robertogreco + quality   37

William Gibson on Watches | WatchPaper
“William Gibson is famously credited with predicting the internet. Early works like Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive established him as a major voice in science fiction and the worlds he created still serve as a template for how popular culture views the future. If you’ve seen The Matrix or read any cyberpunk, you’ve seen William Gibson’s influence at work. Equally important, but perhaps less famous are his essays, collected recently in Distrust That Particular Flavour. Highly perceptive and suggestive, they span a range of topics from Singapore’s totalitarianism and Tokyo’s futurism, to the Web and technology’s effect on us all. The volume also contains his glosses on those essays, which were written over a span of 30 years. Brief afterwords, they are his reflections on the content, and on the person who wrote that content at a point and time, and what’s happened since. In his 1997 essay, “My Obsession”, William Gibson chronicled his interest in watches for Wired magazine. [See “My Obsession” https://www.wired.com/1999/01/ebay/ ] The essay is as much about the advent of the internet and sites like eBay as it is about watches, and his afterword to the essay reflects:
People who’ve read this piece often assume that I subsequently became a collector of watches. I didn’t, at least not in my own view. Collections of things, and their collectors, have generally tended to give me the willies. I sometimes, usually only temporarily, accumulate things in some one category, but the real pursuit is in the learning curve. The dive into esoterica. The quest for expertise. This one lasted, in its purest form, for five or six years. None of the eBay purchases documented [in the essay] proved to be “keepers.” Not even close.

Undaunted by his placing this interest squarely in the past, something he got over, I wanted to find out what had survived, physically or intellectually, of his obsession. It turns out, quite a lot. We corresponded via email and William Gibson shared his thoughts on collecting, how he got started, what “keepers” remain in his collection and why. We also talked about the Apple watch and what it means for traditional horology.”

...

"If “old” people, as you mentioned in our recent discussion, are concerned that what they’ve collected will be unwanted, how is that anxiety being manifested? Some watch brands like Patek Philippe use durability, inheritance and legacy as their explicit identity.

I was thinking of someone with dozens of rare military watches. Even if they have children, will the children want their watches? It could be difficult finding the right museum to donate them to, in order to keep the collection intact. I think Patek’s appeal to inheritance and legacy still has some basis, though the wristwatch itself has become a piece of archaic (though still functional) jewelry. You don’t absolutely need one. You do, probably, absolutely need your smartphone, and it also tells the time. Eventually, I assume, virtually everything will also tell the time.

Is there something authentic in collecting we as humans are striving for? What does the impulse represent for you?

I actively enjoy having fewer, preferably better things. So I never deliberately accumulated watches, except as the temporary by-product of a learning curve, as I searched for my own understanding of watches, and for the ones I’d turn out to particularly like. I wanted an education, rather than a collection. But there’s always a residuum: the keepers. (And editing is as satisfying as acquiring, for me.)

Do you think there’s anything intrinsic to watches (their aesthetics, engineering etc.) that make them especially susceptible to our interest?

Mechanical timekeeping devices were among our first complex machines, and became our first ubiquitous complex machines, and the first to be miniaturized. Mechanical wristwatches were utterly commonplace for less than a century. Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.

How do you think the notion of collecting has changed since your preoccupation with watches played itself out? Scarcity (but not true rarity) barely exists any more.

The Internet makes it increasingly easy to assemble a big pile of any category of objects, but has also rationalized the market in every sort of rarity. There’s more stuff, and fewer random treasures. When I discovered military watches, I could see that that was already happening to them, but that there was still a window for informed acquisition. That’s mostly closed now. The world’s attic is now that much more thoroughly sorted and priced!"
watches  williamgibson  ebay  horology  fashion  collecting  collections  learning  howwelearn  2015  esoterica  research  researching  deepdives  expertise  obsessions  cv  immersion  posterity  legacy  analog  mechanical  durability  longevity  inheritance  jewelery  smartphones  understanding  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  timekeeping  connectivity  scarcity  objects  possessions  ownership  quality  internet  web  online  wristwatches  things  applewatch  pebble  pebblewatch  smartwatches 
august 2019 by robertogreco
Buying to Last: Back to a Bygone Era - The New York Times
"Take his favorite socks, from Darn Tough, a Vermont company. Made from moisture-wicking, extra-dense merino wool, one pair costs $20. “But they come with a lifetime guarantee,” he marveled. “I normally burn through socks, but I’ve put 200 miles on these.”

The idea of buying goods that last isn’t new, of course. It was what consumers did in earlier generations. But the notion of lasting value appears to be resonating these days with young, value-conscious, environmentally aware buyers who are rebelling against the proliferation of cheap, disposable goods or the planned obsolescence built into many products.

One company that has caught on to this trend is BuyMeOnce (www.buymeonce.com).

The two-year-old website was founded by Tara Button, 36, of London, with a simple mission: helping us buy fewer, better things. Think of her company as a nudging reminder that heirloom was once more than just a flattering description for a tomato.

“We want to change the way the world shops, from short-term to long-term buying,” she explained by phone from her British headquarters. “Long-lasting products save the planet and save money — people seem to have lost sight of that.”

