Demonstrations without video are pointless

Fascinating quote from the research of Tina Askanius (recommend that you check out her publications):

You cant have a demonstration without filming it. that makes it pointless… there are riots in Copenhagen, they’ll only go global if there’s video footage. Otherwise its pointless; and you may as well not bother.

I find it interesting that we move from “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Gil Scott-Heron) to “the revolution will be televised” (does this even have a source?) to the stage where it would be pointless to have a revolution if it isn’t televised.

If a revolution occurs (in the woods) and nobody sees it – does it bring about social change?

Trapped in a tamagotchi

Spent the morning doing hamster work. This is the work that takes a long time but at the end of the day you realize that you have not really produced anything. Its all important work but its not creative or productive.

  • Check & empty spam filters for mail and blogs
  • Reply to “boring” emails that have been ignored in inbox
  • Clean inbox by deleting or storing dealt with emails
  • Update blog plugins
  • Browse through the overfilled rss reader

Not really sure what this kind of work can be compared to in the analog realm – its a bit like preparing a garden after winter, pruning for growth. Well that’s a positive spin on it. Otherwise I sometimes get the impression that I am a slave to my tools. My devices and software seem to need a constant stream of update and electricity to be content enough to work.

In 1996 the Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ Co. Ltd., and Aki Maita of Bandai Co. Ltd released the Tamagotchi on the world. It was (for those who chose not to remember) a very simple digital toy that needed constant attention in order to “live”. Parents had to take their children’s devices to work with them so that the precious pieces of plastic did not die while the children where at school.

Those who were not in the craze laughed.

But today my whole digital life seems to consist of me being trapped in a tamagotchi. My devices demand attention and can be quite adamant about getting it: I once had to throw away a digital thermometer that would not stop beeping out an ice warning every 5 minutes when the temperature dropped below 3 degrees. On my phone a blue or red occasionally blinks. Its communicating with me – but nowhere in the manual does it say what the lights mean. I usually restart the phone just to stop the blinking lights. The same phone, when fully charged flashes brightly, and can wake me up in the middle of the night.

And don’t get me started on updates!! Here is the wisdom of Izzard on the topic – all to cheer us up in the midst of digital work.


8th International Conference on Human Choice and Computers
Social Dimensions of ICT Policy

University of Pretoria
25-26 September 2008

Thursday 25 September

9:00 – 9:30 Opening session
Welcome speeches by conference organizers at the University of Pretoria

9:30 – 10:30 Plenary session: keynote speech
Communication, Information and ICT Policy: Towards enabling research frameworks, Robin Mansell

10:30 – 11:00 coffee break

11:00 – 12:30 Plenary session: Issues of governance of the information society
• 15 Years of Ways of Internet Governance: towards a new agenda for action, Jacques Berleur
• Free and Open Source Software in low-income countries: emergent properties? (panel): Gianluca Miscione (chair), Dorothy K. Gordon, Kevin Johnston

12:30 – 14:00 lunch break

14:00 – 15:30 Track 1: Harnessing the empowering capacity of ICT
• Government policies for ICT diffusion and the governance of grassroots movements, Magda Hercheui
• Egyptian women artisans: ICTs are not the entry to modern markets, Leila Hassanin
• Digital divides and the role of policy and regulation: a qualitative study of Greece, Panayiota Tsatsou

Track 2: National information systems infrastructures
• Institutional strategies towards improving health information systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, Solomon B. Bishaw
• Technology, globalization and governance: research perspectives and prospects, Diego Navarra and Tony Cornford
• Globalization and national security issues for the state: implications for national ICT policies, Jackie Phahlamohlaka

15:30 – 16:00 coffee break

16:00 – 17:30 Track 1: ICT and development in Africa
• Examining trust in mobile banking transactions: the case of M-PESA in Kenya, Olga Morawczynski and Gianluca Miscione
• Next generation ICT policy in South Africa: towards a human development-based ICT policy, Walter Brown and Irwin Brown
• Challenges of ICT policy for rural communities: a case study from South Africa, Mpostol Jeremia Mashinini

Track 2: ICT in education
• A human environmentalist approach to diffusion in ICT policies, Elaine Byrne and Lizette Weilbach
• ICT and socio-economic development: a university’s engagement in a rural community in Yola, Nigeria, Jainaba M.L. Kah and Muhammadou M.O. Kah
• Lessons from a dropped ICT curriculum design project: a retrospective view, Roohollah Honarvar

Friday 26 September

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary session: keynote speech Dorothy Gordon

10:00 – 10:30 coffee break

10:30 – 11:30 Plenary session: panel on the policy implications of a UK mega-programme in the health sector
Evaluating ‘Connecting for Health’: policy implications of a UK mega-programme, Kathy McGrath (chair) Jane Hendy, Ela Klekun, Leslie Willcocks, Terry Young

11:30 – 12:30 Plenary session: panel on ICT and women’s empowerment
Gender research in Africa into ICTs for empowerment (GRACE), Ineke Buskens and Anne Webb (co-chairs), Gertrudes Macueve, Ibou Sane

12:30 – 14:00 lunch break

14:00 – 16:00 Track 1: European Union and national ICT policies
• Empowerment through ICT: a critical discourse analysis of the Egyptian ICT policy, Bernd Carsten Stahl
• American and African geospatial myths: the argumentative structure of spatial data infrastructure initiatives, Yola Georgiadou and Vincent Homburg
• ICT policy as a governable domain: the case of Greece and the European Commission, Ioanna Chini
• National variations of the information society: evidence from the Greek case, Dimitris Boucas

Track 2: Challenging two fundamental institutions of modernity: IPR and measurement
• Social networks within filtered ICT networks: internet usage within Iran, Farid Shirazi
• No-IPR model as solution to reuse and understanding of information systems, Kai K. Kimppa
• Measuring ICT for development, Anouk Mukherjee
• Open Access and Action Research, Mathias Klang

16:00 – 16:30 coffee break

16:30 – 17:30 Closing plenary session: Discussion of emerging issues on ICT policy research, Chrisanthi Avgerou (chair)

The Machine That Changed the World

Computer documentaries are usually overrated events with lots of graphical representations, big men in floral shirts and evil hackers sitting in dark basements. Thankfully not all are like this. Waxy has found a classic computer documentary. It was produced pre-web and has been difficult to find – until now:

The Machine That Changed the World is the longest, most comprehensive documentary about the history of computing ever produced, but since its release in 1992, it’s become virtually extinct. Out of print and never released online, the only remaining copies are VHS tapes floating around school libraries or in the homes of fans who dubbed the original shows when they aired.

An interesting copyright note is found at the bottom of the page:

Note: Like all the other materials I post here, these videos are completely out-of-print and unavailable commercially, digitized from old VHS recordings. If they ever come back into print, or the copyright holders contact me, I’ll take them down immediately.

While this is not in line with copyright law I salute both the sentiment and the action. What a great documentary – thanks Waxy.