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Why our digital life will be the end of history

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High School

My high school reunion is next week – but I won’t be going.

It’s not that I didn’t have a good time in high school… I had a great time in high school.  And it’s not that I never went to my reunions over the years.  I went to all of them over the years – too many to mention.

A high school reunion doesn’t make sense any more.  Only someone who understands what it means to dial a phone and can recognize the sound of a turntable needle skating across a vinyl record understands reunions.

A high school reunion used to mean getting back together with friends from high school that you haven’t seen in a few years.  My high school has a reunion every five years.

But a high school reunion doesn’t make sense when you see your high school friends frequently – perhaps every day or maybe once a week.  How can this be when high school is long past and your friends are scattered to the four corners of the globe?

I see my high school friends nearly every day.  I get their Facebook updates.  I look at their pictures on Instagram.  We listen to music from the good old days by exchanging playlists on Spotify.  There’s Facetime and Skype.  And I have some long-term games on Zynga going with a few of them – Words with Friends and Draw Something.  The impediment of geographic distance and separation in time and space is nearly erased.

So a reunion doesn’t make sense anymore.  There is no need to “get back together” since, in a sense, we are all still together.  It’s just that we don’t all travel to a physical location on a daily basis to engage each other.  And, like the difference between the medium and the message its the physical location that’s different but the content as engagement is the same.  Perhaps the engagement in social media, anytime anyplace, exceeds what was available to us in high school.

Time has been flattened; geography erased

In a general sense, time has been flattened.  What is disappearing is the sense of past and present.  In a very real sense, the past is present and evolving.  Our digital life and technology has put us on the trajectory of giving us access to every book ever written, every movie ever made, every track of music ever recorded, every picture ever taken,  every personal video clip ever recorded,  every status update ever made on social media, and every word anyone has ever posted to the internet.

So, what is there to remember that is not immediately available?  Do I need to remember, with a sense of loss, the music I used to listen to in high school? No, it’s readily available on Spotify.  Do I need to remember, with a sense of loss, the movies we watched?  No, they are readily available on Netflix.  Those favorite clips from TV?  Maybe its on YouTube.  Do I need to wonder where my high school friends are?  They are all immediately present wherever I go.

History has traditionally been a fading memory of the past recovered with great effort and difficulty.  But what becomes of History when all the past is readily available in the present?  In fact, we have so much history that is available with in-your-face immediacy, perhaps abundance creates a new set of problems.  How do we forget?  Are there some things that we must forget to make the future livable?


If people are looking for immortality perhaps we have it.  As the cost of digital storage approaches zero it may be possible to archive everything ever posted to the Internet.

Imagine a time, perhaps 50 years from now, where Facebook or social media in general  is now the “ancestral record” of the digital generation.  The millennial generation, posting to Facebook and other social media would have a timeline of 50 years.  In 50 years, the children of the millennial generation would know more than they ever wanted to know about their parents and grandparents.  It’s all there in the cloud.

Right now, in 2013, we go to to discover (in the hard sense) our family tree.  We search through old boxes of film photographs in the attic or basement to find picture of grandparents and relatives.  We ask our older family members, perhaps with fading memory, to tell us stories of how life used to be.  We recover stories through oral history with difficulty.

The whole idea of past history being a difficult work of discovery is undergoing radical change.  In the future, the past may be as immediate as the present.

The Take

Thousands of years ago, folks imagined  the akashic records…  a sort of giant library that is ever-present and all around us…

The akashic records, – akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “sky”, “space” or “aether” and is described as containing all knowledge of human experience and all experiences as well as the history of the cosmos encoded or written in the very aether or fabric of all existence…

The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time…

People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated automatically and that they can be accessed through astral projection or under deep hypnosis.

There will be no need of astral projection or hypnosis to access these records.  Access will be granted to anyone with a wearable or embedded device that can access whatever it is in the future that will have the Internet as its progenitor.   How much of your digital life is already part of the “akasha” record?

