The future of computing
I truly believe the future of computing is ultra mobile with always on wireless broadband. Pervasive and wearable computing devices may not even be thought of as computers. This is what it may be like.
Archive for the ‘The World Is Flat’ Category
The future of computing
A polyglot public letter writer in Ho Chi Minh City bridges different worlds — connecting people across the planet with his fountain pen. His profession may be dying, but in his 60 years on the job, he has created many marriages.
It’s interesting to see how with all the talk about post-literate societies, there are still pre-literate “vestiges” out there. Vestiges in this case would mean “most of the world” but when doesn’t it anymore?
On one hand and on the other hand
This video from MoveOn.org talks about the planned escalation of the Iraq war. It is an excellent example of how blogs and new media can work with traditional media to start or extend a national conversation on a subject of great interest. By releasing it to the blogosphere in a way that enables it to be posted and linked to, they are generating a buzz. New media is also about politics, education, business, and just about everything else. It is empowering and gives us all the potential to have global reach. New media is constantly finding new ways to be used and it is changing our world profoundly.
“Hey, my name is Rianna,
I am a Junior at Tesoro High School and I am on the varsity song team.” This is what her MySpace blog says. According to the LA Times, “Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old cheerleader, last logged onto MySpace.com on Dec. 6, 2005. She died the next day when her car smashed into a tree near her home in southern Orange County.” Her page that has not changed since her death. The page is a time capsule of a life cut short. The only part that is different is the section where readers post comments. Since her death over a year ago, friends have written nearly 700 messages there.
When I look back over my life I think often of the last words spoken by friends and relatives before they died. My first wife crashed into a telephone pole on April 21, 1991. She was 33 when she died. This blog post is about more than the fact that we must be aware that every day may be our last, that we are not immortal, that we must live life in the present because we never know what the future holds. All of this is true. The extension of it is also true about our blogs and our other Internet presence.
Every blog post we make builds our legacy and tells the story of our lives. This is so important, this is what folks will look back on when we are gone. This is our lives with permalinks and cached in Google. Her words, my first wife Candy’s words, or my sister’s words, or my father’s words, all these words and stories I have and the stories you have we hold in our memories can now be written and shared in a world by us and those living with us and preserved for a world without us. Rianna’s continuing story is in the comments of Rianna’s MySpace page. Her memory is shared for those who never knew her there. It is a story started by her before her death certificate and still being written by those who remember her.
Gone the Sun
In the book Gone the Sun, Winston Groom writes, “Sometimes I think we should be issued another paper, a Life Certificate if you will – which could contain some brief statement for historical purposes that could explain how a person lived and what they accomplished and where they failed and why.”
This is your last blog post
Rianna’s MySpace page has become like Groom’s Life Certificate. Even more poignant than the last words spoken, those last words blogged. What will they be? As you blog always keep in your mind, this may be the last blog post. Someday it will be, likely when you don’t expect it to be, someday it will be. We are writing our own autobiographies. These words will shape our memories. They will be our life story.
Why does our university, and other higher education institutions, seem resistant to new technology?
It often seems to me that public higher education institutions are reluctant to adopt new technology even when this technology offers new long-term learning opportunities and enhanced learning outcomes down the road. In fact, it seems to me, that the university (I am using the term generically) is better at creating barriers to, rather than opportunities for, innovation. Why does this happen?
Perhaps the answer (or at least part of the answer) can be found in game theory. A Nash equilibrium is an important concept in game theory. A Nash equilibrium occurs when each player is pursuing their best possible strategy in the full knowledge of the strategies of all other players. In this case the “other players” can be viewed as other educators as well as other universities.
Once a Nash equilibrium is reached, nobody has any incentive to change their strategy. The Nash equilibrium becomes a barrier to change and forms a natural barrier to the adoption of new technologies and teaching methods. It is named after John Nash, a mathematician and Nobel prize-winning economist. Nash was the inspiration for the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
As long as our university, and other institutions of public higher education, exist in a Nash equilibrium there may be no incentive to change and a huge incentive not to change. There may also be a huge incentive to discourage voices that advocate change that (at the time the change is advocated) does not seem to offer an immediate significant advantage over the other players of the game. As long as the players of the game are collecting their rewards in the near-term for playing the game, perpetuation of the game without significant change may be simple human nature.
