GreatAdvice: Get organised with


delicious bernard.jpg

Bernard Kerr is the user experience lead on delicious at Yahoo!. I noticed something the other day about the way his bookmarks are organised that in retrospect was one of those duh! ideas. On the righthand side of the page Bernard has a tag bundle labelled actions and then a series of actions attached to the sites that Bernard had bookmarked (see below).

bernard kerr.jpg

Something to think about, a kind of GTD for your web browsing. This goes way beyond my current occasional use of toread and blogit as tags.

Time & attention talk by Merlin Mann

I love this presentation by Merlin Man.

ThinkingAloud: The Twitter Man

I had a long caffiene-filled weekend chilling out reading old Wired articles on counter-culture, prediction markets and social media when an idea came to me.

Why not combine the approach of Luke Rhinehart’s novel The Dice Man with an ad-hoc prediction market being substituted for the pseudo-chaotic responses provided by a pair of dice.

Like the dice a number of possible decisions could be created and then a prediction market could be used to decide which decision to take.

Then it struck me that Twitter would be an ideal vehicle for this:

  • The Twitter Man could have a closed set of people who they follow in the prediction market (a kind of advisory board based on the their social graph), which would hopefully provide the optimal decisions
  • 140 characters of Twitter would keep the options simple, closed, inambiguous in nature and enable simple responses; improving responses and making tallying up the results easier
  • Responses should be short, taking up a minimum amount of time and allowing for immediate gut reactions rather than an overly-analytical response

There is also a certain circular reference in this as the proto-online social network The WELL, can trace its history back to the Whole Earth Catalog and the back to land new communalism movement of the 1960s and early 70s which tried to create a collective mind similar to that occurring in a tribal people.

On the other hand it could also pander to the darker modern phenomena of self-centred wannabe micro celebrities.

2K8 and beyond for technology

Predictions and hopes:

  • The iPhone and its multi-touch screen has defined the mobile user experience. Whilst by no means perfect, it has shone a light on an area of innovation that companies as diverse as Nokia, Google and Microsoft are also focused on. More importantly it has raised consumers expectations of what makes a good phone and a good user experience. I expect to see haptic technology appearing in touchscreen devices to provide tactile feedback which will finally make virtual keyboards worthwhile. If the technologists aren’t careful we may also see fatigue failures damaging the touchscreens, transistors and backing glass on these screens when the devices are in the hands of touch-typists. Product recall anyone?
  • Location-based services will start to have an impact in the mobile market, and casualties are like to be the GPS hardware manufacturers. Mapping companies will gain, as will digital marketing agencies who are smart enough to get in on game fast enough with Google Mobile or flickr mash-ups to create services that provide value. So advertising becomes useful information
  • Portable devices will become more usable over time. The combination of new technologies like solid-state drives and LED backlights on LCDs and OLEDs, combined with the kind of engineering lessons learned from developing disruptive products like the OLPC, the ASUS eeePC, Apple iPhone, and Nokia N8XX series devices will start to permeate throughout the work done by the Taiwanese sub-contractors who play the artisans and workshops of the technology sector to Apple’s architects
  • Consumers will start to look beyond the energy footprint of their technology devices and look at the kind of social conditions they are made in. There will be a small but growing lucrative market in the American Apparel-type business model for technology, starting with simple gadgets like MP3 players
  • Apple will have a tipping point as the web becomes closer to the ‘net is the computer’ vision of Larry Ellison of Oracle and the folks of Sun Microsystems back in the day. However this will not be a slam dunk as there are very good reasons (mostly to do with realpolitik and power of IT within an organisation) that will see IT directors fight the power
  • Enterprise software, consumer electronics and internet companies will start to get a dividend from the technology that has been developed to fight terrorism post-9/11. Areas like pattern-recognition, systems that require fuzzy logic-type maths or machine learning like facial recognition, speech-to-text conversion and multimedia search will receive incremental benefits rather than disruptive revolutions (like the invention of the integrated circuit by Texas Instruments in the late 1960s / early 1970s)
  • Mobile phone companies making smartphone devices will finally all use mini USB connections to charge their phones and do wired data synchronisation, reducing the amount of cables and plug adopters needed by your average roadwarrior
  • IT departments will continue to ignore web 2.0 properties as time-wasting and will continue user policies that make the Great Firewall of China look liberal in comparison. Over half the working population will still not be able to use Facebook, IM applications
  • Other consultancies will follow Capgemini’s lead in selling web service applications like Google’s office applications to large enterprises from a manageability and cost point-of-view. This is likely to be rolled out first in companies that have outsourced their IT department to another company in the second term of its outsourcing contract and is desperate to find additional savings
  • User-experience on web services will start to become a major area of differentiation and the unintuitive will suffer as consumers move to more elegant products
  • Nokia will struggle to do web services and Google will struggle to do social software. Yahoo! looks as if it is already struggling to be meaningful in the European marketplace and will continue to do so (the exceptions being bought in services like delicious and flickr). I expect interesting developments, technology and services from the DoCoMo Google partnership, given DoCoMo’s pioneering of the mobile web with iMode and Google’s mobile services
  • Micro-content creation, despite appearing as a step back will be successful in terms of user adoption because of the services elegance, their lightweight nature allowing for easy usage on mobile phones and other computing devices
  • Mobile network operators will look to provide voice-differentiated services: for instance higher priority or quality voice calls via QoS applications working at layer 7, access (for a price) to VoIP services like Gizmo and Skype and broadband-on-the-go services beyond current walled-garden services to take advantage of the mobile web community supporting devices like the iPhone
  • In the forthcoming credit crunch-related economic correction the technology sector will not fall too hard because it has not soaked up that much money in IPOs or VC funds compared to the late 1990s, instead biotechnology and clean technology will take the fall

