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The Proud Legacy of the New Web

My weekly column for the Loose Wire Servce. A few things I had to do this week brought me to the same conclusion: Companies that don’t get simplicity are struggling. First off, I have been writing a paper on social media. What we used to call Web 2.0, basically. Now that everything we do is Web 2.0 it’s kind of silly to call it that. And nerdy. But next time you use Facebook, or Twitter, or any web service that uses a clean, simple interface—nothing ugly, no bullying error messages—then you can thank Web 2.0. Every time you are pleasantly surprised when the service youContinue readingThe Proud Legacy of the New Web

Tsunamis, Warnings and the SMS

Systems — especially warning systems — need to work perfectly, or not at all. Take Thailand’s new tsunami early warning system, which recently failed a trial because busy phone networks took hours to deliver vital SMS messages, while some some warnings sent by fax didn’t turn up at all, according to AFP. (More on the drill from DPA here.) The report quotes Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Centre as saying that text messages sent by cell phones to emergency coordinators around the country took hours to arrive, while warnings sent by fax during the morning drill also failed to arrive. Said Pakdivat Vajirapanlop, the centre’s deputyContinue readingTsunamis, Warnings and the SMS

Staying Productive in Your Underwear

I’m researching a piece on how to cut back the amount of stuff you have to read, particularly RSS feeds. So I have spent the morning reading blogs related to the tools I’m writing about. In the process, of course, I find more than 20 new blogs that are interesting enough for me to add to the feed reader that I’m supposed to be in the process of thinning out. It’s the online equivalent of packing up all your stuff in newspaper ready to move and then sitting down and spending the whole day reading fascinating news items on scraps of year-old newspaper. Anyway, IContinue readingStaying Productive in Your Underwear

Smart Phones Have To Be Dumb

I’ve been giving a Treo 600 a run for its money in the past couple of months and I’m impressed. Yes, I know that there’s a new one out and I’m way behind the curve, but my theory is that these products need to be not just good, but super reliable if they are going to fulfill their main purpose: Be a phone. The thing is this. It’s great being able to do all this stuff on a gadget not much bigger than a cellphone, from checking email, to downloading RSS feeds, to taking photos, to playing Boggle, to instant messaging, to having SMS dialogsContinue readingSmart Phones Have To Be Dumb

iPod, National Security Threat

Companies, governments, institutions: beware of the dude carrying an iPod. Bernhard Warner, Reuters’ excellent European Internet Correspondent, points out that the high-capacity iPod is getting banned from a lot of places as high-tech security risk. The UK’s Ministry of Defence “has become the latest organisation to add the iPod to its list of high-tech security risks” and “no longer allow into most sections of its headquarters in the UK and abroad”. This policy kicked in when the MoD “switched to the USB-friendly Microsoft XP operating system over the past year”. And it’s not just the chaps from the MoD: Bernhard also quotes a survey ofContinue readingiPod, National Security Threat

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