PLATO Got me interested in computers

PLATO – Program Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation was installed in the Basement of

the G Lecture Hall at UIC, then known as “Circle” when I was attending. I was taking a Microeconomics course, and

I was freakedout because I had never taken an econ test, and the teacher did not tell us whether it would be essay, multiple choice, figuring out equations, or what. PLATO had a huge test bank of econ questions. You could set it up to make a 10 question test for you, that it would grade and provide you with correct answers for the questions you missed. I happily sat in that stuffy basement lab, taking test after test until I had the confidence that I could take the actual test.

Most important piece on new business that I’ve read lately.

…the news industry and the consumer are now on a precipice. It’s clear that news remains important to the consumer, but where they get it from is not. As attention refocuses, the relationship between the consumer and news will shift evermore to a “pull” rather than “push” strategy for the consumer. No app or mobile platform will save this relationship, but a shift in how the news “attacks” the consumer to get heard will. This is not a short battle – I believe it will be a continual one, as technologies change.

Nobel Prize Winner Yunus on microfinance gone wrong

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Commercialization has been a terrible wrong turn for microfinance, and it indicates a worrying “mission drift” in the motivation of those lending to the poor. Poverty should be eradicated, not seen as a money-making opportunity. There are serious practical problems with treating microcredit as an ordinary profit-maximizing business. Instead of creating wholesale funds dedicated to lending money to microfinance institutions, as Bangladesh has done, these commercial organizations raise larger sums in volatile international financial markets, and then transmit financial risks to the poor. via Sacrificing Microcredit for Megaprofits – NYTimes.com.

Apple Rotting?

Image via Wikipedia

VLC is open and free. So that’s why Apple hates it? In the US, most of us have Flash or VLC alternatives that are not open-source installed on our machines. This isn’t true world-wide. The advantages of VLC are magnified in areas where connections are slow or sporadic, where people don’t have money to buy commercial software like Flash, or where they can’t afford huge memory on computers.

Online Digital Newsroom Coming Up at Columbia

Nearly 30 percent of all higher education students take at least one class online. More than 60 percent of chief academic officers said that online education was critical to their long-term strategy, according to a Sloan Consortium report, “Class Differences, Online Education in the United States, 2010.” via More college students taking degree programs online – Chicago Sun-Times. I’ll be whipping my new online journalism course where students learn to write for a community and citizen journalism site into shape. The time is right.