(Origins of) The Digital Cobbler

Cobbling Together your Digital Environment:


An Introduction


This site started from the idea that we have very powerful
digital tools at our disposal. These tools are very new and are being modified
and superseded constantly. It’s axiomatic that tools change the culture in which
they are used and powerful tools change the culture in powerful ways. Once a
tool has been adopted by a culture, its use may go on for some time, passed
down through generations, without a critical understanding of how we use that
tool and what effects it has besides the immediate ones.


That’s where this concept starts, but it goes far beyond
that. In this essay and in the original Digital Cobbler web site we challenge two statements that
we are being constantly hyped with at the beginning of the 21st century. The
first statement is that we must surround ourselves only with the very latest
technology to be able to get anything done efficiently. There is no denying
that smart new solutions to technical problems are being invented everyday but
we reject the idea that we must throw out successful old solutions everytime
we want to use these new ones. Much of the Digital Cobbler is about incorporating
both new and old technology into our digital environments.


The second hype-statement we are challenging is that we
are “living in an age of unprecedented change”. The digital cobbler
tries to look at the history of technology to discover how previous eras handled
the change they were faced with because many cultures have faced the results
of overwhelming technical change. We believe there is a lot to learn from the


When we use various digital technologies together, we say
we’re building digital environments in which we get these digital
tools to work together for us. Building and maintaining your digital environment
is what this website is all about. There is a discussion forum, reviews of hardware
and software, and links to other resources. Whenever you, the reader, try to
get two (or more) pieces of tech to work together in your home, office, personal
space or whatever, we want to hear about it on this site. The Digital Cobbler
has been conceived as a place to learn about cobbling together and sharing your
experiences with others.


The ultimate goal, beyond simply wanting to have fun with
this, is to look for ways to put our technology together that brings new ideas
and new results that lets us get the most out of the the new computer age.


The rest of this essay, written by Philip Hall, lays out
the theoretical basis for the Digital Cobbler.


…more: The Theoretical Perspective