Technology Changes Us

Technology Talk: Here is an interesting excerpt from David Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Carr argues, as Marshall McLuhan pointed out in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, that in the face of new technology and new media, the argument always focuses on the content, on the information that the new technology delivers, rather than on the new technology itself. As Carr explains, “The technology of the medium, however astonishing it may be, disappears behind whatever flows through it — facts, entertainment, instruction, conversation. When people start debating (as they always do) whether the medium’s effects are good or bad, it’s the content they wrestle over. Enthusiasts celebrate it. Skeptics decry it.” And this is exactly what is happening with the Internet. We’ve all heard both sides of the argument when it comes to the Web. On one side, the Internet is an invaluable democratizing resource; on the other, the Internet has changed our society for the worse, creating lazy and self-absorbed Web junkies with short attention spans. Carr’s point is that focusing on the content of the Web is missing the point. We must not forget the technology itself that is the riverbed of the constant stream of information that is always at our fingertips. “The computer screen bulldozes our doubts with its bounties and conveniences,” Carr writes. “It is so much our servant that it would seem churlish to notice that it is also our master.”  Wine & Bowties

Sharing Starbucks: Jonathan Stark has started an “experiment in social sharing of physical goods using digital currency on mobile phones” called Jonathan’s Card in which anyone can download this picture of his Starbucks card to their phones and use it to buy coffee at Starbucks. Following the “take a penny, leave a penny” model, people can also return the coffee karma by reloading the card online. You can follow Jonathan Stark on Twitter @jonathanscard to see the current balance on the card and who has contributed money. It’s a nice idea, but I wonder how nice people really are (a.k.a. how long the card will actually have a balance on it).

Without a Trace: It seems like every day a new social media monitoring service sprouts up. There are actually quite a few sites that will help prospective employees cover their tracks. It’s a bit a of legwork, but if you are that concerned about what they’ve got on you, start erasing. Just don’t forget, you are going to have to keep checking back to make sure no new info appears. Gizmodo

Blog of the Day: Need a little inner peace in your life? Zen Habits

Video of the Day: OK, I’m usually not a big baby fan, but this is pretty cute. The faces these babies make and the fact that they are just as entertained every time they get a spray to the face is pretty adorable.

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