Liked Amazon and Google Are Practically Giving Away Smart Speakers. Here’s Why. (

When the world’s largest tech companies are dangling “cheap” useful devices in front of us, it’s worth keeping in mind that the true cost of smart speakers is our data, privacy, and loyalty.

Liked The evolution of the global education industry during the pandemic (

Overall, the project has revealed a particular set of mutations in the global education industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has documented some ways in which privatization of education has expanded – through increasing participation of private actors in public education – and of how commercialization of education has developed through the creation, marketing and sale of education goods and services to schools (and parents) by external providers. We understand this as a particularly intense instantiation of fast policy involving multisector actors and networks, and as an accelerated realization of sociotechnical imaginaries of a highly digitalized future of education. The shifting landscape of commercialization and privatization in education we have surveyed will require sustained attention by educators, unions and researchers to ensure that all stakeholders, and not just private or commercial organizations, can participate democratically in imagining the post-Covid future of public education.

Replied to

Just another case of mask debating?

Replied to The Harmful Impact of Audible Exclusive Audiobooks (

We are, an audiobook platform that makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through your local bookstore. We are fiercely independent and we oppose Amazon’s efforts to prevent independent bookstores and libraries from providing certain audiobooks, called Audible Exclusives.

Sadly, Audible is available in Australia, while is not.
Bookmarked The Age of Mass Surveillance Will Not Last Forever by Edward Snowden (Wired)

The power to end it is in your hands.

In a new introduction for Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Homeland, Edward Snowden reflects on the change in consciousness in the last ten years.

While the system itself was not substantially changed—as a rule, governments are less interested in reforming their own behavior than in restricting the behavior and rights of their citizens—what did change was the public consciousness.

This is something that Doug Belshaw discusses in his mapping of the internet.

In response, Snowden discusses the power of language to challenge.

You have heard that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Herein lies the folly of every system of rule whose future relies more heavily on the omnipotence of its methods than the popularity of its mandate. There were times when empires were won by bronze and boats and powder. None survive. What outlasts each forgotten flag is our greatest technology, language: the empire of the mind.

It is interesting to consider this alongside Audrey Watters’ discussion of luddite pedagogy.

Liked Building Anti-Surveillance Ed-Tech (

I don’t think that ed-tech created “cop shit” in the classroom or created a culture of surveillance in schools by any means. But it has facilitated it. It has streamlined it. It has polished it and handed out badges for those who comply with it and handed out ClassDojo demerits for those who haven’t.


Chances are, if you want to focus on the tech because it’s tech, you’re selling “cop shit.”

Liked ‘Luddite Sensibilities’ and the Future of Education (Hack Education)

A Luddite pedagogy is a pedagogy of subversion and transgression. It is a pedagogy of disobedience and dismantling. It is a pedagogy of refusal and of care. It is — with a nod to Jesse’s opening keynote — against models and against frameworks (quite literally, Luddites smash frames). It is wildly undisciplined.

I was reading about Aaron Dessner’s work with Taylor Swift and how he kept the news from his daughter. This made me think about Tom Waits and putting songs in the shed to grow and mature, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s album buried in the backyard. I wonder what other albums have been produced, but for a range of reasons, have not made the light of day?
Replied to St. Vincent & U2 Both Felt Compelled To Cover “Stairway To Heaven” (

For whatever reason, both St. Vincent and U2 posted covers of Led Zeppelin’s so-iconic-it’s-cliché “Stairway To Heaven” yesterday. It’s like the inverse of that scene from Wayne’s World where Mike Meyers is forbidden from playing the song’s intro riff in a guitar shop — just an abundance of “Stairway,” more “Stairway” than anyone needs.

Is it just me or are both U2 and St. Vincent been listening to the Arseless Chaps lately with their cover of the ‘definitive’ version of Stairway to Heaven?

Replied to The Chronovirus (

For those of us lucky and healthy enough to stay home and isolate, what the virus really destroys is our sense of time. Days feel like weeks. Months feel like seconds.

I love how Ben Folds captures the current situation:

“It used to be ‘that song is so 2008’. Now it’s ‘ugh, that song is so 10am. What are you thinking? With that old song you old man?”

Bookmarked The End of Open-Plan Everything – Walls Are Back by Amanda Mull (The Atlantic)

Where space isn’t available, or when time is of the essence, both manufacturers that I spoke with expect the partition business to attract new customers and competitors for at least the next six months to a year, if not longer. And as the country has already learned this year with faulty masks and fake hand sanitizer, pandemic panic-buying can attract some unsavory operators and pose unforeseen risks to a desperate public—even cutting into a sheet of plexiglass and bolting it to a desk or counter isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. “That acrylic gets in your skin and cuts you, and I think you’d rather get cut with glass,” said Steve Alexander, True Manufacturing’s parts-marketing manager. Walls, in all their variations, aren’t created equally: Hastily purchased panels that haven’t been properly finished at the edges, that aren’t thick enough to stand rigidly, or whose bases are too narrow for their height could cause more problems than they solve, especially in sensitive environments such as hospitals or classrooms. “You can’t have these things fall on third or fourth graders if they go back to school,” Alexander noted. “That would be a big problem.”

