Ping – Technology Doesn’t Dumb Us Down. It Frees Our Minds. – NYTimes.com

03/04/2009
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Here’s a take, very similar to mine, on the ways in which “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” gets it wrong. The rebuttal is deeper in the article, but I loved the tongue-in-cheek, but almost poetic way in which the author here demonstrates the power of Twitter in summarizing the Atlantic article:

To save you some time, I was going to give you a 100-word abridged version. But there are just too many distractions to read that much. So here is the 140-character Twitter version (Twitter is a hyperspeed form of blogging in which you write about your life in bursts of 140 characters or fewer, including spaces and punctuation marks):

Google makes deep reading impossible. Media changes. Our brains’ wiring changes too. Computers think for us, flattening our intelligence.

via Ping – Technology Doesn’t Dumb Us Down. It Frees Our Minds. – NYTimes.com.

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Why Deloitte & Touche made Diversity Inc’s Top 50 list.

03/04/2009
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Deloitte and Touche has a CEO in Barry Salzberg that values and models diversity internally and externally (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He chairs and manages an internal diversity council (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He is connected with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and other diversity oriented nonprofits (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He supports diversity in his executives by tying compensation to the promotion of diversity (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He is quoted here:

“Building and sustaining an inclusive culture has been critical to Deloitte’s growth and will play an important role in our continued success. Clients expect it, new recruits want it and our people demand it. Most importantly, our culture of inclusion has a direct impact on the organization’s ability to set the standard of excellence in the marketplace.” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

They hire a diverse worker body, and support diverse employee resource groups, such as LGBT groups and employees with disabilities (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). “Thirty-two percent of its work force and 41 percent of its new hires were Black, Asian, Latino or Native American” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

This company respects its employees. They promote a work/life balance, have strong metrics to support productivity and goals, and provides support (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm).

They have a mentoring program in which 75% of managers participate (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm).

They also have a Chief Diversity Officer, Allen Thomas, who is quoted here:

Diversity and inclusion is tightly woven into Deloitte’s fabric. We’ve accomplished this by setting a clear and decisive tone at the top and demonstrating leadership’s unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive culture that provides opportunities for all of our professionals to succeed. In addition, our active support of Deloitte’s Business Resource Groups and their members across the country is a daily display of our commitment to the diversity of our people. (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

DiversityInc devises it’s top 50 most diverse companies “by metrics obtained in a detailed survey of more than 200 questions” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

Any company with over 1,000 U.S. employees can request and recieve the free survey (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

Some more details on the methodology of choosing the top 50:

four areas the survey measures: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. Companies are assessed within the context of their industries, geography and employee skill sets. Any company that does not offer domestic-partner health benefits is automatically excluded from the Top 50 and the 11 specialty lists (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

I think that Deloitte and Touche is regarded as a top company in terms of diversity because the structure of the leadership (e.g. a Chief Diversity Officer) as well as a CEO who supports and models diversity encourage that behavior. If the leadership provides the path, the carrot, and the stick, intrinsic valence of the idea in employees is probably not far behind, especially if it helps people, helps the company, and helps the world.

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Broadcast Networks Battling Uphill for Profit and Audience – NYTimes.com

02/28/2009
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This is posted to illustrate the tension in digital media convergence between the current, the past and the future media. When the old model begins to collapse, how do the longstanding media react? If they don’t alter their methods and change to meet new needs, they falter, crumble, and disappear.

Ratings over all for broadcast networks continue to decline, making it harder for them to justify their high prices for advertising. Cable channels are spending more on original shows, which bring in new viewers and dampen their appetites for buying repeats of broadcast shows.

For the networks, the crisis is twofold: cultural and financial. For viewers, the result is more low-cost reality shows, prime-time talk and news programs and sports from the institutions that once made “Hill Street Blues,” “All in the Family” and “Cheers.”

via Broadcast Networks Battling Uphill for Profit and Audience – NYTimes.com.

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State of the Art – Amazon.com’s Kindle Goes From Good to Better – NYTimes.com

02/24/2009
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David Pogue talks about the Kindle in this article, which we talked about in class last time. However, he also talks about that quirky aspect of Convergence, in which older formats and newer formats don’t replace each other or even resemble each other directly, but are rather influenced heavily by one another, such that anything that comes after benefits from both existing.

So, for the thousandth time: is this the end of the printed book?

Don’t be silly.

The Kindle has the usual list of e-book perks: dictionary, text search, bookmarks, clippings, MP3 music playback and six type sizes (baby boomers, arise). No trees die to furnish paper for Kindle books, either.

But as traditionalists always point out, an e-book reader is a delicate piece of electronics. It can be lost, dropped or fried in the tub. You’d have to buy an awful lot of $10 best sellers to recoup the purchase price. If Amazon goes under or abandons the Kindle, you lose your entire library. And you can’t pass on or sell an e-book after you’ve read it.

via State of the Art – Amazon.com’s Kindle Goes From Good to Better – NYTimes.com.

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Case One Response (COMM 564 Ebo)

02/23/2009
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CASE STUDY NUMBER ONE

Picture this scenario: You’re just returning from your lunch break when your boss walks up to you and tells you to pack your belongings. You’re fired. You stammer for an explanation. Did you mishandle an important project? Were you accused of embezzling company funds?

No. It’s because you’re fat.

Of course, immediately, I need to know some more clarifying information.

How do I know that I am being fired for what I’ll call obesity? What in my job requires that I must be of ‘normal’ weight? What is normal weight? Are we using a formula? Am I a dancer? Am I a model? Am I an athlete who needs to be in top physical shape to stay focused? Am I a trash person, who must be able to hang on to the back of a truck without fear of a quick turn? Is it part of a contract? Has anything actually been said to indicate that obesity was in fact the reason? The company is held, generally speaking, to a standard that prevents discrimination according to weight, which in this case might be coded as a disability.
I don’t think the case would stand very long in court or even be considered unless there is some factor which is not revealed in the case study, such as one of the scenarios I mentioned above, e.g. dancing, modeling, or some other work activity that requires the worker’s body to be of a certain fitness in order to do the work well. In this case, special care would have to be taken in the work agreement to measure what an ideal body was proportionally, in weight, and in tone, so that an objective analysis of the worker’s body could be shown to be outside of the margins of allowance. Otherwise, the scenario is akin to prejudice, in that bodily fitness has no impact of knowledge work, but may indeed be seen as having an impact on kinetic work.

I’d also add that I do not see it as very fair nor reasonable, even given a contract, that there not be an opportunity to make things right in the eyes of the contract. How many pounds out of the allowance are we? 20 pounds? 10? 10 pounds could be reasonably lost with a fitness and caloric regimen in 5 to 10 weeks. Can the work be held for that long? Is there some other task that the obese employee could do in the meantime?

John LeMasney

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Open Source – The Washington Times – Home

02/20/2009
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Some old media are embracing new methods, including openness and portability of data, such as the Washington Times. This is big.

The Washington Times has always focused on content. After careful review, we determined that the best way to have the top tools to produce and publish that content is to release the source code of our in-house tools and encourage collaboration.

The source code is released under the permissive Apache License, version 2.0.

via Open Source – The Washington Times – Home.

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Video: What is Web 2.0?

02/17/2009

Here’s a video of me presenting to a user group on Web 2.0.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Internet Archive: Details: What is We…“, posted with vodpod
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