online over a sandwich. Through Tom Wolfe’s excellent introduction I learned of the influence on McLuhan of catholic mystic Teilhard de Chardin. Now, in writing this, I thought it’d be useful to link through to the excellent entry on de Chardin (who shaped the religious and intellectual outlook many a mid-century catholic intellectual including Belloc, Chesterton and Auden amongst others) in the ODNB. But if I did that, the majority would end up here, on a page so utterly dreadful that it is to user experience what Fat Burger is to healthy eating. Instead I have few choices but to direct you to here. More depressingly, and completely unsurprisingly, if you Google ‘de Chardin’ the first result is from Wikipedia and you give up long, long before you find a scholarly hit in the results. Continue readingI would imagine that Understanding Media (1964) is surely one of those books – like Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Klein’s No Logo – owned by many yet read by few. Great then, on the occasion of McLuhan’s centenary to be able to remind oneself of his ideas
A recent Gartner report marked a minor milestone for e-reading. Apparently, time spent reading on screen is now almost equal to the time spent reading printed paper text. And this apparent vote in favour of digital by readers is not only quantitative but also qualitative: ‘The huge majority of tablet and iPad users say they find screen reading either easier than reading printed text (52%) or about the same (42%)’. Some educators and academics however, have doubts about whether screen reading really does offer an experience of comparable quality to print. Much cited in these debates is Anne Mangen’s article ‘Hypertext fiction reading: haptics and immersion’ published in the Journal of Research in Reading (2008, pp. 404-419), which asserts that digital text makes us read, ‘in a shallower, less focused way’. As we pass yet another significant milestone, the 100th birthday of Marshall (‘the medium is the message’) McLuhan, our attention turns readily to the issue of how screen-based reading might affect not only reading habits but also our wider culture. According to Kevin Kelly we are undergoing ‘a second Gutenberg shift’ in the move to what he calls ‘screen literacy’. But will the results of this shift be injurious for the culture that print reading has given us? Will more e-reading make us all stupid? Continue reading
Facebook has acquired Push Pop Press, creators of Al Gore’s enhanced ebook Our Choice (full story here). This doesn’t mean that Facebook is going to start publishing ebooks. “The ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories,” explain co-founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris. This is thought to be a defensive move on Facebook’s part, which is facing competition from Google +. The video below gives a great demonstration of Push Pop’s enhanced ebook technology – but for many it will prompt the question: is this a book?