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August 5, 2008

We and information

David Reed has posted a reminder that communications is only understandable from the top of the stack down. It is about the we, not the individual acts, much less only about how messages get passed. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone involved from the beginning in the protocols of Internet message-passing .

From my little corner, what David says is a good example of why considering the Net only or primarily as an information medium is insufficient (although obviously information theory is crucial at various layers of the stack).

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June 24, 2008

Babbage’s Noise pReboot podcast

Nicole Simone interviewed me about what I’ll be talking about at ReBoot. It’s posted here.

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June 18, 2008

History of index cards, part whatever

Kevin Kelly has a terrific piece about edge-notched cards. They’re interesting to me because I’ve been working on a piece that’s part of a piece, that may be part of some other piece that uses the history of the punch card as a way to trace the emergence of modern information. Edge-notched cards have an interesting place because the notches both indicate data and are used as a physical mechanism for sorting.

Kevin’s post was prompted by Alex Wright’s terrific article recalling Paul Otlet as a network pioneer.

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June 2, 2008

Borgmann’s information

I’m just finishing reading Albert Borgmann’s Holding on to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium, a work about information, the Net, and philosophy, published in 1999. It’s terrific.

I particularly liked his synthetic view of information throughout the ages, starting with “natural information,” through writing, printing, and the modern age’s idea. He is enthusiastic, but certainly not evangelical. Throughout, he reminds us how deeply human experience is embedded in flesh.

Borgmann is a good writer. He takes care to keep his readers interested, which may sound obvious but is totally non-obvious to most philosophers. If only.

I wish I had read this book earlier.

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