Tag Archives: Clay Shirky

Episode 18: Secondhand TV

Lonely: Abandoned TV

We are back to our normal episode style of talking about several topics, and this week’s episode is truly a potpourri.

We kick off by chatting about the Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s a really great idea, and could truly make an impact in people’s lives. This gets us thinking about what other common household appliances need a tech and design makeover. This leads us to discover that we have the same crappy Cuisnart coffee maker.

Political trickster James O’Keefe is at it again, this time targeting Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky. We discuss how O’Keefe is not a journalist, and then we discuss journalism bias. We have advice for O’Keefe.

What O’Keefe really needs is an editor. He needs someone to say, “this isn’t worth doing,” or “this isn’t worth running,” or “this will hurt your credibility.” A good editor, even one as biased as O’Keefe would have told him that his latest piece was stupid, boring and was going to cause people not to take him seriously.

We then discuss how the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that children under the age of two should not view glowing screens — TVs, computers, iPads, smartphones, etc. No Sesame Street. No Baby Einstein. Not even “secondhand TV.”

But this is isn’t so black and white. Jeremy wonders whether not allowing his children to use computers, tablets and smartphones until they are older may put his children at a disadvantage compared with other children who were allowed to experiment. And when you watch a video like this, you can’t help but think that using certain glowing devices is a much different experience than watching a TV.

Listen to this week’s show:

 

Download the MP3

Show notes:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat — This is the kind of device that helps make technology usable.
  • Rosen, Shirky targeted by O’Keefe — James O’Keefe tries to do another deceptively edited gotcha piece. This time, however, it comes off as really dull.
  • No TV for you (youngins) — The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no glowing boxes — TVs, iPads, laptops, smartphones, etc. — for children under the age of 2.

Shirky: The new news environment needs to be chaotic

Clay Shirky is out with another great blog post. Particularly interesting is his view that news needs to be free — for democracy, for society, for openness:

And news has to be free, because it has to spread. The few people who care about the news need to be able to share it with one another and, in times of crisis, to sound the alarm for the rest of us. Newspapers have always felt a tension between their commercial and civic functions, but when a publication drags access to the news itself over to the business side, as with the paywalls at The Times of London or the Tallahassee Democrat, they become Journalism as Luxury. In a future dominated by Journalism as Luxury, elites would still get what they need (a tautology in market economies), but most communities would suffer; imagine Bell, California times a thousand, with no Ruben Vives to go after the the politicians.

Imagine other vital information not being free — to consume or spread. We once had a world like that. For better and for worse, the Internet has broken up the old models of publishing, but in the end it has unleashed knowledge.  We need new news model that will allow journalism and information to flow freely.

Paywalls will lead to ignorance and corruption. Is that really what news organizations want to foster?