Thursday, November 17, 2011

Steve Jobs: Impressions from the Biography

Steve Jobs was quite a remarkable man. I rarely read full books and cannot remember the last time I read a biography. But I just finished a fast 3 week journey through the recently released 650 page biography by Walter Isaacson. (Kindle on iPad edition, by the way)  It was quite a remarkable story and even more remarkable with its openness (as pre-approved by Steve) to be a clear, unbiased account of the author’s impressions after over 40 interviews with Steve and more than a 100 with those that knew him. What results is a enduring picture of a 20th / 21st century technology icon who is as unique as the products he introduced.

I’m not one to do book reviews, but I wanted to share some of my impressions mainly because his work had such an impact on my career and my “early adopter” mentality.

Steve is a several years older than me, but as he and Bill Gates were redefining the computer market from two different angles, I was just entering the workforce, having worked on both IBM and Apple computers, programming my way through the last few years of college. I remember watching the product rollouts and also choosing sides during the 80s when I needed to bet on the technology that would determine my career. I chose Microsoft and continued to keep an eye on Apple through the rollouts of various products through the 80s and 90s. Then when the 21st century Jobs emerged, I left my first choice behind and made the switch to Apple products, first with the iPod, then iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro and finally even a Mac Mini, just because. The technology released in the last 10 years has been nothing short of revolutionary and we should all be indebted to Jobs for his persistence, his perfectionism and his vision to go with his gut.

As I was reading the book, many asked me what were my impressions. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Steve was a very hands-on manager. He never hid behind reports, market surveys, PowerPoint slides, or “expert opinions”. He was naturally curious and drove for perfection in everything he did. Early stories tell of how he insisted on every element of the original Mac design right down to the perfection of the layout of the circuit boards inside the case itself.
  2. He was never afraid to voice his opinion. When you would show something to Steve, he would generally reply with one of two signature responses. Either he would “love it” (which was rare) or he would simply reply “That is sh—“ . No matter how hard the team worked, he was always stepping on egos and ridiculing his staff. I guess it made it all the more special when he finally liked what he saw. He insisted in hiring only “A-players” and equally insisted that everyone needed to have thick skin and needed to hear the truth (even though his “truth” often reversed into something else later depending on his moods.)
  3. Steve and Bill Gates were really good friends through it all. I was taken by how much of an impact Microsoft had on the original Mac software. Their commitment to develop Word and Excel for the Mac was a big decision that paid of quite well for both Apple and Microsoft. Through the years, the two sparred often quite publicly and one would think maybe hurt feelings or grudges would take over. But the two truly needed each other and right up to the end when Bill came by to visit Steve in his final months, the two had a tremendous mutual respect for each other. I suppose they had each other to share in their common but equally unique journeys through the explosion of the personal technology wave.
  4. Steve knew his life was likely to be cut short. Even before he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, he pressed on to move as fast as possible. He was eager to make a difference, not for the money, but for the pure pleasure of making truly remarkable products. But looking back, his more significant work happened in the last 10 years of his life. He had a string of wins one after the other with the original iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, the App store, and finally the iPad. (We often forget the contribution his company, Pixar, made to animation with Toy Story and a string of hits through the late 1990s and 2000s with Toy Story, A Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, and Wall-E.)
  5. He was a dedicated family man when it finally counted in the end. Jobs was very private as he lived, but after his death, he allowed the “family man” side of him to be documented. The book has several great pictures with Steve and his children (including 2 teenagers still at home). Yes, he made many mistakes, but in the end, was a dedicated husband of 20+ years and a loving father to his kids.
  6. Steve, went to “find himself” during his early years. Very vocal about his experimentation with LSD and his travels to India, he did not have a strong religious foundation and instead spent his entire life searching and focusing on eastern philosophies. As a teenager he claims he abandoned Christianity because he could not reconcile why there was suffering in the world. In the end, he continued to be unclear about the afterlife and says he had come to a 50/50 conclusion about the existence of life after death. He did begin to make “deals” with God as he described it. One was that he really wanted to live to see his eldest son, Reed, graduate from high school. It’s sad that such a visionary in the tech world could be so confused all his life about the spiritual world.
  7. Apple is Apple today only because of the unique vision, leadership, and drive of Steve Jobs. The company started with his inspiration, grew quickly through its early innovations, nearly choked on corporate “hand’s off” management without Jobs, and then was revived to become the world’s most valuable technology company under his encore leadership. Yes, Apple still has a great pipeline and will likely put out several more innovations over the next few years, but I would expect that it will unfortunately wind down without the wind of Steve Jobs in its sails and never get back to its earlier glory.
In the end, Steve wanted to write the post script. I feel I should give him that same honor here in this post.

“What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow…We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation to all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me” - Steve Jobs

Thank you Steve. You certainly succeeded by adding your “something” to that flow. For that, those of us in technology are truly grateful.

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seven Days with my iPhone 4S

I must confess, I held on to my 3GS for the full 2 years and I just finally got my iPhone 4 back in May. I really have been enjoying it, and by 2:30pm, on the day that iOS5 came out, I had quickly updated my phone, but had no plans to move on to the 4S.

When I was watching the 4S introduction at the Apple event a few days earlier, I remember immediately answering a poll on where they asked “Would you be upgrading to the 4S?” I quickly answered “No” and thought that was the end of it. But I am always interested in in these new devices so I keep a close eye on the technology. I was very intrigued by some of the new features of the iPhone 4S especially the voice control from Siri as well as the expected improved performance and speed.

On October 14, just a week ago, as I was heading home from some errands in the mid morning, I decided just to stop by my local AT&T Store. I noticed some barricades for the line and I noticed there were just two people standing at the front door (a worker and a customer). In fact, I didn't even realize it was a line and just walked right for the door and was stopped. I had no intent to buy, but thought I would just come by and check out the excitement for the phone. (There wasn’t much, by the way.)

While waiting, I realized I could simply renew a family member’s contract (who was quite happy with her iPhone 3 – she uses it for phone calls!) for another two years and go ahead and get my iPhone 4S. I would just have to transfer it to my account. About an hour later, I walked out with the brand-new iPhone 4S 32GB unit and plans to sell my only five-month-old iPhone 4 on eBay.

So it's been a week and I have some first impressions. First of all, the performance is indeed great. I ran a few benchmarks on the 4 and the 4S using BrowserMark from RightWare. ( . When I ran it on the iPhone 4 running iOS 4.x, the reading came back 34,253. After the upgrade to iOS 5, that same device scored 53,353. So just by upgrading to iOS5, I saw a 55% increase in the benchmark. I ran the same on the new 4S and got a blazing 85649. That’s 2 ½ times the speed as my former iPhone 4 running iOS 4.x. The iPhone 4S is FAST.

I've been experimenting with Siri. In fact, I am dictating this now because Siri, not only is your personal assistant, but also provides a voice input for any application that would normally use the keyboard. I find it works well and gets most of the words right. Siri, on the other hand as a helpful assistant, is a bit temperamental. Yes she can read my calendar, tell me the weather, and do a Google search, but more often than not, when I need her, she cannot understand me and way too often, cannot connect to the Internet. Siri is a cloud-based app that depends on access to Apple servers in order to do anything other than local dictation.

