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digitallifestyle

In the shower this morning I was thinking about how the digital lifestyle is taking over my old analog self. I rarely play LP’s or CD’s anymore, Pandora and Podcasts are replacing radio, I read books on my iPhone, get recipes online and communicate with Facebook and Twitter. Many of these tools replace things I used to spend money on which is good for me but I wonder where this will all lead? Papers are going under, bands can’t sell nearly as many CD’s and I’m sure Publishers will see a loss in sales of books now that they are going digital.

I’m not sure what my point is but I am curious how others have adapted/adopted to the digital lifestyle. Is digital good for the human race?

44 Comments

Mel

about 15 years ago

This reminds me a little of an article that was on Zen Habits Monday http://zenhabits.net/2009/03/steps-towards-a-more-sustainable-life-of-less/

I actually buy more CDs now than I did when Napster & everything was big. I think I get the majority of my music direct from the artists now, but that is probably just because I love music and indie arists.

I think (hope) that we will start seeing at least a little push from people away from the digital lifestyle. I think a generation soon will be rejecting it to rebel against a lifestyle that their parents have...I think you already see a lot of people pushing away from it just because of the stigma it's starting to hold, the new is wearing off. 

I still think there's something to be said for digital, though. If it 1) reduces resource consumption and b) is used to make life better, more efficient. But I think there's MORE to be said about sitting down with a newspaper in a coffee shop, and not a screen.

As much as I have adopted and love social networking, I think it stinks. I think it's good for staying in contact but it needs to be used less for socializing & people need to get back to human basics again & get outside.

That's all. Just my ramble.

vicarious

about 15 years ago

Digital shower?

jp

about 15 years ago

Some of my latest thoughts on technology are about how "all over the place" it is.  

I am visioning a new website for my job the last couple of weeks and have just adopted twitter and am experimenting with it for awhile permanent instantaneous audience for my most mundane thoughts, fascinating.  I also just got a new laptop and after importing years of (mostly) legally obtained music and legally ripping it to various computer hard drives over the years I am a little frustrated that with the so called digital rights management I can't even listen to many of my own songs.  Arghh!  But that will be a double arghh if I'm trying to DJ sometime and can't get the song to cue up properly because I haven't sorted this problem out yet.    

Then yesterday I was doing a teleconference training for work.  Imagine that looking out the window at a blizzard and the training goes on where in the past it would have certainly been canceled costing folks all sorts of money and even safety problems.  But anyway, the training is mainly on this new website (mnctf.net) that will have an "old fashioned" bbs posting system for people who work in the field and some others to network, or whatever.  People were doing that back in the early 90s, but apparently they still use it, it's cheap, pretty easy and fairly effective, too.  So technology is an inextricably linked part of my life today.  But people are at all different levels with it.  

And the training is all over the map, too.  When I was a kid, c. 1982 our school got an Apple II computer and the FIRST thing they showed us (besides Oregon Trail, natch) was how to start some programming in "basic."  Now way down the road there are computers in every classroom everywhere but nobody (including me) is really learning how to do programming or design without some special training.  

Finally,

Last night after various interruptions I was sitting on the couch watching Jimmy Fallon who is not looking too good for a starter, but anyway ... back to the point I was watching TV and my wife grabs the laptop and starts chatting with a friend.  SO there we are together on the couch with a private moment, but it kind of burned me up how we weren't exactly together. Our bodies were there, but most of us (the thinking, feeling, believing parts) were somewhere else.  

None of these are unique ideas or thoughts but they are mine.  Looking forward to what others say.

Chester Dark

about 15 years ago

I've been a Facebook user for about 4 years - mainly to stay in touch with family and old co-workers. Lately, it's gone to a new level with finding family history (from as early as the 1300s) through "friendships" with distant relatives in France and Switzerland (I have an uncommon last name). It's been unbelievable and would have NEVER happened without Facebook!

Chester Dark

about 15 years ago

I do web management at a large local University and look for ways to put new and existing information online. Some office folks have said "but we WANT the students to come to us with such and such a form because otherwise we'd never see them." Hard to argue with that.

Mel

about 15 years ago

@jp: I agree with your last part a lot. When I was living with & dating a friend of mine he used to always surf and web and chat online while we were watching movies. I told him to put it away & watch the movie, he would respond that he could multitask perfectly fine. He didn't get why that bothered me. 

