4 posts categorized "2009"

January 04, 2010

"The iPhone and IED rule the Age of Asymmetry"

Mobile phone in Iran

For years I've disliked the notion that the world is flat; it's often just been another one of those generalisations that make keynote speeches and newspaper articles punchy but which, in the cold light of day, clearly doesn't stand up. Andrew Sullivan came up with another term, which carries much more meaning, in his superb Sunday Times piece on how exactly the world may have flattened in some areas, and what it actually led to over the past, bloody decade:

The forces of order simply could not keep up with the alternately empowering and terrifying new modes of communication and technology. This new flat world made Al-Qaeda possible, but it also made Iran’s green revolution viable. It made the iPod ubiquitous but also the IED. It made global security like Microsoft, constantly fending off viruses; and it made insurgency like a million iPhone apps — nimbler, faster, more inventive and more lethal. It made self-defence as much about self-restraint as shock and awe, as much about the silent, incremental avoidance of catastrophe as any victory on a battlefield.

Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times

Jeremy Clarkson in the same 'paper shows his admiration for how far we've come, even if he feels the march of progress is lost in a digital puddle. In the next decade I hope that technology continues to take us further and in directions we didn't even know we wanted life taken in. It's exhilarating, entertaining, informative, helpful for making us do more, quicker, and satisfies, no, indulges our needs as social animals.

Technology is for life what Peavey was for rock and roll: the ultimate amplifier.

Picture from Hapal

January 01, 2010

2010: The system's not changing fast enough and it no longer matters

Will Richardson publishes his hopes and expectations of how much actual change will happen in schools over the next decade. He feels, along with many others I'm sure, that things have moved too slowly this past ten years, and that by 2020 we shouldn't hold our breaths too much: the political system is broken, the education system not ready to prepare our youngsters, contriving against innovation even. He may have a point, but I'm more hopeful, more optimistic. Something is true in 2010 that was not true in 2000. As Seth Godin puts it:

The problem is no longer budget. The problem is no longer access to tools.

The problem is the will to get good at it.

Happy New Year 2010 from Edinburgh

Thanks 2009 for a happy daughter and saintly wife, a job that didn't exist two years ago, and the chance to try something new. Thanks for a new home and to all of those who've helped keep the roof over our heads and keep our plates full.

2010, a decade for which we still have no name: a true blank sheet of paper where anything is possible if you make it happen. With Edinburgh's amazing Hogmanay fireworks over the Castle, I bid you a Happy New Year!

* Thanks to BBC Scotland for the video clip [and not, in this season of goodwill, sending a take down order too soon], and to, well, me and my fellow Edinburgers for the over-the-top Council Tax contributions that paid for the big bangs. ;-)

December 13, 2009

Extreme Commuting: 2009 Travel in Review

Ewan McIntosh Travel Map 2009
Doing anything three times or more on a blog almost makes it annual custom, so I wasn't going to disappoint. This year's travel was about 50% less in mileage than in 2008: 41,902 miles compared to 2008's 82,000 miles or so. But the map's not a global one. It's highly localised. Something's up.

While fewer miles have been flown, most of this travel has been done in what Mark Penn spotted a decade ago and coined as "Extreme Commuting". That is, I've been one of a couple of hundred people who regularly make the commute from Scotland to London each and every week for work, often coming back within 18 hours of leaving home. It's a trend that, thankfully, is becoming less and less common as companies feel the economic pain of sending someone around the world for face-to-face time. In January I noticed that my plane was less about 30 suited and booted regulars from the previous six months. By August, they had been replaced by tourists filling up cheap seats on their way home to the States and the Far East.

Extreme commuting is tiring by its regularity, bad food at weird times, and the sneaking suspicion that your constantly stuffed-up nose is related to the circulated air you consume four times a week. You feel hungover for the day before and after your extreme commute, regardless, I'm afraid to say, of how much fun with a bottle of shiraz you have actually had.

Heading into the new year, I'm not sure the amount of travel will decrease too much, but it will be on longer adventures, to hotter places, and just a few of them. Some of them, dear reader, might even be to see you. Bring on 2010.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

Ewan’s education keynotes & MasterClasses

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Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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