Here’s Lesson 1:
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And here’s Lesson 2:
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Thanks, Peter, and enjoy!]]>
[Image Credit: Despotes]
There are some wonderful “bizzwords” in the show, along with some historical perspective. As the show description notes:
Every walk of life has its lingo. Its buzzwords and catchphrases. American business has its own colorful menagerie of slang, and always has — from bulls and bears, to bootstraps, and 800-pound gorillas, and fish in a barrel.
But buzzwords and catchphrases change. They turn over and make way for newcomers.
And when they do, in American business, they may tell us something about where we and our economy are headed.
If you lived through the business world of the 80s, you no doubt encountered a consultant or executive who talked about “re-engineering business processes” or finding “synergies” between different products.
Cube farmers could be depended upon to be seen “prairie dogging” when something happened around the office. Networking at cocktail parties was hot. Blamestormers might be Dilberted. Seagull managers might fly in to observe their microserfs, make a lot of noise, poop over everything and then leave.
If you worked in technology, you probably had a PC. As a hacker, you might have laughed about clueless users needed treeware. Everyone worried about career-limiting moves (CLMs) that might result from a bad click or command, propagating in an ohnosecond.
And of course, like, ya know, everything was, like, totally rad, dude.
In the 90s, couch potatoes turned to mouse potatoes as office workers all jumped on the Information Superhighway. Wired happily documented it all in its Jargon Watch column. By the end of the decade, i-everything and e-anything created one of the great tech bubbles.
Everyone wanted to go IPO. A few years later so one of the great crashes. Dotcommers became dotgoners and dotbombers. The 80/20 rule defined actionable moments after careful cost-benefit analyses. If something could be outsourced, it was. Viral marketing zipped off into email distribution lists, moving through word of mouse.
In the late ’00s (naughts), the Web 2.0 bubble has replaced the Internet bubble, as social networkers expand their social graphs, exposed to infotisements and advertorials as they blog, edit wikis and surf the blogosphere with RSS readers on iPhones. Online marketers are accountable for the ROI of every campaign. We’ve crowdsourced many actions and processes, whereever feasible, bending to the wisdom of the crowd and selling to the long tail.
Google is both a verb and a noun, along with nearly every conceivable form in between. Despite the company’s best efforts, google has even escaped proper noun status in many communities. The President calls it “the Google.” The senior senator from Arizona talks about “a google.” The junior senator from Illinois (and his search committee) Googled potential vice-presidential candidates. As billions of revenue from search adverstising each quarter streaming in to the Internet giant, it’s clear we’re a culture of Googlers googling each other, egosurfing away.
We’re also frazzing, dangerously close to overload by switching from email to cell phone to IM to text messages to meetings to Twitter and the Web.
Steeped in media from satellite and cable news networks, DVRs, DVD-players, on-demand programming and Web video, there’s even a danger of what sociologist Emile Durkheim might have identified as a kind of digital anomie, colorfully described as “Dorito Syndrome” — a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness, regardless of consumption.
No matter how much screensucking you do, there’s always more. Lisa Belkin wrote about a number of these in the New York Times in 2006 in Overly Wired.
Widgets are everywhere now, of course, and may be anything from a small gadget to an embeddable module in an iGoogle page to a downloadable desktop application or even (gasp) an esoteric mechanical device. (Guinness drinkers have their own version, of course.)
The green computing wave spurred by skyrocketing energy costs from power-hungry data centers has spawned many biologically-themed terms.
Greenwashing, astroturfing and blacksurfing have all entered the lexicon. Every product seems to live in its own ecosystem.
Freemium business models now may promote coopetition between fierce competitors, perhaps using telepresence rooms that are far too expensive for standard percussive maintenance.
Under such conditions, “matadors” (people skilled at dodging assignments or responsibility) have little chance of scraping by, as the presence technologies, pervasive computing and “status message culture” adopted by the millenials puts “slacking” firmly into the lexicon of decades-past.
And, of course, we’re all increasingly computing in the cloud now.
As we near the end of this decade, the buzzwords of the ’10s have yet to be coined and collectively sampled, savored and entered into the lexicons maintained by Merriam-Webster, the Oxford Englsh Dictionary and, of course, the best online IT encyclopedia online. (Shameless plug).
