Friday, October 28, 2011

Kindle review of Free Ride: How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business can Fight Back

Free Ride: How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business can Fight Back by Robert Levine was something I recently read on my beloved kindle. Anyhow, I know its been reviewed in other places. Anyhow, here goes.
Robert Levine's book looks at the impact of companies like Google, Apple and Piratebay.
Levine discusses how these three companies (as examples) leverage there companies as platforms for music (Apple and Itunes) and Books (google and google news and google books). They do this without producing themselves, but making money via adverts or ipods.
Obviously, Bill Gates Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he wrote:-

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

More recently Pete Townsend underlined this in the John Peel lecture, when call apple 'digital vampires'.

I found the book interesting, and far removed from people like Lawrence Lessig's approach.

I found the book a pretty good read and would certainly recommend it.

CPD Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

CPD Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox. In this section of the CPD we looked at online collaboration. The use of google docs at my library has been mainly when i'm at home and working. I personally have used google docs for spreadsheet of our book collections. Whether we have the item, how many items we may have, if its available or if its available via Copac and then send to the subject librarians.

Dropbox. I do believe we have used it for our document supply team, who will put scanned and paid for photocopy items in dropbox for clients to collect.

Wiki's I have set up within my previous departments. I used these predominantly as training tools and as a personal intranet. I have used mainly wetpaint when using wiki software.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CPD Thing 12: Mentoring : Puting the social in social media

Well, here is number 12. Bit quick the other one. Part 12 looked at social media within the library and information roles. The article looked at how originally had gone from 100 participants to 750 due to social media.

For Thing 12 I would like you to consider the role of social media in building up networks and a sense of community. Possible areas to consider are:

are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined above?

can you think of any disadvantages?

has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?

did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23?

Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?

in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?

So, lets go through these one at a time.

1. are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined above?

Social networking can assist with work. For example, creating a work a wiki for depatments to provide how people do things at work (so a form of intranet).

2. can you think of any disadvantages?

The disadvantage with social media are many told. Social media can create people sign up for things and doing nothing with them. Examples, I have many. I have a twitter and Blog. The thing with signing up for both these is having to follow twitter feeds and other blogs to keep up to date. So investment of time is extremely important.
Also, the problem with social media is its easy to promise to do something and not do anything. Whilst if you promise to do something verbally you are more likely to follow it through (or should do in my opinion).

3. did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? As said above i've a blog and twitter account. I've also a youtube channel.

4. Will you keep using it after the programme has finished? I certainly hope. Dependent on time.

5. in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community? I think social media can help. Note the success Voices for the Library.

CPD Thing 11: Mentoring

I have not done anything on my 23 things for professional development since the 2nd of August. So, i'm going to trying an catch up. So here goes for CPD : Mentoring. In discussing mentoring the article looked at what a mentor is an does, which is :-

A mentor is an advisor who is usually more senior than you (ideally by 5 to 15 years), but does not have to be, and you can seek one out at any time of your career.

The article discusses both formal and informal. Informal one's within my own career have included many the people I have worked with. I've also provided informal mentoring at work myself (talking to staff about courses, qualifications and stuff to read etc).

More formal mentors may include a mentor for chartership.

The article also discusses what makes a good mentor and a mentoree.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book review of Owen Jones Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

