TED Talks – Maybe txting isn’t quite the downfall of language?


Besides the fact that this guy looks like a rounder, friendlier version of Gustavo Fring – I’m finding myself drawn to this TED talk for so many reasons.

2013, a time when most people in a social setting can be seen together, sitting, not speaking – smiling vacantly at a glowing spot by their crotch from under the table. Depressing but true! The last time I forgot my phone and went out I felt a gaping hole not being able to reach out to the Internet world and search for a meme that would add to the present conversation. My pockets never felt so empty. With smartphones there comes this big social cost, and more people are recognizing the shame of it, not living in the moment and opting for a handheld version of spending time with others. Last month a YouTube video called “I Forgot My Phone” caused waves on the Internet, a sad portrait of a woman’s day shadowed by gadgets and technology.

At the same time, this speech makes some valid points in favour for how social interaction is evolving in a different way.

In 14 minutes, linguist John McWhorter tears down the notion that the casual language of texting has ruined literacy, and has created a generation of young people who just don’t “get” the idea of how to communicate with each other. Rather than that, it’s created a new form of literacy that will undoubtedly evolve in broader and more subtle ways.

And so, the way I’m thinking of texting these days is that what we’re seeing is a whole new way of writing that young people are developing, which they’re using alongside their ordinary writing skills, and that means that they’re able to do two things. Increasing evidence is that being bilingual is cognitively beneficial. That’s also true of being bidialectal. That’s certainly true of being bidialectal in terms of your writing. And so texting actually is evidence of a balancing act that young people are using today, not consciously, of course, but it’s an expansion of their linguistic repertoire.

[ted id=1718]

Best talk I have seen for a while.

The dangers of online shopping

A tale of woe and betrayal.

It was the middle of September, and I was preparing to move to the United Kingdom. Everything had been taken care of. I was finishing up my contract at the Beaty Museum, packing up to move my stuff into storage, terminating utilities and mentally preparing myself for the big move.

At the same time, it had long been my plan to get a new camera. Not just any camera, but a Canon 550D, also known as the Rebel T2i. Sure, I already had a really nice camera, one that I had carried to all my newspaper internships, my concert photography gigs and also my personal life events. It was time to move on though; I needed/ wanted something that could also film. IN HD.

After doing a few weeks of research online and in local photography stores in the Vancouver area, I managed to find the camera I wanted at a sweet, sweet deal. It was too sweet to be true. Too saccharine and ambrosial to be reality, and I certainly paid for that purchase of virginal innocence. (By saccharine I mean $200 less than any other retailer was offering).

I did it. On September 15, 2010, I bought the camera from Daily Deal Digital, the worst online retailer known to the history of civilization.

Six days later, when I hadn’t received my camera, nor a tracking number for the shipment, I called the head office in Boca Raton, Florida. After being put on hold and listening to the most irritating classical muzak for several moments, I was directed to someone who sounded like they were taking my call in a bar. It was noisy, and I strained my ears to understand as the guy explained that they RAN OUT OF THE product I had ordered but were giving me the next package deal at a $300 discount.

Suffice it to say, that was my mistake numero deux. Why did I agree to that? Again, it was the temptation of such a sweet camera, with a 50 mm light-sensitive lens, tripod and carry bag for a ridiculously good deal. It was too good to believe. DDD also offered to pay for the expedited shipping costs, as I explained to them that I would be leaving the country in less than 10 days.


The new Ninja Video… Re1ease

An equally concerned member of the Ninja Video community alerted and directed me to a new streaming site that offers full television shows and films in high quality.

It’s called Rea1ease, and its interface is very similar to the original Ninja Video, but doesn’t require the beta applet. I was unable to recognize any of the administrators but it’s conceivable by the design, interface and aesthetic that some of the old team is working on this.

Sure to cover any legal implications in the wake of Obama’s recent crackdown on online piracy, the disclaimer reads:

Re1ease.net only provides links to other sites on the Internet (DivX host sites, Zshare, megavideo.com, veoh.com and others.) We do not host or upload any video, films, or media files.
Therefore, re1ease.net is not responsible for the accuracy, compliance, copyright, legality, decency, or any other aspect of the content of other linked sites.
If you have any legal issues please contact the appropriate media file owners / host sites as we are unable to forward messages on your behalf.

That sounds good to me, and by writing about this and putting a link to the site exempts me in the same spirit. Happy streaming everybody!

YouTube releases free video editor

YouTube has developed and released a new video editor that allows users to easily cut and remix their videos in an easier, more steamlined way.

While it’s no Final Cut Pro, or even iMovie for that matter, the free video program is pretty sweet. You know that face that people give after their tutorial, when they’re turning their webcam off? That’s easily croppable with the scissor tool when a video clip is on the timeline. Not only that, but it offers up thousands of songs and audio from their AudioSwap library.

In my first short documentary, Remixing Culture, I took a quick look at the YouTube Mashup Helper that was developed in 2007. YouTube’s newest offering is way better. You can even make a mashup of all your previous videos as they show up under your files tab on the left screen.

Try it yourself! Be warned though: it’s very addictive.