I never really like talking to anything or giving verbal command in general. I enjoy talking to people through my phone but not to my phone, so I'm not sure if it will ever catch on for my normal routine, but it is an interesting feature nonetheless. I’m sure in time it will improve, but for me, Siri as a personal assistant is nothing more than a novelty.

Another nice feature is the introduction of shortcut keys, a little-known feature of iOS5. They have taken the much maligned “autocorrect” feature and allowed you to create your own abbreviations that help you rather than introduce errors. Nice concept! If you go into Settings, General, Keyboard, you will see the ability to create keyboard shortcuts. I created one for my email address because I type it so many times as a login entry.

Another feature of iOS5 that I certainly like is Twitter integration. For me it means being able to tweet directly from a picture. Now, it’s not such a big deal to add a picture in my Echofon client, but tweeting directly from the photo viewer is a nice plus.

The iMessage feature certainly looks good. It is an alternative to text messaging but, like FaceTime, it only works with the with Apple devices. We would be better off if we could get an open standard for this in the future. I’m sure the carriers don’t like this new competitor to their overpriced text-messaging feature.

The camera certainly is an improvement. Pictures are crisp and clear and the video is hi definition. Built in photo editing features also add convenience. Unfortunately you have no standard definition choice for video. So, here we go using up much more storage than we need. Plus, HD adds a lot of time to share your videos on YouTube or other services.

The new Newsstand features nice. So far, it is just a nice way to pull together magazines. That’s something I will likely use more on my iPad than on the iPhone

One of the real exciting new promises of iOS5 is the iCloud service that allows immediate synchronization of songs, photos and calendar entries. I found it works well with songs, but have been reluctant to try it with photos and disabled it for calendar entries. Using Google calendar I began to see multiple entries and, in some cases, missing entries so I turned it off. I think iCloud shows great promise but I think it can take some time: 1) for me to learn how to use it and 2) to see how it works with other Cloud services such as various Google services and 3) for all the bug fixes to be deployed.

One thing I did notice was that just by default it asked if I wanted to back up my device to the cloud. I thought that was great idea so I enabled it on my iPad, my iPhone and also my son’s iPod Touch. All began to back up immediately and I got a message saying I had used up all of my storage and I needed to purchase more. So the 5 GB provided by the cloud really is not enough and immediately you are encouraged to buy more.

They say the iPhone is really the same on the outside and totally different on the inside. I certainly won't argue that but I did notice the silent switch moved down ever so slightly, enough that most cases will have a little trouble. It is the switch on the upper left side just above the volume switch that has moved down about 1/8th of an inch. I might just have to carve out my speck case a little bit with a razor blade to make it work perfectly.

Overall I'm pleased with the iPhone 4S mainly for it’s blazing speed. I'm also equally pleased that I was able to sell my old 16GB iPhone 4 for nearly equal the price that I paid for a new 32 GB 4S. Judging from the HD video, it looks like I will need that extra storage.

So, for this early adopter, I found it a good experience to upgrade. It will just take a little more time than I thought to learn the new features, and sorry but in my experiences regarding iCloud, I can’t say “It Just Works!”

So what do you think? Please add your comments below or on twitter. Are you going to spend the money to get the new 4S or can you wait for the 5? For me I am fortunate to have three AT&T contracts in the house and a family where I am the only one eager to upgrade the devices as soon as they come out. So when the iPhone 5 comes out in June or so, I will probably get an opportunity to upgrade again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Not the Tools; It's About the People

We are all on Google+ now. It’s great because of who is here.
We were all on Quora at Christmas, because of who was there.
We continue to stay engaged on Twitter because of who is there.
We are bored with FaceBook because of who is there.
We use LinkedIn because of who we can find.
We use SocialCast in the Social Business Council because of who is there.
We use Jive with the Community Backchannel because of who is there.
We use Yammer in our jobs because of who is there.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the relationship. The great thing about any social network is the socializing that takes place there. Yes, the tools are nice and a bad tool set can certainly squelch the conversation. But it's not about the tools it's about the relationships.

I've had the opportunity to speak with many people over the past few months who are not at all engaged in the social web. The line goes something like this…."I don't have time for all that social media." What they are really saying is "I don't value those relationships and what I learn there. I get all I need from other sources."

That’s fine. When people start to understand what they can get, the relationships they can build, and what an amazingly large diverse set of ideas is out there, they decide to connect.

Many stick with email and cocktail hour networking. That’s fine, I do that sometime too, but I find it is not at all efficient as a stand alone activity. It’s good when I want to go deep with someone, but at a typical event, I can only do that with 1 or 2 people. At best, I'll touch base with 5 or 10. During that same evening, I can touch hundreds or even thousands through online tools.

Through my Blog, Twitter, Google+ and various private communities, I can keep a conversation going with hundreds and my network can jump into overdrive when needed.

If you don’t want to use the social media tools now and think it’s too geeky, that's fine. We used to say that about CompuServe and then AOL came along to break the ice among the masses. Then came FaceBook and everybody went online.

It is indeed gone widespread. Google+ may not replace FaceBook. Everyone may not get on Twitter, but in the long run, the mega trend is that, more and more, our lives are moving online. What was once called a “virtual” meeting is just a meeting.

Do any of you call your FaceBook friends “virtual” friends? Do you call these virtual conversations? No, it’s a wall post, it’s a message, it’s real interaction.

Social is happening, it is happening in different rates for different people, but there is no going back. As my friend Chris Rollyson says, It’s an “and” world, not an “or” world. We keep getting more ways to connect, as a result we are more connected, and finally we can innovate and move faster.

That is just what’s happening. Don’t deny it.

So go ahead, get social. You can start by connecting with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ and while you are at it, subscribe to my blog.

See you online!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seven Days with Google +

The Google+ introduction is a major tectonic shift in the social software landscape. Its aftershocks will be felt for some time to come

I received my invitation to join Google + last Wednesday evening from @ITSinsider.  It was a bit of a surprise.  I had just heard of the launch a day or two earlier.

Since then, it's been a daily party like I have not seen with any other SNS (social networking service) launch.  We had heard something about Google's Social Circles back during SXSWi, but the launch turned out to be just a rumor of what was to come just four months later.

iPhone in browser mode
My first take will be a little different from most because my time with G+ has been almost exclusively on an iPhone 4 or iPad 2.  Of the 15 or so hours I've been on G+, only about 15 minutes or so have been on a PC.  Even though the product is optimized for the full PC / Mac OS or Android mobile OS.  I must admit, even with its many flaws, the iOS experience is good enough to keep me coming back.

Here are my first impressions.

Central to the User Experience is the circle concept.  We all socialize in various circles. Google+ has made that literally the metaphor.  G+ daily offers me up to 500 invitations to add to my circles.  If the person is not yet in G+, they will get an invitation.  If they are already in, they join into my circles and I begin following and sharing with them.  (Be patient, G+ is still throttling invitations.)