It was a birthday gift that led to the idea for her company: a pan by the French cookware company Le Creuset, which famously offers a lifetime warranty on its products. Ms. Button was smitten, and began searching for other companies with similar guarantees.

“I wanted everything in my life to feel like this: an investment that I knew I would never have to rebuy.” Startled that there was no comprehensive resource to steer such shopping choices, she decided to start one, jettisoning a dead-end job in advertising for this passion project.

From the outset, Ms. Button used simple criteria to assess whether to add a company to the site — including durability, ethical production and exceptional aftercare — as well as checking to see if customers’ online reviews buttressed companies’ claims.

“It’s like panning for gold,” she explained of the process. “Brands start to fizz their way to the top.”

One such standout is Minnesota’s own Duluth Pack, a 135-year-old canvas and leather bag company that still offers a lifetime guarantee and repairs for no or a nominal fee. Compare that with the startup Swedish Stockings, which focuses on sustainable hosiery: If you mail old pantyhose to the startup so it can recycle them, rather than consign them to a landfill, Swedish Stockings will provide a discount code to buy a pair of its own, long-lasting hose.

Durability isn’t the driving appeal of Davek umbrellas, though they’re sturdier than their drugstore counterparts and come with a lifetime warranty.

Rather, Ms. Button selected their products for BuyMeOnce because of the inventive ways Davek responds to the commonest problem: losing that umbrella.

Its Loss Alert technology pairs with a smartphone app, and will send a message if the owner moves more than 30 feet away; if even that fails, Davek extends a 50 percent discount on replacements.

There are alternatives to fast fashion, too, like Marie Hell, a New York City-based women’s wear label. Ms. Button worked with the company to devise a mechanism by which it could encourage customers to fix their clothing rather than throw it away: send a smartphone snap of the damage to the designer, and it will pay $30 toward any repairs undertaken by a tailor near the customer — far easier and more resource-neutral than mailing it back.

Eileen Mandel of Marie Hell says that BuyMeOnce now makes up 30 percent of its international sales. “No one — that’s right, no one — has cashed in a voucher,” she said. “We knew we could offer this unheard-of bonus because we have 100 percent confidence in our product.”

BuyMeOnce began with just 100 fully vetted items; it now lists more than 1,500.

While most of the company’s business is online and through affiliate links, she has also used brick-and-mortar pop-up stores. And she is starting a Good Housekeeping-style certification that brands can use to advertise their sustainable credentials.

For buyers who like to measure the impact of their purchases, she will soon add a price-per-use calculator to the site, which she believes will help people better see how costs amortize over time.

The shift in shopping from investment to convenience occurred in the postwar period, according to Tim Cooper, a professor at Nottingham Trent University in Britain and editor of “Longer Lasting Products.”

The development of cheap new plastics in the 1950s gave birth to a new consumerist mind-set. “It changed from a society where products were purchased on the basis they would last as long as possible, to a world where things are replaced as frequently as possible,” he explained. The invention of market-based pricing in the 1980s had an impact, too: Retail prices were unmoored from production costs for the first time, and instead were decided according to what a customer might reasonably pay — breaking the age-old link between cost and quality.

Planned obsolescence was a natural next step, in which products are designed without possibility of repair or to fail after a certain period — Mr. Cooper cites printers in particular, which he says will often be programmed to produce a limited number of copies and so curtail their life span. No wonder electronics remain one of the toughest categories for Ms. Button and her team.

The best way to drive change, of course, is consumer power — as another BuyMeOnce loyalist, Dominic Latchu, a 34-year-old student in Durham, N.C., knows very well.

He’s glad that products he’s found through the site have sustainable bona fides, but it’s pure economics that have made him an evangelist; one of his favorite purchases was an Elvis & Kresse messenger bag, which is made from upcycled hoses decommissioned by the British fire brigade.

“Rather than buy a cheap product 10 times a year, it makes more sense to buy one that will last much longer — you can’t beat an investment that comes with a lifetime guarantee,” he said.

Every such purchase can contribute to a shift away from that postwar manufacturing mind-set. “If more people start buying durable, long-lasting products,” Mr. Latchu said, “eventually producers will have to shift to making things that last longer.”"
unproduct  durability  2018  quality  sustainability  environment 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Cory Doctorow: Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the...
"Anton Troynikov: [https://twitter.com/atroyn/status/1014974099930714115 ]

• Waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it’s of poor workmanship and quality.
• Promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out.
• Living five adults to a two room apartment.
• Being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you.
• ‘Totally not illegal taxi’ taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet.
• Everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex.
• Mandatory workplace political education.
• Productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites.
• Deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences.
• Networked computers exist but they’re really bad.
• Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason.
• Elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges.
• Failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs.
• Otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it’s the only way to get ahead.
• The plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work.
• The United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default.
• The currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless.
• The economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users."
ussr  russia  economics  siliconvalley  disruption  politics  indoctrination  centralization  policy  2018  currency  planning  conformity  conformism  drudgery  work  labor  humor  tesla  elonmusk  jeffbezos  wageslavery  failure  henrykissinger  us  government  governance  ideology  experience  class  collateraldamage  elitism  antontroynikov  consequences  space  utopia  workmanship  quality  accountability  productivity  falsification  workplace  colonization 
july 2018 by robertogreco
We need a "slow food" movement for higher education — Quartz
"The academy has moved to the fast lane. Corporatization has sped up the clock, compromising teaching, scholarship, and collegiality. The “slow movement”—originating in slow food—challenges the frantic pace and homogenization of contemporary culture. We believe that adopting the principles of “slow” into the professional practice of academia is an effective way to alleviate time poverty, preserve humanistic education, and resist the destructive effects of the corporate university.

