This is the best blog on Downton — written by a Brit with a great sense of humor and a good grasp of the program. Read them all and enjoy!
“Sigh. I know, I know. Parting is such sweet sorrow, innit? But let’s not think of tonight as just the end of the season: Let’s think of it as the beginning of the countdown to Downton Abbey Season 5, already in production for its January 2015 premiere. Until then, Thirteen.org/DowntonAbbey page with be updated regularly, and the gang will all be here a couple of times a month with my Dispatch From the Downton Abbey Diaspora blog, keeping you up to date and spoiler-free, on all things Downton.
Tonight, as we begin, it is eight months on since all the ladies craned their necks to watch Mary dangle her participles. In the interim, the earth has resumed spinning, Dr. Clarkson has been replaced with a chiropractor, and those participles are still dangling…
Go to the site to keep reading.
This episode was a bit slow, but we did get to see the Prince of Wales before he met Mrs. Simpson!
Worth the read, especially is you think email is dead? Is email dead? Probably not…
Very interesting technology happening in England. If practical, and not toxic to people or plants, can change things up for the environment and the way we do things all day, and all night.
U.K.-based resurfacing company Pro-Teq is currently testing Starpath, an ultraviolet-powered glow-in-the-dark pedestrian footpath in a Victorian park in Cambridge, England, that hopes to revolutionize the way we light our public spaces.
Starpath is created using an innovative, cost-effective resurfacing process that can be sprayed directly onto existing concrete, tarmac, and other hard surfaces. A polyurethane base, a coat of light-absorbing particles in a range of colors and sizes, and a waterproof, anti-slip finish are applied without the need to remove worn-out surfaces. It dries in 30 minutes, causing minimal disruption.
- A long article on Yahoo and why it’s dead, dying, whatever:
- Site: lettrs.com – introducing the “holiday letters option” for those of us who may need it. Gift a letter
- The Internet of Things – a surreal description of all the stuff we don’t know how to describe
- Good Communications System Mapping – it’s really hard to do, but Ben Thompson did it.
- Cloud Storage and Dropbox
Site: www.klout.com – trying to figure out why I care about it
You don’t have to be a DEA agent to figure out if your brother-in-law is a drug-dealing sociopath. All that training didn’t do Agent Hank Schrader any good.
When you are too close to the situation you will trip over the obvious, and then let Walt convince you that your shoes were untied.
So for dear Agent Hank, and everyone with regular jobs, here are some warning signs that your brother-in-law could be more like Walter White than you would like.
If your brother-in-law shows any of these signs, you can try to talk to him. When that doesn’t work, call the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (http://www.ncadd.org/). And when that doesn’t work, call the DEA.
Do not try to apprehend by yourself. The consequences will be bad.
How nice to see that. ZITE for mobile news http://www.zite.com
Let’s hope it doesn’t go the watered-down way of Pulse…
For Android and Apple
There are still people out there who don’t think the Internet is a good medium for conducting business. Those people should read this book so they can understand how to make it work for them. It doesn’t mean all other forms of commerce are gone, but if you want to stick to the old, it’s sort of like betting on the railroad rather than the airplane. Both have their place in this world, but the people who built the railroads are long gone. The people who are building the Internet are here, with more all the time.
For communication, the Internet is overkill. How many forms of communication do we need to get the message? Email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, iTunes, Google+, Instagram, and on and on and on. Multiples in each category. Kind of like having 20 phone numbers for 20 telephones in 1901. Is it an embarrassment of riches? Maybe. But the signal-to-noise ratio for communications is off.
If you want to understand how the Internet shapes what, how, and why we do things, then put a hold on your games, blogs, tweets, text messages, emails, and videos, and spend some time absorbing the messages of Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think. This book is required reading for anyone interested in, working in, or enjoying the culture of the Internet.
If you’ve read all the books on how the Internet and World Wide Web change our lives and thinking, be prepared to step up a significant level, because Smarter Than You Think puts the Internet in the chronological timeline not only of the printing press, typewriter, and telephone but of the larger schemes of orality and literacy that shaped societies.
Smarter Than You Think is a superb book. Read my review of this wonderful book in The New York Journal of Books
If you’ve ever felt that all this email, facebook, and twitter stuff was getting away from you, get back in control by setting boundaries. You might look at Anne Katherine’s Boundaries in an Overconnected World: Setting Limits to Preserve Your Focus, Privacy, Relationships, and Sanity. If you want better communication skills, then read this book.
If you can’t stop reading your email, tweeting, or facebooking all day, then this book’s for you. If you have employees who are compromising their productivity, then Boundaries will help you get them back on the right path.
To try to keep your communication professional at work, don’t spend time on personal messages. Don’t interrupt your workflow to handle non-essential matters, and concentrate on the task at hand. Setting boundaries is important for you, your co-workers, and your job. In the end, if you set up your workflow right, you’ll be happier, more productive, and certainly less distracted.
Managers should pay attention to this book because it will help them focus their staff more fully on the work in front of them, and cut down on the number of distractions they face during the day. Some companies limit access to social media and external email sites for security purposes. If you don’t want to do that, or your business doesn’t warrant it, get a copy of Boundaries in an Overconnected World for your staff.
Check out my review of Boundaries in an Overconnected World at the New York Journal of Books
By the way, if you want to read one of the first pieces written on how to manage email, what to do, what not to do, see the 1985 Toward an Ethics and Etiquette for Electronic Mail by our two favorite RAND researchers, Norman Shapiro and Robert H. Anderson. It’s a great read, now it’s free. RAND, along with the Institute for the Future, were the pioneers in the study of email usage in professional settings. The url is: http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/R3283.html
The joke going around right now is that nothing will change at the Washington Post, but in two years you’ll only be able to read it on a Kindle.
After seven consecutive years of declining revenue, the Graham family has sold the newspaper to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. As reported in the Washington Post, Post Company Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham explained that “The Post could have survived under the company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success, but it gives us a much greater chance of success.”
The Graham family bet on Bezos.
Read More at PBS Mediashift:
by Janet Asteroff
The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr
Review by: Janet Asteroff for The New York Journal of Books
Released: June 6, 2011
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (280 pages)
Point. Click. Scroll. Scan. Point. Click. Scroll. Scan. Repeat until you walk away or shut off the computer, smart phone, or tablet.
This is how we communicate, get information, work, and even play. Most importantly, in the age of the Internet and the Word Wide Web, this is how our rewired brains are becoming comfortable with reading and writing.
The persuasive and comprehensive case for this current state of affairs is made by Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, the paperback release of this Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Mr. Carr, the author of the provocative Does IT Matter? (2004), and The Big Switch (2008), is a thought leader to be reckoned with when it comes to interpreting how technology, history, business, and society interact to determine the way we live now and in the foreseeable future.
Indeed, Mr. Carr admits that to write The Shallows, he removed himself from “a highly connected suburb of Boston to the mountains of Colorado,” which lacked cell phone service and high-speed Internet access. “When I began writing The Shallows, toward the end of 2007, I struggled in vain to keep my mind fixed on the task. The Net provided, as always, a bounty of useful information and research tools, but its constant interruptions scattered my thoughts and words. I tended to write in disconnected sprits, the same way I wrote when blogging.”
Mr. Carr also shut down the agents of communication, those ever-present reasons to stop reading and writing in the traditional way and return instead to the point-and-click of the computer or smart phone to check in. He canceled his Twitter account, suspended his access to Facebook, “shut down” his automatic news reader, and “curtailed Skypeing and instant messaging. Most important, I throttled back my e-mail application.”
To Read more about how the Internet is changing your brains, go to the New York Journal of Books >>