Since I have not use the PC version with a webcam, I'm missing out on Hangouts - multipoint video chats.  That will come in time. I expect very good value for work groups and enterprise applications of this feature.  I also expect integration with Apple products with the forward facing camera (ala multi user FaceTime). With the recent introduction of Apple's FaceTime and now Google's new Hangout feature, perhaps personal video conferencing will finally reach the tipping point to general adoption.

I'm also excited about the ease of adoption.  Google+ has quickly added most of my social graph to their SNS and the conversations are quickly turning to real substance other than just discussing Google+ itself.

So what are my takeaways so far?
iPad in Desktop Mode
1. This is going to be big.  Google+ has scaled very quickly showing robust, well thought out features. It works easily on many platforms, combines access on any device to central cloud storage, performs well, and has already attracted the necessary early adopters.

2. This will evolve quickly.  Google is known for quick iterative innovations and promises constant upgrades and introduction of new features.  They also appear to be leveraging many of their various products without any sign of internal power struggles that will derail progress.

3. Facebook and Twitter have a real competitor now. Most early comments have been that Facebook should be scared, but little has been said about Twitter also being in Google's sights.  With the recent announcements of tight integration between Twitter and Apple's iOS, it looks like the Google+/Android camp is stacking up as a good alternative.  It might even be a three way race if the rumored Facebook / Skype entry materializes.  Anyway, like Facebook, Twitter has been acting monopolistically as of late (terms of service, acquisitions, apathy to partners)  It is good to see a product come along that offers a viable alternative.
iPad in Mobile Mode

4. Enterprise 2.o is in the game plan for Google+.  All the talk about Consumer and Facebook should not hide the fact that Google+ coupled with Google Apps will offer a powerful platform for enterprise collaboration, eating away at the SMB market first and later moving up the food chain to the Fortune 500 market.  E2.0 stalwarts such as Jive Software, Socialcast, Yammer, IBM Connections, and, to a lesser extent, SharePoint will see Google+ providing a new alternative in the young and growing Enterprise 2.0 collaboration market space.

That's my first look.  So much more can be said, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future.  The Google+ introduction is a major tectonic shift in the social software landscape.  Its aftershocks will be felt for some time to come.  So find me on Google+  and let's continue the conversation.  I look forward to adding you to my new Circle of Friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Social Mobile Enterprise

Enterprise social mobility is the next big thing.

Yes, I said it.  I'm going out on a limb and predicting that the next major wave of enterprise innovation will be a combination of today's emerging social networking explosion fueled by a move to mobility in mass.  It feels like a very stable limb based on all that I have been seeing over the past few years.

Let's look at it in context.  Many have written about mega trends in evolution of enterprise technology.  Rawn Shah wrote an excellent piece recently outlining the move from Mainframe, to Departmental Computing, to Personal Computing, to Internet Computing, to today's Social computing environment.  I think the next in line on the same scale may be Mobile Computing.

It's funny, as I read this list, and the traditional mentions of "Computing", I realize that term has run its course and it really is time to retire the term "Computing" since it has become irrelevant, something reserved for calculations, tabulations, lists, etc.  Ever since the Internet age, it's really about collaboration and connectivity, not computing.

The Enterprise mobile revolution is happening.  A recent Infographic by Zendesk says, of Fortune 500 companies, 80% are deploying or testing iPhones and 65% are deploying or allowing iPads.  Over the next few years, every enterprise will have made major headway into allowing BYOD (bring your own device) linking iPhones, Androids, and iPads into the enterprise systems.  I am convinced that the convenience and serendipity enabled by Mobility makes all the difference in driving engagement of today's Social Enterprise systems being deployed (see my post on the Upside Down Enterprise Portal).

Mobile brings a new dimension to communications.  For me it started with the Palm Pilot back at the turn of the century (I always wanted to say that) when we began to sync with our calendar and contacts to have this information right in our pocket.  I remember the excitement of having my assistant schedule meetings and then watching them "air sync" right to my device, while I was on the road.

Many a corporate road warrior (including me) became completely dependent upon his BlackBerry (or CrackBerry as we called it) in the mid-2000s.  The BlackBerry showed the world that it is very useful to have instant access to calendar, contacts, and now email, all in one device.  An entire generation of boomers and X-ers became proficient at the thumb typing model on the excellent blackberry keyboard. Soon after getting mine, I remember discovering the browser and beginning to do simple web access activities (checking weather, flight times, simple ecommerce) with the very limited and clumsy early blackberry browser.

Then, my life changed when I moved to an iPhone in 2009.  I had just heard a "future of technology" conference speaker refer to this generation of smartphones, not as powerful telephones, but as small / portable computers. The explosion of the Apple app store and those that followed for other platforms (particularly Android) quickly showed the world that these devices could become a major supplement and often a substitute for the laptop computer.  I giggle to myself when I see someone walking between meetings awkwardly carrying his open laptop, trying to preserve his connectivity to the corporate wifi while changing rooms.  That will be a fleeting "sign of the times".

As corporations were finally figuring out the power of social networking platforms, they began to exploit SharePoint, Jive, IBM Connections, Socialcast, Yammer and a host of other Enterprise 2.0 Platforms.  They found they could use these tools to connect a widely dispersed workforce, create rich employee profiles and online communities to meet and work.  The activity stream and microblogging emerged as a way not only to communicate in quick short messages, but to also allow the system itself to inform colleagues of progress being made, milestones being met, and steps taking place along the course of a project.

These platforms are indeed game changing, but as the mobile revolution has been continuing, many of the E20 platform and tool vendors forgot that they were retooling an enterprise based on a 2000 paradigm.  Many were designing with the idea that they needed to connect stationary knowledge workers who only log in from their corporate desktop or laptop.  Their solution to mobility is to allow a worker to connect to the E20 platform from his / her VPN connected laptop.  This severely hampers adoption.  Relying only on the normal 8-5, at the desk, environment for social engagement is truly unnatural.

Each of the collaboration platform vendors recognizes the need for a mobile component and they have been working hard to create that capability.  Like all transformations in technology it moves in steps. They focus most of their effort on the laptop / desktop worker and then "bolt on" the mobile capability as an afterthought.

The game is changing again.  It is time now to create environments that recognize the following facts:
  • Workers are mobile, even in their office
  • Workers collaborate 24x7
  • Firewalls are going away
  • Workers will continue to bring their own devices to work
  • Tablets will not go away
  • Laptops will become much less relevant (like Desktops have)
  • Knowledge work is being distributed to external partners
The next generation Social Mobile Enterprise solutions must be designed to allow:
  • Mobile access to all corporate services and information assets
  • Cloud based storage accessible to all business partners
  • Mobile connectivity among the workforce in the same office and across timezones
  • Mobile / Social stickiness through "Gamification" engagement models
  • Mobile / Social connectivity with equal access for employees, contractors, and business partners
What do you think?  Are you also seeing this trend?  Can you give some examples of what your enterprise is doing or planning in the comments below?     

(By the way, this post was authored on my iPad and edited only iPhone. Only the final upload, graphics and hyperlinks were done with my laptop.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

133 Curated Tweets from April 2011

It was a hit last month, so here it is again.  My curated list of tweets from April.  As you can see, I focus on Cloud Computing, Twitter, Communities, iPad, Enterprise 2.0, Location Based Services, Gaming, Mobility, Social Business and a few other topics.

