by Stephen Downes
Mar 05, 2015
Om Malik interviews Jenna Wortham. I wasn't sure I'd like it because I'm a bit indifferent to Malik (and the early name-dropping and depiction of his subject as "sassy" didn't help). But it's a good conversation and they go into some depth into what's happening at least in the U.S. version of the internet (I can't imagine "everyone has a bedroom just like mine" really being a global phenomenon). And there's a good glimpse of how a younger generation views a world in turmoil despite the promises of people like the editors at Wired, her former employer. "The bubble has popped. Not the tech bubble, but this idea that we live in this techno-utopian-post-racial world. That’s deflating, and we’re quickly realizing that yeah, the problems we face run a lot deeper and are going to be a lot harder to change." Jenna Wortham is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine.
People Have the Star Trek Computer Backwards
This is a great reconstruction of just what exactly is going on with the computers on Star Trek (the original series). "The Star Trek computer, at least in the 1960s, was not ahead of its time, but *of* its time. It lacked the vision to see even five years into the future... There’s no keyboard because there is no text, anywhere, on any computer on the Enterprise to edit... Why? Because computers were for math, stupid!"
4 Reasons You Don’t Have an E-Learning Portfolio
Flirting W/ Elearning,
Interesting perspective on why people don't have or use e-learning technology like e-learning portfolios. So why wouldn't you post your best work online? Here are the four reasons:
- You're too busy
- You don't have any experience
- You don't have any e-learning software
- You signed an NDA
The author argues that none of these reasons really stands the test of intent. If you wanted to share, you'd be sharing.
To Get Big, Start Really Small
The Discipline of Innovation,
I think this post is a classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc - "after this therefore because of this". Here's the argument: "Google didn’t start out by organising the world’s information. Google started out as a way to make searching the Stanford Library easier.... Facebook didn’t start out aiming to connect everyone in the world... It started out as a way for Harvard students to hook up." But if we take these stories seriously, the best we can conclude is that these services became giants by accident. Which is partly what happened. But what also happened is that, while they were small, they developed some very big ideas. I still remember the Google beta, when the Google Logo was still written in crayon. Already at that point they intended to organize the world's information (you get a sense of this reading some of the company's early press). The message of the story should be: to get big, dream big.
Rules, Attribution, and Doing The Right Thing
I have to say I'm completely on board with the sentiments expressed in this post from Alan Levine. He writes, "Attribution not just about following rules and avoiding getting in trouble for copyright, it’s about paying forward the act of sharing content freely." Every single one of the 36,000 or so posts on this site attributes an author and a website, not because it's "required" but because it's the right thing to do. And that, to me, is the problem with rules - they rarely aid people in right conduct, but instead merely become the source of loopholes less scrupulous people can hide behind. (Note that unless otherwise stated, the source of the images on this site are the posts to which they are attached and credited.)
Swearing in conference presentations works!
Donald Clark Plan B,
Donald Clark defends the use of swear words and expressions in conference presentations (language warning, not surprisingly). This is also common in various online publications - I frequently see items that would otherwise be good reading except for the irrelevant eruption of an expletive mid-story. And I challenge the claim that it's more effective. I never swear, nor do I litter my online writing with swear words or similarly lazy aphorisms or innuendos. And yet - arguably - it is just as effective as Donal Clark's. Maybe more so. And my own take is that, if your message is improved by swearing, you should maybe examine the weakness in the message, rather than praise the strength in the swearing.
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