Blog all kindle-clipped… umm… LOCATIONS!: The Diamond Age.


Mike points out that in theory that Kindle-reading should make it easier to ‘dog-ear-blog’ books and articles…

“I purchased a Kindle in late spring, and I think this has much to do with how this activity has petered out for me. Specifically, the Kindle and its good friend Instapaper have largely eaten my nonfiction reading, which means that there are no longer any pages to dog-ear. The counterintuitive part is that Kindle actually has an incredibly easy way to mark and save passages, with everything you highlight using the little joystick being dumped to a plaintext file called “My Clippings”. In theory this should make the activity much easier, but since the medium is the message and all that blah, I’m now reading entirely different stuff than I used to. I read fewer non-fiction books and more non-fiction long-form online writings, the kind of stuff that fits into Instapaper. I’m not unhappy with this change in my intake, but I do like to be a little more demonstrative with the things I’m interested in, so I’m unhappy the change in my output. If there was a way to make the Kindle pump the clippings file back out on some schedule, that would be good. Having to plug it into a computer does not cut it.”

He’s right that it could be way-more simple and seamless, But it sort of does work. Apart from the rather absurdly-specific-and-yet-hopelessly-abstract “locations” references.

I re-read Neal Stephenson‘s The Diamond Age, while working on the Mag+ concept project, and so I notice my clippings somehow reflect my preoccupations at the time…

The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 129-35 | Added on Monday, November 09, 2009, 08:08 PM

Three people were waiting. Bud took a seat and skimmed a mediatron from the coffee table; it looked exactly like a dirty, wrinkled, blank sheet of paper.“ ‘Annals of Self-Protection,’ ” he said, loud enough for everyone else in the place to hear him. The logo of his favourite meedfeed coalesced on the page. Mediaglyphics, mostly the cool animated ones, arranged themselves in a grid. Bud scanned through them until he found the one that denoted a comparison of a bunch of different stuff, and snapped at it with his fingernail. New mediaglyphics appeared, surrounding larger cine panes in which Annals staff tested several models of skull guns against live and dead targets. Bud frisbeed the mediatron back onto the table; this was the same review he’d been poring over for the last day, they hadn’t updated it, his decision was still valid.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 302-3 | Added on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 07:32 PM

It reminded him of pouring a jet of heavy cream into coffee, watching it rebound from the bottom of the cup in a turbulent fractal bloom that solidified just as it dashed against the surface.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 691-95 | Added on Thursday, November 12, 2009, 08:59 AM

A gentleman of higher rank and more far-reaching responsibilities would probably get different information written in a different way, and the top stratum of New Chusan actually got the Times on paper, printed out by a big antique press that did a run of a hundred or so, every morning at about three a.m. That the highest levels of the society received news written with ink on paper said much about the steps New Atlantis had taken to distinguish itself from other pnyles.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 733-36 | Added on Thursday, November 12, 2009, 09:03 AM

The Judge’s other gofer was a tiny little Amerasian woman wearing glasses. Hardly anyone used glasses anymore to correct their vision, and so it was a likely bet that this was actually some kind of phantascope, which let you see things that weren’t there, such as ractives. Although, when people used them for purposes other than entertainment, they used a fancier word: phenomenoscope.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 964-72 | Added on Thursday, November 12, 2009, 08:11 PM

“Is this the smart makeup?” Hackworth said, nodding at the screen. “The next step beyond,” Cotton said. “Remote-control.” “Controlled how? Yuvree?” Hackworth said, meaning Universal Voice Recognition Interface. “A specialised variant thereof, yes sir,” Cotton said. Then, lowering his voice, “Word has it they considered makeup with nanoreceptors for galvanic skin response, pulse, respiration, and so on, so that it would respond to the wearer’s emotional state. This superficial, need I say it, cosmetic issue concealed an undertow that pulled them out into deep and turbulent philosophical waters—” “What? Philosophy of makeup?” “Think about it, Mr. Hackworth—is the function of makeup to respond to one’s emotions—or precisely not to do so?” “These waters are already over my head,” Hackworth admitted.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 1162-66 | Added on Sunday, November 15, 2009, 02:41 PM

The universe was a disorderly mess, the only interesting bits being the organised anomalies. Hackworth had once taken his family out rowing on the pond in the park, and the ends of the yellow oars spun off compact vortices, and Fiona, who had taught herself the physics of liquids through numerous experimental beverage spills and in the bathtub, demanded an explanation for these holes in water. She leaned over the gunwale, Gwendolyn holding the sash of her dress, and felt those vortices with her hands, wanting to understand them. The rest of the pond, simply water in no particular order, was uninteresting.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 1166-71 | Added on Sunday, November 15, 2009, 02:41 PM

We ignore the blackness of outer space and pay attention to the stars, especially if they seem to order themselves into constellations. “Common as the air” meant something worthless, but Hackworth knew that every breath of air that Fiona drew, lying in her little bed at night, just a silver glow in the moonlight, was used by her body to make skin and hair and bones. The air became Fiona, and deserving—no, demanding—of love. Ordering matter was the sole endeavour of Life, whether it was a jumble of self-replicating molecules in the primordial ocean, or a steam-powered English mill turning weeds into clothing, or Fiona lying in her bed turning air into Fiona.
The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
– Highlight Loc. 6435-44 | Added on Monday, November 30, 2009, 08:41 PM

“I think I will choose to interpret your question as part of a Socratic dialogue for my edification,” Carl Hollywood said carefully, “and not as an allegation of insincerity on my part. As a matter of fact, just before I encountered you, I was enjoying my cigar, and looking about at London, and thinking about just how well it all suits me.” “It suits you well because you are of a certain age now. You are a successful and established artist. The ragged bohemian life holds no charm for you anymore. But would you have reached your current position if you had not lived that life when you were younger?” “Now that you put it that way,” Carl said, “I agree that we might try to make some provision, in the future, for young bohemians—” “It wouldn’t work,” Finkle-McGraw said. “I’ve been thinking about this for years. I had the same idea: Set up a sort of young artistic bohemian theme park, sprinkled around in all the major cities, where young New Atlantans who were so inclined could congregate and be subversive when they were in the mood. The whole idea was self-contradictory. Mr. Hollywood, I have devoted much effort, during the last decade or so, to the systematic encouragement of subversiveness.”

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  1. “pnyles”? Really? That raises an interesting bevy of questions right there, that does.

  2. rodcorp said:

    It’s always risky revisiting those locations that seemed special. I re-read it a few months ago too, and 15 years on I found that his world-making was still magical, his torrent of ideas still good, but was surprised to discover that the plot – the quality of the writing really – had sagged.

  3. Stefan said:

    Hey! I’m currently reading “Mobile Interaction Design” in our course about Prototyping at the University of Stockholm. Just wanted to say thanks for a great piece of litterature! Usually the course litterature is boring and written in an over-complicated formal way, but your (And Marsdens’) book is both entertaining and interesting as well as a fairly easy read. So thanks for a great book and the knowledge it has given me 🙂


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