Category: Technology

Aw, Nubbins!

I have had a tough week.

First, WordPress, the site which hosts my weblog, dropped support for the editor I finally had gotten used to, making updates and additions somewhat more efficient than they had been under the old old editor. Now there is the new “Block” editor and I was forced to go page by page through the website updating to the new editor.

And this doesn’t even account for the added time I was forced to spend learning new ways to do what was almost automatic before.

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WAR!

download.jpgPoking around the internet after watching a rousing Glenn Ford western movie on Criterion, I noticed a plea from a father for advice on a good gaming system to play with his eleven year old son. Gaming system? Does that suggest that some digitally produced artificial world of challenges and decorative gore is preferable to those modes of entertainment that do not need to be plugged in?

What happened to playing cards? Are they only to be used for Texas Hold’em nowadays? Even Solitaire is played on the computer screen making, I suspect, card shuffling a lost art. When I was quite young my grandfather taught me how to play Spades and Casino and we would play in the evening while he waited for the wrestling to start on KTLA. My Aunt kept several dice in a small drawer ready for a quick game of Bunko and my Father drew pips on two sugar cubes so we could play Cootie on the back of an envelope with an old stump of a pencil. Not to mention Tiddlywinks, Parcheesi, and Uncle Wiggley.

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Is Digital Democratic?

images.jpgFOR SEVERAL DECADES, textbook publishers followed the same basic model: Pitch a hefty tome of knowledge to faculty for inclusion in lesson plans; charge students an equally hefty sum; revise and update its content as needed every few years. Repeat. But the last several years have seen a shift at colleges and universities—one that has more recently turned tectonic.

In a way, the evolution of the textbook has mirrored that in every other industry. Ownership has given way to rentals, and analog to digital. Within the broad strokes of that transition, though, lie divergent ideas about not just what learning should look like in the 21st century but how affordable to make it. …

This article in Wired Magazine  by Brian Barrett develops and comments on the recent transformation of school textbooks.

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It’s an Old Prejudice

tapesWhen my wife was alive and commuting daily at least 45 minutes to work, she loved recorded books, mostly mysteries and usually abridged. For a few years I joined her in the commute and it was obvious how the recorded books relieved the tedium of the drive and I had to agree with her, the abridged versions left out a lot of boring description and made the trip more pleasant. Due to the number and size of the abridged tapes, she was enjoying a typical novel in just two days. Recorded books were, as they say, better than mayonnaise.

I knew a few readers that used recorded books to cover the hours washing dishes, weeding the garden, or ironing the sheets (they still do that?). Being an avid reader myself, I tried recorded books, thinking it was another avenue to expand my reading. What a disaster!

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