Newspapers: proprietary readers and the future

I Want Media:

The New York Times Co. last week announced the appointment of Michael Rogers as "futurist-in-residence," a first for the newspaper industry. The Times describes the new position as a one-year consultant appointment to work with the company's research and development unit. …

IWM: Will newspapers on paper disappear eventually? 

Rogers: Not for a very long time. Paper is a high-resolution, high-contrast, unbreakable and extremely inexpensive display device. As the years go on, though, I think we may see more newspaper content delivered electronically and printed locally. However, we're within a few years of seeing some very effective electronic reading devices that finally do begin to challenge paper. 

The new Times Reader, on a tablet PC, is already a pretty good experience. Spin that forward five years and you're starting to have a compelling alternative. Finally, in another decade, a substantial part of our audience will have grown up already doing much more of their reading on screen, and they're not likely to have the same emotional attachment to paper as does much of the current readership.

I don't need the NYT Reader — but I can see that if I were reading the NYT often enough, and it were a major source of news, analysis and opinion for me, then it could well be a different story. Would I use it if it were the Guardian Reader? Yes, I probably would: I'm hugely indebted to the Guardian for news, views and links and I feel a great allegiance to the brand. Put the current digital Guardian alongside the NYT Reader and that version of the online Guardian looks old and passé. Of course, it is a very different beast, and Guardian Unlimited NewsPoint is no equivalent, either. That leaves Guardian Unlimited news for mobiles (read about it here; more on Guardian mobile services here) — which doesn't run on an E70, yet. (In fact, I've recently unsubscribed from the digital Guardian: using it conveys the feel of being embroiled in something more like a library archival programme than of being at one of the online coalfaces of an exciting, national newspaper that is also read and followed internationally.)

But there's an interesting issue here. On if:book, Christine Boese writes:

You know, for the money the Times spent on this (and the experienced journalists the Times Group laid off this past year), I'd have thought the best use of resources for a big media company would be to develop a really KILLER RSS feed reader, one that finally gets over the usability threshold that keeps feed readers in "Blinking 12-land" for most casual Internet users.

I mean, I know there are a lot of good feed readers out there (I favor Bloglines myself), but have any of you tried to convert non-techie co-workers into using a feed reader lately? I can't for the LIFE of me figure out why there's so much resistance to something so purely wonderful and empowering, something I believe is clearly the killer app on par with the first Mosaic browser in 1993.

'Kevin' comments:

The Times Reader smartly (it’s a brand after all) incorporates the branding, styling of the print edition (e.g. typography, colors, overall look and feel). But that’s about the extent of it. Sections and articles are in columns and pages using new layout technology that scale and adapt to screen size and resolution – but that’s more about usability and making use of the entire screen rather than trying to replicate the paper medium. …

Usability and Design. This reader provides a much more usable and readable experience than today's alternatives. It’s a big claim but it’s backed up by usability studies. Users strongly prefer this model to the text presentation found in the current browsers for example. Users also retain more information and read for longer periods. Columns, ClearType, Pagination, Hyphenation, Seamless navigation, Zoomable layouts, etc all contribute to a highly readable, easy-to-use experience. 

Interactivity. The app is still in beta and many more features are planned before its release but you can find a number of interactive features already. For example, you can comment (with ink or text) on text and share that with friends. The highlighted text is captured and the comment is recreated and rendered for others exactly as it was written. You can click on “topics” for any article and find related articles via the Search feature and “Topic Explorer”. You can peruse the news via Pictures /Photos or via the “What’s Read” feature. Stay tuned for more features. Feel free to make feature suggestions to the Times as well.

