November 22, 2012
"

Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt. It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.

[…]

The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies.

Those earlier inventions systems started out markedly inferior to the high-cost alternative: records were scratchy, PCs were crashy. But first they got better, then they got better than that, and finally, they got so good, for so cheap, that they changed people’s sense of what was possible.

In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.

"

—  Clay Shirky on what the collapse of the music industry teaches us about the future of higher education.

(Source: , via explore-blog)

October 1, 2012
theatlantic:

How the 8.5” x 11” Piece of Paper Got Its Size

Why do we use a paper size that is so unfriendly for the basic task of reading? According to a very interesting post by Paul Stanley, the rough dimensions of office paper evolved to accommodate handwriting and typewriters with monospaced fonts, both of which rendered many fewer characters per line. “Typewriters,” he explains, “produced 10 or 12 characters per inch: so on (say) 8.5 inch wide paper, with 1 inch margins, you had 6.5 inches of type, giving … around 65 to 78 characters.” This, he says, is “pretty close to ideal.”

Read more. [Image: Picsfive/Shutterstock]

theatlantic:

How the 8.5” x 11” Piece of Paper Got Its Size

Why do we use a paper size that is so unfriendly for the basic task of reading? According to a very interesting post by Paul Stanley, the rough dimensions of office paper evolved to accommodate handwriting and typewriters with monospaced fonts, both of which rendered many fewer characters per line. “Typewriters,” he explains, “produced 10 or 12 characters per inch: so on (say) 8.5 inch wide paper, with 1 inch margins, you had 6.5 inches of type, giving … around 65 to 78 characters.” This, he says, is “pretty close to ideal.”

Read more. [Image: Picsfive/Shutterstock]

1:57pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZNHLXyUQxll7
  
Filed under: Tech History Paper 
July 5, 2012
world-shaker:

Tech Irony

world-shaker:

Tech Irony

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

June 16, 2012
swissmiss:

What is your definition of Magic? #icebreakertags #creativemornings (Taken with instagram)

swissmiss:

What is your definition of Magic? #icebreakertags #creativemornings (Taken with instagram)

(via creativemornings)

June 15, 2012
canisfamiliaris:

The Emoticon Is Born
by Scott Fahlman
Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts. Or at least I’m one of the inventors. By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”. These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing. Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room. Who does it belong to?” Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion). Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.
Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor). The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.
This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously. After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various “joke markers” were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that. In the same post, I also suggested the use of :-( to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.
Within a few months, we started seeing the lists with dozens of “smilies”: open-mouthed surprise, person wearing glasses, Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, the pope, and so on. Producing such clever compilations has become a serious hobby for some people. But only my two original smilies, plus the “winky” ;-) and the “noseless” variants seem to be in common use for actual communication. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original.
(via crookedindifference)

canisfamiliaris:

The Emoticon Is Born

by Scott Fahlman

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts. Or at least I’m one of the inventors. By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”. These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing. Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room. Who does it belong to?” Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion). Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor). The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously. After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various “joke markers” were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that. In the same post, I also suggested the use of :-( to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

Within a few months, we started seeing the lists with dozens of “smilies”: open-mouthed surprise, person wearing glasses, Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, the pope, and so on. Producing such clever compilations has become a serious hobby for some people. But only my two original smilies, plus the “winky” ;-) and the “noseless” variants seem to be in common use for actual communication. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original.

(via crookedindifference)

(via theatlantic)

4:23pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZNHLXyNRUA7E
  
Filed under: Longreads Tech 
June 12, 2012
world-shaker:

Preach.

world-shaker:

Preach.

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

4:23pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZNHLXyNFG4qU
  
Filed under: tech lol quote 
March 12, 2012
theatlantic:

The QWERTY Effect: How Keyboards Are Changing Our Language

It’s long been thought that how a word sounds — its very phonemes — can be related in some ways to what that word means. But language is no longer solely oral. Much of our word production happens not in our throats and mouths but on our keyboards. Could that process shape a word’s meaning as well?
That’s the contention of an intriguing new paper by linguists Kyle Jasmin and Daniel Casasanto. They argue that because of the QWERTY keyboard’s asymmetrical shape (more letters on the left than the right), words dominated by right-side letters “acquire more positive valences” — that is to say, they become more likable. Their argument is that because its easier for your fingers to find the correct letters for typing right-side dominated words, the words subtly gain favor in your mind.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

theatlantic:

The QWERTY Effect: How Keyboards Are Changing Our Language

It’s long been thought that how a word sounds — its very phonemes — can be related in some ways to what that word means. But language is no longer solely oral. Much of our word production happens not in our throats and mouths but on our keyboards. Could that process shape a word’s meaning as well?

That’s the contention of an intriguing new paper by linguists Kyle Jasmin and Daniel Casasanto. They argue that because of the QWERTY keyboard’s asymmetrical shape (more letters on the left than the right), words dominated by right-side letters “acquire more positive valences” — that is to say, they become more likable. Their argument is that because its easier for your fingers to find the correct letters for typing right-side dominated words, the words subtly gain favor in your mind.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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