The end of 163 as we know it
This was an experimental class that started the Fall semester with a blank slate. Formally titled as a class on streaming, we took the view that podcasting is the new streaming. For their mid-terms every student did a podcast, complete with its own RSS stream. We were given a blank slate and so we embraced new media and the class was billed as “New Media in Journalism.” Technologies taught in the class included blogging, Second Life, podcasting and RSS. We used Skype as a teaching tool and in the process this class saved Skype at SJSU when the university proposed the ban of it. The Skype story went global. It was an example of amazing timing that this class was in the right place at the right time on that issue. The class not only learned about new media journalism, we became new media journalists.
Our class received national attention, thanks to the resulting media coverage of the Skype story, and there was no way this class was ever going to slip under the radar. Fantastic speakers came to our class, physically and virtually via Skype and Second Life. Despite having poor facilities and few resources the class exceeded all expectations of ours.
I think the class succeeded because we were not afraid to fail. Dr. Dale E. Turner said, “Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future.” On the first day of class we announced we would make mistakes in this class, but we intended to learn from them. Making mistakes became part of the process.
Even though we were given this class with a blank slate, even though we were a prototype, all of a sudden we became high profile. Folks with preconceived agendas took notice. Partly because of this, only partly, next semester’s class will be very different.
But, that would be true even without the new agendas. That is the nature of prototypes. The lessons we learned as teachers of 163 in the Fall of 2006 would demand it. For these students, and us teachers, we were the pioneers and because of it we all had a truly unique experience. What a thrill that has been!
Great advice from Professor Lilly Buchwitz
I am a flash in the pan, a part timer teaching a night class. Professor Lilly Buchwitz is the real deal, a tenure track new professor who has the potential to really make a difference. This semester all the students in her Media and Society class (MCOM 72) did blogs. This her advice to them. I am really happy we have her teaching in JMC.
The World is Flat?
This is a counterpoint to the book we used in JMC163 this fall:
Thomas Friedman’s recent New York Times bestseller, The World is Flat, asserts that the international economic playing field is now more level than it has ever been. As popular as it may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman’s book is dangerous.
About The Student Manifesto
There is a revolution going on. It is a quiet revolution. It is the kind of quiet revolution in politics that SJSU J&MC alum Joe Trippi spoke about in the world of politics in his watershed book The Revolution Will Not be Televised. But, it is not a revolution that is limited to politics. It is also a business revolution, like that talked about in business books like The Cluetrain Manifesto and SJSU J&MC alum Robert Scoble’s book (co-written with Shel Israel) Naked Conversations. It also a societal revolution and it is reflected in how social groups are interacting as reflected in Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs. It is a global revolution, as reflected in Thomas L. Friedman’s very long book, The World Is Flat. It is a media revolution as reflected in Dan Gillmor’s prescient book, We The Media. On top of these and many, many, many other books, articles, blog posts, interviews, conferences, podcasts and other communications about Web 2.0, the changing nature of society and about that big huge still being defined thing we lump together in a big sticky blob we are calling “new media” add Andrew Venegas’s Student Manifesto.
So what is this revolution?
Is it about J&MC, or SJSU, or CSU, or USA? I do not see blood on the streets, what kind of revolution is this? It is a revolution about conversation. It is about the power of ordinary citizens as well as new media journalists to be able to go to their virtual windows to the world and (using their blogs, podcasts, video blogs and other forms of new media) to be able to shout out, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” In the fictional 1976 movie Network, Howard Beale from his TV pulpit was able to inspire folks to go to their windows and yell that out. Each individual’s voice carried maybe a few houses. It was only Beale’s voice that was able to reach across the nation, only Beale had the network. Now we all have the network, it is called the Internet. That is the revolution.
Ordinary folks can have their say and can change things
If the message is compelling enough to resonate, it can spread virally across the Internet and can make the leap from new media to traditional media. The message/story can echo throughout the globe and the course of even the biggest aircraft carriers can be altered. That is what folks in JMC163 saw happen with the Skype story. Folks in that class were not given the power to participate, they were not given the secret software, they already had that, we all do, it is free on the Internet. That is the revolution. Students, taxpayers, customers, citizens all have a say, all have a network, all have global reach. Nobody controls the message. In my opinion that is the revolution, indeed!