September 21, 2010
Though I’m not a new user to Twitter, some experimentation this past week made me delve a little deeper into why I have become so eager to support this platform as both a personal and business tool. I came late to the Twitter-sphere, originally only making my account to follow contacts in the professional world I admired, to keep up with their careers and lives.
Twitter was a list of conversation-starters for many months, little bits of information I could bring up in conversation about the happenings of important people (and by important, I’m talking about business executives and movie producers, not say, Kim Kardashian or Ashton Kutcher, the first to hit 1 million followers). It wasn’t until much later that I started adding friends on the bandwagon, as well as feeds from some of my favorite blogs and websites. In the last few months, I’ve made a big push to cull many of my friends and personal acquaintances from my Twitter feed to create a more business-like profile but much more intellectually stimulating than the bare-bones I had at the beginning.
Steven Johnson makes a poignant note in his article for the Time Magazine,
“…the most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it’s doing to us. It’s what we’re doing to it.”
One of the most striking things I’ve found about Twitter as a social media tool is the accessibility and adaptability. I have chosen my route for Twitter, and it has obviously changed several times since I joined. I don’t claim anything wrong with those who use Twitter to record what they ate for breakfast that morning, and what party they’re going to that night, creating what technology write Clive Thompson deems “ambient awareness”. I get all the ambient awareness I can handle on Facebook, which allows Twitter to fall into a perfect niche. Peggy Orenstein in “I Tweet Therefore I Am” says:
The fun of Twitter and, I suspect, its draw for millions of people, is its infinite potential for connection, as well as its opportunity for self-expression.
Regardless of whether you use Twitter as a personal tool or for business, Twitter has redefined what we classify as identity. How you choose to use Twitter, to make it work for you defines a portion of who you are. It’s not just the Facebook debate over you are what you post, but you are now also who you follow, what discussions you choose to be a part of, what 3rd party programs you use with it. whether to upload photos, manage lists, or make posts from your smart phone. Twitter has become another digital facet of our continually expanding notion of identity.
Photo from Flickr useer carrotcreative under Creative Commons license
September 21, 2010
In the constant discussion of creative commons and copyrights, I can’t help but think about the evolution and recent developments of rapid prototyping and the 3D printer. The concept this technology allows you to transform a blueprint on a computer into a solid object created by a sucession of layered material bonded together with glue or a laser. It first emerged in the 1990’s for use in large corporations, and with a hefty price tag. Originally it was predicted that there would eventually be a 3D printer in every home.
So what changed? It has been a given technology that hasn’t applied to the working person, at least until late. In the last several years the concept of the self-replicating 3D printer, or the rep-rap was designed and created under the GNU license, meaning anyone with the desire and will could create a 3D printer that could create itself with no extra cost but the materials themselves. Suddenly, the price point for the machine decreases over $500. Since this open-source improvement, more development has been evolving the machines to be faster, more efficient and develop upon it’s own design. They are currently developing being able to print circuits on a rep-rap. Now you can own your very own 3D printer for several thousand dollars now, though still a steep sum for many, has drastically increased the accessibility of the machine.
And where is it going? Scientists announced several months ago that the 3D printer technology is now being used in labs to print organic, living cells to print arteries, skin and other tissue with the hopeful eventuality to print full organs. It is expected to be a medical breakthrough for the medical world, as well as military (as printed skin could greatly improve survival rates of injured soldiers).
September 4, 2010
By Jon Bryant
September 3, 2010
I’m a sucker for independent documentaries on technology, and this is one I would love to see come to fruition. The Pirate Bay: Away From The Keyboard (commonly TPB AFK) is a documentary on the three minds behind the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay. This appears at a rather poignant time, starting one month before the Court of Appeals hearings start in Stockholm, Sweden for the 2009 convictions of 1 year in jail and over4 million dollars in ‘having assisted in making copyrighted content available’.
My original concern for this piece was that it would demonize the government’s role in copyright law, rather than focusing on this case being a possible opportunity to spark the debate of internet and copyright on a more universal level. From the footage clips I’ve seen so far, I’m confident that this very well could achieve that goal. Copyright is one of those touchy subjects rarely discussed thoroughly by non-academics or those who perhaps don’t agree with the current state of copyright affairs. Regardless of what your view is on copyright and pirated materials, this film with luck will be a launching pad for a discussion that has been waiting to take flight.
I would encourage anyone to look into this case, and this documentary further. I’ll be curious to see the outcome of the appeal, and the path this documentary leads.
For anyone interested in donating to the documentary, their Kickstarter information is below.