Bullshit – Internet Time Blog http://www.internettime.com Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:35:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Screencast, Aha! http://www.internettime.com/2015/08/screencast-aha/ Tue, 25 Aug 2015 06:16:30 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=20255 Continue reading Screencast, Aha! ]]> Screencasts are a great way to look over someone’s shoulder remotely to see what’s happening on screen. I used to use Camtasia for this but the price tag drove me away. I used Jive instead.

Both Jive and Snagit were rendered inoperable by the latest update of Yosemite for the Mac. Recordings show a black screen with a blinking cursor. Nothing else. I and a lot of other users are ticked. Couldn’t they have alerted us?

I snooped around a little and found that you can replicate what Jive did with QuickTime. It’s built into Yosemite. The interface is primitive but it’s simple and it works. Here’s a QuickTime movie I made this afternoon:

Hacked on Skype. No collateral damage. Whew! http://www.internettime.com/2015/08/hacked-on-skype-no-collateral-damage-whew/ Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:40:07 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=20199 Continue reading Hacked on Skype. No collateral damage. Whew! ]]> skypelogoThis morning I awoke to find messages from a dozen friends asking, “Did you send me this?”

Hackers had managed to send everyone on my Skype account a link to a weight-reduction site. (“How Rachel Dropped 25 Pounds and 4 Dress Sizes!”)

I wrote everyone, “This is spam. Please don’t open it. (I wouldn’t suggest you need a weight loss program even if it’s true.)”

Opening the spam is apparently harmless. At least, it didn’t cause any collateral damage on my site.

The only positive aspect of all this is that I renewed contact with a dozen friends I hadn’t talked with in ages. Some of them have agreed to check out Aha! I received a printed copy of the latest version only yesterday.

20143444993_9b22652880_m 20141829094_f58ee02299_m


Future of Education 2020 Summit http://www.internettime.com/2015/05/future-of-education-2020-summit/ Sun, 31 May 2015 16:38:48 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=20049 Continue reading Future of Education 2020 Summit ]]> mastheadcollegesiloAt a Stanford education conference this morning, speakers made presentation after presentation without once involving the audience, not even asking for questions. For the first couple of hours there was zero audience participation. Finally, following a panel session, we were invited to stand at a microphone if we had questions. Naturally, I was first in line.

I explained that I came to this event as an outsider. I am not an academic. In fact, my corporate title is “Chief Unlearning Officer.” A speaker had mentioned silos, referring to departments at schools. I said I felt like I was in a college silo. It’s as if the world outside didn’t exist.

Take STEM (Science, tech, engineering, math). All of these folks are vitally interested in STEM. After all, that’s what the Gates Foundation, the NSF, and the other benefactors are paying them hundreds of millions to produce. I said I don’t get it. The shelf life of STEM knowledge is about the same as for French mustard, several years. After that, the mustard begins to smell funny and the STEM knowledge is obsolete.

I didn’t mention my suspicion that STEM dumbs down education. It’s explicit knowledge. Life’s grand lessons are largely tacit. Besides, isn’t STEM often the algorithmic knowledge that robots are going to being doing in a few years? When that happens, lots of STEM grads may find themselves in the position of John Henry, the steel-drivin’ man. Nobody here was talking about liberal arts and continuing the culture.

Consider the role of STEM education in someone’s career arc. A career is a marathon. College teaches people to run the first 100 yards. Running the rest of the race is the individual’s problem.

“But we are working with industry,” replied the panel. Oh yeah? People have been touting big data as the ultimate quality control and planning tool in education. Are any of you looking at big data on people outside your walls? Correlating education with what happens after graduation? No; it’s a closed system.

Big data can help Arizona State University refine their algebra course to near perfection, but unless they go off campus to look at the world of work, no data will tell them whether algebra is worth studying at all. (I love Roger Schank’s putdown of the quadratic equation. When’s the last time you had to solve for AX2 + BX +C = 0?)

How’s the water?

