<![CDATA[Scott Hanley · Storify]]>https://storify.com/sehanleyNodeJS RSS ModuleWed, 24 May 2017 09:50:27 GMT<![CDATA[Saving our history and memories, one bit at a time.]]>

Our history is not assured of having a future.

Storified by Scott Hanley · Mon, May 14 2012 18:54:39

In public radio, the great work by StoryCorps has done remarkable things in getting people to recall and share their stories. 
Encouraging people to share their stories - and record them - is a great way to create history for the future, and to encourage people to share with one another, now.  Facebook?  Perhaps.  But not everyone "gets" facebook.... In a time when few people write letters or diaries, there is a need for alternatives.  
There are important stories, already told, all around us.  A number of years ago, I wrote an article for RADIO magazine about saving old content. 
Looking at the article, I see it was written in 2002!  Back then, we were worried about losing valuable material when formats went away.  This has been an ongoing story - and as technology evolves, is getting to be an even greater concern.

One of the anecdotes I cite in the article was lost tapes of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Because show was not seen as valuable as a chronicle of the era, hundreds of hours of material that we would treasure today are lost, forever.  This week, American Masters on PBS does a documentary workup on the late-night icon.   But there's more missing than just details of Mr. Carson's personal story.

Today, networks are better at saving material.  But still having the tapes or disks doesn't mean you can get the recordings back.
For example, by 2002, much of TV and Radio media production had switched to digital storage - on networks and computer hard drives.  Even the new fangled "Digital Audio Tape" of the 1980's and 1990's was fading away.
Valuable material is already out there, still sitting on tapes, disks and films that we, increasingly, don't have machines to play audio and video back from.  But funding for saving archival material on a national basis has been facing challenges.
For me, in the past 5 years, my personal and professional concerns have been on saving and storing hundreds of hours of personal and professional sights and sounds before they are lost forever. So, courtesy of ebay and other sources, I have been finding the technology to play back arcane video and audio formats has become a new hobby of sorts, plus finding others who do this kind of work, too.
A find shared by a friend on Facebook, today, reminded me of how important these archives are.   NPR, November, 1982.  A very young staff in the early years of Morning Edition and so much more.  8 hours of NPR from the early days.   Next, we need to put names with all of the faces, since those of us who remember will not be here forever!
Thank, you NPR, thank you CSPAN...and take a peek at www.archive.org - they have a remarkable data store of websites from the past 17 years or so.
Saving our history and memories, one bit at a time.
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<![CDATA[Not TED Talks, TAD Talks]]>

Is it Will Ferrell? Is it a comedy sketch? No, it's an ad campaign for Microsoft's cloud computing services.

Storified by Scott Hanley · Wed, May 09 2012 12:41:50

So, I'm watching some very "deep" videos on philosophy on one of your high-end web-only publications.  And a lengthy advert comes up in between.   It is a spoof on motivational speaking, sort of.  Especially on Ted Talks, but this is much more specific to high-end business computing applications.  Not TED Talks, TAD Talks.
This is totally "inside" tech - virtualization vs. cloud computing.  A campaign that Microsoft launched, I guess, against VMware and the like almost a year ago. 
Don't get stuck in the IT past · vmlimitedtad
Now, TAD is back with a new (brief) advert/video....   This is not TED, it's TAD.  The Video from last year was filled with a lot of tech talk and double talk.  And if you are into networking, storage, enterprise, and IT, it is very funny.  If not, worth a peek just for the groovy music and sideburns, wow....
The hidden bummers of going too far beyond virtualization · vmlimitedtad
The story from the ad agency that did the work tells us that the director for Napoleon Dynamite, Jared Hess, directed these mini-movies.

Is this too much "inside baseball," or a laugh riot?
Glad to see creative folks getting engaged for the campaign, in any case!
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<![CDATA[The problem with Most People]]>

An exploration of the meaning of majority, and how much of our culture is driven by cohorts much smaller than half.

Storified by Scott Hanley · Mon, Apr 09 2012 01:26:08

MOST PEOPLE

That’s the problem with it.

“most people” think this, or “most people” say this or “most people” do this.  Or that. Most People.


But it seems that when many (if not most) of us say “most people,” we are saying “some people that I know about.”   Or “people like me.”


In this political season, you will see characterizations about what “most people” think, say or do. People who are liberal, people who are conservative, presuming that most of the world agrees with them.

But what is “most?”

A majority? 

Half of a group plus one?

“Most” is seen as a very democratizing word.   It means more than half.  50% plus one is NOT everyone.

Yet our society is driven by cohorts much smaller.

Case in point – The Super Bowl.


Really big game.  There have been 46 of them.  In 2012, more people in the United States watched the Super Bowl than have ever viewed ANY television program – an estimated 111.3 million people watched via broadcast, plus another estimated 2 million online via the NFL and NBC.  Huge.   The most watched television program in American history. 

And for the first time, a lot of streaming video of the Super Bowl, so more than 2 million watched online, too.
Even bigger than the number of viewers turned in for the final episode of the groundbreaking TV series “MASH” in 1983 (which was still nearly 106 million estimated viewers). The ratings company A.C. Nielsen estimates that the halftime show by Madonna had an estimated 114 million people tuned in. 

That is a lot of people.   But ponder this:

 

In the United States, if we go by what the ratings tell us, MOST PEOPLE DID NOT WATCH the Super Bowl in 2012?

The February 2012 population of the United States registered in at more than 312 million people. 

I believe that a majority of my friends and associates watched at least part of the game.   It seemed like everybody on Facebook.com that I know was commenting about it.
 
The Super Bowl was the universal meme for a nation.


More than half of the country did not watch.


“Most people” did not watch the Super Bowl.   The biggest, most unifying media event of our age, and more people watched it than ever, but a majority of Americans did not watch.


