Monday, 29 June 2009

Men in Mac?

A little bit of insane fun. It's been a long day after all.

Here's a great advert, featuring an unsuspecting French employee and a trans-galactic Mac book.

MacBook transforms and ... well just watch it's AWESOME!

Should words be obscene and not heard?

BBC NEWS | UK | Obscene stories or free speech?

An interesting tale from the blogosphere that should make us reflect on what is public and what is private when posting online.

British civil servant Darryn Walker has escaped prosecution for a story he published online, that described the kidnap and torture of pop group Girls Aloud.

His 12 page story was seen by the Internet Watch Foundation last year and a prosecution brought under the Obscene Publications Act.

However, Mr Walker's defence team argued successfully that the act of reading his material on its own would not cause someone to replicate what they had read, and they argued that although it was in the public domain, his article could not be found unless someone was searching specifically for it.

You can read more here but it's a timely reminder that we should never assume anything we place online is 100% private and secure.

The sense of power provided by anonymity, sitting at a PC in the comfort of one's home, can't protect us from the hurt and offence our postings may cause; as Darryn Walker found out to his cost.

Mobile Tech and the Incentive to Learn

 I came across this story in a roundabout kind of way.

Droga5, an advertising agency, has recently won two prestigious black pencil awards at the D&AD awards. The first was for its viral video campaign featuring Sarah Silverman, 'The Great Schlep', which was used to empower and motivate older Jewish voters in America to vote for President Obama in last year's election.

The other award, which is what interests me more, is for a radical educational program currently being tested in New York.

The Million Motivation program sees students from the most deprived backgrounds being issued with adapted Samsung mobile phones. These can't be used to make calls during the school day, but come with a range of learning apps integrated into the phone.

What makes the program most interesting though is the way the contract for the phone operates. Rather than pay with cash, students earn air time and the ability to get downloads via hard work and good behaviour. The more 'points' a teaacher gives out the more time the student can talk, text, web browse, and so on.

There are , of course, always risks related to these sorts of incentive based programs, and the Digital Journal has a good article that outlines the scheme and delves into these. Principally, there's the risk that doing anything for something leads to skewed intellectual and moral values regarding the benefit of study.

On the other hand, with drop out and failure rates as high as they are amongst disadvantaged groups in the Big Apple, anything's worth a shot. Academic support is provided by Harvard University's newly founded Ed Labs, that's looking for scientific solutions to educational problems, taking an analytical R&D multi-disciplinary approach. The results of their various projects should make for fascinating reading.

In the meantime, we shall have to wait and see what benefits or hindrances the Million Motivation program brings. Let's hope, for the sake of the children taking part, it works. 

Something old, something new - Walkman V iPod

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

I just read this great story on the BBC, in which a 13 year old is given an old fashioned cassette-based Walkman to use for a week.

Terrifyingly, it's been 30 years since the first Walkman was released by Sony, changing the landscape of personal and portable music for ever.

The article is well written and entertaining. It'll make some of you feel distinctly nostalgic.

Read more here.