I Like Email

It is pretty commonplace for someone to bemoan how terrible email is today.

I’m not one of those people. I happen to like email quite a bit. Actually, compared to above, I’d ask if maybe we shouldn’t be fired instead of email. Maybe we, as a hypothetical manager of email, should be fired for being a bad manager of said email.

Email can definitely be unwieldy, but I look at it a lot like notifications on smart phones or answering cell phones or watching television or … most things where we can get obsessed with.

Email is asynchronous, open, distributed, and reliable. It is cheaper and easier than a hand-written letter (so it can be used in many more instances) and you can control it by turning things off.

Today, however, you do need to manage email more than when it was not as ubiquitous. This might mean being more careful with where you hand out email out, using the SPAM reporting functionalities, and maybe filtering some of the emails.

I don’t, however, think that is too much to ask.

I like email and I am glad it is going to stick around.

openSUSE Tumbleweed gets GNOME 3.16

The openSUSE project announced that GNOME 3.16 would be making an appearance in the next Tumbleweed snapshot … and this morning that snapshot dropped.

I’m at work right now so I don’t have much time to dig into things, and I’m sure there will be some “burn in” time to get everything square away, but I’m excited about this release as it marks the first update to the theme since GNOME 3.0.

I highly recommend openSUSE for anyone looking for a Linux development platform. It is a great community and there are many exciting announcements coming down the pipe for the future!

No Data is Better than Bad Data

That single tweet set my mind off as I thought through what it could all mean.

First I tweeted:

Then I ended with:

With that last tweet I’ll go even farther.

Using bad data (unstructured would be a form of bad data) can be a very bad thing. Many times decision makers will use data as a “get out of thinking” card. It can allow people to pass off the responsibility of thinking through decisions because they can declare “we just went with what the data told us” if things don’t turn out in the end.

In those situations, bad data can kill a business or organization. Don’t rely on data to do the thinking for an organization. It is but a single signal and it can be bad.

Technologically Skeptical

Prof. James Carlovsky shared iPads, Hotels, and Learning on his Twitter feed today. I think the article is worth a read, so go ahead and take a look. The real “meat” of what I enjoyed comes from the comments.

Here is my favorite so far:

“I maintain that those of us that work at the intersection of technology and education have to be the most critical about edtech.”

In theory, that is true. In practice, I rarely see it though it is badly needed. One of the primary roles of the edtech spokespersons I see has been a form of cheerleading that often employs demands for unquestioning adherence to the dogmas proclaiming the inevitability of online displacement of all semblances of traditional pedagogy. Those of us who actually dare to question such revealed truth are often proclaimed technological blasphemers: Luddites. Welcome to the 12 Step Group for once valued educators cast into outer darkness.

Those same attitudes exist in the great technology community, not just in education. “Everything is going to be in the cloud” exclaims one without thinking through what that might actually mean for how work gets completed and, sometimes more important, what skills are now outsourced and allowed to atrophy.

I work with technology every day and I think it is a great idea to always stay skeptical.

I am worse at that than many.

Interesting Keyboard

At Apple’s recent keynote, there were a number of interesting announcements from the fruit company around a number of their product lines. The focus, rightly so, is around Apple Watch for now, but it is the newly announced redesign MacBook keyboard that has me the most intrigued.

I’m not a keyboard aficionado, but it is something I constantly use every day. I use Apple’s keyboards, Microsoft’s latest Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop Keyboard & Mouse, and Lenovo’s last-generation keyboard on the ThinkPad X220 and have never been able to settle on a single model or type of keyboard.

The smaller distance, larger keys, and metal click all makes the MacBook keyboard one of the most interesting. Most of what I use right now uses the scissor mechanism and the new butterfly mechanism looks to be a marked improvement in many key areas.

So I’ll wait and play with one at a store in the future. Whether Apple brings this new mechanism to the rest of their line, I am not sure.