So in an effort to stay in touch and continue our tech talks, we decided to film it. We use Google Hangout, but record ourselves. As with a pilot, there are some errors. My sound is a bit soft (gets louder 1-2min in), but this will be fixed for episode 1!
The idea is that we each choose a topic that the other don’t know about and then we discuss it!
For the pilot (episode 0), we discuss Kickstarter and the Ouya. Coincidentally it was rather both related to gaming (pssh, twins right?).
So. There you have it. The pilot is out.
We thought of having two topics each, but it seems it might end up taking too long. I think staying under 30min for each episode is more preferable.
For a start, it’s going to happen sporadically. We are going to try and do one at least bi-weekly. I’m on the left, Niel is on the right.
What do you think about it? Does it work? Anything we can do to perhaps make it more unique (besides just being a tech talk show)? What do you think of Kickstarter’s 2012 stats and the Ouya (and android gaming consoles)?
Each new group of kids come of age wanting a space they can discover together and call their own. This is DNA, not computer science. It’s not about tech changing (oh, this is Facebook if it was build only for tablets) – it’s about getting to a dry piece of land when you’re 13 years old and being able to plant your own flag. I don’t see how you get beyond the anthropology of this.
I can’t get over the “middle schoolers use it” comment, especially since they use Tumblr as an identity tool. That’s exactly how my friends and I used Myspace in middle school, and we too abandoned it (for Facebook) once we reached high school. So in middle school you care a lot about your personal presentation (themes and cultural images on your Myspace or Tumblr page), but once you reach high school you care more about the people you present yourself with (photos on Facebook and Instagram)?
This is fascinating. To a certain extent we’ve all been through this. We created our identity to ourselves and peers around these social enablers. Before MySpace, for example, my group of friends hang out on MSN/Skype. And everyone was on it. We had these big group hangouts each night.
The problem however is that these social enablers can be “usurped” by a community that as a creator of the social site you have no control over. Just like how to Josh Miller’s sister, Tumblr now has only ‘middle-schoolers’. The nature of these sites however means that you can use Tumblr without interacting with ‘middle-schoolers’, but in popular culture it can be tough to shake off these preconceived ideas. Just like the unfortunate idea that Mxit (mobile-only social chat service) only contains pedophiles.
This brings it to the question of decay. For identities and online communities to evolve beyond their perception, decay has to naturally exist. Posts have to disappear, photos have to disappear (or get hidden). As Rian pointed out in his post, it perhaps explains the current success of Snapchat. That’s what I always thought, but now I wonder. I’ve always loved Twitter for its ephemeral, real-time nature. It’s focused on the now.
But is decay enough for social sites? It might succeed in more various scenarios because of this, but it’s shackles is still unfortunately tied to the name and idea. Snapchat already has a reputation of being “that sexting app”.
Should the truly chameleon, social site that allows for creation and destruction of identities and communities, for example, change it’s name every month?
I started TwimeMachine back in late 2009, because it was a horrible user experience to find and read your old tweets (hint: click next, click next, click next).
Over the years it’s evolved, getting help from people like Misha Kvakin (TwimeMachine’s design for a long time), changing codebases (PHP to Django) and finally having to work around Twitter’s recent deprecation of some timeline features.
As you may know, Twitter announced the ability to download and view all your old tweets. I haven’t been able to test it as it hasn’t rolled out to me yet. By the looks of it, you request your archive, it mails it to you, and then through a separate HTML file you can read and search your old tweets. It’s got an interesting interface. By downloading the tweets beforehand, you can quickly navigate through the months on the right. This is similar to how TwimeMachine initially functioned before they changed how the timeline API works. You could quickly skip to parts.
So I guess it comes now to an important question: Do I think it will kill TwimeMachine?
No. The user experience is a bit different. I think TwimeMachine would still be better in some use cases. Firstly, requesting your archive and waiting each time for an e-mail, then opening that HTML file is more effort than simply logging in and waiting a few seconds for 3200 tweets to load.
Secondly, the inline interface is (debatably) better for quickly scanning and browsing your past tweets.
Thirdly, and probably the biggest difference: You can read other people’s old tweets.
So does the fact that Twitter have all your tweets outweigh the other benefits? Not entirely, I’d say, but I do think I’ll lose some traffic over it. Initially I suspect traffic might increase due to chatter, but long-term, the people that use it to read their whole archive (or first tweet) will go the Twitter route. Another factor that is detrimental is that more and more people are tweeting, cruising past 3200 tweets.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m proud so far that this little side-project has already been used by about 250 000 Twitter users including Paulo Coelho, Cesc Fabregas, Adidas, CNBC, Sega and ESPN amongst others. I have gotten way more out of it than I could’ve dreamed of.
