Archive for December 17th, 2009
I’ve been out on vacation for the past week, so that’s why you’ve not heard much from me.
It was some needed time away, and it got me to thinking.
I’m not going to make any predictions about 2010 this year.
And I’m not going to talk about what happened in 2009, either.
You were here. You saw it. Or, at minimum, you probably heard about it. Whatever it was.
But what I am going to do is talk about the state of technology: Things I hate. Things I like. Things that tick me off. Things that make me want to throw a big phonebook across the room…that is, if I still had a big phone book.
This is, of course, no complete list…but it’s all I could remember for now.
1) Lack of Persistent Authentication. This one falls into the “Things I Hate” column. We’re 15 years into this commercial Internet revolution thing, and STILL I have no way to persistently authenticate with a single user ID and password across multiple websites. Life’s too short to remember all those user ID and passwords, and I have to keep a spreadsheet with all those passwords just to remember which one goes with which site. And sorry, I don’t wish to place the full authentication bet on Facebook Connect or Google Friend Connect or anything else that’s vendor-specific. And unfortunately, OpenID seems to require a degree in computer science to figure out. Can nobody figure this one out? Really?
3) Overzealous Digital Intellectual Property Protection (iTunes). In the “Makes me want to throw a phone book” column. I bought the music, I oughta be able to move it from one computer or device to another (And I’m just talking now about the Apple devices) with no hassle. I rented the movie, I oughta have more than 24 hours to finish the damn thing. When I rent a movie from Blockbuster, it doesn’t suddenly expire because I hit play and then hit pause for 23 hours! I love Apple products, but the DRM drama needs to find a new ending and soon.
4) My iPod Touch. Things I Like. The DRM complaints I have above aside, I also give credit to Apple for the iPod Touch. It’s become my new best friend, particularly considering the amount of travel I’ve done the past couple of years. My Touch has become my favorite e-reader, portable jukebox, portable movie screen, and portable communications device, all in one. It keeps me from getting bored in the most boring of circumstances (say, that 15 hour flight from LA to Hong Kong in coach??)
5) Amazon.Com. Definitely “Things I Like” I’ve been an Amazon customer pretty much since day one. Not once have they ever let me down or pissed me off, nor do they abuse their opportunity to market to me. I still dig their personalized recommendations, even if I don’t buy from their recommendations, and their site experience continues to be easy-to-use and with a solid persistent memory of me as a customer. Why don’t more Websites take a clue from Amazon? I mean, seriously.
6) TechMeme. Also “Things I Like.” As a part-time blogger, and full time technology news junkie, I depend on a lot of different information sources and RSS feeds to try and keep up with it all (and fail miserably most of the time!). But TechMeme has for several years been a kind of tech news barometer that I can always count on to keep me up to the minute. Though some have criticized it’s algorithmic engine and over-dependency on the big blogs, I find that it’s typically got the pulse of tech news, which is just what the Turbo doctor ordered.
7) My Blackberry Bold. Put this one in “Things I (Mostly) Like.” Since I got the Bold in January, I’ve been impressed with the performance and screen, and the swiftness of the 3G connection. I’ve also enjoyed most of the apps, but I still hate the fact that I can’t do a cloud synch of my contact info (read: phone numbers) and that the Blackberry browser continues to be subpar, nor can I synch my iTunes with it (even with the Blackberry Desktop manager!). Those issues aside, it’s my virtual lifeline to the world when I’m on the move (which is often!).
8) Tech Company Arrogance. Definitely phone book material. Tech company arrogance is the worst kind of arrogance there is. IBM had it back in the day, as did Microsoft, Yahoo, and others. For those big boys on the tech block these days, know that we in the industry have a very long memory, and life won’t always be as good as it is for you right now. That much you can count on. Just know that a little humility goes a very long way, and the position of strength you find yourself in now will one day be one of significant weakness. Don’t invite your customers or competitors to one day abuse the latter by your abuse of the former.
9) Social Media as the Second Coming. I drank the social media Kool-Aid way before there was a name for it. I was an early Cluetrain advocate, and always felt (and still believe) the basic mantra that Searls, Locke, and others laid out way back in 1999 had a lot of wisdom. However, social media is only as effective as the smart and intelligent individuals behind the blog or the Facebook page or the community site. The constant firehose of BS PR and propaganda loudspeak via the social media only crowds the already information-overloaded social media freeway and encourages those simply trying to navigate their way from Point A to Point B to quickly search their GPS for alternative routes. Get a clue, get on the Cluetrain, and understand social media’s role in the overall marketing ecosystem, but do NOT put it in the pantheon category of Second Comings — you’ll be sorely disappointed.
10) People Who Tweet Too Much. You know who you are. Some of you people need to get a life. ”Joel, put the iPhone down and get off the babysitter” (Remember that scene from “Risky Business”?) I’m serious. I like to Tweet, but all things in moderation. Some of you folks literally don’t seem to do anything else, and I worry about your mental and professional health. Does your doctor know that that’s all you do is Tweet? Your boss? Your significant other? Hey, it’s okay to just put the device or the PC down and go outside for a walk. Preferably a very long one. Don’t worry, the Twittersphere ain’t goin’ anywhere.