Monthly Archives: May 2011

National Jukebox


In what seems to be a daunting task of converting over 10,000 (and counting) 78 rpm disks in to digital audio, the Library of Congress has recently released the National Jukebox, a project which lets users listen to music from the beginning of 20th century (free of charge).

The digitized records are part of the Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and include tracks by Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, renditions of classical music by Bach, Prince (no, not that one which you can’t name – this one is Charles Adams Prince), genres spanning from blues to yodeling, and many more musical pieces and artists.

Users can create playlists with their favorite music and

The website also features and interactive rendering of the Victrola Book of Opera, with synopsis of renowned operas, zoomable content, and links to audio from the National Jukebox.

Another interesting feature on the National Jukebox is the Jukebox Day by Day section which allows visitors to search for music recorded on any given day, as the organizers put it:

“See what was recorded on any given day of the year. Check your birthday, an anniversary, or any other month and day of interest.”







The Web as a Channel for Bad Attitude

Bad attitude is an euphemism compared to the hatred we’ve seen trending on the Web. Has anyone conducted a comprehensive study on this yet?

To mention a couple of examples below, I’ll use news/comments from two tech blogs I follow on Facebook.

Mashable posted this article calling people to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan using social media. On their Facebook page you could already see that, no matter what the intentions, the cynical ones will always show up with offensive or unfounded comments.:

A user comments: “Looks like Mashable is “leveraging” the tornados to help its blog.” And he adds later in reply to another user: “I hate to be cynical but you do understand that the reason they do that is to show up on google searches and to gain traffic, right?”

The Mashable writer replies: “(…) I posted this hoping to get some help for these people. Sorry if the more cynical people think otherwise.”

My short response to this (not get on a rant) is something like this: “Cynicism is a problem in social media. People seem to hide behind anonymity or a sense of disconnect the Web affords them to be down right rude and limitless in what they say to offend others… The sad part is that in ‘real life’ (face to face) they might the ones preaching tolerance…”

A similar example happened in the week of the Royal Wedding in Britain. TechCrunch posted a question on their Facebook page: “Did you watch the Royal Wedding online? Yes/No/Didn’t care.

A user responds: “No, why would I? Didn’t we fight a war once so we wouldn’t have to put up with people like that…?”

Here’s another response: “I can’t believe you asked that. I was so impressed that you were among the few who hadn’t brought the s* up.”

Someone with some common sense in them replies: “I LOVE how enough people didn’t care, cared enough to post “didn’t care” … Hypocrites!!!!”

Again, my simple response: “Not that I care much about the royal wedding, but it is an event that millions have probably watched online. TechCrunch cover Web technology, right? So, I don’t understand the rude comments to ‘why TechCrunch is wasting your time with such question.’ The sense of disconnect thanks people see on the Web (anonymity being part of it) turns them easily into rude “haters” that will say things to people they workday otherwise say if face-to-face with them. The Web can be a place for sad behavior sometimes… :(”

These are just a few “light” examples of the types of discussions and bad attitude we see everyday on the Web. But I’d really like to understand why people behave like this online.

Have you experienced/seen this type of behavior online? What’s the anthropological explanation for this?


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