Thursday, May 13, 2010

Open Culture

Do you have favorite web sites? Here's some tips on using the web wisely!
by Charlie Leck

A lite moment before we begin...
If you've taken my advice and gone to Open Culture on the wonderful, world-wide web, then you've already seen this terrific video about encouraging more people to take the stairs rather than the escalator. Man, I loved it.

If you don't see the You Tube graphic above, you can get to it by clicking here!

I rose early this morning, after getting home late last night from the Twin-White Sox baseball game, and found myself going to Open Culture before I turned to my email. That's something!

When I did turn to my email, I found a couple of responses to my blog of yesterday, from people who don't agree with me. They claim that the Internet is actually creating a whole new generate of imbeciles or malaperts. (Naturally, I had to go check on the definition of a malapert -- and found it was the word of the day for yesterday. Someone is trying to fooooool me!) To those people, who don't think the Internet is going to help us educate our kids, I replied by sending them to this lecture by Don Tapscott, the Author of Grown Up Digital. It's a lecture I found a few days ago on Open Culture. It was cataloged on an impressive site that accumulates "smart (free) videos," called Big Ideas.

Open Culture can send you to hundreds of other productive, educational and cultural (free) videos.

It has gotten so spending time in front of your computer can be much more valuable than time in front of a TV (the operational word here is, of course, "can" or, more truthfully, "might" be).

If you want the Internet to be a productive tool for you and your work and interests, you have to build up a page full of those links you will regularly check out. I keep such a page for my wife and me that pops up every time we tune our computers into the Internet. Sure it includes some fun web sites and practical places -- like the Minnesota Twins Homepage, Snopes.Com (to fact check flagrant emails and rumors), the United States Postal Service, Google Maps, and Weather.Com -- and our banker's home page and those of the companies we regularly buy from and consult about professional matters -- but the concentration is on those places on the Internet where we can spend educational and culturally enlightening time. I'm talking about web sites like the following links that I've collected over the last few years...

You, naturally, should build your own list and put them right there on your desktop where you can get at them easily and, through habit, use them regularly. With tools like this at hand, you will suddenly discover that the Internet is the most potent utility in your home.

Well, I've got to go now because it's time for my Yale University course on the history of the civil war and the reconstruction... (by the way, for that course, I am reading E. L. Doctorow's book, The March... you might remember that Doctorow wrote the spectacular book, Ragtime, and this one, though non-fiction, reads just as well... it's a very, very good account of Sherman's march to the sea during the Civil War).

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