wasting bandwidth since 1999

Tag: network

The Power of the Network

One day last week during the NECC conference, I was standing at the Ask Me table near the Bloggers’ Cafe, talking with a couple of colleagues from our overly-large school district.

twitter.jpg

Among other things, I was trying to explain Twitter to them (something I seem to be doing more and more of lately).

At one point a woman brought over a cellular wireless card that someone had left on one of the couches in the Cafe.

And under normal circumstances it would have gone to the conference lost and found, to sit in a box waiting for someone to figure out exactly where that office was in the huge convention center.

But… expensive wireless service, lounge area dedicated to bloggers… I figured the owner must be a Twitterer. So, I tossed a 140 character notice into the mix.

They may not follow me but, considering the people who hang out in that area of the hall, the number of degrees of separation between me and them was probably far less than six.

Anyway, it only took a few hours to get the card back to it’s owner.

Ok, I admit, as an example of the power of Twitter, that story doesn’t rise even close to the same level as the way the system is being used by the election protesters in Iran.

But it’s a nice little illustration of how this particular tool helps connect the members of one particular network in ways that were impossible even a few years ago.

Is That Thing a Computer?

As part of the planning for our iPod Touch experiment here in the overly-large school district we’ve been running many of the details past the Division Counsel (aka the district lawyer).

Why? Well, because… we always do that for anything out of the ordinary. It’s the American way.

Anyway, in one of the notes from the Counsel’s office she asked an interesting question: Is the iPod Touch a computer?

The query is all part of their effort to make sure that our plans keep the system in compliance with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act), a federal law dictating student technology use in schools.

So, the first reflex would be to answer “yes, the Touch (and many similar devices) are computers”.

However, after rolling the question around in my warped little mind for a while, I recalled the motto of Sun Microsystems:network.jpg

The Network is the Computer

Which is an even more valid concept today than when they first started using it in the early 90’s.

After all, it’s been a long time since a device controlled by a microprocessor was worth much without a network connection.

So, I’m going out on a limb here and change my answer: No, the iPod Touch is not a computer.

A computer is all the people you can connect to and share information with using a networked device.

Do you think the lawyers will buy that?

No, me neither.

[Network image created at Top Twitter Friends]

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