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

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Monday
Nov212005

Bullshit literacy - a rubric

 Technology leader par excellance, Art Wolinsky, has developed a rubric to measure mastery of my tounge-in-cheek skills, Bullshit Literacy  Check it out.

BTW, Harry G. Frankfurt's book, On Bullshit, will be a stocking stuffer around here.

From the original posting of September 7, 2005:

The Bullshit Literate Student will:

1. Show no social conscience or balance when deliberately distorting factoids, data, or expert opinion in presenting a conclusion.
2. Skillfully use any medium and all persuasive techniques in order to convince others. This includes the ability to use technology to doctor images and edit text.
3. Consistently, vociferously, and blindly hold to a single point of view, and know that volume, repetition and rhetoric trump reason. (ie: Stay the course.)
4. Convincingly fake sincerity.
5. Ably disguise personal gain as public good.
6. Take a single incident or news story or incident and follow it to an illogical conclusion. (See employment prediction above.)
7. Claim any idea as original.
8. Deny prior knowledge. (ie: Nobody expected the breach of the levees)
9. Create a website, wiki, blog, or podcast. (beginning level). Find a publisher, broadcaster or corporate sponsor for whom the bottom line is the bottom line. (advanced).
10. Never, never, never show doubt.

Sunday
Nov202005

A wiki experiment

For anyone who might like to try participating in a wiki (collaborative writing environment), I have put a draft version of my next Media Matters column for Leading & Learning on a free wiki site:  Jot Spot. Log on with "guest" (no quotes) as both your username and password. If you make changes, and feel free to do so, please add your name or initials to the bottom of the document so I can see how many people contributed. I will note in the printed column that it was wiki-ized.

I'm doing this for a couple reasons. First, the topic is one on which I do not particually consider myself an expert  -  web logs. There are many  experienced folks who can increase the value and accuracy of the column for the eventual print reader if willing to make some additions and/or changes.

Second, I'd  just like to see how this wiki business pans out. I am not, by nature, a collaborative writer. Other than asking the LWW to proof read my writing for its most egregious errors in grammar and clarity, I don't like other people touching my nouns, verbs, or, especially, my adjectives. I am keeping my draft of the column in good-old Word just in case people really muck this up. (OK, I am uneasy.)

If this works, I may be on to a real time-saving ploy. Perhaps I can just throw an outline or even an idea out on a wiki and let the world write for me! I have a book that desperately needs revision. Should the wiki-sphere have a go at that too? The possibilities are mind-numbing and very appealing to this latent sloth.

Saturday
Nov192005

Personal media – a confession

I’m not a gadget person.

I’ve made no secret about my distain for cell phones. I have one that rides in my pickup that has about 30 minutes per month talk time and I’ve never gone over my limit. It is rarely turned on and I’ve given the number to about five people. I don’t mind using the phone to harass others, but hate being harassed by means of it myself.

My Palm Tungsten C PDA has long been on my love/hate list as well. The tiny screen, tiny buttons, and a clunky sync process have often made me yearn for my paper planner. Its built in WiFi was unreliable except on my home and school wireless networks. I kept forgetting to recharge the damn thing. It didn’t do much for the line of my suit coat when I carried in a pocket. And fashion plate that I am, this bothered me ;-)

So I surprised myself yesterday. On finding that my PDA’s screen did not survive my recent trip to Singapore, I found myself at the local Sprint store buying a Treo 650 and a new cell service that included Internet access. This PDA/cell phone gizmo ought to combine all the dislikes of both my earlier devices into a single object of scorn. Plus I can now take fuzzy, ill lit pictures with its built-in camera. I’m betting the manual will weigh about eight pounds.

But I am fighting a losing battle – the revolution, as Paul Saffo describes it, from mass media to personal media.

In his handouts from the NLB conference, Saffo has an interesting table:

 psaffo.jpg

I recognize that there are some skills I need to master if I am to survive this revolution– especially now that I will have a new “enabling” device making access to new media even more ubiquitous.

  1. I need to get better at multi-tasking or learn to shut down devices when I ought to be paying attention. It is way too easy for me to pay more attention to what is happening in my e-mail world than in the F2F meeting I am supposed to be attending. Will the siren’s song of the virtual world eventually lead to a crash in the physical world?
  2. I need to be better at discriminating what I read and what I write. For a compulsive communicator, this will not be easy. I’ve questioned before whether the time I have for discretionary reading is better spent on blog sites or with a book. I also have to ask whether my writing time is better spent blogging or working on a book revision. (Which makes me ask, of course, why I write at all.)
  3. I’ve got to master those itty-bitty buttons with my thumbs and remember to recharge.

    Any advice for us geezers trying to live in a  2.0 world?