Morality and the iPhone

Having recently completed a course in business ethics, and then following with heavy interest Monday’s enticing story about the leaked/lost/stolen iPhone 4 prototype, I think it only makes sense to offer some perfunctory remarks here.

In addition to the main technology sites covering the details about the new phone; the Internet has been awash with comments about the actions of all the parties involved. Questions about whether the finder was morally right to sell it to Gizmodo, and did the tech site act properly in purchasing and ultimately dissecting the phone for their website.

However, what’s missing in all of these accounts is a discussion about the public, and our role in encouraging these behaviours. Its no surprise that any item that comes out of Cupertino is received with the same amount of fan fare usually reserved for the winning soccer teams of South America. And how much more excited do we get when we can combine our lust for Apple with our natural and insaitable curiousity for tech voyeruism.

Rather then criticizing Gizmodo for their actions, I think we should take a look at ourselves. Are we getting caught up in tech envy and would put aside our own morality just to learn a bit more about a consumer product? I’ll be the first to admit it, I get swept up in the excitement too. But I’ve decided to incite a change and I’m going to work harder to make sure that my love of objects justifies behaviour.

I’m not suggesting that having new toys is bad, or that the capitalist culture of “stuff” is inherently evil. All I want to point out is the double standard we create to satisfy our own interests and desires. Most of us wouldn’t engage in the same dubious practices that some tech journalists use, so why should we reap the rewards?

What do you think? Can we reclaim morality in concepts and no longer let our love of “things” tell us what is the right thing to do?

What 3.0 All About Anyway?

The idea of time periods, generations, and eons is a big focus for society. We compare baby boomers to Gen Xers to the Me Generation to “Digital Natives”. Obviously the same facination extends to periods of technology. The speed at which we’ve innovated and improved over the past few years has been nothing short of impressive and has taken us to the amazing technical improvements available now.

As a result we are at a point where technical constraints are so low that there can be and should be a seamless transition between the digital and the physical worlds. So the experience that I begin online is easily continued in the real world and augmented through the use of handheld devices, digital signage and online connections.

Many people think that the 3.0 internet will be semantic, the online experience will be unique and tailored for each individual. I think that this is selling ourselves short. Instead, the internet version 3 will be about using technology to improve and build upon your real world experiences. From location awareness to augmented reality we already see this happening.

Because of the proliferation of social networks and media, it makes sense that this coupling of digital and real should continue beyond our social lives. We should take adavantage of technology to improve our healthcare, purchase decisions and general service options.

I’m still working out these thoughts, and I appreciate your comments. Am I way off track and Web 3.0 is going to be something altogether different?

PodCamp Toronto 2010

Over the weekend of February 19/20/21 I was able to attend PodCamp Toronto.

It was a great chance to connect with some old friends, meet new people and general hang out with other social media aficionados.

I attended a number of great sessions throughout the weekend. However rather then not give each of them the full coverage they deserve I won’t go into detail.

In addition to the sessions, there were a number of great parties and events. The open mic night at the official afterparty was a great success, as you can see from this great photo of my and James Wilkinson singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” while Pat Dryburgh played the guitar.

I’m looking forward to PodCamp London on May 8th, and know that we’ll definitally pass Toronto for excitment and learning!

GTD Solution for the Mac

Like most GTD fans I’m constantly struggling to find the perfect suite of applications for my Mac. I have the principles in place, but I’m missing the tools that would allow me to get the most done in a day.

So I’m asking my readers. Have you stumbled upon a method that works for you? What do you recommend?

I’m aware of a bunch of the pricey tools, Things for example, but I’d like to find a cheaper/free option. I also realize that a true GTD setup is going to be unique to each other, but I’m still interested in hearing everyone’s tips and suggestions.

Libel and You: Blogger Edition

This morning a Supreme Court of Canada decision establishing a new defense in defamation cases was pointed out to me. While I am not a lawyer, and this is not a law blog, I realize the importance of the court’s decision.

In a nutshell; the court recognizes that in cases that are in the public interest and the publisher has attempted to verify the allegation, that is sufficient to avoid a charge of libel.

Interestingly, the judgment specifically mentions new ways of communicating (blogging and other online reporting)  the speed at which  information becomes available and the fact that news becomes available from other sources then journalists and the established press.

As Michael Geist said

“This is crucial decision for all publishers both big and small. It represents a major win for freedom of expression in Canada and should remove some of the libel chill that arises far too frequently.”

Citizen journalists and bloggers are now held to the same standard as their professional counterparts, but are also afforded the same securities under the law.

