Wednesday, 15 December 2010

2point5_age_of man and Monday morning

Things aren't always as they appear
2point5_age_of man and Monday morning

I have been experimenting with the Web 2.0 environment now for about 16 days. Time for a little reflection and deciding on how the experience has been. BT still has not delivered service, it is 08:49 on Monday morning the card to which I am connected along with 64 other customers fried on Tuesday morning last week, so a week without my own digital ocean. The digital tide is still being waited upon to come back into the beach. Life can be a beach.

However......, English speaking trait to qualify a positive with a negative. We did not invent Blue Sky thinking, possibly because of our weather turns up clouds. There is that fatal word cloud, even more deadly when linked to computing. I am listening to BBC Radio 4 a smooth American is evangelising the Internet as the panacea for all ills Snake oil salesman, possibly? Internet is only as good as the cables through which it runs.

 As a former scientist (still am actually) I am always tuned into new discoveries. Extremophiles, this I life that does not follow the normal rules, continually turn up. The titanic has microbes that "feed" on Iron, sulphur vents have bacteria that reduce sulphur rather than carbon. The gulf oil spill (who was to blame?) was not as great as billed due to oil digesting bacteria. Copper digesting bacteria must exist, maybe in the underground network of the BT copper mine. Did a little monster eat my internet. Or was it bad planning by Big Business? Bad planning.

As a participant in career change I set myself a number of mission statements related to Web 2.0 and social networking (basically the same thing from what I can see). It is amazing what actually is encompassed by Web 2.0 especially when educationalists start to make lists. The ultimate mission was to familiarize and self teach myself about this new frontier. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying the Internet is (will become?) the biggest University I am starting to agree. When universities first started they were a community of thinkers that coalesced around a teacher. When they started to own buildings they became a moving target that could be identified. Paris' University with teachers such as Abelard were the gurus of their day has had a history of revolting students  (see book Seven Ages of Paris). Students often challenged authority, and by banding together  also often enjoyed privileges other members of society did not enjoy. England realised the danger to the status quo of having such a group in its main cities hence why they gravitated to Oxford and Cambridge. A sort of intellectual penal colony without the participants realising it.

I appreciate Bill Gates' statement more for the fact that he left academic study to create or re-engineer something new. Degrees are by their nature historical documents. They are not necessarily cutting edge, more a series of tick boxes to show that you understand the dictionary and can read the map to see how we as society have reached that particular collection of bath water.... Then somebody comes along and throws both baby and bath water out. So the Web 2.0 misison statement for me, is to understand how the soap scum came to ring the bath and still realise that there is a baby in the bath when the plug is pulled. Mixed metaphors but hopefully there will be a flash (not an advert) of understanding that will lead to a working plan.

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