“Slow,” Carlo Petrini makes clear in Slow Food Nation (2007), is not really about speed. It’s about the difference “between attention and distraction; slowness, in fact, is not so much a question of duration as of an ability to distinguish and evaluate, with the propensity to cultivate pleasure, knowledge, and quality.”

Being a professor is a privilege. We are not advocating slacking off, letting junior faculty do the heavy lifting, taking the summers off, missing deadlines, or doing less in class. Our view, advocated in our book The Slow Professor (2016), is rather about protecting the work that matters. Due to expanding workloads, the casualization of labor, the rise of technology, the consumer model of education, and increasing managerialism, the nature of the academy has changed dramatically in the past generation. Universities are now businesses. Teaching and learning are increasingly standardized, emphasizing the transfer of skills and time to completion. Both are now assessed in quantitative rather than qualitative terms. Research now is about winning grants and generating output—all as quickly as possible. Collegiality now is about useful networking.

Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary life. In order to protect the intellectual and pedagogic life of the university, we need to create opportunities to think and to shift our sense of time. This might mean getting away from having everything scheduled down to the minute. We can’t do our best work if we are frantic.

It is also crucial to be aware of the structural changes in the university so we don’t blame ourselves for not keeping up. And we should not forget the joy that is possible in teaching and scholarship. We are drawn to the slow movement because its critique of contemporary culture insists on the importance of pleasure and conviviality. Talking about individual stress and trying to find ways to foster wellbeing have political implications. If we are stressed, we feel powerless to change the larger context. In the corporate university, aggressive individualism and the familiar bottom line dominate at the expense of community and social critique.

Slow teaching is not about lowering standards. Rather, it is about reducing our distractedness so that we can focus on our students and our subjects. We need to be able to concentrate on creating a convivial classroom in which our students can meet the challenges—and we can foster the joys—of learning a discipline.

Slow scholarship is about resisting the pressure to reduce thinking to the imperative of immediate usefulness, marketability, and grant generation. It’s about preserving the idea of scholarship as open-ended enquiry. It will improve the quality of teaching and learning.

In the current climate, most of us simply don’t have time for genuine collegiality. As academics become more isolated from each other, we are also becoming more compliant—more likely to see structural problems, including those of general working conditions, as individual failings. When that happens, resistance to corporatization seems futile. Collegiality, properly understood as a community practice, is about mutual support rather than works-in-progress, about sharing our failures as well as our successes, and about collaboration as well as competition. It offers solidarity.

We acknowledge the systemic inequities in the university, but we believe that a slow approach is potentially relevant across the spectrum of academic positions. Slow time is inimical to the corporate university. Scholars in tenured positions, given the protection that we enjoy, have an obligation to try to improve in the working climate for all of us. We are concerned that the bar is being continually raised for faculty and for graduate students. We need to reflect on what we are modeling for each other and the next generation of academics."
slow  sloweducation  highered  highereducation  barbaraseeber  maggieberg  2017  collegiality  time  carlopetrini  slowness  pleasure  knowledge  quality  attention  distraction 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Green Glossary: A for Artisanal | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Artisanal work is a practice that relies on hand skills to produce distinctive objects on a small scale, outside the industrial system. Promoting artisanal production by working with skillful artisans and prioritizing the handmade is a good alternative to the “$5 t-shirt” industry that is responsible for alarming overproduction and waste. Since the 1960s, drastic changes have affected the fashion industry, shifting from small made-to-order and artisanal runs to globalized and highly industrialized collections in order to reach lower prices, sell more, and make more profit. This phenomenon has led to a severe loss of value and quality of garments. Quality of craftsmanship is a key component to ensure the lasting value and durability of our clothes. “Slow Fashion” takes its inspiration from the concept of “Slow Food,” a movement started in Italy by Carlo Petrini in the late 1980s that encouraged a sustainable agriculture with slower production schedules, fair wages for the farmers and lower carbon footprints. American fashion brands such as dosa by Christina Kim, one of the three designers presented in SCRAPS: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse, Alabama Chanin, a label founded by Natalie Chanin, and Study NY directed by New-York-based designer Tara Saint James, all embrace a similar way of designing and producing clothing.