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After the Interview is Over: Managing Digital Oral History Collections


Written by frrl

March 7, 2013 at 4:44 am

Voice mail, suckers, and those people formerly known as the audience

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The NPR “three minute fiction” quoted below is certainly a sign of the times… brought home recently as I and thousands of people watched the reality(?) show Gold Rush Live on “television” (what’s that?) as will as on ustream.

The difference between traditional television and ustream is the participatory nature.  That is, Ustream turns what used to be a “broadcast” (one way; one-to-many) into the opportunity for engagement (multi-directional, many-to-many) through usteams real-time “Social Stream”.  In parallel with the social steam on Ustream was another engagement opportunity through Twitter and the #GoldRush and #GoldRushLive hash tags.  There may have even been a Google Hangout at the time of the show.

I wonder if this re/definition of “television”  is just another step along the path of the dissolution of those people “formerly known as the audience” (see link below)

So what?  The Generation Gap

“Being social” (perhaps in an ever evolving way) is one of the things that clearly distinguishes the generations.  Whereas the social graph of previous generations reached no farther than the distance you could comfortably walk or dive now those boundaries are eliminated.

“Quiet, I’m making a long distance phone call” was something you could hear in an old movie.  But now that boundary is shattered.  “Where you are” does not matter.  Everyone can talk to everyone – no matter where they are.

With the generations, the social graph has changed dramatically.  Who you can (potentially) interact with is now unlimited.  It’s curious to listen to the generations.  To this generation they can’t understand why their parents and grandparents are not on Facebook, twitter, and other social media.  While, at the same time, parents and grandparents don’t understand why kids are texting, uploading videos to YouTube, twittering, Instagramming, blogging, and so on.

Will there ever NOT be a generation gap?

What one understands as the typical size of your social graph and the expected velocity of engagement in a diversity of forms is changing at blazing speed compared to the plodding velocities of the past.

What is to become of traditional voice mail?  Is that the last place you check before thinking the worst has happened?

From three-minute fiction on NPR –

Dude, yeah. It’s me. Look, what is the deal? Where are you? You haven’t responded to a single email. Everyone is worried, man. We checked your Facebook and you haven’t updated your status in a week. A freaking week. You haven’t even liked anything. And you like everything. Like. Like. Like. You’re kind of obnoxious with the liking, dude. No offense. But nothing. Not even a single I­can­haz­cheeseburger cat. So then we check your Instagram and again, nothing. No hyper contrast photos of the home brew from last weekend, no warm fuzzy photos of the goat cheese tart you and Beth made, no moody black and whites of the graffiti under the overpass. You haven’t filtered any phone pics for days.

So then we check your Twitter. Not a tweet, not a retweet, no direct messages from you and, dude, not even any mentions. What the hell, man? You can’t stay relevant with a week of tweetless silence. You may as well be dead. So then we check your Tumblr. You haven’t updated that either. It’s been EIGHT days, dude. Time to shut it down. And your last post? What the? What is that about?

Proper punctuation and capitalized letters? Pffft. Whatever. You haven’t responded to any IMs, the invites to Google Hangout, or answered your Skype. So then we check your Flickr. And your SmugMug and your Blogger and your WordPress and your FourSquare. You aren’t checked in, you are checked out. So yesterday, I send you a text. It says it was delivered. But you didn’t
text me back, man. So here we are. Reduced to this. Do you know how low this is, this moment? I’m leaving you a voicemail, dude. What is this, 2004? No, it is not. It’s 2013 and this shiz is horrifying, son. Unacceptable. Do you know how many voicemails I leave in a week?

None. Zero. You want to know how many voice mails I get in a week? One. From my mom, dude. From my mom. Voice mail is for suckers, man. And moms. Look, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but it’s scary. If we don’t hear from you soon, I don’t know what we’ll do. We’ll have to, like, come over to your house or something. Knock on your door. That’s weird, man.

