As I return from a weekend get-away spent in Oxford, I must confess to having spent my reading time in a rather geeky way – reading about how to be ‘Bit Literate’.

“Bit Literacy” is both a book title and a descriptor for being efficient in our handling of digital data. The benefits of being bit literate in some manner of speaking can apply equally to domestic and commercial situations and are mostly common sense, such as ‘never send hundreds of photographs by email’ or ‘always have a backup’. ‘Consider the user’ and ‘consider your future self’ seem to be constant reminders and motivators through the text.

In his book, Mark Hurst describes quite concisely the problems most computer users describe. His prescription is essentially a good dose of common sense, but some aspects of his book are less than obvious, and essentially involve taking the time and discipline to only use proprietary tools or filesystems (such as Microsoft Word, or pretty much any email client) when absolutely necessary, and to use simpler, more open methods such as creating and storing most textual data as ASCII .txt files from Notepad or TextEdit.

Hurst writes in a way that appears to draw more from experience and experimentation than commercially-driven bias. While some if his suggestions seem outlandish to many, I will certainly make a point to try out his methods in the coming weeks – many of them appeal to my own ideals and filekeeping methods anyway. In time, I predict I’ll be recommending all commercial organisations (my own employer included) train their staff with such methods and enforce the use thereof.

Watch this space. Thank you Mark for your informative guide.

Available in iTunes/iBooks store, with more details here:

http://bitliteracy.com/