Archive for category Technology and Innovation

Got an email monkey on your back?

Ok, show of hands – how many of you have tried to move off of email and onto a more functional platform-based communication tool at work?  Wow, that’s a lot of hands.

How many have actually succeeded?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Not so many.

Like Michael Corleone said, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”

It’s pretty widely acknowledged that email is like kryptonite to collaboration.  Conversations are not intuitively threaded, information gets buried in each user’s personal data repository and new additions to conversations have no contextual awareness.  Argh.  Someday we’ll find the silver bullet that will kill that productivity-sucking demon, but for now it’s harder to kick than heroin.

Which is why it’s so cool that someone has figured out a way to add a lot of the platform benefits to email, at least at a personal level.  cc:Betty has a solution that automagically accumulates and organises information contextually as you email.  There are no downloads and the front end looks pretty spiffy.

If you can’t quit email cold-turkey, maybe ccBetty is the methadone you need to help tame the email monkey that’s clinging to your back.

What do you think?

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Famous quotes

‘Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.’ – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

‘What a new Internet might look like is still widely debated, but one alternative would, in effect, create a “gated community” where users would give up their anonymity and certain freedoms in return for safety.’ – JOHN MARKOFF

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ – GEORGE SATAYANA

Food for thought.

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Be careful what you wish for with broadband

An old proverb bids us, “Be careful what you wish for; you may get it.”  Such might be the case with broadband.

Investment in broadband infrastructure is being discussed in the economic stimulus package being wrangled in the US Congress.  but a thought-provoking missive by Bob Frankston cautions us to think differently about our desire for connectivity, lest we get further trampled by the telecom and cable providers.

The priority should be making it simple to make connections (relationships) between devices and other end points. Instead we spend all our time trying to navigating dark twisting passages and feeling frustrated by how much time and effort we waste and how little we accomplish.

Bob warns us that unless we begin to think differently about what simple connectivity actually represents, we’re likely to be investing a lot of money into a set of technologies designed to deliver the applications we already have, not building a foundation for the promise of the future.

So, what do you really want?

Roger Farnsworth

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MIT’s sixth sense

In an interesting demonstration at TED 2009 in Long Beach, MIT researcher Pattie Maes demonstrated a neat gadget that expands a person’s view of everyday objects beyond personal sensory perception to include relevant data from other sources on the web.  Built from a few hundred dollars worth of off-the-shelf components, the wearable prototype device responds to the user’s hand gestures to provide enhanced contextual information which is projected onto a nearby surface.  Wired has more details on the demo here, and Fast Company has more info with some pictures of the demo here.

It’s interesting to contemplate the ramifications of instant, organic access to vast amounts of contextual information during everyday personal interactions.  The accumulation and availability of pertinent data is a big part of what enhances successful business interactions, raising their value to both participants far beyond simple transactions.

And the user interface has some fascinating potential as well.

Roger Farnsworth

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Now how much would you pay for this exciting cloud?

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the ShamWow guy starts pitching unbelievable deals on cloud computing services during late night syndicated reruns, but for now most of us are busy crunching numbers on our own.

For you folks that are struggling with the value proposition for cloud computing in your environment, or contemplating the myriad of variables involved, the Institute of Information Systems and Management (IISM) has posted a vendor-neutral, anonymous survey that is seeking to quantify the valuation of cloud computing services.  If you take the survey and enter your email you can get a copy of the results.  In any case, it’s an interesting way to stimulate your neurons.  Take the survey HERE.  It will be online until Friday, February 27, 2009.

Roger Farnsworth

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Singularity University hangs out its shingle

The famous YouTube hit “Did You Know” told us that “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t yet been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

It looks like someone is doing something about that.  Singularity University, a high-end educational center of excellence fronted by noted futurist Ray Kurzweil and X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis and headed up by Yahoo/Brickhouse guru Salim Ismail, plans to open its doors at the NASA campus in Silicon Valley this summer and will focus on the potential exponential technology growth offers in dealing with the world’s most challenging issues.

Tuition will be steep, and attendance limited to students who demonstrate exceptional ability and commitment.

So if you are passionate about the promise of the future, and can wrap your head around the theoretical potential of  technological hyper-evolution, there will soon be a place for you to drink from the educational fire hose.

More information is available HERE, HERE and HERE.

Roger Farnsworth

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