[Amazon](http://amazon.com) has disrupted the normally elegant landing page experience to get you what you want fast to share some horn blowing on their part. And the information must be disinhartitning to any competitors or even to those who aspire to these standards. Continue reading Amazon sets new bars for customer-centricity
The flood of information that is coming through our personal data buses is increasing all the time. I came across a couple of comparative statistics the other day that blew me away, and I wonder if we are all foolishly ignoring that data deluge and betting on algorithms to save the day. Continue reading Verbosity and algorithmic defences
I have long been a critic of the [academic publishing industry](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/25/british-libraries-are-prepared-to-forgo-elsevier-and-wiley-big-deal-subs-if-terms-not-right/) and the increasing costs for getting, mainly, publicly funded research out to peer-review and the wider scholarly community. And to be sure, there is more malaise in the total system than just the publishers. There is also the push to “publish or die” and the growing pressure to “publish and engage with the digital world.” But a recent call by a very accomplished academic at Cambridge has lit a fire in the heather, and there is a line of villagers armed with pitchforks heading up to the Elsevier castle. Continue reading Call to boycott Elsevier gaining steam
I found a [very nice site](http://bit.ly/xPWCpi) that acts as a hub for an extensive number of industries, detailing trade magazines, white papers, downloads and *podcasts* by sector. It is webified so is searchable by keyword and can allow you to consume updates as *rss*. I’m countint 23 industry sectors, ranging from *Agriculture* to *Utility and Energy*, including *Life Sciences*, *Education*, *Healthcare* and *Finance*.
So, the breadth of the curation is good, and there is a clear amount of energy being placed into it by the staff, but they fail to make some simple integrations that would make the resource Web 2.0. When you click through to a particular resource you are exported out to the host site (in at least the cases that I tested) where you are challenged by another information gathering process. Why not simply create a single profile and home it on the hub site, and push that information across to the next site as a roaming profile. There are plenty of to do this, e.g, [openid](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenID), [hCard](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HCard), or there is the upcoming [Windows 8](http://www.geek.com/articles/news/windows-8-cloud-powered-roaming-user-profiles-revealed-20110427/) to act as a target for what a large percentage of the public should be able to leverage soon enough.
While I appreciate the efforts gone into by the hub, you can clearly see the tensions of each organization to get what they need out of the experience of the user accessing the site, namely, *their marketing information*. And while I’m certain that those marketing people need that data to sustain themselves, it is not *user-centric* in its approach. It adds clicks (keyboard as well as mouse!) making it onerous.
Apollo Group runs the University of Phoenix, a for-profit that is [taking huge growth](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/27/for-profit-he-costs-surpassed-non-profit-he-costs-for-students/) in the US HE sector, has [announced](http://www.carnegielearning.com/press-room/press-releases/2011-08-02-apollo-group-to-acquire-carnegie-learning/) that it is paying $75 Million to Carnegie Mellon’s Carnegie Learning, formed by researchers at the university in 1998. A very nice pay-off. And Apollo is clearly looking to expand into further math skills remediation in a growing market segment. Continue reading Apollo Group buys Carnegie Learning for $75M
A [useful article](http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/08/02/essay_calls_on_academics_to_use_their_fair_use_rights) which gives some basic education for *fair use* in academic and commercial settings. Academics potentially enjoy some of the greatest benefits of U.S. copyright law’s doctrine of fair use — which lets them use copyrighted material without permission or payment, under some circumstances. Continue reading Fair Use Principles
I wrote about some [British Universities](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/25/british-libraries-are-prepared-to-forgo-elsevier-and-wiley-big-deal-subs-if-terms-not-right/) taking a stand against two of the big deals from academic publishers and how their proposed hikes in rates were breaking the system. Now the group has developed and released [a tool](http://www.rluk.ac.uk/content/press-release-rluk-develops-journal-subscription-analysis-tool) that will evaluate the cost / benefit ratio of the deals offered vs. a return to title-by-title access to these documents. Continue reading British University Libraries tooling up for publishing evaluation
I [first wrote](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/20/mit-cracker-arrested-trying-to-download-millions-of-jstor-articles/) about Aaron Schwartz when it went public about what he was alleged to have done, and [again](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/22/sympathy-protests-for-aaron-swartz-against-jstor/) with protests against his arrest and Aaron’s own writings about his cause. Now more information is coming out and it seems that there is more strong support forming for the cause. The [Chronicle](http://chronicle.com/article/Rogue-Downloaders-Arrest/128439/) has a very good article on the subject, with quotes from different sides. What seems apparent is that all of the sides, save JSTOR and the administration, but including the faculty at MIT, as regarding the inclusion of the US Secret Service as rather heavy handed, especially when this is a clearly a case of activism and information that is all out of copyright. Continue reading Aaron Schwartz rough handedness from Feds at behest of MIT raising alarm bells
[DuckDuckGo](http://donttrack.us/) has a well worthwhile explanation of what is going on that any heavy user of internet traffic who is privacy minded, or even privacy curious, should read. The fact that these profiles are being sold to the likes of insurance companies is *outrageous*. The link also displays some helpful tools to add to your browser toolbox to combat it. I want to delve a bit into another one not on the site. Continue reading Tracking in your browser with site cookies, how to monitor, how to stop it
[The UK Government recently committed to more open data](http://consulting.talis.com/2011/07/uk-government-commits-to-more-open-data/) when David Cameron announced the broadening of the publicly available government data with the publishing of key data on the National Health Service, schools, criminal courts and transport. This is a huge boon to anyone wanting to build intelligent apps that are data driven to allow for intelligent analysis of government actions and programmes. Continue reading OpenData for UK Government pushing Semantic Web development for government transparency