Steven Berlin Johnson

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Anatomy Of An Idea

Steven Berlin Johnson

It's the social life of information , in John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid's wonderful phrase -- we just have so many more ways of being social now. People often ask me about my research techniques. You would think this would be a relatively straightforward question, but the truth is that I have to keep changing my answer, because my techniques are constantly shifting as new forms of search or discovery become possible.

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Thoughts on Steve Jobs, The Book

Steven Berlin Johnson

This reminded me of a speech I gave a few years ago at SXSW, that began with the somewhat embarrassing story of me waiting outside the College Hill bookstore in 1987, hoping to catch the monthly arrival of MacWorld Magazine, which was just about the only conduit for information about Apple back then. I just finished reading Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography on the flight back to SFO a few minutes ago, and wanted to jot down a few responses while they were fresh in my head.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Berlin Johnson

So I look at human environments that have been unusually generative: the architecture of successful science labs, the information networks of the Web or the Enlightenment-era postal system, the public spaces of metropolitan cities, even the notebooks of great thinkers.

The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book

Steven Berlin Johnson

Value for consumers searching for information, value for advertisers trying to share their messages with consumers searching for related topics, value for content creators who want an audience. What happens to that information?

How We Got To Now

Steven Berlin Johnson

I’ll have much more information about airtimes around the world next year as we get closer to the finish line. Every now and then in life you find yourself in a situation where you have to pause for a second and ask yourself: what unlikely sequence of events has led me to this point?

Old Growth Media And The Future Of News

Steven Berlin Johnson

It was the result of a kind of imbalance: not a chemical imbalance, an information imbalance. The information lag went from months to days. But compare it to the information channels that were available to me following the 2008 election.

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The GovLab

Steven Berlin Johnson

Several years ago, my friend and now collaborator Beth Noveck began developing a program that she called Peer-to-Patent, a software platform that allowed outside experts and informed amateurs to contribute to the prior art discovery phase of patent review, both through tracking down earlier inventions that might be relevant, and through explaining those inventions to the overwhelmed examiner in the patent office. (As

What Jelly Means

Steven Berlin Johnson

What I want, in this situation, is the distinction we usually draw between information and wisdom. A few months ago, I found this strange white mold growing in my garden in California. I’m a novice gardener, and to make matters worse, a novice Californian, so I had no idea what these small white cells might portend for my flowers. .

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Can We Please Kill This Meme Now

Steven Berlin Johnson

This is now the daily information intake for millions and millions of people around the world. Posted by: Steven Johnson | May 11, 2006 at 10:56 AM There's no simple and universal answer to the questions raised here; people's uses of digital and analog sources of information vary too widely. The increasing precision of our information technologies is a GREAT boon, but it doesn't accomplish everything, and there are losses involved, serendipity among them.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: The Invention Of Air

Steven Berlin Johnson

So this is, in a sense, my version of the Founding Fathers genre: a Long Zoom history of that period, with chemistry, thermodynamics, information theory, neuroscience, and cultural history onstage along with the usual Great Men. WOULD LOVE TO FIND THAT INFORMATION.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: David Brooks, Deconstructed

Steven Berlin Johnson

Posted by: donkel | February 28, 2007 at 05:26 AM I don't have Times Select, so I can't read the article in its entirety to make my comment as well-informed as possible, but I do want to respond to at least one thing you've said: "You have to be seriously tone-deaf as a sociologist if you think that these parents believe they're fighting the man by putting their kids in "Anarchy in the Pre-K" t-shirts.

Driven or Distracted?

Steven Berlin Johnson

CrunchBase Information Twitter Facebook Information provided by CrunchBase. Back in April of this year, I put up a post with a simple question: Why Doesn’t Facebook Look Like This ?

Future Perfect Tour

Steven Berlin Johnson

Information and tickets available here. Here's the latest schedule for my Future Perfect appearances. Hope some of you can come out. In the spirit of a book about collaboration, many of these events are actual conversations with other people, not just me rambling onstage by myself, so that should be extra incentive for folks to show up. I'll post news of other events as they come together. Tuesday, September 18 -- MARIN. 7:00 PM. Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925.

