johnmac's rants

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recent Editorials from Web 2.0 The Magazine

The following are my most two recent editorials from Web 2.0 The Magazine:

By John F. McMullen

Life in the Digital World goes on for your editor as well as, hopefully, the readers of this magazine. In the last year, I have started a Social Network for those from my old neighborhood (Inwood, Manhattan, New York City, New York State, US) and watched it grow from two members to one thousand thirty-six (1,036) with two thousand four hundred six (2,406) photos posted (as of 05/25/09); published an “on-demand” collection of poetry, “Cashing A Check” (available in both soft cover and Kindle formats on Amazon); read over a hundred books on my Kindle and Kindle 2; tested many “apps” for my iPhone and G1; and begun this publication. In short, it’s been a busy time.

Yet, it has been a enjoyable, if hectic, time – there is always something new; a new device (such as my watch-camera-phone-mp3 player), new web services (such as the many and varied Twitter add-ons), new “apps” (such as “Glympse”, mentioned elsewhere in this issue); in short, constant change! – and keeping up with the changes is not only challenging; it is exhilarating!

We must understand that this “Keeping up” is a societal problem with which we must deal. In addition to changing our methods of production and information distribution (see the feature on Newspapers and Magazines elsewhere in this issue) – changes that both put many, many out of work and create new technology opportunities – it creates generation conflict that we must deal with. Those growing up with “new technologies” (computers, cell phones, etc.) in their environment simply accept them and use them while those who are already mature when the technologies arrive must “learn them” (and many had difficulties with word processing and spreadsheets) and they MUST learn them to remain useful and employable. As change continues to accelerate, the need to constantly adapt brings more and more pressure.

It is not only “doing things faster and more efficiently”, it is “doing things differently and better” (years ago, in her wonderful book, “Release 2.0” (and its successor, “Release 2.1), Esther Dyson, opined “the Internet will not only allow us to do things better; it will allow us to do better things”; she has certainly been prescient). One of my main concerns in this area is that it seems to me that we have not shown that, today in the United States, we have the understanding of this paradigm shift nor the will to deal with it that is evidenced by our Chinese competitors.
Unless we show both the will and the educational commitment to meet these challenges, I fear that those who bemoan the “End of the American Century” are right on – and that will be a shame.

By John F. McMullen

Random Notes:
• The reaction to the Iranian election and the lack of diplomatic contact between the US and Iran has brought Web 2.0 technology closer to the mainstream as we have come to depend on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news. This dependence has become so important that the State Department has asked Twitter to forgo scheduled maintenance to keep the pipes open. Other reports on the importance of Twitter at this time have come from The Atlantic, The Nation, and the Daily Beast. It reminds me of earlier times when the best reports from disaster areas came through short-wave radio.
• I’ve recently begun to offer my blog, “johnmac’s rants”, on the Kindle at the cost of $1.99 per month. Why anyone would want to pay for a blog that is free online and accessible through a desktop, laptop, netbook, or smart phone is, quite frankly, beyond me but it costs nothing for the blogger to set up the RSS feed (Feedburner is a very easy tool for this) or for the service itself – so we’ll see!
• I’ve used CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon’s, to put my second collection of poetry, “Writing In My Head – Guinan’s, God, & Other Things” on line (it joins the first collection, “Cashing A Check” online). I found the tools at CreateSpace very easy to use and recommend its use.

Copyright 2009 John F. McMullen


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