Getting To Know You

Getting To Know You

This was a funny picture that my wife took today.

It is a guy sitting in the restaurant surrounded by women.

He is eating and reading.

The book is “What Do Women Want?”

What–like most men don’t have a clue how women think!

Anyway, sort of an interesting way to take a break from the workday.

Pondering the ultimate mystery men seem to want to know.

Anyway, I know what my women wants and that’s for me to take out the garbage. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

How’s This For A Two-In-One?

How's This For A Two-In-One?

CTA makes this pedestal iPad and toilet paper holder–to help you when you really need it.

Get your information and also your personal cleaning products at the tip of your fingers.

Many people like to browse, read, or otherwise entertain themselves with the iPad, now you can do it and take care of your other business too.

The CTA holder has a gooseneck so you can adjust and view at any angle, and it has a heavyweight base to keep it stable and upright.

Imagine you can even get it at Sears for just $44.32 (or the SupplyStore.com)–affordable, entertaining, and convenient.

You may also want to consider a Philips iPad Splashguard, they come in a three pack. 😉

Going To An eLibrary

Going To An eLibrary

I’ve always loved libraries–the stacks of books and periodicals–all that information (almost like being a kid in a candy store)–and the quiet space to enjoy it.

But in the digital age, where people are reading books and magazines on e-readers, news on smartphones, downloading videos with Netflix and watching shorts on YouTube–what is the new place for libraries?

Libraries will always provide a peaceful place for reading, thinking, and writing whether with hardcopy or digital media, but libraries need to meet peoples information needs, incorporate the latest technologies, and fit with the times.

The Wall Street Journal (7 February 2013) describes a new library in Texas that “holds no books”–it is all-digital–you “check out books by downloading them” to your own device or a borrowed one.

While many people still like holding a physical books or paper to read–I know I do, especially when it involves anything more than browsing online–Generation Y is comfortable for the most part getting it all digitally–and then you can electronically highlight, annotate, and share as well.

Some libraries are offering a mixture of paper and digital–actually “more than three-quarters of U.S. public libraries feature some digital books, and 39% offer e-readers for patrons to borrow.”

One of the things holding back the all digital conversion are publishers who don’t want to lose print sales, and so they won’t offer all new titles electronically or they charge more for it than for paper copies.

I envision that once we have 100% broadband penetration–where everyone in the country has Internet access–then we all can purchase or borrow the books, periodicals, music, and videos online from anywhere–in other words; libraries will become vastly virtual, instead of predominantly physical structures.

With more information online than at any library in the world, information growing exponentially, and with online resources available 24×7 (versus set hours for a brick and mortar library), it would be hard for any physical library to keep pace in the digital age.

Aside from physical libraries for traditional use, we need easy to use elibraries, where all information resources are available all the time, where students or those that can’t pay can get it for free or at an appropriate discount–and where help is just a click away.

Of course, many of us also don’t mind a hybrid solution, like being able to go online and borrow or purchase a physical edition–maybe they can just drop ship it overnight or same day is even better. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ellen Forsyth)

>Reading is Love

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http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf

What an inspiring story this week about Jim Brozina and his daughter Alice Ozma.

Jim’s wife left him when Alice was ten years old.

And when Alice started 4th grade, Jim (a retired librarian) made a challenge to his daughter to see how many nights they could read together in row–it was a way for them to spend time together and bond.

Well their “Streak” went on and on–for over 3000 nights–almost 9 years–until Alice’s first night at Rutger’s University.

Alice majored–of course–in English Literature.

And she wrote a book called “The Reading Promise” about her dad’s selfless devotion and love to her, reading every night.

I remember as a kid, the commercials encouraging reading–“Reading is Fundamental“.

Now I know that reading is not just fundamental (to learning and growth), but is also a way to love someone.

In the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, how many of us spend the time with our kids–consistently and with the utter devotion that this father did–one chapter a night, every night?

Aside from the lesson of selflessness in this story, I also see in this the message of incremental change and growth–by starting off with just 15 minutes a day and building on this incrementally, Jim and Alice were able to accomplish so much together over the years–in terms of learning and their relationship.