Also on if:book, in a post following Christine Boese's and picking up on her argument that re-creating a facsimile of a print newspaper online is 'just a kind of "horseless carriage" retrenchment', Ben Vershbow wonders, too, if this isn't to go backwards into the future. Most interesting bit in his post? This:

… are these proprietary, bound devices really going to replace newspapers? It seems doubtful when news consumption is such a multi-sourced affair these days (though to some extent that's an illusion). A device that allows readers to design their news menu seems more the ticket. Maybe the Times should be thinking more in terms of branded software than proprietary hardware. Make the best news reader on the web, prominently featuring Times content, but allowing users to customize their reading experience. Keep it open and plugged in. Let the Times be your gateway to more than just the Times.

Full info about the NYT Reader is available here. Currently, NYT Reader is Windows-only ('can be installed on any laptop, desktop, or tablet PC running Windows XP') and requires .NET 3.0. All OK for me, but … Mac users will want to read this post by Nick Bilton, Art Director at the NYT.

Finally, here's a quotation from Michael Rogers (IWM article) which I liked:

I think that being a futurist is in a way the last refuge of the generalist. You need to pull together all kinds of sociological, economic, technologic, anthropologic information into some kind of coherent whole. And finally, I'm not sure that the real value of a futurist is to predict the future -- the future is always going to surprise us in one way or another -- but rather to get others thinking about it in a creative and flexible way.

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Some thoughts on mobile viewing

Ben posts about some developments on this front:

Om Malik and Michael Arrington are pondering Dave Winer’s move towards mobile-enabling the blogosphere. Specifically, his product OPML Editor will allow users to view content they’ve subscribed to on their mobile phone. This is definitely a useful feature; I certainly spend a fair amount of time viewing my Gmail on my phone (in lieu of a Blackberry or similar device), and the ability to subscribe to content and take it with you is brilliant. Similarly, Winer’s service for posting to weblogs by phone looks like it could be great.

Take a look at Dave's portable river ('published by my desktop computer, every night at 1am' — OPML Editor support page).

As Om Malik says, 'there are a lot of tools out there' that enable (or attempt to enable) our mobile lives. On a list of things I've played with and found useful, I'd include Litefeeds and Delicious Mona. On the blogging front, TypePad has just announced TypePad Mobile for posting to your TypePad blog from a mobile device (though there's this route, too). And Gmail on the phone (link) is something I also use a lot.

Ben goes on to recommend Opera Mini, 'an excellent browser that goes through Opera’s proxy server which automatically provides content-squeezing functionality'. I agree: it's very good.

Google has its own functionality for mobile search and reading websites, of course, which currently comes, *I think*, in these forms:

  • Google Mobile Web Search (access your phone's mobile web browser, type in the URL field, type your search query and select Mobile Web); for UK users, is another option.   
  • (see here: 'offers Web Search and Mobile search. Mobile search restricts your search to the mobile index which contains sites that are specifically written to fit your mobile screen').   
  • Google's own mobile proxy (where you enter any URL and get a stripped-down version of the page — with the option of having images or not).

I can't speak for the following, not having made much use of them yet, but here they are:

  • Google personalised homepage for your mobile: set it up on your PC — US link here, UK here.   
  • Google Local XHTML — US here, UK here.

And there's the Gmail-for-mobiles that I mentioned above.

Google seems to advertise (ha) its specifically mobile services very little and I may have missed some obvious ones or have got some of the above wrong (it's a bit of a rabbit warren to investigate). Please add/amend accordingly.

Concerning mobile access of websites, I take to heart Chris Heathcote's view that 'well-written sites win' (link — ppt: slide 27). We don't need separate mobile sites and, although I use the Opera and Google proxy services, I wish sites didn't "have" to be re-purposed.  As The Man said, web pages ought to be designed to be read across platforms, across browsers and across devices: 

