Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Why Do I Write What I Think About Technology?

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Tomorrow the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be released to the public. For some reason Apple has never offered me the hardware to review ahead of a public launch, so I’ll be very close to the front of the line. After the purchase I’ll start reviewing the handset online, with my first impressions at the end of the day and a more refined review a week or two later.

Thinking about how to review the device has sent me down an interesting mental path, partly because of the reaction to the existing coverage of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. How should a technology journalist report and review a new hardware release?

There is a school of thought that a reporter should be covering just the facts, reporting these fixed details to the reader, and leaving them to make their own mind up. The arguments presented by the company should be taken as ‘the one true answer’ and that the only arbiter of a success will be sales, rather than the analysis of a thousand web monkeys at their Macbeth inspired keyboards.

The other side of the argument is that the facts are nothing more than a starting point. The thinking from the manufacturer and the idyllic view presented should be challenged and questioned. Decisions made in the design process should be questioned, and through this questioning the strength of the device will become clearer to the reader.

Naturally the latter will always input some bias from the writer (or the video producer, podcaster, whoever) because their understanding around the decisions made will colour the article. I have my biases, as do others. Those who are familiar with my writing will know where I see technology going and how that impacts on a device.

For me, covering the technology scene has never been about repeating the corporate line, declaring everything new to be magical, and cheerleading the courageous decisions being made. The comfortable corporate facts are the starting point. I see my role as informing people of those facts, providing context, questioning decisions, conveying how I see this all fitting together in an entertaining way, and allowing my readers to see multiple angles to make educated decisions on a subject if they wish.

Facts are good, but facts are the starting point of a longer journey. That’s what I write about, and that’s how I cover my beat. If you don’t like it, that’s okay. But tens of thousands of people every day are happy to read my words, and for that I am thankful.

And with that said, on to the iPhone 7 review.

The ‘lost’ right to delete your content

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Of course, the forced replacement of “delete” with “archiving” is presented as benevolent. Yet, if it were truly benevolent, we’d not have the right to lose forever taken from us. It would be offered as a choice. Of course, given that choice, we might well just do that and delete and that would spoil the wishes of the Timeline paranoids – their paranoia based on a fear of gaps, of holes and of empty spaces they do not own and control.

Paul Levy, on an issue he marks as “an over-dramatic sounding article about what, at first glance, might look to be a fairly insignificant and harmless phenomenon.” Dramatic? Yes. Insignificant? No.

NYT looks at the future of Delicious with the YouTube founders

Monday, September 12th, 2011

 But Mr. Chen said the team also “liked the idea of saving one of the original Web 2.0 companies that started the social sharing movement on the Web.” He added: “There was some sense of history. We were genuinely sad that it would be shut down.”

It might be a nice puff piece from the New York Times, but many of us, including myself, liked Delicious. Whether Chen and Hurley can revamp the service and still keep its core feeling is going to be interesting. Is this going to be a Ron Moore Galactica, or Galactica 1980? Time will tell…

“The Pen & Paper: the most underrated creativity and productivity tool”

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

RI think that it would be more accurate to add "for people who collect invitations to Web 2.0 services with no income stream" to The Next Web’s headline.

Geekstack taps into the real world of successful promotion

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

You may remember a while back that I talked about Geekstack a start-up hoping to build both a collectible trading card game and an educational tool to promote science by making the scientists the heroes.

Guess what arrived in the post this week? That’s right, just one Geekstack card.

Which I think is a genius marketing move. Arguably this is little more than a business card, but Peter Christensen has pushed this as a sample card – and by putting a physical card out it builds emotion and connection to a product that might be available in beta decks just before Christmas (GPO strikes permitting).

And he gets another blog post from many people. See, told you he was smart!

Geekstack - John Von Neumann

Technology and the Edinburgh Fringe

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

having been through the Fringe guide many times to plan out some of the adventures of the Fringe Podcast, I noticed back in June a number of shows that were leveraging technology such as online chat-rooms, Facebook and various other real time internet sites to start or drive their plot.

“That’s worth a closer look,” I thought. And the results of that examination can now be read over on the BBC News website:

This should not come as a great surprise. There is more emotional activity happening online every day, from relationships and marriage proposals, to storytelling, describing the world and capturing moments with sounds, pictures, video and text.

Far from turning us into a nation of reclusive typists, the internet is proving to be a rich catalyst of emotive experiences and settings for playwrights to explore the age old worries of life, love, tragedy and humanity. 

You can read Hi-tech takes to the stage in full on the BBC News website.

