Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kids Handle Internet Threats Better Than Grownups Think

One thing that really irritates me is the media picture of kids as naïve victims of threats on the Internet. The media debate, at least here in Sweden, seems to display consensus regarding what threats the Internet poses to young people. It’s all about “adult sexual predators”, or whatever.
When I hear my daughter talking to her friends about Messenger, text messaging and chat rooms, I don’t recognize it. To me the media debate is about grownups, that hardly ever have tried Messenger, let alone Facebook or MySpace, discussing what they think kids are doing on the net. They simply don’t have a clue. I bet no one have ever asked their own kids about their opinion.
My gut feeling has been confirmed. A new study from Umeå University shows that children’s views of the Internet in many ways differ from the media related adult view. They are not anxious about the negative sides of the Internet. They are aware of and can describe many downsides, but these are not present in their everyday use of the Internet. Many children have in fact well-developed counter strategies.
Simply put: they are responsible young citizens, who are aware of the threats that exist in their online setting – sometimes from personal experience – and have developed methods to avoid such threats.
(Dunkels, Elza (2007). Bridging the distance: children’s strategies on the internet. (2007-09-26). The method used in the thesis is one-to-one online interviews and the analyses are qualitative in nature. The sample is children in grade 6 of the Swedish compulsory school, aged between 11 and 13. 104 children, 52 girls and 52 boys, from different parts of Sweden were interviewed.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pwned Open Source book

Got mail from old friend and Palm programmer Kalle. He found my old Managing Open Source Projects, now out of print, at the shady Japanese website The book is available as a pdf. Help yourself and download. It's open source now. (Slow server. Can take some time)

The iPhone is not a PDA

Apple has made a BIG logical error with the iPhone. It is designed as an iPod with a phone, not a cellphone with an iPod, which makes it unusable for professional use.
In short: The iPod has no data input device and contains no original data. It only stores copies of data from the computer it syncs with. The iPod therefore requires no backup. It is only the computer that requires back-up. If the sync corrupts the data on the iPod, just overwrite it at the next successful sync with the correct data from the computer.
The iPhone has a data input device and does contain original data, i.e. all entries in the Address Book, Calendar, Notes etc made since the last successful sync. The iPhone therefore requires backup, in order to protect that data if the sync fails.
When the 3G version will be available in Europe, I will buy one anyway and hope that Apple have fixed this very serious flaw.
(One possible option: if Skype will port to iPod touch, that has WiFi capabilities, there’s no real need for an iPhone.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Iraq effect affects Swedish innovation climate

It’s September 11 and the papers are once again filled with Iraq war stories. It will take a long time, many years, before the US can leave Iraq. And it will take even longer for the US to recapture the world authority and power it has lost due to the war in Iraq. Since January less than a third of the US population – 28 percent – still thinks the current US foreign policy is a good strategy.

Actually it’s all time low for any president in the US history.

Even if the public political memory is short, the damage the Iraq war has done to the international US reputation will be very hard to wash off. The successor in the White House will have a hard time refocusing on trade, industry, healthcare, environment and other areas.

This affects the innovation policy climate in Sweden. The only US news we get in Sweden is the Iraq war. Nothing about domestic politics, no new national programs, not even tax reduction. Nothing. Except the war.

The US is important for innovations in Sweden. Especially Silicon Valley. But when we talk about “internationalization” internally at Vinnova, more often other regions are mentioned: Germany, Norway, UK, Spain. I don’t think it is deliberate – still the US is Sweden’s third largest trading partner – but if the only news you get from a country is conflict, warfare and combat, you get fed up. The real interesting news gets lost in the noise from the war correspondents stories.