Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update





And not Or

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people with very strongly held opinions in the blogosphere. Well, in all media actually. I feel like I've been reading (and contributing) to a good deal of either/or type thinking this week.

  • Separate or integrated tech/info lit curriculum
  • Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia
  • Evolutionary or revolutionary change
  • Content knowledge or process skills
  • Testing or assessment
  • Mandated skills or teacher choice
  • Print or online
  • Libraries or technology

Guess it is this sort of black and white thinking that makes stimulating reading and engenders reader outpourings of love or hate. 

I'd encourage you, however, to go back and read an old column by Walt Crawford called The Dangers of Uniformity that appeared in American Libraries (it's OK tech folks - you won't get cooties reading it) in September, 2004. In it he says:

...why do so many of us look for single solutions to current problems, single technologies, single media? Why do so many writers, futurists, and speakers tout X as “the future” rather than “a part of the future”?

I’ve used the slogan “And, not Or” for more than a decade. There’s another slogan that goes along with it, one that I believe to be at least partly true in most walks of life: “The answer to most multiple-choice questions is Yes.”

That requires some clarification. I’m talking about real-life multiple-choice questions, ones that are often phrased in terms of a single choice: “Is the future for fiction e-books, audiobooks, or print books?” “Should reference work be done over the Internet in real-time chat, via e-mail, at a reference desk, or by walking around to see who needs help?” “Should library databases offer Google-like single boxes, simple fielded search options, or complex Boolean capabilities?” “Will scholarly journals be electronic-only, electronic and print, or print?”

In each of those cases, and in most similar cases, the best answer is Yes. All of those are correct, certainly across the range of libraries.

Walt's philosophy is one worth adopting. Next time I am asked if something should be x or y, I'll try to answer, "Yes, x and y."

Have a wonderful weekend. 


Update on Mac spyware

Last Saturday, I mentioned seeing  a spyware remover for the Mac OS. I sent a  question about the need for such a program to the folks at the Spyware Daily blog. This is their reply.

Hi Mr. Johnson,


Thanks for reading. No, MacScan is absolutely not necessary software. The truth is, spyware is still such an infrequent irration for Mac users that a scanning tool isn't really necessary. The people who create spyware, adware and other Internet threats usually do so for financial gain. Thus, they target Windows-based computers, because over 90% of personal computers run Windows. Targeting Mac simply isn't economical right now.


There ARE a handful of spyware threats affecting Macs, but reports are scarce. MacScan will, however, detect some commercial applications that could be used as spyware -- like keyloggers and monitoring tools. These sorts of programs are often used to monitor children's Web usage or employee Web usage in large companies.


If Mac increases its market share and begins to take more ground from Microsoft, you might consider using an anti-spyware tool. For now, very few bugs are created to attack Mac. Just surf responsibly with Firefox or Safari and you should be fine.


Sacha Narine
Online Editor
ParetoLogic, Inc.
1827 Fort St.
Victoria, BC V8R 1J6


Whew. Now you know why I selfishly encourage everyone to buy PCs rather than Macs. A small market share for Apple  is a GOOD thing. 


One set of standards - please!

Check this chart.

 In reply to Tim Stahmer's Two Very Different Kinds of Literacy.

 Think of the power if the techs and librarians all got behind ONE set of AASL/ISTE standards!

What is keeping this from happening?