Bedlam Theatre

Akoha and Fighting For The Personal Touch Online

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Have we lost the Human factor online (and no I’m not talking about the Evil of the Daleks, but if anyone in Zimbabwe would care to look for the tapes…)? Two discrete data points today and an experience from my time in the US leads me to think that the next big change online could not be in how we relate to data, but how we relate to people.

The first point, and one I can link to, is CC Chapman asking where all the personal blog posts have gone:

I’ve had to change how I blog a little bit. As more people began reading my ramblings I couldn’t be AS honest as I had always been because I realized the reach of a simple post was greater then before so I had to at least think about what I was saying a bit before writing it.

And it’s true. I always joke about the rant I had over Le Web 2006 – the biggest thing to come out of that was my Mum phoning me on realising just how angry I was. My only thought was “my Mum is reading my blog,” and we can all recall that moment in our lives. By living so much online, and knowing that prospective employees and partners (both business and personal) can read everything people post , this means that we become a little more clinical in our blog posts.

To be honest that’s where sites like LiveJournal and the pay-wall wrapped social network sites provide a relief valve to many of us, including myself. To a certain extent Twitter allows emotional leakage, but those of us who work online have taken a slight step backwards from putting everything on show.

It also means there’s less spontaneity in a group of friends – partly because we are all so distributed around the world and that means there’s an increased barrier to actually doing something physical rather than say send an e-gift of flowers over Facebook.

Conversely, as someone pointed out to me via IM today, that means when someone does do something, it’s seen as being extra special because we’ve got out of the habit of using this thing called snail mail for parcels.

So if you’re looking for some ideas to take forward into 2009 and perhaps make a start-up out of them, may I suggest that you look at the human side of the internet and try to magnify that area of our lives.

Oh and that experience from America that could be one such company? Akoha. More on that tomorrow (just subscribe to the RSS Feed and you won’t miss it).

Don’t Make The Next Twitter, Make The First Wonderbra

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Digital Media Wire is carrying an interesting analysis on Twitter and what other entrepreneurs could learn from the micro-blogging service (and I’ll present this as a counterpoint to The Sunday Times).

They’re all very good points, and a quick search for any ‘new web thing’ and ‘lessons from said web thing’ will bring up a lot of articles like this. What’s important is not just to take on these lessons, but take on these lessons, expand on them, and do something else.

One of the rules of thumb I have when doing links to other news stories on All About Symbian is that I always want to add something to the story, to give it more value, and to lift it away from simple direct lifting. It’s a principle I’m trying to push on the writers at The Daily Dust as well, which is of course a start-up that follows a lot of rules of blogging, but also mixes in the rules of tabloid journalism, and some secret sauce… which in our case is “we cover good news.”

So here’s my lesson to entrepreneurs. Design your product like a Wonderbra. It should lift everything that comes before it, enhance it with clever engineering, and then present it confidently to the world.

Tonight Will See Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross overtake Robert Scoble.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

It’s going to be a big night for Twitter here in the UK, and it’s all the fault of Andrew Sachs and the Daily Mail

Three months ago, broadcasters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross called his answering machine, left a message, and the Daily Mail manufactured outrage over the incident. Brand left the country for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 while Jonathan Ross went and hid in a bunker for his suspension from the Big Brother Corporation (*). And what a jolly few weeks that has been.

Because he found Web 2.0

Specifically he found Twitter, everyone knew it was him, and suddenly the press started to take notice. So there was always a chance that he would talk about the new toy on a TV show. But just to make sure…

…one of the guests tonight is Stephen Fry, and he really uses Twitter. So much so that on a recent TV production he was banned from talking about what he saw because people might not watch the show if he twittered his experiences (yes I rolled my eyes at that bone-headed production team call as well). The two of them had promised (on Twitter) to try and get a mention in, and maybe a ‘live tweet’ on the telly. Following them yesterday, it was apparent that they did talk about it at the recording of the show. Plus Ross’ second guest Tom Cruise will think about signing up as well.

Let’s put this into perspective. If, on national television, one of the biggest influences (Ross) and one of masters of communication (Fry) can describe Twitter in a sentence or two, and how it offers clear access to the two of them and countless others…

If that happens Twitter is going to explode, everyone is going to follow the two of them, and we’ll finally have someone more popular than Scoble on the platform

(*) That joke is Spike Milligan’s.

