I was blessed with a holiday that was very full of family, friends and fun, less so of rest and reflection. The rural bandwidth and assorted festivities (and tentative steps embracing the first video game to grab me in many years) ensured that little time was spent reading much of substance online. In the interests of shaking off the blog rust and clearing out many of the open tabs in multiple browsers, here’s a grab bag of pieces that managed to capture some sliver of my attention. I need to give them some thought now that 2014 is here.

Audrey Watters once again more or less salvaged the scourge of the year-end trend piece with an impressive and comprehensive set of articles. I found the framing of “Zombie Ideas” especially provocative. I intend to look in on all of these again, but on first reading I think the issues raised by her summary of “Data vs Privacy” are the ones I need to focus on with the most urgency, in part because there are significant local dimensions here in Canada and in British Columbia that somebody needs to unpack.

Speaking of yearly stuff… I always find that Bryan Alexander is worth reading. I had to concur with Martin Weller’s acerbic characterization of 2013’s broad message. I will revisit David Kernohan’s signposts for 2014. I was pleased to see a flurry of year-end love for a couple of my earliest guides in this field, Tony Bates and Stephen Downes. I began reading both of them when I started out working in Mexico in the 1990’s, and had the good fortune to receive personal advice and encouragement from them as I got going here in Canada a few years later. They are both still as prolific and essential to me now as they’ve ever been.

Quite sad to see that Bruce Sterling seems to be done with his annual WELL State of the World online addresses/discussions. That was a perennial favorite. This Slashdot Q&A was fun, but hardly filled the void.

Jason Kottke wrote a piece on the death of blogging (long live blogging). Jeremy Keith collected and offered some solid responses.

Speaking of blogging, both Tim Owens and Alan Levine are pushing out of the form a little bit. Makes me wish my own coding skills were stronger, in any event I think educators should be paying a little more attention to why sites like Medium are deemed to be more appealing reading environments.

The Year We Broke the Internet – On the dark side of viral media and “shareability” as the basis of online publishing success. Followed up by Zack Lee on the theme of the “web we lost” into the “ouroboros of shit”.

I haven’t read this piece on the Psychological Dark Side of Gmail yet, but I think I should.

Everyone seems to love this piece by Alexis Madrigal on How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood.

A piece on the chaotic dismantling of Canada’s science libraries that looks like a real bummer.

My Cheesy Fries amigo Gastón Gordillo posted an excerpt from his upcoming book discussing the tallest ruin in the world.

e-wasteland – wondering if there’s more that can be done to investigate and promote discussion on the environmental impacts of online activity.

A long audio interview with Lester Bangs, 1980.

That ought to get me started in 2014 feeling characteristically overwhelmed and already behind…

But like I said, I was out of the flow for most of the past couple weeks (more than that, if pre-holidayhubbub is taken into account). What did I miss? What are the essential reads to start off the year in doom-or-love-mongering fighting trim?

6 thoughts on “Replugging

  1. Gabriel and I have been playing with the Rocksmith too – really fun way to learn guitar or bass. Another game we have been digging over the holidays is Rust – from the makers of Garry’s Mod – Gabriel’s fav of 2013. Kids and I seemed to have moved our online hangouts from Minecraft to Rust – I am really enjoying the Minecraft-like crafting + zombie threat + outdoor survival strategy. It is early alpha but we have our own server – highly moddable and has lots of potential as a sandbox game.

  2. I didn’t necessarily set a goal that I’d learn to code better this year but it seems that might be where I’m headed. My blog is perhaps deceiving though. For every few lines of something interesting I can spit out it requires me to frantically google and search across tons of ways to do a particular thing (and most of the time Alan has already done it better). But hell, that’s progress right? Fake it til you make it has worked for me thus far. Excited to see where some of this stuff takes me.

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