At some point I will post something other than links to this blog. But for now, this is it. Five more for you to enjoy this week:
Standard Ebooks – There are lots of free and public domain ebooks about – try looking at Project Gutenberg for example. The problem is that they aren’t always of great quality – because they are often scanned in and OCRd, there are mistakes and janky formatting, amongst other issues. Standard Ebooks is taking these base metals and turning them into gold by checking them, cleaning them up and packaging them nicely – and they’re still free. What’s not to like?
Strategic Reading – just in case five links a week aren’t enough for you, Stefan Czerniawski has started a new thing in the form of a link blog – lots of links to articles with a bit of commentary. Consumable on the website, via RSS or email and highly recommended.
Amazon’s New Customer – I linked last week to rumours that Amazon might be interested in buying Slack. Not sure whether that was just a red herring or not, because it turned out that the big acquisition that Amazon made was Whole Foods, a chain of grocery stores in the US. This analysis by Ben Thompson of what is – on the face of it – an incomprehensible deal for an e-commerce company (clue: Amazon is not an e-commerce company) is excellent and very insightful when it comes to Amazon’s operating model and long term strategy.
A great interview by John Markoff with various folk involved in the creation of the iPhone. Incidentally, Markoff’s book What the Doormouse Said would definitely be on any reading list I produce – it’s a fantastic and entertaining history of the birth of the personal computer.
These have mostly all been tweeted during the week, and you can find everything I’ve found interesting and bookmarked here.
and I have just started sharing things in Google Reader, and you can find all these items on my public page – which, again, has a feed as well
Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.
Update: This should now be fixed. The issue was, I think, with Delicious blocking access to the RSS feed – presumably they didn’t like me checking it automatically every hour to see if there was anything new there. By piping the Delicious feed through Feedburner, the problem is averted.
okcon – The Open Knowledge Conference – "The Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) is back for its fifth installment bringing together individuals and groups from across the open knowledge spectrum for a day of discussions workshops."
The rise of Open Source Hardware – BankerVision – "With the barriers to entry for companies making new physical products falling, everything becomes about talent and innovation, rather than control of industrial age assets such as finance and manufacturing capacity. This is a world shift we’ve already seen in digital products, obviously. Now we have it for physical ones as well."
RSA – Technology in a Cold Climate – "Technology in a Cold Climate aims to engender a greater understanding among the technology sector and policy makers about the role that technologies could play in meeting the UK’s ambitions and challenges."
Why the EU Keeps Failing on E-Government – "Although I’m all for good practice exchange, what surprises me is the fact that “e-government” is associated to “wireless broadband”, as if practitioners in those two areas were the same or had to have a particularly strong link with each other."
Home | Evaluation Trust – "The Evaluation Trust is a well respected community development agency with skills in capacity building."
Open Government Ideas Look All the Same: Are You Surprised? – Potential problems with Gov agencies asking the public for ideas at the same time: "Wow, twelve different agencies – including the GSA that offered the IdeaScale tool to other agencies – have the exact same most popular idea, which – as you would expect – has been submitted by the same person."
NESTA – Mass Localism – "…an approach by which central and local government can encourage widespread, high quality local responses to big challenges."
The future of Australian banking – BankerVision – "Clever institutions – including one in the UK – are already starting to get the fact that the best strategic option is to integrate their stuff into things customers really care about, not be the centre of the universe themselves. If nothing else, it removes them from the falseness of their traditional approaches to customers."
Giraffe Forum » People are not always the problem – "The end objective of technology should be to extend the capabilities of people, not to replace them. Sure, as technology drives efficiency some people will lose out, but that should not be an objective in and of itself. The objective should be to become more efficient and deliver a better service to the customer."
Federal Agency Ideascale Dashboard – "To satisfy the Open Government Directive agencies are soliciting your ideas on how to make them more transparent, participatory, collaborative and innovative."
The Myth of the Techno-Utopia – WSJ.com – "It's fashionable to hold up the Internet as the road to democracy and liberty in countries like Iran, but it can also be a very effective tool for quashing freedom."
Typists in the Sky | Collaboration 2.0 | ZDNet.com – "The self controlled side of 2.0 computing can be very enabling and efficient for those who can organize themselves well for business and for pleasure, but collectively we are increasingly at the mercy of the lowest common denominator – time bandwidth hogging communicators."
Britain Loves Wikipedia – "Britain Loves Wikipedia is a scavenger hunt and free content photography contest running in museums and cultural institutions across the UK through February. The aim is to increase the number of pictures available to illustrate Wikipedia articles, and to inspire new articles."
Jelly! – Casual coworking is awesome. / CamJelly – "Jelly is a casual coworking event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work together in a social environment."
The Google Exposure | Linux Journal – "Advertising is a bubble. If that's a true statement, Google is a bubble too. And if that's true, many of the goods we take for granted on the Web are at risk."
Blogging and Facebook for councillors – "An increasing number of councillors now have blogs or use Facebook, so there is plenty of experience around and many good examples to emulate. In this article, seasoned 'blogger' Councillor Mary Reid offers you the benefit of her experience." via @pigsonthewing
When failure is not an option – BankerVision – "Failure that occurs at any point before delivery starts is “good failure”, and in fact, is something that innovators should develop competencies in if they want to stay in business."
Local knowledge is everything – BankerVision – "We seek to use systems to impose standards of service and uniformity across the offering. “People are unreliable!”, we scream as we write as much discretion away from users as possible, thinking, as we do so, that we are serving both them and the customers. Well, we’re not."
Cloud Culture: any new threats? « Perfect Path – "My personal experience with Tuttle has been that the network is much stronger and more robust than we imagine. Whenever it get’s a push against it, it either repels invaders or morphs into something similar enough to still be Tuttle, but different enough to survive."
So your council wants to blog? – "Having said that blogs are mundane, there are still not many examples of blogs written by local government officers (as opposed to councillors or community activists)."
Communicating Cohesion: Evaluating Local Authority Communication Strategies – "The report is the culmination of an in-depth investigation into local authority communications, from the perspective of promoting community cohesion. The findings reinforce the need for effective communications to address perceptions by some groups that they are losing out to others and the need for local authorities to take a strategic approach to communications that needs to involve not just the council staff and elected members, but the community itself."