My Blog Posts
  1. 150+ links, I tweeted in March, all in one place  
  2. The Upside Down Enterprise Portal
  3. Tune In to the Social Web  
Chat (Twitter Chats)
  1. Transcript for last night's #LeadershipChat now available  on
  2. Forrester: A webpage w/video is 50x more likely to appear on page 1 Google than 1 w/out  
  1. The Future of Microsoft Office is in the #cloud  
  2. HOW TO: Optimize Your Content for the Cloud  
  3. Message from John Chambers: Where Cisco is Taking the Network  
  4. First look at Microsoft Office 365: 
Cloud Crash
  1. This Amazon cloud crash is affecting no less than 4 of my daily activities so far!
  2. Amazon's cloud crash takes many with it
  3. Amazon's failure continues. I expect this will dampen #cloud euphoria a bit 
  1. Community Managers: What They Do, Why You Need Them -- InformationWeek by @cflanagan
  2. More on Community Managers: The Second Leg Of The Social Business Stool
  3. Are you building and managing E2E Communities?

Enterprise 2.0
  1. Corporate Microblogging Helps Employees Migrate Work Convos Online  
  2. Enterprise 2.0: Why All Business Software Must Go Social
  3. Are you culturally ready for #e20 / #socbiz?  &  by @themaria
  4. Social Intranet –The Intersection Diagram  explained very well by @adowbor
  5. Social Networking for Business - WSJ
  6. Looking at IBM's collaboration assessment tool:   Compares your best practices with 450 other firms.
  7. Creating a Social Intranet Where Your Employees can Learn 
  8. To bond or to bridge, is that the question?   by @lammiia 
  9. Congratulations to @GuatamGhosh on your move: Joining Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 firm Qontext
  10. Beyond Quora: 9 Q&A Services for the Enterprise  
  11. 6 Ways to Use Curation for B2B Social Media  
  12. Redefining RSS from tech terms to social collaborative behavior terms  by @dpontefract 
  13. IBM Says Merge your Email into the Activity Stream  
  14. Open the Activity Stream app on the mobile, see what's important to do that day/right now.  
  1. Four Lessons From the Resurrection  by @mhmcintyre
  2. The Privacy of Jesus
  1. Gaming the Enterprise, Part 1 of 2  by Dachis's @tomcummings & @vzrjvy
  2. Enterprise gamification  by @webtechman
  3. The purpose of gamification  
  1. How Are Mac & PC People Different? [INFOGRAPHIC]
  2. In the evolution of the mobile operating system, Apple was a late entry. INFOGRAPHIC
  3. The 5 Best Free Tools For Making Slick #Infographics (by @ambermac)
  4. The Winners & Losers of Social Networking [INFOGRAPHIC]   
  1. iPad 2 gets glasses-free 3D display using front-facing camera for head tracking:  
  2. 5 Great iPad Social Networking Apps  
  3. Ten innovative, unusual and just plain cool uses for the iPad:
  4. News360 iPad App Review  new #iPad App gives you photo news in a unique format.
  5. Revenge of the iPad? PC market tanks in first quarter:
  6. Why the iPad Appeals to Older Users: They stick to basics  
  7. iPad 2 vs. XOOM: sales comparison ugly for Motorola?  
  8. Report: No Apple iPad 3 in 2011:
  9. iOS 5 For iPad Features And News
  10. Ready or Not, iPad, Other Tablets are in the Enterprise  
  11. Sign of the times: iPad 2 heads to Toys R Us
  12. Essential iPad Apps For Network And System Admins | Your Network Toolkit
  13. The Best New Apple iPad Productivity Apps  
  14. Apple may outshine tablet rivals for years
  15. Have an iPad? Get May edition of @wired iPad app free:
  16. iPad for Business Round-Up: Tablets Cutting into PC Sales, Doctors Prefer iOS...
  17. One year after iPad: Is Adobe Flash still relevant?
  18. iPad for Business Round-Up
Job Search
  1. How to Build Momentum in Your Job Search
  2. In transition? Great article about networking from HarvardBiz:  
Location Based Services
  1. Promote Your Small Business Blog with the ShareThis Plugin
  2. Why Location-Based Services Will be the Killer App of the 2012 Elections  
  3. Checking out of LBS  by @peterkim
  4. Foursquare in the Enterprise? The Two-Year Lag from Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0  
  1. First Look @MapOmatic replaces your mobile map and shows where friends are:  
  2. NYT: Augmented Reality Comes Closer to Reality
  3. In case you missed it: FDA Issues Rules for Mobile Medical Devices
  4. The 'post-PC era' might be closer than we think  
  5. Mobile Megatrends 2011  
  6. I'm getting more and more convinced that mobile will be the "tipping point" for #e20 adoption too
  7. Why we need the mobile, social, intranet... Mind Blowing Mobile Social Media Stats
  8. Employees Are Using Their Own Devices. Is Your Policy Up-to-Date?  
  9. Square’s Payment Service About To Get A Huge Boost From Apple  swipe a Visa on your iPhone
  10. Socialcast Mobile Feature Release – New Android App (beta) and iPhone Updates
  11. What Will the Smartphone Market Look Like in 2015?
  12. iPad and iPhone Really Taking Off In Enterprise
  13. Rumor: White iPhone 4 in June, iPhone 5 in Sept - Bloomberg
  14. Now I just stumbled upon this gem of mobile resources from @ppk  
Other Stuff (unclassified)
  1. April Fools 2011: The Big List
  2. Tech jobs boom like it's 1999  "Jobs plentiful in Silicon Valley"
  3. Good advice in today's WSJ: 4 Questions CEO's should be asking about IT
  4. Amazon, Love The Kindle Ads Idea, But The Right Price Is $99
  5. 18 Million WordPress Blogs Compromised In Attack
  6. the rest of the story to the "Jump The Shark" line,  
  7. Hole in Plane Leads to Emergency Landing, Twitpic Shows Details
  8. Had a great briefing on semantic web. Starting to research on  &
  9. Curiosity piqued Royal Wedding lip readers decipher for the rest of us.
  10. Royal wedding highlights: 5min video [Telegraph UK]  
Social Business / Social Media
  1. Social business strategies that will take your business from the dark ages to the Renaissance
  2. Oh, I could get lost here for hours:  Google Social Circle
  3. Social Networking Strategies for Finding More Work
  4. [blog] social business summit london part 2
  5. The tweets are about to start for #sbs2011 Singapore. Read the London tweet archive for a preview:  
  6. Read the tweet transcript from @dachisgroup #sbs2011 Singapore
  7. Serendipity Happens...insightful preso and post  by @anadatagirl
  8. Why There Is No Facebook For The Enterprise
  9. Summarizing Social Business in Asia from #sbs2011
  10. From @davegray: I'm open-sourcing all my Connected Company images under a Creative Commons license. Spread the word!
  11. 18 Social Networking Icons  
  12.  @CarlGriffith's #SBS2011 summit summary.  
  13. Social Business Design Cometh
  14. Essential #socbiz stuff  
  15. Authentication, representation, communication, personalization, reputation: 5 Pieces of Online Identity
  16. The flat organization is not a new idea...RWW post on #e20 #socbiz by @klintron
  17. "The 2.0 Adoption Council - Asia Pacific Briefing" May 10, Webinar
  18. #sbs2011 reminder... there is a list of Summit presenter's Twitter accounts here  
  19. Why social business is different - Reusing stored collaboration  by @dhinchcliffe
  20. Google: Larry Page Ties Employee Bonuses To Social Strategy
Sunday Series
  1. Sunday Series: "God Has Dwelt Well with Me" Click 4/10 message:  Or direct to mp3:  by @DavidGuzik
  2. Sunday Series: "Blessed Is The Man..." Click the 02/13 message:  or direct to mp3:
  3. Sunday Series: "Living the Normal Christian Life" Click the 4/3 message:  or direct to mp3:
  4. Sunday Series: "Why Easter Matters" Click the Easter 2002 message:  Or direct to mp3:
  5. Sunday Series: "Come Join the Dance" Click the 3/13 message:  Or direct to mp3:
  1. Admob: 43% of owners spend more time on their tablet than PC
  2. Tablet computers as seen from 1994 -  
  3. Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet with Honeycomb and an optional stylus to hit this summer |  
Tracking Your iPhone Location
  1. Reading how to visualize your own iPhone tracking data. Requires OS X.
  2. Disabling location services won’t stop your iPhone from tracking your location
  3. Here is the Windows version of iPhone Tracker. It works for me:
  4. Wall Street Journal take on the iPhone tracking issue:
  5. Steve Jobs: Apple has "never transmitted" precise iPhone location to itself (WSJ)  "Will testify before Congress"
  6. iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go  
  7. Stalk Yourself: Use R to Analyze Your iPhone Location Data
  8. 3 Major Issues with the Latest iPhone Tracking “Discovery”
  1. OK, so this give's some insight on the shuttering of tweet archiving services:  Twitter to make $$$ on APIs
  2. Could Twitter Get “MySpaced”?  
  3. Netherlands passes Japan as most Twitter-active country in the world:  
  4. 10 ways nonprofits should use Twitter
  5. What Are Twitter Chats and Why Should You Care?
  6. Have you seen Fizz?  It visualizes tweets in a way.
  7. For Geeks—How to Capture Tweets in Real-time with Twitter's Streaming API
  8. Twitter Announces Fire Hose Marketplace: Up to 10k Keyword Filters for 30 Cents! by @marshallk
  9. London 2012 Olympics: it will be a Twitter Olympics – Telegraph Blogs 
  10. TechCrunch report on Twitter vs. UberMedia battle brewing
  11. Now I'm beginning to understand. I found my answers from Mr. Google

