Wednesday, 28 September 2011

New Kindle, new world domination

Kindle-fire-007

So, Amazon have launched a new Kindle, the Kindle Fire, and it's an Android tablet with an Amazon front end.

At $199, it looks to me like it'll be an iPad-for-the-rest-of-us. (Not me, mind you - I'll get both.)

Goodbye, competitors in the tablet space.

But I think the most interesting thing is this:

Amazon have just completed the chain to lock down their position in The Big Three - by which, I mean Apple, Google, Amazon. There's three companies who are working away on almost exactly the same ground, and totally blocking out competition (for now). Amazing.

More specifically, each of those three companies has a roadmap which includes linking up an impressive chain of links that tie consumers into their lovely buyable worlds of stuff.

Here's the chain:

Post-PC device > O.S. > Browser > Services > Ecommerce

For Google, the tablet strategy involves a massive range of third parties.
  • The O.S. is their own Android.
  • The Browser is Chrome.
  • The Services are search, video, and a billion other things that keep the web spinning.
  • The Ecommerce is mostly leveraged by having so many consumers.

For Amazon, there's the Kindle Fire, and the Kindle Touch and stuff.
  • The O.S. is a skinned version of Android.
  • The Browser is Amazon Silk.
  • The Services are books, music, video and stuff.
  • The Ecommerce happens through amazon.com

For Apple, there's the iPad and iPhone.
  • The O.S. is iOS.
  • The Browser is Safari.
  • The Services are music and apps and stuff.
  • The Ecommerce happens through iTunes and the App Store.

Wow. We're being locked down by the megacorporations. There's only gonna be a few massive companies, and they're going to do everything.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The observation of a moment

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Time is not what matters to people. Time can fly by unnoticed, or drag endlessly on. Time is unimportant, except in that it serves as a scale by which we can track what really matters to us.

What matters to us is moments. Moments can be joyful or they can be heart-breaking, they can be fascinating or excruciating. They can be turning points, filled with importance, or they can be seemingly irrelevant. They can be intensely private, or they can be shared on a global scale. They can smash into our lives, changing everything, or they can slip quietly away, unnoticed. They can even time travel, returning unexpectedly from an age ago to haunt us.

A moment is a human observation, as simple as that. Our observance of moments, and our reaction to them, is what makes us so uniquely human.

Time is one of our most powerful tools for measuring moments. It allows us to plan them, mark them, log them and file them away. With time as our tool, we can see the sequence of moments that runs through our lives, and from this we can better deduce their relationship with other moments, and their size and scale. Effectively, this scientific tool for noting the impact of moments on our lives helps us to step outside of the blooming, buzzing confusion of our subjective experience.

We humans are inventive - impressively and endlessly so. As we progress and construct invention after invention, we have better and better tools for measuring and making sense of moments.

Moments are now tracked in unprecedentedly granular detail. We live our lives by the watch on our wrist, by the calendar on our computer. In the last few years, we have fallen in love with an explosion of amazing enhancements for capturing moments - all available through our mobile phones, iPads, laptops and TVs. Facebook captures exchanges between friends the world over. Google organises our world, making a reference to any and every experience just a few clicks away. We share photos. We share videos. We share commentary. News is no longer just up-to-the-minute. It is practically up-to-the-second. If someone works something out, or adds something new, almost anywhere in the world and at any time, it can be shared as a global moment within an instant.

Imagine the farm labourer tilling a Yorkshire field in the Middle Ages. I'm sure he couldn't tell you exactly how old he is, let alone the date of his wife's birthday, let alone any news from anywhere more than a few days' walk away.

Our world has not become smaller through technology. It has become incomparably larger. Digital tools are not separating us from the flow of our lives in the real world. Far from it. They are allowing us to pore over our lives in incredible, unprecedented detail. Through technological tools, the human race is becoming a master of it's moments.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Nautilus super computer predicts the future and stuff

Nautilus is one of the most powerful computers in the world. And they're using it to predict the future, by reading all the news there is to read and spotting trends. Like a kind of supercharged We Feel Fine (http://www.wefeelfine.org/)

Here's the not very interesting page that proves the computer exists, but does little else: http://cell.icm.edu.pl/index.php/Nautilus

Here's a BBC story about it predicting the future: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14841018

And here's Charlie Brooker summing it up for the rest of us:

"That's how Nautilus works, see. It sits there reading the news and calculates what's coming. Earlier this year it sifted through 100 million news reports, analysing them for general overall "mood" using a process called "automated sentiment mining". Yes, "automated sentiment mining". Women come equipped with that as standard, whereas we men have to build computers to work out what our fellow humans are thinking."

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Scan books and turn them into ebooks

Great idea... but will it get released, and could it be used to scan photography books?


Check out the video, if only for the exciting racy music.