Dvorak on Vista


John Dvorak is not impressed with Vista’s advertising or prospects as a buzz-worthy application, saying the promotional web info …

looks like an advertisement for an expensive prescription drug for constipation

and suggesting the market impact will not be very big.

I actually think he’s wrong, and Vista will usher in some significant changes, especially as users integrate sidebar and desktop “gadgets” and we see the desktop and websites look more like myspace pages, littered with dozens of mini applications. If Vista realizes the promise of facilitating RSS and gadget centric information architecture I think it could be a significant part of the significant changes sweeping the online environment.

TechMeme, paid blogging, and Zunes


Lots of interesting tech news today from TechMeme which is starting to distinguish itself as “the place” for tech insiders as Digg and Technorati increasingly seek to cater to a huge audience and Slashdot remains problematic because it’s not as robust with community input.

The New York Times reports that Huffington is adding “original” reporting to her extremely popular political blog. I wonder if this is as much for advertising credibility than quality, which clear thinking people know is not a function of whether you get paid to blog or not. Hey, wait a minute. A lot of bloggers (including me) are skeptical that paying people for blog posts, reviews and other online content serves the best interests of the blog community.

Yet nobody seems to frown on a journalist when they get paid to blog. Or, for that matter, run copious amounts of expensive advertising beside quality content as Mike does over at TechCrunch. For the time being I’m refiling my pay per post concerns under the folder “maybe right, but maybe just hypocritical pseudo-elitist nonsense”.

Also at NYT is this piece on the Third World Laptop project bringing cheap computing to the poor all over the world. It’s a very exciting concept that will certainly bring about big changes and also many unintended, unpredictable consequences. I remain confused as to why Bill Gates has opposed the laptop project because even though clean water and health and food are more immediate needs, the Laptops will connect the first and third worlds in ways that will *demand* more proactive participation in third world development by us rich folks. Also this project brings some of the best thinkers – people who often dwell in abstract and expensive first world problem solving realms – into the of “global poverty and development” department of innovation. Gates’ outstanding contributions in this realm are of global and historical significance so I hope he will eventually see how the laptop project is part of this excellent trend that is connecting the rich and the poor.

Aleks Krotoski has a great piece about digital violence over at Second Life where that blossoming virtual community is now under attack by opportunistic and malicious … programs. It’s not only art that imitates life, it’s virtually impossible to escape our human inadequacies even when humans are not physically present in the environment.

And those nifty Zunes can’t seem to crack the IPOD dominance in digital MP3 players. I often wonder how much of the tech trends are habit and how much innovation. Zunes seemed to offer better features yet they appear to be losing the battle. Ironically the neat song sharing feature using DRM restrictions seems to be backfiring on the Zune.