It was troubling to hear one person after another lecture about learning more about how people learn whlle violating most of the principles we already know. Aside from the Push format, problems included no hashtag, no Tweeting, no backchannel, no power outlets, inoperable wi-fi (for me, at least), slow wi-fi at the podium cut several presentations short, weak visuals overall, and no encouragement to network online (although many probably already know one another). I don’t know how someone as astute at Peter Norvig could sit through an entire day of this stuff.

A few highlights. The president of Capella talked of converting their curriculum to competencies. Competencies can be counted up after the fact to give credit for courses. I suggested he wasn’t going for enough. Who needs courses? He wisely pointed out that accrediting bodies have a fixed mindset on this one.

Arizona State has put an entire first year curriculum on line. For free. Pass a course, no matter how many tries it takes, and you can pay a fee for credits. He sees no reason the entire four years shouldn’t go online this way. (And the guy from Capella suggested that as in the UK, we could probably have three-year bachelor degrees without losing that much.)

True to form, the LMS vendor supporting the show twisted the definition of “informal learning” so it could claim to have some:


What’s informal about purpose-built content? Most people probably missed this because next up was a hip-hop singer who claimed to be a customer of the LMS (he lists his tracks there). Naturally, he had put together a song for us. As he began his incomprehensible lyric, the batteries on my hearing aids ran out and I bailed out from the event.

The other attendees seemed quite satisfied, even impressed. “Brilliant presentations.” I guess events like this are de rigueur.

The Stanford campus is beautiful, the weather cooperated perfectly, and nobody was keeping score.


San Francisco, open your golden gate… http://www.internettime.com/2012/09/san-francisco-open-your-golden-gate/ Fri, 07 Sep 2012 08:19:54 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7292 Continue reading San Francisco, open your golden gate… ]]>

I cannot imagine missing the Singularity Summit. It will take me 45 minutes to get there from my house (thanks to public trans).

October 13-14th, 2012 in San Francisco.

Put this in your stash — mp3s of brilliant people selling inspirational ideas. That’s a recording of every Singularity Summit from the beginning, in 2006. I remember sitting in the second row at that one. Frame-changing insights. Interspersed with a few odd balls.



Internet Time Alliance Retreat http://www.internettime.com/2010/06/internet-time-alliance-retreat/ Sat, 05 Jun 2010 16:18:39 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3906

Internet Time Alliance directors Jane Hart and Charles Jennings with new company car. Salisbury, Wiltshire, U.K.

Ningcompoops http://www.internettime.com/2010/05/ningcompoops/ http://www.internettime.com/2010/05/ningcompoops/#comments Tue, 04 May 2010 23:12:15 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3882 Continue reading Ningcompoops ]]>

I can see why Gina Bianchini resigned. This is not the deal we signed up for at all. From $0 to $50/month? I don’t think so.

This is the email I received today:

    Hi Ning Network Creator!

    As you may have already heard, we’re going to be making some big changes at Ning over the course of the next two months. We’ll be phasing out our free service so we can focus our attention on pleasing our most passionate and successful Network Creators – people like you. You can read more at http://about.ning.com/announcement

    As members of the Strategic Relationships team, we wanted to send you a personal introduction and let you know that we’ll be here over the coming months to discuss these company changes with you and help you transition seamlessly into an offering that works for you and your Ning Network.

    We realize that you’ll have a decision to make about how to proceed with your Ning Network and which pricing plan will work best for you, and we are here to help!

    If you would like us to reach out to you to address any question you have, please take a quick minute to fill out our brief contact form. A member of the Strategic Relationships team will make sure to get in touch with you as soon as possible to discuss your options, answer your questions and help guide you in the right direction.

    In order to help process requests as efficiently as possible, we ask that you please fill out this contact form no later than May 14, 2010. Click on the link at the bottom of this email to complete the form.

    Thank you!

