February 28, 2011

I don't watch the show, "Skins" has definitely gotten a lot of play the past couple of months. From what I read, the sexualized nature of the teens has adults up in arms. Again, having never watched the show, no idea how to respond to those criticisms.

But Edmund Lee from AdAge.com (via Crain's NY) has an interesting take on the show and his theory as to the real reason adults are so appalled by the show. It's intriguing in that I get annoyed by exactly the same attitude of people when it comes to the appropriate use of technology. The blase attitude of someone taking a call during a meeting or public event and NOT excusing themselves so as to NOT disturb the audience. We've all been there.

Skins is your brain on digital

Give this a read and then give us your feedback. Are we oversensitive to the use of technology or are technology users insensitive to those not using it? Do we have to adjust our good manners & expectations?


February 16, 2011

For those of us who like to hold a book while reading (disclaimer, I love the feel of a book but I also have a Kindle), we might look back on today as a watershed moment. Borders, as expected, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Borders to file for bankruptcy, to close 200 stores

I'm not all doom and gloom; plenty of physical books are still going to be sold - here and around the world - so I think the headline is a bit reactionary (I wrote it to get your attention). Still, if Borders goes out of business fully or is bought by a competitor, it will significantly reduce the outlets for writers/publishers. Might mean fewer less-known gems or writers will be brought to the attention of readers. That said, social networking, done right, would more than make up for the lack of attention a book receives in a megastore.

What really worries me is if the physical bookstore ceases all together. There are few repasts better than wandering through a big bookstore. Even though I don't want to read all the books, seeing what people have written and the topics that interest them, is fascinating. Plus, you never know what you might find on an obscure shelf. You can't replicate that experience on the Kindle store.

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" Henry Ward Beecher (1813 - 1887)


February 04, 2011

You know the ultimate goal of a multi-national, publicly-traded company? It's not to make as much money as possible. It's not to make as much profit as possible. It's to maximize shareholder value. The stock is the be-all-and-end-all of these companies (and by companies, I mean executives).

So the story below shouldn't surprise anyone (though I have questions about the veracity, which is why I want to use the story as parable more than factual example). Vodafone must do business in Egypt to maximize shareholder value. Government interference with their networks from time to time is all the cost of doing business. Still, would have be nice if Vodafone had shown a little more backbone in their response, but I quibble

Vodafone: We were forced to send pro-Mubarak texts

What're your thoughts on the protests/violence in North Africa and the Middle East? Signals of democratic change or just regime change?


February 03, 2011

When I get frustrated with government, I think - there has to be a better way. Well, economist Paul Romer wants to test out if there is a better way. His quest to build a "charter city" would be an awesome thought experiment, but he's taking it to reality (and not the "Jersey Shore" type of reality). This is a great idea and I plan on following it as long as I can.

The article I read appears in the Wall Street Journal. Since I'm a subscriber I get the full story & video. I shared that access via our Twitter page (@Syzygy3). Take a look and tell me you're not intrigued by the whole proposition.