues.

APIs are magic

David Weinberger

( This is cross-posted at Medium.). Dave Winer recalls a post of his from 2007 about an API that he’s now revived : “Because Twitter has a public API that allows anyone to add a feature, and because the NY Times offers its content as a set of feeds, I was able to whip up a connection between the two in a few hours. That’s the power of open APIs.”. Ah, the power of APIs!

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Informed consent for human sensors

David Weinberger

In a post at Nature Biotechnology , John Wilbanks (Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks) and Stephen H. Friend (CEO at that same outfit) write about a project in which users of a health monitoring app have given informed consent to have their data made available to other researchers. It is not open data, as John points out, but it is open to any researchers who make it through the vetting process. How to get informed consent via an app?

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Apple blocking books that link to Amazon

David Weinberger

Seth Godin reports that the Apple store is refusing to carry his new book: I just found out that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography.

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[2b2k] Linking is a public good

David Weinberger

Mathew Ingram at GigaOm has posted the Twitter stream that followed upon his tweet criticizing the Wall Street Journal for running an article based on a post by TechCrunch’s MC Siegler , who responded in an angry post. Mathew’s point is that linking is a good journalistic practice, even if author of the the second article independently confirmed the information in the first, as happened in this case.

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Google Exodus: Passover told in social media

David Weinberger

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What is Google+ for?

David Weinberger

Edward Vielmetti asked on Google Plus “What is Google+ for?&# I thought Peter Kaminski ‘s response was particularly insightful. Quoted in full with Pete’s permission.). The purpose of Google+ is to keep you within the Google web (as opposed to having you outside anybody’s web, or in someone else’s web). Where “web&# used to mean the spidered collection of documents and files available via HTTP, but has grown to mean your Digital Life.

Making library miscellaneousness awesome

David Weinberger

Sitterwerk Art Library in St. Gallen, Switzerland, has 19,000 publicly-accessible items on its shelves in no particular order. This video explains why that is a brilliant approach. And then the story just gets better and better. Werkbank from Astrom / Zimmer on Vimeo.

Working in a co-working space

David Weinberger

I’m in Talent Garden ‘s largest branch, which is also its headquarters, in Milan. It’s a ridiculously large co-working space for startups, with an emphasis on openness. I’m enjoying sitting at a table with a few other people, none of whom I know and all of whom are speaking Italian. I like co-working spaces enough that if I were looking for a place to work outside of my house, I’d consider joining one. It’s that or the local library.

The end of blogging’s golden age

David Weinberger

Brian Solis has responded to Jeremy Owyang’s provocative post declaring the end of the golden age of blogging. Here’s the comment I posted on Brian’s site: I think in a sense it’s true that the golden age of blogging is over, but that’s a good thing. And not because of anything bad about blogging.

Aaron Swartz was not a hacker. He was a builder.

David Weinberger

Of course Aaron was a legendary prodigy of a hacker in the sense of someone who can build anything out of anything. But that’s not what the media mean when they call him a hacker. They’re talking about his downloading of millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, and there’s a slight chance they’re also thinking about his making available millions of pages of federal legal material as part of the RECAP project.

[2b2k] Knowledge in its natural state

David Weinberger

I gave a 20 minute talk at the Wired Next Fest in Milan on June 1, 2013. Because I needed to keep the talk to its allotted time and because it was being simultaneously translated into Italian, I wrote it out and gave a copy to the translators. Inevitably, I veered from the script a bit, but not all that much. What follows is the script with the veerings that I can remember. The paragraph breaks track to the slide changes. (

[2b2k] No, now that you mention it, we’re not overloaded with information

David Weinberger

On a podcast today, Mitch Joel asked me something I don’t think anyone else has: Are we experiencing information overload? Everyone else assumes that we are. Including me. I found myself answering no, we are not. There is of course a reasonable and valid reason to say that we are. But I think there’s also an important way in which we are not. So, here goes: There are more things to see in the world than any one human could ever see. Some of those sights are awe-inspiring.

Distribution models that work. Are we finally getting it (them) right?

David Weinberger

Is it just me, or are we in a period when new distribution models are burgeoning? For example: 1. Kickstarter , of course, but not just for startups trying to kickstart their business. For example, Amanda Palmer joined the Louis CK club a couple of days ago by raising more than a million bucks there for her new album.

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[berkman] Anil Dash on “The Web We Lost”

David Weinberger

Anil Dash is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk, titled “The Web We Lost.” ” He begins by pointing out that the title of his talk implies a commonality that at least once was. NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned , people.

The Net is a place

David Weinberger

The latest Pew Internet study confirms what most of suspect was the case: “Americans are increasingly going online just for fun and to pass the time, particularly young adults under 30. On any given day, 53% of all the young adults ages 18-29 go online for no particular reason except to have fun or to pass the time. ” And this also confirms an idea many of us have been proposing for a decade and a half or so: The Internet is a place.

The mystery of Public and Incoming at Google Circles: An Explainer (unless I’m getting it wrong)

David Weinberger

I thought I understood Google Circles until I tried explaining it to someone. So, let me see if I have this straight.And if I do, then I have a suggestion for Google Plus: Instead of saying that we post to “Public,&# tell us we’re posting “To Followers.&# And instead of letting us look at our “Incoming&# stream, tell us we’re looking at “From Followers.&#. Let’s say I have two circles: Friends and Coworkers. Into Friends I put Fred, Fanny, and Felicia.

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Are “data hogs” the problem?