I've been making a conscious effort to use my computer less while I'm at home now and do other things.

edgeways

about 15 years ago

I find I am splitting my music purchases about 50/40/10, 50% online, 40% CDs 10% records, and in reality if more bands would go the route of issuing LPs with a code for a free digital download I'd go that route exclusively. 

I think there is a strong argument for issuing books, such as textbooks, into digital format for things like the kindel but other than that I won't give up physical books any time soon, too much tactile and emotional investment and a small part of me resents having to have electricity to read.

Newspapers are seriously screwed, they are having a hell of a time making enough money online to subsidize either a physical copy, or any significant staff for good long term reporting. Too many "information should be free" freaks scared the newspapers away from charging for their content, and now they are scrapping for web-ad hits.

I love the internet and digital things in general, but it makes us more lazy in many ways, it replaces a certain amount of quality for quantity. Wonder what will happen once the Swarm virus finally crashes everything for good?

The Big E

about 15 years ago

I've thought about this too..  I was annoyed by the "Times Select" thing the NYT had... but really I read the NYT and the WaPo enough that I would pay for them.. I certainly value reading them more than I do watching TV [1].  

But then you get into the tendency for a few mega-sites to dominate the marketplace--if I'm going to pay, I'd pay for one of the national papers-of-record, as opposed to a regional paper like the Strib or the like, even though I acknowledge those mid-profile outlets often have valuable content and are certainly important in maintaining a vibrant, competitive press.  And maybe that's the general effect of Going Digital:  you can survive as a niche-shoestring-hobbyist type, blogging, selling/playing music, etc, but it gets harder and harder for anybody but the biggest to really remain economically viable.

[1] Although since I'm an America-hating elitist who doesn't have huge amounts of discretionary income (it hardly needs to be said, does it?), I don't have cable.

tony

about 15 years ago

here's my thing: i've been collecting vinyl LP's like a squirrel collects acorns.

i don't even currently have a working turntable, but i'm always over in superior at the vinyl cave. when i found "lola vs. powerman and the moneygoround" for 15 bucks, i was giddy.

something about the stink of old vinyl that gets me. albums are real, tangible, tactile. i love my ipod, but looking at the cover of an LP, being careful with the vinyl, turning it over, all of that is very human and non-virtual.

Bad Cat!

about 15 years ago

I think the biggest change with "the new digital lifestyle" will be how the current generation views past generations.

Almost everyone knows the story of Anne Frank's diary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank) and at this moment, historians are debating if they have the last photograph of Lincoln (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101663935). We still have photos, letters, newspapers that give us new and unique views of the past.
More and more information is being created and shared now, but almost none of it is being stored. And what is being stored, will it be of any importance to the following generations?
I think of someone reading old letters where their great grandfather recounts their entry into Ellis Island. A few generations from now, no one is going to be reading what we post to the web now. Even if they could, what would they find of importance? (We're off to the bar to get trashed - LOLZ!!!1!)

Though I consider myself a modern techno-geek, I'm also jaded by it's effect. I read 40 RSS feeds in a day, but it's been quite a while since I sat down and actually read a *book*. I write on my blog, take digital photos, but I feel like nothing I create will have an permanence or affect on the future.
Sorry for the long pessimistic rant, just in a mood today I guess...

adEm

about 15 years ago

I'm for the most part really ok with all our digital changes. Many of the best things that have happened to me were made possible by the people I've met, the places I've seen, the things I've learned. The ability to want to know something, and then learn it within minutes. We are enabled.

Yet, like BadCat I think we are in serious risk of losing our future's past. My mom rescued a giant box of old letters from my grandpa to my grandma, and there is so much history even in these common communications between common people.

Who knows what incredible things I've felt and heard while chatting or emailing, that are lost forever. What happens with all these digital pictures? Do our grandchildren find old dusty flash-drives in the back of some sock-drawer? Take our external drive to some special store that still can read USB to compile a xmas gift for their parents?

For now, all I can do is try to make sure if something happens to me, someone can find out how to log into all my online accounts to see how I've been spending these many hours of my life.

