Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Go Forth and Gowalla? Maybe not yet...

I like to give each new technology the benefit of the doubt and often have faith in a technical solution before (or after) it is common wisdom. What I mean is that I sometimes grip on to something at first sight (like Google Wave or Sun's ZFS) and just don't want to see it go--I won't let go. (Some of you are like that about Unix, or cursive handwriting.)

So the idea of location-based games, especially those that marketers want to use to give me free goodies, that is an example of the sort of thing I'd love.  If the folks at Gowalla tell me that checking in three times at Whole Foods will get me a free bag of rice, I won't go to the place just to get the rice, but if I'm already going there, I'll be sure to punch in.

But that's really an oversimplified glimpse of what is possible with location-based games. There are some more amazing, and some more chilling implications.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Perfect Fit

In a couple more days, I have a lot of stuff to say about the Palm Pre (and Sprint), but for the moment I have this to say.

The Palm Pre is the very best form factor I have ever met for a phone -- especially for hands of about the same size as mine.

It fits comfortably into the hand without a stretch, but still provides a reasonable amount of screen space. I have sometimes found myself holding it in my hand as a natural action for long periods of time.

There are a few things about the Pre that I highly appreciate, and it's perfect size is one of them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's in a Cloud?

If you're paying attention in the technology workplace these days, you cannot help but encounter a lot of talk about Cloud Computing.  The term is not new, but its increased usage is a characteristic of the modern IT discussion.

So what do we mean by Cloud Computing? Let's take a look

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Magic Black Object

While I was growing up, I read a ton of work by the established Science Fiction greats. In fact, until just a very few years ago, the term Science Fiction meant to me, a book or a story written (on paper) by someone who actually had some education in a field of science.

So I was raised on (often) bright visions of the future in which the ingenuity and creativity of man had resulted in devices that seemed incredible, nearly magic.

In fact, it was Arthur C. Clarke, one of the undisputed giants in the field of SF, who said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Profiles of the Future, 1961)

Well today I hold in my hand an artifact that demonstrates the truth of Clarke's vision.  It is, by inspection, simply an inert black object. But when powered up and operating correctly, it is just the thing I've been waiting for.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why Go Gowalla?

...get used to it folks. The next couple of years will be drenched from the flood of new social media viral wannabes.

Especially after Aaron Sorkin made everyone believe that just because you're a greedy, selfish, egotistical misogynist, it doesn't mean you can't still get filthy rich and surround yourself with adoring groupies. (See the movie, The Social Network when you have a chance.)

So we'll be seeing daily talk about the latest platform or game to emerge in Social Media. Which makes it entirely understandable to ask, "Why Gowalla instead of Foursquare?"

I don't know if there's a real answer, but here are some considerations:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Death of the Wave

...I wrote earlier about how I thought that Google Wave would be a communication model of the future. Clearly now I will have to eat my words.  For that reason alone, perhaps this would be an entertaining article. (Also interesting, is to note that I was not alone in my enthusiasm for the emerging communication platform.)

Or you may be a bit curious about why I've taken so long to acknowledge something that is not particularly fresh news.

In either case, this is a good time to consider what happened to Wave and what we might learn from it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Redefinition of Terms

I haven't quite known what to do with this blog lately, and so there hasn't been much to say.


After consideration, I find that I have these things to say:
  • Purpose of this blog
  • Who I think you are
  • Why you would choose to stay tuned

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Music Gets in Your Life

I've never been one of those who embraced the iTunes store, the iPod, and the entire culture that sprung up around that.  I guess I suspected that the iTunes store was simply designed as a siphon that could be placed with one end in your bank account and then it would begin to drain while you enjoyed the music of your life.

The thing is, there have always been interesting alternatives.

One friend of mine ripped all of his CD collection into MP3 files and placed them on drives attached a single Linux server. This was long before Napster and before the RIAA launched its jihad on music lovers everywhere.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Talk about Telephones

...I can remember when telephones were interesting to talk about. (Because I've seen this in historical movies.) There was once a distinction between rotary and touch tone. (Oh yeah, Touch Tone(tm)!) There was once the distinction between princess and desk and multi-line and cordless and designer styling...

Then there were almost no "telephones" left.  When people in San Francisco encounter a pay phone, they take a picture in front of it to show their families.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What about Delicious?

...one of the most powerful outcomes of the "social media fabric" or Web 2.0, is the ability for us to share the highlights of our online adventures intelligently.

Before social media, we mostly shared our favorite findings by email with various groups of friends.  The baseline model for this was pretty terrible.  You would find an amusing joke or humorous story on the internet, then you'd send it to a group of your friends who would each then have a copy. Then they would send it to groups of their friends who would get a copy (sometimes not the first). Then those friends would...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping it all together

...I can remember back to the days when I first began to see the possibilities emerge in my first serious computer language. One thing I knew that would be helpful would be a comprehensive system for managing time, appointments, tasks, and workload.

