matt's weblog . . .

  matt's weblog . . .: August 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Web 2.0 . . . ?

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely sure what "they" mean by "Web 2.0", and to tell you the truth, the term is so loosely used that I'm not even sure that "they" know what it means anymore. But, I'm pretty sure that the fact that I can sit here on my couch and change the channel on my TiVo to enjoy slideshows of pictures posted by my friends and family (some 2500 miles away, some 200 miles away) in real time, instantly after they have posted them, is, at least, a manifestation of it.

Yes, the way it works technically is certainly "clunky" to say the least (friend's camera to friend's computer, friend's computer to friend's router, friend's router to Flickr, Flickr to FlickrCentral, FlickrCentral to TiVo Desktop Server, TiVo Desktop Server to Router, Router to TiVo, TiVo to TV), but the way it "works" from an user interface perspective is, basically, no more complicated than changing the channel on the TV.

No, I don't really know what "Web 2.0" is, but I do know that if this is part of it, I'm pretty excited for the rest of it.

P.S. Of course, if the navigation system on my cell phone which got me repeatedly lost this weekend (I was "leading" the caravan of people because, after all, who needs a paper map when your cell phone can tell you how to get there? -- 5 U-turns later, we turned it over to the paper map) is also "Web 2.0", it still needs some work.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Late to the game, but still unbelievable . . .

Yes, this story is nearly 4 months old now. Yes, I am just now discovering this. Yes, I am pissed off at my alma matter. Here is the official account of how and why this year's edition of what has evidently come to be known as the "Calvin Spoof" -- i.e. the Bananer progeny -- was nixed by the Calvin administration (or, at least, the "Student Life Committee").

Although I strongly suspect that there were not wholesale expulsions as a result, the would-be spoofers have e-published their work (the Cliche) here. Over the top? Cross the line? In my estimation, probably. Should the Calvin administration have the right to just cancel the project because they don't like the content (the required editorial changes were such that cancelation was the net effect)? I'd say no. That said, I've never understood the funding mechanism for this. I always thought that these Calvin Spoofs were privately funded; or, at least, I always believed that they should be privately funded to avoid this very problem. If they aren't, and if Calvin has been footing the bill for the Calvin Spoofs (which is a funding situation just begging for this type of "incident"), Calvin should be able to weight the likely alumni reaction versus the likely student body reaction and do what it wants with its money. But, assuming a non-Calvin funding source, the administration's meddling is inexcusable. There are any number of ways Calvin could have distanced itself from the publication short of forbidding publication in the first instance, and as an institution constantly struggling to maintain a balance between academia, its religious tenets, and its relatively diverse alumni, Calvin is certainly no stranger to engaging in the politics of perception. This is just something I didn't think I'd ever see, and really, strangely, it's a little bit, well, embarassing.