AS WE RAMP UP for the Internet Experience in Education Conference and Workshops (22 May 2008 in Tipperary Institute), I'm looking at several proposed seminars that bump up next to the idea of communities online. Invariably, those communities will run counter to the flow desired by management if they are perceived as anarchistic or time-wasting. To combat that damning conclusion, some friends have recommended giving the advocates some kind of title, like "community manager" being the person responsible for fostering a company's online social network. Others in the business point out that a "manager" is normally annotated at a specific level in an organisation's wiring diagram and that's not likely to happen in the case of some of the most fervent online networkers. Many of the most sociable people sit outside the executive suite so it might be pretentious to label them as managers.
WE BUY AT LEAST FOUR newspapers on Sundays but that may change as our need for technology news seems to be unfulfilled inside the Sunday Tribune. Nonetheless, there is plenty of content offered up by the mainstream papers today and I rambled for eight minutes about main points arising from my reading of the news under a clear blue sky in South Tipperary.
Identity Theft Easy Ride for College. Sabrina Rubin Erdely explains in The Observer Magazine how Jocelyn Kirsch and Ed Anderton (pictured) went to the best parties, dined in the best restaurants, and splashed their credit cards from Paris to the Caribbean.  It wasn't their money. The easy living flowed from a series of identity thefts, something that has become a talking point in Ireland lately.   Ireland needs to discuss identity threat and key loggers like Spector software (PC Magazine's Editor's Choice)
More Sunday technology news below the break.
ONE OF OUR hopes is to watch our electricity meter run backwards some day. We gain our inspiration from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, located in a small eco-city in Abu Dhabi that held a competition to select one of the 24 entrants to a solar panel display. The winner will use its solar arrays to power the city. As The Economist notes, "Masdar is bold, perhaps quixotic. It is an attempt not so much to diversify the economy as to invert it."
The Ecnomist -- "How to spend it" in the 26 April 2008 edition.
IT'S BEEN FIVE WEEKS since I last carried my laptop. I shed the laptop because I need legroom on my bus trips and because I am a little concerned about its fragile operating state. Regular readers of my Twitterstream will know it's just a matter of time before the beast fails. You cannot count on a reliable XP Pro laptop when you have to take out its battery to power it down. That said, I've been on this kind of thin ice before and I have plenty of back-ups. I also know that with an easily-reachable cloud of information and a robust smartphone, I can do the business. Now Microsoft is rolling out a strategy that will make things even easier for road warriors like me. Microsoft plans to take its most ambitious step yet in transforming its personal computer business into one tied more closely to software running in remote data centers. It is called Live Mesh and if it enhances Symbian devices with a web desktop, it will evolve into a game-changing technology.
WHEN I READ THAT Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, equates rising food prices to an actual credit crunch, I flashed back to a stairwell full of canned goods that my grandmother used to keep. She raised her family during the American Depression, a time that led my dad to organic gardening in the middle of a city. Dad dug up grass (he didn't eat it like the Haitian in the AP photo at left) and grew vegetables for the dinner table. Like Gordon Brown, I believe "tackling hunger is a moral challenge to each of us and it is also a threat to the political and economic stability of nations" and I'm a little miffed that the anti-GM brigade is given such strong credibility in the eyes of major pundits.
CNN -- "Food crisis is next credit crunch"
FRIENDS IN THE printing business scanned me a box cover that proves Apple is within 90 days of releasing its 3G iPhone. Stock clearing exercises are the norm too, especially in the UK and Germany where the 3G iPhone will debut. Prices of the 8GB model have fallen from €335 to €210 in Regent Street, London. You won't find those kinds of price reductions at O2-Ireland until the next school term begins.
WITH A LITTLE CHORUS and two Irish strawberries in the background, I Qikly flicked through the Sunday Times in search of technology stories in the Irish papers. I've a few more titles to read but I've also got a floor to sand and paint so those papers will wait until the end of the day. In the meantime, here's a 7-minute audio [5.4 MB 96 kbps MP3] file to go along with the Qik video cited above. The video includes comments about my not-so-green first car, the Motormouth's affirmation of my driving style from years ago and questions about the wisdom of mandating an ethanol policy. The Sunday Times also gives inches to a new EU regulation about loud music, something that won't please Scottish pipers. Our Internet Experience in Education conference will most certainly include follow-on discussions regarding the under-funded ICT budget for schools in Ireland. If you return to this post later, you will find a full set of links to the content in the audio and video clips.
WE DON'T BELIEVE IN putting dogs down (besides, we know it's not time) and that's one reason we've rehomed three of them since getting our own home. But now, a little girl in her high-speed walker is threatening the sanity and safety of Doggie, our 14-year-old adopted Pomeranian. I'm a little hesitant to mention on my blog our need to rehome the little guy since I'm trying to keep the noise I make on Inside View relate only to technology but there's also a point about social networking that could be made. If my blogging about the life of a dog results in a better life for the little animal, then all the yabbering I've done while blogging, commenting, tweeting and microblogging would be for good. Certain detractors would be silenced if I leverage, for best effect, the readers here, in my newsfeeds and in my microcontent. So if you know someone who might like to adopt an elderly, somewhat senile, very cuddly Pomeranian, please let me know. And if you just want to see more of the little guy, Google for pomeranian Ireland Flickr and you'll catch up on the past stories and photos. Thanks a million.
THE NORMAL ROUND of stories about people running afoul of local authorities when photographing public demonstrations is starting to spin up as the world counts down the days until the opening of the Olympic ceremonies in China. When people take to the streets to join the cause or to document a movement, they can easily run afoul of the authorities. When I ran point duties while coursing a route, I had a handheld multi-band radio, similar to the MrH Kit. I have also joined Flash mobs by using simple group text messages. Things have evolved, now that anyone can connect up to a group (or a mob if you're on the other side) through Twitter or Jaiku or Pownce. The cross-talk now revolves around how Chinese authorities will clamp down on dissent that leaks out onto the internet--and the Chinese are renowned for tracking down messages of dissent. The Chinese have continued cracking down. A related story came out of Egypt where James Buck got bailed from jail after his use of Twitter called in legal aid. From what the Contra Costa Times reports, it sounds like he tweeted the word "ARRESTED" as a text message and a chain of events unfurled in his favour. Buck, 29, a former Oakland Tribune multimedia intern, sent Twitter friends terse messages. He was released around 12 hours later, crediting "a combination of things, my Egyptian
friends told me to play the 'American bitch' and try to force my way
out." They also told him that it was no big deal and to just stay calm. Fair play to the battery power of Buck's phone. It also helped that Buck's detention wasn't accompanied by a formal set of charges being preferred because in my experience, that normally means the prison authorities take phones, money, keys and sharp objects away while you're behind bars.
WHILE LISTENING TO emails sent by Media Writing students to my (private Nokia E90) email address, I endured a mind-numbing six-page metadata version of a Press Release. Normally, my email lands on my Nokia E90 and it's ready to read itself to me. One piece of mail today arrived with a large grouping of tags ahead of the body of the message. The tags were placed inside the email because the body of the mail was pasted in from a Microsoft Word document, thereby converting the email into rich text format. A lot of people do this but they might not know about the special treatment given to the e-mail.