December 28, 2007

Hugh is still calling this TV 2.0

A lot of people are hating on "2.0" names now have always hated on "2.0" names, so I'm not sure I'd be pushing it the way Hugh is. But I don't care one way or the other about "2.0", I can usually negotiate whatever terminology other people want to use.

However, I really don't like the idea of calling this "TV".

Like I said before, for me "TV" is all about "broadcast" ie. DRM, intrusive advertising, big-media dinosaurs etc. And, unless they turn out to be surprisingly clever and agile I don't think this is going to be about them.

Yes, 2008 may be the year that the big, cheap LCD in your living room is assimilated into the device swarm. But there'll also be little screens (Chumbies, portable gaming machines, mobile phones and video players), and non-screens (Nabaztags, Orbs)
Yep, Dave's done it again.

Update : And, of course, if Dave's FlickrFan takes off. It really won't be hard at all to upgrade it to do video, and then river of checkbox news.

For the BBC or NBC or Fox or CNN, now would be a great time to start paying attention and trying to get into this.

If I was Apple, I'd be dropping the price of the MacMini to take advantage of this launch : "Buy a MacMini NOW for only $400 before end of January and get Flickrfan preinstalled". OTOH, if I was Microsoft I'd assign a couple of people on helping port this application to Windows PDQ.

And if I was Flickr ... you know, I'd at least mention it on my blog.

Update 2 : Now, I wonder if this kind of newsmap would work well on a big screen.

Update 3 : Bonus Link. Remember this? :
Winer has nothing like the resources of Apple, but look, he's created the same shape of platform : he's got the content, he's got the nice reader, he's got the flow going through his middleware. And now he can start innovating on top of that.

December 27, 2007

Good end of year round-up from Marc Canter.

... we believe within one year they’ll be LOTS of social media features being plopped into existing productivity software, Intranets and legacy apps, etc.

Meanwhile Dave launches his photos from Flickr over RSS to your TV thing.
Dennis Howlett's wishlist for 2008
Hugh Macleod still musing on, (talking himself into more business with) Microsoft.

I'm a) answering both one ugly bit of sophistry that came up in the comments :

2. The US Government's paradox is that, while monopolies might be illegal, for Microsoft, as a publicly traded company to act in any way other than it has would also be deemed illegal.

This is clearly wrong. No company has a legal obligation to its shareholders to do illegal things. And even if they did have a legal obligation to do *wrong* things, anyone with any integrity would avoid them like the plague.

If you stop to consider the same argument being applied to, say, bribing foreign governments or abusing human rights, that should become obvious.

And then b) addressing the wider question.

I can understand that there's a genuinely interesting challenge to try to make Microsoft relevant and exciting again.

But I don't, honestly see how that can happen *yet* - they haven't been nearly humbled enough and still in transition between Gates / Ballmer and whatever is coming next.

Yes, they need a new idea. But chasing any new technological trend can't be it.

Microsoft's big idea, which has sustained them for 30 years, and really was visionary when Bill Gates was promoting it in the 70s, was that, with the right intellectual property laws, you could build a "pure software" company, selling directly to the end-users rather than be part of, or a supplier to, a hardware company. And as a pure software company you could get your product onto everyone else's hardware in every office, in every home.

I see Microsoft as the best-case scenario for a proprietory software company. But that turns out not to be good enough. We need more and more powerful software on a more complex ecosystem than anyone, even Microsoft, can keep under control. And the only way we can have that is through open platforms and protocols, free (open-source) software, "peer-production" and software-as-a-service. All of these are deeply inimical to Microsoft's core DNA of wanting to "own" software platforms.

If MS is to have a future, its "next big idea" can't be one type of device or another. (There's going to be a multiplicity of different types of devices. More than Microsoft can produce or even write drivers for.) It can't be "advertising" because advertising itself is under huge transformative pressures.

No, the big idea has to come after MS have exorcised the notion of "software as product" and started with a clean slate.

December 24, 2007

Hugh Macleod thinks Microsoft is going for TV 2.0

Well, it's not really surprising. Both MS and Apple have been trying to get there for .. well ... ever. However, "TV" for me means "broadcast" with all the bad things that implies : DRM, intrusive advertising, platform owners who want to dictate the conversation.

The question is, how much of this "broadcast" platform survive? And how closely do Microsoft and Apple want to tie themselves to it? As the computer explodes into a swarm of connected, "smart" objects and appliances scattered around our lives. (Nabaztags, Chumbies, Robosapiens and their various offspring) I wonder if the focus really should be on "TV"

December 16, 2007

Quick note : Blahsploitation is no more ... long live "Composing"

December 15, 2007

James Governor gets stuff.

Hmmmm ... M&A becomes about merging and pruning social graphs?

Nick Carr has a good follow up ... noting the importance of Excel

It's all vibing off everything Sig says.

I wonder if anyone remembers John Seely Brown going round a couple of years ago saying social software was for "exception handling" in the enterprise?

Final thought ... enterprise software will be "sexy" when it can do graphs like GapMinder.

December 13, 2007

Bebo (which is already aligned with OpenSocial) decide to clone the Facebook API too so Facebook apps will run on it.

Dave Winer says that FB supporting this effort is the "end" of OpenSocial.

He may be right, and that's a bad thing.

You can see an allegorical image of Facebook with a devil on one shoulder and and angel on the other, whispering advice in its ear. Facebook could choose to be "good" or choose to be "evil". Opening its API was good, Beacon is evil.

"Good Facebook" would be competing as infrastructure for social applications, providing more ways to let applications writers help you benefit from your social network. "Evil Facebook" thinks applications are merely a complement. It competes on "owning your social network" and reselling it for its own benefit.

While it's not actually evil to allow Bebo to clone the API. Being too blasé may demonstrates that FB are only really thinking about the dark-side strategy. Same problem is true of OpenSocial. If social-application hosting is seen as a commodity, YASNS have to compete on exploitation of your social data.

December 06, 2007

Umair brilliant today :

The original purpose of the corporation - and of business - was to make everyone involved in trade better off.

Stop and think about that for a second - everyone.

Somewhere along the way, in the annals of corporate history - we lost that purpose.

And the firm became what the commenter's describing: a value-shifting machine, not a value-creating machine.

So: the fact that people can even think that such a design makes economic sense - businesses exist solely to maximize profits, at the expense of consumers - speaks volumes about what's really wrong with th larger economy today.