The most unifying American sports event of our age is a MEDIA event.  We in the media are about presenting our perspective, our view, our marketing, our public relations.  It is a world view from one point of view.  It is not all points of view.

 

As this nation is wrestling with another presidential election season, the journalism, advertising, punditry and commentary can be exhausting to keep up with.  With so much media and information available, the volume of it whizzing past is beyond comprehension.

 

So, those of us in media try to give a shorthand version.  When we say, “most people want lower taxes,” or “most people want birth control to be free,” we are sometimes paraphrasing specific outcomes of surveys. This isn’t a result of democracy or statements of truth.  It is a projection of a point of view to give a quick and easy answer.

This approach to information is convenient.  It is also reckless and unfair to the facts.

 

One of the biggest problems with “most people” (the phrase, not the people) is that even if it is NOT inflating the power or viewpoint of the “most” group, it is often disregarding the “other” people not in the “most.”


There are people who are older than you or younger than you who have none of your shared cultural references.   There are people of different gender with a totally different view.   Race, ethnic background, religion (and please, that is a very broad palate) or non-theism, education, physical ability…the list of our differences is long.


When you recognize America as a complex collection of diverse people, hopes, experiences, abilities and accomplishments, the folly of using the phrase “most people” can begin to sink in.  The beauty of our representational democracy is that we can find a way for most people to live together with opportunity and responsibilities that we agree to as a part of our compact with each other as Americans.


Beyond a few certitudes, in journalism, in life, in art, we are trying to discern what matters.

Most people breath.  Most people eat. 

 

Having more than half of a population care about something. Most people eligible to vote in the presidential election of 2008 DID vote (62%)

The electorate was the most diverse in US History.

But it is also the case that most people in the US who were eligible to vote did not vote for the president in office.  More voting-eligible people did NOT vote as people who voted for the winner. That is almost always the case in America. 

As you listen to the rhetoric of anyone – in culture, art, government – if they speak of certitude about what “most people” want, they are leaving some people, and often, many people, out.  

We will never all agree, but we are all in this together. How we manage to accommodate our differences is the challenge that civil society must learn over and over.    

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<![CDATA[My First Isetta]]>

A really early smart car, still hanging around, soon to return?

Storified by Scott Hanley · Mon, Feb 27 2012 18:37:41

May 2009, I was in Ann Arbor visiting my parents.  It was still the depths of the recession and very rough times in the auto industry, but it was a sunny, pleasant Saturday, and a lot of car enthusiasts were out in full force.  The most notable of them all was stopping by Stadium Hardware.
 



The ISETTA
He was especially happy with the 40 to 50 miles per gallon this little car delivered while delivering him around town.
My Dad is vintage 1927, this car, 1957.   Both had close ties to WW II.



Word of the return of the Isetta came out in 2008, but I haven't heard or seen much of that news, since.    Could be electric, could be something else. 

Meanwhile, the Isetta may be on the back burner by BMW due to the great success of the BMW Mini. 
So, not sure if we'll see any more Isettas beyond the ones out there.  Glad I saw my first with my Dad.
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<![CDATA[The Plural of Anecdote]]>

is or is not data

Storified by Scott Hanley · Wed, Feb 22 2012 16:56:35

In New Orleans in 2003, at what was the last Public Radio Conference, ever, I did a presentation on Digital Radio, in the very early times of HD Radio.

Before my session, my colleague David Liroff (formerly of WGBH and CPB) did a session on what U.S. Public TV had learned through the challenging upgrade to HDTV in the years prior.


David shared a lot of great things in his session, but prefaced it with an aphorism he had borrowed from someone else:


THE PLURAL OF ANECDOTE IS NOT DATA


Such and easy and true statement.  One story does not make for the evidence to prove something, and a collection of stories may not be an accurate picture of reality.  The use of real or apocryphal anecdotes in politics notwithstanding.

Over the years, in speeches, lectures and conversation, I have said, “the plural of anecdote is not data,” and have been met with nodding heads and chuckles.  As aphorisms go, it is a good one.

David Liroff never claimed credit for it, but he was the first to share it with me.  In looking into the history of the statement, I recently found origins going back to the 1960’s.


But, oddly enough, the “source” of the quote may not have said precisely what several of us have adopted. In a blog post by David Smith, he credits Raymond Wolfinger,  (presumed to be the political scientist from Stanford and then UC-Berkeley) as the first to coin the phrase – but with a difference.

Professor Wolfinger claims to have said “the plural of anecdote is data.”

And I guess that is true, too.

Data is data.  Whether it is data that allows you to make appropriate measurements or judgments is a different issue. 

This takes me to a different thought about most people.  Well, not actually most people, but of the phrase, “most people.”

That will be for another day.

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<![CDATA[The train that won't float]]>

The 20 year dream of high speed magnetic levitation trains in Pittsburgh comes to the end of the line

Storified by Scott Hanley · Wed, Feb 22 2012 16:31:07

Maglev was a company advocating for the technology of magnetic levitation trains, hoping to make use the Pittsburgh region's special skills with engineering and steel combined with the challenging terrain and a lack of light rail to make for a demonstration project with many wins.
Fastest Train in the World: 581km/h. Japan JR-Maglev · dybowskii
The technology has been installed in a few places around the globe, but has yet to really take off.

I first became aware of the Pittsburgh Maglev effort in 2000 while participating in Leadership Pittsburgh.  The technology still has promise, but the cost seems too high in the current business and political climate.
Still, there are a few places to ride the levitating rails.  And very fast.

RT @laf1973: Maglev train to Shanghai from the airport. 6mins!!! http://yfrog.com/oc5zmazj · LifebyLizzy
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