History and Writing
Featured Items
Search Engine Society
Search Engine Society
Paperback      ISBN: 0745642152

Search engines have become a key part of our everyday lives. Yet while much has been written about how to use search engines and how they can be improved, there has been comparatively little exploration of what the social and cultural effects might be. Like all technologies, search engines exist within a larger political, cultural, and economic environment. This volume aims to redress this balance and to address crucial questions such as:

* How have search engines changed the way we organize our thoughts about the world, and how we work?
* What are the ‘search engine wars', what do they portend for the future of search, and who wins or loses?
* To what extent does political control of search engines, or the political influence of search engines, affect how they are used, misused, and regulated?
* Does the search engine help shape our identities and interactions with others, and what implications does this have for privacy?

Informed members of the information society must understand the social contexts in which search engines have been developed, what that development says about us as a society, and the role of the search engine in the global information environment. This book provides the perfect starting point.

Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age
Wired Style
Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age
Hardcover      ISBN: 1888869011
Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web
Weaving the Web
The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 006251587x

Named one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time, Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for one of that century's most important advancements: the world wide web. Now, this low-profile genius-who never personally profitted from his invention -offers a compelling protrait of his invention. He reveals the Web's origins and the creation of the now ubiquitous http and www acronyms and shares his views on such critical issues as censorship, privacy, the increasing power of softeware companies, and the need to find the ideal balance between commercial and social forces. He offers insights into the true nature of the Web, showing readers how to use it to its fullest advantage. And he presents his own plan for the Web's future, calling for the active support and participation of programmers, computer manufacturers, and social organizations to manage and maintain this valuable resource so that it can remain a powerful force for social change and an outlet for individual creativity.

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing
Fabricated
The New World of 3D Printing
Paperback      ISBN: 1118350634

Fabricated tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into schools, kitchens, hospitals, even onto the fashion catwalk. Fabricated describes our emerging world of printable products, where people design and 3D print their own creations as easily as they edit an online document.

A 3D printer transforms digital information into a physical object by carrying out instructions from an electronic design file, or 'blueprint.' Guided by a design file, a 3D printer lays down layer after layer of a raw material to 'print' out an object. That's not the whole story, however. The magic happens when you plug a 3D printer into today's mind-boggling digital technologies. Add to that the Internet, tiny, low cost electronic circuitry, radical advances in materials science and biotech and voila The result is an explosion of technological and social innovation.

Fabricated takes the reader onto a rich and fulfilling journey that explores how 3D printing is poised to impact nearly every part of our lives.

Aimed at people who enjoy books on business strategy, popular science and novel technology, Fabricated will provide readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question 'how will this technology change my life?' Based on hundreds of hours of research and dozens of interviews with experts from a broad range of industries, Fabricated offers readers an informative, engaging and fast-paced introduction to 3D printing now and in the future.

Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World
Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom
How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World
Hardcover      ISBN: 0470740140

If you want to understand why Wikipedia is changing the world, this book is a must read.
-Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia

This book is a must read for all - social activists, politicians or managers - who have an interest in understanding how our society is morphing.
-Professor C.K. Prahalad, #1 Management Guru and author of Competing for the Future

Synopsis
The rise of social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo is changing the way we see ourselves, how we interact with each other, how we work and how we do business on a daily basis. Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom explores the powerful forces driving the social networking revolution, the impact of these profound changes, and the far reaching consequences of social networking.

Detailing the way social networks affects both individuals and societies as a whole, the book offers a detailed focus on the ways social networking affects the world of business and work. The generation entering the workforce today - and entering boardrooms everywhere - is fully engaged with social networking and its uses. Rather than feeling threatened and paranoid, today's business leaders need to understand this phenomenon, accept that it won't go away, and embrace its power in the world of business.

Excerpts from Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom
Your next CEO's most impressive job credential might be status as an online gladiator, honing valuable leadership skills mercilessly slaying mortal enemies on World of Warcraft. Why not, the skills necessary to hack your way to the top levels of virtual games - especially a killer instinct - are excellent pre-requisites for managing complex organisations.

Many senior managers mistakenly believe Enterprise 2.0 is a product, like the latest Microsoft office suite. They don't realise that Enterprise 2.0 is not a cost centre, but a "state of mind" - a revolutionary new way of managing companies and conducting business.

