Sunday, October 24, 2010


And it is this other place
that we can find ourselves retreating.
Bathed in copper light we hold
this position
in haphazard happiness and makeshift security.
of like
from perfectly sweetened tea
made yourself...
pristine moments of solace
if only for minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Derrida Cartoon (thanks MEB)

Cleaning out my Inbox and rediscovering this "cartoon" depicting ever so accurately and appropriately Derrida and graduate school agenda absurdity...f-ing funny.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sub Jonathan Mann for Jack Johnson

The music probably isn't as sing-songy good but the fans are "better", certainly less frat-tastic.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free Ning Access for Educators

Ning announced that it will collaborate with Pearson "to develop a program that will help educators keep their Ning Networks running for free". The deal is apparently that "Pearson will sponsor Ning Mini plans for free for all K-12 and Higher Education networks in North America".

Librarians and others involved in information literacy work might want to find a way to leverage this, especially in times of budget crunch and in efforts to erase the boundaries between social and academic learning spaces. Of course, any effort to detourn, or use said technologies in creative ways to radicalize curriculum, would be cool too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"What is Cyberpunk?"

I ran across this great essay, "What is Cyberpunk?", today by Rudy Rucker. Its title pretty much sums it up...good stuff. Here's an excerpt that struck me.

The real charm of punk is that stupid hippies dislike it as much as do stupid rednecks. “What’s the matter with them? What do they want?” Anyone who was ever a hippie for the right reasons — a hatred of conformity and a desire to break through to higher realities — is likely to appreciate and enjoy the punks. But a lot of basically conventional people slid through the ’70s thinking of themselves as avant-garde, when in fact they were brain-dead. What’s good about punk is that it makes all of us question our comfortable assumptions and attitudes. Wait . . . look at that last sentence, and you can see I’m forty. How complacently I slip the “us” in there — trying to coopt the revolution. How Life magazine of me, how plastic, how bullshit. What’s good about punk is that it’s fast and dense. It has a lot of information...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elsevier Acquires Semantic Technology

This is an interesting development with Elsevier, often the bane of libraries' budget decisions. I wonder what impact this will have on my project at NCSU where I will focus on development of Graduate Student and Faculty Spaces and Services in the Research Library. Verbiage-wise, this is a perfect match with what a research and graduate commons should do, but historically Elsevier has been the imperfect match for many libraries.

Press Release Blurb (lifted from TechCrunch)
Elsevier, a juggernaut of a global publisher of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, announced today the acquisition of assets from Collexis, a developer of semantic technology and knowledge discovery software.

According to Elsevier, the combination of Collexis’ semantic technology and its own content will provide institutions and researchers new ways to collaborate, showcase accomplishments and improve grant related workflow efficiencies.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AAPL Eclipses MSFT in Market Cap

Still figuring on this one, but I guess this does mean something paradigmatic...can't be just one tech company growing larger than another tech company. I do think this is a milestone that signifies a dramatic change of computing: Windows is in decline, and technologies like the iPad and iPhone, Android and Google Search, and Cloud Computing are on the way up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Next Generation Scholarly Communication Ecosystem: Implications for Librarians

I have been meaning to post this. Lee Dirks, Director of Microsoft's Education & Scholarly Communication External Research Division, gave an incisive talk a couple of months ago at the OCLC/Frederick G. Kilgour Lecture in Information and Library Science. Dirks provided a pretty solid thinking through of the major paradigms we've got upon us in these times of big (and even chaotic) data. Technically and epistemologically his talk was pretty tight.

The video and the presentations (more than one) are available from the UNC SILS website:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two Great MacArthur Videos on Learning in "New" Times

The 21st Century Learner

Re-Imagining Learning in the 21st Century

There's also a pretty fantastic MacArthur page with findings and videos located here:

Creating a 21st Century Library

Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPad and iPhone: The Bastard Postmodern Grandchildren of the Speak & Spell

I am in the midst of revising an article that chronicles the intellectual history of "reform" in educational settings. Consequently, all sorts of half-baked suppositions swirl regularly in my head. However, I think I'm on to something here. Seeing as how "reform" and "innovation" are potentially different sides of the same coin I am going to make a seemingly bold claim.

The intellectual prototype for the iPhone (and iPad) was the Speak & Spell.

Now, you probably are re-reading the previous line that includes the phrase "half-baked", but hear me out.

