This is pretty! /via Engadget
This is pretty! /via Engadget
This ad seems weird to me. I’m not sure what the point is? People that use their phones a lot aren’t doing it because the user experience is bad, they do it because it’s good, and they are having fun. Reading facebook, twitter, their email, the web, games, what have you. This seems like it would mostly appeal to people who have never used a smart phone and imagine that “these kids” must be doing much more mundane things like checking voicemail, or looking up phone numbers. If you think that, then you do perceive the problem of spending too much time doing things on the phone. But if you actually know what it’s like to use a smart phone, appealing to the idea that you won’t use it much isn’t a huge seller. I think Windows Phone 7 is a good direction, this ad just seems a little confusing. I’m sure Microsoft will blanket the market with all sorts of random ads though, and this one will get forgotten eventually.
Google and Verizon have decided on a compromise for net neutrality. Well, not really a compromise, since the plan was drafted in secret, and hardly anyone that it affects was involved, but you know. Compromise sounds better than secret business arrangement. It is not a business arrangement, don’t call it that! It’s just an arrangement between two businesses.
Anyway, it’s very depressing and bewildering to me. Obviously I understand what Verizon gets out the deal. Under this proposal there will be no network protections for wireless access of any kind, which unless you think the future of the internet is shoving the same amount of bits over telephone and cable lines, is probably the most important thing to give protection. As if that isn’t a big enough loophole, there will also be no protections for anything referred to as “additional services”, which is vague. The examples given have been, so far, a lot of bullshit. FiOS TV, healthcare monitoring, 3D (seriously!) have been thrown around. Guess what? Those all work with TCP/IP. What this amounts to is anything new won’t have protections. Anything you can think of that isn’t being done on the web now could be called an “additional service”, why not! Twitter is new right? or does it have to be something that is not in a browser to fool the misinformed that there is some magic happening there? Maybe Apple’s app store, or Amazon’s video rental system, or Roku boxes. Are those “new”? I mean they run over the “public internet” and TCP/IP just fine now, but imagine a fun new world where Verizon could argue these are new functionality and should be excluded from protections.
Google is fundamentally misleading people with this. TCP/IP is a dumb, generative network. They know this of course, the person that helped create it, Vint Cerf works there now. As Doc Searls and David Weinberger said in their essay, “Adding value to the Internet lowers its value”. The value of the internet is that it is a dumb network with all the value at the ends. You can, now, create an app store, or Twitter, or FiOS TV, or healthcare monitoring, without changing the network or involving the carriers. This allows for rapid innovation. Can you imagine if Twitter had to meet with every ISP in the world before rolling out? It might be similar to how it was for them to get SMS support, which is still spotty by country, and occupies a huge amount of time and effort.
There is no reason to pretend that we need to draw some imaginary line in the sand and say that everything over this line is some “new service” which net neutrality would inhibit. Quite the opposite, net neutrality allows rapid innovation. Changing how the internet works and having everyone get into business arrangements with ISPs will slow innovation. Of course, the idea that Verizon cares about innovation is also a ridiculous lie.
What I really don’t get though, is what is in this for Google? People say, Verizon is a huge carrier for Android, but Google doesn’t really make money on Android, and even if they did, why make such huge concessions in the wireless space? It’s not like Verizon has any serious leverage, are they going to stop selling Android phones, and watch everyone switch to AT&T? Google’s whole plan for Android isn’t to make money by most analysts estimation, it’s to commoditize the smart phone OS. That goal is achieved no matter what Verizon does. Android offers the only practical response to the iPhone that Verizon can also fuck up and brand however they want, I really don’t see them abandoning that. Apple will simply not allow any proprietary rebranding or labeling, and will likely just sit it out in US markets until Verizon concedes (and maybe also moves on to LTE while they wait). The only other option is Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft seems to be working with AT&T for, but even so that is a gamble, and Verizon just got burned pretty badly with the Kin. So, seriously, what is Google getting out of this?
So, I am really excited about google wave. I’ve watched the keynote, read the specs, and the mailing list. Google seems to be legitimately planning to open this up as much as possible. Easily as much as email is open now, plus they are giving a lot of reference implementations and example code that even goes beyond that in my opinion.
The reaction so far has been very positive I think, but there has been some negativity. Most of it seems to be along the lines of, “that’s nothing new”, or “it’s just fancy chat” etc. I think a lot of this is missing the point from a perspective of technological superiority. Sure, it might not be anything that different if you are the kind of person who can set up a wiki, and a mailing list in a few minutes. Most people aren’t like that. Most people have never used a mailing list. Most people that use computers have never used a mailing list, or a wiki. It’s just too hard, and not something they are interested in. People that forget this I think, may just be (enviably) isolated from that level of user.
