Metaverse

TCS Daily writes: “Forces are coalescing that will produce a shift comparable at least to the spread of broadband. This change will have enormous financial, cultural and political repercussions, and the most interesting aspect of the coming transformation is that it will not be some new and unexpected thing. Rather, the Web for many will become the cliched 3D virtual reality that has been so overused as a literary and cinematic devise that most of us have forgotten how compelling that vision was when it first appeared.”

Improving Presentations

David Rodgers provides some tips.

First off, and most importantly, the objective of your presentation is to in some way benefit your audience. Not you. You are not the primary focus of your presentation. Your audience is. If the audience wont like some component of your presentation, take it out. This does not mean take bad news out of a presentation, no one wants to hear that profits are down 75%, but it does mean remove the parts of the presentation that are bad.

Second, if someone can look at each slide of your presentation and get just as much out of it as if hed been in attendence, rework it. All of it. Find some better things to say or dont give a presentation.

Mobile Social Networking

Tomi Ahonen writes: “In a few years Social Networking on mobile will be bigger than such traditional media industries as hollywood or music. Get your money into it now, be part of the winners in this. This is not a hyped industry wishing to build a revenue model some day in the future. At 3.45 billion dollars, this is a VERY healthy industry today. Jump onboard!”

iTunes and iLike

WSJ (Walter Mossberg and Katherine Boehret) write:

We tested a new software program that integrates with your iTunes in an attempt to add social networking to your listening routine. This program, named iLike, comes from a company of the same name. ILike is a free download that works with iTunes running on Macs and Windows PCs, and is available starting today at www.iLike.com.

We downloaded iLike on various computers and were pleased, overall, with how it worked. It studies your entire music library and your listening — not buying — habits before suggesting related songs. It shows you what your friends are currently listening to and sets up a Web site where your music tastes are organized for others to see, encouraging social networking according to your music compatibility with other users.

TECH TALK: Good Books: The War of the World (Part 2)

Amazon.com has a review from Booklist: Ferguson’s broadest work to date, this sprawling book folds the author’s previous theories of empire and economics into an international history of twentieth-century violence. What went wrong with modernity, he asks, such that the Fifty Years War from 1904 to 1953 could be the bloodiest in history, and why did so much violence happen at particular times (such as the early 1940s) and particular places (such as eastern Europe)? To the common answers of ethnic conflict and economic volatility, Ferguson adds, perhaps unsurprisingly, the decline of empires. Consistent with Empire and Colossus, the problem was frequently that the empires of the twentieth century were too strong not to fight, but that they were too weak, as illustrated by an analysis of Britain’s reluctance to intervene in Germany before 1939. Coupled with ubiquitous and persistent notions of racial superiority and the ill-fitting contours of nation-states, the borderlands of empires–Manchuria, Poland, the Balkans–became the killing fields of the twentieth century. In chronicling what he labels the “descent of the West,” Ferguson challenges many scholars on many fronts, and deploys a broad spectrum of sources–from war novels to population data to his perennial attention to the bond markets. His ultimate conclusion–that the War of the World was the suicide of the West–is tinged with regret about what might have been, and perhaps even a Gibbon-esque anxiety about the coming Asian century.

The Guardian wrote in a review:

According to Ferguson, the 20th-century bloodbath was down to the dreadful concatenation of ethnic conflict, economic volatility and empires in decline. Despite genetic advances that revealed man’s essential biological similarities, the 1900s saw wave upon wave of ethnic strife thanks (pace Richard Dawkins) to a race “meme” entering public discourse. Across the world, the idea of biologically distinct races took hold of the 20th century mindset to deadly effect.

Tensions along increasingly conscious ethnic faultlines (in regions such as the eastern edges of Germany) frequently spilt over into conflict during periods of economic volatility. For extremities of wealth and poverty proved far more incendiary than the steady, immiserating effects of economic depression. When ethnicity and financial turbulence then occurred in the context of retreating or expanding empires – British, German, or Soviet – the capacity for bloodshed proved even greater. And, as a final thought, the 20th century witnessed not the triumph of the west, but its inexorable descent.

The Boston Globe interviewed Ferguson and had this to say in its introduction:

Ferguson maintains that the United States is unquestionably an imperial power, but because Americans don’t like to think so, the US often fails to fulfill its imperial responsibilities. One crucial case in point for Ferguson is Iraq, where, in his view, an imperial power less in denial about itself would have known that such an invasion required forethought, vast resources, and the willingness to stick around for a very long time.

The theme of empire is central to the new book, as well. Ferguson believes the real problem with an empire shows up when it declines, at which time genocidal hatred is liable to break out among the ethnic groups it had governed. That’s what happened, he argues, in the extraordinarily-often interethnically-violent 20th century, and what he worries may be underway in the Middle-East.

Here is a quote by Ferguson: The really troubling thing is that all the things that happened in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1930s and `40s could happen in the Middle East now. The ingredients are there: You’ve got ethnic and religious hatred, economic volatility, and an empire- the American empire-declining and losing control. Not a great scenario.

The past is often a guide to the future. Fergusons analysis of conflict in the previous century holds a lot of clues for what can happen next.

Tomorrow: In Spite of the Gods