[Edu-sig] Low Enrollments.

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Mon Oct 17 17:16:20 CEST 2005

>> To the extent that the CS departments have allowed, and continue to 
>> allow,  themselves to be company towns for the major industry players, 
>> they deserve what they get.  And if what they get is a lack of interest,
>> maybe that is saying something optimistic about who our kids are today.
> Art

>Vilification of Microsoft is one way to go, certainly.  Not an especially
>original approach.

I not vilifying Microsoft as generally as you seem to make out (or, taking
some responsibility, as I might sound to be).    

>As I sometimes think of you as an investor, I'm somewhat surprised that
>your alternative to "bad companies" is "no companies" i.e. "because some
>companies exert a negative influence in the classroom, classrooms should be
>company-free zones."  

I don't know where you are getting either of these ideas.

a) I am not an investor.  

I am, in fact, a "failure".  

Browsing the business section of a book store yesterday I came across the
acronym FISO for the first time. Stands for a concept of making it in a
large enterprise - Fit In and Stand Out.  I personally was unable to
navigate that.  

I was good at one - or the other, at different points. Never simultaneously,

I "fit in" only late in my (large) corporate career - when I had lost all
interest and passion for what I was doing. I was a charm to get along with. 

Earlier I was working in small business environments where I stood out, and
was impossible.

I did nothing in particular to go from one environment to the other.  It's
the way things tend to go these day.

By simply standing flat, after having chosen a career devoted to working in
the environment of small business, I found myself working for a subsidiary
of an enormous Stock Exchange conglomerate.  They made us a (financial)
offer we could not refuse.  Just got the last piece of my sliver of the
buy-out money.  More financial insecurity ahead. 

I could have survived in that financially secure mode indefinitely, had I
chosen. Couldn't stand it.

More irrelevancy? 

To an extent.

Though Paul Graham - a notorious hacker (and PyCon featured speaker)  -
chooses to spend a good deal of his book meditating on these same issues
along side his meditations on educational issues.

Yahoo made him the offer he couldn't refuse (which was his plan all along).
But he did not last long as a member of the Yahoo team. Just says that there
are different legitimate sensibilities alive and well.  Yes, there is some
legitimate resentment I think toward Microsoft for narrowing the playing
field for certain types of passionate and productive personality types.

But no I don't consider myself a Paul Graham.  But I *am* willing to follow
his lead in connecting dots of relevancy.

And see nothing wrong with edu-sig collecting frames of reference on these
kind on these issues.

If others don't want to play, I can't help it.

I *can* be reasoned with, I believe.

But 2 sentence potshots from folks not making any other noticeable effort,
isn't reason enough.

To the extent that *I* am making a effort, it is going to take more effort
than that to convince me to make less of one here.

b) I accept that there is quite legitimate business to be done in the area
of education. 

But what is Microsoft's agenda?

It is intangible, and therefore hard to confront. It is just to be present
and accounted for in a student's day-to-day life. It is the kind of agenda
that only comes with a concern for hegemony.  

They are probably correct in concluding that, as a long-term business
matter, it is important that the business machine or entertainment box
destined to be on every child's desktop be running their software. Even if
they have to give it away.

Does somebody's business machine or entertainment box need to be on every
child's desk?  

Apparently so.  

It's - apparently - just a matter of working out the few tweaks needed to
turn them into Education Blasters.  

I'm waiting.

But nobody can convince me they are there yet. With any amount of
advertising spending.


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