Issues of Using Digital Documents in Social Research

A brief outline of my project ‘Digital Culture Industry: A History of Digital Distribution’ and some of the issues I faced when using ‘Digital Documents’ for my research. It’s a bit of a shallow overview of the issues and I’m hoping to get my working paper on the same topic buffed up (massively overhauled) in the next few months.

My Book is Out Now!

Book cover: Digital Culture IndustryDigital Culture Industry:
A History of Digital Distribution

I’m very happy to announce that my book is finally out with Palgrave Macmillan.

If you’re interested in the history of peer-to-peer piracy and how it shaped digital media today this is the book for you. Covering, Napster, GNUtella, Kazaa, Streamcast, Grokster, BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay this comprehensive history is a great read for anyone interested in the field of digital media.

….if I do say so myself.

For a more comprehensive overview of the book head over to the book page where you can see reviews and chapter summaries.

There was a lot of research that went into the book, and a lot of resources to boot. If you’d like to see some of the things I made related to the book head over to this blog post and also take a look at the resources.

Available now from…


OrgCon 2012: Be There or Be relatively disadvantaged in your knowledge of orgcon…

Snappy Title Ahoy!

Yes I shall be attending OrgCon 2012; the shindig put on by The Open Rights Group to discuss many important issues in the sphere of digital rights. If you are able to get to London with relative ease I thoroughly encourage attendance. The primary benefits involve hanging around in the general vicinity of the rather excellent Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow and other well credentialed individuals. Clearly it is the Tech-and-Civil-Liberties-Nerd event of the year so get to it!

Get your tickets here
If you’ve ever paid for an academic conference you will find the prices pleasantly surprising.

Historical Research Online – Prezi

I had a few requests for access to the presentation I used to deliver my paper at the OII Symposium last week; so here it is in its wizzy glory.

You can use the arrow keys to move back and forth through the set path (the structured way) but also drag around to make your own way through it. Also if you go to ‘More’ you can go full-screen for better viewing.


A Future of the E-Book?

So a friend on Facebook was asking for ideas for an illustration project. Their task was to draw the future of e-books. I had a small brainwave and thought it an interesting idea. Here’s what I posted.

How about an actual book, cover, pages, spine, etc, except all the surfaces are e-ink. It can store all your books and if you want to read one you load it up and it populates all the pages and the covers appropriately. That way you get the tactile experiential element of holding the book and turning the pages, but the convenience of only carrying one item whilst having thousands of texts.

Often I hear discussions about books being objects that we often will connect with on an emotional level, and that their physicality is part of their appeal, something we are losing with the Kindle. Perhaps this design would help to retain some of the lineage of the book for us.

Just a thought.

Macbook Pro Fan Clicking: Possible Solution

** Update – 12th September 2013 – In the interests of full disclosure I should say that though this solution cleared up my clicking fan problem for a few months, I eventually took the laptop to get the fan replaced. The ball bearings were shot somehow and no amount of fan revving was going to fix it. It was under Apple-Care and was handled with no fuss.**

Those of you that follow this blog regularly (ha, I have delusions of grandeur) will probably have no interest in this post. Yes I know I haven’t written anything for months, but life has been rather busy. When I next get angry about something digital culture related I’ll get back to it.

For now this is just a note that I hope might save some people some time and stress.

This morning I found the left fan in my new Macbook Pro (specifically mid-2010 unibody, but may work for other models) was making a low clicking noise. The feeling of dread kicked in as I expected to be driving over to the local service shop and losing my laptop to the bowels of their workshop for a week. I realise that a clicking fan isn’t that big a deal for some, but when a computer is new (and as overpriced as Apple’s are) you expect a degree of perfection.

Anyway, a quick Google search brought about some DIY answers.

1. Blasting the fan vents with compressed air. I’ve never used compressed air before due to horror stories of the pressurising liquid in some cans spraying out all over your nice shiny silicon. Also one individual who tried this found that during the blasting their laptop made a distinct cracking noise…. not good. Keep away.

2. Open up your Macbook (doesn’t void warranty as long as you’re careful, you’re allowed to open it for harddrive and RAM replacements) and clean and re-grease the fan. I’m not averse to cracking open laptops, done it plenty of times before, but I was hesitant that I should be the one cracking open a brand new laptop and I wasn’t too confident that I wouldn’t end up accidentally greasing up more than the fan. Guide is here if interested.

3. So my SOLUTION which WORKED, for those of you screaming ‘Save me from the clicking!’ is this. I grabbed smcFanControl and used it to force the fans up to full speed, left it running for 30 seconds and then let the speed drop again, result, clicking is gone, leaving me to conclude that it was probably a hair or bit of dust gunking up the fan blades. Laptop is redeemed, my laptop hygiene standards are not.

This may not work for you but try it before submitting to the service shop where time stands still.

Disclaimer: Obviously you do this at your own risk. Also don’t feed the laptop after midnight.


Gary Hall’s Pirate Philosophy

Just a quick one.

Recently Prof. Gary Hall of Coventry released an article ‘Pirate Philosophy: Open Access, open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media’ via BitTorrent. The original torrent file utilises The Pirate Bay’s tracker, the future of which is uncertain at the moment. I’ve resubmitted the torrent utilising the Open BitTorrent Tracker.

You can grab the torrent from MiniNova.