Category: Web X.0

My 2012 Predictions

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By , December 21, 2011 2:00 pm

Hello?? Is this this on?

Moses, it’s been a while since I posted here, but I thought I’d at least get some thoughts down as how my predictions for 2011 went and to share what might come out in 2012.

So here are my ideas for 2011:

  • More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
  • Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
  • Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
  • Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope

So how did I do?

  • More mobile – I think I got this one pretty good. Mobile is eating everyone’s lunch as we go into 2012
  • Social everything – Occupy, Arab Spring and many more history changing events were enabled by our social tools. If people thought that social was only for loners and geeks, they should think again. I got this one.
  • Bandwidth battles – Almost. In Canada, we got a half solution, but we also are offered far more wireline based (including Wifi) than before.
  • Text will still rule – yup, got that one as well. txt messaging has only got bigger.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – Not being on the ground there, I don’t know how I didn’t but I don’t think any real traction was made there.

So what are my thoughts for 2012?

  • Even more mobile – cheaper and smarter, but not at the same time
  • IP Soap Opera will have some manner of climax – the litigation over IP and patents is embarrassing for everyone involved. I have a hunch though that something is going to wake the litigants up (including Apple) to this fact.
  • Social everything – more than ever before, it will be the glue that knits together separate experiences.
  • Social nothing – our social tools will become old… allowing them to get really useful.
  • Alternative interfaces – Between Siri and Kinect, I’m sure there is going to be some significant traction in the realm of data entry into systems that are increasingly ubiquitous.

So, hopefully I’ll post again next year to see how I did, but in the mean time, I’m still hoping to change this blog into one that is more photography oriented. The problem is of course time. Between work, family, and starting a business, there hasn’t really been time to reflect. I hope that will change, but if not. I’m still sharing all manner of thoughts on edtech, teaching, tech in general and photography on G+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Kiking the tires, thinking about Titan and the three desires

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By , December 14, 2010 4:25 pm

You might remember, a few weeks back, Facebook came out with news on the new messaging service that it wants to roll out – Project Titan. Not the email killer that many thought it would be, many people seemed to be puzzled about what (and why) Facebook was expending its energy on (sounds like Wave eh?). Facebook described the system as a means of unifying messaging across multiple modalities and to my mind, it is merely the completion of an idea that Google started with Chat that could send messages to SMS, Chat and Mail. A few fewer weeks back, Kik Messenger was kicked off of RIMs BIS network. It is claimed that Kik is violating some copyright or patented technology that is property of RIM. Many people understood this one right away. Kik was, and is, basically BBM (Blackberry Messenger) lite “for the rest of us”. It doesn’t have the group sharing elements of the BBM platform, nor does it integrate with anything other than the address book, but it does the “killer” thing that BBM does. Deliver messages fast and allow for a means of knowing the status of a sent message.

Fast forward to this week as I finally pulled the messaging part of my phone plan into the tail end of 2009 with a limit that is more than 100 or so messages. People who know me, know that I don’t like txting long back and forth conversations. I had this disposition for two reasons, the first was that it would chew through my allotted message limit very quickly and second that it would suck down battery just as fast. For this reason, I preferred using Google Talk or other messaging systems. So when Kik showed up, I quickly grabbed it, longing for a return to those heady days that I was still a Crackberry Addict and could send messages instantly and know when they were read. I know you can do the same thing with SMS, but who really wants all that noise within the system? BBM and Kik have it integrated and noise less. But, unlike BBM and Kik, Google Talk records all the messages that users send, and there are utilities to do the same with SMS, but not with BBM/Kik.

Scoot ahead to this afternoon, when out for my afternoon walk around the Legislature, it struck me why and how all these elements come together. There are three desires we have when communicating. We have the desire to know that we can reach our audience specifically, we want to know that they have seen our message and then we want to be able able to move through the messages that we have sent and received. I’m sure this is nothing new to communication studies (or allied discipline) people, and it isn’t really new to me either, but what it new in my mind is that there is now a potential pathway that, through the use of technology, would make it easy for people to experience the three desires. The problem is that the tools that would enable this confluence is currently behind one wall or another.

But there is hope, and for all that Facebook doesn’t do well, it might be that Facebook has in place, at least in principle, the ways and means to build a system that allows for the confluence to occur. If the final form of Titan is truly “input independent”, then it would make sense that Kik/email/SMS/Chat/enhanced smoke signal/what have you, could all be used to interact with the stream of messages that are stored in Facebook. Ideally, the transfer of messages would also be fast and feedback as to the status of the message would also be available without extra noise. I’m also sure, that like Google, Facebook is going to keep each and every one of those messages forever.

Ok, so where am I going with this? The world outside the classroom has figured out why it is important to keep messages and make sure they flow in a manner that alerts those involved as to their status. Why hasn’t education? Why is education thinking that messages only last for, at the most 12 weeks? Why is there no way to know if anyone involved in the communication cycle has received a message, or indeed who would have received the message in the first place. Unless formal education enables this form of communication, I think it will fall even further behind where it is now in terms of preparing students for the connected and engaged world that they will see in their future and that they are starting to see in their homes.

