Assorted Stuff

I learned at 10:00 this morning, just ten minutes before leaving for the airport. that the Missouri Bar’s Digital Citizenship conference, for which I was schedule to keynote tomorrow, was being canceled due to ice and snow.  I was initially disappointed because I’d worked all day yesterday preparing, and, well, I was in travel mode.  Since then, I have settled and am very happy to spend three extra days at home.

The first thing I did was to add a new feature to Class Blogmeister that folks had been requesting.  Then I set about scaning through my aggregator, the first time in days and days.  So here are a few things that jumped out at me:

  • I may be the only person I know who would be interested in A collection of World War I Draft Registration Cards from the famous, infamous, and interesting — from The National Archives.  Subjects include Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin, James Cagney, Al Capone, Cecil B. DeMille, W.C. Fields, Robert Frost, Harry Houdini, and Sinclair Lewis.
  • linutopIf you’re looking for really low power, small footprint, generally inoffensive computers, say for a Kiosk in the main office, the Linutop 2 may be something worth looking at.  It sports a 500MHz AMD CPU, 512MB of RAM, 1GB flash storage (we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future), and running Xubuntu.
  • iBandI can wait to show this one to Martin when he gets home from college later this evening.  Its a bit of muzack from the first ever iPhone band — iBand.
  • This one’s from Michael Wesch’s Digital Ethnography, and a February 21 article, Visions of the Mediascape RoundUp.  It’s a map of just about every router on the North American backbone (about 134,855), all in one PDF file.  Constructed by Bill Cheswick and Ben Worthen, the map was posted on Ben’s blog in 2006.  Click it up and zoom in …and in …and in …and in.  The file is also string searchable, at least with Preview on my MacBook.  It got me to thinking of some interesting new ways to do presentations.
  • The Search author, John Battelle, wrote in his Searchblog today, You’re In the Media Buz Now. He shared some of the ideas that he’d posted on February 18 on Open Forum, sponsored by American Express.  In both articles, he said:
  • …no matter what business you think you’re in – be it making widgets or providing a service, you’re now in the media business, plain and simple. Those that recognize this shift will succeed, those that ignore it will atrophy and eventually become irrelevant.

He continued:

    …let’s start where all good businesses start: with the customer. Your customer’s media habits have changed dramatically in the past ten years. More likely than not, your customers spend nearly 15 hours a week online – it’s where they play, communicate, interact with services, and shop and research major purchases. In short, your customer has developed a major new media habit. The question is: Has your business?

So!  Have We?

  • “ (is) a domain her mother bought for her in October.”  This line struck me as I read through an intriguing article from today’s New York Times.  Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain grabs a Pew Internet in American Life study published back in December, and puts some real faces to it.  Reporting that with the exception of producing video, girls (12 to 17) are significantly more prolific as web content developers with 35% of girls maintaining blogs and 32% with their own web site, compared to only 20% of boys with blogs and 22% with web pages.  The article attempts to explain the trend, and perhaps more importantly, why women continue to stay away from computer science studies in college “70 percent decline in the number of incoming undergraduate women choosing to major in computer science from 2000 to 2005.”

Well, it’s time to switch off and enjoy my reprieve from the toils of the road.

2 thoughts on “Assorted Stuff”

  1. I’m pretty impressed by the Linutop. It seems like it has some of the same technology as the OLPC (which I LOVE by the way,) which came out in late December. Can’t wait to read more about it. Looks like you will need a monitor and fr/ what I can tell it is not wireless. I still think it is a great step forward in affordable technology.
    I’m off to enjoy my snowy day in MA.

  2. The Sorry Boys article really struck a chord with me. As a teacher of both young kids- grades 1-3 (science) and middle school(6-9)computer, I see the kids start to learn what they’re not good at as their education continues. I rarely have a girl who “isn’t good” at science when they are young, but when I get the same girls again at the middle school level, I hear that “computers don’t like me” or “I’m not good at computers”. Although I see many of the same things that the article in the Times commented on- girls with beautiful facebook pages, boys who post videos to youtube, I really see little difference in basic skills between the genders- just what they choose to apply these skills to.

    I took an Alice course last summer at CMU, hoping to learn more about the program, naturally, but also hoping to find a way to get the girls excited about learning how to make computer programs work. The kids are using either Alice or Storytelling Alice to make their projects. Now I am seeing differences in how the students use these programs. The boys are making games or short pieces with a lot of action. The girls are telling stories.

    If power in the future is going to belong to those who can master how to make these tools work best for us, how does this translate into teaching programming? How can programs like Alice or Squeak or Scratch engage girls in learning to master these skills? Does it make a difference what they choose to apply them to? I don’t think so. I think the key difference is the motivation and unlocking the desire of kids to create and share their work, regardless of what direction these creations run.

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