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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Friday, November 24, 2006

What is technology?

From the Saturday Guardian (18/11/2006):

'Technology,' a sage once observed, 'is stuff that doesn't work yet.'
That sounds like a joke, and it is, but it is also a crucial truth about
what technology is and does: we perceive something to be technology only
when it is still new and, like most new things, not quite working the
way it's supposed to. Nobody thinks that the wheel is technology, though
it's as important a piece of technology as humanity has ever invented;
the book is an unimprovable masterpiece of technology, and relies on
another, arguably the most consequential piece of technology there has
ever been, the alphabet. But because you don't often find yourself
waiting 45 minutes on a helpline trying to connect to Alphabet Technical
Support in Bangalore, you probably don't think of the alphabet as a
piece of technology.

It is when people stop thinking of something as a piece of technology
that the thing starts to have its biggest impact...

Ross and I had a conversation some time back about how stuff that's
self-consciously "technological" goes out of date so fast - how uncool
old iMacs are in a museum now. I guess we could rephrase it to being
consipicuously or evidently technological. If it's not conspicuous then
it won't seem technological or otherwise, it will just be, and it won't
seem old or new for like reasons.


From O'Reilly Radar(http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/11/raph_koster_cop.html),
remarks on Raph Koster's post at VentureBeat
) regarding copybots and the point
that "products can't be businesses, only services" - much like Ken
Hamma's message at MCN 2006.

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