Good Ideas: The First Reviews

Steven Berlin Johnson

In Portland, where I will be speaking at the end of this week, The Oregonian said my "'long zoom' view of fertile idea-ecosystems is engaging, informative and, well, inspirational." Where Good Ideas Come From doesn't officially hit the shelves until Tuesday, but a handful of reviews started running in the past few days. •

Deep Structure

Steven Berlin Johnson

For most readers, I suspect, the seven patterns will seem like an obvious way to organize the book's information, and those other possible organizational structures won't cross their mind as they're reading. On some level, there is something like an unconscious processing of the information, but it's not an unconscious that looks anything like the Freudian version.

More On The Shallows

Steven Berlin Johnson

Or was it driven by the ability to share information asynchronously, and transmit that information easily around the globe? There's no real way to prove it, but I think there's a very strong case to be made that the information storage-and-retrieval advances made possible by the book were more important to the Enlightenment and the modern age than the contemplative mode of the literary mind.

Does Apple Think Multitasking Is A Bug Not A Feature? And Other Questions.

Steven Berlin Johnson

If you wanted to embed some piece of information that Microsoft Word wasn't optimized for, you had to launch another application, create and modify a new element there, and then move back to your original application environment, where you could deposit the alien data object. Surely there's a better way to exploit multitouch and that extra screen real estate for navigating all the information that will be stored on these machines.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Literary Style By The Numbers

Steven Berlin Johnson

I compared a few of Bill Bryson's travel books and the top 100 words are almost identical per book - I guess if you hit upon a winnnig formula then stick with it: Book A: [link] Book B: [link] I wonder what further information could be gleaned from this.

Skim and Plunge

Steven Berlin Johnson

SPACEWAR let Brand sense before just about anyone else that information technology would become as mainstream as rock-and-roll or television. Some of my favorite passages in this collection have this introspective quality: the mind examining its own strange adaptation to a world that has been transformed by information technology. Most of the information we interact with in our lives -- online or off -- lacks the profundity and complexity of a Great Book.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: The Map Has To Show You Something New

Steven Berlin Johnson

We think this view adds a huge amount of information to the original blog itself.

eBooks in the WSJ

Steven Berlin Johnson

Each day, Google will deposit a hundred potential book buyers on that page, eager for information about Edison's breakthrough. The folks at the Wall Street Journal very nicely asked me to write a cover story for their Journal Report on technology, which is on the stands today. The piece is here online, but if you get a chance, check in out in print (ironic, I know.) They dedicated the whole front page of the section to the story, which is really cool to see.

Bill Clinton On The Invention Of Air

Steven Berlin Johnson

But the things books do -- I would argue books are more important in the age of blog sites and tweaks and whatever else they call it -- I read a bunch of them -- because there's more information than ever before, but you can have all the facts in the world in your head. A few weeks after the book tour for The Invention of Air started to wind down, I got an email from an old friend who had spent some time with Bill Clinton at Davos.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Air Purifiers For Data Smog

Steven Berlin Johnson

the informations come better Posted by: Silvia | November 14, 2005 at 09:38 AM The comments to this entry are closed.

Old Growth Media, The Aftermath

Steven Berlin Johnson

Alas, who will actually pay them and how the model will emerge not merely as an information engine, but also an economic one, well, he never manages to say. I'd been meaning to do a follow-up post collecting the responses to my SXSW speech on "Old Growth Media And The Future of News," but I kept putting it off because new articles and posts continued to roll in, and stitching them all together started to seem a little daunting.

Thoughts On The New Kindle

Steven Berlin Johnson

Incidentally, the device comes pre-loaded with all your Amazon account information -- there is zero setup in terms of entering user names, etc. I got my first I got my first Kindle last week, and have been toying around with it a little ever since. It is a very provocative little device, one of those technologies that--for all its imperfections--makes you realize that a whole new set of possibilities are just around the corner.

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Times Book Review on Air

Steven Berlin Johnson

I also really liked the emphasis on the open information networks theme of the book, which comes at the end of his review: One reason Johnson seems to have been drawn to Priestley is because of his style; Priestley was irrepressibly open, sharing his data and observations with whoever was willing to listen.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Denise Carusos Intervention

Steven Berlin Johnson

How can you be informed and active without being able to communicate about issues?

