Could This be the Future? Wednesday, May 9 2012 

In reading the Athenaeum’s Twitter feed this morning I came acr0ss an espresso maker and television set that stretches the imagination.  First, the text message, robot initiated espresso by Zipwhip:

We have a Keurig machine in the Reading Room. Could this be it’s replacement?

Next, is what could very loosely be called a “television set”.  Christina Bonnington’s writes in Wired about NDS’s “surfaces” as you can see in the picture:

Image from NDS via Wired

The images are managed through an iPad and can include multiple displays of digital content or a single mammoth screen. When it is off it disappears and the wallpaper shows through.   Can you imagine either of these in use at the Athenaeum?

3D Printing of 19th Century Object Friday, Mar 30 2012 

3D printing is amazing. If you are unfamiliar with the concept check out the following National Geographic video:

Now imagine having a tool from the 19th century, like this conformateur, a hat makers form:

It sits on little wooden feet, two of which are broken.  La Bricoleuse relates their experience repairing the tool using a 3D printer here. My understanding is they could have reproduced the whole piece, but why would they when theirs is such a lovely Steampunkish product, with a wonderful French name?

Thanks @BoingBoing

Machine of Death Friday, Dec 10 2010 

Comments abound about how social media and the internet are changing everything and here is yet another example. Machine of Death is a privately published collection of short stories, created by webcomic authors, who posted a plea on their website that everyone go to Amazon on a certain date and buy this book so it would be the number one seller of the day. Through tweets, blogs,  facebook,  websites, etc. they accomplished this goal but Glenn Beck’s book came out the same day and reportedly he was very upset to be beat out by the indie crowd.

Issued with a creative commons license it is available in pdf and podcast and we will have a copy in the Athenaeum shortly.

Thanks to Ian & RJ

Worldreader: Books for All Monday, Nov 15 2010 is concerned with books and literacy in the developing world. They want to get books into the hands of those who have none. Here’s the twist they are using e-readers, specifically the Kindle. They have completed two trial studies and are now engaged in a year long iREAD project in Ghana. You can read their research content note here. There are a number of videos and news reports available on the Worldreader website. I found this one on the challenges they face interesting:

But this is an amazing sight:

Thanks to the Resource Shelf

The End of Publishing as We Know It Monday, May 10 2010 

The following video was produced by Dorling Kindersley Books (DK UK) and it is very clever.  Have a look:

From Stephen’s Lighthouse

Everyone is distracted! Thursday, Dec 10 2009 

Christina sent me this article by Michelle Slatalla from the New York Times style section, with a note saying she thinks  many people can relate to this… and I agree. See what you think.

Steampunk, 19th Century Inspired Monday, Dec 7 2009 

Time Magazine has an article this week titled Steampunk, reclaiming tech for the masses. Now what I found interesting is this subculture, expressed for many years in fantasy and science fiction novels, doesn’t hate technology, they just want it in a relatable, solid form  (think leather, brass, steam, that sort of thing). Wikipedia has a good entry on the topic. I think we could have more computers in the Athenaeum if they looked like this:

More Books as Art… Monday, Nov 23 2009 

This clever video is from New Zealand and reflects the trend of turning books into other, 3 dimensional, objects. This time it is paper cut-outs.

Thanks to Cory Doctorow for this, via John, Your Computer Concierge

What is MIT doing? Thursday, Oct 22 2009 

MIT appears to be automating pop-up books. I have to ask, why? Pop-ups are already clever and everyone loves them. Take a look:

Question: does the brain like ebooks? Wednesday, Oct 21 2009 

The New York Times blog called Room for Debate posed this question recently and the academic responses are interesting. They asked an English professor, a professor of child development, a computer scientist, an author with a book on the brain, and a professor of informatics.  Most of them see a place in the future for the traditional book. None of them are under 25 years of age.


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