Baci

about 15 years ago

Kids @ HCIS are fascinated when we begin to discuss the difference between analog and digital. IN an audio context, analog is a pure sine wave where digital is tiny frequent snapshots of the sine wave. We can extend that into our lives. Our experience of life is being captured in more and more frequent (and there for less nuanced) snapshots. Tweets and blogs and moments uploaded from our phone to our facebook. I think it's about resolution. At what resolution are we existing? With what resolution are we satisfied with our representation of the flow of life? Are we content with a collection of sequential stair step fragmentations or will we one day miss the lost bits?

samh

about 15 years ago

I own a Blackberry now.  It is very convenient.  However I also have a vinyl collection numbering over 300.  

Digital is not all-encompassing.  It has both positive and negative aspects for society, the environment, the economy, et al.

Barrett

about 15 years ago

Baci, that's an awesome way to look at it.

Baci

about 15 years ago

Thanks B! I obviously took the redpill.

magus

about 15 years ago

Baci, I really like your take on this. It's going to impact my world view, really.

I have one question that I have wondered about a lot. Does digital actually reduce resource consumption? I would like to see the science behind that. How often do we junk/replace our electronics and how much electricity are we using to live a digital life?

When the internet first became popular people frequently referred to web content as "free." Still do, I guess, but I've always thought this: the computer's not free, the internet access is not free, that means the content is not actually free, either.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

debating whether modern technology is a good thing is like when people in the early part of the 20th century debated the telephone. many people considered them annoyances, and the harbinger of the death of literacy because people wouldn't write letters anymore, and that it would just welcome strange men into your house where they could say dirty things to your teenage daughter. sound familiar? 

just like the telephone, ICT just is. and it changes everything. and just like telephones, most people will use it in furtherance of their aims, good or bad. opting out is an unusual tactic, but i think that Mel's idea that it's a fad is laughably familiar to all paradigm shifts. people just don't like massive change. oh well.

when people talk about opting out of "technology" what they're really saying is, "I spend too much time doing stupid stuff on the Internet." and you know what? lots of people *do* do too much stupid, timewasting stuff on the Internet. but these are probably the same people who would have watched too much television or spent all afternoon jabbering on the telephone about nothing. the only difference is that there are more options. 

personally, i find it all very awesome. more choices are always awesome.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

also. we are still certainly in the beginnings of an understanding of how to make money on the Internet. however, these are the early days. Second Life is one example of a vibrant online economy--one where, i think, a thousand Linden dollars is equal to less than five $US. and people spend on there like nobody's business, though it's usually for virtual sex and clothing. (ah, humans are so predictable, aren't they?) 

the lesson is this: the basic service i provide is free, but upgrades will cost you. so the basic game of Second Life is free, but in order to have a really good time, you've got to pay. so the newspaper can offer the news for free, but have upgraded services that cost. many people will have no problem forking over a few dollars for upgrades that enhance whatever experience it is they are seeking. maybe you pay a little bit to get your content without advertising. maybe it's individualization, or maybe it's personal attention--people will always be willing to pay a little for enhanced services. the problem is always that they're not thinking about how tiny costs add up. asking for too much money will make people balk right away.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

and yes, Magus, i think there's no doubt that technology has the *potential* to reduce resource consumption. we're not there yet because we discard stuff that breaks in a couple years. i personally have gone through three iPods in the last 6 years. however, i don't throw them away--i recycle them. that's the law, now, you know. so as we get better at reusing these things, or breaking them down into usable components, our footprint goes down.

schools, for instance, are resource sinks. big, old buildings that need to be heated and staffed, buses that need to run all over the place every day. more and more kids are choosing online school, and more and more schools are seeing creating online classes as a way to both enhance their educational offerings and save money at the same time. this is neither good nor bad--it, too, just is. an inevitability, whether we like it or not. the goal is to make the situation as good as it can be. fighting it will get us nowhere. 

i can tell you very simply that the computer is, as broke as my family is, our main source of entertainment and information. we cannot afford to go to movies, buy newspapers, or go out to eat or even go see live music. we need to be careful not to use our car as often as we can, because we not only cannot afford the gas, we're worried that if the car breaks or we get in an accident, we will not be able to afford to fix it. so being homebodies has become a way of life for us. the 'Net eases the pain of that somewhat.

