I started using Twitter (@aphelis) last summer, really slowly and basically to understand how it works. I soon found myself using the microblogging platform as a more elaborated bookmarking tool. It allows me to quickly archive a link with the additional convenience of a short description (source, excerpt, etc.). Aside from occasional and naturally brief exchange with other Tweeter users, it remains today the main function of my account.
Lately I became increasingly aware of a few problems associated with using Twitter as a bookmarking service. Two of them in particular are bothering me. First, I’d rather have everything in one place instead of having content spread across multiple, non-compatible platforms. My Facebook and Tumblr account are not part of this problem since they are merely mirroring the content of this WordPress blog. Second, as of now Twitter doesn’t provide a convenient way of searching through my own Twitter stream. Tools exist to perform such a search, but they are not native to Twitter.
I came up with an easy solution based on a well established practice among bloggers: weekly link roundups. It’s an easy way to quickly archive relevant content which didn’t make it as full featured blog posts during the week. For examples of such a practice, one can browse through idsgn’s Monthly review, The Stone’s Links or The New Inquiry’s Sunday Reading. I believe weekly link roundups borrow from the “linklog” or “link blog” philosophy (blogging one link at a time: see for example Coudal’s Fresh Signal, Waxy Links or Infoneer Pulse).
Here’s how it will work. Once a week, I’ll revisit the links I tweeted and pull the ones I find more interesting in order to list them with a little more information in a “link roundup” which will be published here on a more or less weekly basis. I see three main advantage in doing so: 1) Those links are searchable through the same search form already available on this website; 2) All the links will be backed up with the rest of the content published here; 3) Since those links will be manually filtered and documented as well, I’m expecting weekly link roundups to be less chaotic and more usable than my raw Twitter stream.
A few simple rules will dictate the structure of each weekly link roundups:

  • Given the highly diversified content of link roundups, they won’t be tagged. They will simply be assigned to a unique category: “link-roundup”.
  • I’ll do my best to provide adequate source attribution for each link. At the very least, I’ll try to provide a source (The New York Times for example), a title linked to a relevant URL (title and URL of an article or blog post for example), a name (most likely the author’s name) and a date (if possible, the date of first publication).
  • All link roundups will share a similar title: “Weekly Link Roundup” followed by two numbers: the first one will identify the year (“12” for 2012) and the second will simply count each roundup (“01” for the first one, etc.).

So, without further introduction, here’s Weekly Link Roundup 12.01.

• • •

  • The new afterword for The Net Dellusion by Evgeny Morozov is available online.
  • From arXiv.org: “Icebergs in the Clouds: the Other Risks of Cloud Computing” by Bryan Ford (Yale University), March 9, 2012. PDF.

    (…) cloud computing exacerbates already-difficult digital preservation challenges, because only the provider of a cloud-based application or service has the ability to archive a “live,” functional copy of a cloud artifact and its data for long-term cultural preservation. This paper explores these largely unrecognized risks, making the case that we should study them before our socioeconomic fabric becomes inextricably dependent on a convenient but potentially unstable computing model.

  • The New York Times: “Times Changes Policy on Visits to Web Site” by Amy Chozik, March 20, 2012.

    One year after The New York Times Company introduced a pay wall on the Web site of its flagship newspaper, the company said Tuesday it would now require visitors to the site to pay for access after reading 10 free articles, down from the threshold of 20 that was established when the system was initiated.

  • Black Hat Briefings: “An Attacker’s Day into Human Virology” by Axelle Apvrille and Guillaume Lovet, presented on March 15, 2012. PDF. Both authors currently work for Fortinet, a “provider of network security”. In their paper, they explore the parallel between computers and human bodies specifically from the point of view of attack scenario. They also offer a “Vocabulary conversion table”. For example, while in biology we talk about “external barriers”, in the computer world we have “firewall”.
  • Nature: “Detecting influenza epidemics using search engine query data” by Jeremy Ginsberg and al. vol. 457, 1012-1014, February 19, 2009. Five out of six authors work for Google.
  • The Charles Taylor Prize: the winner of the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is Andrew Westoll for his book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery (HarperCollins, 2011; Amazon).
  • Rhizome: “Beyond the Surface: 15 Years of Desktop Aesthetics” by Jason Huff, March 14, 2012.

    Desktops are the new studio. In the 1930s people were captivated by photographs of Francis Bacon’s London studio – a dark cluttered mess of half-used paint tubes, gnarled brushes, and stained walls. Now we can look at these desktop images with the same memorializing curiosity – all the while trying to decode who created them.

  • The New York Times: “A Sliver of a Silver Lining for the Movie Industry” by Brooks Barnes, March 22, 2012.

    The annual Theatrical Statistics Summary did not include data on the costs of marketing movies; the M.P.A.A. dropped that accounting a few years ago, partly because studios were embarrassed by how much they were spending.

