Jul 192009

Well, it would appear that everyone, myself included, has survived the first week of the new management paradigm. It actually feels like the week lasted about a month, but maybe that’s just me. Before we take off on practical and more directly related topics I thought it might be fun to take a quick look at the backchannels that have been running around in my head during the last 36 hours.

The backchannel phenomena is one of the interesting things that technology makes possible; it’s a catchall phrase for the now shareable conversations that happen during a conference presentation or a lecture; twitter, IRC,cell phones, and texting in all formats come into play. Usually within the academy the backchannel is seen as disruptive, but that maybe because we’re not paying attention. Here’s Danah Boyd with a meditation on that possibility. I’ve been falling behind on my news reader, so thanks to Mike Morrison from the other end of the hall for reminding me to take a look in the old aggregator. Mike commented that he didn’t imagine that the Boyd post would be of interest to most of the folks in the unit; if that’s the case, I’m hoping that it doesn’t remain the case. I think our eventual success will depend on all of us being interested in this sort of thing. This because there’s a loud and lively conversation going on about technology and learning, and we need some local participants.  Here’s a post from Ryan Bretag by way of John Pederson; the core being:

Leaders are never content with their status as a leader, learner, and teacher. As John F. Kennedy said, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” and I believe that is a core tenant of anyone identified as a leader: a life-long learner growing deeper and broader intellectually, listening deeply, and leading through inquiry, passion, and community.

BTW, and just so there’s no confusion, the leader I have in mind is you.   The specific you in this case being the folks who work with me. It’s a little odd to have a specific target audience; blogs normally operate under the illusion that they’re talking to everyone on the Internet, in much the same way that books and posts on leadership pretend to be news rather than simply the flavor of the week. Not that there’s anything wrong with the FOTW mind you; it’s just that after a while  it can feel like you’re reading an extended AA aphorism. But then as David Foster Wallace reminds us, the secrets of life are pretty banal .  Benjamin Zander likes to point out that you can lead the orchestra from any position, even if all you’ve got is a kettle drum. He also notices that the only person in the orchestra that doesn’t make noise is the conductor. Anytime you feel a little down and wonder what we’re doing or why, or whether it’s worth it, watch one of the Zander videos; they tend to run a little long, but you’re guaranteed to have a more or less life-changing  moment, or your money back.

Speaking of videos; Ze Frank goes legit as a video commentator with some thoughts on being a progressive. As Peterson points out however, Waves is still the best Ze piece ever:

Of course it would be kind of pointless to have an aggregator without having the Gibson blog in it so you can find things like:

7:56 AM

“Aleph” as in the Borges story: the spot under the basement stairs from which can simultaneously be seen all things ever.

Simultaneously profoundly amazing and definitively boring:


Because you can’t step in the same river twice.

On a more serious note, after all you are reading this at work as part of a job assignment, right? You might want to take a look at Enterprise 2.0 & Social Computing I apologize for the 2.0 reference, but hey, we’re wandering around inside my mind, remember?

This has probably gone on long enough, possibly longer than that, so I will leave you with one last link to something that we definitely will need to pay attention to as things develop Wikimedia is about to make wikivideo, or if that’s too serious for you might want to head over to Rock, Paper, Sonehotgun and check out what’s really happening.

Jul 092008

While IBM and Linden Labs have teamed up to teleport across virtual worlds, Google has entered the arena with Lively. I’m tempted to say, “Too young,” but then again I’m not sure what ‘old enough’ would look like. There’s not as much depth as Second Life, but on the plus side it’s easier to navigate. SL avatars are sexier, if that’s an issue for you. Despite my best efforts to pick Dirk or something cool I seem to have wound up as a furry again and this time short to boot. At least I got the High Noon Sheriff’s vest and a really good hat; sort a Hello Kitty that kicks ass.

Lively seems to run fine on my laptop even with other stuff running in the background. Your current Google account and a quick download will get you up and running. If you’re curious about virtual worlds Lively looks like a good place to start. Here’s a descriptive YouTube video (obnoxious audio track warning).

Feb 052008

Jason Calacanis has a review of the MacBook Air which freely translated comes down to, “…it’s game changing because it’s really, really lightweight.”  This isn’t as silly as it sounds; we expected that students would all be carrying their laptops everywhere, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Weight is clearly an issue, as is form-factor.  What we need is light weight, adequate screen size (whatever that would mean), and endless battery life.  What’s more interesting of course is what we’ll do with it when we get it; there’s a lesson in Twitter.

You’ll need to scroll down to find the review and if you keep going you’ll discover a compilation of Super Bowl commercials without the distracting interruptions of a bunch of guys playing football.  My favorite quote from the review: “Yes, it’s overpriced…. who cares?! If you’re buying Macs you’re overpaying already…”

Feb 022008

Now normally I don’t recommend books that I haven’t read myself, but this is impossible to pass up.  And since I’ve already reserved it at the OCLP I feel safe.  If you’re wondering what this has to do with IT, think China.

Amazon.com: American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China: Books: Matthew Polly