Weird. Just the thought of it. Face to face contact. Who does that? Don’t make us do that, man. Log on. Text me. Facebook me. Just don’t call my voice mail, dude. I don’t check that stuff.

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The People Formerly Known as the Audience

How Social Media Ruined My High School Reunion

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Some dialog from the movie The Jane Austen Book Club

Okay. Chloe Baher is not my friend, Dean.
Chloe Baher came to my mother’s funeral to gloat. “Ha-ha! Your mother’s dead.”
And you hit on her!
– I do… I do… – You hit on her!

I was not hitting on her.
You know, when I was in the 10th grade,
I wrote an entire paper on Julius Caesar in iambic pentameter.
And Chloe Baher removed it from my locker and she read it aloud to the whole class.

And everyone laughed at me.
Baby, high school’s over.
High school’s never over.

High School

Every three to five years for the past eon I’ve been attending my High School reunion.  Attending a religious private school my graduating class of about 400 has pretty much stayed together.  The High School Alumni Association was instrumental in keeping us in touch with each other and with every graduating class since the school first opened in the first quarter of the 20’th century. 

My particular high school has a long history.  And of course, if you attended a religious high school there is a similar grammar school and college in the unbroken chain of education.  Some who graduate from the teachers college in the system go back to teach in the same high school they attended.  It’s a virtuous circle.

The Alumni Association & Social Media Disruption

But now, anyone who is anybody in my High School graduating class  is using social media.  Social media in general and Facebook in particular.

Always on, always connected, geography irrelevant, and time-shifting social media has made some of the aspects of the Alumni Association obsolete.

Does the Alumni Association need to publish a quarterly paper newsletter and send it out?  No, not really.  We get our updates via Facebook in real-time – all the time.

How about an Alumni Directory?  No,  I can get in touch with anyone, anytime, via Twitter, Skype, Facetime, or even e-mail for the older traditional folks.

What about events where we can meet?  We now do that ourselves on Facebook.

Sans Reunion.  Social Media Disruption

What about the tradition of our every 3-5 year reunion?  We would all look forward to this.  See each other.  Catch up.  What are you doing now?  How about the Prom queen – what does she look like now?  The cheerleaders?  And how about that special someone who you wish you dated?  What about the smart kid – where are they now after about 5 years have passed?  What about the geek?  The loser?  What happened to those kids in the Chess Club?  Was Band Camp in my HS like I saw in that movie way back when?

With Social Media the anticipation of the High School reunion has vanished.

Today, we are all on Facebook reading each others timelines, updates, and looking at photo’s and movies uploaded by our High School peers.  We share music and send each other tracks and recommendations on Spotify.  Some folks follow each other on Twitter.  Nothing like renewing friendships with “the one that got away” with an innocent game of Words with Friends.  The possibilities enabled by the state of social media in 2012 are almost endless.  The traditional  High School Reunion now seems obsolete.

“Baby, High School’s Over”

High School is as much about the socialization process as it is about education.  In high school individuals learn how to form relationship, compete for grades – as well as for social standing, become popular – or not.  At this early age, for many people, a great deal of character is built during these years – including fears and regrets  Those in your peer group in high school most likely left a lasting mark on your character, ambitions, and values you hold today as an adult.

High school’s never over.”

With all the varieties of social media, High School’s never over.  To some, this will become a joy and to others it will become a pain. The former will engage social media in all its ability to connect with people with whom they shared their high school experience perhaps decades ago. 

To the outcasts, the memory of  high school years may remain a painful memory.  To the prom queens and jocks something different.  What about those techie geeks from high school – those who would embrace the newest technology but yet always lacked, or never developed  social skills to be popular?  For them, social media may be something of a conundrum.  The love of technology that brings with it the fear of a  highly social context.  Baby, with social media, high school’s never over.  (read).