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tune In to the Social Web

I often find myself describing the "social web" to my friends.  Many are interested and wonder what I mean.  I go on to describe it with a simple analogy.

The social web is like an engaging radio station, but imagine you have never purchased a radio.  The signals are moving around, there is great music, stimulating talk, and even some good educational content.  Until you get a radio and tune to the station, you will have no idea such interesting and engaging content is out there.  Buy that radio, tune in and presto! You discover a whole world of knowledge and conversation out there that had been passing you by.

The social web is much like that.  Through the combination of tweets and blog posts, there are exciting conversations taking place.  Most likely, you would really get value if only you knew they were taking place, listened in, and were confident in how to add your voice.

I was with a friend the other day who is searching for an high level business development position as a result of the, all to common, "corporate restructuring" of this day.   He is doing all the right things, making phone calls, attending networking events, and polishing up his resume, but he wanted to talk with me about twitter.  How would he get started and what should he do?  I gave him a short but simple tutorial, starting with my radio station analogy.  You see, he wants to join into the conversation about opportunities within his industry.  He wants to plug into the inside story on developing startups in his field and learn of trends and opportunities out in the market.  He just needed to get familiar with the new medium.

I took him through the basics:  get a nicely cropped photo for Twitter, turn off the protected tweets, start following a few interesting people.  I even told him to look for hash tags in his industry and then seek out and follow those interesting people tweeting with those tags. I think he is well on his way to get in on the conversation.

I have seen this repeated many times.  It is rewarding to bring others into the conversation and help them "tune their radios" to the right stations.  There is the blogging Mom who is now joining the conversation, the budding theologian sharing his thoughts through blog posts and tweets, and the computer network professional who is building his business through a reputation for good work ethic amplified by engaging blog posts and tweets.

You don't need a fancy website, a custom domain name, or even Facebook to do this.  You just need to dive into the deep end of the social web, join into the tweet stream, and maybe even blog a bit.  There is a big world out there with hundreds of millions of interesting people.  Why don't you just "tune your radio" to the right station and then join us in the social web.

Next thought...Building your personal brand on the social web.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Upside Down Enterprise Portal

A new type of “citizen editor” is emerging, becoming a trusted source of curated content on the web.

I’m a curator of news. Like many people, I use twitter to gather the latest in technology opinions and developments. My particular interest is Social Business and Mobile gadgetry. Other people follow photography, sports, science or one of any variety of focused niche topics out on the web.

When we find something interesting, we retweet (RT) it to our Twitter followers or share it with our Facebook friends. Sometimes we send it as is, other times we add a commentary and pass it on. Most of the time, we are tweeting links (URLs) to other content. We are sending “pointers,” so to speak, to content that we find interesting on the web. Over time, we gather a following and become a valuable editor or curator of the news. Some turn it into a business like Mashable or Engadget. Others just do it as a hobby and use their “passion” to build relationships with like minded people or those wanting to learn more about that particular subject.

This model of curating information has turned the traditional media on its head. Gone are the days when a few powerful editors of the major print and television news outlets decide what the world should know. Do you remember the days before CNN when just three broadcast networks decided what to share with the public every night on the evening news? Times are certainly different now with many varying outlets to source our information. The real value comes when our “social network” shares what they feel is relevant. A new type of “citizen editor” is emerging, becoming a trusted source of curated content on the web.

On a typical day, I will monitor twitter feeds early and late in the day to catch up on the events, attitudes, and happenings. I have become efficient with the RT (retweet) as a means to share what I am learning. In fact this innate desire to share is driving the explosive growth of the social web.

Twitter has the “ReTweet”, Facebook has the “Like”, and Google just recently announced the “+1”. In fact if you look around, the ability to share is everywhere on the social web. Aging systems have the "email only" share choice, but modern software is being fitted with increasingly sophisticated share mechanisms that make it easy to share relevant content with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and a host of other groups.

On my iPad, applications like Zite, Pulse, and even Murdoch's The Daily all build in native functionality to share content that the reader finds interesting. YouTube even does it, but still ignores the "tweet this" option. It really is a new way to promote content and get the word out, taking advantage of the clout and credibility of friends or colleagues to share content that they find interesting within their social circle. Content goes "viral" quickly and takes on a life of its own when friends share it with friends.

