On Writing about the NSA and Terrorism on September 11, 2001

As the nation tried to collect itself in the hours, minutes, and days after the terrorist attacks, our president rightfully spent a great deal of time and energy reassuring the public. What I didn’t believe, though, was the insistence that we could adequately monitor digital communications in order to find out if there were looming threats.

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Thinking Better with Machines, Part II

I’ve long ago given up arguing with people who say it’s not imperative to understand the history and philosophy of network software tools in order to use modern tools effectively. I disagree with their point of view. Certainly their lack of historical understanding doesn’t preclude them from using modern tools, but it radically decreases the […]

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Thinking Better with Machines

I’ve been teaching a version of my Introduction to Social Media course since 2002. Throughout the years, I’ve vacillated between a course on thinking and a course on building a social website. After years of experimenting, I’ve finally settled on a course that explores how we can use social technologies to think better (with a […]

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“What’s Next?”

Lately I’ve been asking myself a simple question: “What’s next?” I go through these moments of self reflection as I near the end of a large project. In this case, I’m in the final stages of rewriting Dungeons & Dreamers after several years of on-again/off-again work with my friend and co-author John Borland. The book is […]

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SXSW Accelerator: An Evolution of Business

In 2009, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive coordinators decided to carve out a corner of the conference where those people interested in start-ups, emerging technology, and entrepreneurship could gather. At the time, this wasn’t necessarily a popular move. For years the conference focused on emerging technologies, media, and creative endeavors. The thought of turning […]

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Douglas Engelbart: The Mother of All Demos

Douglass Engelbart passed away today. You probably don’t know his name but you should. He invented the computer mouse. He helped develop hypertext (those hyperlink thingies, for instance) networked computing, and pushed forward the field of human-computer interaction (that thing that helps make your computers work a little better for you.) He decided when he […]

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The Storytelling of Science

My wife and I started our Sunday off by sitting in bed, drinking coffee, and watching this. Listen to “Bill Nye, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, popular science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, executive director of the World Science Festival Tracy Day, and Origins Project […]

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A Very SXSW Interactive 2013 Recap

Every year, South by Southwest Interactive changes for me. When I first started coming in the mid-1990s, I wrote about music and stumbled upon technology. By 1998, I’d largely abandoned the music conference for what we now call Interactive. I was a journalist, then a moderator, then a panelist, and now I’m a mixture of […]

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