David Weinberger

Benoît Felten and Herman Wagter have published a follow up to their 2009 article “ Is the ‘bandwidth hog’ a myth? ” The new article (for sale, but Benoit summarizes it on his blog) analyzes data from a mid-size North American ISP and confirms their original analysis: Data caps are at best a crude tool for targeting the users who most affect the amount of available bandwidth.

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[2b2k] Truth, knowledge, and not knowing: A response to “The Internet Ruins Everything”

David Weinberger

Quentin Hardy has written up on the NYT Bits blog the talk I gave at UC Berkeley’s School of Information a few days ago, refracting it through his intelligence and interests. It’s a terrific post and I appreciate it. I want to amplify the answer I gave to Quentin’s question at the event. And I want to respond to the comments on his post that take me as bemoaning the fate of knowledge in the age of the Net.

Transparency is the new objectivity

David Weinberger

A friend asked me to post an explanation of what I meant when I said at PDF09 that “transparency is the new objectivity.&# First, I apologize for the cliché of “x is the new y.&# Second, what I meant is that transparency is now fulfilling some of objectivity’s old role in the ecology of knowledge. Outside of the realm of science, objectivity is discredited these days as anything but an aspiration, and even that aspiration is looking pretty sketchy.

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[liveblog] PAPIs: Cynthia Rudin on Regulating Greed

David Weinberger

I’m at the PAPIs (Predictive Applications and APIS) [twitter: papistotio ] conference at the NERD Center in Cambridge. NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned , people. The first speaker is Cynthia Rudin , Director of the Prediction Analysis Lab at MIT.

[iab] Frances Donegan-Ryan

David Weinberger

At the IAB conference, Frances Donegan-Ryan from Bing begins by reminding us of the history of online search. NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned , people. We all leave digital footprints, she says. Every time we search, data is recorded.

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Fun fact – Impressionist edition

David Weinberger

According to Ross King’s excellent The Judgment of Paris , there was a day in the summer of 1874 when Manet showed up at Monet’s home and painted The Manet Family in their Garden at Argenteuil , a scene of Manet’s wife and daughter, and him puttering around in the garden.

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My Top Ten Top Ten Top Ten list

David Weinberger

Here’s my top ten list of top ten lists of top ten lists: The Top Ten Top Ten Lists of All Time. TopTenz Miscellaneous. MetaCritic music lists. Smosh’s Top Ten Top Ten Lists of 2011. Top Ten 2011 Top Ten Lists about CleanTech. Top Ten of top ten horror movie lists. NYT Top Ten Top Ten Lists for 2011. Top Ten Top Ten Lists about Agile Management. Top Ten Top Ten Video Lists of 2011. Top Ten Christmas Stuff Top Ten Lists. Urban Faith’s Top Ten Top Ten Lists.

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[2b2k] Attribution isn’t just about credit. It’s about networking knowledge.

David Weinberger

David Kay pointed out to me a piece by Arthur Brisbane, the NY Times Public Editor. In it Arthur deals with a criticism of a NYT article that failed to acknowledge the work of prior journalists and investigators (“uncredited foundational reporting”) that led to the NYT story. For example, Hella Winston at The Jewish Week told Arthur: The lack of credit stings. “You get so much flak — these are difficult stories,” Ms. Winston told me, “People come down on you.”

The Library in the Life of the User: An open platform use case

David Weinberger

OCLC has posted an excellent report based on a recent conference, looking at how libraries can participate in the life of users, rather than thinking about the user’s life within the library. I like this a lot. I’ve been talking about it in terms of libraries now being able to participate in the appropriation of culture that traditionally has occurred outside in private discussions the library: The user borrows a book, takes it home, and talks about it with her friends, etc.

[2b2k] [berkman] Alison Head on how students seek information

David Weinberger

Alison Head, who is at the Berkman Center and the Library Information Lab this year, but who is normally based at U of Washington’s Info School, is giving a talk called “Modeling the Information-Seeking Process of College Students.”

Four messages from the dark

David Weinberger

The black that covered so many sites yesterday spoke well. I think there were four messages. First, This is our Internet. We built it. We built it for us, not for you. We get to turn off the lights, not you. Second, we are better custodians of culture than are culture’s merchants because we understand that culture is what we have in common. We feel pain every time something is held back from this Commons.

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[2b2k] The commoditizing and networking of facts

David Weinberger

Ars Technica has a post about Wikidata , a proposed new project from the folks that brought you Wikipedia. From the project’s introductory page : Many Wikipedia articles contain facts and connections to other articles that are not easily understood by a computer, like the population of a country or the place of birth of an actor. In Wikidata you will be able to enter that information in a way that makes it processable by the computer.

Joining Reddit

David Weinberger

Reddit is in flames. I can only see one way out of it that preserves the site’s unique value. I say this as an old man who loves Reddit despite being way outside its main demographic. Of course there are outrageously objectionable subreddits—topical discussion boards—but you don’t have to visit those. Reddit at its best is wonderful. Inspiring, even. It is a self-regulated set of communities that is capable of great collective insight, humor, and kindness. (At

[2b2k] Pyramid-shaped publishing model results in cheating on science?

David Weinberger

Carl Zimmer has a fascinating article in the NYTimes, which is worth 1/10th of your NYT allotment. Thank you for ironically illustrating the problem with trying to maintain knowledge as a scarce resource, NYT!). Carl reports on what may be a growing phenomenon (or perhaps, as the article suggests, the bugs of the old system may just now be more apparent) of scientists fudging results in order to get published in the top journals.

[2b2k] Mr. Bezos’ Neighborhood

David Weinberger

Valids Krebs put together a map of the “people who bought this also bought that” neighborhood at Amazon for Too Big to Know: Click to enlarge. It’s interesting to me to see the direct links to works on the same topic (e.g.,

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