Sunday, September 28, 2008

Forget Red or Blue State: Are You Wireless or Wireline? » Forget Red or Blue State: Are You Wireless or Wireline?: "More than 32 million American adults have now ditched landlines for cell phones, up from 10 million in 2004, according to a recent federal study. Problem is: the opinions of these people are not captured by current political polling. That’s right, the pollsters don’t call cell phones. As a result of this structural flaw, a giant swath of American opinion is missed and as a result we have no idea where this race for the White House stands today.

This oversight is another example of how the political process has failed to keep up with our changing culture-a culture being rapidly reshaped by technology. Just as political operatives everywhere were overwhelmed by Senator Obama’s ability to raise a quarter of a billion dollars in $100 increments via the Internet, the polling professionals failed to appreciate that a big and growing block of Americans don’t see the logic in having both mobile and landlines."

Letting Our Fingers Do the Talking -

Drilling Down - Letting Our Fingers Do the Talking - "In the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has shot upward by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Man's Man

My Way News - Legendary actor Paul Newman dies at age 83: "He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages. 'I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?' Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in 'The Long Hot Summer,' and Newman directed her in several films, including 'Rachel, Rachel' and 'The Glass Menagerie.'"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sun Down: You better take care

NASA’s press conference on the state of the sun « Watts Up With That?: "The minimum we are in now is “unique for the space age”, but “within norms for the last 200 years”, but we are also surprised to learn how much the solar wind has diminished on a truly “entire sun” scale."

Talk about The Way Forward

Will Cellphones Save the World? | Popular Science: "If you live in the United States it can be difficult to understand the role mobile phone technology plays across the globe. Here, you may use your phone for calls and messaging, perhaps for some computing lite, but likely little more. In Senegal, however, farmers are using phones to track crop prices, in Japan, writers are SMSing whole novels, and in Sweden, they're texting to apply for instant loans. An app that lets you kill time on the subway, this is not.

Within a year and a half, half the world will use cellphones, predict analysts, and with the bulk of new users emerging from developing nations, the question of what phones can do for their owners has never before had such potentially world-changing answers.

Enter Nokia and Dean Kamen."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reconsiderations: Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique' - September 17, 2008 - The New York Sun

Reconsiderations: Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique' - September 17, 2008 - The New York Sun: "But in building her case, Friedan made a fatal mistake that undermined her book's appeal at the time and permanently weakened the movement it helped create. She not only attacked a postwar culture that aggressively consigned women to the domestic sphere, but she attacked the sphere itself — along with all the women who chose to live there.

Friedan described herself as 'Diogenes with his lamp,' going from suburb to suburb in search of a mentally sound housewife. (None could be found, she concluded.) The job of housewife, in her estimation, was intrinsically unworthy and undignified, an occupation best suited to 'feeble-minded girls.' She called the suburban home a 'comfortable concentration camp' where women suffer a 'slow death of mind and spirit.' Like the inmates of the camps, she said, American suburban housewives had become 'walking corpses.'

That sort of language didn't sound any less ludicrous back then than it does now and, looking back, Friedan's lamp seems less illuminating than incendiary."

Stand up for education!

JS Online: Stand-up desks provide a firm footing for fidgety students: "This year, many of Seekel’s students are using new, adjustable-height stand-up desks produced by a Wisconsin company, as well as a big, tall table that lets students work in groups while standing and shifting their weight, leaning, stretching, wiggling and generally doing everything but sitting still.

As part of a small but growing movement in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota that many teachers say is bound to gain popularity elsewhere, several schools are experimenting with their physical learning environments by incorporating stand-up workstations in the classroom, or, in one school, stability balls instead of traditional school desk chairs.

Anecdotally, teachers have reported positive results after freeing their kids from the confines of “feet flat on the floor” and “no rocking!” — greater attentiveness, fewer behavioral problems, better posture and more enthusiasm. Kids who are habitually fidgety or who suffer from attention disorders appear to show the most improvement, teachers say."

The College Issue - The Tell-All Campus Tour -

The College Issue - The Tell-All Campus Tour - "This month his Web site, called — a free, gigantic, student-generated guide to North American colleges for prospective applicants and their families — went live for the benefit of tens of thousands of trepidatious high-school students as they try to figure out where and how to go to college. Not coincidentally, it also aims to siphon away a few million dollars from the slow-adapting publishers of those elephantine college guidebooks that have been a staple of the high-school experience for decades. A lot of the classic narratives about a young man’s coming of age may seem fatally old-fashioned in the new century, but apparently, Horatio Alger still lives."

An Information Sabbath

The concept of Sabbath is a filter for your life to prioritize what is important.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friends 2.0

I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You - Clive Thompson -

"In essence, Facebook users didn’t think they wanted constant, up-to-the-minute updates on what other people are doing. Yet when they experienced this sort of omnipresent knowledge, they found it intriguing and addictive. Why?Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis. But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a Web site and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing. "

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Coming to a conference near you...

Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Audience of Twittering ***holes «:

"01:00: @markwallace Lacy didn’t do her homework on the audience. This is a geek/designer/creative audience. Not one focused on business.

01:01: They want to hear about APIs and platforms and what Facebook is going to do.

01:01: She is totally getting defensive now, really poor empathy for the audience.

01:02: The audience as getting outright hostile toward Lacy and she basically asked audience to send her a message about why she sucked.

01:04: The audience is asking Zuckerburg better questions than Lacy did. Totally agree with @heiko.

