Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mapping and Geolocation Tools

I spent WAY too much time exploring Google Earth’s new functions this Thursday. They’re interesting and can keep you looking and searching for hours (unfortunately). I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the new tours, but it’s going to take thousands (millions, more likely) more photos for them to do what I suspect lots of us are hoping for, which is something much more like real video.

In my book, the best views are still the flyovers, with the U.S. city street views as a close second. (I can see how folks who have smartphones that can go online like the maps aps. In cities I probably would, too. But I’ve always enjoyed the exploring that happens when I get lost – which I often do.) Street views outside of major cities and especially outside the U.S. don’t work as well or at all and aren’t likely to because the necessary photos aren’t online. I wanted to check out some areas in Costa Rica, as my son is considering retiring there, but there just aren’t enough photos posted to make it happen

Tours of the landmarks I explored are a disappointment if you want anything more than a street view. There are lots of photos of the Sistine Chapel, for example, but nothing that I could find worked like an inside tour, which is what I was hoping for.

I spent some time on HistoryPin, WhatWasThere, and Sepiatown, looking for photos of Chicago’s East Side neighborhood (where the infamous anti-union street massacre occurred) from earliest date possible through about 1970. I found some I can use (they are for a poetry ms by a friend of mine, recently deceased, whose memorial website I manage – if you’re interested, go to LinneaJohnsonAuthor.com) but am still looking for photos of the Cal Park Beaches and the Calumet Forest Preserve, and also am looking for artists’ drawings of the Calumet River and swamp area pre-settlement. I had hope for LOTS more old photos – again, the problem is the photo supply, not the technology.

I looked at the tools for teachers – lots of possibilities here for classrooms and programs and book clubs and so on. I can see using our laptop and projector to give a tour along with some recommended books at one of our programs at the Senior Center this summer, too.

I signed the library up for LibraryThing and am posting events there, starting with Teen Volunteer Training. Still trying to figure out how to automatically link each post to Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, fellow bloggers. Your freedom of expression is at risk.

The FCC is about to make another momentous decision – whether to adopt Comcast and Verizon’s “pay to play” proposal. If the FCC doesn’t make the correct choice – and say NO – the days of a free and open internet will be over. Not because we won’t be able to write what we want – but because it will be very hard for anyone to ever find and read it! freepressdotnet Netneutralitycopy1

Net Neutrality is at stake. Net Neutrality requires providers like Verizon and AT&T to treat all lawful content – like our blog contents – the same. They can’t block us, or edit us, or discriminate against the information we send and receive, like the sites we visit or the applications we use.

Imagine what will happen if that changes!

  • Big PUBLISHERS and BOOKSELLERS like Amazon will be able to pay fees, but INDE writers and bloggers will not. Guess who moves to the slow lane?
  • Big companies like Apple and Google will be able to pay fees, but startups will be stuck in the slow lanes. Goodbye, internet innovators and small businesses.
  • Big broadband providers like Comcast will be able to play favorites and put their own shows in the fast lanes while they slow down services like Netflix.
  • The big broadband companies also will be able to more than double-bill – to charge their ever-increasing basic connection fees AND charge a fast-lane fee to content providers AND charge extra fees to users for visiting less favored websites or using certain online apps.

We can’t afford this change either as bloggers or as readers and general users of the internet. For many of us, access is already too expensive and too unreliable and too slow. We also, as CITIZENS, can’t afford to lose Net Neutrality. We can’t let the internet be something just a few corporations control.

I’m not speaking hyperbole here. Before the FCC adopted the Open Internet Order, phone and cable companies were blocking traffic they didn’t like. They already are more than double-billing in other countries around the world and have started interfering with traffic to Netflix and other sites in the U.S. This coming FCC decision is CRUCIAL.

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. The court made no judgment on the merits of the open Internet rules, but said that the FCC had used a questionable legal framework when it adopted them. To restore Net Neutrality, the FCC must correct this mistake and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service…..

The law gives the FCC clear power and responsibility to protect the Internet from corporate abuse, but earlier missteps jeopardized not just its Open Internet Order, but the agency’s ability to promote affordable, universal and reliable broadband networks. The FCC’s role in preserving online privacy is also now at risk.
http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/net_neutrality_primer_03_2014.pdf

In 2002, the FCC should not have classified broadband as an information service but should have classified it as a telecommunications service. That’s what it is. Faster than the phone lines we use for slow dial-up, and phone calls, and faxing, but serving the same communication purposes.

Help push the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecommunication service. Then the FCC will be able to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules and keep service providers from using discriminatory practices that will hurt us all.

Make Your Voice Heard

KEEP YOUR VOICE HEARD.

Five Stars for Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”

Daniel H. Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition) is well worth reading and thinking about. I hope readers — including librarians and teachers — will apply, with gusto, in all school and work environments, the fact “that enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on the project, is the strongest and most pervasive” (Kindle Location [hereafter KL] 324-325) motivator of good work performance. The more we all do that, the better work – and life – will be for all of us.

The concepts Pink discusses weren’t a surprise to me, and I’ve long supported his conclusions. I’ve been reading and thinking about human motivation for more years than I want to count – since high school, back in the dark ages when the Skinner Box was all the rage and theoretical battles were still waging hot and heavy between the Freudians and Jungians and between the psychoanalytic theorists and behaviorists. Acceptance of combinations of what Pink calls Motivation 1.0 (the drives to survive – food, shelter, procreation) and Motivation 2.0 (to seek reward and avoid punishment more broadly) was common; Maslow’s ideas about humanistic psychology were not universally accepted.

I remember debating Frederick Herzberg’s ideas about job motivation in both high school and college classes. In college, the Humanities and English profs, especially, came down on Herzberg’s side, citing their own careers as proof that motivation included both Herzberg’s extrinsic rewards (pay, working conditions, job security) and innumerable and to them more important intrinsic rewards. A good number of the psychology and sociology profs agreed, but about as many played semantic games to define all motives as still extrinsic. My own zig-zag through life proves to me how dominantly important intrinsic motivation is.

What did surprise me was Pink’s including Best Buy and Gap, as well as some government agencies, in its list of employers paying attention to the value of intrinsic motivation enough to become ROWE (results only work environment) organizations. It’s a move I did not expect anytime soon from any but tech companies, like WordPress (see my review of The Year Without Pants) and Netflix. As Pink says:

Too many organizations— not just companies, but governments and nonprofits as well —still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science. They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measures usually don’t work and often do harm. Worse, these practices have infiltrated our schools, where we ply our future workforce with iPods, cash, and pizza coupons to “incentivize” them to learn. – (KL 187-191).

I also was happy to learn more about the new types of corporations being developed. These include Vermont’s “low-profit limited liability company” or L3C, which does generate at least modest profits has the primary aim of offering significant social benefits.” (KL 339-342); Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ “social businesses” which replace the profit-maximization principle with the social-benefit principle;” and The Fourth Sector Network’s is promotion in the United States and Denmark of the for-benefit organization— both economically self-sustaining and animated by a public purpose, such as Mozilla (KL345-349); and the “B Corporation” designation requiring companies’ bylaws so that incentives favor long-term value and social impact instead of short-term economic gain (KL 350-352).

The trick, of course, is translating the general concepts into specific behaviors in our schools and organizations and businesses. We also need to be applying them at home, in the ways we raise children. Meanwhile, I’m feeling a bit smug about knowing I’ve been ahead of my time in at least a few ways that matter.