I'VE LISTENED TO Peter Thiel, the entrepreneur and venture capitalist, on several occasions. I'm certain the creative multimedia students in our Emerging Trends module will learn as much as I have so we're dissecting Thiel's Zero to One: Notes on Startups as part of an exercise in building for the future.
The Washington Post recorded Thiel sharing familiar stories of the lessons he learned as CEO of PayPal, how to prevent conflict among employees, and why he doesn't think you should live each day as though it's your last. He also reflects on what he calls the "features and bugs" of his personality. It's included in this blog post for your listening pleasure.
I TEACH ADULTS who rarely read the supplemental material I give them. They also don't carve out the time for reading in any form, on screen or on paper.
I think that's a problem because I have experienced the joy of reading. I've watched our six year old daughter graduate into senior infants with the ability to sound out (and often guess) words on a page. At first it was hard. Now it's like eating. We spoon-fed her for a while but now she wants the whole banana by herself.
EVERY CHRISTMAS, our home dusts off The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Today, I bring the framework of the monomythical story into my third level lecture hall where creative third level students will dissect it.
The book by itself provided hours of bedtime reading for the past three years. The stuffed animals licensed by Julia Donaldson to complement the book perch invitingly above the storybooks, colouring books and posters whenever we visit O'Mahony's Book Shop in Limerick. We have used mountains of pocket money to bring parts of the extended Gruffalo story to our daughter's bedroom. She sleeps better as a result.
The story of The Gruffalo is well-executed on several levels. Its narrative quality suspends our children in a fantasy land with so many nooks and crannies, some that do not appear on the pages of Donaldson's written work. A few of Mia's interpretations reimagine parts of the video, mashing up parts of Michael Jackson's Thriller with thrilling death-defying slices from Britain's Got Talent.
A well-defined pathway along the hero's journey makes The Gruffalo work for millions in its audience and also for animators and script writers who deconstruct it with me today.
BECAUSE HE SEES me holding and using my Kindle, our two year old wants it too. I'd like him to discover it's fun to read (and listen) with a Kindle.
We may opt for a Kindle Paperwhite because its design is better suited for reading than the older Kindle I already carry. As I read the specifications on the Paperwhite, I discovered 87 friends from my social networks have shared details about the product. Those people may have reached the same conclusion as me--if you're serious about reading, you need to carve out a place with few distractions. That's where Kindle excels.
Another advantage of Kindle Paperwhite is the ease and speed of looking up definitions of words.
I'm planning to set aside blocks of hours at a time to see if I can convert books our school age daughter is supposed to carry in her backpack. There's a big difference in weight between a Kindle and a hard cover textbook. And I know how to quickly snap and save pages for Optical Character Reading through Scrivener's Kindle publishing option. If I get this sorted as a production process, I'll share it on my blog.
I'm also curious about Kindle FreeTime, a programme that lets me create a personalised profile for children. Using the profile, they can gain access to titles from my book collection. As they read, they earn achievement badges when they reach their goals. Through a progress report, I can see total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned, and books read. I'm very curious to see if this book lending system works in Ireland. If not, I'll set up a Kindle account with a Stateside billing address.
[Bernie Goldbach hopes his children read more than he does.]
I downloaded the Kindle version of this book (cover shown at left).
THREE FELONIES A DAY: How The Feds Target The Innocent by Harvey Silverglate is recommended reading for anyone who holds liberty true. You can click on the image for more details.
From a major listserv, I learned Three Felonies a Day is the story of how citizens from all walks of life--doctors, accountants, businessmen, political activists, and others--have found themselves the targets of federal prosecutions, despite sensibly believing that they did nothing wrong, broke no laws, and harmed not a single person. From the perspective of both a legal practitioner who has represented the wrongfully-accused, and of a legal observer who has written about these trends for the past four decades, Three Felonies a Day brings home how individual liberty is threatened by zealous crusades from the Department of Justice. Even the most intelligent and informed citizen (including lawyers and judges, for that matter) cannot predict with any reasonable assurance whether a wide range of seemingly ordinary activities might be regarded by federal prosecutors as felonies.
