Archive for March, 2007

How to save businesses

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Doc Searls wrote about how to save the newspapers. Good points there, including:

Informing is not the same as “delivering information”. Inform is derived from the verb to form. When you inform me, you form me. You enlarge that which makes me most human: what I know. I am, to some degree, authored by you.

What we call “authority” is the right we give others to author us, to enlarge us.

Read the rest of the post and think what it would mean for businesses in general. Is the website of your organization allowing others to author you? Can we be authors of each other or are you hiding behind corpspeak, paywalls and the fear that your own customers will beat you to death with crutongs (blog posts), if you tell the truth?

Life-long technology

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

I’m in Italy and I have to say, I need to travel a lot more. When you go to bed in the evening and really feel refreshed of what you have learned during the day, you understand the importance of meeting cultures eye-to-eye. What an eye-opener. I’ve started to promote more the importance of physical lately in relation to virtual, especially in discussions about informal learning. Most effective informal learning I know is a mix of both, not just one or another.

One of the greatest inventions for learning though, are eyeglasses. Now that I’m in Rome, I can say the first recorded use of a corrective lens was by the Roman emperor Nero, who was known to watch the gladiators using an emerald. In common use, glasses first began to appear in northern Italy around 1280s. Also, the Chinese had their hand on this, having glasses in their possession around the same time.

What glasses gave to people around that time was even 20 to 30 years of more time to learn more effectively with tools of thinking (reading and writing). Imagine losing those abilities early on in life. I have glasses and I certainly would be much more stupid without.

Glasses are also one of the first cyborg technologies. Cyborg by definition is a human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices. So when important bodily functions get replaced by technology, you turn into a cyborg. I felt too much human today without wifi access at the Bolzano Conversation ’07 as my “second brain” or “thinking prosthesis” was partly malfunctioning. Thanks god I had my glasses. Frankly, if I hadn’t my glasses, I would be unable to even utilize the computer effectively.

Life-long learning, right on your nose. Yeah. 

Living without Television

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

I don’t watch Television. Some people find it strange, but I find it liberating. I’ve been saved for 14 months now. What do I do with all the free time?

I might not know who was the latest winner of Idols but frankly, I don’t care. It doesn’t limit my ability to interact with people even a bit. Often times I have more interesting things to tell.

In Finland you have to pay a monthly TV fee that is quite a robbery in comparison to what you get. I calculated that the ammount I used to watch television wasn’t quite high anyway and you get distracted by a lot of re-runs and literarly rubbish.

So I switched the TV to a video projector and watch movies, documentaries and play online games when I have the time to sit down. The money I spend in renting the best stuff is less than the finnish TV fee.

I’ve also noticed that I also have lots of more time. I read more quality news, articles and books. I have more conversations, offline and online. I feel that my personal learning has sky-rocketed after I denied the intellectual lobotomy delivered through the black box.

When I need the entertainment -part of TV, I watch Youtube or any of the other social video sharing sites on the web. There are lots of free documentaries and other media, too. See for example here.

A little bit of searching and you can find lots of quality material that you can’t find from the mainstream media. Recently I’ve been using a lot of time at VBS.TV, they have really interesting reportage from around the world. The in-room flash player for watching is the best I’ve seen on the web. And yes, it’s all free.

First you find it quite strange that the tone on reporting is not sensational but just picturing the life and ideals of people in foreign cultures in a honest way. What’s the point in going to Baghdad and then interviewing you security guards? Well, watch for example the Heavy Metal in Baghdad or Inside Sudan series.

After you get over the need for sensationalism you notice the true value in seeing the hidden back-scenes of events that do not fall under the radar of mainstream media. The Sudan series is a good example of giving a very different picture.

According to finnish studies on TV hours spent, the ammount young people watch television has been declining slowly in the last five years. The younger generation increasingly surfs the web for stories, ideas, entertainment and community. If you need high-definition, rent or use peer-to-peer networks.