I have been running the blog for four full years now, never missing a week, posting some 345 entries. While the experiment has been quite enjoyable, I feel it is time for me to move on to something else.
To avoid repeating one self, or doing trivial entries too often, one must always push forward. Some blog entries took half an hour to write, but a lot actually asked for quite a bit o’work. Keeping the pace has been increasingly difficult given all the other things that are going on in my life.
I have thought for a while of merely slowing the pace and posting say, twice a month, because I would have enough material to do so—a lot comes up all the time. For a while, I thought of posting only the occasional entry. But I think it will keep asking for more time, and that my energies are needed elsewhere presently.
I would like to thank my followers (there are quite a few) and all the others for all the good discussions in the (800-something) comments. I will not close the blog, so I will still manage it, at least for a while.
Eli Pariser — The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You — Penguin Press HC, 2011, 304 pp. ISBN 978-1594203008
(Buy at Amazon.com)
Pariser warns us about the danger of (potentially) excessive personalization of search engine queries, such as Google’s. While the search engine’s first goal is to be useful, targeted, and relevant to your personal interests, they pose the very real danger of hiding large segments of the web from search, thus preventing serendipitous discovery of new interests, possibly quite orthogonal to your usual tastes.
However, Pariser goes on a long while on the subject; after a few examples, we quite get the idea, and the book could have been considerably shorter, offering a few examples and then discussing the consequences, without loss. I have sometimes the impression that the author (or maybe his editor) feared a short, direct-to-the-point, book. However, conveying information succinctly is sometimes better.
David Shenk — Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut (Revised and Updated Edition) — Harper One, 1998, 256 pp. ISBN 978-0062515513
(Buy at Amazon.com)
This book, not unrelated to Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice, presents the fundamental paradox of information: the more you get, the less you can understand, the more you get, the narrower the vision you must have; the more you get, the more isolated you are. In a dozen “information glut laws”, Shenk discusses the various problems due to information glut (not only from classical media but also from the Internet) and offers tentative solutions to keep your head out of the water.
What’s the most interesting about this book is, maybe, the fact that it was written in 1997, a bit before the Internet became truly mainstream, and before his conclusions became somewhat self-evident (especially a posteriori). It can be read as a prelude to Pariser’s Filter Bubble.