Some will end up as sniglets, humorous oddities of cultures past. Other words will always remind the culture at large of a certain time and place.
Here’s hoping we can improve on vlog, blook and webinar.
If you have an idea of what lingo might define the next decade of business, let me know at email@example.com or leave a comment.]]>
[Download a special report on 10 years at Berkman (PDF)]
Berkman at 10 combined conference with celebration, as Harvard professors, staff, alumni and guests convened for sessions that included presentations from distinguished professors, a discussion with the co-founder of Wikipedia, a panel featuring Viacom’s general counsel, a former FCC chairman and venture capitalist Ester Dyson — all within the course of the first day. Dinners, sessions in the style of an unconference, a talk about the future of journalism from TalkingPointMemo‘s Joshua Micah Marshall and seminars that addressed net neutrality, netizenship and much more continued the second day, followed by a gala that honored the achievements of those who have made outstanding contributions to the Internet’s impact on society over the past decade. Winners included the founders of MideastYouth.com, Connexions, FreeRice.com, PublicResource.org, Worldspace.com. Highest honor went to Jeffrey Cunard and Bruce Keller for their pro bono work.
[Watch the archived webcasts of Berkman at 10]
The men and women considering the future of the Internet used the medium itself to meet, greet, intermingle and collectively think about the topic at hand. As you might expect at a conference packed with cyberluminaries, computer scientists, engineers, journalists and assorted digerati, the two days were an exercise in hyperconnectivity. Conferees listened in the audience, watched live video feeds from overflow rooms or participated remotely using uncommonly robust social media tools.
“The question is not freedom of speech, the question is freedom *after* speech.”
- Esther Dyson, quoting an unnamed Russian
The Berkman Center created a Berkman at 10 wiki where you can find much more information about the conference, its agenda, attendees, the sessions and the Center itself. Projects founded, funded or organized by Berkman and its Fellows have been far-reaching in their influence and are frequently grounded in the entrepreneurial focus and intellectual rigor of its founders. They include:
The conference was kicked off by the Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan, who announced that the Berkman Center for Internet and Society now a university-wide research center at Harvard. She also urged the crowd to lobby Jonathan Zittrain to come back to Harvard and led an impromptu chant to urge him to consider the invitation. Professor Nesson, cofounder of the Berkman Center, then introduced Professor Jonathan Zittrain, aka “JZ,” to the conference.
Professor Zittrain’s thesis is that the “generative Internet,” the combination of a programmable computer and an open, “writable” Internet, is in danger from tethered appliances like the iPhone and TiVo or walled gardens of non-portable data like Facebook. Doc Searls posted the following graphic within his “Understanding Infrastructure” article for Linux Journal:
In the PC and the network, the narrow point in the hourglass is where the generative power rests, in the Internet Protocol and the operating system. During the session, Zittrain repeatedly referred to this power as the “dark energy” of the Internet and raised concerns that the means to contribute could gradually be abridged or blocked in the future by corporations or governments through changes in the network or locking down the OS. The iPhone and other appliances like the Chumby or XBox are examples of the latter.
Further thoughts and analysis of the session can be found from Ethan Zuckerman, David Weinberger, Patrick Philippe Meier, Andy Sellars, Daithí Mac Sithigh, Dan Farber and Jim Rapoza. Zittrain’s book, “The Future of the Internet,” is available at futureoftheinternet.org.
Professor John Palfrey, the executive director of the Berkman Center, followed with a session on the impact of the Internet on politics and democracy. The presentation reached much further than the U.S. Presidential election, though the impact of YouTube, socially networked fundraising and the netroots has been far reaching domestically. He also presented three crucial arguments, each of which may be viewed and commented upon related ideas at the wiki at Berkman and is quoted below:
Palfrey’s talk reflected many of Zittrain’s concerns: the very openness and disruptive change that a generative Internet presents for free speech may be dangerous enough to repressive regimes that technological steps, like the Great Firewall of China, may be taken to limit access or the ability to publish freely.
