The European: Recently, there’s been a rise in the popularity of software tools which simplify the online experience – such as Instapaper or fullscreen apps – all of which leverage the effect you described by emulating the printed page or the typewriter. They block out distractions and rather let the user stare at the plain text or the blinking cursor.

Carr: I am encouraged by services such as Instapaper, Readability or Freedom – applications that are designed to make us more attentive when using the internet. It is a good sign because it shows that some people are concerned about this and sense that they are no longer in control of their attention. Of course there’s an irony in looking for solutions in the same technology that keeps us distracted.

I’d say it’s no more ironic than the fact that the attention-scattering, overstimulating technology Carr keeps banging on about was created by the “sustained, focused, linear” kind of thinking that he praises, in service to an economic system which just so happens to be far more fundamental of an issue for anyone who wants to understand why no one has the time or inclination to sit around reflecting and contemplating anymore. Ah, well, let’s just add it to the burgeoning “why do people take this twit seriously” file.