Last year's first Digital Excellence Conference and Technology Fair, Dexcon2010, went by little noticed by those outside of Chicago. Yet from the preconference outreach and publicity as well as from the conference itself, it was a notable gathering for what it brought together and the local/national model that it represented, a good bookend that reaches into the new year, up to the 5th National Conference for Media Reform, set to take place in Boston in April.
For the past month or so, Open Media Boston has had the chance to play with a unique breed of netbook streamlined for web content consumption produced by Boston-based company, litl. The eponymous computer eschews many elements of traditional operating environments (including the caps lock key), presenting to users only those tools essential to browsing the web, using cloud applications, and networking easily with other litl users. The user experience is so simple that anyone's grandmother can get online with the litl, but that same simplicity will likely keep more advanced users away.
The Journal of New Organizing, "an online publication devoted to reporting and analyzing organizing practices, leadership development, and campaign innovation in the progressive community," has recently announced publication of its first issue. Found at www.neworganizing.com/jno, it's a product of the New Organizing Institute (NOI).
This week saw significant updates to two of Open Media Boston's favorite applications—Firefox and the Transmission bittorrent client—and continued development on the recently reviewed BetterTouchTool Mac multitouch utility. Read on for highlights of the most important updates.
I'm writing to let you know about a hybrid service that we've just launched. It's called ProcrasDonate and it helps people improve how they spend their time online by creating what we call a charitable incentive. That means repeated donations and relationship building for participating charities. So it's like a swear jar, but for internet addiction and online procrastination.
Our Firefox add-on which is now available for download in a limited beta.
Apple released the multitouch capable Magic Mouse back in October, but as we wrote at the time, the software that ships with the mouse barely taps its hardware's potential. It was only a matter of time before OS X software developers picked up the slack and released tools to expand on Apple's limited preferences. Here are our first impressions of two such free utilities: MagicPrefs and BetterTouchTool.
The recent short trail starts with "Technology for Social Change" — The Grassroots Use of Technology Conference X, October 16 and 17 at Northeastern University in Boston. It ends seven weeks later, on Saturday, December 5 with "Organizing 2.0 — Online Organizing in the Era of Hope" at the Murphy Institute for Worker Education in midtown Manhattan.
Following a months-long spat of constant attacks against 4chan that included spam, malicious links and disgusting child pornography, 4chan founder "Moot" unofficially called for a response against file sharing host Sharecash. 4chan users, infamous for their DDoS attacks against other prominent and powerful targets, took up the call by bringing down Sharecash's server for several hours.
With ChromeOS, Google is betting the sever farm on a new model of computing that leaves applications on web servers and trades power for ease of use and reliability. Optimized for web work and little else, ChromeOS devices will be zippy browsers. But without the ability to run native applications, ChromeOS devices may not have the necessary power and flexibility users need to produce web content. If this is the model Google sees for the Internet's future, the web will be a quiet place.