The Web is designed as a universal space. … The Web must operate independently of the hardware, software or network used to access it, of the perceived quality or appropriateness of the information on it, and of the culture, and language, and physical capabilities of those who access it. Hardware and network independence in particular have been crucial to the growth of the Web. In the past, network independence has been assured largely by the Internet architecture. The Internet connects all devices without regard to the type or size or band of device, nor with regard to the wireless or wired or optical infrastructure used. This is its great strength. … For a time, many Web site designers did not see the necessity for such device independence, and indicated that their site was "best viewed using screen set to 800x600". Those Web sites now look terrible on a phone or, for that matter, on a much larger screen. By contrast, many Web sites which use style sheets appropriately can look very good on a very wide range of screen sizes. Tim Berners-Lee

That's from a document Sir Tim wrote about the .mobi TLD proposal. He concluded: 'Dividing the Web into information destined for different devices, or different classes of user, or different classes of information, breaks the Web in a fundamental way'. The road ahead in teaching, with staff and pupils using their own mobile devices and their own desktops/docking stations, depends upon the web keeping this integrity:

The Web works by reference. As an information space, it is defined by the relationship between a URI and what one gets on using that URI. The URI is passed around, written, spoken, buried in links, bookmarked, traded while Instant Messaging and through email. People look up URIs in all sorts of conditions. It is fundamentally useful to be able to quote the URI for some information and then look up that URI in an entirely different context. ibid.

It's quite clear that teachers will need to be on top of the developing options for mobile viewing (and understand the arguments about web integrity). Is there a site (wiki) which collates and maintains links like these, preferably along with comments and reviews about user experience? If not, we ought to get together and create one.


Update (31 August). For the sake of something like Google-completeness, I should perhaps add here:

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More on the Google "Office"

Substantial, thoughtful post from Anil Dash — needs to be read in full, but here are some bits that struck me:

Google Apps will be used by companies that are relying on an in-house tech fan as their IT department, where larger companies who have a consultant or IT person on staff will stay with Microsoft solutions for these tasks. The truth is, Microsoft Office is great at traditional document creation, but it's lousy at collaboration, and that's the space that Google Apps, Office Live, SharePoint, and lots of other competitors are going after.

He goes on to review the non-Microsoft competitors of Google Apps (Office Live being the Microsoft "app" with which Google Apps is competing): Joyent, Zoho, 37Signals, Yahoo and Best of Breed Apps.

In all, the strength of these competitors bodes well for the entire space. In every case, these independent competitors are charging money for their products.

Information Week's report on Google Apps brought out the way Google is presenting its "relationship" with Microsoft:

"The right way to view Writely and Google Spreadsheets, especially in the context of a larger business, isn't necessarily as a replacement for Word or Excel," says Matt Glotzbach, head of enterprise products at Google. "They're the collaboration component of that."

That bit from Information Week, and a Reuters piece, led Nick Carr to say, 'Google is competing with Microsoft's nascent Live services more than it's competing with Microsoft's existing office suite'. Check. (Anil Dash: 'A key to success here will be to position Spreadsheets and Writely as complements to Microsoft Office'.) But Carr concludes his posting: 'it appears that the long-time monopoly in office applications may not be dismantled but rather replaced by a duopoly, and that the expected wave of innovation in web-based productivity applications may die long before it reaches shore'.

'In all, the strength of these competitors bodes well for the entire space': I hope so. Nick Carr's posting made me think of Don's warning earlier this month: 'useless to ask whether Google is the new Microsoft. Ask instead how can small companies survive the chaos to come'.

However the market pans out, here's some of Anil Dash's conclusion:

… there has been active resistance (to 'web-based hosted services') by large corporations and enterprises, and adoption was led by small companies or by independent workgroups and remote offices within a company. Google Apps is going to mirror that adoption, and will take hold primarily in organizations where the culture isn't based around an existing process of mailing Word memos as attachments, but instead on IMing links to relevant resources.

In Anil's words, in order to grow Google Apps need 'a mixed environment where many core services are hosted, but in an informal … model instead of the structured ASPs that large enterprises use'. Schools with IT departments whose zeal is not misguided are likely to be places where users will experiment with such application utilities — and students will be amongst the leaders, of course. Handheld and other devices that are wirelessly connected to the net independent of the organisation's gateway will, evidently, greatly assist the viral spread of such apps and, in the best of all possible worlds, IT departments and schools will recognise this and focus their efforts on encouraging both good and innovative practice.

