Sunday, January 23, 2011

Am I the only one sick of updates and upgrades?

I've been labelled an "early adopter" - I've often had and used technologies before most people - motivated by the fear of being the last, so why not be first?  I work hard - with only the advice of Victor far away in Dubai - to stay on top of tools and technologies.  But I have to say - it is really hard and often I am driven to absolute distraction by forced updates and upgrades - FORCED because you get half way through an updating process and realize you need to also upgrade at substantial cost and/or inconvenience. Two examples from this weekend alone:

MobileMe - some cloud computing service from Apple - demanded that I update my method of payment - new country, new credit card.  So in the process, I found I was expected to add new apps and spent time doing that on my Macbook Pro so that I could make the necessary changes on my iPod.  THEN I learned that all I had done was only valid on an iPod 4 and mine is a 3.  Get the picture?  This morning I had another demanding email from MobileMe.  Jeez....

Then I decided to buy some music from Amazon.  First I updated my account - new country, new credit card.  Then I found the music I wanted and, with one click, ordered an MP3 download.  Now remember, I've been in Saudi Arabia where there is no music, no art or drama, no theatre or laughter, no fun of any kind.  Here in Malaysia, there is an abundance of all those things.  But guess what?  MP3 downloads are only available to people in the US.  So now I wait for a CD to be mailed?  Are they NUTS????  

I cannot, at this point, even contemplate setting up my Sony eBook reader, or my Skype phone, or my Youtube camera.  We technology users are the victims of the stupidly brutish business of consumer electronics.  This really impacts on what and where universities, e.g., should invest in technology.  Anybody listening out there?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Mobile Office

Where to start being a resident futurist?  By going mobile, I think.  I've spoken to the head of ITS and I'm going to get an iPad that will, for all intents and purposes, become my office.  I plan to move around, sit down and set up all over the university.  I want to meet more people, see how things work, see where change is desirable and necessary, see who the change agents are.  Listen, learn, inspire if I can. 

Education Futurist in Residence

What is the dream job of an education futurist?  Well, find yourself living in a great city and working in a world-class university and be directed to bring about change.  No permissions required, no routine paperwork - just get into action animating change.  Success criteria?  Engaging teaching, engaged learning.  My title is Senior Advisor, Education Innovations and my job description is "shake things up."  The dream job - education futurist in residence!