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Preview: Jon Udell

Jon Udell

Strategies for Internet citizens

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:38:24 +0000


Reading and writing for our peersjonudell

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 03:35:09 +0000

The story Jan Dawson tells in The De-Democratization of Online Publishing is familiar to me. Like him, I was thrilled to be part of the birth of personal publishing in the mid-1990s. By 2001 my RSS feedreader was delivering a healthy mix of professional and amateur sources. Through the lens of my RSS reader, stories […](image)

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From PDF to PWP: A vision for compound web documentsjonudell

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 22:21:52 +0000

I’ve been in the web publishing game since it began, and for all this time I’ve struggled to make peace with the refusal of the Portable Document Format (PDF) to wither and die. Why, in a world of born-digital documents mostly created and displayed on computers and rarely printed, would we cling to a format […](image)

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Customer service and human dignityjonudell

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 04:37:11 +0000

It’s been a decade since I interviewed Paul English on the subject of customer service and human dignity (audio). He was CTO and co-founder at kayak but in this interview we talked more about GetHuman. It had begun as a list of cheats to help you hack through the automated defenses of corporate customer service […](image)

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A chorus of IT recipesjonudell

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 04:41:12 +0000

My all-time favorite scene in The Matrix, if not in all of moviedom, is the one where Trinity needs to know how to fly a helicopter. “Tank, I need a pilot program for a B-212.” Her eyelids flutter while she downloads the skill. I always used to think there was just one definitive flight instruction […](image)

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Augmenting journalismjonudell

Sun, 02 Oct 2016 23:57:34 +0000

Silicon Valley’s enthusiasm for a universal basic income follows naturally from a techno-utopian ideology of abundance. As robots displace human workers, they’ll provide more and more of the goods and services that humans need, faster and cheaper and better than we could. We’ll just need to be paid to consume those goods and services. This […](image)

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I get to be a bloggerjonudell

Sat, 01 Oct 2016 21:05:54 +0000

To orient myself to Santa Rosa when we arrived two years ago I attended a couple of city council meetings. At one of them I heard a man introduce himself in a way that got my attention. “I’m Matt Martin,” he said, “and I get to be the executive director of Social Advocates for Youth.” […](image)

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Towards accessible annotation: a prototype and some questionsjonudell

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:01:14 +0000

The most basic operation in — select text on a page, click the Annotate button — is not yet accessible to a visually-impaired person who is using a screenreader. I’ve done a bit of research and come up with an approach that looks like it could work, but also raises many questions. In the […](image)

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What I Learned While Building an App for the Canvas Learning Management Systemjonudell

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:51:02 +0000

Life takes strange turns. I’m connected to the ed-tech world by way of Gardner Campbell, Jim Groom, and Mike Caulfield. They are fierce critics of the academy’s embrace of the Learning Management System (LMS) and are among the leaders of an indie-web movement that arose in opposition to it. So it was odd to find […](image)

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Copyright can’t stop annotation of government documentsjonudell

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 03:45:54 +0000

I’ll admit that the Medium Legal team’s post AB 2880?—?Kill (this) Bill had me at hello: Fellow Californians, please join us in opposing AB 2880, which would allow and encourage California to extend copyright protection to works made by the state government. We think it’s a bad idea that would wind up limiting Californians’ ability […](image)

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Watching animalsjonudell

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 20:58:08 +0000

On a visit to the Berlin Zoo last month, I watched primates interact with a cleverly-designed game called a poke box. It’s a plexiglas enclosure with shelves. Rows of holes in the enclosure give access to the shelves. Each shelf has a single hole, offset from the holes above and below. The machine drips pellets […](image)

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Thoughts in motion, annotatedjonudell

Fri, 27 May 2016 04:25:11 +0000

In Knowledge Work as Craft Work (2002), Jim McGee wrote: The journey from apprentice to master craftsman depends on the visibility of all aspects of craft work. That was the inspiration for a talk I gave at the 2010 Traction User Group meeting, which focused on the theme of observable work. In the GitHub era […](image)

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Annotation is not (only) web commentsjonudell

Sun, 24 Apr 2016 22:27:22 +0000

Annotation looks like a new way to comment on web pages. “It’s like Medium,” I sometimes explain, “you highlight the passage you’re talking about, you write a comment about it, the comment anchors to the passage and displays to its right.” I need to stop saying that, though, because it’s wrong in two ways. First, […](image)

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Owning and sharing your wordsjonudell

Sun, 03 Apr 2016 01:37:52 +0000

In 2001 I was among a community of early bloggers who came together around Dave Winer’s Radio UserLand, a tool for both publishing and aggregating blogs. To the world at large, blogging was rightly understood to be a new and exciting way for people to publish their writing online. Those of us exploring the new medium found […](image)

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Liminal thinking at scalejonudell

Sun, 17 Jan 2016 22:02:38 +0000

My short 2009 review1 of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline includes this Kevin Kelly quote that continues to resonate for me: Kevin Kelly calls the book “a short course on how to change your mind intelligently” — in this case, about cities, nuclear power, and genetic and planetary engineering. These are all things that Steward […](image)

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When it’s cold in New England, thoughts turn to alternative home heatingjonudelleko-post-dec-viewsguiness-post-dec-views

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 04:15:51 +0000

I started this WordPress incarnation of my blog in late 2007. On this day in 2009 I published  one of the most-read posts here: Central heating with a wood gasification boiler. WordPress stats have shown me that interest has been seasonal. When it’s winter in the northeastern US, people still heating with oil imagine alternatives. As […](image)

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