Palfrey presented a map of the Farsi blogosphere (above) and noted, however, that the Iranian blogosphere is the fourth largest in the world, including a range of conservative, religious, secular and liberal views. The map was produced by John Kelly and Bruce Etling for their paper, “Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere.”
One of the more intriguing notions that came out of the session was the concept of “flashdrive democracy,” where Palfrey used the example of Cuban dissidents who smuggled contraband video of student protests out of Cuba using a sneakernet and published them to YouTube.
Session notes are available from Professor Palfrey. More analysis and notes from David Weinberger’s post, Micah Sifry’s post and Daithí Mac Sithigh’s post.
In the third session of the day, Yochai Benkler, professor and author of the Wealth of Networks, interviewed Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia. The two men deconstructed the sprawling online encyclopedia and discussed different models of peer production.
Dan Farber reported on the session and posted a transcript of Wales’ remarks on his blog. Adam Oran also wrote at length about this session at Radar.OReilly.
“The threat is not the money, the threat is the authority over knowledge.”
- Yochai Benkler
The links above are far from the only reactions to the sessions, of course. See the Center’s collection of online coverage of Berkman at 10 for more information about the unconference, panels and seminars.
Throughout the conference, participants near and far chatted over IRC, Twittered about memorable moments or useful links and used a dynamic online question tool as a live discussion board during each presentation. Hallmark technologies of “Web 1.0″ like IP, IRC, HTTP, WWW and HTML were enhanced by social media from the Web 2.0 world, like blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, microblogging and live videoblogging. Conference participants chatted live there on the IRC channel or in the virtual 3D hall on the Berkman Center’s island in Second Life. Some participants, however, still passed notes.
Berkman at 10 was chronicled using what Professor David Weinberger might term a folksonomy, a user-defined taxonomy for classifying digital content. Participants assigned digital content to the Berkman folksonomy on whatever platform they were publishing to using a #Berkman hashtag or “Berkmanat10″ tag or category.
Here are the different aggregations.
As it’s a dance performance, both labs worked in close collaboration with the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, and the Dance Department and Intermedia Program at Mills College. The video quality admittedly isn’t great — and you may want to skip ahead to 11:30, when the actual performance begins, or to 20:00, when the dancing starts — but the concept itself is noteworthy for its aspiration to bridge the gap between real and virtual environments.
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From the show notes on YouTube:
The Resonance Project Dance Group performed for a very large crowd in the Hearst Memorial Mining Building at UC Berkeley. The performance was a blend of live, modern dance with live tele-immersed dancers from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Using a large network of cameras and computers the dancers were able to span the geographic distance and mingle in cyberspace. The computers merged three-dimensional video images of the dancers onto a single projection, which was broadcast alongside live dancers.
The Resonance Project is a team of choreographers, dancers, computer engineers, and visual and sound artists who are investigating concepts of presence/remote presence and corporeal and code interactivity within live and media based performance. Unique to the project is the use of a “performance as research” model, within which scientists and artists collaborate to explore a re-visioning of cyber culture and corporeal presence.
The nature of the performance has a close conceptual relationship with CAVE, a tele-immersive environment used for learning in a wide variety of disciplines, and the CAVEman, the first 4-D human atlas.]]>
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From the show notes on YouTube:
As IC’s routinely include more than a billion transistors, the interactions between the design and the manufacturing communities now must handle atomic-level variability, dozens of new materials, and patterning techniques operating at their theoretical limit.
In this talk, we will present several facets of this problem and discuss emerging innovations at the IC design-manufacturing interface.
Last month, I was lucky enough to score an invitation to a Q&A session with two distinguished MIT physicists focused upon the theoretical underpinnings of teleportation , followed by a roundtable discussion that brought in with “Jumper” director Doug Liman and Anakin Skywalker himself, Hayden Christiansen. The movie will be in wide release tomorrow, so I thought it would be timely to offer a comment or two concerning this confluence of fact and fiction.
You know you’re in a special place when professors receive enthusiastic applause comparable to the reception given to a Hollywood director and bonafide heart throb movie star. That being said, Hayden was clearly the focus of considerable adoration, expressed at his entrance and in more than one invitation to dates and afterparties.