Web 2.0 tools have no regard for "organisational boundaries, hierarchies, or job titles". Try telling a senior executive that, henceforth, there will be no job titles, reporting lines, and organisational boundaries in the company - and watch the reaction closely.

When someone calls a meeting, he or she is asserting authority over those who are invited to attend. Meetings are exclusive and closed. In most corporations, who gets invited to a meeting - and who does not - sends a signal about who's 'in the loop'. Meetings are a form of social grooming inside organisations. Meetings impose vertical authority. They establish status hierarchies. The Enterprise 2.0 model is feared in corporations because it threatens status hierarchies.

Harnessing the dynamism of horizontal networks, Web 2.0 social media are bypassing institutional forms of social organisation and directly empowering people. This book has attempted to tell that story with illustrations, which, we hope, have offered intriguing and instructive insights into the powerful transformations we described. What has interested us most, indeed, is the transformative impact - or "e-ruptions" - of Web 2.0 social media on the three dynamics that gave this book its structure: identity, status and power.



Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Godel, Escher, Bach
An Eternal Golden Braid
Paperback      ISBN: 0465026567
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll

Douglas Hofstadter's book is concerned directly with the nature of maps or links between formal systems. However, according to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that supports it. If life can grow out of the formal chemical substrate of the cell, if consciousness can emerge out of a formal system of firing neurons, then so too will computers attain human intelligence. Gödel, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.
How to Do Everything: Windows 8
How to Do Everything
Windows 8
Paperback      ISBN: 0071805141

Publisher's Note: Products purchased from Third Party sellers are not guaranteed by the publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.
Tap into the power of Windows 8

Maximize the versatile features of Windows 8 on all your devices with help from this hands-on guide. Discover how to customize settings, use the new Start screen and Charms bar, work with gestures on a touchscreen PC, organize and sync data in the cloud, and set up a network. How to Do Everything Windows 8 covers email, video conferencing, web access, peripheral devices, security, and troubleshooting. You'll also get tips for using the entertainment apps to enjoy music, video, photos, games, and much more.

  • Customize Windows 8, group tiles on the Start screen, pin icons to the taskbar, and change settings
  • Manage and back up your files and sync them to the cloud
  • Share files with a Windows 8 Homegroup
  • Surf the web with both versions of Internet Explorer 10, use tabs, organize favorites, and protect your privacy online
  • Print, scan, and fax with Windows 8
  • Communicate via built-in apps--Mail and Messaging--and add Skype
  • Connect to social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, using the People app
  • Enjoy the Music and Video apps and the Xbox Music free streaming service and video store
  • View, manage, and share photos with the new Photos app--including your Facebook, Flickr, and SkyDrive photos
  • Use all the built-in Windows 8 apps and get more from the Windows Store
  • Keep Windows 8 running smoothly and securely
  • Troubleshoot problems and reset or recover your PC
The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a New Section:
The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a New Section
"on Robustness and Fragility"
Hardcover      ISBN: 1400063515
The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don't know, now with a new section called "On Robustness and Fragility."

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.

Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible."

For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, "On Robustness and Fragility," which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark book--itself a black swan.
Hamlet's Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
Hamlet's Blackberry
Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
Paperback      ISBN: 0061687170

"A brilliant and thoughtful handbook for the Internet age." --Bob Woodward

"Incisive ... Refreshing ... Compelling." --Publishers Weekly

A crisp, passionately argued answer to the question that everyone who's grown dependent on digital devices is asking: Where's the rest of my life? Hamlet's BlackBerry challenges the widely held assumption that the more we connect through technology, the better. It's time to strike a new balance, William Powers argues, and discover why it's also important to disconnect. Part memoir, part intellectual journey, the book draws on the technological past and great thinkers such as Shakespeare and Thoreau. "Connectedness" has been considered from an organizational and economic standpoint--from Here Comes Everybody to Wikinomics--but Powers examines it on a deep interpersonal, psychological, and emotional level. Readers of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and Outliers will relish Hamlet's BlackBerry.

Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines
Devices of the Soul
Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0596526806

"Self-forgetfulness is the reigning temptation of the technological era. This is why we so readily give our assent to the absurd proposition that a computer can add two plus two, despite the obvious fact that it can do nothing of the sort--not if we have in mind anything remotely resembling what we do when we add numbers. In the computer's case, the mechanics of addition involve no motivation, no consciousness of the task, no mobilization of the will, no metabolic activity, no imagination. And its performance brings neither the satisfaction of accomplishment nor the strengthening of practical skills and cognitive capacities."

In this insightful book, author Steve Talbott, software programmer and technical writer turned researcher and editor for The Nature Institute, challenges us to step back and take an objective look at the technology driving our lives. At a time when 65 percent of American consumers spend more time with their PCs than they do with their significant others, according to a recent study, Talbott illustrates that we're forgetting one important thing--our Selves, the human spirit from which technology stems.

Whether we're surrendering intimate details to yet another database, eschewing our physical communities for online social networks, or calculating our net worth, we freely give our power over to technology until, he says, "we arrive at a computer's-eye view of the entire world of industry, commerce, and society at large...an ever more closely woven web of programmed logic."

Digital technology certainly makes us more efficient. But when efficiency is the only goal, we have no way to know whether we're going in the right or wrong direction. Businesses replace guiding vision with a spreadsheet's bottom line. Schoolteachers are replaced by the computer's dataflow. Indigenous peoples give up traditional skills for the dazzle and ease of new gadgets. Even the Pentagon's zeal to replace "boots on the ground" with technology has led to the mess in Iraq. And on it goes.

The ultimate danger is that, in our willingness to adapt ourselves to technology, "we will descend to the level of the computational devices we have engineered--not merely imagining ever new and more sophisticated automatons, but reducing ourselves to automatons."

To transform our situation, we need to see it in a new and unaccustomed light, and that's what Talbott provides by examining the deceiving virtues of technology--how we're killing education, socializing our machines, and mechanizing our society.Once you take this eye-opening journey, you will think more clearly about how you consume technology and how you allow it to consume you.

"Nothing is as rare or sorely needed in our tech-enchanted culture right now as intelligent criticism of technology, and Steve Talbott is exactly the critic we've been waiting for: trenchant, sophisticated, and completely original. Devices of the Soul is an urgent and important book."

--Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World

"Steve Talbott is a rare voice of clarity, humanity, and passion in a world enthralled by machines and calculation. His new book, Devices of the Soul, lays out a frightening and at the same time inspiring analysis of what computers and computer-like thinking are doing to us, our children, and the future of our planet. Talbott is no Luddite. He fully understands and appreciates the stunning power of technology for both good and evil. His cool and precise skewering of the fuzzy thinking and mindless enthusiasm of the technology true believers is tempered by his modesty, the elegance of his writing, and his abiding love for the world of nature and our capacity for communion with it. "

--Edward Miller, Former editor, Harvard Education Letter

"Those who care about the healthy and wholesome lives of children can gain much from Steve Talbott's wisdom. He examines the need to help children spend more time touching nature and real life and less touching keyboards. He eloquently questions the assumption that speeding up learning is a good thing. Is, after all, a sped-up life a well-lived life? Most importantly, he reminds all of us that technology is just one part of life and ought not to overshadow the life of self and soul."

--Joan Almon, Coordinator, Alliance for Childhood

"One of the most original and provocative writers of our time, Steve Talbott offers a rich assortment of insightful reflections on the nature of our humanity, challenging our own thinking and conventional wisdom about advances in technology."

--Dorothy E. Denning, Department of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

"Are you experiencing growing unease as computational metaphors have seized our discourse? Steve Talbott offers immediate relief. You are not losing your mind Chapter after chapter, he shows how to draw on the powers of technology without losing your soul or breaking your heart."

--Peter Denning, Past President of ACM, Monterey, California

"Steve Talbott is a rare writer whose words can alter one's entire perception of the world. He is our most original and perceptive defender of the wholeness of life against the onslaught of mechanism. Devices of the Soul is written with Talbott's typical grace and clarity. It displays a quality hardly found anymore in our high tech culture--wisdom. "

--Lowell Monke, Associate Professor of Education, Wittenberg University