Tag Archives: technology

I miss old tech…

From Skype chat:

I’m in USA now…
[6:52:24 AM] Jordi Comas: Dreading the long task of sorting, organizing, cataloging, printing blogging, blog-to-booking all the photos.  And then the videos.  Oy Vay!  Fuck it….  it was easier when you just sent a roll of film to the shop.

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Filed under humor, life, technology

How to use laptops in a classroom…

Some ideas I am including in my syllabus for today about how to manage technology:

Digital Copies and Classroom participation.  The reality is we live in a mixed technology environment of digital formats for materials and concrete classrooms of boards, overheads, and each other.  I am figuring out how to balance the two.  These policies are a work in progress.

1)      Expect you to be ready to discus and share the materials.  You will have to figure out what this means for you.

2)      You may bring a laptop.  I reserve the right to ask you to put it away for certain activities.  I reserve the right to call you out for letting it distract you in class.

3)      I expect you to be good citizens of the information world.  Pay for protected copyright.  Respect other content’s creators by citing them, ALWAYS.  Any image, presentations, link or whatever should be somehow noted or cited depending on the context of the usage.  SO, on a power point lisde, pu a little note at the bottom.  On a blog post, hyperlink.  On a paper use normal citations, and so on.

 

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Filed under higher education

Who Are You Fighting For? Health Care and Public vs Private Tragedy

Organizing for America- the organizing branch of the Obama campiagn that stuck around afterwards, has a great example of using technology to rally people.

I wrote the following to Chris Carney and as I got into it I wanted to give it a broader audience.

Dear Rep. Carney,

I am here for Betsy and Lisa [Names changed]-

We must pass health insurance reform now.  Too many people and businesses face warped incentives or grim and miserable health due to the burdens of our perverse and broken system.

Betsyworks full tie in a private child care facility.  She is a single mom.  She often baby sits infants for many families and is always willing to help people with sick children or other events.  Her selflessness allows others to pursue their careers as professors, doctors, and business leaders.  Her employer, a day care center subsidized by a local employer, does not provide coverage.  She had such severe back problems she could not sleep.  Friends pooled $300 to help her see a chiropractor.  She limited coverage now, but is still an injury away from financial crisis.

Lisa has leukemia.  She works cleaning people’s homes.  She cleans and cooks for her husband every day, even when he has been furloughed or been between jobs.  She stays married to a disinterested, neglectful and nearly abusive husband because she could never afford individual coverage, or even get it with her leukemia.  Where is her freedom to live her life?  The combination of patriarchy and our health care system is deeply unfair and sexist.  I think only the strength of her personality and her adult son keeps her husband from raising his hand against her.

Millions are uninsured.  In 2009, one study found 45,000 Americans died due to lack of coverage. [1] They used a rigorous method used by researchers in 1993 who found around half that number then.  Among those 45,000 are more than 2,000 uninsured veterans.[2] On 9/11, 3,000 of our citizens were innocent victims and became iconic heroes.  We endure 15 9/11s every year through 45,000 private tragedies of martyrs to a broken healthcare system midwife by a corrupt political system.  We have marshaled billions of dollars and 100,000s of soldiers to avenge the fallen of 9/11.  Meanwhile, we engage in trivial “death panel” and “reconciliation” food fights at home while our fellow citizens are chewed up and spit out as corpses by the broken health care system.   Why should the public tragedy of 9/11 count for so much more all these years than the sum of 45,000 private tragedies year in and year out?

Where is the justice in that? How is that fair?


[1] Heavey, Susan.  Sept 2009.  “Study Links 45,000 Deaths to Lack of Health Insurance.”  Reuters.  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58G6W520090917

[2] Physicians for A National Health Program. Nov 10, 2009. “Over 2,200 veterans died in 2008 due to lack of health insurance.”  http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/november/over_2200_veterans_.php\

Note: Cross-posted at: Spilling Ink.

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Filed under activism, policy, Politics, Power, Activism, sociology, technology

Social Entrepreneurs, Networks, and Technology

I am revising a draft of a paper about social entrepreneurs to give at EGOS.

Here is the core idea:

Broadly, I am trying to connect what is known about the research into new forms of organizing with internet with innovation and networks studies

Some baseline assumptions:

1) Innovators and entrepreneurs of any flavor are in a brokerage position and they engage in brokering behavior.   (Research by Burt, Obstfeld, Gargiulo, Hargadon comes to mind… I need to find others).

2) New ICT changes make #1 different.  Easier in some ways, harder in others.

3) Social entrepreneurs face special circumstances due to value orientation they use.  Social entrepreneurs solve social problems or market failures.  They move towards a new equilibrium.  The “social” of what they do emerges from social change processes unfolding in networks organizations, and institutions of contested agendas (or, formerly contested and now newly legitimate.  These include poverty reduction, public health, green design, education access, rural development, climate change, and so on.  Looks like usual suspects of civil society concerns.  But of course, it should.)

4) The process is usually gradual (uniform)- incremental innovations and experiments accumulate into profound change.  The initial recognition can then lead to rapid scaling and diffusion.

5)  To fully conceptualize the problem, we need to draw on four research streams: 1) entrepreneurship, 2) networks and innovation, 3) social movements, and 4) technology and socity.