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Google and Office-on-the-web

So, the launch today of Google Apps for Your Domain and Google Apps for Education gives us something else to explore in this area — along (for example) with the Zoho range of products. Office-on-the-web is attractive for reasons of collaboration, cost-cutting and productivity (Richard MacManus, responding to Rod Boothby's paper — HTML version here) and, self-evidently, you can use the same system to have access to your own documents, for your own use, on any machine, anywhere.

Google doesn't yet have an Office 2.0–a full suite of hosted productivity applications aimed at the Microsoft Office crowd, especially the small- and medium-sized firms–but starting tomorrow companies or organizations can deploy Google email, calendar, chat and Web page (Page Creator) hosting for free (ad supported). The set of Google communications applications is an extension of Gmail for Your Domain, and has some limited UI customization and administration features. Later this year, Google will offer a subscription service with additional storage and support options. …

Microsoft's base of Office users–most of the business users in the developed world–aren't going to defect to Google or other products like Zoho's suite overnight. And, Microsoft is developing its own suite of hosted Windows Live applications and looking forward to Vista improving the overall Windows applications experience. But, there is disruption in the air, and the Microsoft Office monopoly is definitely going to face a major competitive threat in the near future…  Dan Farber, ZD Net (writing yesterday)

Connectivity remains an issue:

Another pressing issue is how Google (and others in the Software as a Service game) will adapt their applications for offline use. I’d be willing to bet that when most Gmail users need to draft a message offline they use…MS Word. I just got back from a weekend on the Chesapeake Bay, and I can tell you that there wasn’t a hot spot for miles — accessing Web apps just wasn’t an option. And now that Boeing has infamously pulled the plug on its inflight Internet service, airline flights remain the great offline terrain that challenges SaaS to accommodate business travelers. Publishing 2.0

'Occasionally connected': not good! Another article from ZD Net:

Computing is about using standalone smart devices (PC's, PDA's, cellphones today and intelligent peripherals - smartTV, media centers, home appliances, etc. tomorrow) which are "occasionally connected" to the Internet. Ok, the more accurate phrase is probably "usually" or "almost always" but the key is that sometimes they are not connected. Once you accept that, you immediately acknowledge that a browser-only solution is not viable. One needs both online and offline (PC) solutions and applications. … I'd rather bet on Microsoft (and 3rd parties) solving the technical challenges of offline synch and "occasionally connected" services than betting on Google providing me with 100% 24x7 connectivity that leaves me without anything when (and not if) it goes down.

Then there's privacy (as ever with Google) — GigaOM baulked at this — security, confidentiality … all aspects of 'my data'. And here's Kent Newsome:

Bold but troubling is word via InformationWeek that "Google's plans include prompting people who send Microsoft Office documents using Gmail to translate those files into Google's formats for editing on, presumably in a forum where ad space is up for sale." One of the great and valid fears of IT managers is data spread- when your data is spread all over the place, it becomes harder to protect and manage.

(At this point, by association, I looked up Eric Norlin's piece from June of this year, Google's authentication vs. Microsoft's Live ID: '… one company is clearly advancing the cause of "identity 2.0", "web 2.0", "Net 2.0" — call it what you will — and that company is Microsoft. The other company is deepening the silo and building the walled garden'. Worth clicking through to.)

More interestingly, we have to ask what we need from web-based "Office" apps. GigaOM comments (elsewhere), 'Web Office should not be about replacing the old, but inventing the new web apps that solve some specific problems'. Via that last posting, I got to Red Herring's piece, 17 MS Office Killers, and here's what caught my eye:

The traditional Office suite is an old idea, said Jason Fried, chief executive of Chicago-based 37 Signals. “That’s 15-year-old thinking,” he said. “The modern office is more about real-time collaboration and group chat, and not just a spreadsheet and processor.”

