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A differently moral-ed generation

Update 12/24/07: As several alert readers pointed out, Ian's post was a quote from David Pogue's article in the New York Times. Sorry for the confusion. Good read regardless.

If you haven't done so already, jump over and read Ian Jukes fascinating post, "The Generational Divide of Copyright Morality," on his Committed Sardine blog. He describes an exercise he conducts with younger audiences saying, "I'm going to describe some scenarios to you. Raise your hand if you think what I'm describing is wrong." His scenarios range from:

"I borrow a CD from the library. Who thinks that's wrong?" (No hands go up.)


"O.K., let's try one that's a little less complicated: You want a movie or an album. You don't want to pay for it. So you download it. ... Who thinks that might be wrong?" Two hands out of 500.

And interesting and informative experiment - one that is probably replicable among "net gen" kids everywhere.

I am not sure that these kids are less moral - only differently moral. A small example:

A few years ago I found the hard drive of my home PC was full. On investigation, I discovered that my teen-age son hadcopyright.gif downloaded a complete, illegal copy of one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

When I asked him if he didn't feel it was wrong to deprive someone of his/her livelihood by denying them payment for their creative property, he replied:

"But Dad, I paid to see the movie in the theater - twice. I will buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. And I will probably buy a deluxe edition when that comes out in a year or so. Just HOW am I not paying for this?"

I am not sure I agreed with his argument, but it was nice to know he was thinking about the ethical implications of his act.

While I have no ethical problems with DRM techniques (to the chagrin of at least a few of my readers, I'm aware), I agree with Ian that copy-protection will not be a long-term viable solution. But I still don't understand any economic model in which creators are compensated for their work when all their songs, books, software, etc., are easily attainable without payment (stolen). 


OLPC support

The OLPC blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4) are still racking up comments. A couple notes for Blue Skunk readers/posters:

  1. If you are asking for or giving tech advice about the XO, you will find a more appropriate venue than this blog at the support forums springing up. Among the most active seem to be: and  And of course the OLPC wiki itself has an ever increasing amount of good info.  (I love comments on this blog. I just don't want you all to be frustrated.) Oh, while you are at it, subscribe to Wayan Vota's One Laptop Per Child blog. Good stuff.
  2. I feel sort of bad when folks ask me questions in blog comments but do not provide an e-mail address where I can respond. As I understand it, if you provide your e-mail address in the "optional" blank when adding a post, it won't appear to the general readership, only to me. I do try to respond to all comments, even if only briefly. Everyone likes knowing she/he has at least been heard. And I don't personally know any spammers even if I wanted to sell your e-mail address.

Exciting to see this XO community grow with excitement and frustration in equal measures. As I suppose is true with any truly new thing.

XO Support...xoliquor.jpg



The first line test

robo-writer.jpgA new meme going around: the first line(s) of each month's first blog post. (Encountered first at Stephen's Lighthouse.)

I have a buddy who always gives novels a "first line test." If the first line doesn't grab ya, put the book back. Maybe I should start all my blog entries "It was the best of times" or "Call me Ishmael."

Jan: The meme of 5 or too much information
I was tagged by Christian Long and Kathy Schrock to play the Meme of 5  - the "list things about yourself that others probably don't know" game. OK, I'll play, but there is a reason one doesn't reveal everything to others.

Feb: 21st Century Information Fluency Project
This note from friend and colleague, Dennis O'Connor over in Illinois. (Published here with permission.) 

Mar: Don't defend any book
The discussion over the Newbery Award winning book The Power of Lucky continues on LM_Net, the AASL blog and, I am sure, in meetings, phone conversations and e-mails throughout the country. I find it upsetting that so many professional librarians seem to have lost the basic understandings of selection, reconsideration, in loco parentis, and intellectual freedom.

Apr: Odds and Ends - Vacation edition
Back from two weeks away from the desk. Worked the EARCOS conference and took a week's actual vacation with the LWW, touring Bangkok and doing a little pool side R&R in Phuket. Some random thoughts...

May: A little ray of sunshine
This came in my email yesterday (slightly edited and anonymized). After the bleak news of other library program cuts recently, this was just a little ray of sunshine!

June: 2006-2007 columns online
To the joy of insomniacs around the English speaking world, my school year 2006-07 columns are now online. These include my LMC Head for the Edge columns...

July: How - the importance of conduct
In Thomas Friedman's recent column, "The Whole World is Watching," he reports on Dov Seidman's book How. Both writers talk about the transparency with which we are living our lives. Friedman writes that with blogs, video cameras and YouTube, "everyone else is a public figure...and each of us is so much more transparent." 

Aug: So why are we so uptight about Internet gaming?
Being busy at work and busy at home preparing for workshops has left little time for blogging. Thank goodness, Adam Janowski, Library Media Specialst at Naples (FL) High School, has taken me up on a standing invitation to guest blog. Check it out below.

Sep: End of summer Start of school
Labor Day is always a wistful time for me. The long weekend of family and friends at "our" resort in northern Minnesota, The Cry of the Loon, signals that summer is indeed gone and that fall and school have officially begun. Even grandson Miles (pictured above) seems to be in a reflective mood. 

Oct: Give me a reason
"Most English teachers will tell you, "Kids just don't read like they used to." I disagree. Recently my high school treated students who passed all classes with a trip to Stonebriar Centre. Upon arrival, a large group flocked straight to Barnes & Noble, where they stayed until the bus ride home." (quote from student)

Nov: The original read/write internet - LM_Net

You Know You're a Librarian in 2005 when... 5. You know more librarians in Texas than you do in your home state because of LM_Net.

Peter Milbury and Mike Eisenberg, the moderators par excellence of LM_Net for the past 15 years, announced this morning that they are passing the torch. 

Dec: Boys Adrift - audio cast on MPR
Family physician and psychologist Leonard Sax, author of Boys Adrift, was interviewed on a recent Mid-Morning show on Minnesota Public radio. The audio is worth a listen.


254 blog entries in 2007 (so far), 19 columns, 5 articles, 3 book chapters, 1 published interview. And a partridge in a pear tree. No books written or revised. Again. Yikes!

Last weekend my new son-in-law, after a couple glasses of wine, asked me, "How much of what you write is bullshit?" 

I didn't know how to answer. I've been mulling it over.