01:06: @techcrunch I know Zuckerberg is no easy interview. But yours was far far far better than Sarah’s.

01:07: @techcrunch she totally lost control of the interview and had no clue how she was coming across. Still doesn’t “I thought it was going well.

And on it went. Onstage it went worse. Audience members had taken over the interview and Lacy made things worse by trying to argue with them about how well the interview was going. The audience had decided that it wasn’t going well. Later Lacy rubbed it in, by Twittering: “seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things.” She also went on YouTube to try to explain what happened"

Monday, September 01, 2008

I want to read this... Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become: Peter Morville: Books: "How do you find your way in an age of information overload? How can you filter streams of complex information to pull out only what you want? Why does it matter how information is structured when Google seems to magically bring up the right answer to your questions? What does it mean to be 'findable' in this day and age? This eye-opening new book examines the convergence of information and connectivity. Written by Peter Morville, author of the groundbreaking Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, the book defines our current age as a state of unlimited findability. In other words, anyone can find anything at any time. Complete navigability.

Morville discusses the Internet, GIS, and other network technologies that are coming together to make unlimited findability possible. He explores how the melding of these innovations impacts society, since Web access is now a standard requirement for successful people and businesses. But before he does that, Morville looks back at the history of wayfinding and human evolution, suggesting that our fear of being lost has driven us to create maps, charts, and now, the mobile Internet."

Paying Sprint more for the courtesy of using their cell phones at home!

Sprint AIRAVE review - Engadget Mobile: "If you're currently stuck in a Sprint contract and are beyond perturbed with the awful coverage at your house, we'd certainly recommend giving the AIRAVE a go. Granted, you could just wait it out and switch carriers in a few months, but if you're hoping to stay on that now-defunct SERO plan forever, this is a wonderful alternative to paying (lots) more on another provider.

Additionally, the AIRAVE is becoming more and more relevant with each passing day, as Sprint phases out the handsets in which 'Roaming only' is an option -- like, oh, the Samsung Instinct? We know, we know, it just feels dirty to hand Sprint money in order to make up for its lack of coverage in your area, but if you're utilizing a beautiful corporate discount or have one of the aforesaid SERO plans still in action, it may be worth your while to bite the bullet and take that whole 'improve my service' initiative into your own hands.

Now that you know what a tremendous difference the box makes, is it really worth the cost? Truthfully, that depends on just how horrible Sprint's coverage is in your area, whether or not your phone has a Force Roam option and of course, your annual salary. If you don't mind using the AIRAVE to burn through your plan minutes, you'll only be asked to pay $99.99 up front for the box itself and $4.99 per month for the service. If you're jonesing for unlimited in-home calling, you'll be coughing up another $10 per month (so $14.99 total); if you're looking for unlimited in-home calling for families, that'll be $24.99 per month. Of note, those with unlimited voice plans (i.e. Simply Everything) will only be asked to pay $4.99 per month, as the whole "unlimited" bit is obviously already taken care of.

To be frank, our only real beef with the AIRAVE is the monthly fees. Really, Sprint -- just let us lay down a Benjamin (up from the $49.99 price tag it initially launched with) and be done with it. We're using our broadband connection and our minutes (unless we opt for something else), and the additional $4.99 per month to make up for your lack of coverage is a soft (albeit noticeable) kick in the shin."

Thankfully I'm not stuck in a Sprint contract, so unless they throw this in for free I'm going to bid Sprint a frustrated goodbye very soon. I've had two years of dropped calls at my house with no hope of a new tower anytime soon. And the solution is to pay more for the service I'm already paying for. Perhaps there are some other cell phone companies that can provide coverage way out here 13 miles north of Boston.

I have had horrible service from Sprint over that past 3 weeks as my phone has died. I'll spare you the full excruciating tale but the nadir came when the seemingly all-powerful "cancellation" department promised to ship the phone I have been waiting on two weeks via overnight on Friday to keep my business. Here we are on Monday morning with no phone. She even promised to send me three emails with tracking numbers. I discovered this morning after painful conversation with the latest addled and confused Sprint representative that those email were never sent. The phone apparently was but will see...

It's a very bad sign when you have to threaten to cancel to get what you have already paid for. Sprint, your days are numbered in more ways than one.

As Captain Quint once intoned: Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies...

Process Learning Today @ kansas state university: "Students are asked to imagine the world in the classroom. We create a map that mimics the geographical, environmental, and biological diversity of our real world. The map is laid onto a map of the classroom, and students are asked to imagine themselves living in the environment that maps onto them. The class is divided into 15-20 groups of about 12-20 students in each group. Each group is challenged to create their own cultures to survive in their own unique environments.

The World Simulation itself only takes 75-100 minutes and moves through 650 metaphorical years, 1450-2100. It all takes place in large room where all of the "cultures" interact with one another with props for currencies, natural resources, and other elements that recreate the world system. I will explain this in more detail in a future post, but essentially we attempt to simulate (not "act out") world history in an attempt to understand the underlying social and cultural processes that interconnect us all. The ultimate goal is to allow students to actually experience how the world system works and explore some of the most important questions now facing humanity such as those of global inequality, globalization, culture loss, environmental degradation, and in the worst case scenario, genocide.

The simulation is recorded on 5 roaming digital video cameras and edited into one final "world history" video using clips from "real world" history to illustrate the correspondences. We watch the video together during the last week of class and have amazing moments together as we contemplate our world."

Interesting Stuff