To that end, 37 Signals created an online word processor called WriteBoard to offer—along with project management software called Basecamp—a group chat product called Campfire, as well as shareable to-do lists called Ta-da Lists. WriteBoard, said Mr. Fried, is a simple online word processor. … “Microsoft Word seems like complete overkill for sharing text here and there,” he said. “You don’t need tables or formatting all the time. You need a place to write text, make changes, and pass around.” So far, 350,000 WriteBoards or web-based documents have been created.

So, '37 Signals positions its product as complementary to Microsoft’s':

WriteBoard has its shortcomings, Mr. Fried is not above admitting. “It is not for writing your 300-page functional specification document or long manuscript,” he said. WriteBoard also lacks familiar formatting functions like font, paragraphs, or text point size. Users can take the text and then move it into a Word document or a PDF file, or publish it as HTML.

And back in June, Richard MacManus said: 'the main benefit of web-based Office products is that they'll extend the functionality of desktop office products in many useful ways'.

I use Basecamp, but I'll be watching Zoho for sure (see Zoho Projects and Zoho Virtual Office) — and the promise of a single sign-on. As ever, Richard MacManus has a finger on the pulse.

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Google novelties and the social web

I read earlier today (Google Talkabout) that if you set your GMail settings to 'US English' then GTalk would update to offer file transfer and voicemail — and also offer to show what music you're currently listening to. And it has, and it does:

I've tested the Voicemail facility, by the way, and it works beautifully: very simple to use (both to record/send and to receive/open) and it produces a very clear recording. (The 'Meep' is something we'll surely grow tired of very quickly, but it did remind me of the guy whose answer machine ran, 'Leave a message after the sheep'. So many people never stopped laughing after the 'Baa' that he had to change his greeting in order to get any messages.)

Changing the language settings also altered the top left of my screen in GMail:

Is this also new, or "just" something that's been there for a while for US users?

Picasaweb is beginning to attract some interest (and the purchase of Neven Vision adds spice). firsttube concluded a comparative review of Flickr and Picasaweb:

In the end, flickr and Picasaweb provide different things and a comparison isn't as apropos as you'd think. Picasa integrates with your current tools (Picasa on Win and Linux, iPhoto on Mac) and creates a simple interface to share and organize your photos. Flickr's strength comes from its thriving Web 2.0 community and collaboration and search. If you are seeking a place to store your online photos, either service will likely serve you perfectly well.

Ultimately, I have chosen Picasa because Flickr's interface is just too clunky for quickly accessing specific photos when you have a large number of photos in your photostream. However, I still use flickr, and fairly avidly, because the communities are great and the number of photos is simply astounding. It comes down to the fact that Picasaweb is a personal experience and flickr is a group one, and what I'm looking for for my photos is a simple way to show them to my family.

For me, the me/group distinction is telling. Richard MacManus posted yesterday, : 'A lot of people think the social aspect of this era of the Web is its defining characteristic. And judging by all the news above, it's hard to argue against that! It's fantastic too that Apple is getting into the spirit of things, while Microsoft and Yahoo continue to set the pace for the big companies. Social networking and Google are uneasy bedfellows, but hopefully even they will get into the act soon.'

So I was particularly interested in Google Video shifting in a more social direction, as Ben also noted:

Techcrunch has screenshots of the new Google Video interface. Google Video, of course, is Google’s Youtube competitor - which is faring badly in comparison. At first glance, aside from a page reformat, there are two features, either new or made significantly more prominent - comments, and “more from this user” - that Youtube has always had. In short, in order to compete, Google has added people into the mix.