Written by frrl

April 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Welcome to the Revolution

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Stats from Video and Social Media Thought Leaders

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Written by frrl

May 8, 2010 at 4:21 am

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Open Innovation Marketplace – The Challenge – Global Seekers and Solvers

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Companies are increasingly looking for new ways to solve tough business and R&D problems using resources outside their own company.  In the same way that Wikipedia harnessed the minds of the global population, innovation marketplaces are using the same model.  This is a general idea of Crowd Sourcing.

InnoCentive is a global innovation marketplace that matches “seekers” and “solvers”.  Seekers are companies and non-profits seeking a solution to a tough problem.  Solvers can be anyone across the globe that can solve the problem.  Solvers are paid for their work.

What’s it about…

The Innovation Marketplace. Harness the collective brainpower of the world’s most creative minds to supplement your internal R&D staff, accelerating ideas from concept to reality. Only pay for the solutions you accept, so the risk is low, but your chances for success are high. Keep your identity fully confidential  and let InnoCentive manage the entire Intellectual Property transfer process.

And you can be a Solver…

As a Solver, you can apply your expertise, stretch your intellectual and creative boundaries, and win cash prizes from $5000 to $1,000,000 for solving problems in a variety of domains. The problems you solve make a real impact on the world. You have the freedom to choose what you want to work on, when you want to work, and how much commitment you want to make.

Solvers prize their independence as much as their intelligence and ingenuity. They have a unique combination of creativity, knowledge, work experience and life skills that allow them to see things a little differently than other people. Does that describe you? Then join the Solver community today.

What are the current Challenges?  Who are the Seekers?  Got a solution? – become a Solver.

Written by frrl

April 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm

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Dunbar’s number – The theoretical limit on meaningful social relationships?

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Here is an interesting question – Can you have more than 150 friends?  Is there something in human being which imposes a theoretical limit on the number of “meaningful” relationships one can have?

New research is suggesting that if you’re friends with over 150 people on Facebook, the extras are meaningless.

This is a conclusion of some thinking by Oxford professor of evolutionary anthropology Robin Dunbar. He’s recently expanded on some of his original research carried out in the 1990s on the human neocortex–this is a part of your brain heavily involved in language and conscious thought. It’s the bit of brain matter that helps you relate to other people, on a friend-to-friend basis, and Dunbar’s theory is that it can only handle a maximum capacity of roughly 150 ongoing, fully interactive friendships. If you know or are “friends” with more people than this, then actually you’re probably merely acquaintances instead.

Read more –

Written by frrl

March 28, 2010 at 4:55 am

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From Social Networking to Social Finance

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How 1 billion Facebook users could change the face of the banking system

What would happen if you could globally assemble 1 billion people and turn it into peer-to-peer lending?  In 2012 the number of people on Facebook could reach 1 billion.

Suppose the next step up from Social networking is social finance – The Bank of Facebook?

Check out this vide on an intriguing idea

There is a model already in place…

Zopa is the world’s first social finance company. In 2005 we pioneered a way for people to lend and borrow directly with each other online as part of our continuing mission to give people around the world the power to help themselves financially at the same time that they help others.

Since then, we’ve expanded across the world. In each country Zopa is a little different, but it’s always the same big idea.

Why not see for yourself?

Check out how the stats on how Zopa is doing here –
On the link above you can download “Get Market Data” into EXCEL and see who is lending and at what rates of interest.

Read more –

Bottom line for this one is (from Zopa) – “Your money helps real people, rather than banks.”
Welcome to the world of Innovation enabled by the Internet and Social Networking.

Written by frrl

March 18, 2010 at 5:05 am

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Social Capital is not the same as Whuffie

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Notable –

Notable –

I started this blog as a way to explore what is happening at the intersection of technology, communication, and culture – about how we’re being impacted as a society and where we go from here. [I started laying out some ideas with A Metathinking Manifesto and expanded on those underlying trends here.]

Then I started poking around in Twitter and wondering if it’s a complex adaptive system and if it might actually grow to become a global human consciousness, of sorts.  Lately I’ve been looking at how design thinking can be used to better understand human behavior and facilitate innovation.

