Monday, December 10, 2007

Modern Technology Encourages Group Think and Dampens Individual Creativity?

It has happened on many websites, blogs and discussion forums that I've been on. People seem to eventually say the same things, maybe with different words, but you have read it somewhere else, written it yourself or had a conversation with someone about it.

I have asked myself whether as you read and share with people if you are not taking on their ideas; if the originality of thought and ideas are not severely compromised by these interactions? I guess it is the same for song writers and other creative people as well. Access to other people's work is so easy with the internet which bombards us with videos, lyric etc and various technologies that allow unrestricted sampling and recreations. How does one ensure that others work is inspiration and not the template from which one develops his/her work? How does one create space to be or remain unique and their authentic self?

Today I listened to Pink's splendid rendition of her song Dear Mr. President and I thought well she is brave. But she probably has picked the right time to criticize the President since his ratings are at an all-time low and the War on Terror is not as popular among Americans. The Dixie Chicks on the other hand suffered from a serious case of bad timing .

Pink's Dear Mr. Presdient

But what really struck me most about Pink's performance is how remarkably similar the idea and message of Dear Mr. President is to Tanya Stephens' Turn The Other Cheek. I am not accusing Pink of copying Tanya but rather commenting on how technology now makes it really easy to do so, even when one is probably unaware that they are doing it.

Tanya Stephens: Turn The Other Cheek

We should have been so lucky when as children, my siblings and I used to write lyrics for songs from cassette recordings. Only we would find later on, that we had written completely different lyrics from the original: almost a brand new song to the same tune! The lyrics we penned and thought we heard, were often more reflective of our sensibilities, culture, outlook etc than the literal intent of original writer's.

Whatever the case may be with Dear Mr. President, I am encouraged that there are modern artists who are not afraid of doing socially conscious songs. It is good to see it aint all about booty, love lost, bling, whose bank account is bigger, who is the real gangster, player etc. I love this song and video. Go on Pink!

Saturday, October 13, 2007



Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs, has been outlining designs for a sub-$100 PC.

The laptop will be tough and foldable in different ways, with a hand crank for when there is no power supply.

Professor Negroponte came up with the idea for a cheap computer for all after visiting a Cambodian village.His non-profit One Laptop Per Child group plans to have up to 15 million machines in production within a year. A prototype of the machine should be ready in November at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunisia.

Children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa will be among the first to get the under-$100 (£57) computer, said Professor Negroponte at the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT.

The following year, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney plans to start buying them for all 500,000 middle and high school pupils in the state. Professor Negroponte predicts there could be 100 million to 150 million shipped every year by 2007


The laptops will be encased in rubber to make them more durable, and their AC adaptors will also act as carrying straps. The Linux-based machines are expected to have a 500MHz processor, with flash memory instead of a hard drive which has more delicate moving parts.

The laptop will be more rugged and flexible than ordinary ones. They will have four USB ports, and will be able to connect to the net through wi-fi - wireless net technology - and will be able to share data easily.

It will also have a dual-mode display so that it can still be used in varying light conditions outside. It will be a colour display, but users will be able to switch easily to monochrome mode so that it can be viewed in bright sunlight, at four times normal resolution.

When Professor Negroponte saw the benefits of donated notebook PCs that Cambodian children could carry around with them, he immediately set about planning the sub-$100 machines.

The project has some big-name supporters on board, including Google, which is working on thin-client applications. Thin client computing means several machines can share programs when linked up to a central "brain", or server.

Making them so cheap would mean that developing nations would be able to afford to bulk-buy them, although Professor Negroponte thinks that even $100 remains too expensive for some.
He said he is committed to the idea that children all over the world should be equipped with technology so that they can tap into the educational and communications benefits of the net.

Power is a big issue for developing nations in particular when it comes to technology, which is why the hand crank will be fitted to supply extra juice when it is needed.

By using innovative technologies, such as electronic ink displays, the MIT team thinks it can reduce power consumption even further on the computers. Such displays require very little power to work.


There have been several projects to build and distribute cheap computers for developing nations in order to close the digital divide.

A sub-£100 box, called Nivo, has been developed by UK not-for-profit group, Ndiyo. It runs on open source software and works as a thin client.

The Simputer has also been developed for developing nations. It is a cheap handheld computer designed by Indian scientists.

