Thursday, January 11, 2007

Doug Engelbart: The Demo

If you have never seen this, I recommend hanging with it as long as you can. It is much like science fiction in my mind.

I also recommend reading the companion piece "Augmenting Human Intellect".


(thank goodness for google video)

Monday, January 01, 2007

10 Stunning Predictions!

1. Apple will ship a phone, but without FCC approval, it won't be ready in January. It will be less than people will expect, because that is what apple does well. Zune vs. iPod? iPod has fewer features, but is thereby more focused on the 90% of what the device will be used for. It will not run Mac OS X. It will not be a PDA, but will run a form of dashboard widgets (remember Nokia's apple technology based browser?), will talk to all the iApps, with a value-added proposition tie-in to .Mac accounts (online chat, email, blogging, image/video sharing). Specific hardware details? Who knows? My hunch is that they won't launch their own network aka ESPN, Disney or Helio, by buying services from someone else. It would solve some problems but create others. They may simply sell it outright, an unlocked device that will be a $150 premium over the price of the equivalent storage iPod Nano. It will be perceived as an iPod with something extra, so people won't wince at the price. Very few in the US will buy a $500 smartphone, but they will sign a 2 year contract to get a discount on one. Apple's strategy will be a value proposition -- if you will spend $249.00 for a nano, it's not a big leap to the same capacity, but with a phone built in, and some nice mobile focused functionality (again, simple, simple simple!). It won't be called the iPhone for sure.

2. The other bit of Apple news has been much less discussed. What is with Apple's online TV strategy? Apple has shown a preview of a set top box, iTV (or MacTV, or whatever it's called)? It will be unveiled next week. Watch for a tie-in with Google/YouTube, and then consider Google/YouTube and Apple's partnerships with industry. Suddenly, a competitor to traditional broadcast invades the living room, and it's appeal is that it is not solely a trojan horse delivering DRM laden content (that will be Microsoft's job), but will strike the same balance as the iPod -- for fee content that is mildly locked down, and lots of stuff that people can just watch for free. Expect to see tie-ins with traditional broadcasts looking for new outlets for content. Some customers will drop cable/sat, get over the air digital TV and iTV to supplement programming, perhaps a Netflix account, and never look back.

3. Microsoft's Vista rollout will be mostly uneventful, but uptake will be very slow after the initial spike, because many people will need to upgrade their computer, and like the move from Win2k to XP, it simply is not a compelling argument for upgrade. Vista will be successful, but it really is the last gasp, a chapter in the history of Microsoft that demonstrates that things have to be done differently in the future.

4. Everyone will be attempting to figure out how to tap into social computing. Expect to see a lot of very dumb variants on YouTube, MySpace, meetups, Amateur Music, Six Degrees of Separation stuff. Business will see it as a captive audience to market to. Education will really struggle with this one -- there will be attempts to apply social computing to traditional semester segmentation, and it won't work of course, because these things are like coral reefs, they take time to grow, and can die quickly. Throwing a bunch of old tires in the same old sea won't make it happen faster. Worse, some of the best aspects of these online entities work against education's standard operating procedure - the one to many approach (lecture, etc).

5. Linux will still not invade the desktop, but Mac OS X will continue to make modest gains in numbers.

6. Nintendo Wii will outsell the PS3 for some time to come, as the DS has outsold the PSP, because it is less expensive and appeals to a much wider audience. Sony will release a new PSP. It will probably still have UMD although Sony should kill it, it will have an HD as well, because Sony is going into the downloadable media market (video, audio and games) and it believe it needs to turn the PSP into the target platform. They need to partner with Apple, but Apple won't share the sandbox outright.

7. The Zune will get a big software upgrade that fixes it's most egregious problems, and opens up capabilities for it's built in wifi, plus some tie-ins to Vista. The brown zune will disappear, and in it's place will come some color that is actually appealing to people who might buy a digital media player.

8. Accessibility will continue to make strides due to embracing of more fluid ways of structuring and displaying content (been talking about this for a while). CSS is now an expectation, not an extra. Expect to hear the old saw "maintainable code" become the mantra of web designers, simply because sites have become so complicated.

9. RSS everything. It will show up freakin everywhere, even where it may not make sense, simply because it will be so easy to do. It will be the equivalent of bran or no-carb diet (enhanced with RSS!).

10. We will still be in Iraq in December 2007, and it won't look much better than it does now.