- From the Monkey Cage: Italy just voted for two very different kinds of populism
- The botrnot package for the R language: Which world leaders are actually bots? (Use your own judgment)
- Science community blogs: recognising value and measuring reach
- Germany being Germany (or Bavaria?): German minister under fire for no women in leadership team
- 11 Brexit promises the government quietly dropped. Well, “promise” was probably too strong a word. More like intentions. Out-of-the-box thinking etc.
Feedreaders as a species were mostly extinct by Reader’s advent in 2005. Synchronisation in the cloud is a killer feature when you are reading on more than a single device, but Reader was also fast and never missed an item (because it pulls feeds centrally and continually), and had early social sharing features and content suggestions. That’s why most people are now looking for cloud-based replacements like the Old Reader.
At the margins of the nerdosphere, however, people kept muttering about Tiny Tiny RSS (ttrss), which is an odd-beast: an open source online RSS reader. Since spring is not coming this year, I decided to give it a spin. Somewhat surprisingly, I like it rather well.
ttrss requires that you have access to a webserver with PHP and a SQL demon. I installed it on my office machine, which is almost constantly online, but these days, you can probably build your own cloud on a Raspberry Pi that you attach to your router. Installation was mostly painless. Once installed, ttrss looks not too different from Reader and almost feels like a desktop application (with lots of keyboard shortcuts – good!). It is somewhat sparsely documented, but importing my feeds was no big deal, and as a proof of concept, I quickly managed to set up a filter that collects all items mentioning Cyprus. Like Reader, it monitors my feeds continuously, so if I really want to catch up with a feed that I have ignored for a month or two, I have the complete backlog. There are more goodies under the hood, I suppose. Phones and tablets are supported out of the box, but there is an even better webapp available here that needs to be installed separately.
Just for the fun of it, I then installed newsbeuter, which claims to be the Mutt of RSS readers. If that statement does not make sense to you, newsbeuter is probably not right for you. It is the antithesis to those apps that turn feeds into a pages that could be taken from glossy magazine. It lives in the text-based world of the console, is keyboard driven and blindingly fast. It has macros and its own language for filters. And its newer versions happily sync with ttRSS, so that I can casually read on the phone or the tablet, and slash through hundreds of feeds on the laptop or the office machine.
I’m not sure if I will stick with this slightly geeky setup. I like the way feedly and flipboard integrate social signals, but the echo chamber effect is quite pronounced. In ye olden days, I thought nothing of running my own mail server. Perhaps it’s time to get off that pampered cloud.
As always, you can follow us on facebook, on twitter (hashtags #ecprjs2013 and #ecpr), on this blog, or simply via the conference website. If you know someone who is going to the conference yet is blissfully unaware of this whole social media shebang, be a chap and pass on the word.
While this is a scientific debate, the internet has of course exploded. I’m not sure how far we can trust the wisdom of the crowd, but it would seem that even the introduction bears an uncanny resemblance with some old editorials and even an essay by an anonymous student, all readily available online. That looks very bad.
But do normal people care? How can you explain that copying text verbatim is very bad while copying text verbatim and adding a name, a year and a page is absolutely ok? How can you explain that rephrasing someone else’s ideas and adding a name, year and page is even better?
Another, not totally unrelated question: If the rules of academia are so opaque to normal people, why is so much social status attached to a doctorate? Why should people who have no ambition to do research (inside or outside academia) strive for a higher degree?
At any rate, zu Guttenberg has done a lot of harm to German science: too many of us have already wasted too much of our time, er, researching the affair on facebook and twitter instead of producing stuff that could at least potentially be plagiarised.
- German ‘plagiarism’ minister Guttenberg drops doctorate (nowpublic.com)
- German minister given deadline in plagiarism row (telegraph.co.uk)