The inbox metaphor is something that people get. If I can send you a wave, that is also a wiki page, and a chat, and a shared document all in one that is a lot of hurdles I have crossed in getting you to use modern software. Currently I have to talk you into a wiki, train you to use email correctly. (no reply below what i said!) and convince you that chat isn’t just for your kids.
From what I have seen the initial user interface will be easy enough for everyone to just get, without having to be talked into it. That ease of use is based on the email metaphor. The actual protocol though is not similar to the email metaphor at all, and is another source of excitement.
This system is lightweight and simple enough for it to very easily grow into things that are not planned now. The system of waves, wavelets, and blips, allows for a really simple access control system, and versioning. As more clients and tools support this I think we will really start seeing some uses for the tech crowd that look very little like email.
I hope use of this spreads quickly. Microsoft seems like the big loser here. Of course they could implement this in whatever is after Exchange 2010, but somehow I think they would resist out of pride.
Infopath is a weird thing. Thinking about it is like staring at the soul of Microsoft, I think. Confused, trying to be helpful, but to a group of people that are increasingly isolated and change-averse.
It’s a form system that stores the data in xml, for use by web applications, or more realistically Sharepoint Server. Businesses need to make forms, and Sharepoint only has limited support for this, so obviously the answer is another application to create forms, that will interface with Sharepoint. Because no one has thought or had this problem before, right? No one has ever needed to make a form on the web until Sharepoint came along, and helped everyone.
It’s just weird. Maybe this is a textbook case of escalation of commitment. The idea that you need to throw up some web form, and that infopath is the tool for you seems like a huge weird leap to me. You have to have it installed (even to fill a form out!), and it’s not free, you probably need Sharepoint, which is also not free, and functionally does everything much more poorly than, say, mediawiki, or knowledge tree. So instead of a simple server side client-agnostic approach, you would take the exact opposite, and sacrifice functionality?
Now for the meditation. People use this.
The sad thing is, I don’t think he is trying to sabotage Apple. I think he actually thinks this is a good idea, and that winmo, symbian, etc have a chance. Android certainly has a chance, and iphone. The rest will play catch-up until they are completely obsolete. They had their chance, and instead of innovation, they stagnated assuming no one would come up with anything better.
Wow, Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield left. I don’t know why that’s a wow really, but it’s sad. I was one of those very early flickr users when I was active on metafilter. We used to go in there and chat (yes, flickr used to have live chat!) and trade images etc. It was fun. Caterina and Stewart were much more active when the site was small. Actually it probably just seemed that way, as they don’t scale well.
Anyway, through all the yahoo crap during the buyout, and even the account renaming fiasco I always kinda knew, well at least they are still there so nothing terrible will happen. Not anymore. I still think it’s the best photo sharing site, but I no longer have any loyalty or trust. I guess yahoo would rather fizzle into nothing than be bought by microsoft.
Very interesting explanation of what Microsoft is planning with ie8 and version targeting. I don’t know how I feel about it from a standards view, but it does seem convenient. From Andy Budd’s analysis:
The big irony is that, by doing this, Microsoft have set up the ideal conditions to marginalise their own browser. Clueless developers won’t know about this behaviour so every new site they build will automatically be rendered as IE7. Clued-up developers will use this as an excuse to freeze support for IE and turn their attentions to better browsers. Users will see less benefit from upgrading and will be more likely to turn to other browsers. In fact the only people to benefit are the small minority of web standards developers who use Internet Explorer as their primary browsers.I think that’s mostly right actually. I wrote the first paragraph of this post before reading his discussion. When I said convenient, it was very clearly in my mind meaning locking sites to ie7 and never looking back. The part I would disagree with though is that this what a lot of corporate people want. In large companies the intranet people are not on the cutting edge of anything. The intranet people aren’t even the IT people, often different departments, using some crazy content management system. Microsoft isn’t shooting themselves in the foot, their customers are. Microsoft is only accommodating them in a way that doesn’t fuck them over also. Microsoft can still keep making better browsers, like ie8, ie9 etc, while letting their slow corporate customers sit happily in 1998. Whether anyone is interested in good browsers from Microsoft is another very real question though.
Funny analysis of the email to yahoo! employees at daring fireball.