So, where am I going with this? I had the "Aha!" moment recently as I was at the office reading news stories from the corporate intranet. I found a great story and wanted to share it with my corporate colleagues (aka followers). The familiar share button I always find on the public web was missing. Why don't we build this share capability into today’s enterprise portal? This new way of the emerging “citizen editor” can be applied to the corporate intranet as a means to share content relevant to the employee masses. It can be done much more effectively than the old Network News model when Corporate Communications comes up with slick stories and pushes it on all the employees.

This “secret sauce” of the modern intranet embraces the same concept. Abandon the old push model and embrace the “citizen editor” or “employee curator” concept as a means to share news and make stories and messages go viral in your company. Engagement goes up, good ideas spread, and information is quickly shared within a healthy collaborative culture.

Do you like the idea? Below is a straw man proposal to consider as you go through the next redesign of your corporate intranet.

Tomorrow's Social Intranet environment should have the following basic building blocks:
  • Self Service Employee profile with IM presence
  • Microblogging function (See Rawn Shah's Forbes post)
  • Ability to follow / friend a colleague
  • Corporate and user generated news feeds / articles
  • Blogging platform
  • Wiki platform (for collaborative authoring)
To make it truly social, add these advanced sharing (curation) abilities:
  • Share ideas (tweets) internally with followers / colleagues / or the entire company
  • Tweets should include any content on the intranet or internet
  • Share button built into all content pages
  • Metrics to track number of shares for each piece of content
  • Most popular content is automatically featured on the portal home page
To make this content truly accessible it should be available on various form factors:
  • Desktop / laptop access for all functions
  • VPN remote access for all functions
  • Mobile access on all popular platforms (Android, iOS, RIM, …) for limited functions such as news, microblogging, email, calendar, alerts
  • Mobile access on employee’s personal devices
Finally along with the technology, there needs to be an equal or greater effort paid to the cultural change needed for a culture of collaboration, trust, authenticity, and transparency.

We are a few years into a revolution of content sharing and creation on the social web. It is only a matter of time before employees demand the same functionality within their corporate intranets. The smart communications officer will see the future being played out on the social web and begin to implement it within the enterprise today.

What do you think? Do you have examples where forward thinking enterprises are doing this already? Do you agree that this is the future? Or do you have another view. Please add your view in the comments below or in your tweets, shares and +1s.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fully Curated - Tweets from the Month of March

I often hear that people enjoy the articles that I share.  I've even been hearing the term "curation" recently.  I know it was a big month for tweets and decided to take a little time to pull together a list of what I curated from my twitter feeds during the month of March.    Here it is in one place...a month full of tweets.

Amazon Locker
  1. Amazon faces backlash over music locker service
  2. The Cloud Will Be Your Hard Drive, Despite The Record Labels’ Greed
  3. HOW TO: Use Amazon Cloud Player With iOS Devices

  1. Rumors: iOS5, iPhone5, iPad3...Cloud-Based iOS 5 This Fall? 
  2. Rumor: iOS 5 will be a 'major revamp,' won't debut until fall  more heavily cloud-based iOS
  3. Apple Releases iOS 4.3.1
  4. iPhone 5 rumor central (info graphic)
  5. Apple To Let Users Use Cloud Service To Download Songs To Multiple iDevices
  6. good post on post-PCness
  1. Why AT&T Bought T-Mobile
  2. One bad company buying another: AT&T buys TMobile
  3. RWW AT&T Starts Sending Letters to Jailbroken Tetherers, Will Automatically Charge Fee

My Blog Posts
  1. Facebook Today, Reminds Me of AOL in 1998
  2. Here's my iPad 2 first impressions blog post
  3. My Post illustrating Mobility and Ease of Consumption  
  1. The 4 Personas of the Next-Generation #CIO now on #hbr

  1. Great, simple explanation of Dropbox;
  2. Cloud computing: A market for computing power | The Economist:

Enterprise 2.0
  1. Expertise Location: The Killer App for Enterprise Social Computing
  2. List of Enterprise 2.0 CFP winners is now available #e2conf. Congrats to the winners!
  3. good discussion w/ IBM'er on adoption ; The Psychology of Collaboration
  4. Excellent analogy: email vs. SocNets. :Trains, Sliding Doors and Social Networks
  5. BT Intranet SharePoint 2010 examples
  6. Merck looks to Facebook for employee portal, CSR effort - Medical Marketing and Media
  7. Social Business Begins by Unleashing Your Business Talent By @elsua
  8. The military shows the need for information sharing and local decision making post by @BartSchutte
  9. Challenges of transforming large, rigid org cultures into agile and aware networks: Great post:
  10. Awesome, Socialcast evolves the #hashtag for all people to understand -
  11. If true other teams are running plays on field while MSFT is in locker room deciding uniform colors.
  12. Good advice on social software adoption:
  13. Video: The Conference Call
  14. Social Intranet – The Intersection Diagram by @adowbor 

  1. eBay acquires GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion
  1. List of Social Intranet, Enterprise 2.0, Collaboration, Engagement, and HR Technology Experts
  1. Gaming for engagement is trending... using game design in non-gaming contexts
  2. How do you become a futurist? "claim you are and people either believe you or not" says @rossdawson
  3. 1373 Twitter users with "Futurist" in their bios
  4. [VIDEOS] The latest robots are virtually indistinguishable from people
  5. Very cool #future "day in the life" video (Corning) "A Day Made of Glass"
  6. Top 10 Dying Industries: Newspapers, Photo Finishing, Record Shops make the list:
  1. Google copies Facebook's Like Button
  2. Google Announces New Service for Nonprofits
  3. Half A Billion Blog Posts Later, Google To Give Blogger A Revamp
  1. Groupon moving towards real-time location based coupons. Two buttons: I'm Hungry, I'm Bored.
  2. CHART OF THE DAY: Watch Groupon Go From 0 To $25 Billion In The Blink Of An Eye
  1. How Small Businesses Are Using #SocialMedia [INFOGRAPHIC]
  2. The #SocialMedia World Before Twitter And Facebook [Infographic] -
  3. Infographic of the Day: The Next 25 Years in Emerging Tech | Co.Design  
  4. Who’s Really Scanning All Those QR Codes? [INFOGRAPHIC]
  5. #Tablet comparison #infographic -
  6. nice info graphic on the culture aspect
  7. Should you be on LinkedIn? [infographic]
  8. How Mobile Shopping Is Changing The World [Infographic] -

