Aug 29, 2008

Finally, Not For The Tech Crowd

{{PennMapDesc|Bucks|New Hope}}Image via Wikipedia I was just reading Rob Diana’s post “Ubiquity Will Not Be Ubiquitous”. I get his points - and there are some good ones - but I think he’s forgetting something really important. All apps are not for the techie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. Eventually, you need to put some focus on the non-tech loving crowd, the newbies. You know, the people who will pay you for what you do. And this app is something people will pay for. Not the technie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. The 50+, money to spend, stuck in the email rut, excuse me, luddites.

Take the simplistic instructions. To nerds, a turn-off. But to your grandmother? Or your mother? Or your next-door neighbor? This is Heaven.

Imagine this: you open an email in Google. The sender is talking about a weekend in New Hope (the recipient lives in New York.) The scenario of a typical non-techie user:

So, where is this New Hope? I guess I can use Google maps. Where is that link? Where are my bookmarks again? Oh, there they are. Ok, type in New Hope PA. Hit enter. Ah, found it. Ok, not too far. Wonder what it’s like? I know, I can check Google. Or that wiki thing. Where’s that link? Ah. Looks pretty interesting. Ok, I guess I’ll go. Next, better check the calendar to make sure I’m free. How do I get back to the calendar? I think there was a link on the top of Google maps, so let’s hit the back arrow. Good, I’m back. 

And the scenario continues, with a few more wrong turns and memory jogs. But with Ubiquity? From right where I am (in the email) I can hit ctrl-spacebar. Type map and enter the place. I see the map right there. Or I type cal, see the link to Google calendar, and go right to it. Ctrl-spacebar again, type wiki, and find wikipedia. No remembering where bookmarks are stored, no remembering the shortcut to open a new tab vs. a new window. Just simple, logical, easy commands.

Yes, there needs to be more commands, and I'm sure there will be plenty, soon.To the early-adopter, the techie, the nerds, this stuff is no challenge.

To those who can surf the web in their sleep, this app may be a disappointment. B-o-r-i-n-g. But to the huddled masses?

This app is pure genius.

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Aug 28, 2008

Cranky, yes. Accurate? No.

Steve Hodson must be a cranky old fart, as his byline says and his post supports, because he sure paints an arrogant picture of early adopters.

I’m a cranky old fart myself. And an early adopter, I guess, by his standards, as I’m quick to try out most of the tech-bling showing up. But the rest of his article doesn’t fit. It sounds more like someone wouldn’t let him into some clubhouse he perceives to exist.

I love Ubiquity. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I love it because it works like I want to work, like the people I know want to work. Reading an article and don’t understand a word, or want to see a picture to better understand something? Pop into Ubiquity and there’s your answer. Sure beats trying to search your bookmarks because you can’t remember the name of that site that can give you the answer you need.

I use Twitter, but I like Friendfeed more. I like Plurk. I like Utterz. I signed up right away. I’m still eagerly waiting for other beta invites. I signed up for a lot of things right way, and each new variation that comes along, I’ll sign up for them too. Because what’s here right now could be better, and I’m eager to find it. And I’m amazed that so much of it is free, so many things that can help me in my life, in my work, in my never-ending quest for knowledge about my world and the people in it.

So yes, I guess I’m passionate about new techie things. But does that make me some kind of snob? I don’t think so. I could care less about the latest, greatest new thing if it has to do with web design. I do not own an iPhone, nor am I likely to own one until the prices become far more reasonable and the service becomes far more reliable. I don’t have a Kindle. I still like the feel of a book.

Yes, early adopters are a miniscule part of the web. But isn’t that human nature? For every car enthusiast, aren’t there millions of us who just want to hop in and get where we’re going?

For every comment some passionate might make over who should and who should not use a service/object/site there’s another passionate who would jump at the chance to show a non-techie how to use it. These early-adopters are some of the most generous people I know. They can’t wait to share invites to private betas, to answer questions about how to set something up, to encourage someone who wants to try something in a new way. Those who have the talent will spend hours of personal time adapting code, making improvements, adding another dimension – then turn around and freely share it.

I know someone who recently connected with an old high school friend, took a trip to see them. A rather unpleasant and grueling trip. Things turned out all right, but it’s not likely to happen again anytime soon. Now, they could be spending a few minutes every few days chatting over the net, using a webcam. Ok, not as satisfying as a flesh and blood hug, but certainly a lot better than a plain telephone call (especially when the bill comes.) Will they do it? No. They don’t even own a computer. What kind of a connection are they missing with this friend? A big one, in my view.

I know others who own computers, even have access to a high-speed connections, and still don’t venture any further than e-mail and an occasional website someone else has directed them to. To me, that’s like going to the library and refusing to look beyond the childrens section.

I fit in the early adopter, passionate category. But don’t tell me I don’t care about the “real world users of the web”. They’ve been driving me nuts for years.

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Aug 24, 2008


originally uploaded by Lilyhill.
Planted to attracts hummingbirds. It worked, but they dart in and away so fast. Just saw the female come in - she darted around the hummingbird plant, then hovered around the goldfinch feeder as if trying to figured out what the goldfinch was eating. Off to the butterfly bushes, then away.

Aug 23, 2008

Heavy Industry

originally uploaded by Lilyhill.
Good to see the honeybees. Such hard workers, no profit, unwittingly serving our desire for sweets and beauty.

Aug 18, 2008

Food for Thought

The law is a profession.  Whether or not lawyers are professionals is a matter of personal choice.  Some lawyers conduct themselves, and address the needs of their clients, as professionals.  Other lawyers are twinkie salesmen.  Of the latter group, some sell because they see no other option, and some sell because twinkie salesman is the best they will ever be.
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Aug 7, 2008

Will The Semantic Web Have a Gender?

One academic warns that it might and says we need to pay attention to it. As machines learn to understand what the web means, what perspective will they understand it from?

read more | digg story

Aug 6, 2008

The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism
The Conversation Prism,
originally uploaded by b_d_solis.
No wonder we social media junkies are so overwhelmed...

Aug 1, 2008

Life With A Cat

Oh, yes. Captured perfectly. Life with a cat.

Thanks to Ronnie