Trust Agents

I just finished (I literally just put the book down) Trust Agents. My initial thoughts are that I’m going to recommend this book to everyone who expresses any interest in social media, or the web in general.

I also think I need to read it again just to pick up all the thing I missed the first time through.

The Real World Still Exists

This is a follow up to my previous post;

A variety of new Twitter features have made it even easier to find people in your neighborhood, city or region.  Twitter lists allows you to create a group of  people in a similar niche, or geographical area. Now with geotagged tweets that process is automated.

The release of Foursquare to a bunch of new cities takes interacting on online spaces and connects it with offline.

Social networks are realizing that online tools serve one purpose – to make connecting offline easier.

We  are starting to really see Jeff Jarvis’ ideas of hyper-local come to fruition (he focuses on the news industry, but I think there are ramifications beyond that).

But still a lot of people are just realizing that you can no longer hide behind the Internet.

The word ‘social’ is in social media for a reason.

Write or Die!

Today I’m going to review the web app “write or die“, in which I tell the computer how many words I want to write and how aggressive I want it to be. Apparently words are erased If I don’t meet these goals. For interests sake I’m going to write this review using this app, so what you read will be my thoughts as I use it.

Overall seems like it would or could be an interesting tool. However the thought that I’m competing, not against my own mind, but a computer clock, adds an even greater sense of urgency.

The design is nice; simple and clean, free of all distractions. No reason at all that I shouldn’t be able to finish this post with lots of time to spare.

But here I am, feeling nervous already, like I’m not going to make it and at any point all my words, my hard earned text, is just going to disappear into the ether, because I didn’t meet an arbitrary goal or a certain number of words within a specific time. In fact I can’t remember what goals I set. I have no idea if I’m ahead or behind. If the next words I type will last only a second before being erased before my very eyes. I seem to type faster, as if its not my mind that limits how much i can produce, but the speed at which my fingers move.

But here I am! I’ve made it to the end and retained my sanity, or at least kept it at the same level it was before. And despite making me feel incredibly anxious, I think that this application has great potential. I might even use it again.

As long as it promises to turn a blind eye every so often.

How a Newpaper Article Failed Me

The other day as I was browsing through the dead tree version of the newspaper (that I get delivered to my door because then I can then mulitask between real world and the online world) I came across a small blurb about a marketing company in Toronto that had released an ebook about the growing “blurriness” between different forms of communication (email, social networks, television etc).

My interest was piqued, so I browsed over to their website to purchase the book (My assumption was that I would have to pay for it, I didn’t expect a marketing agency to understand the concept of The Long Tail or Free). I’m not going to link to the site because what I found was a shocking example of incompatablity and shoddy marketing.

The only reference to the ebook is an ad at the top of the page with the paper’s title. No indication about what it is, or what you might get once you click.When you do click you’re screen is graced with a popup. That loads a flash player. That gives you an animated book.

What is wrong with this picture:

  1. Closed, inaccessible system – there is no way to download this book, save your place or deep link;
  2. Arcahic methods of delivery – relying on old school marketing methods in a newschool environment;
  3. Insulting UI – Popups and flash players may have looked good on the whiteboard, but its not how people browse the web.

If you are going to use the internet’s method of distribution, first learn how the internet distributes information.

The only people who read that paper did so because they saw the same newspaper article I did and made a huge effort to get it. And again I realised the folly of relying on the newspaper industry to provide me with content quickly and easily.

Some Announcments

This post has been a long time coming, but I have been putting it of for a while now.

As I have eluded in the past, both on here and Twitter, about the “exciting things” taking place in London.

lola_rog_logoI am thrilled  to annouce, finally and  publicly here, that I have become involved with the London Ontario Live Arts festival – better known as LOLA. I’m very excited because I have participated as a concert goer in the LOLA festival in previous years and had a great time. Despite the stereotype that London does not have an arts community, LOLA has flourished, and shown both this city and the whole country a different part of Southwestern Ontario.

There is going to be lots of oppurtunity to explore different parts of social media and online promotion as a result of this. I’m interested to see how things develop, before, during, and after the concert. There are ongoing concert series during the year and I will be promoting those as well.

penguin-white2The next bit of news that I would like to share is my involvement with Penguin Canada. As part of their promotions, the book publisher has started to branch out online. I have been selected to help promote various books and authors as part of my blog and online presence.This is a great oppurtunity for me, and my readers. I am an avid reader and I love sharing my opinion.

In all of this though I promise to continue to have a transparent website. I’ll make it clear when I am promoting / working on behalf of someone else. I’m going to share my opnion honestly. If I like something I’ll recommend it. If not then I won’t lie. I think these relationships are going to benefit everyone in the end.