Christina Kim has indexed a variety of artisanal techniques, textiles, people, and organizations and has shared this list on dosa’s website in the form of a beautifully illustrated glossary. Each entry includes a picture, a short description, indication of geographical origin, and tells how it entered the company’s history. This approach not only provides better quality and longevity to the garments, but it also changes the dynamics between designers, makers, and users and raises awareness of the craft of clothes-making."
clothes  artisanal  design  glvo  textiles  small  slow  fabrics  slowfashion  carlopetrini  christinakim  creativereuse  reuse  longevity  quality  nataliechanin  alabamachanin  scraps  magalianberthon  cooper-hewitt 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Kenneth Goldsmith - Talks | Frieze Projects NY
[Direct link to .mp3: http://friezeprojectsny.org/uploads/files/talks/Kenneth_Goldsmith.mp3 ]

"‘I Look to Theory Only When I Realize That Somebody Has Dedicated Their Entire Life to a Question I Have Only Fleetingly Considered’

A keynote lecture by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, whose writing has been described as ‘some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry’ (Publishers Weekly). Goldsmith is the author of eleven books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of MoMA."
kennethgoldsmith  copying  uncreativewriting  mercecunningham  writing  internet  web  online  remixing  culture  art  poetry  originality  appropriation  quantity  quality  curiosity  harrypotter  poetics  digital  reproduction  translation  displacement  disjunction  corydoctorow  change  howwewrite  pointing  data  metadata  choice  authorship  versioning  misfiling  language  difference  meaning  ethics  morality  literature  twitter  artworld  marshallmcluhan  christianbök  plagiarism  charleseames  rules  notknowing  archiving  improvisation  text  bricolage  assemblage  cv  painting  technology  photography  readerships  thinkerships  thoughtobjects  reassembly  ubuweb  freeculture  moma  outreach  communityoutreach  nyc  copyright  ip  intellectualproperty  ideas  information  sfpc  vitoacconci  audience  accessibility  situationist  museums  markets  criticism  artcriticism  economics  money  browsers  citation  sampling  jonathanfranzen  internetasliterature  getrudestein  internetasfavoritebook  namjunepaik  johncage  misbehaving  andywarhol  bobdylan  barbarakruger  jkrowling  china  creati 
august 2014 by robertogreco
THE ONES
"‘Heirloomness’ is the one principle that guides everything on this list. Is this something we want forever? Is this something that our grandkids could want forever? These are hard, bordering impossible, questions. But let’s step away from external forces that drive current desires and trends and consider the objects we acquire on a generational time scale.

* The design is simple, timeless and long-lasting. We want to love it today and forever.

*It’s over-engineered to take a beating and age gracefully. We trip, fall, spill and drop things. It’s part of life. Engineer it to account for abuse, misuse and wear.

*It’s built with quality in mind, using the right tools and materials. There’s a time and place for every material. But, let’s not kid ourselves, a plastic case with a metallic finish will not perform the same as a piece that’s milled out of a solid block of metal.

*The interface is intuitive to use and works as expected. No manuals please. Who reads those anyways?…"
builttolast  longlasting  advice  quality  betterthings  lessthings  possessions  tools  cw  longterm  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Pay Too Much | ALLENTUCKER [The writing isn't great, but content is spot on.]
"High end gear lasts a lifetime. Just like that old watch or tool that your grandfather passed down, the stuff made by real craftsmen and engineers will be working years from now."

"Overpaying means getting exactly what you need, often custom made to your specs, not some imaginary average person."

"Employees don’t ask for raises.  On the infrequent occasion that they do, they’re not really asking for a raise, their telling you about the new job some place else that they found, which comes with a raise. It’s your job to make sure they never have a reason to look for that job."

"People who constantly try to always get that great deal end up spending all their time chasing those deals and never actually get things done. I’ve seen people do this their entire lives, and it is debilitating.

When we change your mindset from getting the best deal to getting the best quality, it changes the emphasis from shopping to deciding what’s important."
time  whatmatters  srg  edg  glvo  advice  cv  value  quality  life  psychology  money  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
On Comics in the Classroom. // Dylan Meconis
"So educators can no longer rely upon the sheer novelty of the medium to trick children into ingesting educational material. And educational publishers can no longer rely on the trendiness of the novelty to sell books to teachers desperate for a quick ‘n easy way to fool those “reluctant readers” into sitting through class. The fact is that your average school kid is more likely than their teacher to be qualified to distinguish between a genuinely good educational comic book and a bad textbook in hastily applied comic book drag. And that’s a real stumper for the average educator who’s trying, with severely limited amounts of time, money, and knowledge, to figure out what to order for their classroom this year that will keep the children from murdering each other.

It’s unfortunately up to teachers to try reading some comic books themselves so that they can develop their own smell-detectors when it comes to quality…"
novelty  silverbullets  engagement  respect  children  teachingreading  dylanmeconis  2012  books  quality  graphicnovels  comics  reading  teaching  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Spirit of Craftsmanship - Luxury Society - Comment & Analysis
"Scye is an exceptional clothing line, but Hidaka and Miyahara’s strategy of pursuing quality and craft over trend and flash is not unique amongst young Japanese brands. Miyahara explains, “I believe the Japanese people have a basic artisanal disposition. There is a word in Japanese — kodawari — meaning being obsessed with the details, and it guides almost everything here.”

