Friday News: Pew’s Web IQ quiz and report, Barnes & Noble divorces Microsoft, Slate’s best books, and William Gibson reads Neuromancer
What Internet Users Know about Technology and the Web – A very interesting Web IQ of Americans report from Pew Internet, which includes a quiz to test your own Web IQ. The results from the report sample suggest that while the majority of respondents could identify terms associated with daily internet use, the history of related technologies and foundational concepts are much less familiar to Americans. Also, the quiz is kind of fun. I got two questions wrong – how did you do?
American internet users’ knowledge of the modern technology landscape varies widely across a range of topics, according to a new knowledge quiz conducted by the Pew Research Center as part of its ongoing series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. To take the quiz for yourself before reading the full report, click here.
The survey—which was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,066 internet users—includes 17 questions on a range of issues related to technology, including: the meaning and usage of common online terms; recognition of famous tech figures; the history of some major technological advances; and the underlying structure of the internet and other technologies. –Pew Internet
Barnes & Noble Shares Drop After Ending Nook Deal With Microsoft – So Barnes and Noble experienced a significant (10%) drop in stock prices when it announced the end of its relationship with Microsoft on the Nook. Apparently B&N still plans to spin Nook off next year, and the company as a whole seems to be doing better than Nook is doing. Second quarter revenue topped out at $1.69 billion and sales were down 2.7% as compared to last year’s results. Textbook and retail store sales (physical books and other merchandise) are on the rise, at least.
“Today’s announcement on the restructuring of the Nook Media agreements will enable the company to further rationalize the Nook business and provide a clearer path for the potential separation of our retail and Nook Media businesses,” Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby said in a statement Thursday.
In an SEC filing also released Thursday morning, Barnes & Noble said that it will pay $62.4 million in cash and 2.7 million shares of its stock in order to buy out Microsoft’s stake in Nook. –Forbes
The Top 10 Books of the Year – Despite my wariness of Slate’s attempts at journalism, I can’t help but be excited about the fact that their top ten books of 2014 have all been authored by women. From Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? to The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, it’s a pretty interesting list, overall. –Slate
William Gibson Reads Neuromancer, His Cyberpunk-Defining Novel (1994) – William Gibson’s Neuromancer remains one of my very favorite works of science fiction, and even though it’s 20 years old this year, I think its originality is still strikingly evident. Check out this excerpt that Gibson reads himself. And if you don’t already follow him in Twitter, check him out at @GreatDismal – yes he’s tweeting as an author, but his interests are broad, his knowledge deep, and his tweet stream is really interesting.
With 1984’s Neuromancer, William Gibson may not have invented cyberpunk, but he certainly crystallized it. The novel exemplifies the tradition’s mandate to bring together “high tech and low life,” or, in the words of Gibson himself, to explore what “any given science-fiction favorite would look like if we could crank up the resolution.” It may have its direct predecessors, but Gibson’s tale of hackers, street samurai, conspiracists, and shadowy artificial intelligences against virtual reality, dystopian urban Japan, and a variety of other international and technological backdrops remains not just archetypal but, unusually for older technology-oriented fiction, exciting. Now you can not only read Gibson’s cyberpunk-defining words, but hear them in Gibson’s voice: a 1994 abridged edition, released only on cassette tapes and now long out of print, resides in MP3 form online here . –Open Culture
I got 9 out of 12. I wasn’t exactly shocked by the three I got wrong. (I know jack about technology, I’m not on Facebook, and I used a text browser until the late 90s)
I got 8 out of 12, so not as much of a luddite as I thought. Even after googling it, I still dont quite get the difference between the internet and world wide web.
@CG: Here’s my simplified version of the Internet vs the World Wide Web (WWW)–the Internet is the connection of computers and the WWW is the content distributed by the computers. You can’t have the WWW without the Internet but you can have the Internet without the WWW
I got 9 out of 12. A couple were lucky guesses, but I also second guessed myself out of one correct answer I actually new, so I guess it works out.
@CG – I agree with KatieF and I’d add that the web is any content you can read / view using a browser.
I only got 9 out of 12 and I’m an IT manager. I don’t think the pictures of tech leaders are relevant questions to internet knowledge, though I obviously got more than the pictures wrong.
the quiz was fun. 11 out of 12 (i thought the first browser was netscape). ok, now off to read what they’re doing with the results, if anything!
I got 10/12. I don’t think not knowing the year the iPhone came out or the university where Facebook started indicates much about my technical knowledge.
@KatieF: Ah ha! That makes much more sense. Thanks.
The two I missed were iPhone year (I guessed 2009) and first search engine (I guessed Netscape wondering if it was Opera or Mosaic).
Yay! 10 out of 12 (Facebook/University wrong).
Also 8 of 12 – but I’m also kind of questioning the “name the person in the photos” one. Look at how many years we’ve seen publicity photos of the male tech industry figure, and the female tech industry figure – well, many of those women haven’t been around as long. Heh, on the first browser I wasn’t sure and went with the first one I used, and oops apparently there was an earlier one. And it’s a total accident I got the iphone right because I’m awful with dates.
The quiz didn’t geek out too much on history – before the www there was a lot of fun nerd info tucked around the place, thanks to the military. I remember using FTP to read stuff from the military’s White Sands archive (yes, at the the missile base). Which sounds all hackery now, but I was getting copies of stuff like plot info for Red Dwarf episodes, MST3K quotes, and Shakespearean plays. (More on all that at wikipedia under en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simtel ). If you studied tv and pop culture this sort of archive was great stuff.
@CG: Emails are delivered via the internet but not published on the www.
I’m going with that depends. If you’re using something like Thunderbird, an email program, then that’s correct. If you’re using webmail, then you would be seeing your email on the www.
In general: if you’re using a browser you’re on the www. In the old days (and depending on what you’re doing you may still) you used FTP to send files from one computer to another that would be internet. If you’re using webmail then your email is on the www, but if you’re using an email program it’s just going over the internet.
I think, the Skype app would be a way of chatting over the internet, but not using the www. And possibly, Netflix menu screens would be www, but the actual video would be internet.
I’m amazed I got 10 out of twelve! Moore’s Law and search engine were the two I got wrong.
I was like…..”who’s Moore?”.
10/12 – I have never even heard of Mosaic…
I actually knew that Mosaic was the first graphical web browser, but I got it wrong because I was confused by the wording – I think Netscape was much more popular than Mosaic ever was. (And I was sorry they didn’t ask about ARPANET or Tim Berners-Lee, because how often do I get to use my knowledge about the history of the web?)
I even know that Mosaic was developed at U of Illinois Urbana/Champagne and that Marc Andreessen was involved in the project – it was a bit of a scandal when he started Netscape to produce a similar commercial browser. But that’s probably because I went to U of I Chicago in the mid 90s and I’m a bit of a history nerd. I still remember making my first web page ever while I was at UIC, holding my breath and viewing it on Mosaic – my professor insisted on running Mosaic and not Netscape in the design computer lab.
I think it’s not a very well written quiz – but honestly, I think most Internet quizzes (and most quizzes in general, including the one’s I’ve made) are poorly written. Quiz writing is a tricky, undervalued art.
9 out of 10 (I would call the www a subset of the internet so I thought the first question was not well asked) which is a little embarassing for a developer.
I guessed a woman’s name and got 12/12. How is putting names on those photos relevant to Web IQ again?