31 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for February 18, 2013
====== 31 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2013 15:42:23 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: AmEx-Twitter deal taps web of links Message-ID: <email@example.com> AmEx-Twitter deal taps web of links Drake Bennett February 14, 2013 This week American Express and Twitter announced a partnership to allow people to buy things by tweeting. It works like this: You sync your AmEx card to your Twitter account, and then you can start making purchases by putting hashtags in your tweets that correspond with special deals AmEx is offering. You send your tweet out to your followers - "So excited to wear my Donna Karan Urban Zen bracelet while playing Halo 4!" or something like that - and include the hashtags. AmEx sends you a confirmation tweet, and when you respond to it, the transaction is complete. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, the medium of exchange is the message. There is, at first blush, something conceptually confusing about the whole idea. We tend to think of Twitter as a form of communication, not commerce. Paying by Twitter seems to make as much sense as keeping up with your old college roommate via PayPal. ... http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/AmEx-Twitter-deal-taps-web-of-links-4280485.php ***** Moderator's Note ***** I Northeastern University Century Club has absolutely no problem with keeping in touch with me via Paypal. Twitter is a means of graffitti, not of communication. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:58:21 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Susan Crawford -- why USA 'Net access is slow, costly, unfair Message-ID: <20130218035821.GA20216@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 11:40:21PM -0800, Thad Floryan wrote: > " Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for > " science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive > " Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New > " Gilded Age, joins Bill to discuss how our government has allowed > " a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the > " public interest -- rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling > " competition. As a result, Crawford says, all of us are at the > " mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the > " first Gilded Age a hundred years ago. > " > " "The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, > " and this means that we're creating, yet again, two Americas, and > " deepening inequality through this communications inequality," > " Crawford tells Bill. > > > http://billmoyers.com/wp-content/themes/billmoyers/transcript-print.php?post=24164 > Ms. Crawford's book worries me, and I think it should concern other Internauts as well. The interview linked above contains what I feel are unwarranted and unproductive assumptions about the role of the Internet in education, and I'm not comfortable letting them pass without mention. I'm going to say at the start that this isn't some "In my day" jeremiad. I have no desire to return to the "good old days" of long trips to the library, or of schools having only "dead tree" media for their pupils. I am one of the most enthusiastic supporters of efforts to employ electronic media in education. The question, however, is about the way that media is distributed to children, and the compromises adults make while doing so. With that said, here is a quote from near the start of the interview: '"The Wall Street Journal" on the front page had an article about kids needing to go to McDonald's to do their homework because they don't have an internet connection at home.' Even if public libraries didn't have Internet access on site, and even if a quick-serve restaurant was the only place such access were available in a given neighborhood, I resist the parochial notion that children need access to the Internet to benefit from a public-school education. Such a claim is, at best, pandering to the same Internet giants Ms. Crawford claims to decry, and, at worst, tacit acceptance of the notion that "poor" children can't understand books and that "poor" parents are unwilling to fight for alternative content-delivery mechanisms for their kids. I will leave aside the location debate, because it's just the first straw man Ms. Crawford has set up to attack. It doesn't matter if "Micky D's" is the only WiFi hotspot within walking distance of a child's home: what matters is that Ms. Crawford presupposes the need for Internet access, and arrogates that supposition onto the body politic: "Parents around the country know that their kids can't get an adequate education without internet access." ... to which I take exception. Parents around the country might choose to believe that the World Wide Web is something more than a conduit carrying information from advertisers to eyeballs, but they are unwise to do so. Parents might assume that the sites teachers ask their pupils to visit are carefully vetted, that they contain educational materials that are devoid of political slant, religious bias, and revisionist history, but they'd be unwise to make that assumption, either. My point is this: the adequacy of their children's education is, and should be, laid at their partents' doorsteps, along with the morning paper which too many of those parents don't bother reading. We could debate endlessly about the future of printed media, but that paper contains the names and addresses of candidates for School committee seats, and of candidates for local and state legislative offices, too many of whom are willing to abrogate responsibility for students' learning to anonymous corporations which are thousands of miles away. When my son was in school, the parents of my town insisted that all educational materials which the school wanted to distribute "via the Internet" were also made available on CD or DVD media, provided to any child that asked. After a tumultuous debate, the schools complied with the parents' demands, but in the process by which we found out why the school was resisting our requests, it came out that the "educational" material to be distributed via the Internet was, in fact, being delivered by a for-profit company which had promised to supply the school with statistics about which students had helped each other on assignments. In short, the school bureacracy had made a deal with a for-profit corporation, which intended to track students' usage, collect money for advertisements, and rat out anyone who helped anyone else to do their homework. Whatever you might think of such agendas, my feeling is that they should not be hidden: ALL the aspects of educational material delivered online need to be understood and accepted before a single child hits "Enter". The problem with the Internet is that it is a pipe, and little more than that: it can be filled with spring water or sewerage, either of which can be presented to children whom have neither the experience nor the maturity needed to separate substance from stench. Ms. Crawford's assumptions that child "need" the Internet are, in my opinion, unwarranted. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to write me directly)
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2013 23:37:15 -0500 From: T <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Susan Crawford -- why USA 'Net access is slow, costly, unfair Message-ID: <MPG.email@example.com> In article <20130218035821.GA20216@telecom.csail.mit.edu>, bill@horneQRM.net says... > Ms. Crawford's book worries me, and I think it should concern other > Internauts as well. The interview linked above contains what I feel > are unwarranted and unproductive assumptions about the role of the > Internet in education, and I'm not comfortable letting them pass > without mention. I'm currently working with my city councilor to utilize HUD funding to build a free public Wifi network in my political district. It's a tough slog - and we're doing it right - private non-profit corporation and all.
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2013 00:42:22 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Susan Crawford -- why USA 'Net access is slow, costly, unfair Message-ID: <20130218054222.GA9723@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sun, Feb 17, 2013 at 11:37:15PM -0500, T wrote: > In article <20130218035821.GA20216@telecom.csail.mit.edu>, > bill@horneQRM.net says... > > Ms. Crawford's book worries me, and I think it should concern other > > Internauts as well. The interview linked above contains what I feel > > are unwarranted and unproductive assumptions about the role of the > > Internet in education, and I'm not comfortable letting them pass > > without mention. > > I'm currently working with my city councilor to utilize HUD funding to > build a free public Wifi network in my political district. > > It's a tough slog - and we're doing it right - private non-profit > corporation and all. I applaud your efforts: I hope that, someday, all citizens will have access to the Internet as a public service. I will, however, add a caution: assuring citizens access to the Internet does not assure them of access to the educational materials their children need. Perhaps an analogy will help: as a citizen of the U.S., I expect to enjoy access to my nation's libraries. I think I am entitled to choose for myself what literature I read, and to explore works from a wide range of political views, from all available religious tracts, and from a large assortment of engineering and other technical works. I insist on this right because I feel that it is the only way to make sure that I and other citizens are well informed and able to make responsible choices about our nation, our schools, and our lives. However, I understand and accept restrictions that are designed to preserve historic works, to keep sensitive materials out of reach of those children whom exhibet only a prurient interest, and to assure fairness in distributing scarce resources. There are the necessary and commonly-agreed-upon tasks assigned to librarians. Then Internet doesn't have a librarian. There is no watchful eye to steer children away from lewd or lascivious works which are only appropriate for adults, and there is no public - or even professional - debate over which materials will be made available, or to whom. I think Ms. Crawford has missed a key issue in her book, and it is that children need access, not to the Internet, but rather to the publications that their parents and teachers have agreed are most likely to provide them with a good education. The two are not the same. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to write to me directly)
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