Sharing Digital Skills

On January 17 I took part in the Reading Agency/Publishers Association conference at the rather lovely Canada Water Library in Southwark, where we  discussed ways for libraries to embrace new technologies in order to take their support for readers online.

It was the final event of a project around digital skills sharing, and you can find more details at the Reading Agency website. I took part in a panel session, which was lots of fun.

Panel session

I also gave the keynote talk at the start of the afternoon, which you can read here.

The Age of Electronics

[Slide: Computers]

We live in a society that is as dependent on access to and engagement with computers, digital data and fast networks as the one I grew up in was on electricity and the one before it on oil – although of course we still depend on both of them, and seem have added computers to the mix rather than replaced what went before.

Continue reading “Sharing Digital Skills”

Holiday reading

Over at Memex 1.1 the redoubtable John Naughton talks about his holiday reading, and makes me feel guilty that most of mine has been <=140 characters… I did finish Will Self’s Umbrella recently, and am half-heartedly starting up with Iain M Banks new Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, but John has gone for some serious stimulation:

One of the really nice things about Christmas is that the phone stops ringing and the tide of work-related email recedes, leaving time for reading. Here’s what’s I’m into just now:

Artemis Cooper’s biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor. Like many people I’ve been fascinated by Fermor ever since reading his two great travel books — A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. I’ve long been curious to know what the rest of his life was like. Now I’m finding out.

Sebastian Seung’s Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.

Larry Lessig’s new book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It.

Age of Fracture,a terrific work of intellectual history and the first really convincing account I’ve come across of how and why the post-war liberal consensus ran out of steam and was replaced by the neo-con nonsense that has got us into our current mess.

 I need to read Larry’s new book, of course, and while the term ‘Connectome’ just irritates me, it covers an area that I want to write about myself. And just last weekend Katie’s mum was raving about the Fermor biography, so I should add it to the list.

SchroderBut just last week my good friends at Faber sent me Country Girl, Edna O’Brien’s fabulous autobiography, and I have an early copy of Schroder, Amity Gaige’s new novel, which Stephen Page thinks I will enjoy – and  I have learned to trust his judgement over everyone else’s when it comes to such matters.

I suspect this means that my tax return will end up being done on Jan 31 again.

Data logging is fun… but who are you sharing with?

I spend a lot of time reading BoingBoing ( ) because it points me at interesting/quirky/important/insane stuff and enough of it is interesting enough that there are generally two or three tabs open in my browser that I plan to explore.

Such as this one – – a post by Jonathan Cohen about what looks like a really interesting iPhone app called Expereal that will ‘let you rate/analyze your life via data visualization’ I’m interested in lifelogging, but have only gone as far as getting a Fitbit (

This afternoon I finally got around to clicking the link in the BoingBoing piece, thinking I’d install Expereal and try it out. But I won’t – the page at tells me all the cool stuff it will do, and then notes that I have to:

Login with Facebook (Required & only means of login)

and that I can

Share individual ratings to Facebook (Optional)

Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want a system that forces me to share with Facebook. I have no reason to trust Expereal with my data, and certainly no reason to believe that the boundary between it and Facebook will end up being anything but porous. The app is free, so data sharing is the price to pay, it seems. I’d rather have paid £1.99 for something to try out, and be a customer instead of a data feed.

Posted via email from The Sound of Bill

What have we done…. :-)

Begin forwarded message:

From: Royal Opera House <>
Subject: Reminder for The Royal Opera’s Ring cycle
Date: 9 October 2012 16:03:33 GMT+01:00

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD
Can’t see this email? View this online.
Dear Mr Thompson

I am writing to you as someone who has booked for The Royal Opera’s Ring cycle next week.

The cycle begins soon, please be aware of the different start times for the four parts of the cycle. 

Das Rheingold

When: 16 October at 7.30pm
: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

View casting for this date

Approximate performance timings: About 2 hours 30 minutes with no interval

Approximate end time: 10pm

Die Walküre

When: 18 October at 5pm
: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

View casting for this date

Approximate performance timings: About 5 hours 50 minutes including two intervals

Approximate end time: 10.50pm

Please be aware that Act III of Die Walküre on 18 October is being filmed by the Royal Opera House. The cameras will not impact on the audience in any way and there will be no restrictions of view other than those already stated at time of ticket purchase.


When: 21 October at 3pm
: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

View casting for this date

Approximate performance timings: About 6 hours 5 minutes including two intervals

Approximate end time: 9.05pm


When: 24 October at 4pm
: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

View casting for this date

Approximate performance timings: About 6 hours 30 minutes including two intervals.

Approximate end time: 10.30pm

Please Note: If you are collecting your tickets from our Box Office, then please would you arrive at least 30 minutes before the performance to allow for this, and remember to bring the credit or debit card used for booking these tickets for clarification purposes.

If you already have your tickets, then why not arrive in plenty of time to take full advantage of our bars and restaurants, which will be open at least 30 minutes before the performance.

Unfortunately, latecomers will not be admitted to the auditorium until the interval. (Please note that there is no interval in Das Rheingold).

We do hope you enjoy this special production of one of Wagner’s greatest masterpieces.

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD | Box Office: +44 (0)20 7304 4000
Registered in England No. 480523 | Charity Registered No. 211775

Posted via email from The Sound of Bill