eco eco

about 15 years ago

Have to say I really hate the notion that technology just is, and there's nothing we can do about it. Sort of defines us as slaves, doesn't it? Nor do I think technology is neutral--it has effects, good or bad, depending on what your values are and what kind of society you want to live in. But then I also think (and quite happily, except for all the short term suffering) that we're at the beginning stage of the complete collapse of industrial civilization.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

good luck with that. predicting the "end of the world as we know it" has been a popular human hobby for the last 10,000 years or so.

vicarious

about 15 years ago

Gotta agree with hbh1. Even though past civilizations HAVE collapsed, evolution has a funny habit of...making things evolve, generally for the better, IMO. The negative, destructive, "unproductive" stuff gets weeded out, and Life moves forward toward the bigger, the brighter, the more expansive and whole. Of course, I'm a deep and eternal optimist.

It's very difficult to see the greater picture from "within the arc". I can understand how many perceive technology and "industrial civilization" as negative and anti-humanistic, but "industrial" and "technology" are totally relative. There was a time when the ox and plow was high-tech. I believe that in 100, 500, 1000 years, our techologies and industry will evolved right along with our biology and consciousness, slowly merging into a holistic continuum. Yeah, I know that's "out there", but it's what I believe.

Mel

about 15 years ago

I don't really think that technology is a "fad" nor did I mean to come off that way. I agree with vicarious that technology has always been around, just in the "newest" form. All I meant to convey is that I think, or even hope, that people, individuals, will move further away from the sort of all encompassing control of technology on their lives, at least in its worst forms. You can already see that people are questioning how far it can go by us having this conversation--or look back to books like 1984. Anyway, I am pretty much agreeing -- technology, like everything else, is good and ever evolving. I just think the honeymoon phase of this current obsession will "wear off," and technology will both advance, into new arenas, as well as even out. That happy medium. I'm ever the happy medium optimist.

Frankly, I love technology :-) I also love the woods. But then again, this is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Beverly

about 15 years ago

I was cleaning a bookshelf today and found a sleeve of negatives from our family vacation three years ago. I spent hundreds of dollars buying film and getting it developed. The prints are in a photo album that's falling apart.
Last month, we went on a vacation and I had a digital camera this time — much better. I uploaded my photos to blurb.com and used their software to make a coffee-table book of the trip.

Too Many Daves

about 15 years ago

I'm a late adopter, not so much a luddite as a troglodyte. I do enjoy the many benefits provided by the web, but until some amazing leap forward in digital book technology occurs, I can't imagine reading a 400 page book off a glowing screen. So, I think one major concern re: digital technology is print culture vs. video culture. I enjoy movies and YouTube, but when video culture dominates, critical thinking skills and our ability to form coherent sentences seem to suffer. Of course good old analogue TV has taken a tremendous toll in that regard. Now there's a mind-boggling amount of information on the web, but Americans are, for the most part, more ignorant than ever. How do we preserve/expand literacy in a video-crazed culture? I'm not saying it's an either/or situation, but a balance should hopefully be struck. Literacy aside, we are not advancing morally as a species. We seem to be stuck with our human nature, no matter how many digital gizmos we employ.

eco eco

about 15 years ago

Not only have past civilizations collapsed, every single one has. Predicting the end of the world as we know it has a 100% success rate. And considering the effect of this civilization on what I value about the world, hoping for its collapse is the only hope I have.

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

Please don't take this as an attack, Eco Eco, but I honestly do not understand all three of the sentences in your comment.

eco eco

about 15 years ago

I don't take it as an attack at all; I just don't understand what you don't understand. It refers back to comments by hbh and vicarious.

1) Every historical civilization has ended.

2) Therefore, it's no stretch to say that our civilization will also end.

3) Our ever increasing human numbers and wasteful lifestyle are rapidly causing the extinction of other species and the (temporary in the long term) destruction of the natural world. Because I value the existence of other species more than I value the addition of another billion humans, I hope that our civilization ends as soon as possible before it does more damage. And though I know this won't win votes in a topic devoted to praising technology, I honestly think humans are better off with less technology and more connection to the natural world so I think that collapse will be better for humans in the long run as well.

