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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Worlds First Supercomputer?

This has been documented as a public relations photo of the RAND Supercomputer of the 1950's. As with all research, check your sources. This is a fake photo, not a fact. The RAND computer looked nothing like this and took up three floors of an office building with mostly analog computing systems. You can't believe everything you find on Internet sources. Always check the facts.

Knowedge vs. Informed, Networking, Blogs, Podding, Cacooning

How much do you think you really know? Of for that matter how much do I know? Are we consistently overestimating how much we know and how valuable out own opinions are? If so, why? How can we support our arguments and beliefs with qualified or academic sources and “facts”?

Being informed does not make us knowledgeable.

Being knowledgeable does not mean we are current and informed.

Quick to toss stones, buy into slogans, believe anything that supports the way we already think or feel, we gravitate toward only information that supports and reinforces how we already feel. The term for this tendency is “podding”, named after iPods. Podding: The ability of people to use their "noise/screens/filters/interference" to shut themselves into their own world, and to shut out what they do not want to see or hear is growing technologically closer. You are able to select only what you want to hear, see, believe and to reinforce such beliefs or attitudes as you see fit, without ever being exposed or seriously exposed to any other or opposing views.

In today’s world we can read only what we want to read, listen to only what we want to listen to, watch only what we want to watch and, within limits, do only what we want to do. This freedom has given up greater control over the information, activities, beliefs and even social contacts we come across in our lives. We do not even have to socialize with people who do not have the same beliefs, interests or culture as we do, unless we want to. In this environment beliefs become facts, and facts are reinforced by unsubstantiated statements or reports that fit our already existing viewpoint or interests. To shut yourself off entirely is referred to as “cocooning”. Cocooning: The tendency to shut yourself in and refuse to pay any attention to any issues, ideas or events that could interfere with your own security, peace, well being or set ideas. This usually means seeking only non-committal entertainment and rejecting sources of information or conflict.

Are we, in turning to the Internet, making ourselves less instead of more informed?

Is there a loss of civic responsibility, balanced research and listening skills in the Millennial and pre-millennial generations because of the Internet, smart phones, iPods and video games?

There have been academic studies into this subject, from many angles. I recommend the Pew Charitable Trust as once source for further study:

And focusing in on how knowledgeable, informed and active 18 to 24 years olds are, here is a media based study from the last election: 

On the general study of Internet use there are many sources for further study, including:

first posted 9-12-09


"The iPad really is very different from a laptop or an iPhone. I guess people have a lot of trouble with the idea that it's a new category, something unlike anything they've used before. All people can do is compare it in their heads with stuff they HAVE used before. But I'm telling you, the multitouch screen/software makes it very, very different from a laptop, and the screen size makes it very, very different from an iPhone. It's something entirely new. So yes, if it appeals to you, you'd have to buy it in addition to your laptop or iPhone. (Just one note of caution: If you have children in the house, don't let them know there's an iPad in the premises. I have three kids, 5, 10 and 12, and the competition for time with the iPad is like a daily World War III.)"

-David Pogue, New York Times

Pougue is the NYT's primary technology reader and reviewer. In the Q&A linked above he reviews questions concerning everything from the reason to the increased price of aps to  how the iPad can be uploaded or relate with your computer, phone or television by wifi or a adapter cables. 

The iPad is getting rave reviews from tech experts and major technical reviewers for national publications. The average would translate to 4 out of 5 to 4.5 out of a possible 5.

The positives are that it most certainly will revolutionize how we think of computing and computer interphase. It is blazing fast, easy to use, very fast with WiFi and much faster than a phone with 3G. Experts expect this interface to replace the short-lived net-books and possibly notebooks used for simple functions like internet, word processing, desktop publishing and spreadsheets.

A wide range of native applications are in development, many starting this Saturday when early adapters first get their hands on the actual machines (so far developers have had to use the iPhone ap model or use a cumbersome simulator program Apple provided in advance).

The reasons it does not earn a 5 are:
1. no camera
2. no video for video conferencing (such as Skipe)
3. no DVD or CD drive
4. does not play flash movies used on many internet sites
5. needs improvement at multitasking
6. so far no Microsoft applications, but Apple based are rated as superior.
7. it does not print direct to printers. You need to send documents to a computer to print.

Howevet it won't be long until 'there's an ap for that'!

Meanwhile Apple is releasing two new iPhones in July, one of which will operate on the older system used by Verizon, TMobile and Sprint. AT&T will remain the primary and the system used by AT&T is the current world standard. So, non-AT&;T customers will be able to use iPhone.