While some of this so-called quality obsession may be a response to discerning consumers, Miyahara sees craftsmanship in Japan prospering from the creators’ own self-demands:

Some part of kodawari is the designers’ own self-satisfaction of creating really nice things, even if consumers don’t notice the details. When we started the brand, we thought about how to do things from the perspective of those who actually make the clothing, and we wanted to produce clothes that people would still wear after a long time — both in terms of quality and style."
2009  luxury  quality  detail  kodawari  via:tealtan  glvo  craft  japan  craftsmanship  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers - NYTimes.com
"When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices."

[See also in Japan: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204542404577157290201608630.html?mod=WSJ_Magazine_LEFTSecondStories ]
detail  2012  quality  generalists  specialists  handmade  glvo  nyc  food  crafteconomy  small  scale  bespoke  brooklyn  entrepreneurship  craft  specialization  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
en.Slow Media
The Slow Media Manifesto [ http://en.slow-media.net/manifesto ]

“1. Slow media are a contribution to sustainability. …
2. Slow media promote monotasking. …
3. Slow media aim at perfection. …
4. Slow media make quality palpable. …
5. Slow media advance prosumers. …
6. Slow media are discursive and dialogic. …
7. Slow media are social media. …
8. Slow media respect their users. …
9. Slow media are distributed via recommendations, not advertising. …
10. Slow media are timeless. …
11. Slow media are auratic. …
12. Slow media are progressive, not reactionary. …
13. Slow media focus on quality. …
14. Slow media ask for confidence and take their time to be credible. …”
culture  philosophy  society  2010  attention  patience  lifestyle  simplicity  manifesto  manifestos  jörgblumtritt  sabriadavid  benediktköhler  via:litherland  timelessness  recommendations  credibility  respect  socialmedia  discourse  dialogics  prosumers  longreads  quality  monotasking  singletasking  sustainability  slowmedia  slow  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Les Petites Échos, The Kids Are All Right// The Meaning is the...
"In the end, the film worked for the same reasons any piece of art works: it was very well made. The handheld shots and playful editing seamlessly accompanied the whimsical pop navigations of Girl Talk’s music; the movie built up a slow, compelling love triangle between Marsen and the two nameless male dancers as they drifted through the urban landscape, meeting and parting, meeting and parting. This gave me hope: craft still matters. Despite the evening’s hispterish veneer, despite all of its Web 2.0 trappings, a piece of art must still stand on its own. An audience will still respond to quality and shun mediocrity."
reiflarsen  kickstarter  film  art  glvo  making  generations  socialnetworking  mashups  meaning  facebook  millennials  communication  sharing  inbetweeness  girltalk  girlwalk  annemarsen  2011  audience  craft  quality  mediocrity  happiness  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
Teachers Without Students | First Things
"Here’s an arresting statistic that economist Richard Vedder thinks goes a long way to explaining the rapid rise in college tuitions: 80% of faculty at the University of Texas, Austin teach fewer than half the students. In view of the fact that faculty salaries make up the largest expense at the university, one simple change would reduce tuition. Get the 80% back into the classrooms.<br />
<br />
Vedder anticipates the objection that forcing the bulk of professors into the classroom will harm the research mission of the university. His most devastating response is again a simple statistic—20% of faculty account for 99.8% of external research grants and funding. That leaves 60% of faculty who have very low teaching loads whose research—or in many cases lack of research—is financed by the general operating budget of UT. His proposal: have them teach two classes each semester, adds up to 200 hours per year in the classroom. As they say in Texas, that ain’t too bad for a payin’ job."
education  teaching  politics  economics  universities  highereducation  highered  academia  higheredbubble  faculty  via:lukeneff  2011  utaustin  tuition  rankings  usnewsandworldreport  reputation  quality  teachingfaculty  yaledisease  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - The Back Side of Your Gullet is Decadent and Depraved, Part 2
"What was nourishing creative work? “Maybe it does what nourishing food does,” I thought. “It fills a void. Fills us up. Maybe makes us stop wanting for just a little, brilliant moment.”

Yes, that…

Let’s see, nourishing creative work: To Kill a Mockingbird. Citizen Kane. Shakespeare. You know, stuff that speaks to our essential human nature, the canonical creative output of human-kind…

"Committing to making nourishing things might be resigning myself to a life of stuffiness, corduroy blazers, NPR pledge drives, & raw food diets. Surely there must be some nourishing things out there that are fun, right? I redrew my list as a graph…

The top right was the place. It was the challenge. Fun, but not vapid. That’s where I wanted my work to live at all costs: fun & nourishing. I closed my eyes & imagined biting into a ripe peach, large enough to share, but delicious enough to not want to.