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

I guess it's the phrasing of the first sentence that confused me. "Not only have past civilizations collapsed, every single one has." It seems to suggest that future civilizations have already collapsed, and that behaving in a civilized manner is futile.

It sounds, Eco Eco, like you feel a reduction in population and human dependence on technology would end our progress in science, intellectual refinement, etc., and that would be a good thing.

vicarious

about 15 years ago

I completely understand Eco Eco's position about destruction of species, overpopulation, etc. It is VERY worrisome. I do take issue with his/her assertion that "every civilation has collapsed". In fact, every civilization has evolved. More precisely, HUMAN civilization has evolved, and will undoubtedly continue to do so, per my last comment.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

i always find it telling that when one speaks of one's believed-in, hoped-for apocalypse, it is somehow always the people and things that one dislikes that are on the chopping block.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

at any rate, Eco Eco, i think most people want the diversity of our species to continue/grow and be preserved. but i think we can see clearly in places where industrial "civilization" has collapsed or devolved, it has led to further environmental degradation, not less. (Haiti, for instance, or parts of Russia or Somalia.) collapse is messy, and involves not just abstract "suffering" but a long tail of desperate resource extraction, the large-scale killing of species for food or cutting of forest for fuel. we don't want to go there. 

i used to be the sort of person that hoped for an industrial collapse, wished for a sort of green anarchy. but the more i think about it, i think there really is no going back to the (original or mythical) garden. we needed to go through industrial progress in order to come to where we are now, where it is possible (nay, necessary) to restructure society using what knowledge and science we have to become a reasonable planet-dwelling race. or die, as you say. i'd rather not die. and i'd rather that millions" of people who are apparently not me do not die horrible deaths involving starvation and further devastating environmental degradation. wishing for such a thing is mind-bogglingly cruel, and very pessimistic. 

not to mention the fact that standing in the middle of the river and holding out our hands to stop it doesn't work very well. the river goes where it will. 

i think the mechanism of "collapse" isn't what we think it is. i also know that the technology of all those past civilizations didn't generally disappear. some of it was dropped when it wasn't useful to the specific people who remained, sure. (because of course a civilization "collapse" doesn't involve large-scale death or the disappearance of the people--this isn't Ripley's Believe it or Not, you know. they just move on. evolve. the Roman government might have collapsed, but the people went on with their lives. they married the Barbarians. invited them into the tavern.) 

there is far too much usefulness to the Internet for it to suddenly be abandoned on a large scale, even if the big factories that make computers for some reason can't make any more. it's like saying we'll all go back to depending on herbs for our healing, instead of combining our knowledge of both natural and man-made medicine. we keep what's good, and we abandon what doesn't work. 

you surely don't think that industrial collapse is the sort of things where all of a sudden one day the computers stop working and we all start gardening and being good neighbors.

edgeways

about 15 years ago

What some here have referred to as an evolution of society has been fit into a framework called social scale by people such as John Bodley. This more-or-less is what my never-ending thesis deals with. With all the caveats concerning exceptions the basic frame work goes essentially like this: Societies tend to evolve from small scale cultures to large scale cultures, in doing so they undergo very specific political, environmental, economic and social changes. Also, in doing so the mechanisms of progressing between scales tends to be the use of force (war), or the threat of force. 
Interestingly, the smallest scaled cultures (domestic-scale), often times groups of hunter-gather units start out fairly "socially enlightened", that is there is a comparative high rate of gender equality, democratic (small d) traditions, low incidents of violence or violent coercion. Draw backs included the whole 'society' being at risk from any number of events ranging from natural disasters (a hurricane Katrina would have killed of the entire society), to one particularly nasty psudo-war. And I say pseudo- because warfare was an entirely different thing at that time. With the growth of population we started to see small city states, a more sedentary population, rigid divisions of labor, and discrete ruling and military occupations. This tends to be when war (as we would recognize it) wide spread slavery, and a much more patro-orientated politic structure comes into being. From there we move to larger populations and cities/countries concerned with economic issues, and then into our current scale (Global-scale), where the movers and shakers are not only government, but corporations. From scale to scale we tend to see a condensation of cultures, we see fewer and fewer cultures, but those that do exist are more stable and less prone to disruption, even if they do not exist as a nation-state identity (the Roma, the Kurds etc). Interestingly, at this stage we start to see some reversions back to some of the social attitudes found in domestic-scaled societies. There is increased social equality, incidences of slavery have diminished (though still prevalent in some areas), and even incidents of war have diminished. Which is, of course a funny thing to say as the US engages in 2 separate wars, however, overall we have seen a decrease in the number of formal military actions. 
Now, we are (I believe) moving into another scale, perhaps something called a trans-global scale, which is fueled by modern communication technology and transportation technology. We will likely see a further decrease in what we have called traditional war, but will likely see an increase in asymmetrical battles, what has come to be called terrorism... I tend to think a trans-global culture will be in some ways very de-centralized, the notions of bio-regionalism will gain traction as technology allows us to better harness local energies and be a little more self-contained...

