20 January 2006

I guess I don't get out enough. I knew that holding up a lighter at a concert is so last century, but I hadn't realized that people are now holding up cellphones instead. The funny part is that enough audience members (like, almost all of them) had cellphones for this to actually work.

On the way to the same concert, I also discovered that the cellphone photo gallery is fast replacing the wallet snapshot. The cellphone's transformation from gadget, to status symbol, to mainstream accessory is complete.

Sometimes people ask me what I think is the next killer app. First it was the PC, then the Internet, then portability. Now, I think it's ubiquity. Ubiquitous Internet, but also ubiquitous access to whatever information is important to you. Since everyone cares about different things, this trend inevitably pushes portable devices to become general purpose platforms, like PCs, only with all the constraints portability imposes.

Some of the obstacles to ubiquity are technical, like the need for more memory, more processing power, and better user interfaces. But the economic obstacles are more significant. Wireless and cellular Internet access are too expensive for casual use. Content publishers insist on treating their customers like criminals, instead of recognizing that data portability encourages word of mouth, always the best sales tool. I'm surprised IC manufacturers are allowing bandwidth and content companies to own the conversations about these issues. It seems to me that, for the IC industry, anything that makes electronic devices more useful is good, and anything that makes them more restricted is bad. The industry's interests are, or should be, firmly aligned with the interests of end users.

Posted 09:59 AM

19 January 2006

This is a great idea, but I'll bet it's going to make some career foreign service folks unhappy. The State Department is planning to cut the number of diplomats in Europe, redeploying the people to the developing world. Which makes perfect sense -- it's ludicrous to have as many people in Germany as in India -- but I wouldn't be thrilled if I were the person getting redeployed from Berlin to Delhi.

Posted 09:29 AM

18 January 2006

Just realized that I haven't posted a word count yet. I keep meaning to, but keep getting distracted. Current total is 6750, month to date and year to date. That's lower than I would like, which isn't surprising as I've been doing a lot of revisions to a major report. Revisions are always hard on my word count totals.

Posted 08:42 PM


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