Friday, August 24, 2007

Teenager unlocks i-phone with soldering iron: what I would love to have done on my holidays had I known enough (and still been young enough)

So much of the promise of what we think of as "the new" beats strongly in today's Yahoo story about a New Jersey teenager who reports spending 500 hours of his summer vacation working on a hardware hack to unlock the i-phone from its monopoly service provision by AT&T.

Inspired by excerpts from the original story I tracked George Hotz's weblog account of his hack. This is great stuff, all the way.

First of all, he is just getting ready to begin his college education, where he plans to major in neuroscience, or what he calls "hacking the brain" (a student to die for??!!). Next, he published the hack so that anyone with the urge to try can have a go. Then, he provides fair warning that the procedure might easily result in triers ruining their phones -- that is, soldering skill is required. Furthermore, rejects the views of some friends that he wasted his summer.

Best of all, perhaps, he has put the phone up for sale on eBay. His blog post is exquisite:

"This is the phone that was unlocked live here this morning. It includes the phone, the worlds first serial dock, and the official unlock switch from the blog.

As a note, if you are only bidding on this to get an unlocked iPhone, don't. There are much cheaper and easier ways to get one. This is a piece of cell phone history. I have no intention of ever starting an unlocking service."

Perhaps the best bit of all. Along the comments to the latest post we get a Nigerian scam spoof:

"Hello, would you consider mailing your iPhone to Nigeria? I would send you a check via Western Union for $1000, and you simply send me the iPhone and $450 change. Please let me know."

Can it get much better than this? Critical literacy, anyone?

On those (rare) occasions when I sit around wondering why education policy makers seem so committed to constraining literacy education to the basics, and to otherwise limiting school curriculum to dull attendance at inane content, and why they and others spend so much time dwelling on the "risks" involved in opening up internet access at large, I need only to think of youngsters like George Hotz to appreciate what it is that keeps upping the panic ante.

Go George!! I'd love to see a copy of your first assignment for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

For more on iphone hacks check out the ultimate phone hack site.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Three new books in the "New Literacies" series

We are thrilled to see three new books published in our "New Literacies" series, with a couple more imminent.

First up is Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research, edited by Suzanne de Castell and Jen Jensen.

Next up is Angela Thomas' Youth Online: Identity and Literacy in the Digital Age.

Most recently we have the new edition, much revised, of the first book to be published in the series. This is Literacy as Snake Oil: Beyond the Quick Fix, edited by Joanne Larson.

More than just authors in our series, these folk are all close friends and esteemed colleagues. We are indebted to them and commend their work to you.

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