I have to stop here. I am leaving out about 50 pages so there are a lot of questions unanswered, and a lot of gaping holes in what I just wrote.

vicarious

about 15 years ago

This post and it's comments are why I love PDD.

eco eco

about 15 years ago

It is industrial civilization and globalization which is eliminating the cultural diversity of our species as well as the existence of other species. Your comment about the destruction which will follow collapse is true--it's going to get ugly. Is it better to spread that destruction over time as our current system requires for its constant growth?

I think there is absolutely zero chance of a future where we become a reasonable planet-dwelling race, though to trade once upon a time stories with you, there was a time when I thought one world government was a good idea. What we'd rather have happen is irrelevant--I've always preferred looking at hard reality to wishful thinking. 

Industrialism has been a house of cards from the beginning--almost everything about our way of life, including our huge and unsustainable population, has been based on the rapid using up of finite resources. Our technology isn't like the wheel or fire, our technology is all based on energy for its production and use and transportation.

So the collapse of THIS civilization IS going to involve large-scale death of people who have no idea how to survive without this civilization providing their food and goods. We've already seen news stories about people killing themselves when their old way of life disappears, increasing crime tied to lack of money for food, increasing lines at food banks, increasing numbers getting food stamps. The price of dwindling oil will soar again causing problems for everything in our society which depends on it, which is almost everything.

The world of a few years ago is gone and it's not coming back.  Seeing that is realistic and honest, not cruel and pessimistic. I'm don't know where you're getting the idea that I'm applying this to other people but not me. I'm just as ruined by the softness of our civilization as everyone else; I'll be dying right along with the majority. There isn't a happy ending to this particular story; the hope lies in what the next story is going to be about.

Based on your comments, your concern is primarily human society. Though I've tried to reply in those terms, it's not my primary concern--I care more about the current underdogs which I define as all nonhuman life. There is no future without a very large reduction in the human population, and it's not going to happen in any pretty way.

eco eco

about 15 years ago

Yes, vicarious, we're not likely to see this conversation on DNT or whatever that other site is. 

My last long comment was replying to hbh if it's not obvious; edgeways snuck in there.

hbh1

about 15 years ago

well, i may have come across that my primary concern is human society, but i've chosen to be a vegan (and sometime freegan) and have a drastically small (comparatively) carbon footprint precisely because i am concerned about all species on the planet. 

aside from a few yurt dwellers, i'd put my consumer index against any American any day. i may have some nice technology at my home, but these are nearly the *only* items in our home that aren't second-hand or could be perceived as luxury items. and they aren't really luxuries, because we earn more than half our income through that home-based tech.

obviously i would like to see more First World people choose a likewise small-planet lifestyle. even be forced to by circumstances (not government). 

i think you're right that we are moving beyond the industrial age, i just don't believe that it will necessarily happen suddenly, or that ICT or other technologies are a demon in the mix. they are the tool to move forward and beyond. we got this technology through industrialization. we can use it to leave the very bad parts of the industrial era and hyper-consumerism behind. the more products that can be virtual rather than physical, the better. (and yes, i will *always* prefer to read paper books. Kindle be damned. but i won't fault anyone who can read the new way.) 

without having gone through industrialization, we would have no solar power, no big-scale wind power, no global communication network... 

in regards to the last, i think it has made us better humans than we would be otherwise. (the simple fact of my being able to *see* the results of tar sands oil extraction or mountaintop removal is a result of global comm.) so it is our job to recognize the past and present sins, and honor the losses that have been suffered by so many creatures of all species, and change our lives accordingly. i don't have to become a hunter-gatherer to do so.

