the forty-second parallel

A Pointable Me?

Craig Mod

It’s not about content being free or not, it’s about content existing or not. Can I point? No? Then it’s kinda not really there.

From the third of a three part series exploring what content publishing means in an age of publishing platforms (ie. iOS apps). I think it applies equally to content “published” on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

To a certain extent you can point to content on these platforms, but how long does that content exist? All those baby pictures that once had permanence in photo albums and shoeboxes, now only exist as long as it is useful for companies to sell your personal information to advertisers. I’ve long wondered to what capabilities someone like Facebook has for mining photos beyond the obvious EXIF data.

What happens when providing access to those photos costs Facebook more than you’re worth to advertisers? Think that doesn’t matter or isn’t likely to happen? A lot of people probably thought the same thing about Delicious.

Granted, a large portion of what we are creating and sharing today won’t ever be worth looking back at. But even so, I don’t think that means giving away our identities to whomever makes it most convenient.

And therein lies the rub – sharing baby pictures on Facebook is very convenient, not to mention a heck of a lot easier than setting up your own photo sharing system with restricted user access, commenting, sharing, etc.

(A quick aside: If there was an equivalent free, turnkey, self-hosted system, it would preclude such technical knowledge that 99.99% of people could never use it. And those that possessed the requisite knowledge would have to give up the easy Facebook integration that thousands of apps and websites provide.)

We as technologists, with an unreal access to computing power, have mostly failed to build systems and products that enable people to do what they want as simply as possible – and the companies that are doing the best job at that are making a killing in the marketplace.

Is a self-determined online identity even possible for the average person without the likes of Facebook and other third-party services? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth thinking about.

Posted on April 29th, 2012 | Culture, Life in General

Contextualization

Mark Driscoll:

Every church and ministry contextualizes. The question is what culture and which year?

Posted on July 27th, 2011 | Culture, Jesus, The Gospel

God’s Grandeur

Gerard Manley Hopkins

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

(HT Jared Wilson)

Posted on June 29th, 2011 | Nature

On Distraction

Alain de Botton:

One of the more embarrassing and self-indulgent challenges of our time is the task of relearning how to concentrate. The past decade has seen an unparalleled assault on our capacity to fix our minds steadily on anything. To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible.

Posted on June 8th, 2010 | Culture

We Drift in Other Ways

D.A. Carson:

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

Posted on June 8th, 2010 | Jesus, The Gospel

None of those things works

Robert Farrar Capon:

[Jesus] did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works … Jesus came to raise the dead.

Posted on April 6th, 2010 | Jesus

What You’re Paid For

Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

Knowledge workers believe they are paid to be effective, not to work 9 to 5.

Posted on January 17th, 2010 | Work

Meetings: The practical alternative to work.

Tempted to post this on my office door:

Meetings: The practical alternative to work.

(via 37signals)

Posted on December 9th, 2009 | Life in General, Work

There’s No Step Three

Jared Wilson:

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (and your neighbor as yourself).

Do what you want.

In that order.

You could (and people have and will) fill libraries of books full of footnotes, addendum, clarifications, helpful hints and the like. I know it’s tempting.

But please don’t.

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 | Jesus, Life in General

If it bursts into flames

Jim Coudal:

If it’s a good idea and it gets you excited, try it, and if it bursts into flames, that’s going to be exciting too. People always ask, “What is your greatest failure?” I always have the same answer – We’re working on it right now, it’s gonna be awesome!

Posted on August 5th, 2009 | Failure, Work

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