The Invention Of Air Tour

Steven Berlin Johnson

We've had these in the sidebar for a while, but I wanted to post the full Invention of Air tour dates with all the venue information in the blog itself, for those of you reading via RSS. These should be a lot of fun -- I've been tinkering with the talk now for a week or two, and have got it into a pretty good place I think. And there's so much to discuss about the book, so the Q&A should be fun as well. The full list is included after the jump, but this week's headlines: D.C.

StoryMaps!

Steven Berlin Johnson

For me, the most exciting thing about this is that it's our first big step beyond simply being a destination site for people interested in information about their communities; outside.in It's an exciting day at outside.in: we're going live with our StoryMaps , the first of many tools that we're going to be offering local bloggers and publishers as part of our GeoToolkit.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Leopard First Impressions: The Time Machine

Steven Berlin Johnson

stevenberlinjohnson.com « I Pay You To Read Blogs | Main | » Leopard First Impressions: The Time Machine Ive only had a few minutes to digest the Leopard preview from todays WWDC conference, but heres one quick observation that jumped out at me.

stevenberlinjohnson.com:

Steven Berlin Johnson

Posted by: raymi | August 03, 2006 at 08:14 AM I'd say the emergence of better infrastructure, commerce, and information-dissemination has placed humans in a better position to BE healthy then ever before.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: The Long Tail

Steven Berlin Johnson

Theres more information conveyed in shorter amounts of time, with less hand-holding from the creators.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Will She Stay or Will She Go?

Steven Berlin Johnson

Procempa is responsible for the information technology development of the City hall of Porto Alegre. is a good question, I really enjoyed this information! stevenberlinjohnson.com « Unintended Consequences, part 57. Main | The Invention Of Air » Will She Stay or Will She Go?

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Dean

Steven Berlin Johnson

Posted by: Monte Davis | July 21, 2006 at 07:13 AM Hey, it's time to update your "about" information on the sidebar! INCASE IF YOU LIKE TO MAKE AN ENQUIRYING ABOUT ANY PARTICUAR ITEM, DO GET BACK TO US WITH THE CONTACT INFORMATION ABOVE.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Boy and Girls and More

Steven Berlin Johnson

My gut feeling -- informed by some analysis, mostly armchair in nature -- is that we have an education system (not to mention a wider culture) thats working quite well, thank you very much, but that is hamstrung by the amazing amount of immigration we have in the U.S.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Radar Knows Where The iPhones Are

Steven Berlin Johnson

There are bunch of cool things worth noting about this particular use case: First, given my objectives for the morning, that Racked story was probably the single most relevant piece of information that I could have seen right before I left for midtown. But its providing information thats genuinely useful, that traditional sources dont provide. Third, note that I didnt even have to type a search term into Radar ("iPhone lines") to get this information.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: One Last Colbert Item

Steven Berlin Johnson

For more information, please contact Edward Patrick Flaherty at info@iowatch.org who represents UN employees including our views here.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: George Will: SBJ Says Beer Is Good For You

Steven Berlin Johnson

Thanks for sharing this information about Beer. stevenberlinjohnson.com « Radar Is Live | Main | Radar Knows Where The iPhones Are » George Will: SBJ Says Beer Is Good For You Our busy family trip to Northern California last week meant that I didnt get a chance to link to George Wills excellent (and very flattering) column about beer and civilization, " Survival of the Sudsiest": The development of civilization depended on urbanization, which depended on beer.

stevenberlinjohnson.com:

Steven Berlin Johnson

In the new world of books, every bit informs another; every page reads all the other pages. stevenberlinjohnson.com « Can We Please Kill This Meme Now | Main | » Great to see Kevin Kellys cover story -- "Scan This Book!" in the Times Magazine.

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Radar Is Live

Steven Berlin Johnson

This is one of the concepts that drove us to create dedicated Place pages for hundreds of thousands of places around the country a year ago; Radar takes all that information and makes it immediately easy to parse. stevenberlinjohnson.com « | Main | George Will: SBJ Says Beer Is Good For You » Radar Is Live Im really excited to report that we launched Radar today, the most significant addition to outside.in since we first put up our alpha site 20 months ago.