Amanda Mull discusses the challenges associated with breaking down years of open planned spaces. Mull explores the long history associated with the move away from secretarial pools epitomised by companies like Apple and Google, as well as the difficulties with the technology and the subsequent business models around them. She also refers to Ian Bogust’s article which also provides a useful history.
Bookmarked So Many Coronavirus Patients Don’t Get to Say Goodbye (The Atlantic)

That dying alone has been normalized, as if it were a small matter, is frightening and inhuman. The panic of the early days of the crisis could be seen as a temporary, terrible compromise. Since then, though, airlines have been bailed out to the tune of many billions of dollars, while there has been no rush to build more negative-pressure rooms, designed to circulate air out, at hospitals, which would allow for much safer visits. We still haven’t developed the infection-control protocols for visitors and built up supplies of personal protective equipment in ways that would avoid the need to completely isolate patients in the days and months ahead.

Even without all the wisdom of the ages, it takes a special kind of inattention to human suffering to not notice how unfortunate this is, that people have been left to face death alone. Some have come to fear dying alone more than the coronavirus itself.

Zeynep Tufekci reflects on dying and how many are currently being forced to say goodbye via video or not at all. Tracing death through history, she talks about the importance of the last words. This leads to her own experience of last conversation and its place within the grieving process. With so much being spent on saving other areas of society, such as bailing out airlines, when are they going to do something to allow people to properly say goodbye?

Personally speaking, I found it hard enough watching my mother pass. However, I am not sure how I would have been without those opportunities and last words. It is an important issue, especially if a vaccine is not found.

Liked How Penguin and Portnoy’s Complaint helped topple Australia’s book censorship system by Jane Lee ([object Object])

Eagle-eyed Mad Men fans might have spotted Don Draper reading Portnoy’s Complaint. The 1969 bestseller was deemed too obscene for Australian readers — but Penguin took a stand, setting up a historic showdown with a strict literary censorship regime.

Bookmarked Mystery Road offers a different model for police shows in the age of Black Lives Matter by Hannah Reich ([object Object])

Long-running TV shows have been cancelled in the wake of the wave of Black Lives Matter protests, but this Australian series offers a different model for the police procedural.

Hannah Reich discusses the problems associated with a one-side perspective of police portrayed on the screen. Shows like Mystery Road are challenging this by including more diversity within the writers’ room.
Bookmarked What if broadcasters are the source of the AFL’s image problem? by Russell Jackson (ABC)

The most perverse element of football’s television problem, coaches say, is that the solution is not more cameras, but strategic use of the two most revealing angles — behind the goals, and the lower wing camera that follows the play from side-on without zooming in.

It is from these angles alone that coaches and analysts decode, process and understand the game.

“I can understand the limitations of the 1980s and 90’s, because the fidelity of the vision was not there,” one coach says.

“But the fidelity is there now, with how good the HD and 4K technology is.

“They just need to zoom out so we can see more players, and where the guy with the ball is kicking, and what the patterns of play are. That’s what we need to see.

“In the end, fans just get used to it and cop it. And it’s disappointing, because you want the game to be shown in a better light.”

Russell Jackson looks into the history of television broadcasts. Starting with the a camera on the centre wing, Jackson explains the development and limitations of broadcasts.

What has become increasingly apparent is that TV broadcasts no longer provide anything more than basic clues to explain the outcome of each game.

He unpacks a number of scenarios demonstrating what is missed by not being there. The solution suggested is to be more strategic with the use of angles and perspectives to capture more of the periphery.

Replied to More Lessov, Less Morov (

I have previously talked about with my staff, as well as at conferences I have presented at, the 3 Russian Brothers and their Cousin. Their names being:

  • Morov. (What do you need to do more of?).
  • Lessov. (What do you need to do less of?)
  • Ridov. (What do you need to get rid of?)
  • Tossin. (What can you toss in?)

From here on in I think I will disown Tossin as we need to part ways, indefinitely. Ridov can hang around. Lessov too. And as for Morov… I’ll only be conversing with him after I have held deep and meaningfuls with his two brothers.

Here’s to doing better instead of more.

Interesting reflection Corrie. I concur in regards to patience and I only have two.

Your ‘Russian brothers’ reminds me in part of a post by Tom Barrett on innovation compression, where you need to take something away in order to add something in:

We need to avoid innovation compression by clearing the way, closing existing programmes and providing people the resources they need to make things work.

I sometimes wonder about those brothers and how much sway I have over them? As Harper Lee once wrote:

You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.

Liked The piano you played for Idiot Prayer was magnificent. Was it a personal instrument, or is this just the kind of thing people put in front of one when they go places? (

Andrew, I agree — the Fazioli is a glorious piano. Magnificent, as you say. As Herbie Hancock said about his Fazioli — that ‘one note announces the celebration of the freedom and creativity of the human spirit’. This is true. The Fazioli is warm and delicate and remarkably subtle, but has a deep, strong heart. It is full of angel tears and il sangue dei santi and encompasses the universe. It is a dream piano.And yet I wait for the day a giant removal van will pull up outside my house, my manager hanging out the passenger window, wearing a t-shirt with a piano on it, and a big smile on his face, screaming ‘Fazioli!’

Until then my little Chinese upright grins at me from the corner of my room. I walk over and sit down and I begin to play.

Love, Nick