That had me be fascinated with Lotus Organizer (which bundled my contacts and calendar in one place....), then later with Outlook, and now with the suite of services offered by Google with Docs and Gmail.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Giving us Choices or Restricting Them?

Look! It's really simple here.

Some companies are working to give us choices in the marketplace.  Some companies work very hard to limit our choices.

Google works to give me choices through innovation and by empowering businesses that surround it in the marketplace. (Android phones for instance, are available from a number of vendors, and on a number of cell phone carriers' platforms.)

Apple endeavors to limit my choices. (The iPhone will at soon be available at last, on more than one cell network, but is still available from only one vendor. And of course, some of us are having a hard time believing Steve Jobs' claim that Flash is unfit for the iPad.)

Hulu and TiVo work to give me choices. (The ability to select programming according to my wishes and schedules is no longer revolutionary, it's what I demand.)  Comcast and Viacom endeavor to limit my choices.

Memo to the marketplace:  If you actively engage in an effort to restrict the number of choices in the marketplace, we will see who you are and you will fail.  Players who work to innovate and compete in the marketplace by innovating and standing for excellence will be the winners.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's Got My Attention?

...because the field is constantly evolving, the answers to this question change regularly.

So the real question is, what parts of the Social Media Platform consume my time and give me value?  Today I think it is these things:

Google Mail
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube

There are some parts of the platform that cry out for my participation, but continue to fail me (mostly by not providing value in proportion to the amount of effort required).

MySpace
Yahoo Groups
Plaxo
Google Wave

Here's why I say that:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Consumer speaks: Four Principles for Ads that Work With Me

...we'll be hearing a lot about ads and ad models this week as Twitter announces the rollout of its own scheme for advertising revenue.  Although I've never been a big fan of the advertising industry and when I meet former players from that game, they invariably exited with a bad taste in their mouth, I have to say that it's becoming an increasingly interesting (and relevant) area for me. (I wrote a little bit about it earlier here.)

The industry (like many others) is undergoing a revolutionary transformation.  With the shakeups that came from TiVo, from Google, from Amazon, and from Hulu, there is bound to be some churn here that will invalidate many sacred industry practices. Customer evaluation and interaction with advertising, micro-distribution points (which this blog could be, although it's not), customer generated advertising -- the number of revolutionary forces is increasing.

Here are some principles I currently hold about advertising. Perhaps your thoughts on them will contribute to the consideration that is sure to be amplified this week on the heels of Twitter's news.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blogger and Wordpress

...a number of my friends want to have blogs, some think they do but they really don't and some don't know if they do -- but they would if they did.

It's okay if you made yourself read that sentence more than once. I wrote it more than once.

Anyway, the choice between Blogger and Wordpress is an easy one. Choose one and use it. Doesn't matter which one.  Put in some content, put in a lot of content, try to manage it and see what happens to you.

I was pleased to find that there is an easy method for creating a "fold" or a "Read Me" line in posts that you put on Blogger. The same can be said of Wordpress.  There is abundant support on both platforms for keywords, management of posts, scheduling posts, and more. Both offer ample support for themes, layout control and more.

Probably if you are going to want to do the more complex things in your blog, you may find that Wordpress takes you further.  I found that I was rapidly able to create a lot of posts and populate a blog history stream well.  I was able to queue up a series of posts that will appear on schedule now, and manage the schedule visually.

But Blogger seems to be evolving and may become a favorite child among the multitude of children that live in Google land.

No matter what you do, I think you'll be fine.  You may find that one or the other approach appeals to you and by all means take that path.  For now, I'm maintaining one blog using each one and I'll have a different opinion later on.

 ---v

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just the Videos M'am

...it seems a little "anti-patriotic" to plug my blog on another platform from here, but it does have a technology connection.

My friend wants to start a blog and I'm not sure that Blogger is the right platform for her.  I like it well enough, but it doesn't offer many of the more sophisticated options that are available on platforms like Wordpress.

Although I've been blogging since before we knew to say "blog" I don't know that I am in tune with the current state of the art.  So as I continue to write here about technology, I'll also look at the choices that are available to me on this new Wordpress blog about online video.

Hope you enjoy it too.

 ---v

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How Many Votes

...I've been studying this for a long time. Since long before the days of Facebook, I've been interested in the effects of consumer/community ratings of products and services. Voting systems for online content have always been a source of fascination for me. So I have a few opinions about how online voting should work.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Google Chrome for the Mac

...I've been borrowing a Macbook Pro from my friends at Apple to prepare for a Python course we're teaching there late this month. I've been dying to have a Mac to work from for a while and this was a tremendous opportunity to gain exposure without having to lay down the bucks required to own a new one myself.

One thing that has happened since I've been carting this jewel around in my carry-on bag is that Google has released Chrome for the Mac.