Small Pieces To-Go

Image of Franz Kafka spray painted in cologne, germany

Image credit: devnull’s Kafka2

Andy Rush and I recently did a presentation focusing on the small pieces loosely joined approach for mobile devices.  It was a fun presentation, particularly because Andy collected a wealth of information about apps for the iPhone and discussed a variety of mobile themes/plugins for WordPress—while getting in some digs at BlackBoard 🙂  Since the presentation we started running the WPTouch iPhone theme on UMW Blogs (which also works with Android) and I have to say it’s pretty slick from what I have seen—check it out and let me know what you think.

And while I still don’t own an iPhone or iPod Touch—hell I don’t even have a cellphone—I do recognize the growing move towards all things mobile. And what’s so cool for us at UMW is that to get on the mobile bandwagon for a site like UMW Blogs is as simple as a couple of plugins that other people have already developed.  And while I would love a UMW Blogs iPhone app, I have to admit that would simply be icing on the cake. So, as Andy says in the presentation (which you can find here along with links to all the resources) regarding UMW’s preparation for the mobile OS craze, “We’re ready, in fact, we’ve been ready.”

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Brian Lamb, whose post “Coming Out of the Mobile Closet…into what?” was the inspiration for my part of the presentation—and who nailed all these points already with far more eloquence. He also led me to Bryan Alexander’s “Going Nomadic” paper, from which I stole and re-purposed his brilliant discussion of the nomads in Kafka’s “An Old Manuscript.” I’ll reproduce his discussion of the parable below because I dig it so much:

I am reminded of Franz Kafka’s “An Old Manuscript,” an account of a nomadic army arriving in an imperial city. The nomads arrive suddenly, surprising the urban population and appearing without warning in city streets, markets, libraries, and homes. Kafka’s tale focuses on the incomprehension of the city-dwellers, as well as on their dogged willingness to attempt living life as if the nomads simply weren’t there. The story charts their progressive decay and their slipping grasp on reality while the nomads build a new civilization literally in their front yard. It’s a very funny story, in Kafka’s unique way, but of course it’s also a cautionary tale, especially for those of us in higher education. At colleges and universities around the world, the nomadic swarms are already arriving.

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6 Responses to Small Pieces To-Go

  1. Gardner says:

    I met Bryan Alexander in 2004, when I heard him give the talk that became that essay. Of course I rushed the stage and then compelled him to take a trip to the In-N-Out Burger with me and Kevin Creamer. Kevin brought along this guy named Brian Lamb whose small-pieces-loosely-joined presentation had really impressed him. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    As you can tell, lotsa lotsa resonance here.

  2. Andy Rush says:

    Let me reiterate the shout-outs to those who go before me. The Brian’s – Alexander and Lamb. Thanks also to Gardner for bringing them to UMW. Thanks to partner Jim Groom who planted the seed for this presentation. Fun it was!

  3. Which platform is looking like the leader on campus, Jim – iPhone+Touch?

    Ever read that story where Kafka emigrates to New York City? Upon arriving he suffers a bad experience, then decides to dress up as a certain animal, to fight crime…

    • Reverend says:

      My money is on the iPhone and iTouch for sure. And, are you serious about that Kafka story I read Amerika, but I don’t remember him dressing up as an animal super hero. Are you fucking with me? If not, pray tell me the name of that story.

  4. It’s a real story, from the excellent Paul di Filippo. Part of a book of alternate history of sf. Sweet stuff.

    (Kafka becomes “The Jackdaw”)

    • Reverend says:

      I was thinking that Kafka wrote this story himself (I always think of Joseph K as kafka) so I was rather tripped out when you floated it. This sounds even better, need to get my hands on this gem. Thanks!

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