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.
I also gave the keynote talk at the start of the afternoon, which you can read here.
The Age of Electronics
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.
Jeff Jarvis has a great post over at Buzzmachine in which he argues that its time to ‘tear down the broadcast towers’:
My most striking realization since getting my iPhone (love it, thanks for asking) is that radio is doomed. Pandora is a wonder, creating my own radio station, live and on the fly without need for a broadcast tower.
I agree. Here’s something I wrote over two years ago about television…
Rethinking Digital Television
Spending £700 million on digital switchover is perhaps the most foolish waste of public money since the Maginot Line, and will be as effective in stopping the tide of Internet-based programming that is about to sweep over Europe and the rest of the networked world.
Building a dedicated transmission network designed solely to distribute digitally-encoded television over a fixed set of frequencies, so that audio and video can be received by specialised aerials, decoded on single-purpose computers and displayed on screens is an absurd idea when cable companies are already making the switch to IPTV and a general-purpose data network – the Internet – can provide a suitable infrastructure for programme distribution.