David Krakauer on Claude Shannon’s definition of information

[Claude] Shannon said “Look, here’s what information is. Let’s say I want to navigate from one part of the city to another, from A to B, in a car. I could just drive around randomly. It would take an awful long time to get there, but I might eventually get there. Alternatively, I could give you a map or driving…

Postbox: good info

Crikey, it’s a very long photo of a postbox – read on for some thoughts about information architecture and the Royal Mail. From a distance Everyone knows what a postbox looks like – if you’re looking for one, they’re easy to find Anyone who isn’t looking for a postbox can ignore the postbox at no cost to their time and…

Bits for atoms

We’re repainting our house – this is one of the colours about to be mixed at our local hardware shop. A small snippet of the colour catalogue looks like this: Say you needed to have five tins of each colour you sold in stock – how big a shop would you have to have to stock them all? How much…

Peter Morville on Category and Taxonomy (1)

While findability comes first, we must also remember that categories are about more than retrieval. Classification helps our users to understand. Through splitting, lumping and labeling, we reveal choices and invite questions. … Of course, all taxonomies are imperfect, as is the language they’re built on… like maps and myths, taxonomies hide more than they reveal. They bury complexity to…

The new possible

My sister (let’s call her Sharky) bought me a book for Christmas. Sharky lives in Argentina. She bought the book from a shop in the UK. I’m on holiday in a remote part of Indonesia. She bought the book, told me about it, and I was reading it, in less than ten minutes. This is the new reality – actually,…

Deep literacy: Kevin Kelly on more than reading

… producing books with ease on Gutenberg’s press did not fully unleash text. Real literacy also required a long list of innovations and techniques that permitted ordinary readers and writers to manipulate text in ways that made it useful. For instance, quotation symbols make it simple to indicate where one has borrowed text from another writer. We don’t have a…

Vectors of value

What if all of the value you created could be understood along one of three axes: time, energy (including matter, which includes information), and space. Time We create value by changing the amount of time something takes. This could be saving time, by making something happen faster. All other things being equal (an important caveat), people will pay more: To get…

(Information) literacy

Unlike “the three Rs” of reading, writing and arithmetic which are woven within the K-12 curriculum, information literacy falls through the cracks. It doesn’t fit into any one subject area, and teachers fail to include in class. And it’s an big problem, because the internet makes literacy more important, not less. When I was a kid, I had a mom,…

Intertwingled

In the era of ecosystems, seeing the big picture is more important than ever, and less likely. It’s not simply that we’re forced into little boxes by organizational silos and professional specialization. We like it in there. We feel safe. But we’re not. This is no time to stick to your knitting. We must go from boxes to arrows. Tomorrow…