Mandatory mittens for men on casual Fridays has been shown to reduce sexual harrassment at Voltage*
Some updates and changes (Thursday, December 13)
Monday’s court hearing. Voltage has managed to schedule a hearing at the Federal Court for Monday, December 17, which leaves little time for targeted TekSavvy subscribers to organize their defence. TekSavvy couldn’t notify these customers until it had churned through a huge pile of logs, in order to correlate subscribers with the thousands of numeric IP addresses Voltage dumped on them. And it wasn’t until December 7 that TekSavvy was served with the final Notice of Motion, the document that compels TekSavvy to attend at court where, Voltage hopes, it will be ordered to turn over all relevant customer information so the bullying can proceed.
Many people I’ve talked to seem to have missed the crucial point that TekSavvy itself is not a defendant in this case as it is not liable for any putative infringing activity on its network. In Canada, when a customer requests a file from, say, The Pirate Bay, and the customer’s ISP simply provides the platform over which to have the file delivered, that ISP is deemed to be acting as a mere carrier. The ISP is not deemed to be a “user” nor considered to be “authorizing” the download. Hence TekSavvy is not a defendant in the Voltage claim. I raise this point simply so that interested parties, especially possible defendants, are clear on TekSavvy’s legal standing in this action. Continue reading
“Experts expect more efficient collaborative environments and new grading schemes; they worry about massive online courses, and the shift away from on-campus life”
Update: Stop reading – here’s the audio version of this post (about 6.5 min).
At the end of July, Pew Internet and research partner Elon University released another of their reports from the 2012 Internet Futures survey – this one covering the impact of the Internet on higher education. Once again, the report is divided between the two groups that form organically around the questions: the change-for-the-better gang vs the don’t-hold-your-breath pessimists. (For an overview of the methodology, see what I posted last October after the 2012 survey was fielded; to get straight to the July pdf, go here).
As a participant in the last two surveys, I’ve taken a close interest in this exercise about the future of the Internet and its anticipated impact on the future of life as we know it. There’s a further motive at work here, and that would be spending time every week in a university classroom. With summer school just finished, it’s time to think again about exactly what we’re all doing in our classrooms, and just what role digital technologies should play, if any, in improving how students learn. Continue reading
I’ve talked plenty about the Pew/Elon survey collaboration that’s now in its 5th edition. Back in October I described the goals and methodology, along with the eight questions fielded for the current version: The Internet in 2020: the Pew-Elon experts survey, edition V. My posts on the first few questions, which each get a dedicated report of results, can be found as follows: higher ed, the future of money, apps vs Web.
The other day Pew and Elon University released their report on question #7 from last fall’s survey: the future of smart systems. The pdf – which I’ve uploaded here – asks, as usual: Where will we be in 2020? Continue reading
“[I]t is not too late to recognize the craziness that technology can promote and discover new ways to stay sane in a world that encourages – and even promotes – insanity.” –Larry D. Rosen, iDisorder, p.6
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” –Albert Einstein
As I noted in my previous comments on the Pew/Elon survey, the votes on Millennial “rewiring” were split (the survey Web page and report download are here). While plenty of participants felt like me (negative), plenty of others took opposing views. If you read through the survey comments, you’ll find allusions to research proving that multitasking is going to screw up young minds. You’ll also find allusions to research proving that multitasking is not going to screw up young minds.
My interest in this subject began as anything but research-oriented. It was a gut reaction to students in class being mentally absent for 3 hours while they texted their hearts out. And more generally to the countless dweebs who’ve taken over our public spaces, crashing into people, holding up lines and ignoring every shade of politesse because they might get a text message. Especially the ones people get while driving off a cliff. Continue reading
“We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.”
Thus begins a provocative article published recently in The New York Times by MIT psychology prof Sherry Turkle, entitled “The Flight From Conversation.” She argues that our growing obsession with technologies like texting and social networking are inflicting profound changes on who we are and how we relate socially – making us increasingly “alone together,” which happens to be the title of Turkle’s last book.
The twin claims that we’re getting lonelier while we throw away the fine art of conversation are controversial to say the least. They suggest we’re seeing the end of some Golden Age when everyone was friendlier, the streets were safer and the music was better. Then there’s the old hobgoblin of causality – the idea that our behavior, especially bad behavior, is determined by popular new technologies like computers, the Internet, and all the clever algorithms that have helped insinuate digital communications so deeply into our lives. None of which has ever slowed down the tech critics.
Yet there’s something different about the technology-bashing in the air these days: it seems to be crossing party lines. We’ve long been accustomed to established interests in business and government foretelling the end of civilization when disruptive technologies threaten to take away some of their marbles. The worldview according to which new technologies are all evil is, of course, especially popular among media fat cats. Here’s how Hollywood lobbyist and consummate drama queen Jack Valenti described the dangers of a once-pervasive consumer technology while testifying to a Congressional committee:
“I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” Continue reading
IV. Apps vs Web: Winner?
[option #1 - my pick] — In 2020, most people will prefer to use specific applications (apps) accessible by Internet connection to accomplish most online work, play, communication, and content creation. The ease of use and perceived security and quality-assurance characteristics of apps will be seen as superior when compared with the open Web. Most industry innovation and activity will be devoted to apps development and updates, and use of apps will occupy the majority of technology-users’ time. There will be a widespread belief that the World Wide Web is less important and useful than in the past and apps are the dominant factor in people’s lives.
[option #2] — In 2020, the World Wide Web is stronger than ever in users’ lives. The open Web continues to thrive and grow as a vibrant place where most people do most of their work, play, communication, and content creation. Apps accessed through iPads, Kindles, Nooks, smartphones, Droid devices, and their progeny – the online tools GigaOM referred to as “the anti-Internet” – will be useful as specialized options for a finite number of information and entertainment functions. There will be a widespread belief that, compared to apps, the Web is more important and useful and is the dominant factor in people’s lives.
(Please see the 2 previous posts in this series for the setup: multitasking teens + higher ed.)
III. The future of money: What IS your “wallet”?
[option #1 - my pick] By 2020, most people will have embraced and fully adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases they make, nearly eliminating the need for cash or credit cards. People will come to trust and rely on personal hardware and software for handling monetary transactions over the Internet and in stores. Cash and credit cards will have mostly disappeared from many of the transactions that occur in advanced countries. People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital-all-the-time format.
[option #2] By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits. Cash and credit cards will still be the dominant method of carrying out transactions in advanced countries. Continue reading
Question 2 from the 2011 Internet experts survey
In my previous post, I explained how Pew Internet and its partner Elon University run their global survey of Internet stakeholders (aka experts), on where the Internet is likely to be by 2020. I also provided some links to their resource pages. The survey is now in its 5th edition. Some 800 or 900 participants respond to questions framed in “tension pairs” – opposite points of view on issues currently getting a lot of notice from, well, Internet experts. (Btw, last year that group included the likes of Clay Shirky, Doc Searls, David Clark, Susan Crawford, Howard Rheingold, Craig Newmark and Esther Dyson.) Everyone is then asked to dig up an opinion or two and elaborate. Continue reading