This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
the right to be forgotten, as it has become known, could complicate the collection and digitization of mundane public documents — birth reports, death notices, real estate transactions and the like — that form a first draft of history. “Today, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter — this is the correspondence of the 21st century,” said Jean-Philippe Legois, president of the Association of French Archivists, which has around 1,700 members. “If we want to understand the society of today in the future, we have to keep certain traces.
At its peak, in 1996, Kodak was rated the fourth-most-valuable global brand. That year, the company had about two-thirds of the global photo market, annual revenues of $16 billion, and a market capitalization of $31 billion
Compared with the 1890s, Google resembles GE, while Amazon is like Sears Roebuck, the catalogue shopping company that transformed US retailing. GE was founded in 1892 and Sears Roebuck in 1893, at a time when the continent was altered by the telegraph and electricity.
The sewing machine was the smartphone of the nineteenth century. Just skim through the promotional materials of the leading sewing-machine manufacturers of that distant era and you will notice the many similarities with our own lofty, dizzy discourse. The catalog from Willcox & Gibbs, the Apple of its day, in 1864, includes glowing testimonials from a number of reverends thrilled by the civilizing powers of the new machine. One calls it a “Christian institution”; another celebrates its usefulness in his missionary efforts in Syria; a third, after praising it as an “honest machine,” expresses his hope that “every man and woman who owns one will take pattern from it, in principle and duty.” The brochure from Singer in 1880—modestly titled “Genius Rewarded: or, the Story of the Sewing Machine”—takes such rhetoric even further, presenting the sewing machine as the ultimate platform for spreading American culture.
And so, for a brief and literally shining moment early in the days of human-harnessed electricity, the future of municipal lighting was glowing orbs suspended high above cities — towers, resembling oil derricks, capped with 4 to 6 arc lamps with a candlepower of 2,000 to 6,000 each. These manmade moons made the ultimate promise to the people below them: that they would never again be in the dark.
An early experiment involved the telephone cord. In the postwar years, the copper used inside the cords remained scarce. Telephone company executives wondered whether the standard cord, then about three feet long, might be shortened. Mr. Karlin’s staff stole into colleagues’ offices every three days and covertly shortened their phone cords, an inch at time. No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot.
From then on, phones came with shorter cords.
In 1986, the BBC gave birth to the Domesday Project… that saw one million Brits crowdsource a cultural snapshot of UK life, including text, photography and video, then ship the resulting database on Laser Discs to schools and libraries as an interactive guide to the country. Over 100,000 square kilometres of British soil was documented, along with just under 150,000 pages of written text and more than 20,000 digitised colour photographs…. For a time it was possible for the information stored online to be updated but today the archive serves as a memorial for a project that took 21st century online ambition and tried to make it work 20 years too soon.
The Swiss Federal Office of Topography has published a complete set of digitized historical maps from 1938 to 2011. The twist: a browser application allows you to create a time travel movie at any place in Switzerland for any zoom level. As an example, you can see the recession of Europe’s biggest glacier over the last 75 years
Some unknown genius discovered that if you hooked two Sears or Monkey Ward telephone sets to the top wire on a barbed-wire fence, you could talk between the telephones as easily as between two “town” telephones connected by slick wire through an operator’s switchboard. A rural telephone system that had no operators, no bills—and no long-distance charges—was born
But the library hasn’t started the daunting task of sorting or filtering its 133 terabytes of Twitter data, which it receives from Gnip in chronological bundles, in any meaningful way…. “You often hear a reference to Twitter as a fire hose, that constant stream of tweets going around the world. What we have here is a large and growing lake. What we need is the technology that allows us to both understand and make useful that lake of information.