I don't mean to say that the technologies of Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell and Apple's iPhone/iPad are in any way related or intertwined. But, I do mean to claim that the the social and intellectual conceptualization that enables us to view, understand, and revere the iPhone/iPad---the intellectual history if you will---germanated within the historical era of the Speak & Spell. Because of the paradigmatic technogical shift and shift in thinking about learning and communication as play that occurred with the Speak & Spell we are able to see the iPhone/iPad as the appropriately magical and desirable product that it is. We were sent down an epistemological trajectory that primed us for iPhone/iPad affinity.

Gotta go tend to my mac and cheese.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holy Mackeral: More iPad Debate

There's more iPad discussion brewing at InsideHigherEd, and this time it references Cory Doctorow's opposition to iPad hegemony (which jkd so presciently noted on yesterday's post). CNET is also on to this debate; Matt Asay, who's been on the AAPL tip for a while, remarks here.

It is exactly this sort of fearless debate that will propel us into the new paradigm I mentioned yesterday. Importantly though, we must have this engaged heteroglosia. Not to get all Foucaultian, but...the discursive iterations reflect the power that is shooting through all of these technological futures (all with their varying degrees of determinism). So, when I remark that it's a new paradigm in yesterday's post I am insisting that the conversation and context have irrevocably changed when it comes to instruction and pedagogy. Sure, corporate hegemony and monopoly is to be loathed and individiual agency is to be lauded (especially agency driven by a DIY situationist ethos)...this is a given. My point is that when we talk about education currently and in the future we are articulating pedagogy and instruction differently. We have not achieved Freire's mandate in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but we are creating interstices for students (and teachers) that make the banking model of education less of a possible future.

Monday, April 5, 2010

iPads Paradigm Alert (ahem, cultural dopes)

Some excerpts from InsideHigherEd's story are below. Bottom line: iPads are set to be used/required for entering first-year university students, and are proliferating on campuses and in libraries generally. CMS providers like Blackboard are promoting their apps for the iPad. My take: This is the start of something much bigger and radically paradigmatic...proverbial genie is out of the bottle. Course "texts", collaboration, and information behavior on these campuses has changed irrevocably. This is, of course, something we already knew. But, it is manifest now.

excerpted text:

At least two are. Seton Hill University, a Roman Catholic institution in Pennsylvania, announced this week that it would be giving Apple’s new computing tablet to each of its 2,000-odd full-time students when they arrive on campus in the fall. George Fox University, a Christian institution in Oregon, will expand its annual laptop giveaway to first-year students to offer students a choice between a Macbook and an iPad. The year after that, there will be no more choice: Everybody will get iPads.

The e-learning giant Blackboard, meanwhile, today is announcing that it is launching an app for the iPad that will allow students to access their courses from the new device.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Politics of Curation

Some great correspondence with regard to the previous post...thanks. Ryan's recommendation of Allan Sekula's "Between the Net and the Deep Blue Sea (Rethinking the Traffic in Photographs)" was perfect. Rightly, Ryan and Sekula remind me that the archive is fundamentally a politicized (archaeological) space. That was Derrida's point too...that and the curation of the archive is always already political.

So, in a sense, when boyd remarks that we (just) need curation she is not stating anything new. Rather, she is stating the unrecognized most obvious characteristic of basically any sort of representation. It is just that we are often unaware of the everyday acts of curation. It is so common sensical that it is perfectly hegemonic.

When I first listened to, and then read, boyd's insights from SXSWi I was in almost perfect agreement. To a degree, I still am. However, positionality matters when curation occurs. From what individual or organziational vantage does one curate? Beyond how an archive is ordered, accessed, and what's included, ethics are shot through every possible interaction with the acrhive (be it a collection of photographs or a Facebook profile). I'd even extend this claim to our everyday consumption of information, culture, or even food. And yes, I used consumption (though in a post-Marxist Baudrillard-ian sense). Like it or not, consumption and remediation (e.g., curation) are the 21st century equivalent of production. Plugging my own take on this is an old piece from a few years back entitled Articulating Reform and the Hegemony Game. In the piece I weirdly valorize Whole Fords because it seems that even if cultural dopes are shopping there, through an organizational(albeit corporate) articulation better and more ethical practices get operationalized via Whole Foods.