So while, the big blowout moments in life are significant memories for us and very often get a lot of emphasis (i.e. as in “let’s make a memory”), the day-to-day consistent building of relationships and learning, can have a truly larger than life impact over the long-term.

On a more personal note, I remember when I was debating going back to school for my MBA (while working full-time during the day), and my dad encouraged me and told me that the years would come and go regardless, but that if I made the commitment, at the end, I would have something valuable to show for it.

I listened to his advice and went to school at night for what seemed like ages for an MBA and then numerous certifications and other learning opportunities, and I am always glad that I did. Dad was right…the years pass regardless, but your hard work pays off. I will always be grateful to him for that advice and support–love comes in many shapes and sizes.

>Internet, Anything But Shallow

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Over time, people have transitioned the way they predominantly get their information and learn, as follows:

1) Experiential—people used to learn mostly by doing—through their experiences, although these were usually limited in both time and space.

2) Reading—With the printing press, doing was supplanted by reading and information came from around the world and passed over from generation to generation.

3) Television—Active reading was upended by passive watching television, where the printed word “came alive” in images and sounds streaming right into our living rooms.

4) Virtuality—And now TV is being surpassed by the interactivity of the Internet, where people have immediate access to exabytes of on-demand information covering the spectrum of human thought and existence.

The question is how does the way we learn ultimately affect what we learn and how we think—in other words does sitting and reading for example teach us to think and understand the world differently than watching TV or surfing the Internet? Is one better than the other?

I remember hearing as a kid the adults quip about kids sitting in front of the TV like zombies! And parents these days, tell their kids to “get off of Facebook and get outside and play a little in the yard or go to the mall”—get out actually do something with somebody “real.”

An article in Wired Magazine, June 2010, called “Chaos Theory” by Nicholas Carr states “even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain.”

Carr contents that the Internet is changing how we think and not necessarily for the better:

1) Information overload: The Internet is a wealth of information, but “when the load exceeds our mind’s ability to process and store it, we’re unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories…our ability to learn suffers and our understanding remains weak.”

2) Constant interruptions: “The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes out attention only to scramble it,” though images, videos, hypertext, email, IM, tweets, RSS feeds, and advertisements.

3) “Suckers for Irrelevancy”: “The stream of new information plays to our natural tendency to overemphasize the immediate. We crave the new even when we know it’s trivial.”

4) “Intensive multitasking”: We routinely try to do (too) many things online at the same time, so that we are predominantly in skimming mode and infrequently go into any depth in any one area. In short, we sacrifice depth for breadth, and thereby lose various degrees of our ability in “knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection.”

While I think that Carr makes some clever points about the dangers of Internet learning, I believe that the advantages of the Internet far outweigh the costs.

The Internet provides an unparalleled access to information and communication. It gives people the ability to get more information, from more sources, in more ways, than they would’ve in any of the other ways of learning. We are able to browse and search—skim or dig deep—as needed, anytime, anywhere.

With the Internet, we have access to information that exceeds the experiences of countless lifetimes, our world’s largest libraries—and TV isn’t even a real competitor.

At the end of the day, the Internet is a productivity multiplier like no other in history. Despite what may be considered information overload, too many online interruptions, and our inclinations to multitasking galore and even what some consider irrelevant; the Internet is an unbelievable source of information, social networking, entertainment, and online commerce.

While I believe that there is no substitute for experience, a balance of learning media—from actually doing and reading to watching and interacting online—make for an integrated and holistic learning experience. The result is learning that is diversified, interesting, and provides the greatest opportunity for everyone to learn in the way that suits him or her best.

Moreover, contrary to the Internet making us shallower thinkers as Carr contends, I think that we are actually smarter and better thinkers because of it. As a result of the Internet, we are able to get past the b.s. faster and find what we are looking for and what is actually useful to us. While pure linear reading and thinking is important and has a place, the ability online of the semantic web to locate any information and identify trends, patterns, relationships, and visualize these provides an added dimension that is anything but shallow.