Serious students of quantum physics are going have to employ the classic “willing suspension of disbelief” to fully embrace this picture. In other words, when questioned, both Dr. Edward Farhi and Dr. Max Tegmark kindly but firmly ruled out the possibility of human teleportation any time in the near future. The current state of this branch of science is exciting, however, given that experiments have successfully teleported the properties of photons over a distance. This sort of quantum teleportation relies on “quantum entanglement“, whereby the properties of two particles can be tied together even when they are far apart, a phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”
I managed to capture the presentations of Professor Tegmark and Farhi on the physics of teleportation on my webcam and stream it on uStream. My apologies: The quality of both the audio and video is regrettably poor. Still, I’m happy to share.
Jumper’s plot relies on a staple of science fiction, however, not fact: genetic mutation. In other words, some evolved version of CERN‘s large hadron collider or a hitherto undiscovered means of stabilizing worm holes powered by cold fusion is not at at the heart of the film. Some people are born with the ability to teleport from one place to another. Off to the races.
Mr. Liman’s direction of Swingers, Go and the Bourne Identity , however, recommends taking a chance on his vision of the moral and ethical challenges presented to someone with the power to teleport at will. I found his willingness to research what the event would actually look and sound like was impressive, particularly the collapse of air into the vacuum left by the removal of a body. He said he fell in love with the script when he read that the first action of the character upon discovering his power was to rob a bank.
For more coverage of the event, check out:
Following is the trailer, if you’ve somehow missed it theaters, on TV or elsewhere on the Web.
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If you’re looking for some geeky fun on Valentine’s Day, just google “movie: jumper [your zipcode]” and enjoy.
UPDATE: I’ve gotten some anecdotal feedback that “Jumper” isn’t exactly Citizen Kane. RottenTomatoes.com has delivered a dire rating of 15% while imdb.com users are being considerably kinder with a rating of 6.4/10. That being said, the film raking in $27.2 million at the box office this past weekend, so tastes may be for forgiving out and about.]]>
Tech fans may find gems like “SIMS 141 – Search, Google, and Life,” with Google’s Sergey Brin, to be of particular interest:
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If that doesn’t meet your bar for online video goodness, you might try BoingBoing TV, a new IPTV feature hosted by cybergoddess Xeni Jardin and BoingBoing’s co-creator, Mark Frauenfelder.
The 3-5 minute segments will also feature cyberpunk author and digital copyright maven Cory Doctorow and gadgets editor Joel Johnson. The debut episodes featurethe usual mix of pop ephemera and geeky art, including a piece on Listography.com, an remix of an industrial movie from the 1960s and a robot covering Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”
All Things Weird and Wonderful, here I come.
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So what is Facebook? It’s a simple idea, done well: move the “facebooks” of incoming college undergraduates online, with headshots and interests constituting a basic profile, and then create the tools for nodes on the network to interact and browse each other’s profiles.
It’s also my “latest discovery,” as I joined earlier this spring, egged on by a neighbor. Back when I went to college, we had such a thing, printed on “paper,” bound and distributed to the freshman class (and just as quickly appropriated by upperclassmen frequently interested in more than discovering who else was into rock climbing or Pearl Jam). Facebook was, at its inception, a social network for college students, with access limited to only students in the same institution. Now, Facebook has laid claim to being a “social utility,” bidding to become the platform or framework we use to organize our online lives.
Audacious, perhaps, but not unprecedented. Friendster had the early start in filling that role but never recovered from an inability of its original technical architecture to scale to massive traffic demands or challenges from MySpace and other networks.
To be fair, over the past spring and summer, the social networking phenomenon has continued to explode in popularity and innovation, but Facebook has grown much faster and pulled in the digerati like no other.
Why? There’s no single reason. While the decision to open the formerly closed network to the Internet at large is an obvious place to begin, instead of limiting membership to isolated pools of collegians, other factors are in play. Making APIs available to developers resulted in a tsunami of applications that help to further interconnect nodes within each social network has attracted enormous amounts of energy (and, increasingly) venture capital to the platform.