The ad revenue is after all sponsoring my dev account over at app.net. ;)
As a person that is very involved with all that the wonderful web provides, it is sometimes a battle to not just dive into endless articles of fascinating news and ideas. The longer the web is around, the more interesting sites and reads I find. It starts to pile up!
It’s easy to get lost in reading reddit, twitter, facebook, G+, hacker news, reader, tumblr etc. Your brain goes off on this tangent of interestingness (fueled by dopamine hits of information). Before you know it, 2 hours have gone past and you haven’t done what you wanted to.
Adam Brault quit Twitter, and in that blog post, he said something that hit home:
I’ve realized how Twitter has made me break up my thoughts into tiny, incomplete, pieces—lots of hanging ideas, lots of incomplete relationships, punctuated by all manner of hanging threads and half-forked paths.
It’s time to change my consumption habits. This is how my mind is starting to think (and want).
There’s a reason why I decided to do my masters on information overload. I wanted to solve this for myself. How can we manage information in this unprecedented 21st century explosion of ideas?
I’ve already started to force myself to take breaks and just to go sit outside. I especially enjoy it in the summer as the sun sets, drinking a whiskey. I have to let go of wanting that constant drip of information.
The biggest change however is one that I’m embarking on right now. I recently got a Galaxy S3 (such a relief from my old HTC Wildfire). I’ve loaded up Pocket and going to use that as my main way to consume new articles. If I’m Hacker News or Twitter and find an interesting link, I’m going to add it to Pocket and leave it for later.
I want to unbundle information consumption to a set device, with set times.
In other words. My macbook needs to function mainly as a production or creative device. When I’m on it, I want my mind to be in a “write thesis”, “code”, “make music”, “e-mail” mode.
When I’m on my phone, it’s for Facebook, Twitter, G+, Tumblr, HN, etc.
To ‘stay’ recent, at first I’m going to try and restrict this to lunch and after ‘work’. At first, I’m only going to do this with feeds and articles. If that goes well, I can perhaps switch off Facebook and Twitter (other two culprits) during my times I want to product. Baby steps.
I’ve also started using Prismatic. It’s gotten great praise for handling news. So far, it’s been amazing. Finding awesome content through it. The interface still needs tweaks, and a native Android app. atm, I save links to Pocket through the browser. They haven’t integrated their “read later” with Pocket yet. I’ve tried to find a work-around, but haven’t found it yet. So, now I’m using Google Reader mainly for blogs that I know I want to read every post of (such as Elezea), which might not surface in Prismatic. I’ve unsubscribed from larger feeds such as TechCrunch.
My ideal flow would thus be to use Prismatic to surface content, save to Pocket and then read it mainly from my phone. If I find great links to share, I can simply add it from Pocket to Buffer and let fly back again into the www!
How has your information consumption habits changed? What is your main setup for reading new news and interesting articles?
It’s that exciting time of year where I list my most listened to albums of 2012 (according to my last.fm charts). I also add my own judgement based on the album as a whole (some only have one or two hit songs). I usually give leeway to October of the previous year, since I sometimes discover the album only in 2012. So some of the albums may have already appeared on 2011 top lists.
The YouTube playlist for all the songs listed here is at the bottom of the page.
This really surprised me. Her weird look. The wispy vocals. The future dreamy pop sounds. It’s one of those albums where you listen 2-3 songs a lot at first, then after a few weeks suddenly get into the rest of it, and the whole album just clicks. Thumbs up.
This one was released on 24 October 2011. Was contemplating about putting this in, but it’s just too good. So forgive me.
So, if you are a Justice fan, you either hate this album, or you love it. It’s a big departure from their previous electro-house sound. As I got more and more into this album, I started appreciating the great hooks. It is everywhere. I even started liking Ohio. I like to call it 80’s-moustache-electro-rock. \m/
Being frank here. I didn’t like Brothers. It just didn’t click with me. El Camino on the other hand is a masterpiece, through and through. So listenable and great tunes. This garage-rock duo comes in at numero 3.
Released 18 October 2011. Once again contemplated whether to add this. Started listening to it in January, and it is just too good, so I did.
Masterpiece. I liked M83’s previous stuff, but wasn’t a massive fan. This however is just incredible. The production is top notch. The sound is so full. The added influence of some 80’s bass and guitars makes it a wonderful shoegaze rock epic. It’s very varied as well: from the anthem Midnight City, to the wondrous Raconte-Mui Histoire, 80’s slap bass influenced Claudia Lewis and beyond epic Echoes of Mine and Outro.