“This is what success tastes like…”"
creativity  graphs  frankchimero  nourishment  culture  fun  unfun  notnourishing  soul  fulfillment  enjoyment  bliss  glvo  maps  mapping  quality  purpose  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Basement.org: The New Clutter [via: http://www.marco.org/903165920]
"There’s a new kind of clutter littering Web pages...not just obnoxious “Refinance your mortgage” ads plastered atop & alongside articles. It’s also not just animated nonsense that floats by as you’re trying to read.<br />
<br />
It’s the article itself.<br />
<br />
In the never-ending quest to get page views, the choices writers & editors are making to attract eyeballs & drive traffic are creating a new breed of low-brow, gimmicky disposable content. At its best it adds little insight and at its worst amounts to a slimy bait-&-switch (catchy headline, nothing to say in the article).<br />
<br />
It’s the new clutter. [examples]<br />
<br />
So where’s the good writing on the Web? It’s everywhere else. The interesting new perspectives and provocative thinking isn’t coming from Gizmodo & Silicon Alley. It’s the blogger I’ve never heard of that is blowing me out of my chair these days. …<br />
<br />
This type of clutter only goes away if business models change & the mechanisms for determining success change along w/ them."
content  clutter  writing  blogs  blogging  2010  richardziade  quality  noise  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Lost and Heroes: In Defense of Arrogance - Tuned In - TIME.com
"its original sin was in trying to objection-proof itself, & thereby setting a ceiling on how great it could ever be. Heroes was its own thing, but by starting from position of satisfying fans better & quicker than its serial competition, it started from a position of timidity.
storytelling  risk  possibility  tcsnmy  tv  heroes  lost  quality  timidity  risktaking  success  failure  television 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: more, More, MORE!
"The challenge of winning more than your fair share of the market is that the best available strategy--providing remarkable service and an honest human connection--will be abused by a few people you work with.
sethgodin  markets  service  tcsnmy  loyalty  appreciation  quality 
february 2010 by robertogreco
HobbyPrincess blog: TEDx Helsinki: Good night washing machine. Good bye trash.
"Say no to meaningless bad quality. Buy things from second hand or buy things that last. Imagine ownership as something that passes from one person to other. Ask all brands to launch their own vintage shops.

It’s time to say goodbye. Goodbye to buying stuff you don’t need. Goodbye toys that break when you get them out of the box. Goodbye cheap cotton clothes. Goodbye fast cycle fashion and interior trends. Goodbye wasteful lifestyles that make us feel so bad. End of story."
ulla-maariaengeström  simplicity  quality  sustainability  slow  glvo  meaning  secondhand  objects 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine
"instead of building a hospital in a new area, Kaiser leased space in a strip mall, set up a high tech office, & hired 2 doctors to staff it. Thanks to the digitization of records, patients could go to this "microclinic" for most of their needs & seamlessly transition to a hospital farther away when necessary...series of trials to see what such an office could do. They cut everything they could out of the clinics: no pharmacy, no radiology...explored cutting the receptionist in favor of an ATM-like kiosk where patients would check in with their Kaiser card...found that the system performed very well. 2 doctors working out of a microclinic could meet 80% of a typical patient's needs. With a hi-def video conferencing add-on, members could even link to a nearby hospital for a quick consult with a specialist. Patients would still need to travel to a full-size facility for major trauma, surgery, or access to expensive diagnostic equipment, but those are situations that arise infrequently."
design  technology  culture  future  economics  business  goodenough  cheap  simple  flip  simplicity  mp3  digital  marketing  strategy  cameras  innovation  trends  quality  music  kaiser  healthcare  medicine  clinics  hospitals 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Like a Wal-Mart shirt with hand-sewn seams « Snarkmarket
"Usu­ally, we expect quan­tity to com­pete with qual­ity. You know, like: YouTube’s all about vol­ume; Vimeo’s all about qual­ity. That’s the break­down that we expect. Cheap and mass-produced vs. high-end and artisanal. Except that YouTube is the qual­ity leader, too...just talk­ing about tech­ni­cal qual­ity, of course, and Vimeo has done a great job cul­ti­vat­ing qual­ity of a dif­fer­ent sort...here’s a tip for video uploads from the iPhone 3GS: Don’t send the video directly from the Cam­era app. It com­presses it severely, and there’s no way to tell it not to. Instead, copy the video from the Cam­era app, then open Mail, cre­ate a new mes­sage (to your YouTube upload-via-email address) and paste the video in. Voila. No com­pres­sion. Of course, the video takes com­men­su­rately longer to upload, but it’s well worth it. The same trick works for photos."
iphone  video  youtube  vimeo  compression  quality  quantity 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Mediactive » Toward a Slow-News Movement
"Like many other people who've been burned by believing too quickly, I've learned to put almost all of what journalists call "breaking news" into the categories of gossip or, in the words of a scientist friend, "interesting if true." That is, even though I gobble up "the latest" from a variety of sources, the closer the information is in time to the actual event, the more I assume it's unreliable if not false.

