The PC is dead. Why no angry nerds? :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It

In the old telephone dial-up, modem pool days there were a lot of people re-selling their data connections to provide on-ramps to the Information Superhighway. Now that’s about all you can drive on is the Superhighway. All the back streets and side roads are slowly kind of being ignored by the more popular social networking platforms

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Famously proprietary Microsoft never dared to extract a tax on every piece of software written by others for Windows—perhaps because, in the absence of consistent Internet access in the 1990s through which to manage purchases and licenses, there’d be no realistic way to make it happen.

via The PC is dead. Why no angry nerds? :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It.

While true that Microsoft didn’t tax Software Developers who sold product running on the Windows OS, a kind of a tax levy did exist for hardware manufacturers creating desktop pc’s with Intel chips inside. But message received I get the bigger point, cul-de-sacs don’t make good computers. They do however make good appliances. But as the author Jonathan Zittrain points out we are becoming less aware of the distinction between a computer and an applicance, and have lowered our expectation accordingly.

In fact this points to the bigger trend of not just computers becoming silos of information/entertainment consumption no, not by a long shot. This trend was preceded by the wild popularity of MySpace, followed quickly by Facebook and now Twitter. All platforms as described by their owners with some amount of API publishing and hooks allowed to let in 3rd party developers (like game maker Zynga). But so what if I can play Scrabble or Farmville with my ‘friends’ on a social networking ‘platform’? Am I still getting access to the Internet? Probably not, as you are most likely reading what ever filters into or out of the central all-encompassing data store of the Social Networking Platform.

Like the old World Maps in the days before Columbus, there be Dragons and the world ends HERE even though platform owners might say otherwise. It is an Intranet pure and simple, a gated community that forces unique identities on all participants. Worse yet it is a big brother-like panopticon where each step and every little movement monitored and tallied. You take quizzes, you like, you share, all these things are collection points, check points to get more data about you. And that is the TAX levied on anyone who voluntarily participates in a social networking platform.

So long live the Internet, even though it’s frontier, wild-catting days are nearly over. There will be books and movies like How the Cyberspace was Won, and the pioneers will all be noted and revered. We’ll remember when we could go anywhere we wanted and do lots of things we never dreamed. But those days are slipping as new laws get passed under very suspicious pretenses all in the name of Commerce. As for me I much prefer Freedom over Commerce, and you can log that in your stupid little database.

Cover of "The Future of the Internet--And...
Cover via Amazon

Distracting chatter is useful. But thanks to RSS (remember that?) it’s optional. (via Jon Udell)

editing my radio userland instiki from my 770
Image by Donovan Watts via Flickr

I too am a big believer in RSS. And while I am dipping toes into Facebook and Twitter the bulk of my consumption goes into the big Blogroll I’ve amassed and refined going back to Radio Userland days in 2002.

When I left the pageview business I walked away from an engine that had, for many years, manufactured an audience for my writing. Four years on I’m still adjusting to the change. I always used to cringe when publishers talked about using content to drive traffic. Of course when the traffic was being herded my way I loved the attention. And when it wasn’t I felt — still feel — its absence. There are plenty of things I don’t miss, though. Among t … Read More

via Jon Udell

Goal oriented visualizations? (via Erik Duval’s Weblog)

Charles Minard's 1869 chart showing the losses...
Image via Wikipedia

Visualizations and their efficacy always takes me back to Edward Tufte‘s big hard cover books on Infographics (or Chart Junk when it’s done badly). In terms of this specific category, visualization leading to a goal I think it’s still very much a ‘general case’. But examples are always better than theoretical descriptions of an ideal. So while I don’t have an example to give (which is what Erik Duval really wants) I can at least point to a person who knows how Infographics get misused.

I’m also reminded somewhat of the most recent issue of Wired Magazine where there’s an article on feedback loops. How are goal oriented visualizations different from or better than feedback loops? I’d say that’s an interesting question to investigate further. The primary example given in that story is the radar equipped speed limit sign. It doesn’t tell you the posted speed. It merely tells you how fast you are going and that by itself apart from ticketing and making the speed limit signs more noticeable did more to effect a change in behavior than any other option. So maybe a goal oriented visualization could also benefit from some techniques like feedback loops?

Some of the fine fleur of information visualisation in Europe gathered in Brussels today at the Visualizing Europe meeting. Definitely worth to follow the links of the speakers on the program! Twitter has a good trace of what was discussed. Revisit offers a rather different view on that discussion than your typical twitter timeline. In the Q&A session, Paul Kahn asked the Rather Big Question: how do you choose between different design alterna … Read More

via Erik Duval’s Weblog