(though i do gather. see you at the wild onion field this spring!)

nick s

about 15 years ago

Kevin Kelly author of Out of Control predicts something like Socialism 2.0 in the coming decades. Everyone with ANY thing intellectual (or other) to share will be on the web and anyone not on the web will suffer from withdrawl. With people currently sharing exponentially more video and music consisting of themselves sitting at home and making noise into rudimentary rhythms I am reminded of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. Cage and Duchamp were proponents of experiencing the everyday world as a work of art, an arrangement on a chess board or the sound of traffic not to mention nature. Of course you don't have to be plugged in to experience that kind of art. So I hope if we all must be plugged into the web it won't just be a virtual reality of a mundane reality.

Calk

about 15 years ago

As someone who works in the book publishing industry, I have a ringside seat to all the discussion going on within the industry about whether to digitalize or not. What do readers want? How can publishers make $$ if everyone wants to buy download books from Amazon for a few bucks? I personally prefer actual print books to e-books, but a some publishers seem to think that everyone's going to be reading text off their $359 Kindles someday. I wrote an article last year on two presses that consciously and strategically are publishing books that are *not* Kindle friendly. I don't think the book is in any danger of becoming obsolete (just like vinyl lps). People who want to read substantial, longer works are going to read them in print, and people who want to read lighter, shorter works will read them electronically.
www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6610355.html

jp

about 15 years ago

1) I am really becoming a fan of the "Amazing Alonzo" paperback exchange.  After decades of just driving by I stopped in one day last month looking for some books for one of my partner's classes in college.  Amazing Alonzo had a few of the books and much cheaper than the embarrassing used book prices charged by her school's library.

What's more, I got a couple of books and some dvd's myself.  Later, when I was doing some book shelf cleaning I just brought them to amazing alonzo.  I think paper books are here to stay for a long time.  They may be on the way out, but not quickly.  Too many old used, worn and notated old books out there in the world.  

2) But besides actual books, I think Calk may is probably right about the new reading stuff.  I got a subscription (weekends) to the DNT mainly out of a sense of loyalty to the community and a to the people I value who WORK for the DNT. But I often wonder what is the point.  Everything is online, anyway.  And the new and local content is getting scanter and scanter.  I like magazines, but with this new laptop I can read web-magazines in bed or on the couch or anywhere.  I'm sure it's even more convenient with a kindle or book-ready pda.  

3) To the "civilization" debate when I was an RA in college, the history professor who was the resident on my floor was amused by the fact that his three staff were respectively officers in the student clubs for Young Democrats, College Republicans, and Young Socialists (gasp, that was me). We were politically and economically diverse, but not all that diverse culturally and even though I was the super broke one, all of us where enfranchised enough to land ourselves in a nice, private college where people debated these things.  The professor was an expert on Russia and "the east" (Asia minor, The Balkans, Byzantium, etc a real tinder box at that time).  He said that political systems last only about 250 years (max)on average worldwide.  I have looked around and tested that and it seems pretty true.  

If that is true, this civilization is done.  And, my opinion, it already started.  These governmental falls can nearly always be seen as gradual, slow transitions that you might miss if you were living through them.  And I believe we are living through one of those shifts right now.  In fact, we may have already entered the new age.  Technology is part of the shift, sure, it always is.  But the true decay comes from the same things they all do, bloated bureaucracy, corrupt oligarchies, and indifferent/ineffective leadership occurring simultaneously with unsustainable economic, military and economic practices. The rebirth comes from empowered citizenry and revolution.  And no, I am no longer a socialist, but I sure sound like one here, don't I, lol

50 years from now it will be obvious whether I was right or wrong.   (Whew, this may be my longest post ever, agreed with all that this was an excellent topic and discussion)

adam

about 15 years ago

I'm personally waiting for the singularity.

"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
   — Alvin Toffler

nick s

about 15 years ago

I talked to a guy last summer and he wrote software writing software for hoNe Ywel and he said, "If we only had a dictionary for all this code"... ha ha ha

Taylor

about 15 years ago

This advice is really going to help, thanks.

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