Art Walk Thursday:
vs. the Matador
CoCA (pioneer square)
If you want to buy gifts and help raise a little for independent vendors and the Low Income Housing Institute:
Punk Rock Flea Market
Sat, December 4
City Arts Best of Art Walk wrap party
If you want to have something considered for the Blackburn List you can email Anne [...]
SNOW (an immersive exercise in perspective and traction)
Below Freezing – Gage Academy
Flood – Gallery 4Culture
Steambot – Kirkland [...]
What a difference a decade makes.
In reading Helen Milner’s 2006 article The Digital Divide: The Role of Political Institutions in Technology Diffusion I was initially struck by the fact that her thesis was based on information collected between 1991 and 2001. This was worrisome because most observers agree that evolutions in technology, are extremely rapid. Not too far into my reading, I noted a couple of other problems in Milner’s analysis.—first among these was the idea that the Internet is in itself a single technology. Secondly, she seems to use China as an example of internet adoption in contradictory ways.
First the tech analysis.
Despite our common tendency to express our activities in online communications and computing as being “On the Net”, the Internet isn’t a single technology. Never has been. Many of us use the term internet or just the “net” when we are talking about all sorts of activities that we do when we are “online”—email, look at web sites, using search engines, transfer files over FTP, share files on peer to peer networks or play video games to name just a few. These activities were common by 2001 when Milner’s data set ends.
Many of these activities shared a common foundation technology—TCP/IP protocol. TCP/IP is the backbone of the HTTP system of transferring and receiving information over the internet, but each of these different uses had (and still have) a discreet technological system that counts as a unique technology in itself. Today we have even more advanced technologies online that might still be based on TCP/IP but are even more technologically distinct than before: shared document resourcing (cloud computing), social network systems (Facebook), content management systems (blogs) and mobile application systems (iOS and Android). Yes, they still make use of the internet, but they are technologically so advanced from the basic internet of the 80’s and 90’s that I believe that they are new technologies all together.
Mobile access to text,VOIP and the internet in particular is so transformational that it almost completely negates the use divide that Milner’s article states in her thesis—that political regimes drive or control internet access as much as, or even more so, than technological development. Just look at the prevalence of mobile users in parts of the world that were/are underdeveloped. In particular the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have benefitted from the spread of mobile telephony and mobile access to online networks. In China and India in particular this has increased access to various technologies that were once limited to TCP/IP access over established phone networks and then hard wired broadband systems. Wireless mobile has made the reliance on wired telephone networks not essential to growing internet use among citizens.
Continue reading Digital Divide or Something Else?
Location, location, location,
Is the old adage about real estate also true for politics? Recently the discount retail giant Costco Corporation sponsored an initiative to privatize liquor sales in Washington State. I-1100 would have allowed stores like Costco to directly negotiate with liquor manufacturers for bulk purchases of liquor and then sell liquor directly to its customers. [...]
We can thank Sir Humphrey Appleby of “Yes Prime Minister” for this humorous demonstration of how polling data can be manipulated to produce predetermined results. Sir Humphrey’s fictitious example aside, political polls are an important part of both political campaigns and political journalism. Because of their central role in American politics the need for solid data [...]
The Blackburn List for 11.8.10 [...]
In reading Howard Rheingold on Mobile Media and Political Collective Action, I am intrigued by his assertion that the rise in mobile phone usage has reshaped the way that certain collective groups can mobilize in support of direct political action. Rheingold uses secondary sources to illustrate how citizens armed with mobile devices can perform certain [...]