Monthly Archives: August 2013

Comment on The Web is not the same as the Internet, and why that matters by Phillip Long

Gardner: I’m teaching in my annual foray into the classroom – this time 366 students trying to stay awake as I talk about “The Web From Inside Out: From Geeks to Google to Facebook”. I hold a couple of sessions on the topic of the development of networks, the inter-network (internet) through to the emergence of the Web. I’m fascinated by the way this topic is received, or slept through, by students today who’ve never known a world without the web.

The development of the internet is the story of: Arpanet, Robert Taylor, Wesley Clark, (“you’ve got the network inside out!”, 1967, at the end of a meeting of ARPA’s Principal Investigators), Paul Baran, Donald Watts Davies,”Lick”, the boys at BBN, Len Kleinrock, Doug Engelbart, & Vint Cerf, to name the central figures (apologies to the tens of dozens of others who played central, marvellous, and creative roles omitted here). But it’s fundamentally a story about connecting first multiple hosts and then by extension multiple networks.

The web doesn’t enter into it, as you know, until someone came along and needed to find and share research documents to visiting physicists who had limited time on an expensive and constrained resource at CERN, and needed to be brought up to speed on the work of their predecessors at the place quickly and without personal guidance. TBL offered a way to do that. Of course others were doing document distributed find and share (Mark McCahill notably with his furry bucktooth rodent thingy). But the web was about distributed information and really did harken back to the associative trails of Vanneaver Bush.

We have to do our Woods Hole thing my friend. Really. All the best in your new intellectual “home”.


Hard Case for Google Glass ($8)

IMG_20130805_115508_755While the protective case that Google provides with Glass is great for recreational use, I have been concerned that the case is not robust enough for traveling nationally/internationally. To solve this problem I started looking for a cheap and functional solution. While some Explorers have found a more substantial soft case – e.g., see the Case Logic GPS & Media 5-7″ In-Car DVD Player Case or (if you love Star Wars) the Millennium Falcon bag – I decided to look for a hard-case solution.

Since my office at Virgina Tech is located 200m from our local art supplier, Mish Mish, I took a break one morning to see what they could offer. I found what I believe is the perfect solution for me, a 10 inch Art & Craft case made by Art Alternatives. The case retails at $7.99 and the Glass case fits perfectly inside (see the pictures below). The nice thing about the case is that it has room to hold my smartphone and the various chargers I travel with. The case gives me some piece of mind that when I try to squeeze my backpack into an overhead compartment on a plane or train, the Glass device will be protected.

Click to view slideshow.

I decided to jazz up the case a little by adding a sticker that came with a Samsung Chromebook I just purchased.


Comment on McLuhan and our plight by bob therriault


I think of the way we use musical instruments. Musical instruments augment our capabilities to make sound, and by the choices we make in how we play together we can create all sorts of complex sounds we call music. We don’t call the loudest sounds the best, or the most complicated sounds the worst. We listen and use the resonance of that experience with past experiences to evaluate what we have heard. In that way technical augmentation helps us to clarify using human discernment. Currently, I am afraid that we are focussing too much on the augmentation and not so much on the reflection to provide that clarity.

In the machine-human equation I think that we need to work harder at holding up our end of the bargain. The technical aspects can augment but the ability to clarify is a hard won human trait that winds through many levels of experience including mystical and spiritual (and those areas are not always available for verbal or literal expression). I read an article by Fred Brooks today about computer scientists as toolmakers that may be useful. Brooks balances the role of technologist, scientist and ultimately toolmaker with some deeper social evaluations.

Cheers, bob

Comment on McLuhan and our plight by Gardo

@bob Not scrambled at all, but precise and suggestive. A very lovely comment!

It’s all about Bateson’s ecology of mind, which is systems thinking at its finest, I believe–mythic consciousness yielding insight into complexity, both serially and along parallel paths. The longer I work at this, the more it seems to me that the richest possible hybridity emerges as the foundational ecology. Choices must be made and will be made, but the choices themselves fork and fork again. The common experience is the leap and rush of insight. The common experience is the slow growth of expanding wisdom. Bateson said he was too poetic for the scientists and too scientific for the humanists. Yes–seems like a (lonely) sweet spot.

I too wish we could clarify before amplifying. I do think that some clarity around first principles as well as an indefatigable commitment to exploring the “unknown unknown” (paradoxical but possible) can help. But I also think that it’s the augmentation that leads to more potential clarity, and then that can lead to more successful augmentation. The challenge is to keep the alternations coming instead of just getting louder and louder until the universe goes deaf.