    The Ning Strategic Relationships Team:

    Charles Porch
    Jonathan Hull
    Peter Slutsky

Ning Mini
The simplest and fastest way to set up a social network for your classroom, community group, small nonprofit or family
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The tools and features you need to build and grow a branded social network with high engagement – an incredible value at a great price
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or $19.95/year* (save 44%)


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Features include blogs, photos, forum and video embeds Full feature set including events, groups, chat, pages and Ning Apps Full feature set plus video and music uploads and branded players
Simple customization options Advanced customization options including CSS, Javascript and the Language Editor Advanced customization options, plus the API access upgrade when launched
Includes run your own ads Includes run your own ads, use your own domain and remove Ning links Includes run your own ads, use your own domain, remove Ning links and add storage and bandwidth
Community-based support Help Center support Premium support

* One-time annual pricing

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Snake Oil 2.0: Lipstick on a pig http://www.internettime.com/2010/04/snake-oil-2-0-lipstick-on-a-pig/ http://www.internettime.com/2010/04/snake-oil-2-0-lipstick-on-a-pig/#comments Sat, 10 Apr 2010 19:44:11 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3795 Continue reading Snake Oil 2.0: Lipstick on a pig ]]>

Several large LMS companies added “informal learning” to their sales shticks this week. One says “All documents accessed can be tracked as informal learning events.” (Documents are events?) Another firm claims to have added a “social learning platform layer that enables customers to securely empower their employees to find, create and share knowledge assets and expertise with their colleagues as they leverage an extensive” online book collection.

Tony Karrer picked up some of the disconnects in a post entitled Social Learning Tools Should Not Be Separate from Enterprise 2.0. Read the comments to get the full flavor of the argument.

Xyleme‘s Dawn Poulos points out:

If we look beyond our training silos for just a bit, we’ll see that that big social implementations are actually taking place outside of the training department. These implementations span multiple business units, functions, geographies, etc., have huge user communities and encompass social learning activities such as employee on-boarding, internal collaboration and expertise location. Rarely are these initiatives driven by the training organization. So, it’s perplexing to see why training yet again wants to separate itself from the enterprise and use their own set of social tools. This only serves to marginalize the training department even further.

Dan Pontefract, over at TELUS, puts it succinctly:

This is why we need to federate the LMS into the ‘collaboration’ platform, be it Jive, SharePoint, Connections, Confluence, whatever. Once we do this, we can link in the formal content/registrations with the social connection side of the E2.0 platform. I don’t want the LMS as the place whereby social interaction takes place – that’s just ‘lipstick on a pig’.

One naive ID blogger praised informal learning and wrote “Here is one awesome presentation about this very type of learning and steps organizations can take to organize their informal learning.” Unfortunately, she points to Articulate’s witty April Fool’s Day spoof.

(It’s a joke.)

I’m delivering a presentation on The Cluetrain Manifesto at the Swiss eLearning Conference next week. I suggest LMS vendors catch the Cluetrain in time. Here’s how The Cluetrain Manifesto begins:

people of earth…

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.roadkill

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.

But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

While many such people already work for companies today, most companies ignore their ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it.

Informal Snake Oil

What really is informal learning?

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Parasites & scumbags http://www.internettime.com/2010/03/parasites-scumbags/ Wed, 31 Mar 2010 06:09:07 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3775 Continue reading Parasites & scumbags ]]>
This evening I received an email offering me a free stolen copy of my book on Informal Learning.

I belong to a site called WoT, for “Web of Trust.” Celebrating its 10th birthday, WoT has a significant following:

    Number of rated sites: 26,776,620
    New this month: 508,265
    Number of dangerous sites: 3,017,017
    Number of comments: 6,127,216

WoT warns you away from malicious sites.

I get no joy from hurting people, even those with larceny in their hearts. So if you’re tempted by the offer of a “free” book, be aware of WoT’s ratings for its source:

Building organizational capabilities http://www.internettime.com/2010/03/building-organizational-capabilities/ Sun, 14 Mar 2010 00:53:42 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3705 Continue reading Building organizational capabilities ]]>

McKinsey Quarterly is a great online publication. Astute. And partly free.

This month McKinsey reveals the results of a global survey on building organizational capabilities.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey1 say that building organizational capabilities such as lean operations or project or talent management is a top-three priority for their companies. Yet only a third of companies actually focus their training programs on building the capability that adds the most value to their companies’ business performance.

