In a discussion a while ago someone came up with a suggestion for something that could only be done by a 3G Phone. My, "thank god, a reason for 3G at last" was met with a sudden, thoughtful silence by the 5 cellphone company people who were buying me lunch. But it could have been worse, it could have been the Ming experience.
Sometime last month I was bored and decided to check what my mobile phone actually could do. It is not an expensive phone, but a rather recent one with 3G. Which means it can access the net with a useful bandwidth and it has video and stuff like that. So, it can be a video phone for one thing. But actually I didn't run into anybody I had a chance to try that with.
But it can also just play videos. There's a bunch of TV channels, and there are music videos and stuff like that. So I watched some of those, and clicked around a little bit to see what was there. I think I spent an hour doing that.
Pretty crummy on a small screen like that, but I thought it was cool that it could do that. Until I got the bill, that is. I had accepted a €4 charge for some categories of videos, all I want, all day, which sounded ok, and I expected to see that on my bill. Plus, I imagined I might be using up my calling minutes.
But, no, that hour of poking around in stuff I thought was largely free cost me over 100 euros. The killer was the billing by kilobyte, at a ridiculously high rate. Which means one has to be pretty insane to sit and watch crummy videos at several euros per minute. So, one thing is to have fancy technology. Another is that it might be billed in such a way that it is totally useless. Having a 3G phone essentially gives me nothing.
Here's the problem in a nutshell. 3G has cost so much to roll out that the only way the telcos will make the $$ back before hell freezes over is to soak the user dumb, or bored, or experimental enough to get carried away with it.
Unfortunately for the Telcos, that is a self innoculating experience. Throw in the fact that voice calls are a trivial percentage of available bandwidth on a 3G network, and should therefore be charged out at practically nothing, and you get a very nasty hole in the business plan.
One of these days they are going to have to write all that investment off the books; it will NOT be a pretty sight.
"Knowledge and imagination are the primary drivers of innovation in organizations."
Innovation is so important for education.
While many disciplines have re-invented themselves over the last several decades, education remains stagnant. Increasingly, as I dialogue with educators and leaders, the knowledge of needed change is evident.
Missing, however, is the imagination to conceive a richer view of learning that accounts for the needs of learners (and other stakeholders of education - society, governments, corporations, etc.) today.
Imagination (or as I've stated before, vision), not technology, funding, or knowledge is the limiting factor.
I tink he is pushing on a string. There are a lot of things that are important for education, Innovation, per se, is not one of them.
Over the last couple of years we've developed a game plan in suburban Sydney that simply stated is, "if it comes on to the property, or grows here, it stays here if possible. We have a rainwater system with 7,000 litres of storage and the grey water goes on the plants
Newspapers get shredded and composted or used as mulch, fallen and trimmed branches go through the mulcher, food scraps (I'm a vego by marriage) all hit the compost as well; then there are the dogs.
The oblique threats to violate network neutrality coming from the telecom industry essentially come down to one thing: no one wants to be a commodity provider because there’s never an opportunity for turning a commodity into a golden goose. With a commodity, the seller pretty much gets back just what they put into it, never much more.
This explains the greater part of the enthusiasm during the tech boom: startups and investors desperately searched for a position of control, where hard work, a good idea, and being in the right place at the right time once could mean that you won’t have to do any of those things ever again to still rake in the dough.
He then goes on to talk about how that might look, but I don't think he goes far enough or in the right direction.
THE head of the Australian Army has personally intervened to stop bureaucrats blocking soldiers' access to an unofficial website where they can vent their anger and concerns about military life.
Army chief General Peter Leahy is fighting Defence Department officials for the right of military whistleblowers to complain about poor conditions and shoddy equipment.
Defence technical officers suddenly blocked all Defence Department computers from the website, called Fire Support Base.
General Leahy, who was reading the website at the time, immediately stepped in and ordered the ban be lifted.
He stunned website members by posting a message under his own name explaining he had not ordered the ban, that it had been a decision of "the geek system" and he had ordered that access be restored.
Delicious, could anyone have chosen a worse time to chop the site? There's an expression that covers this situation, "the army in a democracy". Leahy gets it, I wonder if he can get HIS bosses to understand as well?
The real problem is this story was irresistible. It had the kind of sexy elements that get news directors to crank up team coverage -- big crowds, dirty bombs, football, and a “warning” from the government.
What it was missing was some substance and restraint from media outlets which let hype trump context. As I said, we blew it.
The real question is, “What will we do next time?”
They will do exactly the same next time. Nothing about the media has changed, none of its appetites, none of its needs or purposes or predilections are in any way affected by the damage that it does to public discourse, public safety or its own credibility.
Very occasionally in the corporate media, someone does something so astonishingly right that it takes your breath away. Ed Murrow did that when he took on the corruption of America by Joe McCarthy and his criminal enablers.
Over the last few months Keith Olberman at MSNBC has been taking up the torch that Murrow carried and holding it to the feet of those in power. His indictment of George Bush in last night's Special Comment belongs in the Library of Congress and in every journalist's educational toolkit.
With a warning, "this is what it looks like when you have to speak truth to power, this is how far your country may have sunk before it happens. In the end, doing a little truth to power every day, however inconvenient, will be easier than having to face up to this."
Olberman deserves the Medal of Freedom, but under the laws that he is so vehemently attacking, and the President he so openly excoriates, he is more likely to be thrown in prison to rot. Murrow himself could not have done it better, so he might rest in peace, but that Olberman needs to do it will raise his ghost again to walk the halls of Radio City, wringing his hands.
I'm super busy. Most of my days in the next couple of months I'm going to this continuing education consultant thing at an engineering school here.
Which means I suddenly need to squeeze my otherwise full day into a few hours in the evening, and go to bed early. But that of course gives the opportunity for organizing my time a bit better, and choosing which things actually are important.
I love the idea that those of us too delicate for regular work, have full days; I completely agree. But this importance stuff is a tough one.
The main problem with having to choose which things are important is that, beyond some basic Maslow stuff, how on earth would Ming, or any of us, know?
The most important person in my life to date was a bloke called David
Walker. He wrote copy for a radio station that I worked on. He talked
about me, after I left, to another guy who, 20 years later, and because
of that recommendation, offered me a job that set my life on the course to what I
am doing now.
And I have never had so much fun, nor been so fascinated in what I'm doing; hell I even get paid for some of it.
What is the most important thing I will do today? I have no idea and maybe no way of telling for 20 years.
So all I can do is the best I can with the things I enjoy most because,
if they don't lead anywhere for 20 years, or ever, I will at least have
the pleasure of doing them well.