A synth/electro-pop journey. What if the The Knife met Kate Bush, mixed with synthpop and great hooks? This is Niki & The Dove! Epic and introspective. It’s like dancing in an empty club, but you feel all the people around you. It feels like falling in love. (I love the Swedes, always making amazing music).
The best beach summer album. Surf psychedelic happy summer vibes. Everyone I’ve had listen to this, loved it. How can you not?! Stand up and shake that summer tush! What makes this album stand out so much is that every song on this album is amazing. Very rare for any album these days!
Anyone who’s even had a faint look at our whole education system in the 21st century has wondered if it all isn’t horribly outdated.
This animated talk by Ken Robinson explains it really well.
Why do we still cram things in our minds when it is a click away? And on top of that use it as a metric for mastering of said skill? There’s way too many questions around this topic, that’s wide open to debate. ie, if we move away from standardisation of tests, how do we know children have mastered it? Does this leave too many doors for subjective marking (I’m looking at you, my high school English teacher)? Is marking even worth it? And so forth.
To me it boils down to fundamental questions on what we aim to achieve when educating children? I feel it should be about preparing our own children for the world and its intricacies while guiding, helping and fueling natural curiosities they might pick up.
So. Let’s assume the current trend of new online education programs continue. In a few years time it will be more beneficial to put your child through online programs than traditional school (using Khan academy for example).
Like with any new technology (and its “disruption”) it starts to bring into question the function of schools. And one of the more uncertain and possibly disruptive effects is the issue of children not needing to be in a building for half the day. This means amongst others:
1) Children lose the communal interaction of their peer groups. How do you find new friends? Run around in the neighbourhood? Parents organising communal meetups at the play park?
2) Parents depend on their children being in school for half a day (or longer). They go to work. If the child doesn’t have such a rigid school structure, it’s more difficult, and a larger burden on the parents than it currently is.
Should schools then function as a mentoring place, where children are “kept” in current hours? What about a school that gives mandatory classes on world fundamentals, then gives free reign for children to explore and make? If a child wants to learn about stars, they solicit an expert to come talk to the kids about it (in terms of what they would understand)?
There’s just so many questions. How do we deal with education being stuck in the past? And how do we go about changing it without disrupting large parts of our society and established norms?
Education isn’t just about the knowledge we impart, but also the effects on our society we created by establishing schools as central to communities.
I’ve been following the trend of self-driving cars for some time now. It is by far one of the most interest trends. I feel it is going to create lots of new opportunities for entrepreneurs and change the face of our urban landscapes.
Here’s what I see is going to happen:
In the next few years, slowly but surely self-driving cars will be commercialized and introduced into society. At first it will ride alongside other cars. They will have to obey speed laws. As a possible solution, routes and lanes will be converted to only having self-driving cars, increasing speed of commute.
At this stage, personal transport will transform. There will be a category of cars that will only be self-driving, looking different from a normal car. It will have space in it to do whatever you want to do: sleep, work, watch a movie, etc.
During this stage, the question starts to arise. If my car can drive without me (needs no driver), then what CAN my car actually do? What functions will it have.
An obvious one: no more parking issues. If you quickly want to slip into a shop in a city district, your car can simply drive around the block and pick you up again. What about times when you are busy for longer? Your car drive on and find the nearest parking. Due to the fact that you won’t need to have cars parked in busy city districts, you’ll start to see the parking spots being removed and moved to specific locations, freeing up a crowded city for people.
A problem with this however, is that there will be more cars driving around, creating unnecessary pollution. So here is where it gets interesting.
The self-driving electric car.
Electric cars are perfect compliments to self-driving cars. The parkades will not only act as a spot for your car to wait, but will also be recharging stations. As was shown with Tesla’s Supercharger stations, a lot of the energy to recharge cars can be generated through solar power. If the demand outstrips the supply for solar power, and traditional power stations be used to recharge, it is anyway more efficient energy-wise than a car’s internal combustion engine.
I suspect we’ll also see quite a lot change in terms of the urban “sprawl”. Without having to live close to metro stations or other public transport, there’s no reason not to live further away, because in a self-driving car you are not losing as much time. Live another 30min away in a more beautiful and affordable place, and do your morning e-mails, feed reading, etc in that extra 30min.
Tesla and Google?
Due to the fact that I believe the self-driving electric car is a certain future, I wonder who’ll be at the forefront of achieving the various complexities. The most obvious combo that comes to mind is Google and Tesla, for various reasons:
Tesla are owning the electric car market, making cars that people want that “just happens to be electric.” The other piece in this puzzle is the fact that Larry and Sergei both invested in Tesla.
