Thursday, December 03, 2009

Why is technology important?

Dave Winer posted one answer to "Why is technology important?". It is an important question. Technology is a human artifact like media, innovations, language, processes, tools, clothing and any other "extensions of the physical human body - or the mind." So I will answer the question: "Why are artifacts important?" Artifacts are important because they impact our culture, our way of life. They have four effects: enhance, obsolesces, retrieves and reverses as described in McLuhan's Laws of Media. For example, automobiles enhance our privacy and travel, obsolesces horse and buggy, retrieves quests and reverses into traffic jams. You may have a different perception which is another reason why it is important to study technology and other artifacts. You can use this model to study any artifact and thus our culture.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New New Media

New book from author of Digital McLuhan. New new way to promote the textbook. Is a textbook new new media? javascript:void(0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Engineers Are The Best Deal - So Stock Up On Them

This post on TechCrunch by Auren Hoffman, an active angel investor, argues that software engineers have had a productivity increase of 14.9% per year. A key component of the gain is embracing open source software.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Son Graduates and Prof. Knuth chats

What a wonderful day! My son graduated from Stanford as a computer science major. So emtional for me. After the ceremony Prof. Donald Knuth stopped by to chat with my son. A perfect crowning of a glorius acheivement.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Your Blog Is Your Most Important Social Media Tool

I could not agree more with this article about "Your Blog Is Your Most Important Social Media Tool". Just look at all of the links inserted into tweets.

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Future of Convention Newspapers

Using #neara09 as the tag, we are hoping to digitally follow the conversations on the floor, in the hallways, over lunch and on the buses. We are really interested in contributed content more than the feed. Our feed originates with a blog. Content will include YouTube videos, Flickr photos and messages. The RSS will feed into Twitter and a mailing list. And then there is Facebook. There will also be a convention newspaper website. Both the hard copy and the website will cover the official business of the convention. Along with Robert's Rules and caucuses the newspaper makes possible the large democratic process. I believe that is the primary role of the newspaper, both hardcopy and web. And this is because of the essential need for hardcopy. Maybe in the future the Kindle or iReader will replace hardcopy, but not tjhis year. This is not to say a newspaper is limited to that role. The hardcopy can report on conversations but it is not real time and this not in the conversations. So we hope people will follow #neara09 but more importantly we hope they will use the tag on their tweets, in their blogs, with their videos and for their photos. Maybe #140tc will provide some ideas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

User Experience Design and McLuhan

In looking to explain User Experience Design I started thinking about McLuhan's statement that "The Medium is the Message." He was explaining, for example, that the car was not just about the car but the entire "environment" that it took to support the car: gas stations, oil companies, rubber plantations, auto unions, etc. In looking at a picture of a car you don't see the entire environment. The message is bigger than the product itself; it is the environment the product requires. User Experience Design is about looking at this entire environment when creating a new artifact. In fact creating a new product may including creating a substantial part of the supporting environment. The user does not use the new product or technology in a vacuum but within a larger context. For example, a picture of an iPod does not show you iTunes, the iTunes store or the Apple Store with the Genius Bar. Good design looks at the entire environment. Because McLuhan's Laws of Media apply within this environment, a good designer would benefit from studying them. Simply, User Experience Design has made a discipline out of the "The Message" of a new product.