It's my own version of "slow news" -- an expression I first heard on Friday, coined by my friend Ethan Zuckerman in a wonderful riff off the slow-food movement. We were at a Berkman Center for Internet & Society retreat in suburban Boston, in a group discussion of ways to improve the quality of what we know when we have so many sources from which to choose at every minute of the day... "

[via: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/08/slow-news-designing.html ]
slow  news  literacy  journalism  slownews  dangillmor  speed  quality  media  criticalthinking  online  realtime  gossip  ethanzuckerman 
november 2009 by robertogreco
John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer | Video on TED.com
"John Gerzema says there's an upside to the recent financial crisis -- the opportunity for positive change. Speaking at TEDxKC, he identifies four major cultural shifts driving new consumer behavior and shows how businesses are evolving to connect with thoughtful spending."
trends  johngerzema  community  volunteerism  crisis  ideas  consumer  ted  consumerism  values  savings  conspicuousconsumption  quality  transparency  business  travel  mobility  liquidity  value  libraries  cable  sharing  lending  learning  education  continuingeducation  diy  urbanfarming  sustainability  infrastructure  environment  creditcards  cooperation  trust  crowdsourcing  artisinal  glvo  localcurrency  green  consumption  kogi  carrotmobs  incentives  twitter  ethics  fairplay  empathy  respect 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Write When Inspired – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
"Never mind the bollocks. You are not writing for Amazon, or to fit a staff proofreader’s vacation schedule, as important and real as those considerations may be. You are writing for readers, a duty as sacred, in its way, as parenting. If you don’t believe the previous sentence, if you think writing is mainly about getting paid, I’m sorry you wasted your time reading this page, and I hope you find another way to earn a living soon. The world is already choking on half-considered, squeezed-out shit. There’s no need to add to the pile.
writing  productivity  time  quality  blogging  habits  burnout  creativity  jeffreyzeldman  advice  work 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Borderland › Competitiveness and Excellence
"Competitiveness & excellence are not necessarily related. Competition may lead to excellence, but it may also lead to cheating & lying. Or it may lead to more benign perversions, like data mining & “public relations” initiatives that focus on quality indicators, rather than quality itself...story about how colleges may manipulate their rankings in US News & World Report’s list of top universities. But data mining and publicity campaigns aren’t always necessary for an institution to promote itself. Sometimes ideology alone is enough for a school to stand on. ... My own teaching philosophy and my reservations about using any form of coercion to get kids to learn runs straight back to my early years in school. The need for order has to be balanced with respect and a certain amount of freedom to direct our attention toward what interests us. The teacher has to figure out how to put that together, and the extent to which he or she can do that makes all the difference for kids."
education  tcsnmy  marketing  publicrelations  administration  management  philosophy  progressive  quality  freedom  traditional  alfiekohn  dougnoon  competitiveness  excellence  competition  datamining  colleges  universities  schools  teaching 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Think Again: Asia's Rise - By Minxin Pei | Foreign Policy
"Asia is pouring money into higher ed...But Asian unis will not become world's leading centers of learning & research anytime soon. None of world's top 10 unis is in Asia, only U of Tokyo...[in] top 20. In last 30 years, only 8 Asians (7 Japanese) have won Nobel Prize in sciences...region's hierarchical culture, centralized bureaucracy, weak private unis & emphasis on rote learning & test-taking will continue to hobble its efforts to clone US finest research institutions...even Asia's much-touted numerical advantage is < it seems. China supposedly graduates 600,000 engineering majors /year, India... 350,000,...US...70,000 engineering...suggest an Asian edge in generating brainpower...[but] misleading. 1/2 of China's engineering grads & 2/3 of India's have assoc degrees. Once quality is factored in, Asia's lead disappears...human resource managers in multinational companies consider only 10% of Chinese & 25% of Indian engineers even "employable," compared w/ 81% of American engineers."
asia  china  india  economics  future  power  world  global  us  policy  japan  education  engineering  innovation  creativity  testing  assessment  rotelearning  geopolitics  politics  globalism  korea  universities  colleges  schools  competition  hierarchy  quality  bureaucracy  rote 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Joho the Blog » [reboot] Bruce Sterling
"Reboot in power. Gen Xers running things. Cultural sentiment: “Dark euphoria.” Things are falling apart, everything is possible, but you never realized you would have to dread it so much...a) Top end: Gothic high-tech...b) low-end: Favela chic...practical advice on bright green geek environmentalism...“Stop acting dead.” You’ve been trained that way; it’s the default for your generation...How do you know...test: Would your dead great grandfather do a better job of what you’re intending to do...Think of objects in terms of hours of time & volumes of space. It’s a good design approach...possessions are really embodied social relationships: made, designed, sold by people...Relationships that happen to have material form...monarch among objects are everyday objects...you’re eager to tell someone about its beauty or meaning. Tools: Don’t make do with broken stuff. You’re not experimenting with it if you’re not publishing the results in a falsifiable form."

