Published July 12, 2004
Gadgets & Gear , Music , Technology
I finally solved the ISync problems I reported in June on my office iMac. It looks like something got really corrupted – I had totally remove iSync from the Mac and reinstall it. Just deleting the preferences files didn’t do it. Now I’m syncing away between my various Macs, .Mac, and my Nokia phone.
Just last week I got my brand spanking new 20-inch iMac for my kitchen and family room at home – what a sweet, sweet, computer! I spent a couple of days fighting networking only to finally figure out that it was the ethernet wiring in my wall that wasn’t working. Went down to the Apple Store, picked up an Airport Extreme card, put it in, and all’s well. Watching video on the 20-inch screen is extremely groovy. In an effort to reduce clutter (Michele hates wires), I added an Apple wireless keyboard and a Kensington wireless mouse (to get two buttons). Here it is looking quite at home in its new place of prominence.
But – right after I got it, Apple announced that they’ve stopped taking orders for iMacs, as a whole new line will be available in September. The rumors have it that the new iMac will sport a vertical “pizza box” display and a G5 processor. While I’m sad to not get the faster processor, I *love* the “desklamp” display on my iMac – it makes viewing from lots of different parts of the room possible, especially for watching DVDs.
And just to finish off the Mac news, Apple announced with much brouhaha that 100 million songs have been sold from the iTunes Music Store. Lucky Kevin Britten won a bunch of booty from Apple for being the one to purchase the 100 millionth song (“Somersault (Dangermouse remix)” by Zero 7, if you’re wondering). While the proprietary rights management encoding on the iTMS songs bothers me more and more as I want to make my music available to a wider range of devices (not all of which are produced by Apple), they clearly are the market leader here, with the best product. I’m waiting for prices to come down as a result of the volume – but not holding my breath.
On Thursday afternoon Julian Lombardi from Wisconsin and Mark McCahill from Minnesota demonstrated Croquet, an open-source, interactive, networked, 3D immersive environment they’re building.
If I understand this project correctly, the goal is to provide a platform where building and sharing interactive objects in a social 3D space becomes as easy and accessible as it has been to write and publish web pages.
While I’m not currently in any position to judge the specific technology or implementation, I think the concept of an easily manipulated shared immersive environment is incredibly powerful and is likely to be very important in the evolution of computing in education. Watching my six year old navigate around the space in his Harry Potter game on the Mac is very instructive – he takes to the environment and the challenges with incredible glee as well as sophistication. Croquet may well be one glimpse into our professional future.
Published July 12, 2004
While in Boulder for the Leadership Institute, we caught Richard Thompson playing at the Boulder Chataqua – what a great show in a great 100 year old barn!
RT is on tour playing with a terrific band – Danny Thompson on upright bass, Dave Mattucks on drums, and Pete Zorn on everything (the night we saw them he played rhythm guitar, mandolin, alto sax, baritone sax, penny whistle, and sang all the backup vocals). I do have to say that I miss hearing the female harmonies on lots of his tunes – while I never saw him with Linda, I have had the pleasure of hearing Christine Collister sing with Richard several times.
The song list included lots of old favorites, and some new (or at least unfamiliar to me) tunes, and ranged from delicate acoustic numbers to searing (and loud!) electric tunes. It seemed to me that RT was less interested in exploring the dimensions of harmonic dissonance in his playing than the last few times I saw him, but he was reaching farther out in rhythmic dimensions in his solos.
And for an added bonus, the show finished off with bangup version of Tear Stained Letter featuring Michael Doucet sitting in on fiddle.
A great time all around@
Published July 12, 2004
Learning & Teaching
John Perry Barlow today posted a long post titled Too Alive to Be Virtual, about how he’s been too busy to blog all the things he’s been thinking of writing about – I know just how he feels! So, in an effort to do at least a little catching up…
On the last day of the Educause Leadership Institute in Boulder, Mark Sheehan gave another terrific session on Organizational Culture. While I typically have not been really focused on organizational development in my professional life, this session really resonated with me – whether because Mark has a wonderful way of leading people into this territory, or because I’m at a point where this kind of topic makes sense to me.
Mark introduced us to the work of Ed Schein , a faculty member at MIT and writer of the seminal work on organizational culture, Organizational Culture and Leadership. The first chapter of the new third edition of the book is up at that link as a PDF, and is well worth a read.
When we examine culture and leadership closely, we see that they are two sides of the same coin; neither can really be understood by itself. On the one hand, cultural norms define how a given nation or organizations will define leadership—who will get promoted, who will get the attention of followers. On the other hand, it can be argued that the only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture; that the unique talent of leaders is their ability to understand and work with culture; and that it is an ultimate act of leadership to destroy culture when it is viewed as dysfunctional.
One question struck me at the Institute – why, in a field that is heavily dominated by males, were all of the brightest and most engaging people I met at the Leadership Institute women? Something to ponder…