I Live in a Van Down by Duke University

It would be nice. A middle-class family might think it would be nice to have an in-ground swimming pool. A millionaire might think it would be nice to have a yacht. The billionaire, a private jet. Someone, somewhere might think it would be nice to have food to feed her family tonight. Someone, somewhere might think it would be nice to live in a van in order to afford to go to a wonderful school. I could begin satisfying my desires and buying comforts, but I’ve learned to appreciate what little I have instead of longing for what I do not.

via www.salon.com

I saw this posted by my friend and colleague Brad Kozlek and found it a wonderful read. Its a great story of how one student decided education was worth more than an iPod, heat, and the debt it takes to get it.

Twilight of the American Newspaper

Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink. The San Francisco Chronicle is owned by the Hearst Corporation, once the Chronicle’s archrival. The Hearst Corporation has its headquarters in New York City. According to Hearst, the Chronicle has been losing a million dollars a week. In San Francisco there have been buyouts and firings of truck drivers, printers, reporters, artists, editors, critics. With a certain élan, the San Francisco Chronicle has taken to publishing letters from readers who remark the diminishing pleasure or usefulness of the San Francisco Chronicle.

via harpers.org

Excellent. Sad. True.

Dragon’s Lair for the iPhone

The classic laserdisc video game Dragon’s Lair has made its way to the App Store this evening. Originally released to the arcade in 1983, this full motion animated game was a massive departure from the other games of the era.

via toucharcade.com

This is a game I can get behind. I remember when this got installed in the arcade at Kerr Union at Bloomsburg University when I was about 9 or 10. That was during a time when half of the downstairs of the Union was a giant arcade with billiard tables and games everywhere. Not only is the game play ridiculous by today’s standards, but just the thought of a University investing money into a gaming center is surprising … oh wait, never mind.

Age and Innovation – Inside Higher Ed

The challenge that I see is to align incentives (promotion and tenure) so that junior faculty can be incented to be as innovative in advancing their teaching (and partnering with learning technologists) as our senior tenured faculty. For now, I'll settle for convincing my Dad that his colleagues in the "over 50 crowd" are amongst our most innovative faculty when it comes to learning technology.

via www.insidehighered.com

I couldn't agree more and I think this is often a misrepresented point in the use of technology among faculty. More and more of the faculty we partner with are not brand new faculty — as a matter of fact, we often shy away from working with them. Not because they are not innovative, it is because we want them to focus on their scholarship and teaching so they can get tenure.

I really don't think it is age as much as it is interest in rethinking practice and staying current with certain trends. I do have plenty of young (newly hired) faculty who want to hang out and try interesting things, but it seems more and more that our more seasoned faculty want to play in the innovative teaching with technology space.

I like seeing pieces like this that work to dispel the rhetoric related to age v innovation. This is an important topic and can push us all the rethink how we target partnerships across campus.

As an aside, all of our TLT Faculty Fellows (except our research Librarian) have been tenured faculty with a decade or more of service to higher education.

The Stars Look Down — Jeffrey Zeldman

Sometimes, on the web, communities end because money runs out. Not the case here. Sometimes they end because one company buys another, and that is almost never good for anyone except a couple guys who get rich. Again, not the case here. No money changed hands or ever would have. This was an exchange far below the radar of the venture capitalists who flatten the earth in their endless quest for the gold that leaks from bubbles before they pop.

via www.zeldman.com

Interesting take on the Favrd closing from Zeldman … I really enjoyed seeing the site’s creator join the conversation stream. Through the related news I discovered Tweeteorites. There are some interesting identity questions wrapped up in this whole conversation that should be explored.

This Blogging Stuff is Slow

I am really starting to wonder what I am doing hosting my own WordPress install … I used to absolutely love tweaking things, trying out new plugins, remixing themes, and all the other things that go along with running your own install. But times have changed and I find myself more times that not fighting against my own installation. On top of that, I am really struggling with the lackluster performance and limited feature set. I know some of it is my dirt cheap shared hosting service, but even this process, you know writing in this editor just seems so outmoded to me.

The rise of one button publishing and drop dead simple services is taking its toll on my patience for the WordPress model. Every time I play with new services like Tumblr and Posterous I notice just how lame my own environment is for quickly posting and capturing thoughts, links, pictures, and just about everything else. I hate to say it, but I don’t like having to log into my dashboard and write — it feels like using a course management system. What I hate is that I come across something as I am in my normal workflow that inspires me to collect and share it. With my WP environment that means opening a new tab, going to my blog, logging in, copying/pasting a URL, grabbing a quote from the original article, writing, and then publishing. That is a lot of stuff to do and it reminds me of the world we put students in with our learning spaces — read content, log into CMS, find you course, switch to a discussion forum, write your thoughts, save, then go back to your work. That is all a bit insane and it kills flow.

I have the quickpost bookmarklet for WP in my browser bar, but it takes so long to load up and just lacks the functionality that I’ve come to expect by using Blogs at PSU, TypePad, Tumblr, or Posterous. Those are all infinately smarter and faster. I now more than ever need an environment that works the way I do and I have to say I am feeling like WP has fallen behind my needs. I’m sure it works perfectly for others so I’m looking for a blogging platform holy war, I’m just saying its model is dead to me.

Now, what to do? I have years worth of data here and it is really cheap — and I know I am getting what I pay for. I’d like to keep my domain, but I am done with managing my own environment. I’m contemplating a major switch to a new service. Right now, TypePad is the leading choice … it is a killer hosted solution that is fast, reliable, can publish to my own space, and has all the major features of the new kids on the block (killer email posting, one button publishing, and a community). The thing I want to say is that I am concerned with switching is that these new environments are coming to market so quickly and they can come and go. I need to be able to get my data in and out quickly and easily. Even if the platform space itself becomes commoditized, my content and publishing habits are not.

Getting from here to there is daunting, but I think I need to jump. Advice?

Pirate Talk

Saw a great feature in Facebook today that changes the native language to English Pirate. Made me really laugh and it is easy to do … 1) Scroll to the bottom of your Facebook page. 2) On the bottom left corner, click English: US. 3) When the language selection appears, click English: Pirate. 4) watch what happens. Nice when there are still things that can make me laugh.

pirate_talk

A Tale of Two Sites

This is just a quick post to share something I found very interesting and well written — even if it does come from the (fake) Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.  The post, “Why the mainstream media is dying” shares a tale of how the blogosphere can go after a story unencumbered, while someone as powerful as the NY Times can simply move right on by.  Not sure I totally agree that once the newspapers are gone we won’t notice, but I will say that the landscape is moving so quickly under our feet that we may not have time to care.  I don’t know, but I thought it was a terrific illustration of what is happening.

Every once in a while you get to see a mainstream outlet cover a story right alongside a blog, so you can put them up against each other and see why one was so much better than the other. This week TechCrunch and the New York Times photo provided just such a lesson.

via The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Why the mainstream media is dying.