Twitter

The cult of Mac

By on Apr 29, 2005 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Ever since I got an Apple IIe in the mid-1980’s I’ve been, other than a brief one year excursion to "the darkside", a loyal Apple user. It’s an odd thing, being a mac user. Last week I had a conversation with my work colleague, Halvdan, about all the different Apple computers we’ve each had over the years. Here’s the results: Robin: Apple IIe, Lisa [on loan from mom’s office], IIgs [spent a lot of time on at friend’s], Mac Classic, Powerbook 520c, Mac 6400 Creative Edition, Powerbook 3G (sold to a clown in Germany on ebay last year), Powerbook G4 Halvdan: Apple 128k, Apple +, Powerbook 140, 2 x Powerbook 180, Powermac 4400, Powerbook G3 250mhz, eMac, iMac G5 That’s almost an orchard of Apples… The strange thing is, whilst you might expect geeks and gadget freaks to enthuse about their computers, just about anyone who has a Mac occassionally finds themselves having conversations about which Macs they’ve had. Regardless of their level of geekdom, Mac users have a deep affection for their computers which is something that our Windows user friends simply can’t relate to or understand. I happen to work down the street from the Apple Store in London’s Regent Street and it just so happens that tonight is the launch of Tiger the "much anticipated" (according to the press at least) OS 10.4. I don’t have to pass the Apple Store on my way home but I’m planning to stop by to see if there are any freebie’s on offer at the 6pm launch party. I’ll probably also connect to the wireless network, take a few snaps with my mobile and put them on flickr (like others already have – 2, 3, 4, 5), and maybe even post a few here. I know it’s wierd. I know non-mac users don’t understand it. Hell, I’m not even sure I understand why us Mac users get so excited about a little machine but we do and we can’t seem to help ourselves. I’m off to the Tiger launch… The photos I took at the OSX launch are now in my photo album – look left and scroll down until you find it. I took about 20 shots using a Nokia 6630 then bluetoothed them to my Powerbook. I used the Powerbook to connect to the Wi-Fi network that leaks out the front of the Apple Store and updated both this blog and my flickr account. Rather geeky but also an interesting exercise. What if I’d been on site during a political protest or some sort of incident? I, or a journalist, could have told the World what was happening withing...

CFP: CATaC’06 (Estonia)

By on Apr 29, 2005 in conferences/events |

CALL FOR PAPERS International Conference onCULTURAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION (CATaC’06) 28 June – 1 July 2006University of Tartu, Estoniahttp://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac Conference theme:Neither Global Village nor Homogenizing Commodification: Diverse Cultural, Ethnic, Gender and Economic Environments Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to: Culture isn’t ‘culture’ anymore The Internet isn’t the ‘Internet’ anymore Gender, culture, empowerment and CMC CMC and cultural diversity Internet research ethics Ethics and justice Cultural diversity and e-learning More info at...

Blame it on email

By on Apr 28, 2005 in academic studies | 3 comments

Journalists are always asking me to provide quotes about how online dating sites, cyber-affairs, and cybersex are causing increasing rates of marital breakdown. I nearly always respond by pointing out that we don’t blame school parent-teacher groups when the parents of school kids hook up and have an affair, so why blame the internet? Then there was the HomeNet Study (revisited here) (Please Note: This study was NOT by Pew Internet – see comment below) a few years ago that suggested, based on a study in Pittsburgh which must be one of the most depressing cities to live in on Earth, that use of the internet causes increasing levels of social isolation. I disagreed with this particular study, largely because I had concerns about the research methodology. Now it turns out that email can be bad for you too, at least according to a new study, reported by BBC News Online, that found "Those distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ – more than twice that found in studies of the impact of smoking marijuana". The ghist of the study was that it’s not particularly good for your mental health to be constantly bombarded with information from a variety of sources. And that constant bombardment means that many of us spend more time filtering and sifting through the junk and less time focussing on the important information that crosses our paths. I forwarded a link to this article on to a friend of mine who runs a Cannabis Legalisation Campaign at http://www.thehempire.com. He said "As usual the newspapers have blown this out of proportion.  I’m not sure about the impact of email on IQ but I do know that cannabis only lowers it temporarily. Stop using and the IQ level comes back to normal. Though how you get people to stop using email is another matter entirely." I guess we’re all doomed. Again. [Related link: "is TV good for you?"...

Cybersonica ’05 – London

By on Apr 28, 2005 in conferences/events |

CYBERSONICA ’05 – Thursday, 28th April – Sunday, 1st May 2005, Science Museum’s Dana Centre/Encompass @ The Old Truman Brewery/Xfm’s Flo Motion/The Remix Live @ The ICA Cybersonica 05 explores how new technologies are shaping and changing the way musicians, artists, DJs, VJs, and short film makers create and present their work. The festival programme includes a two-day symposium, keynote addresses, live performances, Addictive TV and Cinefeel’s Audiovisual Lounge, soundtoys.net tour and sonic art exhibition. Cybersonica 05 brings together a whole community of audiovisual originality – from practitioners, theorists, developers and record labels to music, sound and technology lovers. Full details of Cybersonica ’05 can be found at the Cybersonica 05 website –...

Blogging and Photo-Sharing for Activists

By on Apr 22, 2005 in activism, social software | 4 comments

Quite a few charities and NGO’s, for example Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, have recognised that using blogs can help them to get their message across to a new audience. One of the problems that ordinary websites have is that they often times can’t reach an audience wider than the people who already know about their organisation and agree with their aims already. In other words, many websites simply preach to the converted. Blogging might offer a useful route around this particular problem. Most blogging platforms offer RSS feeds as standard. These feeds can, and often are, picked up by users of social bookmarking sites such as de.lic.ious or Technocrati. Bloggers can also use services such as Ping-o-Matic to alert users of a whole range of blog content aggretators to new content. Because of social bookmarking and blog aggregators, blog content can be distributed to a much wider audience, almost automatically, than the content of a traditional (ie. non-blog) website. So what next? The other day I started to wonder whether there might be a way to use flickr, myspace, and other photo sharing sites to promote the causes of activists. On flickr, my favourite, users uploading photos assign tags describing the subject of the photo. For example: Urban Decay: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/urbandecay/ Iraq: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/iraq/ Pollution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/pollution/ I’ve noticed that some of these photos have actually been posted by individual campaigners and I think this, like blogs, could be a useful way for campaigning organisations and activists to promote their cause to a wider audience. Not everyone looking for photos of manatees, for example, will know that this large creature, sometimes confused as a mermaid by early European sailors sailing up the Gulf Coast of Florida, is currently being endangered by the increasing numbers of recreational boaters in the area. They might just think it’s a big beautiful creature, or have heard about manatees but don’t know what they look like. By posting photos on a photo sharing site, then linking back to a campaign blog or website, activists might be able to reach a wider audience. You could also post your photos copyright free, or with a url watermarked on them, so that others could distribute your photos to an even wider audience than you could alone (this is a tactic that some media organisations, record companies, etc have done with fan sites). Have you, or a campaigning organisation you work for, tried this? Please post a link and any thoughts you have in the comments box...