Driving, listening, and drafting new models

This could have been taken on my road :) A typical country drive view around these here parts ;) Photo from Ramps diarise. Click for source.

This could have been taken on my road :) A typical country drive view around these here parts ;) Photo from Ramps diarise. Click for source.

I live pretty far from most things (except the corn fields, they’re close by) and when I need something I jump in my car. The other night it took 2 hours to pick up dog food… but that was a mistake (Note to self – don’t try new routes while the dogs are waiting for their supper at home).

Luckily, in any direction the drive is beautiful, relaxing – no traffic, just trees, open highway or back country roads. Oh, and I live in Ontario so those roads are nice and smooth :) Hilariously, even on the back country roads, you can be driving blind and know the absolute moment you enter Quebec by the bumpity-bump-bump of the tarmac under your tires.

I’ve started to listen to books on tape, er, mp3 while I drive. I’ve attempted to do that before but never really got into anything enough to listen to all of it. Perhaps because I lived in the city, where drives were short and, when they weren’t, were fraught with traffic – and one must step lively in Quebec traffic, even while driving! Now though, driving while listening seems to be the perfect combination of busy-ness to help keep me focused on the story being told, and the act of listening helps to keep me focused on the road ahead as well.

I’m bouncing between two books right now, depending on my mood. The novel is The Shack. Interesting, even for a Jew ;) I’ve decided the story was wonderfully crafted because the first part drew me in so completely that I am open to the unfolding of the mystery of the Catholic holy trinity that is happening now. If the story had begun with Mack meeting God, as a joyful black woman cooking dinner, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost in a shack in the woods I would not have made it too far.

Click the image to read a nytimes review of the book.

Click the image to read a nytimes review of the book.

The 2nd book is Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. It is available for free in digital forms, clicking the title gets you to the Learn Out Loud download site. Alternatively you can go to The Long Tail, Chris Anderson’s blog, and read a scribd version of Free or hear it through the blog. He describes the present concept of ‘free’, how it developed historically to how it may be implicated in the development of new global economies. Oh heck, I’ll embed the scribd document right here. Well, at the bottom of this post.


It’s that last bit that got me buzzing. First off, it’s a great listen – Chris Anderson’s voice is engaging – and he talks about shifting views of business in the 21st century.

In (oh dear, don’t say it…) a little over a month I will be teaching a course called Contemporary World. It’s a new course, a product of the Quebec education reform. Since I will be teaching it in the English sector, we don’t have English language materials available to us yet. I am not hedging any bets that the materials will be ready by the beginning of the school year so I have looked at the overarching themes, as described in the French resources, and have started to create my own materials, as have other teachers. There’s a Contemporary World Ning to help us collaborate, and here is a wonderful example of the type of work that is being done to create an English LES on Wealth (Learning and Evaluation Situation).

Anderson talks about conceptual beliefs around free, how people grounded in the 20th century don’t think anything is really free – ‘there’s always a catch’ – and how people grounded in the 21st century think differently. There is a paradigmatic shift happening in the economic world today and the concept of ‘free’ is at its heart.

What I like about Anderson’s book is how it approaches the topic of free as an emerging economic model. I’m thinking about how my students can create new economic models from what they hear about in this book along with their own research and the conversations that emerge from that.

I’m still throwing ideas around in my head, I’d love to collaborate with others on this. I think I’ll cross-post part of this over at the ning.

FREE (full book) by Chris Anderson (Read in Fullscreen)

1 Comment

  • I’ve been enjoying ‘Free’ as I ride to campus every day, and it’s been quite nice. It’s also, I’ll add, been totally successful. My next amazon order will include ‘Free’ as text, because it’s something that I’d like to read and deconstruct (The Long Tail is also sitting on my bookshelf and getting reading for the same treatment).

    At least in terms of bandwidth economics, I think that the present regulatory decisions on bandwidth management will really determine whether a lot of his claims (e.g. bandwidth is practically free) will float. The core deficiency that I’ve been finding, thus far, is an absolute failure to see beyond the Silicon Valley bubble – he doesn’t really engage (in my mind) with the political realities of the underlying transmission systems that ‘Free’ often depends on. If gas prices are increased significantly/ships start avoiding pirate infested waters, then does ‘free’ remain a marginal cost? No. The geopolitical situation of each market is principly responsible for being able to give away ‘free’ product; it isn’t just that information/products/etc ‘want’ to be free as far as I’m concerned.
    .-= Christopher Parsons´s last blog ..Facebook Got Off Easy: Third-Parties and Data Collection =-.

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