It’s been said that sub-divisions out in the ‘burbs are often named for the things they replaced. Willow Creek Estates? No Willows. No Creeks. Deer Run? No running deer, just painful repetitions of contractor contemporary architecture and sterile green lawns.
What has the staff here at The Analog Undergrounding thinking sub-divisions and errors of substitution? The newest emperor with no clothes, Social Media. No social and damn little media worthy of the name. If it really followed the error of substitution called out above there would be something about civil in the name, but that assumes a level of nuance far beyond the capabilities of the, well, um, medium. If accuracy were a thing for social media, we’d probably be talking more about anti-social media here. Continue reading
When’s the last time you looked in a mirror? When’s the last time you looked at yourself in your digital mirror? I know Facebook didn’t invent the idea of the curated self and that the Internet doesn’t know everything (including, most obviously, the basics of civil discourse). All that granted, our digital selves are becoming a larger part of who we are and it’s a part of ourselves that is as awkward and full of often un-focused energy as a stereotypical teenager. One could hope we’ll get through this awkward Digital adolescence and emerge to be more productive, well-adjusted, and… well, what? Digital Adults? What exactly would that look like? Continue reading
An anniversary slipped quietly by last fall. It happens all the time, this unremarked slipping away of the now into history and then beyond to oblivion. That’s the human story, our sorrow and our relentless glory. This was a Digital anniversary or at least an anniversary of something mostly Digital, though as I try to categorize it, I find these odd Analog feelings welling up. Pride, wonder, gratitude, nostalgia all come marching in around the details, the discrete facts of the anniversary. Perhaps this is the nature of anniversaries, a blending of the Digital and the Analog, the discrete and clearly distinguishable mixed up and wrapped in intangibles of emotion and surmise, the mere data of event purified in a crucible of context and experience to pure meaning.
This particular moment in time was the release of a software suite, WiscWorld 1.0, to the University of Wisconsin – Madison students. Continue reading
If you’ve followed this little rant for any period of time, you’ve probably noticed that I pretty regularly position Digital as something “other” from our natural world of continuous experience. One of the main indicators of that “otherness” is Digital’s DNA which breaks continuous experience into discrete segments, bit and bytes in the case of the boxes. Like any good modern, that makes me paranoid that something is getting lost on the editing room floor in between the bits and bytes as engineers decide what matters and what doesn’t.
OOOOPS!!!! Turns out there is more similarity between that Digital editing and my conception of continuous Analog experience than meets the eye. It would seem in creating our Digital spawn, we recreated or maybe just amplified, our own tendencies to edit, and edit heavily.
It would seem that selecting the royal purple robes that will set us humans apart from the beasts and various automatons of modern life is an increasingly limited game. Remember the good old days when what separated Humans from everything else was that we made tools? Oops, all kinds of animals make tools. Well, then, language, yeah that’s the ticket. Language is a uniquely human attribute that raises us up from the organic rabble. Hmmmm. No. Not only do many species have nuanced communications, but with some patience, some can even master a limited range of our vocabulary and syntax. More than we can say about ourselves for theirs. Continue reading
Quick now, dear Reader, on a scale from 1 to 10, low to high, how civilized are you?
O.k. Next question. Same scale, 1 to 10, low to high, how civilized are we? Scope doesn’t really matter. If you want to answer for your work place, your city, your country, or the whole world, it’s your choice. Got it?
Are the two numbers the same? They weren’t for me, but how can they be different? Civilization is a joint venture to which we all contribute and in which we all participate.
Reach out and touch. No, not the ATT thing. Really reach out and physically touch something! Without moving from the chair, or the couch (or God forbid, the driver’s seat) reach out and touch something. Physically touch anything that’s within reach. Done it? Good. Now stretch a bit. Find something or someone (if that’s appropriate) at the furthest extent of your wingspan. Go ahead. Reach out and touch. There. You’ve defined the full circle of your physical proximity.
Two hundred years ago, that physical circle of proximity, was, most of the time, a reasonable map of our proximity of attention as well. Oh yeah, you might have a treasured memento from the old country that pulled your thoughts there as you cradled the object in your hand. Or some guy on a horse might come rushing in with the latest news, but even then there was a pretty clear crossing of a boundary between here and there.
These days? Not so much. It’s been a slow change. First telegraph, then telephone, then radio and T.V., computers, cell phones, and the Internet all came marching in across the decades and here we are. But where is here?