Category Archives: required reading

Once in a while, you need to see perfection…

a little happiness to send off Summer…

How the World Wide Web was Invented.

When you are deciding about whether to buy the 1080p or the 720p flat screen TV for your home theater, pause a moment to remember Philo T. Farnsworth.

As a young electrician, he imagined lines, or rows, of electrons forming an image while plowing potato fields in Idaho in the 1920’s. Driving back and forth amongst the potatoes, the young inventor imagined  the rows being tightly presented, so Seurat-like images could be transmitted to screens.

This led to the invention of the first purely electronic television and the issues of screen resolution. We are just now fullfilling Philo prophecy that one day, scanlines can be so tightly assembled they’d look like, “pictures hanging on the wall”.

Them is some “High Def” taters.

This talk by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of HTML, URL’s and by default, the internet as we know it, is a must see. Here is the Philo T. of our day. He didn’t invent the internet, but he increased it’s resolution beyond anything the ARPANET offered.

It will take sometime, precisely 16:51, but will bring you up to speed on what may be in store for our Billion Channeled world.

(Notice how little Berners-Lee looks like Al Gore…)

From Gin to Linkedin: The Zoned out are Tuning in

I’ve just been pointed to this fascinating post on social/cognitive surplus. (thanks Seth)

Turns out the industrial revolution produced the “gin cart” as a coping technology for the slaving factory masses. Gin carts filled the street of London, numbing the dehumanizing pain of mindless factory work into submission. The 1800’s lacquered workforce lubricated the march of industry. But it also created what we call the institutions of industrialized society; public education, museums, libraries, etc. When you have all those people urbanized, the social surplus had to eventually extend beyond inebriation into other outlets.

As the efficiency of industrialized society produced more free time, the gin cart became television. This new lubricant oiled things into the late 20th century. Television, and I would argue, commutes are now less and less cognitive heat-sinks as we make our way into the 21 Century. Cognitive surplus is finding a new outlet. Wikipedia, for instance, has taken 100 million hours to produce. Where did that time and attention come from? Former TV viewer’s cognitive kinesthetics.

We are at the beginning of a new age of sorting through the complex issues surrounding this new cognitive surplus. Yes, surfing the net can be a time sucker like TV, yet it is not passive. It is interactive. It is social. All these blogs! All these viral videos! All these podcasts! All these conversations. The microeconomics and the peer to peer bartering. It all adds up to a confluence of incredible cognition. The exodus from TV generates the time to create a wikipedia, the social media explosion, and hopefully a more involved citizenry.

The link above points out that 1 Trillion hours of TV is still paralyzing the world population yearly. So we are at the beginning of something big. Think about shutting off your TV and using your own mental superfluity to do something remarkable. Something engaging! Your media channel may be one of the first gathering places as the masses start passing up the gin cart.

My Ode to Apple’s MobileMe Launch Failure

This week Apple moved all .Mac customers over to MobielMe, their new cloud computing email service. This coincided with the launch of the new iPhone. I have not been able to retrieve email for four days from the Apple servers. Apple claims only 1% of all users have had service interruption. I’ve been on boards, forums, and chats about this all weekend. I seriously doubt Apple’s loyal fans will forgive them anytime soon. Many many iPhone and .Mac users have been affected.

Since no one at Apple has been able to address my concerns, I’ve decided that sometimes service can be so insanely frustrating, so ineptly and dishonestly deployed, and so vehmently denied by a provider that a user has to make a video for youtube in protest. Here is mine:

Rwanda Gorilla Trek with a Conservation Podcaster

Recently returned from Rwanda, where amongst other things, we went up a volcano to see the mountain gorillas. Along for the trek was Paula Kahumbu from WildlifeDirect in Kenya, and co-author of the upcoming book, “Looking for Miza” – about a lost baby mountain Gorilla, coming soon from Scholastic and Turtle Pond Productions.

While the rest of us were armed with still and video camera’s, Paula had her audio equipment strapped to her side for podcasting the experience to her faithful blog followers. (I include myself now) She documented our journey via audio as we tromped through the stinging nettle and mud up to the Gorillas. Then as we encountered the Gorillas up-close and personal, there was Paula, microphone outstretched in hand, capturing the cacophonous sounds of the Gorilla habitat for her blog. This is what happens when you have an audience. This is what happens, and we’ve been addressing this for two years now, when you know you can make a difference with your story. I am inspired by her forward thinking, which includes organizing and encouraging many conservation-minded trackers and rangers to start their own blogs and communicate about the issues surrounding this endangered species. Check out her channel here.

She has also done a wonderful post about our animation workshop in Rwanda. Rather than toot our own horn, look at the post Paula has offered. Wonderful!

