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The Latent Cultural Function Of Technologies

There’s an interesting article over at The Liberal discussing the future of economic models involving free. It’s a good read, and presents some viewpoints which run counter to what Chris Anderson has been writing lately. Despite the fact that I’m inclined to have common ground with Chris, (especially as an artist who embraces the concept of free) I enjoy reading and interpreting all viewpoints.

There’s one graph in the article that struck me, and it’s actually the one part which has nothing to do with free economic models, rather, it is on the cultural implications of technology:

It is an enigma of all technologies that we only come to understand their latent cultural function once they are no longer necessary. With the dawn of television, we came to recognize that cinema was not just about moving pictures, but an opportunity to have a night out in public. With the dawn of email, we now see that letter-writing is not just about conveying information, but a way of demonstrating greater affection or respect for the recipient.

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May 5, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness
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Objective Vs. Subjective


Haven’t done a vs. post in quite some time, so I figured we’re due for a new one. Lately, I have been pondering the value of objective vs. subjective as applied to various areas.

Objective vs. subjective in education

All of my academic career, I never took objective tests seriously. I recall at one point my peers were taking “prep courses” for the SATs and all I could do was think about how silly the idea of taking a course specifically to prepare for a single test was. This went counter to how I interpret the world, and my parents knew better than to put me in these types of programs – instead allowing me to choose my own path of personal growth. This was a smart move, and in the end I feel like I have a skill set far more valuable than those who are simply ace test takers.

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April 20, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness
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Ignoring Others Is Necessary To Reach Your Potential

Perhaps you’ve been in this situation – not partaking in things like social situations because you’re so involved in what you’re doing you have no desire to stop. Then you hear comments from your peers saying you work too hard. If you ever hear such things, ignore them.

What does that even mean, to “work too hard?” In someone else’s opinion? In the opinion of society? How can you even define that, what is the reference point? The truth is, there is no one who can decide this for you, nor should you allow anyone to. We all want different things from life, and only you can create a balance for yourself.

You cannot tell the writer not to write, the painter not to paint, the musician not to play, it is ingrained in her programming, it is what sets her free.

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April 7, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness
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Digital Is The Master Copy


Mitch Joel argues print is not dead. Perhaps not yet – but it is mortally wounded.

I may be treading beaten ground here, as I’ve written before on living artifacts – but Mitch got me thinking on this subject again and I think I can present an even simpler viewpoint on why things like print newspapers and CDs are relics of the last century. The reason is simple: digital is now the master copy.

The truth is that the tangible versions of media are temporary and less useful copies of their digital masters. You’re paying for the medium, not the message – and there’s no logical reason for that when there are more efficient ways to get (and share) the message.

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March 19, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness
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Clinging To The Past Is Not A Strategy

How do you feel about Viacom suing YouTube for a billion dollars?

How about the RIAA pushing ISPs to hand over user data?

What about the Wall Street Journal editor claiming Google devalues everything it touches?

And now Hulu Hollywood pulling content from Boxee?

In each of these cases (and throngs of others), these organizations only succeed in:

  • Destroying their public image with an onslaught of negative publicity
  • Demonstrating how out of touch they are with our world
  • Positioning themselves as companies clinging to a past that is no longer a reality
  • Slowing down progress in an ultimate, inevitable transition that can’t be legislated or sued away
  • Turning their back on tools which enable a profitable and prolific future that can actually makes their users happy
  • Branding themselves as draconian
  • Standing on the wrong side of the future media crossroads

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February 19, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness
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An Irrational Fear Of The Web


image credit: chuzi

When speaking to my peers across industries, there is a small minority who express a certain level of fear/misunderstanding of the web. These people’s fears clearly stem from a lack of knowledge, as fear usually does, and are generally not rooted in rational thought.

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February 10, 2009 Author Adam Singer In Opinions, Randomness