Monthly Archives: November 2012

Outlines and Lists a way to teach

Searls provides arguments supporting the idea that people want lists, not stories.

Are outlines a good way to present arguments, lessons, so that students can see the connection, the logic, supporting the arguments?


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Intriguing thoughts on designing (anything) for the future


Found floating thru my twitter stream, Mr. Boyd discusses  “Speculative Design.”  Worth the read.  Some quotes of interest:

Jeff Hammerbacher’s observation that ‘the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads’.

So, if the best minds of the 90’s created derivatives, shall we expect the same dynamic of calamities from the current focus?

We shouldn’t think about the future as a smooth, comfortable extrapolation of the mundane. We are over that. We have moved into the post-modern, where new norms prevail. Some characterize our new world as VUCA: unsurpassed levels of volatilty, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Smooth sailing, no?

Is the political chaos and gridlock in the US a function of the liquifying political system? Our systems of governance are based on electing a very small number of people to represent all the rest. Can we cut out the middle man in politics like we have in buying books? What would web-mediated direct democracy work like? Feel like? Smell like? The Pirate Party in Europe is using a platform called Liquid Feedback, which is central to their inner workings, but is a speculative design for the rest of us.

Provocative thought!

Reconnecting people to their food will be huge.

And a means of “grounding” our local economies… Perhaps Boyd should run for office.

Rachel Armstrong said recently that the problem with ‘the future’ is that it’s not the future at all: it’s a version of now. It’s the distillation of predetermined cultural prejudices and preconceptions, it’s not a map, or even a good science fiction story.

But you can design revealing toys that explore our preconceptions, construct ‘imaginary appliances’ to help us trick our way out of the corner we have painted ourselves into. And it might be that the corners with the most paint — the hardest problem spaces — might be the most rewarding areas of exploration.

Enough said — To work!

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Zero Day Exploits – time to pause internal development projects?

From the WP series on Zero Day:

In recent years, there has been one stunning revelation after the next about how such unknown vulnerabilities were used to break into systems that were assumed to be secure.

One came in 2009, targeting Google, Northrop Grumman, Dow Chemical and hundreds of other firms. Hackers from China took advantage of a flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and used it to penetrate the targeted computer systems. Over several months, the hackers siphoned off oceans of data, including the source code that runs Google’s systems.

Another attack last year took aim at cybersecurity giant RSA, which protects most of the Fortune 500 companies. That vulnerability involved Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program. The outcome was the same: A zero-day exploit enabled hackers to secretly infiltrate RSA’s computers and crack the security it sold. The firm had to pay $66 million in the following months to remediate client problems.

Makes one wonder how organizations are to develop their websites and applications and keep the secure.

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