Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Coffee on the Coast


Caffeine was never a favourite drug of mine, having come up through the 60's with other pharmaceutical diversions, and agree in principle with the flavour of this article, even though it is not at all about caffeine. It is more about the political ramifications of that (my) generation, and what may be missing in this generations passion for change (or lack thereof). Maybe it is caffeine that is lacking! I don't think so. There is no urgency, and the perspective of "having it all" now is out of touch a bit with reality. Which is also a personal perspective.

Back to caffeine. Loving to write, it still requires a certain stimulation in the mind in order to get the ideas from mental to physical (i.e. from the head to the fingers on the keyboard), and I have no shortage of ideas to express. It is engaging the fingers on the keyboard that takes some urging from the wonderful beans of Hawaii, Africa and Central America. I suppose it is healthier than Kerouac's bouts of benzedrine-fueled typing in such works as On The Road, but who is to say? This article, sums up some pretty interesting facts about how our nervous systems are coping these days..

I am fortunate in many ways, not the least is the fact that we have on the island a few very good baristas; and a good strong latte (always in a glass, please) is not hard to find. I don't know whether it is the quality of the beans, or the roasting, or the preparation that has made the art of preparing good coffee mature to where it is now, but I am certainly pleased with the overall results. A recent post on coffee by one of my favourite bloggers in New Zealand, Russell Brown had hundreds of comments around the world from expats and locals alike extolling the vitues or otherwise of their local supplier. The ability to share instantly the intimate knowledge of the food and drink we enjoy is one of the many advantages that the "digital revolution" has brought us. Although I am tiring of that term, and prefer the Ecology of Media, it is still an astonishing leap through time and space to communicate in the ways we are able to now.

Seeing both the content and distribution aspects of media in todays environment from an ecological perspective allows us to understand its dynamic nature. It is changing so rapidly, that the microclimates it creates (blogs, podcasts etc) are part of the whole climate change in information sharing. The "Google Guys" want to organise so efficiently for us, and that is noble of them. I am not as much interested in the organisation of it all as I am in the sharing and dissemination. After all, information is just that, alot of text and pictures, that may or may not be of any use. And then what constitutes it as knowledge? Everyone becomes an expert. There is no shortage of information today, there is a shortage of attention. The transition from information to knowledge to understanding is a more complex process than we might believe at first. What is useful and what is "clutter"? I like discourse, and I like learning. Within the context of those two actions lie many alternative paths that can lead in many directions. I enjoy picking and choosing both the content and timing of the information I receive, and that is one of the huge leaps forward we are making in this transition. Yes, I have an iPod, and although it is only a nicely designed music player, I hardly use it for that at all. Podcasts are my preferred choice, as well as a mobile hard drive for data. Choices and options. So many clever people, I hope they are all enjoying themselves..!

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