The Silent DJ Is Here – How Did That Song Go Again?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Probably the craziest music I’ve heard is the Silent Disco – where everyone piles into a location, grabs a pair of headphones, and starts dancing to the music on the headphones. The music is supplied by DJ’s which broadcast the music to every headset. So people who want to hear the music can hear it, and those that would rather listen to the DJ on the other side of the room can change frequencies and join a different disco.

The point of this is to illustrate that music can be appreciated in many ways. And sometimes not head at all.

Probably the craziest music idea I’ll never hear (ahem) is Twadio. From the minds of Andrew Dubber and Stef Lewandowski, this is the craziest idea that just might work. The idea is simple, the DJ is on Twitter, and as the track ends, he tweets what the next track is. And when that one ends, and lodges in your brain, you just need to wait a little bit longer for the next hit.

So for fifteen minutes you’ll have an annoyingly catchy tune logged in the back of your head, because the Twadio DJ ‘played’ it. And just as you get over it, here comes another one!

Stef explains the concept here but it’s fantastically low cost, and unlike 99% of start-ups (or 99.09% in the Valley), it already has a revenue model and I presume income coming in. Each tweet of a track has a link back to the site to (a) actually hear a snippet of Angela by Elvis Costello (for example), and then you can buy the DRM Free MP3 track from Amazon if you so wish.

And Twadio takes a cut as the affiliate store.

Simply stunning – from concept, to coding, to implementation, to revenue. See how easy it is to have a start-up nowadays?

(www.twadio.com or follow Twadio TeeJay on Twitter)

What If Twitter Wants More Money?

Friday, May 9th, 2008

It’s late, it’s Friday, so let’s participate in Web 2.0’s favourite parlour game – let’s think up a revenue stream for Twitter!

It surprises me that everyone says that Twitter doesn’t have one. Because it does – a little slice of the pie from every SMS sent and received in the US (and those sent in the UK, given that we’re sensible and don’t have to pay to receive SMS on our handsets). And no, I don’t have the numbers to hand that would let me work out if it’s profitable or not, but my gut feel is that it covers a significant portion, but not all, of the costs.

So if Twitter was to open a stream, I’d think they would be best to look at the ‘Freemium’ service, similar to the Pro membership available on Flickr. I think fighting for more advertising dollars, in a mobile, portable, short format is not going to work. After all how easy would it be to strip out links to ads in clients such as Twhirl (unless of course, the third party client gets a 5% kickback… just a thought). Advertising on mobile browsers is still proving incredibly tricky to achieve, so I doubt that the tight confines of the microblogging service would provide a reasonable click through.

The numbers from Twitter Japan on the ads on a boxout on the Twitter.jp website may well have a bearing here, but if the main service needs to earn cash, I think that asking the users who like the service to cough up $20 a year should be more than enough.

The question is what would you want to have for being a premium member? You either have to limit some of the services already existing (perhaps user uploaded wallpaper?) or add in something new that’s only for the payees… you could joke about stability but some sort of priority on message delivery could be an option?

What else can we come up with?

The Top Ten Mobile Web 2.0 Companies

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Just posted over on All About Symbian is my Top Ten Mobile Websites – specifically sites from Web 2.0 companies that are designed for the smaller screen, but still providing the relevant information. The Top Ten goes as follows…

10. Mippinhttp://m.mippin.com/
Content re-aggregator powered by RSS.

9. MySpacehttp://www.myspace.com/
Popular social networking site with a strong flavour of independent music.

8. Dopplrhttp://m.dopplr.com/
Where you and your friends are travelling to in the future.

7. Google Readerhttp://www.google.com/reader/m/
Content aggregation and sharing from the folks at Mountain View.

6. Flickrhttp://m.flickr.com/
Photo (and now video) sharing site with community features.

5. Jaikuhttp://m.jaiku.com/
The other SMS based group conversation, with more emphasis on what you’ve published (and threaded replies).

4. Facebookhttp://m.facebook.com/
THe best thing on the net, or the scariest thing since Vista… you decide!

3. Twitterhttp://m.twitter.com/
The other SMS based group conversation, with more emphasis on chat and api’s.

2. BBC News (PDA Version) – http://news.bbc.co.uk/text_only.stm
Crappy front end re-designs may come and go, but the text only version of BBC News is still one of the best mobile experiences on the planet.

1. Bloglines Mobilehttp://www.bloglines.com/mobile
One of the earliest mobile sites that I used, and still use, to this day. A fast overview of my web, wherever I am. Perfect.

To read more, head over to All About Symbian to read the full article. Or let me know who I’ve missed out!