We defined a capability as anything an organization does well that drives meaningful business results.

Further, some three-quarters of respondents don’t think their companies are good at building the capability that is most important.

So far, so good. Now, for the sand in the Vaseline,

Lack of alignment

Despite the importance of capability building on the strategic agenda, executives’ responses indicate they’re not very good at executing: only about a quarter think their companies’ training programs are “extremely” or “very effective” in preparing various employee groups to drive business performance or improve the overall performance of their companies (Exhibit 2).

Calling Bob Mager.* Why do the execs think a flaw in their culture is a training problem? You no more use training for culture change than you’d use Google to learn to swim.

What else goes wrong

Companies also struggle to measure the impact of training on business performance: 50 percent of respondents say their companies keep track of direct feedback, and at best 30 percent use any other kind of metric. In addition, a third of respondents don’t know the return on their companies’ training investment. Because companies don’t know the impact of training, they appear to set their agendas using different measures, including prioritizing by employee role, which may not actually result in the most impact to the bottom line.

This is piffle. If a company wants to know whether its training is effective, it needs to talk with a sample of employees to find out if the learning is showing up on the job. It should check with supervisors to find out if workers are performing better. Besides, business people bet on uncertainty all the time. What’s the value of a CEO brought in from the outside? Which ad dollars drive sales?
* Mager famously asked, “Could he do it if you held a gun to his head?” If he could, you’ve got a motivation problem, not a training problem.

Schlockly service at Warmart http://www.internettime.com/2010/01/schlockly-service-at-warmart/ Sun, 24 Jan 2010 05:56:53 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=3536 Continue reading Schlockly service at Warmart ]]>

A friend gave my wife two $50 VISA debit cards from Walmart. Supposedly as good as cash, the cards are actually issued by General Electric Credit.

When we tried to buy $95 worth of electronics at Walmart in Mountain View this afternoon, the cashier said the cards were unreadable. Had we made purchases on them? No, we had not. Well, we couldn’t use them. We asked to her to call the store manager.

A flustered customer service rep arrived. She couldn’t find the manager. In time, she called in the card numbers on her cell and told us each card had a balance of $48.12. (GE charges monthly interest on these cards!) However, our cards were no good; perhaps we should call the bank.

We said we didn’t want to call a bank. Walmart sold the cards. They knew they were worth $96.24. Walmart could call the bank.

She said friends had warned never to buy these cards. The woman behind us in line said the same thing had happened to her but shehad just let it slide.

The customer service rep found a superior who said they could exchange the cards for Walmart Gift Cards. Okay. Twenty minutes later, maybe thirty, we received the gift cards. The superior told us “These Debit cards are a lot of trouble.”

Why, then, does Walmart continue to sell them?

Perhaps to get into the banking business through the back door. In mid-2007, MSNBC reported:

Wal-Mart, furthering a lucrative push to offer financial services to its customers, will sell prepaid Visa debit cards that would allow millions of low-income shoppers who don’t have bank accounts to keep up with an increasingly cashless society.

Wal-Mart is following other retailers who hope to tap into a large pool of consumers who deal mostly in cash, but want the convenience of plastic. As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart would be able to reach an enormous number of those consumers.

Three months after dropping a bid for a bank license, the world’s largest retailer said Wednesday it will add hundreds of in-store centers to bundle the financial services it already offers, such as payroll check cashing and money transfers.

On the web, I found these complaints:

I tried customer service to no avail. I cannot speak to a rep. Where is the $27.34. It says I will get charged if I speak to a real rep. I could not even find a way to do that.”

“Try GE MONEY BANK website and tells me to go to Walmart.com then walmart tells me to go to the company that issued the card. DO NOT BUY THE WAL-MART VISA GIFT CARD EVER.”

“When I checked the balance, it said $0.00. I was able to view past transactions and pending transactions online, but there were none, so I do not believe that I was given a used gift card.”

If this is representative, I hope these guys never get a banking license.