Saturday, August 14, 2010


Techcrunch wrote the article on Google and net neutrality that I wanted to write, but wasn't articulate enough to.
The gist of it: Google is greedy and wants more money, and capitulating to Verizon on net neutrality will help them with that, but they should just admit that straight up. They should jsut admit that they're being greedy. This whole "it's really best for the consumer!" mantra on this is total bullshit.
Just like Facebook and privacy (their business model depends on your information being public) Google's best monetary interests are in something other than true net neutrality right now.

They're greedy. I'm fine with them being greedy, but I'm not fine with them being disingenuous.
Fun trick though: I'm greedy too. I want the internet to be open and free and all of that good stuff because I'm greedy. I want to stream things at a gigabit per second, I want to have everything accessible from my smartphone at broadband speeds with the flick of a finger, I want it to be easier to do what I do.
I bet a lot of other consumers do too. This net neutrality proposal isn't what is best for the consumers, and I want that to change, because I'm a greedy little bugger who wants more from his internet.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Delicious delicious product placement...

This really should have been a product tie-in:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Waving goodbye

/gratiutous pun
Google revealed that they are discontinuing Google Wave.
Wave was strange, hard to understand, and a totally amazing idea.
I was sold on it the instant I tried to brainstorm with some friends about a writing group that I run. Wave made it effortless for one person to jot down some ideas and for others to elaborate on them. I edited some pieces in there with a friend, and it was glorious, little ants combing a document for errors, constantly improving it.
More recently I've been working with my future roommates to figure out who is bringing what for our apartment.

Wave is wonderful. I am thankful that Google made it, and I am very sad that after the end of this year it may go away.

My hope for this is that Google rolls this functionality into Gmail. Wave and Gmail would be a wonderful pair. Give an option in the gmail interface to have something as a collaboration (whether it is called a collaboration, a wave, or something completely different is up to them). Basic idea being, I want to be able to communicate like I do in Wave. There are too many unexplored options with it.

Perhaps it is that the idea behind Wave is so wholly digital, so wholly strange and new, that it is just ahead of its time. If so, I look forward to the day when people can get it, work with it, and bring it back. Someone will get this right, maybe Google just didn't have the right timing.

Wave, you will be missed.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Blurring product categories

Just saw this article. What defines something as a portable computer versus a phone, or a tablet? Heck, what qualifies a tablet as a tablet rather than a computer? There are certainly a number that qualify as both.

Endgame of this is, what defines a computer today? A random person on the street would say that the ipad is not a computer, and from a perspective of what I think is generally considered a computer (currently), the ipad is not.

However, the article makes me think; is what we're really reacting to about a computer whether or not it has a mouse and keyboard interface? As one of the commenters in the article noted, mainframe users in the 70's would have scoffed at the notion that a PC was a computer, and likened that comparison to Steve Jobs saying that in a few years desktops/laptops will be like "trucks". They're useful, but most people don't need one.

I think I agree with this argument. The ipad clearly is filling void in the market, if sales are any judge. I can't yet say it's a device that I really need (want is another question...). Talk to me a year (or less!) from now and I may be singing a different tune.

To extend this further, if we're calling (or even considering calling) the ipad a computer, then why not the iphone and other smartphones? You can install software, cruise the internet, do some mild productivity, check the news, and any number of other tasks previously relegated to the computer.

What a computer is has changed, and is still changing. Five years from now I have no idea what kind of form factor I'll be typing a blog post on.
Ten years from now? I probably can't completely conceive what it will look like.
Twenty years from now? I suspect it will be in my head, a coprocessor for the gray matter already there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


The term I've read/heard all day?
EV being electric vehicle, that is.The term comes from this article.Apparently, the Tesla Model S got to pre-orders without me being aware.

To be as blunt as possible, Tesla can't get that into people's garages fast enough. The electric vehicle's time is now, and while Tesla is still a young company, they have done what many have not: gotten a car into production. Additionally, they are selling the car to the audience that is most likely to buy it: affluent enthusiasts. An electric sports car can use the hottest technology to show people what is possible, and then as that technology gets cheaper, so can the car. Tesla can come into the mainstream through the high end. Trickle down effects -while dubious in economics- work well with technology. First the early adopters with their wallets come along, then as the product gets refined it also becomes commoditized.
First came the roadster (high end sports car, meant for the few who can afford it) at $109,000, now comes the Model S (luxury sedan, meant for those who want the status symbol, but want some utility too) at $40,000.
Now, Tesla may not lead the charge into the consumer market (that may not be the image they're going for), but they are setting the stage for the mass-market EV.

I'm not excited for a future that goes vroom, I'm excited for a future that goes whoosh!

Beta Testing

What if there were a way to beta test public policy to attempt to actually gauge how it would do in practice?

I think that would be a good idea. In my mind it would be like a massively multiplayer online game, only instead of knights and elves and stabbing things, it would be a situation in which the proposed law was enacted. People would have a number of things that they could do, as either private citizens or as companies affected or as anyone in between.
The idea being that it could let people play the law as an optimization problem in order to find loopholes, how it could be used and abused, circumvented or worked with.
Heck, maybe it could even be a computer simulation, although normal people are generally much more creative than a computer.
I'm not sure if this is a great idea or a simply terrible one, but it's a thought. In my mind, far too much legislation today ends up with unintended consequences that are hard to see from both a citizen's and a politician's point of view. If there were some way of making proposed legislation into a game so that people could try to break it (use it for things the politicians didn't intend).

That could both be fun and useful.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Earlier this year I had a friend tell me that the Nexus One would kill the iPhone.
Today I read an article saying that the Droid X would kill the iPhone.
A few months from now? We'll see what new phone is killing the iPhone this time.

To be frank, regardless of platform, manufacturer, industry, country, favorite cheese, or whatever differentiating factor is used, the instant someone starts calling some new device "an X killer" with X being whatever is dominant in the market today, it no longer is.
In the early 2000's we heard about Halo killers for the Xbox.
Halo is still one of the biggest first person shooters of all time.
In the mid 2000's we heard about iPod killers.
The iPod is still in a near-monopoly position.
Now we're hearing about iPhone killers.
I wonder what's going to happen next.

All of these purported killers suffer from the same thing: They're playing catch up. They look to some standard and go "We need to beat that". They compare themselves to this supposed standard and rate themselves based upon that.
That in of itself ensures failure.

If you really want to strive, really want to rule the roost, stop comparing yourselves to anyone at all, and start trying to simply be the best. Not the best phone, game, waffle maker, or even the best ladle, but the best.
The devices that gain the mindshare that everyone wants didn't get there by trying to emulate the success of the current incumbents, they took what they knew and made something that transcended the current marketplace.

The point isn't to play catch up, it's to wipe the table clean, write new own rules, and rock at those rules. Then everyone else starts trying to emulate what not what has been done but what has been made, and the cycle continues.