David Weinberger
NPR Commentary


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If you have the RealAudio plug in, you can listen to David Weinberger's commentaries on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." Here are the NPR blurbs and links:

  • THE WEB IN FIVE WORDS — Commentator David Weinberger says that the World Wide Web introduced a new sort of structure to popular culture, focusing on the idea of parallelled hyperlinks instead of a more vertical hierarchy of information. This idea is transforming text, movies and television: movies like Pulp Fiction and shows like Seinfeld, he says, are hyperlinked in their structure. He says that business is also being affected, though. Even President Clinton, he says, is really a very webby guy. (3:00) (Nov. 24, 1997)

  • PETABYTES AND HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS — Privacy advocates often express concern that the government has amassed too much information about American citizens. But commentator David Weinberger says the most important parts of our lives can't be reduced to data because computers can't pay attention. (March 26, 1998)

  • CONFESSIONS OF A QUAKE PLAYER — Commentator David Weinberger considers himself a gentle guy. A pacifist, he was granted conscientious objector status by his draft board. But now that he is playing "Quake", a fast and violent game on the Web, he is pondering his impulses to kill his opponents. He still considers himself a pacifist, but Quake is too much fun to give up.(April 27, 1998)

  • HOUSES ON THE WEB — Commentator David Weinberger explains how the World Wide Web is going to change our relationship to our homes. Appliances can be connected to the Web and we can be connected to them, no matter where we are. The technology exists for us to hook into our homes through Web pages which will give us read-outs on the well-being of our things and permit us to control them from remote locations. In this way, our homes will be given "small voices," Weinberger says.

  • EMOTIONAL COMPUTING — Commentator David Weinberger talks about the idea that computers can be built to mimic human emotions. He says that they are already emotional, because of how the computer desktop metaphor has become a distinct and identifiable place. It is now perceived as a place computer users actually go. Since places bring forth emotions, the computer is already an emotional tool. (July 6, 1998)

  • YEAR 2000 WINDCHILL — Commentator David Weinberger attempts to get to the bottom of the confusion over the year 2000 issue. He asks, when does the new millenium actually begin, anyway. Weinberger concludes that birthdays, even Jesus', should be counted with a windchill factored in. So, whether the millenium starts in 2000 or 2001, it's not going to matter much. (Aug. 17, 1998)

  • WEB BROKENNESS — The Web is always going to be a little bit broken, and this is teaching us to accept human fallibility. (This piece only ran on a couple of stations because some Monica-loves-Bill news bumped it. This link takes you to a transcript.) (Early Sept., 1998)

  • PLANET OF THE APES — Commentator David Weinberger tells the latest "hot" joke circulating in cyberspace. It links John Glenn with the "Planet of the Apes" series of movies. (1:30) (Nov. 5, 1998)

  • 'HANG ON SLOOPY' — Commentator David Weinberger gages other men of his generation by how well they play the guitar. He says that a large number of the men of the baby boom played in a bad rock and roll band in highschool, where they specialized in playing a few standards like "Louie Louie", "House of the Rising Sun," and that all-time classic: "Hang On Sloopy." Weinberger says that the thing that binds all men his age together is the desire to be Eric Clapton. This item is unavailable due to Internet rights issues. [Because of that, the link takes you to a transcript.] (Nov. 10, 1998)

  • INDIA'S INTERNET — On a recent trip to India, commentator David Weinberger witnessed workers laying cable...a sign of the beginnings of the Internet era in India. He's hopeful that people in India can join the web community without making some of the mistakes we in America have made. (Nov. 14, 1998)

  • THE PETER PRINCIPLE — Commentator David Weinberger says that in business, rewards are given to workers who rise to the level of everybody else's incompetence. If you're real good, you end up becoming what you really detest— the boss. (Jan. 5, 1999)

  • SPEAKING TO COMPUTERS — We'll grow to accept that computers can think the same way we come to think our children can think ... by engaging them in conversation, albeit meagre, utilitarian conversations. (Feb. 1, 1999)

  • "I HATE WINDOWS" — Commentator David Weinberger says that the Windows Operating System doesn't work, but when you think about everything it has to do, it probably works as well as it can. He compares the Operating System to a car. But a car has to do only one thing. An operating system has to do everything. (Apr. 5, 1999)

  • WANTING AN EXPLANATION — Comentator David Weinberger says attempts to explain the school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, and the search for where to place the blame - reflect an expectation that things are not supposed to go wrong. We expect diseases to be cured, asteroids to be diverted, and bad things to happen to other people. (May 17, 1999)