But generally, I think we’re at a turning point in history, where many of the institutional structures that serve as the foundations for how we operate as a society are failing, and in turn creating a tremendous opportunity for us to make a decision to grab a hold of the reins and be active participants in creating our collective future. (check out this post and the awesome comments that followed to get a better sense of what I mean). I want to explore this potential, write about it, and share it and build upon it with others. It’s the meaning behind the title of Emergent by Design – I think it is what we can choose to be.

At the moment, I’m pursuing a Masters in Media Studies at the New School in NYC, with a focus on how social technologies are impacting society and culture. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and have contributed guest posts on Georgetown University’s peer-reviewed journal gnovis, SpaceCollective, socialmediatoday, unstrucuture, grow, Blogging Innovation, Media Rights, and MemeBox. Not sure what comes next, but I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Take a ride at emergent by design –

Written by frrl

March 16, 2010 at 5:06 am

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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals

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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Austin serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW, where career development flourishes amid the relaxed atmosphere. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.

Find out what its about –

And view the videos from the conference –

Written by frrl

March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

What happened to (my) (Linden Labs) Second Life?

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So, you didn’t like your real life (First Life).  So there it was, Linden Labs Second Life – where the rules of  fame, fortune, success, respect, status, and social relationships worked by a different set of rules.  But what happens when the bloom is off the rose.  Now what?

At its peak, the Second Life economy had more money swilling about than several third-world countries. It had even produced its own millionaire, Anshe Chung, who made a very real fortune from buying and selling property that existed only on Second Life servers.

Three years on, and the hype has been extinguished. Second Life has seen its status as the web wonderchild supplanted by Facebook and Twitter. The newspapers have forgotten about it, the Reuters correspondent has long since cleared his virtual desk, and you can walk confidently around tech trade shows without a ponytailed “Web 2.0 Consultant” offering to put your company on the Second Life map for the price of a company car.

But what has happened to Second Life? Have the hundreds of thousands of registered players logged off and found a real life? Has the Second Life economy collapsed? And what’s become of the extroverts, entrepreneurs and evangelists I encountered on my first visit? There’s only one way to find out.

I’m going back in.

Read the full article

See if for yourself –

Gartner has a framwork to understand “Hype Cycles” .
Check out a few current trends and see where they are on the framework.

For Virtual Worlds –
For Social Software –
The Hype Cycle explained –

Read an older article from Wired –

Written by frrl

January 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm

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Making Whuffie in the Social Economy Or, How to be a ravenous social capitalist

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We seek a new beginning…

“We seek a new beginning”.  If you have seen the movie  Apocalypto then you know the significance of this phrase.  It refers to a new World – a fundamental paradigm shift.

A “new beginning” can come in many flavors.  In the strong sense, a  “new beginning” could mean  “a break into an apocalyptic end of the world”.  But it could also be a more subtle change.  And perhaps that change is happening now.

What could a new beginning look like? – or at least, what are the aspects of a new beginning?

The science fiction novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow has gotten some people thinking.  One of the people thinking is Tara Hunt.  Tara Hunt is a writer, author, and Marketing Consultant.  Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom got Tara Hunt thinking about Whuffie.


What are the aspects of the post apocalyptic world of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom?

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Written by frrl

January 17, 2010 at 6:15 am

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The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

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“The girls were both Asian, pretty, and a little overly made up for a lecture like this.  The tallest of the two had long sable hair pulled back in a high pony tail and was wearing a short skirt and a white shirt open one button too far down the front.  Eduardo could see wisps of her red lace bra wonderfully offset by her tan, smooth skin.  The other girl was in an equally short skirt, with a black leggings combo that showed off some impressively sculpted calves.

Both had bright red lipstick and too much eye shadow, but they were damn cute – and they were smiling and pointing right at him.

