Tag Archives: education

Those who don’t understand algorithms…

Don’t be scared if you don’t know what an algorithm is. This article is for you, so please read on.

If you know what an algorithm is but mainly from a mathematical viewpoint, you may skip the following paragraph, but please read on below, too.

About algorithms… and human action

Picture ‘Lamp Flowchart’ by Wapcaplet, via Wikimedia Commons

In a nutshell, an algorithms is the standardized function by which an action is executed – the important word being “standardized“. Because: the action to be executed is defined very clearly, and the function must state unambiguously in what circumstances and under what conditions this action has to be executed (or not).

This may sound very theoretical, but we all have already been confronted with a multitude of algorithmic processes.

Retrieving money from a cash machine is a typical, rather simple example: the machine has a certain number of predefined “actions” it can do (ask for your PIN code, hand out a certain amount of money, show account balance, swallow your card etc.) and its actions depend on your input, which are “conditions” for the machine.

Of course every action that is computer-based is algorithmic, i.e. implemented within different “layers” of programming, all boiled down to the basic electronic signals 0 and 1.

But no need for computers: actually, every procedure guided by a flowchart is algorithmic, too. Everything that is standardized. Everything that is automated.

“Algorithm” means no room for interpretation. And no choice. Continue reading

VoD & Social Web – some basics

I have written before about why basic education about digital is needed.

This diagnosis was not only one of the significant results of my Master Thesis. I also experience every day in my work that many people know very little about computers, the internet etc. Basic knowledge is lacking.

There are many reasons for this lack of knowledge. One of these reasons: there is a lot to learn and there is tons of “learnable” stuff around. Even if you wanted to start learning today, you may not know where to start.

Because: How do you know what you should learn if you don’t even know what you could learn?

The presentation I have given last week for FOCAL to Swiss film industry people has been conceived with exactly this logic in mind, i.e. with respect to the state of knowledge about digital I have been observing within the last years. The very positive feedback I received afterwards by the participants themselves – which is always appreciated – has been encouraging.

Don’t get me wrong: these professionals know their trade. Some of them have decades of experience in the film industry. However, their trade is not what it used to be: digital has been – and will keep! – changing this industry in a profound way. And it is more difficult to take step two if you have never taken step one…

Here are the presentation “slides” [in German only – well, with a lot of English expressions anyway]:

PS: My part was only one piece of the puzzle: I’ve had 4 great co-presenters. A follow-up article on the entire workshop is coming soon to a theatre near you website well known to you.

Top picture by S Richards Photography

Digital reality: education needed

There are still many people who do not seem to be aware of the impact and the potential of internet. People who use it, probably, but who have not adopted it.

You surely know who I’m talking of: the teacher who thinks Facebook is evil… the marketing person who has never even thought about putting an ad on Google or Facebook… the politician who tweets only during election campaign… the people who still don’t know a bcc-field in e-mails exists… Continue reading