Monthly Archives: December 2006

Art and Consumption

Guess I should re-read Adorno.


Flying High

Is flying breaking the law of gravity or is it merely civil disobedience?


Broken Record in a Digital Age

Says the same things, over and over. With a strong backbeat. Sampling from what others have said. Mashing it up to create something new. Waiting for the words to have their effect. Getting on to new things.

Knowledge to the people.


Web 2.1 or Internet 7.0?

Speaking of Web technologies getting together to create tomorrow’s Web. It’s all about puzzles.

It’s really not that hard to visualize the completed picture of a Web 2.1 puzzle merging most of the advantages from the main Web 2.0 players: Facebook meets YouTube, Wikipedia meets WordPress, PodShow meets Digg, Flickr meets SecondLife… Smaller players like Moodle and GarageBand are likely to have a huge impact in the long run, but the first steps have more to do with the biggest pieces of the puzzle.

In fact, if I were to take a bet on the near future of the user-driven Web, I’d say Google is the one institution with most of the important pieces of the puzzle. Google owns YouTube, JotSpot, MeasureMap, Writely, SketchUp, Blogger, etc. They have also developed important services and features like Gmail and Google Maps. In many ways, their management seems clueful enough. Their “do no evil” stance has helped them maintain much of the goodwill toward them on the part of geeks. They understand the value of the Web. And they have a fair amount of money on hand.

Because of all of this, Google is, IMHO, the most likely group to solve the puzzle of redesigning the Web. To pull it off, though, they might need to get their act together in terms of organizing their different services and features.

On the other hand, there’s an off-Web puzzle that might be more important. Internet 7.0 needs not be Web 3.0 and the Web may become less important in terms of digital life. Though I don’t own a cell phone myself, a lot of people are surely betting on cell phones for the future of digital life. AFAIK, there are more cell phone users than Internet users in the world and cell phones generate quite a bit of revenue to a lot of people. The connection between cell phones and the Net goes beyond moblogging, VoIP, IM, and music downloads. It’s not hard to envision a setup combining the advantages of a smartphone (à la Tréo or Blackberry) with those of a media device like the Apple iPod, Creative Zen, or Microsoft Zune. Sure, there’s the matter of the form factor difference between smartphones and portable media players. But the device could easily have two parts. The important thing here is not to have a single device doing everything but having a way to integrate all of these features together, without the use of a laptop or desktop computer.

There are other pieces to that second puzzle: MVNOs, voice navigation, flash memory, portable games, Linux, P2P, mesh networks, media outlets, DRM-freedom, etc. And it’s difficult to tell who has the most of those pieces. Sony would be a good bet but they have messed up on too many occasions recently to be trusted with such a thing as a digital life vision. Apple fans like myself would hope that the computer company has a good chance at shaking things up with its rumored phone, but it’s hard to tell if they are willing to listen to consumers instead of WIPO member corporations.

It’s also difficult to predict which scenario is likely to happen first, if both scenarios will merge, if we will instead see a Web 2.0 burst, etc.

Puzzling.


Almost 30k

Seems like it was only yesterday that I posted about getting almost 10 000 views. 

Almost 10k « Disparate

That was on August 9, 2006. This blog started on January 9, 2006 (started blogging on March 28, 2005). We’re getting very close to 30 000 views here. Not that any of this really matters. But it’s fun to reflect on how our blogs change over time.

One thing that seems fairly stable for my blog is the few posts that get the most views. Some of my favourite posts rarely get read while some of my most boring posts (especially those about iPod recording and the eMachines power supply) regularly get a fair number of views. A bit sad, really.

One thing that isn’t clear, here on WordPress.com, is how many views are on the main page as opposed to specific blog entries. I tend not to use the “more” tag much so most of my posts can be read directly on the main page. My guess is that some of those posts that apparently get few views are still read from the main page.

