Seth Godin's post gave me a good laugh this morning. If only Redmond's copy machines could copy a product introduction. Or maybe they copy the intro as well as they copy the product.

Communications Conundrum

Not long ago the communications plan seemed simple. At the house there is only one cellular carrier that has  a signal. DirecWay satellite is increasingly poor and the time has come to do something different for interent connectivity. For several months we tried, unsuccessfully, to get the local wireless co-op to hook us up. Terribly long story short they're not a serious contender. It all seemed so simple. EvDO on the Sprint connection and we're good to go. Sprint has the best-in-class price for EvDO at $15 a month on a cell phone or $50 for a standalone wireless card. Then the plan goes to pieces. Cingular goes and puts up a tower in town. Now there are other options and yet fewer options at the same time. The problem now is the waiting game. Do we wait for Cingular to get their permanent tower up? What about Cingular not having EvDO.Then out of the blue comes another option. Looking around the net WildBlue seems to have a pretty good reputation and not have all the same problems as DirecWay. Seemingly overnight the problem has gone from too few options to too many. The problem being that each of the options requires a contract to make the up-front price palatable. Which way to jump?

Google Calendar and trip scheduling

A bit ago I posted about using Google Calendar in libraries. Many of the same principles apply to the question of how to have online calendars automatically add our trips when we make online reservations or add links to our receipts from online purchases. Imagine how handy it will be to check out from a hardware store online and click a link that will add a summary to your calendar of your purchases.

Even better will be the day when you can make in-store purchases and have the summary easily added to your calendar. Need to know when you bought that new computer (and when it's warranty expires)? Just click a link in your email receipt and away you go. It also is the answer to the calendar feature to kill for and it is available as soon as the travel sites add it.

The failure of wikis

Dave Taylor has a great article in April's Linux Journal titled The Failure of Wikis. He nails the underlying problems with this form of mediocre way of creating and editing content. Perhaps the funniest part of the page is, however, a reader's comment "If you still have problems I suggest you start hiring smarter people or get smarter friends." The irony is that is exactly one of the points Taylor made - that wikians think those that don't get wikis are just too dense to get it.

It is a rarity to find a wiki that comes close to being as good as a page with comments on it. Each trip I make to Wikipedia leads to much more time spent editing incomplete or inaccurate information than is gained in the gleaning of information originally sought.

About age or tradition

Daring Fireball writes about the reasons people who, in spite of dissatisfaction with Windows, won't switch to Macintosh. The article debunks some omnipresent myths such as the idea that Macintosh is more "locked in" to Apple than the Wintel platform is to Microsoft. A footnote suggests the iPod effect may have to do with "young people who haven't yet matured to the age where they're overly fearful of veering from the familiar. "

Possibly. But I'm not buying wholesale. I think there is another big difference between the lack of maturity to place where the familiar is uncomfortable. Rather it seems that teens today have a greater comfort level with various types of technology. Much more than those of us passing the three-decade mark, those of the next generations encounter a lot more technology a lot sooner in life. Along with a greater familiarity comes a much greater comfort in figuring out how different technology works.

A second important shift that accompanies growing up with technology. In older present generations, computers and technology are something new to learn. So much time has been put into trying to learn a few months behind those who created the technology that we've managed to loose site of the fact that our kids and their kids will come to know computers more as we consider mechanical pencils and ball-point pens.


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