Communication from Down Under

Greetings, Earthlings.

As I indicated in my last post, it has been hard to write. Things seem too bleak, or simply too overwhelming to explain.

At last, I have something to communicate and share with you, that is both simple and hopeful. I have been in Melbourne, Australia for the last two weeks, visiting with friends I haven’t seen in years, and attending the conference of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education – WFATE, or World FATE as they like to call it, with good reason.

This conference has been spectacular in many ways, but right now I’m just going to write about one. Today, we went out to the town of Sunshine, in the outskirts of Melbourne. They say it is the most diversified municipality in all Australia. We were there to visit an art gallery.

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English is Dead

The other day, I used my World’s First Digital Finger to tap the “Reply” button to an instant message from my best friend. I have about 10 000 friends, actually, but only around 1 273 qualify for “best” status. This one was complaining about the weather. “When it rains, it pours,” he said. I replied, “I like that – I go out in it, because to feel – to really feel – is a rare thing, these days.” Of course, when I go out to really feel the rain, I’m wearing my Polar Perfect Protection jacket, but I manage to really feel wet, all the same. My best friend – sorry, I can’t remember his name just now – was worried about global warming. “Everything in its own time,” I told him. “Don’t like the weather? Wait a while.”   He wasn’t real happy with that answer. “My world class weather station software tells me that the times, they are a-changin'” was his quip.”The more things change, the more they stay the same,” I replied.

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Talking About My Generation

Greetings, earthlings.

I am a baby-boomer. There are more of us in the world than any of the rest of you generations X, Y, Z, Me, You, Millenial, whatever.

We were a progressive generation that changed the world. We created the sexual revolution, we fuelled the American Civil Rights movement, we invented rock festivals. Hell, we invented rock (actually we didn’t, it was Black blues groups in the 40’s who did that, but we take all the credit).

We created the sixties and seventies.

We had the summer of love.

We tried all kinds of soft drugs, and a few hard ones, and praised their ability to change our spiritual perspectives.

With or without drugs, we opened our minds to Asian philosophies and spiritual practices, and discovered that without them, we probably really couldn’t have quantum physics.

We discovered ecology (it was always there, just most people hadn’t noticed before)

Above all, we were free, free, free.

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Why the EU is Failing

News flash: The very day of this writing, former president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso announced that he has been hired by the banking firm, Goldman Sachs, in a “non-executive advisory role.” Goldman Sachs was the bank that advised former Greek governments how to paper over their excessive debt, and then speculated on that same debt. José Manuel Barroso was EU commission president at the time. You can understand why the average European citizen doesn’t like the EU when news of this sort comes out just after the Brexit vote.

Oh, yes – Barosso’s main job will be to mitigate the impact of Brexit – hah!

Note: This is not part 2 of Brexit, as I promised – that will come soon. I think this is needed first. Warning: it’s very long, this post is – but read it anyway.

In the flurry of post-Brexit hand wringing, I think there is an important point to be made, and the leaders of Europe aren’t going to make it, so I will (never say I don’t have hubris…).

J’accuse !

Yes, I accuse each and every European government, regardless of its political colour, of deliberately fomenting hate for the European Union among its nationals. Most European newspapers and magazines also bear responsibility for this.

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RIP Michel Rocard

Michel Rocard is dead. It will be a long time before any political figure appears, in France
or anywhere else, that has his rigorous intellect, his ethical position, or his clarity of vision.

890635-michel-rocard-psu
Michel Rocard, socialist militant in 1971. Source: Agence France Presse

He saw the need for France to disengage from its colonial holdings well before anyone else.

He was a true believer in the possibility of government by the voice of the people, with social justice – in short, a social democrat in the true sense of the term, not the way it’s been mangled by ideologues of all sort.

He was a true lover of Europe – a Europe of federated nations, working collectively for the common good – not just economically, but politically and socially as well. Not managed by technocrats, but by European citizens who felt themselves to be European citizens.

He saw, back in 2014, that the UK had done a lot of damage to the EU and needed to get out – about which more in my next post.

He was a staunch defender of open source software.

As prime minister, he passed the minimum revenue allocation for all French residents.

He believed that good decision making requires reflection, that you have to take the time to accomplish that.

He believed you need to be practical, and deal with reality as it is, in order to make life better, without losing an idealistic vision of how that might be.

He shall be sorely missed, even by people who don’t even know his name.

Four Years on the STC Board – A Review

Dear readers, I have just completed two terms as a director at large of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). I think those of you who are STC members deserve a review of what those four years have – and have not – accomplished.

When I first ran, I had a long list of issues that I wanted dealt with. I was going to insist that they be taken seriously, my intention was to be a real pain until the board looked at all of them. Much to my amazement, all the issues on my list got raised within the first six months of my board tenure, without my having to insist on anything! This despite the fact that from my first day, we were faced with the need to find a new Executive Director. Life on the STC board has been a series of surprises, obstacles, successes, and disappointments.

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A Cognitive Design for User Assistance – Comprehensive Links

Update, 17 September 2015: Adobe has a new platform for its recorded webinars. Links to the recordings are now updated and will work correctly.

It is important to follow the Instructions for viewing them, which is also updated.

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I’ve had a number of emails, tweets, and other requests for information on how to get slides or recordings of the webinar series I just finished for Adobe.

Thanks are in order

First off, I need to thank all of you who attended, asked questions, passed me feedback and food for thought.

Thanks also to Adobe for giving me the space and the freedom to present these ideas, and promote the research we are starting to do in The Transformation Society. I’ll be blogging about that more in the near future.

Some Practical Information

Slides are posted as pdf files to Slideshare. You are welcome to use, but not modify, these slide decks, with attribution.

Recordings of the webinars are on the Adobe site – you need to have an adobe.com account to get to them. This will not hurt, I promise 😉 You can get the account for free, and there’s no obligation attached to it.

 Instructions for viewing webinar recordings 

When you click the links to the webinar recordings, you’ll arrive at the webinar description page. Click the “register” button, then fill out the form. You’ll be sent a link that will activate watching. The user experience is less than stellar, but don’t worry about it – just plod through, you’ll end up at the recording, just as we promised 😉

The Links

Session 1: Users Become Learners

Session 2: Empowering User/Learners Through Cognitive Development

Session 3: Integrated Learning: Building Customer Loyalty

 I’ve tested the links, and as of this writing, they all work as advertised.

Enjoy!