Another thing that’s interesting to note is how people come to this blog. Because of my (probably annoying) tendency to over-label my posts with large numbers of keywords, quite a few visits come from searches for combinations of terms that appear in different posts. For instance, my blog entries on both food and polygyny get me a visit from someone searching for “food distribution in a polygyny marriage” (which is a nice anthropological topic that I didn’t tackle here). Quite often, looking at the search terms used to get here, I feel bad about people being misled into visiting this blog. In many respects, lower traffic numbers would be much better for me, especially if it got me more comments. Problem is, my blog is too disparate to get the kind of stable and focused/targeted readership I sometimes long for.

There really seems to be a tendency for older blogs to get more traffic, regardless of other factors like posting frequency or post quality. Well, part of that might have to do that meeting other bloggers tends to increase traffic. Which doesn’t mean that waiting for traffic to increase is a recipe for blogging success. For one thing, blogging, especially in English, will probably hit a plateau within the next few years. Newer blogs are unlikely to be noticed except for occasional visits from searchers.

Community-oriented features of blogging platforms (like the “tag surfer” and “friend surfer” on WordPress.com) are generating some interesting interactions but I personally find it time-consuming to have to go to those pages to connect with people. Having said that, my guess is that community-building and social-networking will become increasingly important with blogs. Tomorrow’s blogging platforms are likely to get increasingly like, say, Facebook. Interestingly, LiveJournal which has always been strong on the community-oriented features seems not to be capturing much of the newer crowds.


The Other Carlos Castañeda

USATODAY.com – Colombia unveils newest coffee ambassador

Apart from the homonymy with the well-known and very controversial writer, the new
Juan Valdez has the distinction of being a coffee farmer himself. In a context in which ethics are increasingly marketable, a brand-based persona may be so flexible.

The USA Today piece provides a short but useful summary of some economic issues behind the global coffee market. One thing that can be said is that Columbia’s Fedecafe has successfully achieved recognition for being a major force behind consistent quality in coffee production. Their coffee beans might not produce the most complex flavours or aromas, but they serve as a decent base in a blend because they’re usually clean-tasting.

With the Cup of Excellence program, Columbia could achieve recognition for superior quality coffee, along with other coffee producing regions of Central and South America (Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua).

Coupled with the controversial “Fair Trade” programs, these marketing and auction programs are changing the global coffee trade.


YouYear

So, 2006 has been the Year of You. “You” as any individual, consumer, user, amateur, person, personality, etc. With a strong tendency toward netizens living in the U.S. and participating in the so-called “Web 2.0” phenomenon.

For instance, “You” are (is) TIME‘s person of the year.

TIME.com: Now It’s Your Turn — Dec. 25, 2006 — Page 1

TIME.com: Time’s Person of the Year: You — Dec. 25, 2006 — Page 1

To some occasional readers of U.S. mainstream magazines, TIME‘s decision sounds like a rehash of the July 1 issue of Business 2.0:

The 50 Who Matter Now – July 1, 2006

1 You! THE CONSUMER AS CREATOR WHY YOU MATTER: They’ve long said the customer is always right. But they never really meant it. Now they have no choice. You–or rather, the collaborative intelligence of tens of millions of people, the networked you–continually create and filter new forms of content, anointing the useful, the relevant, and the amusing and rejecting the rest. You do it on websites like Amazon, Flickr, and YouTube, via podcasts and SMS polling, and on millions of self-published blogs. In every case, you’ve become an integral part of the action as a member of the aggregated, interactive, self-organizing, auto-entertaining audience. But the You Revolution goes well beyond user-generated content. Companies as diverse as Delta Air Lines and T-Mobile are turning to you to create their ad slogans. Procter & Gamble and Lego are incorporating your ideas into new products. You constructed open-source and are its customer and its caretaker. None of this should be a surprise, since it was you–your crazy passions and hobbies and obsessions–that built out the Web in the first place. And somewhere out there, you’re building Web 3.0. We don’t yet know what that is, but one thing’s for sure: It will matter.

Quite insightful in both cases. But not as much as the Internet’s Six Cultures model.

Personally, I’d like to see more people discussing the concepts of individualism, self-determination, creativity, social change, mercantilism, democracy, egoticism, and global identities in this You-focused context.