We've been talking about information overload for a long
time -- the Gutenberg era was characterized by a panic over all the damned books all over the place, but even Ecclesiastes is worried about infoglut:
Complaints about information overload, usually couched in terms of the overabundance of books, have a long history -- reaching back to Ecclesiastes 12:12 ("of making books there is no end," probably from the 4th or 3d century BC). The ancient moralist Seneca complained that "the abundance of books is distraction" in the 1st century AD, and there have been other info-booms from time to time -- the building of the Library of Alexandria in the 3d century BC, or the development of newspapers starting in the 18th century.
Information overload, the early years
But what happened in the Renaissance was, like digital technology in our own time, transformative. It took overload to an entirely new order of magnitude. Up to this point, every existing book had been copied by hand -- a task that could easily take one copyist a year or more. Books were expensive commodities, most often produced on commission and paid for in advance. The great medieval libraries accumulated manuscripts by the hundreds, but few people ever had access to that many books.
The printing press changed that. First developed around 1453, the new technology invented by Gutenberg had moved beyond the experimental phase by 1480 and spread to some two dozen major urban centers, with many other short-lived presses in operation. Contemporaries at first raved about the great speed with which books could be printed, and also about the drop in price -- by 80 percent on one contemporary's estimate in 1468.
(via Making Light
(Image: Engraving of printer using the early Gutenberg letter press during the 15th century, Wikimedia Commons)
Read Elspeth Reeve’s fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the “secret lives” of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made. It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it. Then it happened. […]
Tanner Stokes of Herp Derp fame has done it again. He invented what we have all longed for, since the internet began: an effective way to shut people up. “Plasma ball destroys the web.” Yes, friends, Tanner’s latest creation is the answer to unfriendly YouTube comments, harassing or abusive Facebook posts, douchey viral ads, you […]
These delightful images were created to celebrate an annual food and culture festival in Brazil.
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]