I'm skeptical of Facebook and wary of Microsoft, but I do like boyd's work and her politics are, I am hopeful about the discourse coming from her as a thought leader.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's All About Curation

danah boyd was Saturday's keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival. The CNET story is here.

I like a lot of what she said, namely about the role of curation in social media. For those concerned with privacy in these "new times" she had the following iterations.

To begin with, she said, privacy is by no means dead. "People care very much about privacy, no matter how old they are," Boyd said. "The challenge is that what privacy means may not be what you think...Fundamentally, it's about having control over how information flows...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Burn the Boats

TechCrunch profiled Marc Andreessen talking about how media companies are handling the digital disruption of the Internet. In particular, Andreessen was remarking on print media such as newspapers and magazines, and his longstanding recommendation that they should shut down their print editions and embrace the Web wholeheartedly. “You gotta burn the boats,” he told TechCrunch, “you gotta commit.” From there he went with a Cortes analogy, dirty colonizer that he was (Cortes not Andreessen per se). Cortes excerpt:

Legend has it that when Cortes landed in Mexico in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown. Marc Andreessen has the same advice for old media companies: “Burn the boats.”

There's one more excerpt that seems important to remember, lest fetishizing runs amok. It is,
Andreessen points out, that the iPad will have a “fantastic browser.” No matter how many iPads the Apple sells, the Web will always be the bigger market. “There are 2 billion people on the Web,” he says. “The iPad will be a huge success if it sells 5 million units.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In-Class Writing 3-2-10


Read Bill McKibben’s blog post at: .

Next, identify one sentence that seems to characterize a main point that Mckibben is trying to get across to readers. Write this sentence below.

With this sentence in mind, answer the following two questions in 1-2 sentences each. Post your remarks to the class blog or use the space below to do this.

• Who is MciKibben’s intended audience (or audiences)? What statements or characteristics exist in the blog post or blog that suggest this audience?

• In what ways do you find McKibben’s argument to be compelling (or not)?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some Findings on E-Readers from InsideHigherEd

We are seeing a definite paradigm shift here. My bet is the iPad pushes and enables this further. Some excerpts from InsideHigherEd follow:

Last fall, two-thirds of campus CIOs said they believed e-readers would become an “important platform for instructional resources” within five years, according to the Campus Computing Project.

Now, as several major universities finish analyzing data from pilot programs involving the latest version of the Amazon Kindle, officials are learning more about what students want out of their e-reader tablets. Generally, the colleges found that students missed some of the old-fashioned note-taking tools they enjoyed before. But they also noted that the shift had some key environmental benefits. Further, a minority of students embraced the Kindle fairly quickly as highly desirable for curricular use.

If one clear consensus emerged from the studies that have been finalized at Princeton University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, it is this: For students who were given the Kindle DX and tried to use it for coursework, the inability to easily highlight text was the biggest lowlight of the experience.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wikipedia, Web 2.0 Darling, How We Love Thee

I've been covering a lot of ground recently in class with regard to information literacy instruction and I've assigned some readings on the critical history of Web 2.0 to boot. Wikipedia always pops up as an interstice within such iterations. So, here's a pretty accurate representation, from the folks at Project Information Literacy, of how young scholars (and older ones too) get earnest when it comes to the Web 2.0 exemplar.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site

One of my favorite ex-students pinged me with this link from the NYT: The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site. This seems pretty significant, and obvious. I like free content (but I also like quality) so I am mixed in my emotive response here. Thinking through it, I hope this is a step toward rearticulating what the economics of our digital d/Discourse will look like. I certainly hope it's not simply a remediation of our old economic maps. My bet is that what happens with this will determine a lot of what happens in other economic spaces of the literary, from libraries and e-book/book retailers to mass media transitioning to a majority Internet presence.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's True, Grad School in English is a Dead-End

It's the first day of spring semester classes here at UNC-Chapel Hill and I can't help but think of all the liberating and bogus narratives that we once again begin to propgagate. Here's a link that depicts, pretty damn well, the end result of humanities navel-gazing over the past few decades. If you bristle at this, check your twinge-o-meter cause if it was no big deal and this were nonsense it wouldn't bother you. I especially like this excerpt below.

As things stand, I can only identify a few circumstances under which one might reasonably consider going to graduate school in the humanities:

* You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.
* You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.
* You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.
* You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.