Choosing to keep a clean, easily navigated interface has mattered as well. While MySpace is still the biggest social network — and by most measurements, the most popular site on the Internet, the contrast between the two services couldn’t be much larger, aesthetically, as Facebook (by comparison) radically limits the visual control a user has over a profile. It doesn’t hurt that all of the young college graduates enter the workforce with profiles, either.
If you need a sense of how bound into the tech community Facebook has become, consider how Silicon Valley reacted to a recent Facebook outage.
There’s plenty of evidence too that spending time on Facebook has also evolved into a significant productivity drain (though some disagree) and security risk. (If you’re wondering which companies lead in embracing Facebook, along with the most risk, just read Elisa’s post). The trouble is that sysadmins with itchy trigger fingers may not be able to quickly shut off the flow of bandwidth by firewalling Facebook. Unlike other more informal networks, many professionals have been using to “friend” their coworkers, clients and collaborators, along with former college roommates and dorm buddies. While LinkedIn has long been the social network of choice for many professionals, Facebook has begun eating into that market. In the online social media world, the gaps between online and offline networks are continuing to close, along with whatever space remained between work and personal lives.
Netizens my age (proud members of the “XY generation” that bridges the gap between Gen X (children of the 80s) and Gen Y (folks who don’t remember life before CDs and email or who said “trust but verify“) and older may find some elements of Facebook surprising, though perhaps not more so than MySpace. Older users are joining, however, and finding a place. While privacy options for profiles exist, unlike MySpace, there’s significant potential for embarrassment and even calamity for college or career prospects for those who aren’t wary about posting photos or blog entries that don’t put them in a good light, to put it mildly. PR professionals and marketers would do well to consider the advice of social media gurus. And, as neighborhood applications crop up, there are also alarming security concerns regarding personal safety and property, given that clever criminals can posit where and when individuals are away.
While much of the value of joining these networks can be found in keeping touch with friends and alumni — and making new ones from within that social network — the amount of information that many people are adding to their profiles has also been identified as a valid phishing risk, with significant potential for social engineering hacks that allow access to corporate networks.
What to do? As is the case with the rest of the Web-based applications that have made their way into enterprise and personal desktops alike (users keep outwitting IT when installing consumer apps, apparently), the key is likely to be adaptive security policies that both recognize the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and personal life while respecting both the bandwidth limitations high usage may inflict upon a network and the need to limit the leak or theft of potentially damaging proprietary or personal data. No one is suggesting that developing, implementing or enforcing such a policy is easy, but the consequences of failing to try may extend well beyond a public relations disaster to the organization or individual who doesn’t consider Facebook to be a risk.
There are also no shortages of critics who view the closed nature of Facebook with some distaste — “yet another profile to populate” is a new form of fatigue in the digital age. Personal data portability may become a online movement. It’s certainly been the inspiration for a business plan or two. The founder of LiveJournal, for instance, has published a mini-manifesto for portable, open social networking, according to Mashable. (It may help that Google appears to be backing him). Other observers have noted that Facebook hasn’t been proven to be a rewarding platform for advertisers yet either, though the model is still evolving, as described in this excellent article from Business.com, the Facebook Economy.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching classmates and friends pop up on Facebook; lest you wonder, you can find me there as well. Be warned: I’m sticking with adding friends, coworkers and neighbors, lest I develop social networking fatigue myself.]]>
The next time you’re riding the train and see impressionable teens bobbing their heads, it may not be the beat of Jessica Simpson, but rather a mathematical stumper that they’ve just solved. As the article notes, the exam is still a “pencil and paper” format; however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this exam move to a digital format in the near future.
I’ll be interested to see the popularity of these Kaplan downloads, especially compared to all of the entertainment options that teens have these days. As for me, I hereby return to my own iPod, where I’ve got podcasts loaded up from some technology sites, along with my current favorite – numerous podcasts from ESPN Radio.]]>
An autodidact, in case you’re wondering, is a self-directed learner. Wikipedia has an index of different different autodidacts in different countries.
Jimmy’s selections, which include courses, educational podcasts and much more, make it easier for all of the autodidacts out there to excel in self-directed learning.
Jimmy also has created a “Best of the Internet Today page, similar to popurls.com, and a blog that focuses on rating online video..]]>