Archive for April, 2010

Simply The Best!

The best video on YouTube, ever!

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Something About Social Media

Social Media:

Games are more fun because we know who the players are in real life.

Books are more alluring because they come recommended by friends.

It‚Äôs more interesting to comment on Joe’s blog because you can identify the other people with whom you are conversing.

And when there were planes

An amazing bit of writing by Alain de Botton done for the BBC. I just couldn’t resist but share it with you. Beautiful stuff.

A world without planes

By Alain de Botton

Bees and sparrows would be masters of the skies

The philosopher, writer and recent writer-in-residence at Heathrow airport imagines a world without aircraft.

In a future world without aeroplanes, children would gather at the feet of old men, and hear extraordinary tales of a mythic time when vast and complicated machines the size of several houses used to take to the skies and fly high over the Himalayas and the Tasman Sea.

The wise elders would explain that inside the aircraft, passengers, who had only paid the price of a few books for the privilege, would impatiently and ungratefully shut their window blinds to the views, would sit in silence next to strangers while watching films about love and friendship – and would complain that the food in miniature plastic beakers before them was not quite as tasty as the sort they could prepare in their own kitchens.

Want to visit Sydney? Take a yacht

The elders would add that the skies, now undisturbed except by the meandering progress of bees and sparrows, had once thundered to the sound of airborne leviathans, that entire swathes of Britain’s cities had been disturbed by their progress.

And that in an ancient London suburb once known as Fulham, it had been rare for the sensitive to be able to sleep much past six in the morning, due the unremitting progress of inbound aluminium tubes from Canada and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

At Heathrow, now turned into a museum, one would be able to walk unhurriedly across the two main runways and even give in to the temptation to sit cross-legged on their centrelines, a gesture with some of the same sublime thrill as touching a disconnected high-voltage electricity cable, running one’s fingers along the teeth of an anaesthetised shark or having a wash in a fallen dictator’s marble bathroom.

Uncynical, unvigilant

Everything would, of course, go very slowly. It would take two days to reach Rome, a month before one finally sailed exultantly into Sydney harbour. And yet there would be benefits tied up in this languor.

Those who had known the age of planes would recall the confusion they had felt upon arriving in Mumbai or Rio, Auckland or Montego Bay, only hours after leaving home, their slight sickness and bewilderment lending credence to the old Arabic saying that the soul invariably travels at the speed of a camel.

Heathrow – the museum

This new widespread ‘camel pace’ would return travellers to a wisdom that their medieval pilgrim ancestors had once known very well. These medieval pilgrims had gone out of their way to make travel as slow as possible, avoiding even the use of boats and horses in favour of their own feet.

They were not being perverse, only aware that if one of our key motives for travelling is to try to put the past behind us, then we often need something very large and time-consuming, like the experience of a month long journey across an ocean or a hike over a mountain range, to establish a sufficient sense of distance.

Whatever the advantages of plentiful and convenient air travel, we may curse it for being too easy, too unnoticeable – and thereby for subverting our sincere attempts at changing ourselves through our journeys.

How we would admire planes if they were no longer there to frighten and bore us. We would stroke their steel dolphin-like bodies in museums and honour them as symbols of a daunting technical intelligence and a prodigious wealth.

We would admire them like small boys do, and adults no longer dare, for fear of seeming uncynical and unvigilant towards their crimes against our world.

Despite all the chaos and inconvenience of our disrupted flight schedules, we should feel grateful to the unruly Icelandic volcano – for allowing us briefly to imagine what a flight-less future would envy and pity us for.

Vote for me!

Thank you kindly ūüôā

Live with intention

Live with intention.

Walk to the edge.

Listen hard.

Practice wellness.

Play with abandon.

Laugh.

Choose with no regret.

Continue to learn.

Appreciate your friends.

Do what you love.

Live as if this is all there is.

– Mary Anne Radmacher

The Book Wars

I came across an interesting conversation earlier in regards to books, the iPad, behavioral adaptation, and technological adoption. And it got me thinking.

Are books really walking down the path of death, once again?

Printed books seem to have been on this path towards extinction for a few years now. The death of books has been predicted time and time again; yet they continue to fight, progress and prosper in a changing and digitizing world. However, with the emergence of the iPad, is this change and technological advancement the most important factor in the life of a printed book?

Will the iPad change behavior? Is reading to purists what reading is to technologists? Is it just about the words, or so much more than that? Is it about having a bookshelf on your iPad, or is it about having a bookshelf on your living room wall? Is it about efficiency and the environment, or is it about the feeling and the smell?

Purists have a connection with their book. The experience is beyond the words on the page; it is about the feeling, the creases, the folds, the physicality, the pages, the accessory it represents; its individuality, its texture, the ease of reference, its softness and its feeling in your hands. Can the iPad, or other e-readers even begin to compete on this level?

For technologists and almost everyone else who’s not a purist, it is about ‘new’, about¬†efficiency,¬†accessibility, ease of use, the trend, the environment; it is about storage, integration and simplicity. It is about the words, the text, the story, the reference. Can the printed book really survive when everything around it is moving forward, and the needs of the consumer are changing and adapting?

I’m not even going to try to attempt to answer these questions as I am not a purist, and nor am I a true technologist.¬†However, what’s¬†imperative¬†to understand is that there will be a point, a time, a change, when the iPad will no longer be the new, shiny, technology forward, trendy product of the moment. And it is at this point where the technology becomes less¬†important¬†or even boring, drawing more people to become interested and curious. And it is here where its uses and advantages become more interesting and more apparent, to a much larger and more dynamic audience.

So, going back to my question, “Are books really walking down the path of death, once again?” I guess it¬†depends on which way the penny falls with you, whether you’re a technologist, a purist, or simply sitting back and watching it unfold for now.

As for me, I’m not a purist, or a technologist. Yes I love new¬†technology, and will always look to embrace change. But as for my books, I think I still prefer them printed on paper, held between my hands, with a proud collection next to my bed. And whether I still have this opinion 4/5/6 years down the line, well I’ll just have to get back to you on that one.

A world within a world

“The whole world turns upside down in ten years, but you turn upside down with it.” – Spider Robinson, 1977.

Mob. A truly awesome and insightful ‘story’.