• "Education should indeed be responsive to the needs of society. But this is not the same as regarding yourself as a service station for neocapitalism. In fact, you would tackle society’s needs a great deal more effectively were you to challenge this whole alienated model of learning. Medieval universities served the wider society superbly well, but they did so by producing pastors, lawyers, theologians, and administrative officials who helped to sustain church and state, not by frowning upon any form of intellectual activity that might fail to turn a quick buck." Terry Eagleton on good form.
  • "Where you see gadget, I see process. Moreover, where you see prose, I see poetry: for the UK will continue to have no manufacturing all the while it has lost its collective sense of the poetry of production. The ignominious application of production line metaphors to (the actually very creative) industrial life has helped alienate people from the process of making: whereas Lean Manufacturing instead helps to reconnect workers with the project as a whole, by seeing waste as a thing that erodes value, and that corrodes the relationship between customer and producer by making it unnecessarily fragile and contingent." There's lots to recommend in this piece. I'm not sure I agree about software, even ignoring my vested interested and perspective, but there's so much else of value in here. I think this paragraph spoke most to me, though.
  • "When a product is connected to the network it has two brains. A little local one that can perform cheap calculation, and a big one in the network that can do potentially anything at all: massive facial recognition, searching all of Amazon, advanced artificial neural networks, whatever." It's great that Matt's writing so much again – but "little brain, big brain" is a great explanation of the concept.
  • "Command line work isn't a separate task that should live on its own—it's an integrated part of your natural workflow. DTerm provides a context-sensitive command line that makes it fast and easy to run commands on the files you're working with and then use the results of those commands." This looks great. Will report back on it.
  • "This is where I write about social & political stuff, mostly relating to sex. Yes, there's going to be a book. As an ex-sex worker, you can imagine what my bias is. Nevertheless, I am also a scientist, so will do my best to present the evidence base for each post." Brooke's new blog. This looks like it could be good.
  • "I missed the selection, the album art, and the dusty trays and hand-written CD-Rs. The absence of the compact disk reminded of another format that had recently gone away: the 3.5" floppy diskette. The Floppy Stereo attempts to recreate that ceremony within a single device. An album's playlist file is stored on a floppy disk, complete with the album art. When it is loaded, the playlist is read and retrieves the songs from my MP3 collection." There's a similar tactility in the 3.5" disk to, say, an eight-track cart. I like that.
  • "The history of roads is the history of ourselves: our desire for community and our fears about its fragility; our natural instinct to expand the possibilities of life set against our premonitions of death, destruction and loss; and our fierce arguments about what is valuable and beautiful about the world. But this history, like the road itself, is full of loose ends and detours, unfinished stories and stalled narratives."
  • "It boils Digital Britain down to three Ms – media, music and movies – myopically ignoring the pioneers of new technology, and ?
    showing a blind spot for all creativity outside the so-called creative industries… Instead of empowering digital Britons, the bill follows the lead of music and movie corporations, who already apply a presumption of guilt to their customers. Instead of treating the web as a platform of possibilities, it recasts it as a tool for mass theft." Excellent, excellent leader from the Guardian on the frankly scandalous digital economy bill.
  • "…maybe this is the best of both worlds. An audience that, having crossed the barriers to entry, is by its nature more invested in our work; a public profile by which we have the means to occasionally reach into the mass consciousness, but which affords us the freedom to continue experimenting with subject, form, and style; an industry which is truly international; which is capable of producing both multi-million dollar blockbusters and single-creator labors of love (and releasing both on the same platform); which manages to be neither too big nor too small, and is the more vital, unique and exhilarating for it. We are a medium for us, and while there are more and more of us every day, we'll never be for everyone. In a way, that's beautiful." I think Steve's about right.