Source: BBC NEWS



As it always seems, there is someone in the western world who does not have to preoccupy himself with the mundane, like feeding a family and paying the mortgage and is therefore free to do something exhilarating and out of this world.

This time it is lucky Alex, an American with his camera crew, who is attempting to go around the world for free. The adventure is basically the three member crew traveling to as many countries, especially the unbeaten paths, without paying much money.

Modern internet technology through video clips and a website has made it possible for them to share almost instantaneously with the rest of the world their adventures. They also broadcast their adventures weekly, on the Early Show of ABC, the US television network.

So far the trip which started in New York City has gone through, South Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico, USVIs, BVIs and now he is in Dominica. The last four or five videos relate to Dominica. So take a peak, enjoy your lovely home and maybe you will get to see some of the interesting places Alex stops in, if you continue to follow his journey.

I find the fact that he is finding it difficult to leave Dominica, good commentary on the international transportation access situation in and out of here. It is very limited and so expensive; very difficult for someone who is traveling without money.

Around the World for Free

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fearless Shirley-Black N White Thursday

I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin. When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society it would be foolish.

I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.

Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.

At present, our country needs women's idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.

Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.

Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.

My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency.

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.

Brother Malcolm-Black N White Thursday

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

"My alma mater was books, a good library... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity."

"If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary."

"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Propositioned with corned fish

HaHa! Well I have been laughing to myself every time I remember this incident which happened almost first thing in my workday today.

I am in my office and the secretary calls to say that one of the construction workers on the project outside my office building, wants to see me. Now I parked my van sort of unusual, so I thought it was about that he must want to see me. So I let him in.

I am at this time preparing for my regular Monday morning staff meeting and would not have allowed interruptions ordinarily. But I thought just a few minutes and I would deal with this. In walks one of the workers not in usual construction work clothes but street clothes. I recognize him because every morning I come to work he makes it a point to say hi. He will walk closer to where I park just to make sure he tells me good morning.

So now I am curious to know what he wants. I see it is not my vehicle that is the concern...I am wondering maybe he has come to seek assistance under the project I manage, as that is what we improve income earning possibilities for rural producers.

I would have never have guessed what he had on his mind though. He asked, "Do you eat corned fish?" I nearly burst out laughing but I contained myself. I ask instead with a straight face "Corned fish?" And he went into a long explanation about how he catches rock fish and then cleans and salts and dries it in the sun etc. And if I would like some as he is known to do some of the best corned fish around.

This was so unexpected and as he spoke I am asking myself “Does this guy have a loose screw? Can I tell him am not interested in his corned fish and that I am quite busy? Will he lose it? Is he a stalker kind? How do I manage this situation?" I am in a strange place not home and it aint easy trying to decipher who is who in this place. Generally, Grenadians are quite friendly and hospitable people but I have been warned by they themselves to be very careful nonetheless. Grenada is changing a lot and not for the better is the general warning.

So I finally decide to tell him, yes, I would be interested in corned fish and I would buy it from him. He was not interested in taking my money for his corned fish. It was a gift from him to a nice lady. "Whey papa!" is my thought.

I eventually managed to get him to leave by telling him I was quite busy preparing for a meeting. But that was not before he made it clear however that he would like to get to know me better and whether I had kids and a few other questions? To those questions I responded by saying that he asks a lot of questions, thank you for the offer of corned fish, that I would accept the first as a gift and pay him for any more after and that I was very very busy.

After my meeting when I had had some time to reflect on the offer, I wondered how long he took to come up with that angle. I really do hope for my sake he is healthy mentally, 'cause I do not want to have any drama to deal with outside the office. I have enough at work as it is.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Haven't Been Around

I have been tres busy with a new job, planning a village reunion and renewal and maintaining a website for that effort. So I have had Zero time to do much else.

Plus the new job relocated me to another Caribbean island and Internet access at home has taken four months to get going. So it has been a no go for here. I had even forgotten my password and had to get a new one.

Well I think at the end of March I should have some time to put down some of my thoughts on things I find interesting. But I will be popping in to just make a short update like this one before that.

Well I eh even know if anybody still comes here to read but this was always more about me being forced to put my thoughts out there in an organized fashion and giving myself some much needed writing practice.