Suddenly the dynamic changes. It’s not just a bucket where you throw video and hope someone will see it; people can now share videos with each other within the interface, and if you like one submission from a user, you can see everything else they’ve contributed. Rather than just the technology, it becomes a more social ecosystem, allowing users to filter content through other people they might be interested or have something in common with.

It will, indeed, be interesting to see how Google develops in the more human era of the social web.

Update: Google Talkabout has an excellent posting about the new features ('The new Google Talk features … have completed testing and are now available to everyone' — everyone? Other language users? US English users only?) written by one of their software engineers, here.

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Live Writer

Newborn it may be, but Live Writer already has its first plug-ins: Tim Heuer has written a tagging plug-in that tags for Technorati,, Flickr, IceRocket, Buzznet, 43 Things, LiveJournal — and offers the option to custom-tag.

He's also written a Flickr image plugin.

Nathan Weinberg points to a Currently Listening plugin — here. This enables you 'to add your current track information to your blog post'. Should you want to do this.

I'm blogging this via Live Writer. (Well, I tried, but I kept getting a Network Connection Error: 'Error attempting to connect to weblog at: The operation has timed out.' Hmm …)

Update: and it did post from Live Writer … but very slowly. (Possibly a TypePad issue?)

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Windows Live Writer beta: test posting

Windows Live Writer is out, in beta. Read about it here and download it here.

This is a trial posting from Live Writer. Installing the software for this blog created a test post:

Had to format the image (above) manually in order to centre it.

Nice, clear, user-friendly interface.

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Installing Live Writer might see you choosing to install Windows Live Toolbar — IE only — which adds tabs to IE 6:


Windows Live Writer has a lot of bells and whistles - preview in WYSIWYG or HTML mode, support for most blogging platforms (Windows Live Spaces, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress and others), easy insertion of photos and things like Maps, and tagging. Good stuff, but none of it differentiates it from existing year old products.

What does differentiate Live Writer is that they’ve released an API that allows developers to extend the capabilities of the software to publish additional content types.

Ed Bott's first take here. Nathan Weinberg has a very full first view:

The centerpiece of Live Writer is the Web Layout view. In it, your blog appears relatively similar to its real world styling, and the text is formatted as it would appear on the final website. All this is done by the program downloading and using your blogs own HTML and CSS in the program. Brilliant! It falls apart, as you can see above, if you have a black sidebar, but other than that, this is the most visually pleasing way to edit a blog I have ever seen.

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Skype 2.6

Skype Preview 2.6 is out, but be warned:

You can see that it’s called a “preview”, which means it’s not even a beta yet. You won’t find it on any pages — it’s limited to the Developer Zone and the forum at this time. We only want those people who are comfortable with (possibly unstable) preview versions to download and use it — and report anything you find back to us.

The main change in this version, and the main reason for calling it a preview, is that we made some pretty significant changes in the audio handling part of Skype, which may make it unstable. So at this time the main goal of this preview is to test all the audio stuff. There are some other new or changed things that are also visible, but we’re focusing on the audio part for the time being.

More on the Preview here. I think it breaks new ground in offering a Skypecast tab:


And, a Skype extension for Firefox that 'turns phone numbers on websites into buttons which you can click to call from Skype':


I may not have spotted these, or versions of these, in earlier iterations of Skype, but I suspect they're new to 2.6.

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Reboot 8: I

As with Reboot 7, Reboot 8 gave me so much to think about. Last year I wrote that Reboot 7 was 'far and away the best conference experience I have known and has so far resisted my attempts to write it up: too much to say, with each line of thought multiplying into several new ones as idea leads on to idea'. There's a brief, '100% personal and biased' history of Reboot here and the program for this year's meeting is here.