Whilst on holiday in Cornwall with shingles I bought Owen Jones Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. Most of you may know him from his 'argument' on newsnight with David Starkey.
Well. I really liked the book. Owen Jones (who looks amazingly young to have written the book) has researched the book.
The book looks at how the creation of a chavs is really a way of having a pop at the working class. How we escapegoat them and laugh at them. Even though in many ways we are still working class.
Owen obviously looks the impact of de-industrialisation by the Thatcher Government in the 1980's. How the downturn in union power after the coal miners strike has meant that working class people have lost their sense of identity. Owen points out how even new labour said we can all be middle class. Owen looks how politically, culturally and socially we blame these peope. There scroungers (but as he points out they exploit £1billion per year whilst white collar crime accounts for £70billion but little said about this).
Owen points out how advantageous the middle classes are at an advantage with such things as cultural capital from there parents in helping them with housing, university and getting jobs.
Culturally, he looked at the chav film of Eden Lake inwhich all the chav stereotypes come to the fore (dogs, knives, parents with cheap hot tubs). All the fear of the middle classes are there. But there is a whole plethora of the films. F, where a middle class teacher starts killing hoodied (and faceless) students who are knocking off his teachers and family. Also The Descent in which a middle class group of women are picked off by some blind, blood suckers in a cave (the under class). The middle class are trying to escape there consequences in the cave. The under class want to remain in there squalor. Just like the chavs then?
The thing I did not like is Owen talks about the book though is he talks about the 'homogenous' working class. But he only discuss the urban and industrial working class. I was on holiday and went to cornwalll and devon, In my home town in Devon of great torrington two pubs had closed. 4 factories had gone. Its bloody sad. In cornwall I went to Fowey and saw little evidence of any cornish people. Holiday homes and TV stars were there. The fishing village is no longer there (unlike the one in the detestable Doc Martin, with its contrived view of the area). The decline of fishing, farming, tin and clay is hardly mentioned).
Owen Jones blog is here. I recommend the book. Also, i'm a socialist, so if anyone feels I am unfair to the Tories. Tough luck as they would say.

Returning from Cornwall

I have just returned from Cornwall after a holiday. Unfortunately, I got shingles. Did make me think about catching up on blogging. So, lets try.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A possible return......the passing of Steve Jobs

I've not written for a long while on this blog. I have been bored with it to be honest. But I was touched to write about the passing of Steve Jobs. Christ, I bet everyone has haven't they. Anyhow, here is my piece.
It is quite weird when I found out. In the IT world he has (sorry, had) and almost god like following (well, for some). Like any god, they don't die. Steve Jobs did though. I was upset. Why? Well I like Jobs as I've has 3 macs in the last ten year (my first being the Imac G3 in 2000. Not the biggest machine, but for pure pleasure of use and aesthetics it was unbeatable. Also, this Mac had OS 9. Not the easiest OS ever either. It is the only computer I really loved working on. The Imac G3 is seen as the first innovation that Jobs brought about on his return to Apple in 1997.
Not only that I've owned three Ipods (I lost one in a drunken haze). Therefore, I've had pleasure listening to music and using a computer, which on PC never happened.
I have also seen Steve Jobs in person as a mac expo in san francisco in 2002 keynote speech. For those who have never seen this, its quite amazing. People simply stormed for their seats. They hung on every word. He was like a god to them (btw, it was god dam scary to if you got in there way). But he did have an aura when he spoke> Even though I had no idea then what he was talking about (i'm a geek not a programmer). Whilst at the Expo I also went to Cupertino for drinks at Apple HQ. I could understand beer and got drunk their (it was free booze).
I've also read many books about Apple such as Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything, Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the creation of Apple, and how it changed the world, Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date and plenty others. All fascinating.
I also got to work on a Film about In Search of the Valley in which I meet Steve Wozniak, co founder of Apple. Daniel Kottke a friend of jobs in the 1970's and employee no.12 at Apple. Captain Crunch we phone phreaker Jobs visited to learn about it. Guy Kawasaki who was chief evangelist for Jobs and Apple in the early 80's. The stories where fascinating. The guy was a great salesman and performer.
Another reason to admire Jobs was he was quite a nasty guy as well. For example, rejecting his first daughter Lisa, even when DNA results showed he was her father. His not paying Woz his share for making break out for Atari. And many other stories to.
I'm not totally a fan boy of Apple. I hate Itunes and the selling of single tunes for $0.99. I think it under sells albums and artist and media companies are losing out at Apple's gain (read Free Ride: How the Internet Is Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back to get a better understanding). I detest the Ipad, and find it too expensive for what it does (there's a suprise. Apple. Too expensive?)
So, why was I upset at Jobs passing? Jobs was a genius. He had 3 successes. Apple. Next. Pixar. For most people, one would be good. But three? Christ, thats insane. Jobs was also a legend. His idea of design was groundbreaking.
Jobs was also a legend (sometimes in his own mind). His work on the popularisation of Tablet computers and Mp3 players and changing the record indusrty, just mind blowing.
But finally, his passing shows that he was admired. RIP Steve Jobs.