iPad / Tablets
  1. 18 Million #WordPress Websites Now Available in #iPad Format
  2. iPad to go on sale outside US: Apple Inc to stick to plans to roll out product this week.
  3. BlackBerry Playbook Will Be Available In 20,000 Retailers
  4. RT @MacOutfittersPA: Read our new blog post, iPad 2: First Impressions
  5. 7 Twitter Apps For iPad:
  6. Five ways the iPad 2 works on the buyer's subconscious:
  7. The Week in iPad Cases: The iPad 2 has landed: All your choices explained
  8. Apple could face iPad 2 component shortages:
  9. This looks like a promising iPad app.
  10. Why the iPad is awesome @TreyRatcliff shows off cool photo processing app 100 cameras
  11. Equal Time…iPad 2: The Skeptic’s Review:
  12. iPad 2: A Gaming Machine?: The iPad 2 is out, but is it a good gaming machine?
  13. Dell and HP: Two computer giants prepare for a world no longer dominated by the PC
  14. Putting iPads To Work -- my guide: by @waltmossberg
  15. How To Collaborate With Others Online Using Your iPad
  16. iPad Essentials for the Network Administrator 
  17. The 3 Best iPad PDF Markup Apps; -
  18. Interesting: what is in that iPad smart cover:
  19. iPad 2 jailbroken, no ETA on public release
  20. Backordered: Total iPad sellout - 70% new buyers: Fortune Article
  21. So, what's inside the iPad 2?
  22. IPad2 offers aspiring movie makers the whole package via USA TODAY
  23. My hunt for the elusive iPad 2 delivers some big game <-my story in comments
  24. Mobile Harmony: iPad 2, Android & Windows 7
  25. Maybe... Here's What's Coming In The iPad 3 (AAPL)
  26. iPad 2: Thin, Not Picture Perfect My review: #ipad2 by @waltmossberg
  27. How does apple really feel about their new Ipad2? Here is the video:
  28. Want a 3G iPad 2 and Own an iPhone? Here's How You Save $130
  29. Original iPad Better Than Ever: Here's why. Price and Apps
  30. Unleashing creativity in many ways... How the iPad revolution has transformed working lives
  31. Did you write a post on how to transfer your data from your first iPad to your new iPad 2? A. Yes
  32. How To Use iPad 2 | A New User Guide [massive post on how to use your new ipad]
  33. It's Apple's 'post-PC' world -- we're all just living in it.
  34. 10 more top 10 reasons to buy an iPad 2
  35. An iPad Lover's (Initial) Thoughts On iPad 2
  36. iPad 2 Rollout Leads to Massive Deflation in Secondary Market
  37. Watch the iPad 2 March 2nd Event Keynote - #iPad2
  38. Steve Jobs announces iPad 2 #ipad2
  39. Watching the live blog: for iPad2
  40. It's iPad day! Faster, slimmer, 2-camera iPad said likely: <-summary of latest rumors Wednesday, March 02, 2011
  41. To take on Apple, new tablets go where iPad won't -
  42. Check out "The DVD Era Finally Ends – Thanks to the iPad"

  1. Japan: whatever happened to the nuclear meltdown? March 23
  2. Catching up on developments in Japan  March 19
  3. These images are just sobering. If you need some perspective click here: March 16
  4. I don't have words big enough to persuade why you should. The pics from Japan tell that story., March 15
  5. Cometh the hour by @jobsworth, March 14
  6. Amazing views of the devastation in Japan March 13
  7. Desperation and panic grip Japan (Reuters) "Like a scene from a disaster movie"March 12
  8. Google is helping to curate info about the Earthquake. March 12
Location Based Services
  1. Neiman Marcus Launches Nationwide SCVNGR Challenge
  1. Introducing LinkedIn Today
  1. Amazingly, MySpace’s Decline Is Accelerating
  1. Want to Engage Senior Executives? Think Mobile.
  2. Nine Powerful Apps That Convert Your iPhone Into A Knowledge Hub
  3. The Judge Group Launches Mobile Website - March 16, 2011 (Phila)
  4. March 28, Phila, Mobile Health Forum
  5. 90% of the world now lives in a place with access to a mobile network
  6. Hmmm..I need to give this a try... How to build location based app in five minutes, with no coding
  7. AT&T Confirms Mobile Hotspot Support for iPhone
  8. The 10 Most Innovative Companies in Mobile:
  9. My fav so far is instagram... 22 Ways To Tweet Photos & Images from your iPhone:
  10. How Mobile Shopping Is Changing The World [Infographic] -
  11. Smartphone use is expected to increase by 50% in 2011

  1. Salesforce buys Radian6 /
  2. buys Radian6, an excellent move! Details
    Social Business Summit
    1. RT @joningham: My post on John Hagel session at #SBS2011 
    2. All the tweets, pics and posts from Social Business Summit Austin:
    3. Reflections on Social Business Summit 2011 - Syndey and Austin 
    4. Social Business Summit 2011 first half round up
    5. 2011 Social Business Summit Review
    6. Social Business is Here: Review of the 2011 Social Business Summit Austin by @andyjankowski
    7. Curated #sbs2011 tweet stream, courtesy of @keepstream.
    8. check out #sbs2011 to see great feedback on Dachis' first summit in Sydney. Join others near you:
      Social Business
      1. Career path of the social business professional - Being Peter Kim
      2. Watching the rise of "Social Business" over Social CRM, Enterprise 2.0.
      Sunday Series
      1. Sunday Series: "Absolute Truth" Click the 3/21 message: or direct to mp3: by @greglaurie Sunday, March 27
      2. Sunday Series: "Raising The Dead" Click the 3-13 message: Or direct to mp3: Sunday, March 20
      3. Sunday Series: How Close Are We? Click the 3/06 message: or direct to mp3: @bridgefm Sunday, March 13
      4. Sunday Series: "From Thunder to Love" Click the 2/20 message: Or direct to mp3: Sunday, March 06
      1. 2011 Insights from @bobpearson1845
      2. RT @ShannonPaul Blog post - My Takeaways From SXSW Interactive
      3. SXSW 2011: Great for Networking, But No Technology Breakthroughs
      4. Zappos spreading the #Happiness story w/ new #brand. at #SXSW
      5. At each SXSW a new technology gains early adopter attention, one contender is groupme
      1. Topsy's "Selinah", 1 of 10 amazing "Ads Worth Spreading" from #TED:
      2. Target's "Kaleidoscopic", 1 of 10 amazing "Ads Worth Spreading" from TED:
      3. Intel's The Chase, 1 of 10 amazing "Ads Worth Spreading" from TED:
      4. TED Ads Worth Spreading: If You Only Watch 10 Ads This Year Make It These
      5. RT @jordanayan Rode in Google's new self-driving car at #TED a highlight of the conference [video]
      6. Here is a link to a detailed story on the amazing kidney printing demo at #TED2011 -
      1. No one uses the phone anymore
      2. Entire movies compressed into single barcodes
      3. "Google before you tweet" is the new "think before you speak"
      4. Something to do with those old books  Masterful sculptures made from large books.
      1. Best practices for the "retweet"
      2. 10 Memorable Tweets From Twitter's Five Years in Existence:
      3. How do you explain what Twitter is to someone that’s never used it?
      4. YES!!! Finally got my Twiter https option!!! Everyone should enable it!!
      5. Captures reasons why I prefer Twitter to Facebook -
      6. How to do Twitter in 15 minutes a day
      7. is my fav so far… 4 Ways to Read Your #SocialMedia Updates as Newspaper
      8. Very Cool: try VisibleTweets - looks great on a large screen! Eg:

      Tuesday, March 22, 2011

      Facebook Today, Reminds Me of AOL in 1998

      I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

      It was an interesting time, 1998. The early Internet starter kits were beginning to make it out. Netscape had introduced a nice browser. Microsoft was playing catch up with Internet Explorer. Mozilla was still around. The Internet was a wild west.