Event: Webbys 5 at the ICA

Webby Night

I was invited by some Poke London folk to go along to an event promoting the Webby awards this evening. The highlight was a series of talks, each bounded by restrictions inspired by the Webby’s five-word acceptance speech limits:

Webby 5s presentation rules

The organisers managed to get along a number of great speakers:

The Players

This isn’t a complete capture of everything that was said, but of notes I’ve made notes of the presentations of things that I found interesting, provocative or thoughtful.

Matt Hanson - Aswarmofangels

Matt Hanson presented the idea behind aswarmofangels. The key concept that I found of interest was the captured in the phrase ‘Creator led, member powered’ which encapsulates the balance that the community involved in the project has involvement without losing project momentum

Francis Irving - Mysociety

Francis Irving of charity Mysociety highlighted a number of tips on audience engagement and involvement that he learned whilst trying to turn public opinions into action.

  • Always make the users first action on a site easy
  • Sometimes a site can be too transparent (for some stakeholders). A site that allowed voters easily see MPs voting records managed to upset a number of MPs who claimed that their voting record was incorrect. A re-check of the data showed the MPs were in error
  • An audience member will get involved in both online and real-world activity if they know that other people (not necessarily even people they know) will get involved too

David-Michel Davies - The Webbys

David-Michel Davies of The Webbys provided an amusing history of online video. The highlight of this presentation was what David termed ‘The Cat Problem’: when you search on YouTube you get hundreds of thousands of videos featuring cats, however only one may be relevant to the searcher. It has become harder because of easy publishing to find ‘media that is meaningful and relevant to me’. Which ironically sounds like the same problem that the likes Bradley Horowitz and other social search advocates have been trying to solve.

What is Identity - Miles Beckett - LonelyGirl 15 / Kate Modern

Miles Beckett of LonelyGirl15/Kate Modern discussed the divergence between offline and online identity. Beckett thought that the social contract which makes civilisation work effectively is undermined by transcient identities like those existing on Facebook or discussion forums. Beckett thought that there would be an eventual rejoining of online and offline identities to build a trust-based ‘civilised’ web rather than the current ‘Wild West’ situation.

Malthe Sigurdsson - Skype

Malthe Sigurdsson of Skype came up with a presentation which would have probably given their corporate communications team a heart attack.

Malthe Sigurdsson - Skype

Talking about the societial importance of communications through the medium of cheerleader photographs. Communications, itsself has changes from real-world one-on-one sychronious high bandwidth conversations conversations to synchronous communications that require little effort to create or consume and allow easier social interaction using the ‘lost email or IM or SMS’ as a pretext to soften social rejection.

UPDATE: hello and welcome to all the people reading this post from Skype in Estonia, there are more pictures here.