  • M.P.A.A.: “2011 Theatrical Market Statistics” (Latest box office and movie attendance trends). PDF.
  • latimes.com: “Internet to surpass DVD in movie consumption, not revenue” by Ben Fritz, March 23, 2012.

    Consumers will watch more movies online than on DVDs in 2012 for the first time, but will spend far less doing so, according to a new report.

  • DigInfo TV: “Surveillance Camera System Searches Through 36 Million Faces In One Second” March 22, 2012.
  • Co.Design: “A New Exhibition At The Smithsonian Celebrates The Art Of Videogames” by Belinda Lannks, March 22, 2012.
  • 219 bytes tron:

    With some coworkers, we challenged each other to write the smallest possible game of tron in javascript (an exercice known as javascript golfing). This page explains our final version (219 bytes). We initially worked alone but then exchanged ideas and tricks, so erling & mathewsb deserve most of the credits!

  • The Atlantic: “Confirmed: The Internet Does Not Solve Global Inequality” by Alexis Madrigal, March 26, 2012.

    Despite the Internet’s global reach, the lion’s share of the content comes from the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world.

  • The New Inquiry: “Fact Check!” by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, March 28, 2012.

    Whither the fact-checker? For starters, there’s the pursuit of truth and knowledge and all else that is good in the world. This isn’t as squishy and idealistic as it sounds. I know many writers who were profoundly moved by the act of fact-checking, and I, too, found it to be a revelatory, if depressing, experience: In more than one case, I came across an entire news story based on a misinterpreted statistic. Still, it would be absurd to claim that the abundance of fact-checking in the U.S. can be explained because Americans as a people value accuracy more than the Japanese or the French. It would also be very hard to verify.

  • Indiewire: “An Interview With Bela Tarr: Why He Says ‘The Turin Horse’ Is His Final Film” by Eric Kohn, February 9, 2012.

    Digital cameras allow for longer takes. Did you ever consider shooting digital?
    No, I prefer 35mm. Celluloid, for me, is the thing.
    Do you think there are good reasons for other filmmakers to shoot their projects digitally?
    Yes, of course, but they should not pretend this is a movie. They can say this is a new technology. And the new technology has to have a new language. That’s what I prefer, when you make a new language. Do not say this is a film. Video has to find a new language because it’s a new technology.
    How do you feel about people watching your films on different platforms other than a large screen?
    I hate it. For example, I heard somebody watched “Satantango” on a mobile phone. That hurts me. It was planned and shot for the big screen.

  • ephemera: “Information and Communication Technology and the Excess(es) of Information: An Introduction to Georges Bataille’s General Economy” by Alexander Styhre, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 28-42. PDF.

    (…) there is always axcess data or information that radically breaks with neo-classic economic assumptions such as the law of diminishing returns and scarcity. Bataille’s general economy opens up alternative perspectives on contemporary information and communication technologies.

  • The New York Times: “A Surge in Learning the Language of the Internet” by Jenna Wortham, March 27, 2012.

    The market for night classes and online instruction in programming and Web construction, as well as for iPhone apps that teach, is booming. Those jumping on board say they are preparing for a future in which the Internet is the foundation for entertainment, education and nearly everything else. Knowing how the digital pieces fit together, they say, will be crucial to ensuring that they are not left in the dark ages.

  • Kickstarter blog: “Blockbuster Effect”, March 29, 2012.

    Projects aren’t fighting over a finite pool of Kickstarter dollars or backers. One project’s backer isn’t another project’s loss. The backers that one project brings often end up backing other projects as well. Each project is not only promoting itself, but the Kickstarter ecosystem as a whole.

  • CNNMoney: “Face.com: Facial recognition for the masses” by David Goldman, December 23, 2011.

    Face.com is an Israeli startup founded in 2008 that provides websites and mobile apps with code to implement face detection or recognition. The code has been used more than 35,000 times since the company released it into the wild in May 2010, and Face.com’s tools have recognized or detected 35 billion faces.

  • Communication studies: “Internet Usage Does Not Replace Traditional Media [Study]” March 29, 2012.

    Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied Swedish young people between the ages of nine and 24. They discovered that this group almost universally used the Internet. However, the investigators found no evidence that the study participants abandoned traditional media for the sake of the Internet.

    Compare with the article from the Los Angeles Times blog post quoted above.

  • Ars Technica: “Satellite-jamming becoming a big problem in the Middle East and North Africa” by David Klingler, March 28, 2012.

    The Arab Spring has had yet another consequence—satellite jamming, and the practice is serious enough to threaten the satellite operators’ business.

  • Counterpunch: “We Are All Luddites” by David Rosen, March 30, 2012.

    The Luddite rebellion invoked a still-earlier English tradition, the battle against the enclosure of the commons. The closing off of public lands in the 16th century launched the modern agriculture revolution, a revolution that dragged on in England well into the late-17th century. Many Luddities surely knew of these earlier struggles. […] The socially-shared commons united and defined those of rural England as a community; it bound them together as a people. It was, however, being challenged by a new social order based on self-serving privatization, of a new social being, the individual.


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