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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Radical Evolution book coverSchool’s back in session, which means I am hitting the books again.  This semester delivers up a strange mix of texts and I decide to start (while still in vacation in Vermont) with Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau.

I have to admit, I started off hating this book.  The author seemed to be trying to shock and awe in every paragraph without actually reflecting or challenging his own thinking.  Early on he also puts down the Virginia Square neighborhood (where my campus is), so I was annoyed at him on that front as well.

Anyways, once he got passed drawing the reader in with salacious examples, he actually got to a very interesting presentation of scenarios.  Scenario planning is a technique that we first read about in The Age of Heretics, and ever since reading about it, I have wanted to try it.  Garreau takes the assumption that “technology drives history” and this concept of the exponential rate of change of technology to posit three scenarios, Heaven, Hell, & Prevail.  As a  critical optimist (?), I saw prevail as the most likely scenario.  However, I overcame my disagreableness with the Hell scenario as Garreau explained that thinking about worst case scenarios is a helpful way to actually avoid worst case scenarios.  In the end this book raised many questions in my mind and answered almost none.  Hopefully I can come back and reflect on some of those questions on this blog.

For now, a few highlights from the book:

Quote about immortality from Francis Fukuyama, who sees this issue as a moral issue,

The deeper issue is, can people conceive of dying for a cause higher than themselves and their own f***ing little petty lives?

Quote from Bill Joy,

Scientists do not believe they can do their work if they have to consider consequences, but such free passes are no longer sensible in the age of self-replication.

Quote from Brown and Duiguid,

It is through planned, collective action that society forestalls expected consequences (such as Y2K) and responds to unexpected events (such as epidemics).

Quote from Jaron Zepel Lanier, who thinks that “the belief that a human is like a computer [is] the current repression”,

The very nature of oppression has always been to force people to live within the confines of some idea about what a person is.

Quote from Don Kash,

The great management issue in the world is not scarcity, it’s surplus.

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WeeMee of Author

My WeeMee!

For Christmas this year I got an IPOD touch from my mom.  She has had her own IPOD touch for some time now and had been flashing its brilliance in front of me until I broke down and asked for one for Christmas.  (ok, maybe that’s over dramatized, but what else is new).

What has impressed me the most so far is not the device itself, but the way a whole new world was opened up to me in the form of free apps.  I thought I had been doing the interweb for awhile now, but I feel like I just got schooled in the last week.

Here are my new favorites:

Skype – speaking of baby boomers pushing me to try new technology… Jay’s mom was the ultimate voice of reason when it came to jumping on board with these great tool.  We have not even actually tried it yet, but I already love it!  I made my “WeeME” avatar last night.  The Wee Me program provides you with all kinds of fun digital accessories which amused me for at least 30 minutes.  Jay thought the whole thing was pretty ridiculous and mused that it would be very easy to create video games for girls if all you had to design were pages and pages of accessories.

I’m curious whether or not I will be able to video chat through Skype using my IPOD touch … because if so, than that makes it even cooler than an Iphone!

Pandora Radio – having seen friends referencing Pandora in status updates for a long time now, I was glad to finally get clued in to this very cool site.  I’m just starting to figure it out.  At the moment I am listening to Mavis Staples and loving the concept of a “radio” that you direct to play a certain artist or type of music.  Genius!

In a mostly unrelated development, I also discovered Feedburner, which is how I added the “subscribe by email” feature to this blog.  I have found all kinds of uses for Feedburner at work where I can now repurpose our volunteer opportunity listings on other websites and push content out all over the place!  Weeks like this blow my mind as far as how technology can change the way we communicate and get stuff done.  How cool.

Other apps that I am trying out include: Kayak, Barnes and Noble E-Reader, Google Earth, NPR News, and Starbucks.  Got any suggestions of apps or cool technology I should try?

in particular I am looking for a good way to upload and embed video in a way that does not make the video publicly viewable…

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