Reading, Reviewing, and Recording

I want to toss up a few links that I’ve found particularly interesting/helpful over the past couple of months. I’ll begin with a way to read, move to a review of the newest tool for electronic education, and conclude with an article concerning the commercialization of the core platforms electronic resources are accessed from.

Reading 102

We’ve all heard of data-mining; the FBI has been doing it, the NSA has been caught doing it, and corporations are well known for it. Citizens are getting increasingly upset that their personal information is scaped together without their consent, and for good reasons.

What if those citizens used data-mining principles to prepare and filter their reading? Donal Latumahina has eight processes that you can use to get the most out of the books that you’re reading, processes that are guided by the objective to get the greatest possible amount of useful information from the text. It’s amazing what happens when you objectively structure your reading, rather than just letting yourself be carried along by it.

Reviewing OLPC Prototypes

Wayan Vota from the One Laptop Per Child News put up a review of a OLPC notebook about a month ago. He notes that while the children who have been given the notebooks to test have, thus far, had generally positive experiences with it that the target audience (poor underprivileged youths across the world) will not have the same extent of background computer knowledge that Western youths do. As a result, he avoids wild proclamations of the projects necessary success.

I’m hopeful for the project, but have to agree with his conservative approach to the ‘ease’ of repairing the notebooks when something goes wrong with them.

Recording (and Displaying) Digital Content

Video DRM is being impressed onto major commercial operation systems – which means that to play particular movies, your computer has to have a copy protection system installed and activated. These systems prevent individuals from making copies of movies, even if the copy is being made under fair use provisions.

Microsoft’s Vista operating systems has received a lot of bad press for its inclusion of DRM technologies, and that’s perfectly understandable. These technologies are antithetical to free speech, fair use, and basic copyright provisions. As a result of Vista’s press, more and more people have been turning to Apple Computer’s OS X operating system – it lacks these content management systems and is (generally) a more enjoyable and productive computing environment.

What most people don’t realize is that for Apple to support the next-generation media formats such as Blu-ray and HD DVD, the company will have to first implement the AACS DRM scheme before blu-ray disks will play in OS X. OS X and Apple are just as susceptible to market pressures as Microsoft’s Vista operating system, and it will be interesting to see if Apple’s market share and user uptake levels off or drops in light of their ‘betrayal’ of Apple faithful. I think it’s doubtful, based on their willingness to put up with the ‘Fair Play’ DRM scheme that is integrated into iTunes, but it would be nice for Mactards (lingo from Fake Steve Jobs) to experience the same lash as Microtards.