  • OUTLIVED BY THINGS— Commentator David Weinberger has come to the realization that he will probably be outlived by many of the things he owns. Everything from a pot for cooking, to his socks, to his car are likely to last longer than he will. Weinberger figures he can calculate the number of years he has left by how many smoke alarm batteries or pairs of running shoes he may need. (Sept. 9, 1999)

  • CLOSET CLEANING — Commentator David Weinberger goes into his closet and realizes that it's full of horrible outfits he can't seem to part with. That's because they are like a museum of the man he once was. (Nov. 15, 1999)

  • Y2K — Commentator David Weinberger says as the New Year gets closer, the Year 2000 hype is overwhelming him. He's worried he won't be able to live up to it. (Dec. 7, 1999)

  • The Doors of Connection — Commentator David Weinberger offers his take on why the Internet has become such a driving force of change. He says the World Wide Web offers a chance for people to connect with each other, and with ideas, with unprecedented ease. (Dec. 29, 1999)

  • E-Books — "E-Books" are a light-weight, low-cost way of receiving books over the Internet. Commentator David Weinberger says these devices might change not only what we read and write, but the way we read and write, with both positive and negative consequences. (Jan. 12, 2000)

  • Frame-jacking — The World Wide Web has hi-jacked our frames of reference when it comes to moral reasoning, because it makes things possible that have never been possible before. He calls this "frame jacking." (May 2, 2000)

  • Information Everywhere — Commentator David Weinberger says we're now entering the "second information revolution." He says the World Wide Web has demolished previous limitations on how fast and how much we could learn about a given subject. Now, if you want to know about something, get on the web, and you're almost instantly connected with more information, and people who are experts in the subject. (May 17, 2000)

  • Predictions — Commentator David Weinberger says making predictions is a waste of time, especially when it comes to trying to guess the future of technology. (Aug. 22, 2000)

  • At Home in China —Commentator David Weinberger recently returned from four days in Beijing, China. He says as a Westerner it was a truly foreign experience, but there's one place he felt completely at home: on the Internet. (Aug. 30, 2000)

  • Multitasking — Commentator David Weinberger realizes the current vogue in business to "multitask," but argues that few do it, and no one does it well. Slicing your attention, he says, is like slicing a plum — you lose some of the juice. (Sept. 25, 2000)

  • Out of Control — The Web is disproving the notion that the larger the project, the more managers, or "layers of control" are needed. Instead people are able to publish a newsletter, a book, start a company, even send mail, without having to get some sort of permission first. Commentator David Weinberger says this will ultimately change the way we think about authority. (Dec. 18, 2000)

  • Wireless World — New wireless devices are changing how the internet will be used. As you carry your hand-held computer, you'll now be able to learn what restaurants and stores might be around you, and even who is nearby. Weinberger says this will also create more social interaction, though interaction of "decreasing significance," like strangers passing to ask each other directions on-line. (Dec. 27, 2000)

  • Technology Metaphors —Commentator David Weinberger says the technology we use has an effect on how we speak. He says the World Wide Web is likely to change the metaphors we use. For instance, will we have a "broken link" when our memory lapses? (Jan. 29, 2001)

  • World Citizens —Commentator David Weinberger asserts that the experience children have on the Web now, voicing opinions and interacting with complete strangers, is going to change the kind of world we live in when they grow up. (May 31, 2001)

  • September 11 and the Web — Commentator David Weinberger says in addition to feeding the rumors flying about the Internet that day, the Web proved it can also provide a new kind of medium for more valuable information. (Sept. 27, 2001)

  • The Social Art of Privacy — Commentator David Weinberger says the way we communicate — our tone of voice, our body language — has always included subtle hints about what information is private, and what is for public discussion. (April 22, 2002)

  • Weblogs — Commentator David Weinberger says the phenomenon of "Weblogs" — a sort of daily journal that hundreds of thousands of people now keep on the Internet — is one example of how the Web may transform journalism. (Feb. 13, 2002)

  • Social Evolution — Commentator David Weinberger disagrees with the premise that the Web is making people less social. On the contrary, he says, our discourse is simply evolving. (Aug. 22, 2002)

  • Wifi — Commentator David Weinberger relates the story of a recent technology conference he attended. The conference venue was equipped with Wifi — wireless Internet Connectivity. (Feb. 21, 2003)

Click here to download the RealAudio plug-in, which you really should have anyway. And here is the "All Things Considered" archive.