Well, at him and Mark.  The taller of the girls leaned forward over the empty seat and whispered in his ear.
“Your friend – isn’t that Mark Zuckerberg?”
Eduardo raised his eyebrows.
“You know Mark?”  There was a first time for everything.
“No, but didn’t he make Facebook?”

Eduardo felt a tingle of excitement move through him, as he felt the warmth of her breath against his ear, as he breathed in her perfume.

“Yeah. I mean, Facebook, it’s both of ours – mine and his.”
“Wow that’s really cool,” the girl said.  “My name is Kelly.  This is Alice.”

Other people in the girls’ row were looking now.  But they didn’t seem angry that the whispers were interrupting their enjoyment of Bill Gates.  Eduardo saw someone pointing, then another kid whisper something to a friend.  Then more pointing – but not at him, at Mark.”

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Written by frrl

January 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Social Capital – The Strength of Internet Ties

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With the development of the internet…we are in the middle of the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire. I used to think that it was just the biggest thing since Gutenberg, but now I think you have to go back farther (p. 36)…. I want to be able to completely interact with the consciousness that’s trying to communicate with mine. Rapidly… [w]e are now creating a space in which the people of the planet can have that kind of communication relationship…

As individuals we have two sources of personal competitive advantage: human capital and social capital.  Human capital which includes talent, intellect, charisma, and formal authority is necessary for success but often beyond our diresct control.

Social capital, on the other hand, derives from our relationships.  Social capital is a powerful source of knowledge, ideas, opportunities, support, reputation, and visability that is equally if not more influential than human capital.

Read how the internet enables social capital in a way that was never possibe before in hisory.

The Strength of Internet Ties – PEW Internet & American Life Project

Social Isolation and New Technology – How the internet and mobile phones impact Americans’ social networks

Written by frrl

November 5, 2009 at 1:30 am

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Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World

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Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom:
How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World


Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, open innovation, and decentralized collaboration – all of this may be coming to a corporation near you.  Are you ready?

I have not yet finished (digested) this book – “Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom” but I can tell you that if you are a fan of the transformation of life, society, workplace, and the world by Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 Technologies then this book is a “must read”.

I can’t give a summary of this book – there is far too much in here.  There will be some follow-up postings to this one on how some of the ideas on Identity, Status, and Power can be spotted in organizations.

In a blatant cut/paste (I hope under fair use) below are chapter summaries from the book.  It will give you a good idea of the content.  You like?  Take a read.

Intro and Chapter Summaries

…It won’t be long before Generation V kids (V as in Virtual) – born since the Internet explosion in the early 1990s – begin pushing out of schools into corporations and up the management ranks. [18] Gen V youths rate music, rate movies, rate friends, rate celebrities, rate teachers, rate everything. They’re going to rate their bosses too. They will rate and rank whether social networking sites are banned or not. And one day, they just might be your boss – throwing sheep in the boardroom.

This book, as noted in the Preface, is divided into three parts: Identity, Status and Power. A good way to remember the book’s thematic progression is through the acronym: ISP. I for identity. S for status. P for power.

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Written by frrl

July 9, 2009 at 5:42 am

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Global Internet Distribution of Cultural Media: how Internet Radio was oh so 5 minutes ago

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Global Internet Distribution of Cultural Media:
How Internet Radio was oh so 5 minutes ago

vTuner_AIRJ01F_image1Aluratek USB Internet Radio Jukebox

While at the local Frys’s Electronics I saw a bunch of Internet radios from Aluratek. Most of the models were in the $100 price range which is typical of appliance design internet radios.

However, there was one device available for $29.  This was advertised as a USB Internet Radio Jukebox.  A recent issue of Monitoring Times had a review of this device.  The reviewer in Monitoring Times was not too impressed with the USB Internet Radio.  My guess from the review was that what you really got in the Aluratek USB Internet Radio Jukebox was a standard USB memory stick with software.  So, I passed it by.