[video: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/07/video-from-reboot-11/ AND http://video.reboot.dk/video/486788/bruce-sterling-reboot-11 AND interview: http://video.reboot.dk/video/485250/bruce-sterling ]

[transcript: http://wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/02/transcript-of-reboot-11-speech-by-bruce-sterling-25-6-2009/ ]

"Now let me explain how you can go about doing this, and it really is a different material way of life than any in the twentieth century. It’s a geek-friendly approach to consumption.…

What you need to do is re-assess the objects in your space and time. And I’m going to explain to you how to do this. 00:32:30-6

The king of objects, the monarch among objects are not fancy objects. They’re not high-tech objects, they’re not organic objects, they’re not biological objects, they’re everyday objects. Things that you’re with every day…

Common everyday objects. You need to have the best possible common everyday objects. 00:33:11-4…

Get rid of it. Get rid of it, if you don’t use it! If you haven’t touched it in a year, get rid of it immediately. Sell it, buy real things you really use. 00:35:08-7

Now, you’re going to have a lot fewer things, but the actual quality of your life will skyrocket!…

I’m going to explain to you how you do this…

First you need to make lists. Hackers love lists. A chart. You can make a flowchart. Flowchart it if it makes you any happier.

Four variety of items: Beautiful things; emotionally important things; tools, devices and appliances that efficiently perform some useful function; and category four, everything else…

It’s not that beautiful? It’s not beautiful! Gotta go!…

And everything else. Category four, everything else. Virtualize it, store the data, get rid of it…

It’s not going to hurt you to lose all these things. You don’t need them. After you go through this particular discipline, you will look different, you will act differently. You will become much more what you already are."
gamechanging  future  genx  generationx  favelachic  brucesterling  design  objects  change  longevity  quality  reboot11  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  stuff  possessions  things  travellight 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Andy Budd::Blogography: Why I Can't Afford Cheap
"Too poor to buy cheap. That simple phase really resonated with me and has stuck with me ever since.

Cheap is quick. Cheap is dirty. Cheap is disposable.

Cheap breaks.

Cheap costs money. It costs money to fix, it costs money to replace.

Cheap seems like a good idea at the time but cheap fails when you most need it.

Cheap is flimsy and unsatisfying.

Cheap is inefficient.

Cheap gets in your way.

Cheap costs you time and it costs you customers.

Cheap always cost you more in the end. That’s why I can’t afford to buy cheap. Can you?"
via:migurski  quality  affordability  money  wisdom  sustainability  time  services  longevity  beausage  business  life  value  shopping  design  price  slow  simplicity  wabi-sabi 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: slow strategy
"whenever you hear mention of speed, it's worth remembering the eternal Project Triangle...if you're going to be quick then you're also going to either bad or expensive...going fast will tend to reduce the amount of collaboration you do...Fast strategy might yield a big idea, but a slow strategy, a socialised strategy is maybe more likely to yield a rich one....I guess the real answer, as always, is the shoddy compromise; make sure that you can think and do both quickly and slowly. And then work out which suits you and your circumstances more. Because doing strategy happily is probably more important than doing it quickly or slowly."
projectmanagement  slow  russelldavies  strategy  gtd  quality  thinking  planning  speed 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics: Incremental Vs. Discrete Content
"Micro-incremental growth is an under-appreciated element of successful new media. This method is way beyond issuing beta versions, because there are no versions, just ever tiny modifications, some of which are not even improvements but simply changes."
wikipedia  change  growth  citizendium  jimmywales  crowdsourcing  quality  time  wikis  wikiasearch  slow  longterm  kevinkelly  content  encyclopedias  semantic  semanticweb  internet  web  online  data  database  information  knowledge 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Grading teachers at Joanne Jacobs
"Recognizing great and terrible teachers isn’t all that hard, writes Eduwonk. The challenge is to evaluate “teachers in the vast middle” at a reasonable cost."
education  schools  teaching  evaluation  assessment  policy  quality  administration  management  learning  leadership 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation - The Education Gadfly- January 17, 2008
"If schools are like wine, parents who can swing it (or get the requisite aid) surely derive pleasure from enrolling their offspring in a pricey institution. Their minds very likely correlate a school's educational quality with its lofty tuition."
schools  price  quality  psychology  education  learning 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Laurent Haug’s blog » "Wikipedia is like a sausageyou might like the taste of it, but you don’t necessarily want to see how it’s made”."
“The problem most people have with Wikipedia’s quality and accuracy seems to have more to do with their knowledge of how it is made, rather than any observed problem with the end results.”
wikipedia  perception  crowdsourcing  content  research  encyclopedias  quality  accuracy 
october 2007 by robertogreco
SEOmoz | How to Ruin a Web Design - The Design Curve
"The more time that is spent dissecting, analyzing, and critiquing a design by the wrong kinds of people the worse that design gets. The same trend applies to the number of people involved in the design process."
webdesign  web  ux  usability  work  quality  tips  design  webdev 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins: In Defense of Crud
"Consider...school children being taught to produce pots. We don't do this because we anticipate [ them ] to grow up to be professional potters...[but] because we see a value in the process of creating something, of learning to work with clay as a materia
art  creativity  participatory  social  writing  process  quality  media  internet  community  culture  online  essays  web  ncm  participatoryart 
february 2007 by robertogreco
A College Education Without Job Prospects - New York Times
"But as graduates complain about a lack of jobs, companies across India see a lack of skilled applicants. The contradiction is explained, experts say, by the poor quality of undergraduate education."
education  universities  colleges  india  asia  outsourcing  competition  jobs  quality  learning 
december 2006 by robertogreco

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