View 709 Wednesday, January 18, 2012
My head is buzzing with thoughts about our novel. Imagine if you were given the task as a military mission: fix the schools so that no geek is left behind. We need boffins. Find and teach them.
That’s a direct oversimplification, but it’s important, and it requires a lot of thought. One of the things I found while looking into it was a commentary onf the upcoming Apple education technology announcement: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/01/apple-education-jobs/ . It includes a 1996 interview with Steve Jobs on education and technology.
I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.
It’s a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical. The problems are unions. You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional. The problems are unions in the schools. The problem is bureaucracy.
He’s dead right, of course. Technology alone cannot fix the problem. But it can help: technology does make possible some solutions that are otherwise politically impossible. In our novel we are changing the political rules, but in fact technology does that also.
We won’t know what the technological innovations are until Thursday.
On Thursday, Apple is hosting an “Education Event” in New York City. Thanks to reporting by sister publication Ars Technica, we expect Apple to announce a new digital publishing tool — a “GarageBand for e-books” — to create interactive, HTML5-based texts that can be read on Apple’s iOS devices.
I’m looking forward to it.
Wikipedia has gone black for the day, and I for one have found that less irritating than I thought it would be. There’s plenty of information that hasn’t been summarized and wikied. I’ve also been using Bing to find it. I agree that the copyright laws need reform, but that reform needs to be made with authors and artists in mind, not just publishers. One reason pirates were so successful in the music industry was that the publishers had all the stakes, and artists often encouraged their fans to pirate their works, since the artists weren’t getting paid anything from ‘legitimate’ sales. Authors of books don’t have quite that antagonistic a relationship with their publishers, but their interests aren’t identical either.
That’s for another time, but so far the lack of Wikipedia hasn’t inconvenienced me, and I’ve been finding Bing about as useful as Google. One thing the blackouts have done is break a few habits.
And this just in:
Wikipedia blackout dodge
Turns out that if you disable Active Scripting then Wikipedia works just fine. Lots of other sites don’t–which leaves me wondering what exactly they do that relies so heavily on scripting.
Mike T. Powers
Here is a warning:
Does Gumby have an alibi?
The tablet computers, like most Apple products, are known for their sleek and simple designs. But there’s no mistaking the iPad for one of the world’s oldest "tablet devices." Still, most electronic products cannot be returned to stores. For the the stores and customers to be fooled by the clay replacements, the thieves must have successfully weighed out the clay portions and resealed the original Apple packaging.
Future Shop spokesman Elliott Chun told CTV that individuals bought the iPads with cash, replaced them with the model clay, then returned the packages to the stores. The returned fakes were restocked on the shelves and sold to new, unwitting customers.