What endures from Reboot 8? Again, almost too much! Still, I want to make some points of reference here that I can come back to …

I bumped in to Bruno Giussani in Cab Inn and he has a good series of posts made at the time: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I missed JP's talk (but enjoyed meeting up; his thoughts about Reboot are here) — Bruno summarises it (2nd post):

Three steps of cultural development: the invention of the written language gave culture persistence; the invention of the printing press created a means of cultural reproduction; the Internet allows us to transmit and share. Three things that will/should go to the graveyard in the coming years: locked devices; marketing; and copyright and intellectual property. Three things that will thrive: relationships (are more powerful than transactions); trust; access to information (never been so easy).

And from his third post, about Ben Hammersley's evening "speech":

1. Steal from the best (like Brunelleschi reverse-engineering ancient Roman architecture in order to build Florence's extraordinary cathedral dome (photo) - or like today's web designers hitting the "view source" button on Web pages).
2. Never say no (like Michelangelo accepting the challenge to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel despite his preference for sculpture and little experience in fresco painting).
3. Indulge ("slack, leave early, do other stuff: one of the things in being a Renaissance man is actually not doing your job; in order to create great art, to create great legacy you have to indulge your senses and passions" - example: Filippo Lippi, a XV century painter).
4. Complexity is good ("let your different interests feed upon each other").

"What's holding you back?", Hammersley asks the audience. "We live in the most exciting possible time, can access every corner of the planet and every bit of information, have very powerful tools.  The secret is: consume more data, suck stuff in like sponges, have passion. The secret rule number 5 is: no matter what opportunities come to you, what interest, what encounter, what curiosity, say yes: grasp it, do it, yield to it, and create new things!". 

What I most remember (no significance in the order):

  • Talking to Ben, whilst I was supposedly finishing my own talk, about the Guardian, 'Comment is Free', 'Big Blogger', etc.
  • Chris' talk and demo of Nokia's mobile web server (Nokia's Open Source  page on this here; there's a good piece about it in LinuxDevices). Chris' talk can be downloaded here (ppt). Mobile internet-connectivity is set to become so important and I enjoyed what Chris said about mobiles, connectivity and the social, and the role of the mobile server in presence-awareness.
  • Imity's extraordinary demo. Their blog's here.

Maybe it would be less taxing on the human biology if we didn't have so many tools we had to know how to use but just better surroundings. This involves turning information into a living thing embodied in the spime around us and simply stop thinking of all this data as something we have to know. We can just live in it. I think this idea fits very nicely into the ideas about which of our senses actually afford which abilities. Culturally produced information is just too constrained to live in our focal view all the time, whereas we're effortlessly consuming naturally produced information in much greater quantities through the use of the rest of our senses.

Also, Fabio Sergio: 'In the dawning age of the Internet of Things networked handheld devices will not be used to just search for information on the Internet. They will be used to search for information stored in things.'

  • Jyri: 'the importance of peripheral vision and how enabling that could change our everyday lives and the web and mobile industries' (link). Be heedful — Mobile 2.0 will not be about mutlimedia but about 'enabling social peripheral vision — across space and time' … knot-working -- quick, ad hoc networking. There are some fuller notes on Jyri's talk here (Kars Alfrink — his other Reboot 8 posts can be found here). And yesterday (14 July), Jaiku went live (beta)!
  • Doc Searls' inimitable presentation — with its stimulating distinction of live web (Technorati-read)/static web (Google) and the role of the live web in driving the intention economy. My favourite slide from Doc's talk is this one, which reminds me of Paul Valéry, quoted by Caterina Fake: 'that which is finished is not made'.

    And for good measure: markets are transactions and conversations, but they're also relationships — the latter's the way we're going in Web 2.0.

  • Matt's talk on the senses and software: 'What I want to talk about today is the navigational metaphor, and what the senses are, and how we can use the senses – the human senses – as a model to design better ways to interact with things'. As ever, I came away with numerous new ideas and leads to follow, reading to do, etc. (I've just started on James J Gibson's The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.)
  • Tom's talk on narrative and blogging.
  • Euan's closing talk with its celebration of ways other than the top-down of organising and running things, of the value of the seemingly chaotic vs the drive to keep order …

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