Joho the BlogApril 2008 - Page 3 of 7 - Joho the Blog

April 20, 2008

Benkler’s Chapter 11 is the opposite of bankrupt (Or: The Wealth of Benkler)

Tomorrow, for the second to last class of our Web Difference class, John Palfrey is leading a discussion of chapter 11 of Yochai Benkler‘s Wealth of Networks. So, I just re-read it and liked it even more than the first time. Which is saying something.

The book as a whole is at times daunting because of its thoughtfulness, detail, and multi-disciplinary expertise. But, Chapter 11 should be required reading for anyone who cares about the Net’s future. In it, Benkler considers the multiple layers of challenges we face in building (and maintaining) the Net we want … one rich in collaborative creation. Clear, comprehensive, magnificent.

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April 19, 2008

Objectivity in teaching and reporting

Over at the Web Difference class blog, I’ve posted my qualms about posting here (i.e., at Joho) some thoughts about the course. Very circular and self-involved, I know.

Anyway, the question over at the Web Difference blog is whether a teacher should be neutral/fair/objective or transparent… [Tags: ]

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New Mac for me?

After a regrettable clunk at precisely the right spot on my wife’s Thinkpad, we’re short a laptop with a screen that consists of fewer than 867 pieces. So, I bought a white MacBook thinking that we’d cycle machines, giving my wife my son’s Powerbook (she only uses it for Web access), and giving him the white Mac. But now I’m thinking I’ll keep the white MacBook and give my son my haunted black MacBook. He is a less-intensive user than I am, so I’m hoping the gremlins will atrophy. And the new white MB’s processor speed and graphics capabilities are marginally better than the year-old black MB, or so I believe. (Take this as a plea for disabuse.) (My son is very happy to take either MB as an upgrade to his PowerBook, so no need to call in the authorities.)

I transferred data from my black MB via firewire during the set up. (Windows, I hope you’ve noticed this feature. It saved me at least a full day of reinstalling and configuring.) If nothing else, this may help determine whether the gremlins live in the black MB’s hardware or software. It’s all working so far, except for the Apache server, but this feels more like a configuration error than a bug . (Yes, I turned on Sharing.)

The white MB, however, has no Enter key, which I had at times mapped to a forward delete key. (I generally have turned off the remapping sw for fear that it was gremlin fodder.) Any suggestions for which key to remap and which sw to use to do it?

Any other white MB-specific hints or tips? And do you think I’ve downgraded myself? So far, it seems pretty sweet…

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April 18, 2008

How important is the Web?

Amazingly, the course I’ve been co-teaching with John Palfrey, called The Web Difference, ends on Tuesday. The question the course poses is, unsurprisingly: Is the Web very different from what came before, a little different, or not different? More important, in what ways? The class has looked at a number of different domains and dimensions. (A now outdated version of the syllabus is here.)

John and I haven’t talked about what to do on the last day, but I’m tempted to raise the question of the Web’s difference by asking the class how epochal they think the Web is. Is it different enough and important enough to call this the Age of the Web? (For purposes of this discussion, I’m not distinguishing between the Web and the Internet. If you’d rather substitute “Internet,” I won’t argue. And, yes, I do know the difference.)

Since that’s still pretty vague, suppose we were to ask whether the Web is as big a deal — in terms of defining an epoch — as genetic manipulation. TV. The telephone. Anesthetics. CB radio. The printing press. Paperback books. Bronze. Steam engines. Commercial aviation. Electric keyboards. The computer. Ball point pens. Johnny Depp.

Personally, I think it’s roughly on the order of the printing press. But I also believe that Wikipedia is our Gutenberg Bible… no, not in terms of credibility or spiritual depth, but as the artifact that shows the importance of the new technology. I suspect and hope many of the students in our class thoroughly disagree… [Tags: ]

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First 21st Century campaign?

Ronald Brownstein argues in the National Journal that that’s how we’ll remember the Clinton-Obama race. It’s a nicely done piece…

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My Heart Will Go On Fragging

I will understand if you don’t think this is funny, but I do:


TF2 Karaoke: My Heart Will Go On from FLOOR MASTER on Vimeo.

It comes via Bradsucks. It’s a karaoke version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” as performed by some guys playing Team Fortress 2. [Tags: ]

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April 17, 2008

A phrase I’d be ok with never hearing again

Baby bump.

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CorporateSpeak: The Game

This BoingBoing gadget lets you smash corporate shillery in a most amusing way.

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April 16, 2008

Campaign for President 2008: The musical

Yesterday afternoon, somehow the Berkman Fellows Hour turned into a campaign musical videofest. Ethan has blogged it all, with plenty of links.

For reasons I can’t possibly explain, this is my favorite:

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The politics of playing cards

Thanks to my relentless ego-surfing, um, I mean my participating in the ongoing conversation that is the Web, I came across a rough draft of a course paper by Devin Dadigan about the racism and sexism implicit in playing cards, — which, apparently are ordered the way they have been since the 14th century. Kings beat queens, and, the black queen is an especially disastrous card in several games.

At first I thought Devin’s hypothesis about race was problematic, because I thought clubs are sometimes taken as the highest suit, even though Devin says that black cards represent labor and slaves. (That link seems incontestable in America where “spade” has been a demeaning — and occasionally hip — term for African-Americans.) Wikipedia, however, says that when suits are ranked, clubs sometimes come first because the ranking is done alphabetically. Ah, the hidden power of alphabetization! Why, it even cures racism!

Fascinating fact: According to the paper, the ascent of the ace as the highest card “was hastened in the late 18th century by the French Revolution, where games began being played ‘ace high’ as a symbol of lower classes rising in power above the royalty.”

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