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Crowdsourcing the world

When Vancouverites gathered at the W2 Media Arts Centre for the second Fresh Media Remixology social, myself and the other organizers expected that conversations would be focused on crowdsourced media making. What we didn't anticipate was that attendees would have a hunger to talk about the implications of what this new form of media is making in other spheres of society.

We shouldn't have been surprised. After all, several of us conceptualized the Remixology series as something that would forward the idea of remixing our roles and society at large (society as an open platform). But it was a surprise nonetheless.

Columnists

Learning from nature's design

Admit it, it's been quite a summer. Epic rains flooding swaths of Pakistan and China, fires ravaging Russia, while on this continent the plague of viscous black death has seeped into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's barely capped Deepwater Horizon, its true toll unlikely ever to be fully tallied.

Tragedy poses the basic questions: What is life really all about? Is nature trying to tell us something?

Funny you should ask.

The young discipline of biomimicry is coming into being based on a deep biological read of exactly these two questions. The good news is that this approach opens the door to radically hopeful new solutions to profound human problems.

Columnists

Is Canada a mobile laggard?

There is something uniquely powerful about everyday people having access to the Internet from tiny devices in their pocket. That ubiquitous access to each other creates possibilities that are worth fighting for and saving. The mobile and wireless accessed Internet, combined with emerging open web and open data applications, has the potential to usher in a new era of connectedness, and with it dramatic changes to social practices and institutions. If we get digital public policy right, Canada could become a leader in mobile communications, leading to empowerment, job creation and new forms of entrepreneurialism, expression and social change.

Columnists

Scaling the rich media mountain

Photo: Scott Maxworthy/flickr

The PDF was invented 21 years ago. That means that a vast majority of the content that companies put online would have been right at home back when I Will Always Love You was in the Billboard Top Ten. It's like two decades of technology never existed. Why?

One of the main reasons is a lack of time. It's far faster to generate a PDF of a report than to make the effort to produce rich, interactive media more appropriate for online and mobile devices. 

So, clearly companies need to think through how their rich media production is scalable and sustainable given the organization's capacity. Either that or keep producing content as if the advances of the last 20 years never happened. 

Columnists

Facebook and the bald-headed kid

Photo: Flickr/James Truepenny

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There's this cartoon you probably know. It features a big-headed, bald kid named Charlie and a girl named Lucy. Again and again in this amusing comic, Lucy promises not to move the football she's holding while the Charlie kid runs to kick it. And, again and again, to great bittersweet hilarity, she does and little Charlie goes flying landing on his back, chagrined but, we understand, still trusting in Lucy's innate goodness. We love that adorable sap, Charlie Brown.

Columnists

Of phablets, Pop Tarts and sweet spots

Photo: SamsungTomorrow/flickr

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What is up with phablets? Everywhere I look I see folks with big-ass phones these days. Phones the size of Pop Tarts, or single-serving styrofoam trays. Phones that make other phones want to buy red sports cars and get trophy phones to make up for a lack of diagonal screen dimension.

| May 28, 2014
Columnists

Heartbleed: A heartbeat away from the death of security

Photo: KoFahu/flickr

Heartbleed started out as such a simple thing. It was a single error in a line of code meant to keep data transmitted on the Internet secure. The code was part of a 2011 update to OpenSSL and was written by German software developer Robin Seggelmann. As its name suggests, OpenSSL is code freely available to anyone who wants to encrypt communications. And, it was used by companies large and small; by cellphones; by tablets; by the "internet of things" and, by now about two-thirds of all servers on the World Wide Web. And, in every copy, the little error was sitting there, fragile and vulnerable.

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