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Month: January 2010

Making the Future

Reading about the augmented future of technical communication triggered a memory. Many years ago, when I worked at Computer Associates, they produced a product called CA-7/OLC. (I think that was the abbreviation.) It was an enhancement to their CA-7 software, which is still used for scheduling jobs on big old mainframe computers. The interface for CA-7 was, of course, the good old green screen – green text on a black background. The software came on – are you ready, kiddies – magnetic tapes. CA-7/OLC was different. The demo included a large piece of hardware that played a 12-inch laserdisk. (Gee, I forget the names of all the parts after all these years.) The product was on a PC using 3.5-inch diskettes, and the laserdisk had some additional magic not possible on the PC back then. When you ran the program, you saw the usual green-screen interface. Slightly boring, with a…

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Meditation from Reboot11

Reboot11 was my first reboot conference. It was a milestone in my life. Nothing less. As a member of the reboot book crew, I took notes on all the speakers presenting in the main hall. It didn’t take long to see a pattern emerging – there was actually a sequence to the topics. Speakers were referring to topics already raised – and building on or enhancing those topics. It was stunning to watch this happen right before me. I asked Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, the driving force behind Reboot, whether he had planned it that way when lining up the speakers. He said that if I saw it that way, then that was my contribution – interpreting the pieces brought together at Reboot. Here is what I saw emerge at the end of Day 1 of Reboot11. The Meditation We Reboot11 activists need the superpowers that let the body become all eyes.…

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Crisis Communication is Ushahidi

It began as a collaboration of journalists during the Kenyan post-election violence in early 2008. Now, Ushahidi is taking collaboration to a whole new level with the Haiti Ushahidi site. Unless you have been living under a rock the past few days, you should know that Haiti requires a massive humanitarian effort in the wake of the 7.0 earthquake on January 12. We cannot all rush to Haiti to clear away rubble to help find survivors. However, you can help through the Ushahidi and Crisis Mapping Network projects. How you – or your friends – can help The Crisis Mapping Network is defined as “Leveraging mobile platforms, computational linguistics, geospatial technologies, and visual analytics to power effective early warning for rapid response to complex humanitarian emergencies.” Ushahidi is the Swahili word for “testimony”. (Re-read the title of my blog post with that in mind.) In other words: rapid-response crisis communication.…

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