Microsoft needs a reading ecosystem for Surface tablets. I'd buy a Windows 8 touchscreen device if it had a robust reading ecosystem attached. And the Nook ecosystem, with its book discovery and “scrapbooking” features, is quite strong. Plus Nook Media also has strong ebook publisher relationships that Microsoft might leverage too.
I don't think Microsoft would outmuscle Amazon in the e-reader market but having Nook embedded into a Microsoft Surface tablet will help sell more of that product to existing Windows users worldwide.
Bernie Goldbach teaches e-publishing at the Limerick School of Art and Design.
Bernie Goldbach in LIT-Clonmel | Screenshot from a large Scrivener Project.
SCRIVENER FOR WINDOWS has a Hot Fix that squashes a bug in compiling empty tables of contents in e-books. This was the biggest headache I had with the program.
After many months of beta testing, Scrivener for Windows version 188.8.131.52 appeared as a free update to my Windows laptop. Besides fixing the empty TOC problem, it also runs faster, imports my podcast listening lists (and other OPML files), imports/exports Mind maps in freemind .mm format, exports CSV files and does other things that help keep projects ticking to completion.
I am trying to run Scrivener with creative multimedia students as they manage functional Scrivener Projects. It's helpful to see Scrivener printing index cards, outliners, and that project presets extend all the way to the Compile dialog.
Students will save several hours in practical sessions because it is now impossible to delete Scrivener project files within the directory of an open Scrivener project. I also like the added ability to see submenus and to sort snapshots.
As e-books become more of my semesterised work process, it's good to see Scrivener handling CSS support throughout the editing process. And it's also nice to know that Windows 8 won't reject Scrivener since the program is Windows 8 compliant.
Over in the Scrivener forum, I read about continuing progress with Scrivener for Android. It would be an excellent addition to our Nexus library of applications.
Bernie Goldbach teaches Scrivener in the creative multimedia degree programme at the Limerick Institute of Technology.
Bernie Goldbach in LSAD-Clonmel | Photo of Niall Condon's iPad.
THE READING HABITS of creative multimedia students have changed during my past 11 years in the classroom. They're almost exclusively electronic now.
I asked a small group of fourth year students on campus about their reading habits, following a set of questions that emerged on Audioboo. Although I could have predicted the overall answers, I'm fascinated by (1) the need for quiet or intimate space and (2) the lack of electronic note taking while reading. Both of these reading patterns earn my respect because I now know without a doubt the length of time a well-focused mind takes to truly make a deep dive into long form reading. In my own life, if I expect to comprehend and remember more than half of what I'm seeing on a screen or on a page, I need to carve out time and place to read, really read.
You can hear what my students think about this idea in the audio clip they've made for this blog post.
Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | #impacteq on my Kindle.
THE IMPACT EQUATION, a business book by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, has given me a very valuable perspective about the conversation platform I'm using online. I'm going to use several examples from the book when teaching social media for business.
I dove into the Kindle version of The Impact Equation instead of watching Ireland's Late Late Show and believe I know I derived more value from my Friday night by reading and annotating Kindle pages. The book (and its vibrant online ecosystem) will provide talking points and workshop material not only in academic activities in the Limerick Institute of Technology but also for several Skillsnet workshops we run in southeast Ireland. This is a book with solutions, not just social business marketing theory.
SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING about the spread of contagion intrigues me. David Quammen writes about the spread of virus in a fascinating way.
The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. We're connected by easy intercontinental routes and our use of speedy travel increases the probability of a worldwide pandemic in our lifetimes. Reports of Ebola, SARS, and AIDS on the nightly news have become so commonplace that we easily miss the the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field—netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo—with the world’s leading disease scientists. I'm reading Spillover to learn how these diseases originate. He writes a literary crescendo that asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be? I hope it doesn't take me out.