Spark 115 - May 30 & June 1, 2010

On this episode of Spark: Text 2.0, reputation management, and Facebook privacy. To listen to the whole show,  download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

Text 2.0


A book is a great technology, isn't it? Words on a page open up a world of imagination and ideas.  But what if the experience of reading could be more dynamic? What if text knew how it was being read?

Ralf Biedert is with the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence. He's working on a project called Text 2.0, technology that tracks your eye movements while you read. (Runs 7:35)

Paper maps vs. GPS navigation


Nora goes for a GPS-assisted bicycle ride, only to learn that in some instances, paper maps can be more effective than GPS navigation systems. According to research by Toru Ishikawa at the University of Toyko, "GPS users traveled longer distances and made more stops during the walk than map users." (Runs 5:46)

A technological roadtrip


Summer's coming up, and that means the return of a long-standing North American pastime: the summer road trip. There's always been a sense of adventure when driving out into the great unknown. And much of the classic road trip is all about staring at the yellow line in the middle of the asphalt for hours and making up your own fun. But what happens when technology starts to change that?

Mathew Katz is a Canadian reporter living in Carbondale, Colorado, and he recently took a different kind of road trip -- one with constant web access. (Runs 6:03)

Reputation management and social media


If you worry about your younger relatives oversharing on social networking sites, a new study says they're probably doing a better job of monitoring their online reputation than you are.

This week, The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report that looks at reputation management and social media, how people monitor their identity and also search for others online. Nora talked to the lead author of the report, Mary Madden. (Runs 9:34)

Facebook changes its privacy settings


This week,  Mark Zuckerberg announced changes to Facebook's privacy settings. To find out more about the changes, and to get a response to recent concerns about Facebook and privacy, Nora talked to Debbie Frost, Director of International Communications and Public Policy at Facebook. (Runs 11:10)

The rest saving the west


Technologies have context, and design solutions only make sense when you understand the social context they're in.

Recently, interaction designer Carolina Vallejo created a project called Design for the First World: The Rest Saving the West. Designers from the developing world help the developing world with its problems -- low birth rate and an ageing population, obesity, integration of immigrant populations, and commercialism. (Runs 5:02)

Episode Details

Music and sound effects used in this episode: You can receive Spark automatically by subscribing to any of our totally free podcast feeds: For more information (and instructions) visit [Original images by Manitoba Historical Maps, Mi Pah, Dx1W, fhashemi]


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