6) A research agenda based on the assumptions and findings includes three questions:

  • 1) Do new technologies, by lowering search and coordination costs for actors, spawn more emerging or possible social entrepreneurs (as in, that is their intention)?
  • 2) Do technologies, through their ability to foster relations and community, create new value propositions?  Transparency, memory, search, and interactivity mean that thick webs of relations, which people value, can create new opportunities for social innovation or entrepreneurship.
  • 3) The same properties that create more potential social entrepreneurs and opportunities will also pose new start-up challenges because soc entrepreneurswill be more tied to the necessary networks and institutions that create legitimacy for the social of social entrepreneurs.

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Filed under activism, innovation, organization studies, organization theory, participatory technology, social innovation, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe], technology

Long Tail Debates

Wish I had more time now to review this:

Long Tail Stops Wagging.

Matt Stoller over at Open Left argues that this means that technoutopian libertarian dreams are dead and there is a necessary role for government.

Maybe.  I have never read enough of the Long Tail arguments to have a Strong opinion, but I do want to point out that there maybe radical inequality in revenues between a Google or Facebook and other web services that aim to make a profit.  In fact, a long tail is premised on that.  But, the question was whether a business can survive in the long tail, as opposed to have equal revenues.  If you have the head and not tail then you have an oligopoly which was never the merit of the long tail.

Finally, aggregators seem complicated.  They get a little revenue from a massive volume of transactions, but if those transactions are distributed to a number of smaller players (ebay, Amazon marketplace, emusic, and so on), then you may have a viable market where one did not exist before- again, it is about viability, not equality.

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Filed under digital culture, management, organization theory, technology

Cell phone precautions

Text of email from my pa-in-law:

Surprising warning from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute:

<http://www.environmentaloncology.org/node/201>

Some reaction, as reported in the press:

<http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080723/D923R4DO1.html>

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Filed under epistemology, Research, technology

Social Networks gains another level of salience

While over at socnet, there is a discussion of how “social networks” has become totally co-opted and stolen by the rise of the social networking sites/services (MySpace, Facebook, Okrut, LinkedIn, etc), i stumbled on to the new HP TouchSmart computer marketing campaign.  By the way, the author of the post above, Guy Hagen, is totally correct that social networks are as old as the species while SNS are, well, younger.

(I wonder what is the first SNS?  Orkut?  Tribe.net? It would be nice to have a brief history of SNS.  What would minimal definition be?  Profiles+relationship building+messaging system… Is that enough?)

The HP touchSmart, which looks pretty cool, bills itself as the one machine that will enable you to manage your digital life.  “It puts your digital life at your fingertips giving you instant access to info, entertainment, and social networks.”  So, not only has social networks as a term become a whole genre of applications, but even a class of functions like photography, word processing, or data management.

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Filed under Future of Technology, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, words

The Grid is coming

The fine folks at CERN- the European physics research center where the WWW was born- seem to have a sense of humor.  They are calling their new super-duper network the grid.  Seems right out of cyberpunk imagination.  At least its not called the matrix.

Coming soon: superfast internet – Times Online
That network, in effect a parallel internet, is now built, using fibre optic cables that run from Cern to 11 centres in the United States, Canada, the Far East, Europe and around the world.

This strikes me as a fine example  of all the associated and indirect benefits form basic research funding.  Something that private corporate research would never invest in.   According to one FAQ from a British university, the total cost is something like $6 billion.  Total.

Compare that to the $374 million/day for the Iraq war. That is about a billion every three days.  In less than a month in Iraq, we will have spent more than the Europeans are on their new basic research tool.  What madness and folly is this?

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Filed under innovation, Networks, technology

From the Cyborg Desk: Warning sounded over ‘flirting robots’

Warning sounded over ‘flirting robots’ | Beyond Binary – A blog by Ina Fried – CNET News.com
A program that can mimic online flirtation and then extract personal information from its unsuspecting conversation partners is making the rounds in Russian chat forums, according to security software firm PC Tools.

I hope there is a way to test yourself. Seems further proof that alst year’s sci fi is next year’s sci reality.  Hal must be smiling wherever he slumbers.

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Filed under Living Web, technology

These jokers run the world?

I found this article under the NYT’s most emailed (or blogged) articles.  I don’t follow the twists and turns of the software business very carefully, and it is easy to beat up on Microsoft.  like shooting a barnside.

The basics seems to be that Microsoft tried to weasel around the hardware/software incompatibility of its new Vista OS by labeling machines Vista capable instead of VIsta ready.  The capable label was supposed to mean Vista might work.  Sort of.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Caveat emptor and all.

A class action suit in Seattle is proceeding.

95% of my students,  faced with a product that does not work as advertised, would now that a world of headache is coming down  the pike.  But, the sagacity of the young is transmogrified into the idiocy of the powerful by money and organizational culture.

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know. – New York Times
In February 2006, after Microsoft abandoned its plan to reserve the Vista Capable label for only the more powerful PCs, its own staff tried to avert the coming deluge of customer complaints about underpowered machines. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

Exactly.  Big DUH.

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Filed under Business, organization studies, technology