Monthly Archives: November 2007

Illusion of Diffusion

An inveterate ‘early adopter’ like myself can’t help thinking that I might be arriving too late at the techno-party. While I consider myself to be moderately ‘tech-savvy’ I always have the feeling that I am missing the boat. I mean, what does it say about my level of technological prowess that my kids look at me with pity because I don’t use my mobile phone to ‘text’.

Sure, I have created this blog (thanks to WordPress) and I can tinker with HTML and CSS, but hacking and programming skills elude me. Is the world of technological innovation is passing me by?
Continue reading Illusion of Diffusion

Brighter Than Sunshine

So I sit here, desk piled high with papers to grade on one side and research notes on the other. I am tempted to dive into the papers because I know that it is the more structured, as well as the more time-sensitive, task. But I am determined to make some sense of this data and so I am steeling myself for the challenge.

Rob Kozinets was right when he warned me that the teaching would impact my research time. And it’s not just the time, it’s the space in my head. Add to that the fact that my wife is 300 miles away and you might understand that my “distraction threshold” is at an alltime low.

The youtube video is for my bride of 16 months. Thank you for your patience and understanding and “yes, I’m working on the dissertation today”.

Implicit Web: Information Voyeurism

The internet has become a wellspring of really ‘neat’ information for those of us that like to know what’s going on ‘under the surface’. For instance I have a wpstats plugin that allows me to see how many visitors I have at my blog, what browser they use, and what pages they visit. It sure beats sending out questionnaires and wading through the irrelevant, superfluous, and inaccurately self-reported information available through more traditional channels of inquiry.

Not surprisingly, there is a term for this new and valuable source of information. The newly minted term is implicit web. The following is from Wikipedia:

The Implicit Web is a concept coined in 2007 to denote web sites which specialize in the synthesis of personal information gleaned from the Internet into a single, coherent picture of user behavior. Implicit data may include clickstream information, media consumption habits, location tracking or any data generated without “explicit” input from a user. Presumed advantages of implicit data include accuracy, ease of input and comprehensiveness.

This implicit information is everywhere on the web. I have Alexa rankings and PageRank indicators on my toolbar that tell me, not only how my weblog ranks relative to the rest of the websites in the universe, but also how well any other site I visit is doing. Seller rankings on eBay alert me about who to trust and who not to trust when I am making a purchase. Statistics provided on internet forums allow me to know how long other community members have been participating in the community forum and how many posts they have contributed.

Amazon provides me with behavioral patterns of others who have sought information about books or music I am currently searching. I know about similar titles they have looked at and I am privy to their ultimate choice. (Of the users who have looked at book X, Y and Z, 73% chose to buy book X) Continue reading Implicit Web: Information Voyeurism

uPhoto: A View Behind Your Camera

ByrdMouth.gifByrdFeet.gif

A few weeks ago my daughter Lauren came to Richmond to visit. I know she wanted to see me but the big attraction was an Andrew Bird concert at Toad’s Place. Lauren is a big Andrew Bird fan and had always lamented the fact that Bird didn’t venture into the New York area. She was psyched to see the concert and told me that, once he took the stage she would be right down in front. The above pictures will give you a good idea how close she was to the stage.

I chose to remain a little away from the crush of the stage and wasn’t able to see where Lauren was. Scanning the crowd in front of me, other than dark, indistinguishable outlines of people’s heads, all I could see was the glow from the LCD screens of digital cameras and mobile phones. It occurred to me that I might be able to spot her if I could identify the LCD from her camera. A bit of a stretch I know but it got me looking at the wide variety of glowing LCD screens arrayed between myself and the stage. Continue reading uPhoto: A View Behind Your Camera