No hugs, no harm…

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By , October 7, 2010 10:35 am

Over the Hedge

I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way as Sammy and RJ – that the studio is a soul less entity. But even if you buy into those “set painter” PSAs that the studios ran a while back, reminding us that there are real people impacted by piracy. It seems that in light of ACTA and the feeling that many, including myself, get that this agreement would further remove the finished product from those that create it… it would almost seem laughable to think that piracy impacts the “boots on the ground” in any real way anymore.

Blackbird Pie

By , May 4, 2010 3:18 pm

I wonder if today is a good day for pie…less than a minute ago via web

Well now this is cool… if you want to embed a tweet, you can now hit up Blackbird Pie to get embed code. I don’t know if it will handle conversations – can’t spare the time to test it right now, but it certainly suggests that Twitter is starting to think outside of the 140 character box… and it seems that long form blogging might have just gained some new steam.

Buzz… why it might work out afterall

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By , April 7, 2010 2:44 pm

I think I have figured out where/what Buzz will find itself most useful – In Google Hosted Mail/Apps. Why? Well instead of sending around office spam using email, office denizens can “buzz” about it and keep their inboxes clean – just don’t look at your “all mail” or “sent mail” folders/labels. The same would hold true for a school. Students could buzz about personal things and keep the inbox for “formal” communication. I know this thought is late to the party, but it seemed so obvious when Buzz came out that I didn’t post it, why? I thought others would have (and they may have), but since I haven’t seen it, better late than never.

Playing with WordPress 3 Beta

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By , April 6, 2010 1:30 pm

One of the things that I’ve been working with in the Faculty here is rolling out a WPMU service. One of the biggest pains of the service has been that it is lagging behind regular WordPress which means themes, plugins and the rest are always “stepchildren” of the main branch. But that is no longer the case. A download here and a config edit there and quick plugin twist and I’m a rocking.

I’m not revealing the location of the service right now because I’m using it on my host to allow people on campus to play, but eventually, I might roll it out others out there. If it works out well, I might roll /blog and together into one install as well.

Facebook mobile dominates mobile web

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By , February 5, 2010 12:59 pm

According to the BBC, Facebook mobile dwarfed the rest of the mobile web in usage with 2.2 billion minutes and Google and Microsoft pulling in a combined 600 million minutes in December. If you look at this UK data combined with the PEW data from earlier in the week it really suggests that the 17-30 year old demographic is focusing it’s online activity on what it can do while mobile. When you think about why Facebook, the answer seems to be obvious. On the smaller screen, the “life portfolio” that is Facebook makes much more sense. When you are “out and about”, you don’t want to have to remember where your “mates'” blog is, you’d rather just put in his/her name and go there without having to worry about logins or the other elements that are common to the unwalled web, thus reducing the need/want to post or comment on traditional blogs.

My 2010 Predictions

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By , December 21, 2009 12:17 pm

Well 2009 was certainly a transitional year for the type of tech that I follow. We seem to have moved from a world with clear definitions of media type to one where those types are starting to blur. This blurring seems to be due to one factor, the shift toward ubiquitous, real time data. This shift has made an impact on commerce and journalism, avoiding the one place where many would hope it would/could make a difference – education. Perhaps the reason for this is because at it’s root, education is geared to provide a foundation, but this foundation, once built should be using the tools that the “rest of the world” uses, right? Well, that is the conversation that will take forever and will likely never be resolved and in my experience seems to now be related to the fact that in order to exist in the educational sphere, there must be some measure of assessment and there is as of yet, no way to get the assessment tools developed fast enough to match the technologies that are being used. So with that in mind, how might we reconcile this relentless advance of technology with the lead foot dragging of education? Well I’m proposing that we forget about assessment when we are dealing with technology in education in 2010. Rather we look at technology as a way of enabling the communication needed to learn about various parts of the world and deal with the assessments as they are. Perhaps they are antiquated, perhaps they are progressive, but in the end, they are discipline specific and technology is largely discipline agnostic. The assessment of technology use will not actually be done in the classroom, but rather in the halls as students will be the masters of one communication form and instructors of another. Hopefully, there will be enough of an overlap that the two can still communicate.

This does not mean that I’m giving up on integrating technology in education, but rather looking more at what I’ve been saying is the new direction of this blog is – looking at technologies that help advance the story. The story is the learning, the assessment is something else all together.