On the way home I was wondering what Internet source was feeding the Aluratek radios.  I knew about Reciva as a major site that feeds some Internet radios.  But what about the Aluratek?  Did Reciva feed Aluratek?

Oh Grasshopper

Well, who cares anyway.  I have all the internet radio I can deal with.  I have the Apple iPod Touch with all those great application plus I know about Reciva.  Between the iPod Touch applications and Reciva I have everything I need.  Oh Grasshopper.

“Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.” The young Caine tries and fails. “When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave. -Master Kan

When I got home I did a bit of research.  What I discovered was that vTuner feeds Aluratek appliance Internet radios.  My conclusion was based on the fact that I discovered that the vTuner site cites Aluratek as a device maker partner.

vTuner Internet Media feed and receiver application

Go to the vTuner site and what do you find?  For $29 – as a one-time fee – you can download software to your PC to get access to Internet distribution of media.  So I suspect that the Aluratek USB internet radio is some version of this software on a traditional USB memory stick.

vTuner allows a 15 day free trial of the software.  So, I gave it a shot.  This is some really great stuff.

The differentiators – Reciva vs vTuner

At the time of this writing Reciva is pure audio.  vTuner adds video to the audio offering and tight integration with Real Player.  This is some really great stuff.

vTuner_TVCollegeRedefining the offering.  Internet Radio to Internet Media

At some point one needs to redefine the language with regard to these devices.  These are not Internet “radios” ( one infers a limitation to audio) but these are Internet media distribution services in the broadest sense of the word.  These devices collapse the traditional distinction between radio and television as differentiated by the appliance needed to receive these types of media.

Basically, anything that can be digitized, coded, and pushed down an internet pipe is fair game.  This includes radio (audio), television (video), web cams, scanners, and everything else that can be tuned into bits and recovered at the other end.

vTuner_RealLibraryA real win with Real Player

There is another real win with vTuner over Reciva.  And that real win is the tight integration with Real Player.

vTuner integrates with Real Player and offers a feature to record just about anything you are listening to or watching.  Real Player automatically tags the media that you are listening to or watching  and places it into its media library on your PC. This is really a great feature.

There are some media streams that are protected and can not be recorded.

“Enough is never enough” – Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

Here’s a partial summary of what you get with vTuner not in Reciva

Television (including distance learning)

There are many categories of television stations.  Some of the categories are College, Government, Public, Religious, Sports, variety, and a number of other categories.  Nearly one half of the 49 College television programming is Distance Learning. If you are into ad hoc or ala carte education then you might enjoy this

Web Cams

There are also a large number of web cams.  Want to see the live traffic in Hong Kong or Belfast Northern Ireland? Then take a look.  Want to look at Burbon Street in New Orleans? That is there as well.  Do you want to see research experiments in progress?  How about the Pitch Drop Experiment in Brisbane Australia?  Don’t know what it is?  Then find out.


You can listen to about 100 scanners across the United States and a few across the world.

Amateur Radio Repeaters

At the time of this writing, there is one Amateur Radio Repeater streaming audio to vTuner


The term “Internet Radio” applied to infrastructure systems such a vTuner is a misnomer.  The general public hearing the term “Internet Radio” associates and infers the traditional meaning of radio with all its limitations.  The limitation of audio associated with ‘Radio” is no such limitation of Global Internet Media Distributors like vTuner.

So for now, go and download the free 15 day trial of vTuner and have some fun.

Watch for our follow-up posting on the societal and cultural implications on importing and exporting cultural media.


Here is another USB-based device

It’s a good bet that all of these USB devices are nothing but some version of the vTuner software made to run on a traditional USB memory stick.  The advantage is that all the configuration and saved stations are on the USB stick and can taken from PC to PC.  The downside, is that you have another device to deal with.  vTuner software is $19.95 at the time of this writing.  The question would be – If you buy the vTuner software on how many PC’s can you install the software?  If the answer is only one, then it’s probably better to have the USB stick.

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Written by frrl

May 17, 2009 at 8:59 am

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