      EBay and Amazon were just starting to get traction. There were a few tools for creating websites, and a few email services, but it was a rough time with people stumbling around in an attempt to reach out and publish information on the web. You needed a webmaster, well versed in HTML page markup or PERL scripts, to do anything worthwhile online.

      In the late 1990s, the Internet was not a fun place for the masses. It was difficult to get around, set up an email address, or share files. America Online had just begun carpet bombing the US with millions of free AOL CDROM disks delivered through the US Postal Service in an attempt to snag as many subscriptions as possible.

      The appeal was clear. Families in record numbers were buying their first desktop computer, loading up AOL, connecting their modem and beginning to share pictures, email, and news stories with each other. AOL started in the mid 1980s as a private network, but was quickly morphing into a gateway and a guide for the Internet by the mid 1990s. The famous “AOL Keyword” had become a universal locator for web content. Families in the millions jumped onto the internet through the safety of AOL. Soon AOL was flying high, valued large enough to buy the traditional media company, Time Warner. Just about then, the bubble burst and we all came back down to earth, ready for a new wave of innovators on the web.

      A few years after the crash, Tim O’Reilly coined the phrase Web 2.0, and a few college students started building The FaceBook to allow students an easier way to connect and share with each other. As AOL was descending and the Time Warner merger began to look like the biggest corporate failure of all time, the social web began to take shape. Twitter, YouTube, Digg,, Myspace, and Facebook began to gain ground with the early adopters. By 2009, Facebook was starting to gain real traction and in 2010, the new platform had a breakout year with Time Magazine granting “Person of the Year” honors to its founder Mark Zuckenberg.

      Facebook is nice. It’s teaching us all a new language of “Likes", comments, status updates, tagging, and general open sharing of our lives. While allowing us to share among close friends, it is also pushing the limits on privacy, and teaching us all to read the fine print as we all become more and more comfortable with expanding the circle of trusted friends that we share our lives with. Messaging on Facebook is so easy, many have abandoned email all together and just “Facebook” each other (that’s sending a note through Facebook). People often don’t know an email address, but find their friends by name and send them a message. Chatting is all the rage as well. Groups connect, share their lives, and expand their friendships online, blurring the lines between virtual and real.

      Many people and businesses are using Facebook now as their primary branding website, drawing on the large population online. But at the same time, early adopters and web savvy professionals continue to push the envelope using twitter, flickr, youtube, twitpic, tweetchat,,, foursquare and a host of other “wild west” style social media tools. The social web is fully functional and all functions that are now done in the safety of Facebook are also done in the openness of the social web without the restriction of a closed circle of “friends.”

      AOL put fences around the Internet in the late 1990s and allowed families and newbies a safe way to navigate, read news, follow “New Kids on the Block.” The public could share with each other online and join along out loud whenever a new message was delivered: “You’ve got mail!”

      Just like AOL back then, Facebook today puts fences around the social web allowing an easy way for families and newbies to share photos, status updates, “likes”, and news of Justin Bieber in the safety and security of a protected social web environment. The real social web continues to thrive and innovate. I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

      I wonder if, in a few years, Facebook will grow to enormous market value, purchase one of the Web 1.0 or traditional media companies and then go through a similar self-destruction as the openness of the full social web takes over. History does have a way of repeating itself. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or online (on Twitter).

      Saturday, March 12, 2011

      iPad 2: You Only Have One Chance to Make A First Impression

      My 7 year old son is sitting next to me. He just woke up and came downstairs to grab my iPad 2 from my hands. His first words..."Oh cool, you got iMovie"

      That's OK, he can play with it for now. I have been up for 2 hours and can take a break to write up my first impressions. I'm typing on my laptop because writing a blog post on the touch screen keyboard is just too slow for this seasoned touch typest. But that's OK. The iPad is not designed to replace a laptop. It's another animal all together. As Steve Jobs said it is part of the Post PC class of devices.

      I unboxed my new 32GB White wifi unit last night at 6pm. Here's how it went.
      • It came fully charged
      • I plugged it into to iTunes and was automatically asked if I wanted to restore from my iPad 1 (16GB wifi) backup.  The restore took about 15 minutes, but no apps came down.
      • I had to manually select all the apps and do another sync.  This time it took about 20 minutes.  I went to eat dinner and came back about 6:45.
      • All passwords needed to be re-entered (mail accounts, app store, etc.)
      • By 7, I was up and running.  Most frustrating was that my app icons were all over the place.  I needed to manually set them back where I wanted them.  There was no real rhyme or reason to the app location on my iPad 1, but over the last 11 months, I had built up about 6 pages of apps and just become accustomed to where they were.  I guess the discipline of cleaning this up was really necessary.  So no big deal.
      • I tried to call a few friends with FaceTime.  I got through to my iPad buddy Nate who was setting up his too (read his post).  In about 5 seconds I saw him with his 3 year old son and we had a nice chat.  We had nothing really to talk about so we hung up.  I called two more, but got no answer.  Later that evening my iPhone buddy RB called me back...that is really cool.  I like FaceTime.
      • The camera is nice, but remarkably coarse and low quality, especially in low light.  It works, but I expect this will be one of the upgrades when the iPad 3 comes out.  For now, coarse front camera is better than no camera...kind of like the early camera phones.  The back camera is better, but you need good light, not the ambient light at my house after dinner.
      • Yes, it is fast.  I'm not sure if it is 2x as fast or 9x the graphics, but if Steve says so, it must be true.
      • I really miss my standard Apple iPad case.  The store did not have any accessories, so I'm using the iPad "au natural" with no case.  I'm not sure I will go with the standard "smart cover".  (See the review here.)  I really like to cover the back, it prevents slips when I set it down and also makes it easier to hold.  There is a reason they put a textured cover on a book.  I would never read a metal slippery magazine.  I really don't get where Apple thinks we will all do that.  Back to the case, I put my iPad 2 in the standard Apple iPad 1 case and it looked like a skinny kid in his father's suit.  Even with the baggy fit, I may use that case until I can buy one with the same function that fits the slimmer offspring.
      • Speaking of kids, my 7 year old is all over this iPad.  He is making some incredible music with Garage Band and already working some videos with iMovie.  Both are incredibly powerful applications, perform well on the iPad 2 and bring pleasure immediately in their simplicity and ability to create a slick media product.  That's $9.98 I don't mind spending.
      • It's not about the device, but about the media and the content.  I reloaded Murdoch's "The Daily" and caught up on the news...There is plenty of it today with the horrible devastation in Japan.  All my content feeds work well....web browsing with safari (I didn't even notice any of the improvements), tweeting with twitterrific, gmail, and a new app called Zite.  It creates a custom magazine based on my tweet reading habits (kind of creepy, but it looks promising)
      Well, that's what comes to mind right away.  I'm an experienced iPad user who is eager to stay on top of the technology as it evolves.  It's a good experience that just got a little bit better.  In time, I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say, but this is one happy Early Adopter. 

      Now if I can only get it back from my son.