More on this exciting experience on the next post

123 Cancelled TV Shows, a TV Memorial Day Excercise…

Back in the days of limited channels, we all watched pretty much the same things.

Here’s a list of cancelled shows sent to me by Dr. Laurie. I’ve added 10 titles. It is growing. How many have you actually watched? How many have you never heard of? With TV Land and the like on cable, your numbers are not based on your age necessarily. Much of this is also watchable on youtube.

It would be unthinkable to do the same with classic websites we all remember. To quote Carl Sagan, “billions and billions and billions…

Can you think of a few more? Ask your grandpa to look at the list too!

  1. Andy’s Gang (Andy Devine)
  2. Mission Impossible
  4. Six Million Dollar Man
  5. The Danny Kaye Show
  6. Then Came Bronson
  7. The Smothers Brothers
  8. Little House on the Prairie
  9. Dragnet
  10. Friday night fights!!
  11. Dynasty
  12. Streets of San Francisco
  13. St. Elsewhere
  14. Here Comes the Brides
  15. Peyton Place
  16. Topper
  17. Friday Nite Videos
  18. China Beach
  19. I Remember Mama
  20. The Red Skelton show
  21. Lassie
  22. Gunsmoke
  23. 60’s LAUGH IN
  24. The Dean Martin Show
  25. Sky King
  26. Dr. Kildare
  27. The Carol Burnette Show
  28. Bosom Buddies
  29. Mork and Mindy
  30. Truth or Consequences
  31. That Girl
  32. The Waltons
  33. Burns and Allen
  34. Star Trek
  35. You Can’t Do That On Television
  36. Mr. Ed
  37. I Love Lucy
  38. My Three Sons
  39. What’s My Line
  40. The Lone Ranger
  41. The Ed Sullivan Show
  42. You Are There (1953)
  43. Bewitched
  44. I Led Three Lives
  45. brady bunch
  47. Jeffersons
  49. Dark Shadows with Barnabas Collins
  50. Hee-Haw
  51. F-TROOP
  52. Rin Tin Tin
  53. Charlie’s Angels
  54. Casper the Friendly Ghost
  55. The Wonderful World of Disney
  56. Wyatt Earp
  57. Flicka
  58. Paladin
  59. The Fall Guy
  60. The Dukes of Hazzard
  61. Rawhide
  62. Bonanza
  63. My Mother the Car
  64. Ozzie & Harriet
  65. American Bandstand
  66. Route 66
  67. The Patty Duke Show
  68. Father knows best
  69. Cheers
  70. ALF
  71. The Jetsons
  72. Car 54 Where are you?
  73. Green Hornet
  74. Andy Griffin
  75. The Twilight Zone
  76. Combat!
  77. Show of Shows (Syd Ceasar)
  78. Dr. Kildare
  79. 77 Sunset Strip (Kookie, lend me your comb)
  80. I Spy
  81. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
  82. Dallas
  83. Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  84. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  85. The Donna Reed Show
  86. Inner Sanctum
  87. Crusader Rabit
  88. I Love Joan (Joan DAvis Show)
  89. The Cisco Kid
  90. Arthur Godfrey Show
  91. Have Gun will Travel
  92. The Beverly Hillbillies
  93. Code Red
  94. The Flintstones
  95. Soap
  96. The Flying Nun
  97. The Honeymooners
  98. Winky Dink and You
  99. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
  100. Alias Smith and Jones
  101. The Bearcats
  102. HR Puffn Stuff
  103. A Family Affair
  104. Northern Exposure
  105. Time Tunnel
  106. Candid Camera
  107. Three’s Company
  108. Rocky and Bullwinkle
  109. Lidsville
  110. Hawaii 5-0
  111. Columbo
  112. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kindgom
  113. American Sportsman
  114. Battle of the Network Stars
  115. Munsters
  116. Get Smart
  117. Six Million Dollar Woman
  118. Murphy Brown
  119. Wonder Woman
  120. Mighty Mouse
  121. Lost in Space
  122. Fantasy Island
  123. Sigmond and the Seamonster

Youtube beats Hollywood

This month’s Vanity Fair caught my eye at the local salon. Michael Wolff’s piece called “The Plot Sickens” is a classic riff on the demise of two channels; movies and television.

Here is how he puts it in his conclusion:

“The epochal point is that Hollywood, which has been the center of the culture, the coolest place, the ruler of the Zeitgeist, is out of it. It’s on the industrial sidelines. It’s just a bunch of crabby managers and a sullen workforce in a dysfunctional relationship in a declining industry, quarreling over an ever smaller piece of the pie.”

You really have to read the whole thing. Do you think it makes a point?