Desert of My Real Life

{February 28, 2010}   Impressive Perform

Ann said I should write a post about this latest comment to my blog.  It was posted on my iPad and Education entry but I think it’s spam.  What do you think?  “Impressive perform on your own send. Hold up using the specatacular work.”

The website that it came from is:  Don’t put that website into your browser.  It’s spam.  But the poetry of the comment is priceless, almost as good as the classic: “All your base are belong to us.”

So why didn’t my spam filter catch this comment as spam?  It’s not clear to me since it seems so obvious that it’s spam.  How did the authors bypass the spam filter?  I have no idea.  But I have my blog set up so that I have to moderate any comments from new posters.  So I was able to mark this particular comment as spam and not have it actually post as a comment.

I do, however, like “Impressive perform on your own send.”  Praise, even nonsensical praise, makes me feel good about myself.

{February 15, 2010}   Conspicuous Consumption

I’ve commented on this blog before about my love of the status update, both on FaceBook and Twitter.  I love reading about what my friends are currently doing and regularly use Twitter myself to update my FaceBook status.  A new website takes the status update to a whole new level. allows the user to link his or her credit card to a status updater.  So every time a credit card purchase is made, the purchaser’s followers are notified of the amount and the place of the purchase.  In addition, the purchase is itemized.  You can also link your Blippy account with your FaceBook account (so your purchases become your FaceBook status) and your Twitter account (ditto your Twitter status).  Then, when you make  a purchase, your status will be changed to something like: “Cathie spent $9.99 at” and the itemization would show you that I purchased the Kindle version of The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.  The site bills itself as: “Blippy is a fun and easy way to see and discuss the things people are buying.”

Ann brought this website to my attention after she read an article about it in Time Magazine.  It was an interesting article by Barbara Kiviat.  The interesting thing about that article is that Kiviat theorized that if people could see what she was spending, she would be shamed into spending less.  But her own behavior, and that of others, showed the opposite.  Instead, people wanted to spend more money to show their followers the cool places they were visiting and the cool things they were buying.  Conspicuous consumption, indeed.

{February 8, 2010}   The iPad and Education

David Parry recently wrote a very interesting post on ProfHacker regarding the impact that the iPad is likely to have on education.  Parry is an assistant professor of emerging media and technology (what a cool title) at the University of Texas-Dallas and the author of academHack, one of my favorite blogs about technology and education (see my Blogroll).  Parry, who is an avid Apple consumer, thinks the iPad is far from the panacea for education that its proponents claim it will be.  For those of you who won’t follow the link to his post, I’ll summarize his main points.

Many are saying that the iPad will do for education (and textbooks) what the iPod did for music.  Parry points out that the iPod is not revolutionary.  It didn’t change the way we consume music.  Instead, it was the development of iTunes that changed the way we consume music.  The change in distribution channels rather than a change in consumption platform is what was important to changing the way we consume music.  We can now purchase individual songs for only 99 cents (which is a price point that makes the inconvenience of illegal downloading not worthwhile) and create playlists from those individual songs.  In order for there to be an impact in our consumption of textbooks, the cost would need to drop a lot and we would have to be able to assemble new textbooks from individual chapters (and perhaps even individual fragments of text) from existing textbooks.  No one in the textbook business is talking about an iTunes-like experience for textbooks.

Parry’s second major point is, for me, even more important for those us who are involved in higher education.  He points out that the iPad is designed to be a media consumption device.  But he (and I) wants his students to be more than media consumers.  To be successful citizens in the digital age, students need to be critical consumers and creators of media.  With its lack of camera, lack of microphone, lack of multitasking ability, the iPad teaches people how to be passive consumers of media.  Such a device is bad for educating the active, critically questioning citizen for today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital world.

Parry raises many additional issues and explains the two I mention here much more articulately than I have.  Go read his post.

et cetera