Steven Johnson Strikes Again

I'll take a quick second to point to an extremely important article by Steven Johnson. Why is it so important? Because in the digital/intellectual property conversations, in which so much debate over control is at stake, attention is rarely paid to media other than music and movies. But Johnson highlights another "invisible" form of control with Apple's new iPad (and not Kindle). Succintly, the iPad does not allow you to cut and paste material--or, in the case of online publications, to even select and highlight text.

What I appreciate about Johnson's article is that he doesn't oppose such a limitation in contemporary, digital terms, but rather in a far more classical matter. He connects the practice of cutting and pasting to the Enlightenment practice of the commonplace book: a running collection of interesting, inspiring, or important material from which to draw. I do this myself with a number of technologies--this blog, delicious, facebook, and even evernote. Technology should make this practice easier--but we can see how reactionary concerns over intellectual property are leading to design/technology decisions that impinge upon this potential.

Now I have even more reasons not to buy an iPad.

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