So with that in the back of your mind, let’s see how I did over 2009. My points from last year:

  • Rise of mobile data/3G in Canada
  • A change in form factor preference
  • Mobile UIs
  • Technology abandonment
  • Photo/Video convergence
  • Rise of mLearning and mobile linked services
  • Net neutrality and Copyright
  • Microblogging going more mainstream and perhaps becoming the search jump point
  • “This is me”
  • The depression/recession/retrenchment

And here is how I think I scored:

  • On the rise of mobile data, well that seems to have happened as data has got much cheaper over the last year and newcomers to the market like Wind Mobile are really helping this. The use of “data sticks” to provide ubiquitous connectivity certainly helps this point get made. There are also more plans out there with unlimited text, which suggests that the telcos are admitting in their own way that it costs less than nothing to handle SMS.
  • The form factor has indeed got smaller and it seems now that Intel has put it’s hammer down and defined what a “netbook” really is, the format is indeed taking off. The use of Android on non phone style devices also points to a change in form factor. The iPhone didn’t really get the accessories to make it that much cooler, but Apple seemed to have other issues with the App store, so perhaps that played into things where developers where not willing/wanting to get involved into big development for the platform. That being said, there were some interesting remote programs as well as the development of hypervisors for the platform that make it more into a controller than a traditional hub. The same holds true with the other mobile platforms.
  • Mobile UIs seem to have had a mixed year. There are more content pages that are delivered in a mobile friendly format, but platform specific UIs (iPhone sites) seem to be dropping off.
  • Technology abandonment, well I should have called this niche gadget abandonment. There are many gadgets out there doing “one offs” other there and none of them seemed to get any traction this year (like the Twitter only Peek), Apps and widgets on the ubergadget seem to be the way that things are getting done.
  • Photo and Video did indeed converge with just about every new SLR body having HD video as a feature.
  • mLearning/Mobile linked and microblogging as the jump search point – well I think I hit that nail on the head pretty good. To the point where the big search engines have integrated Facebook and Twitter into their results. Of course there are many other real time services out there, but now that we see real time data in search, that field is only going to expand and have an impact on the static Web 1.0/1.5 and early Web2.0 content that is out there. New services, if they were to have any real popular geek traction seemed to have at least some type of mobile interface.
  • Copyright continued to grow as did net neutrality. These dry, geeky topics started to come up more often on the news and the public is at least understanding that there is something going on there that they might want to at least be aware of.
  • “This is me” seemed to have a blip this year as Facebook had a “land grab” when it enabled /user account referencing. That didn’t really seem to matter much to anyone as they were already ignoring what it said in the addressbar. People already seem to think of their account in their various SNS to be them, and it seems they don’t need a URL to help that out.
  • Finally the recession, be it over or not, seems to have done one thing – not the scraping for parts that I thought would happen, but rather a bigger move toward virtualization.

So it seems to me that I hit, or at least ticked each item on my list for 2009. So what am I thinking about 2010? Well in a word… cloud. But here is the list:

  • Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
  • Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
  • Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
  • Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
  • Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
  • Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.

So how does this all work with the “Cloud”? Well the cloud is something that is going to be delivered by only a small group of companies. Google, Amazon are Microsoft are the usual suspects to be able to deliver these predictions. I don’t think they will all come to fruition in 2010, but I’m certain that these will all have a solid start and I’m looking forward to see how the way that we learn from the storied that are enabled by these tools come to pass.

Finally, with another thousand posts over 2009, I have one more prediction. There will be much less traditional blogging. I don’t think I’ll have more than 500 posts next year as the emerging world of the web increasingly values the content that is shared in real time. So what does that mean? Well, in the past, when things happened, people blogged it and you’d use feed readers to keep up with what’s happening. Now ephemeral information and information that may not fit 100% with the theme of a blog will be tweeted or delivered over another such tool. What this means is that the tools that we choose to deliver/share content will be determined not by what we like, but by how long we’d like it to stay around (I’m talking best practice here). So I don’t think I’ll post about updating WordPress, because that is something that I’ll put into the twittersphere because it will only be relevant for a short time. But if something happens during that update that I think might have more lasting value, that will end up in the blog and if there are a number of those events that happen, they can be put into a more traditional site.

With that I’ll wrap up for the year, and effectively into the middle of January. You’ll likely see two more PoWs, but I don’t think there is going to be something earth shattering to blog about, but the tweets will likely come as they have.

All the best over the holidays.

GoogleDNS vs OpenDNS

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By , December 5, 2009 2:26 pm

Well this week, we saw things move one step closer toward the day that Google will complete it’s mission of “organizing the world’s information”. GoogleDNS has arrived and regardless if you think 8 is lucky ( or – I think it was luck that those addresses were free at all) or not, someone is going to come up a winner. Why? Well like the people behind OpenDNS, competition in this rather interesting market can only be good. Google doesn’t yet offer filtering, so right now there is a reason to choose one over the other.

If I have kids over who are going to be using my computers and I want to make sure that everything is above the board, I’ll swap things out for OpenDNS ( That way I can block off things that would make for uncomfortable discussion before it even gets a chance to get going. But if I know everyone is going to be responsible and I need to get results fast, I’ll likely use Google.

Google’s move is likely paired with the launch of ChromeOS – I have a hunch that it will route everything through there and mine that data for revenue streams later. OpenDNS makes money from filtering and it’s other options, so I can’t imagine that Google doesn’t have a plan for monetizing this.

If you want to see how fast Google or one of the other public DNS tools might be for you, check out namebench.

Connected with Facebook Comments TNG

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By , November 17, 2009 3:43 pm

One of my laments about Facebook is that it is a walled garden, and if someone comments in FB, it’s not reflected on the blog, until now. I’ve found this cool plugin that seems to do the trick and via Gravatar, show where the comments originate. There is no support for likes right now, but it’s a start.

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