I saw this…

Here’s what I’ve tagged on del.icio.us on %date%:

Changing the Way We Think

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website, and Nick Carr has picked up on it]

In her recently published book ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century, Professor Susan Greenfield brings her considerable expertise as a neuroscientist to bear on the question of whether and how our current use of computers is changing the way our brains work.

Greenfield argues that the visual stimulus we get from screen-based information and entertainment differs so markedly from that available to previous generations that certain areas of the brain, specifically those areas that are older in evolutionary terms and retain the capacity to alter as a result of experience, may be affected in ways that express themselves a changes to personality and behaviour.

It’s an interesting hypothesis, and one that has the virtue of being experimentally testable, unlike many other claims about the effect of modern living on human psychology.

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My del.icio.us bookmarks for June 7th through June 11th

Here’s what I tagged on del.icio.us between June 7th and June 11th:

Storm warning for cloud computing: more like a miasma

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website, and Nick Carr has an excellent piece on ‘miasma computing‘ that moves the argument on nicely.]

My friend Simon is one of those net entrepreneurs with the attention to detail it takes to have an idea and turn it into an effective company. He’s currently on his second job search service, and it seems to be going very well.

One reason for the success may be that Simon has embraced the network age with a dedication that most of us can only wonder at. He uses a range of productivity tools, scheduling services and collaborative systems to manage both his personal and professional life, and once confessed to me that he had ‘outsourced his memory’ to Microsoft Outlook and its calendar service.

So far I’ve resisted the temptation to pay a team of hackers to break into his laptop and add ‘jump off a cliff’ as his 10am appointment on Thursday.

Recently I’ve noticed that Simon’s head is in the cloud. Or rather, his business is, as he and his team have moved most of their systems online, taking advantage of the move from local storage and processing to ‘cloud computing’, where data and services are provided online and accessed from a PC or any other device.

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Unlike some of my friends and family I’m not a heavy user of online auctions, and although I have an account on eBay my reputation as a seller or buyer doesn’t really matter that much to me.   At the moment I’ve got 100% positive feedback but the number of transactions is so small that it doesn’t really signify.

However heavy sellers and those who make a substantial proportion of their income from the site care deeply about the reports they get from other buyers and sellers.

Their concerns about negative feedback are well-grounded: in 2002 Paul Resnick and his colleagues did a proper randomised control experiment to assess the value of an eBay reputation, looking to see how much people would bid for articles from sellers with different scores.  They found that sellers with established reputations can expect about 8 per cent more revenue than new sellers marketing the same goods.

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