Tag Archive: Thornburg

File:ITunes Store screenshot.png

File:Redbox logo 2.jpgI went straight to iTunes to complete the Phillip K. Dick assignment. Ten years ago, I was a blockbuster member, but I now currently use either iTunes or RedBox. I used to go to Blockbuster for the selection of movies. Now I can get File:Blockbuster logo.jpga better selection on iTunes without having to leave my home. iTunes rentals are about $3, about the same as I used to pay for Blockbuster without the gas and time added in.  RedBox is a vending machine located at my grocery store that rents new releases for $ .99. The lack of selection is offset by the cheap price. I already owned two Phillip K. Dick movies on DVD, so I could have completed the assignment without renting a movie. I decided to watch a new one that I hadn’t seen before, A Scanner Darkly.

McLuhan’s Tetrad

EnhancesVideo On Demand allows consumers to have a large selection of movies without leaving their home. ObsoletesVideo On Demand obsoletes video stores.
RetrievesVideo On Demand returns entertainment to the home. 100 years ago, families entertained themselves by playing musical instruments around the fire. Video On Demand allows families to choose how they spend their free time by giving them movie choices from home. ReversesIn the future, production costs for premade movie purchases will be non existant because the movies do not need to be pressed on DVDs and packaged

File:Tenniel red queen with alice.jpg

Thornburg (2008) defined a Red Queen as two technologies competing with each other to try and maintain market share (p. 12). I think a better example of a Red Queen would be the competition from iTunes and Netflix. These two File:Netflix Logo.svgcompanies offer the same services and are competing for marketshare. Since I have been happy with the service and selection of iTunes, I have not tried NetFlix, but I know that it offers the same video on demand services.

Another example of a red queen is the Sony Ebook and the Amazon Kindle who are both trying to gain market shares. The emergence of the iPad may turn out be a disruptive technology however.

An example of Increasing Returns would have been the fight between Blue Ray and HD-DVD formating. Blue Ray has won.


Thornburg, D. (2008). Red Queens, butterflies, and strange attractors; Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.


Second Life

A Library Exhibit

Thornburg (2009) defined a disruptive technology as a technology that does the same job as an existing technology; that ultimately makes the original technology obsolete by the disruptive technology’s introduction. Rosedale (2008) explained that Second Life has the potential to replace the traditional Internet. He used an example of shopping for an item on a website but not being able to talk to other people who are also shopping for the same item. Anderson (2006) explained that being able to meet face to face online allows for better learning online. Wallace (2006) claimed that Second Life was a disruptive technology. Wong (2006) reported that education was thriving in second life even though there were plenty of distractions. Another way Second Life is a disruptive technology is when it is compared to traditional online learning through online course shells such as Blackboard. Second Life is a more effective way to interact with a class than, for example, Classlive whose online chat feature and white board can be cumbersome and slow.

It is hard to predict how long Second Life has before it will be replaced because Second Life keeps reinventing itself. In the last year, Second Life has added full real time audio capabilities. Second Life may be replaced by a fully interactive virtual world that utilizes MIT’s sixth sense technology; but that is years away in development.

The social benefits of Second Life in education are the abilities to socially interact with other students and teachers in real time. Students can learn in a social environment in Second Life. Powerpoint presentations and movies can be embedded in Second Life and with real time audio, students can receive immediate feedback from their instructors. The biggest problem with Second Life is the fact that my classes have students between the ages of 16 and19 which cross over from Second Life, which is only available to over 18 year olds and the younger version, which is only available to under 18 year olds. There are also many sites on Second Life which are unacceptable for high school students. Additionally, personal islands which protect students from undesireable elements, are not cost effective for schools.


Anderson, T. (2006). An Educator discovers his SecondLife. Retrieved from http://terrya.edublogs.org/2006/07/17/an-educator-discovers-his-secondlife/

Rosedale, P. (2008). Second Life [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/the_inspiration_of_second_life.html.

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Disruptive Technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Wallace, M. (2006). Mitch Kapor on the Power of Second Life. 3pointD.com. Retrieved from http://www.3pointd.com/20060820/mitch-kapor-on-the-power-of-second-life/

Wong, G (2006) Educators explore ‘Second Life’ online. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/11/13/second.life.university/index.html