College: Too Easy?

While preparing to submit my dissertation for committee review (and eventual defense), out comes some news and analysis that paints a sobering picture for anyone interested in a life of academe.

A new book indicts the system of higher education in the United States for failing to prepare many students for the rigors of modern adult life. Grade inflation is up, undergraduate studying is down – to an average of 12-14 hours a week.

Specifically called out as a pressing dilemma is an apparent systemic failure to impart critical thinking skills to college students. Associated commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education puts a finer point on that: Read More

About Time

A week ago I got a small jolt when I opened my mailbox to find a letter with a return address titled “ABOUT.COM LAWSUIT.” After opening it, though, it tripped me down memory lane.

DIYmedia.net is a direct outgrowth of a project I began, literally, as a second-income (for pocket change). That was my stint as Pirate/Free Radio “Guide” for a firm called the Mining Company. This was 1996: the Interwebs was just catching fire, and search engines generally sucked.

The Mining Company’s business model was to hire “Guides” to oversee websites on specific topics. Guide duties included writing one feature story a week on their assigned subject and maintaining a well-organized links library (to outdo the search engine), for which we were paid a modest monthly stipend. Read More

Just in Time for the Holidays…

…I decided to remove the store-section of this web site. For years I have affiliated with alternative or independent retailers of books and music, but nobody really bit, partially because e-commerce on this site is somewhat antithetical to its nature; it’s really a labor of love. (Even so, many thanks to those who do occasionally throw a buck or few my way via the donate button).

Apologies to those who had linked to my book reviews; perhaps those will be resurrected in the future. Read More

GM Loses A Potential Customer

I know that one of the prime adages of the media reform movement goes something like that if your first issue-of-interest is not “fixing the media,” then it should be your second. Can that sometimes work the other way around? With respect to recent developments in the auto industry, I would argue yes.

Since 1997, the year I started writing online, I’ve been the (somewhat) proud owner of a Saturn SC2. Not the most perfectly-built car (at least it looks fast). I just flipped the 108,000 mile-mark on it this weekend; I drove it off the lot with just 215. It’s the first and, perhaps, the only brand-new car I’ll ever own. Now, General Motors has gone into bankruptcy, and as a part of this move it’s spun Saturn off to a third party (so at least I’ll still get parts and service). That’s nice. It’s the rest of GM I worry about. Read More

“Is This My New TV?”

Yes, Grandma, you may very well be right. Seriously, though: while the previous link is to a parody, check how many views it’s gotten. Now compare that to the number of overall viewers that were exposed to the NASCAR “DTV Transition Ford” which, in its four glorious races as-sponsored by the FCC, finished at best in 27th. Crashes aside, was this ‘lil stunt really an outreach effort worth $350,000 of taxpayer money? Granny’s probably more done to elevate DTV in the public mind than the FCC has so far – with a homemade video that clocks in at under two minutes. Read More