What will Google do? The obvious piece is that they will provide the self-driving technology. However, the other factor they can bring to the table is their strength in data and algorithms.
If your car drives off to go recharge at the nearest parkade, when should it start driving to come fetch you again? As was shown with Google Now and their traffic maps, they’ll know. If you set a time for when you need your car, it will know when to start driving from the parkade.
Opportunities for entrepreneurs:
- Be the company that allows you to rent your unused car for personal transport for other people. (so far I see Uber or Zipcar moving into this direction).
- Buy up land just outside cities than be used for self-driving cars to park and recharge/refuel.
- Design efficient algorithms for self-driving to expend the least amount of energy while idling/driving around waiting for you.
- Design algorithms for these parkades to effectively get cars in and out.
- What will people do in cars differently than at home? Are there services that will work better in self-driving cars?
What do you think? Is this a given? What opportunities do you see that will be created with self-driving electric cars?
I’ve been watching the whole debacle unfold surrounding FB’s recent changes that allow pages (and people) to pay to have their posts promoted to more people. There’s been a rather large backlash to this. I’ve seen a lot of bands share the “add to interest list” meme in order to stay more relevant to their fans. The bottom line is, is that most people see this as Facebook being greedy: purposefully limiting the reach of their posts for money. What most people don’t realize, is that FB has been limiting the reach of posts for quite a while.
Due to the nature of information overload, Facebook limits the amount of updates you receive through its edgerank algorithm. A lot of people know they haven’t seen updates from old friends they haven’t spoken to, but Facebook has been doing this with pages as well. A ‘like’ is an intent to subscribe to relevant updates, not ‘all’ updates.
This is (un)fortunately how an online social-network of this nature remains sustainable as an online community. Few people realize the importance of this. Filtering of updates must happen for a feed-based OSN to remain relevant. I’m sure Facebook knows this, because it is doing it. Paying for adding weight to a post is a great idea, but users don’t know this. Do you see Facebook trying to explain to users of these band pages the problem? Inherently, it is Facebook’s problem. A user will reply and add: “But if I like this band, I want all updates!” Yes. Sure. But you don’t know your intent for all the people and pages you like. I don’t trust myself to know precisely to what extent I “like” each thing I’m connected to on Facebook. And things change. Nothing will remain binary.
Facebook is ultimately losing with this approach. Users are becoming connected to more and more. Plainly filtering was okay. From a (perhaps greedy) business perspective, users wouldn’t know about this. They would’ve continued only receiving relevant updates. Now FB has opened up the inherent weakness of feed-based online social-networks to their users. They don’t like it, although it is what is needed. The problem will only get worse, receiving fewer percentage of updates from all connected nodes (as users add more connections), resulting in pages and people having to pay in order to be heard. It’s starting to feel like paying taxes. Most people don’t like doing it, because there is little transparency to what your money is doing (and you’d want that money). However it is needed to in order to sustain the system you function in. Ideally FB should explain and educate to users the benefit they are providing through, just as the government should about taxes. There will be users who will leave that more educated, however most people won’t want to bother. It’s easier to just moan about paying taxes. It’s easier to just moan about FB’s changes.
The big difference however is that it is probably easier to stick it to FB, than the “man”.
Earlier this year, my supervisor of last year (Richard: @barnsza), suggested we write up my research into a paper (genapi: a generic social-networking API). The options were to submit to a local, South African conference or to ICWI in Madrid. It was a no-brainer. I want to travel, so I aimed high! My research got accepted so I had the privilege to visit Madrid from the 14th of October to 21st of October.
We went a few days earlier to go do some sightseeing (when flying so far to Europe each time, you have take advantage of the opportunity).
Madrid was amazing! I rather underestimated the city. It had an amazing, world-class metro, fantastic art museums, beautiful old (and new) buildings and greenery everywhere!
I’d definitely recommend Madrid as a city to see! You will have to learn some Spanish though. I was a bit surprised at how little English they speak in Madrid. I completely failed at ordering beer and tapas several times!
The conference itself was great as well. Besides the interesting set of papers, I always enjoy meeting people from all over the world! At the conference dinner we made good friends with 2 germans, a czech and chinese guy. We fitted in some beer and tapas before the dinner.
This was rather cheap! 1 euro for a beer.
As for my presentation. It went rather well. I feel quite chuffed with myself. I went for a different approach to presenting and it worked out rather well. Going to stick with it.
Overall. An amazing trip. I want to thank Richard for urging me to publish the research and being a great travel partner and the always great, MIH Media Lab, for sponsoring the trip. To say I’m thankful for having these opportunities is an understatement! Muchos gracias!