Monday, September 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N35): The Cassette Tape, Birmingham Library, Google Glass, Economist Newspaper +More

Missed last week. Apologies.

Who knew the lowly cassette tape is celebrating 50 years of age.  Not much chance of making 60 I shouldn't wonder.  From the Guardian 10 Key Moments in Cassette history (Guardian)
Tape for audio storage was first showcased at the Berlin Radio Show in 1935, on the reel-to-reel Magnetophon machine, but it would take another three decades for the stereo compact cassette to arrive. Dutch manufacturer Philips got there first in 1963, alongside the first battery-powered lightweight cassette player.
Albums on cassette arrived in the US in 1966, with Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt and Johnny Mathis among the first artists on tape; the UK followed suit in 1967. Intriguingly, cassettes also made the album a more significant format. As it was harder to select tracks on cassette than on record, listening to an album serially, without skipping, became ingrained in music culture. Cassettes also allowed more time for the album than vinyl. The standard LP length was 45 minutes in total; compact cassettes allowed up to 45 minutes per side.
A lengthy review of the new library in Birmingham. (Guardian)
The new £189m Library of Birmingham, which calls itself the largest public library in Europe, is as grand a civic statement as that city has attempted for many years. It's also a product of the package and wrapping way of building. Its maker, ahead of its architects, is the project management company Capita Symonds. It was on board first, and made many of the decisions that would determine the experience of the finished building. It managed the process that led to the selection of the Dutch architectural practice Mecanoo. Once architects would win a competition with a design, and ways would be found to achieve it, but Mecanoo was partly chosen for the ability to work with a pre-existing process. The question is: can it be "the best library in the world", as was hoped for, and be built in this way?
From the New York Times magazine this weekend a discourse on Google Glass.
Ultimately it’s difficult to assess how a tool like Glass might change our information habits and everyday behavior, simply because there’s so little software for it now. “Glass is more of a question than an answer,” in the words of Astro Teller, who heads Google X, the company’s “moon shot” skunk works, which supervised Glass’s development; he says he expects to be surprised by what emerges in the way of software. Phil Libin, the C.E.O. of Evernote, told me that my frustrations with Glass were off-base. I was trying to use it to replace a phone or a laptop, but the way head-mounted wearables will be used — assuming the public actually decides to use them — will most likely be very different. “This is not a reshaping of the cellphone,” he added. “This is an entirely new thing.” He predicts that we’ll still use traditional computers and phones for searching the Web, writing and reading documents, doing e-mail. A wearable computer will be more of an awareness device, noting what you’re doing and delivering alerts precisely when you need them, in sync with your other devices: when you’re near a grocery store, you will be told you’re low on vegetables, and an actual shopping list will be sent to your phone, where longer text is more easily read. Depending on your desire for more alerts, this could be regarded as either annoying or lifesaving. But as Libin puts it, “The killer app for this is hyperawareness.”
The principal associations for higher ed (The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)) announced the formation of a joint steering group to advance a proposed network of digital repositories at universities, libraries, and other research institutions across the US that will provide long-term public access to federally funded research articles and data.  (Press Release)

I know I've asked myself this question; "Why does the Economist call itself a newspaper?" (Economist)
The Economist, moreover, still considers itself more of a newspaper than a magazine in spirit. Its aim is to be a comprehensive weekly newspaper for the world. If you are stranded on a desert island and can have only one periodical air-dropped to you to keep up with world news, our hope is that you would choose The Economist. That goal is arguably more in keeping with the approach of a newspaper than a magazine. The latter term derives from the French word for storehouse and implies a more specific publication devoted to a particular topic, rather than coverage of current affairs.
From Twitter:
CourseSmart Rolls Out Digital Textbook Subscriptions for College Students
Scientific American devotes a special report to digital reading.
BBC News - Elmore Leonard, crime novelist, dies aged 87
Will copyright be extended 20 more years? An old debate returns  

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