Monday, November 28. 2011
I got a "Dear Wavers" email from Google last week. It's a "Dear John" letter following up on their announcement from last year that they Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product.
Google also suggests some open source projects to try. Apache Wave is one of those. Another project called Walkaround includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google (but grab them before April 30).
Saturday, August 7. 2010
I don't think I am a laggard. Not in the usual sense of being one who is behind the rest of the group. When it comes to technology, I actually consider myself ahead of the group. In fact, it's been part of my job for many years to keep ahead on technology particularly as it is used in education.
But, I was reading a piece by a writer I like, Clive Thompson, and as usual, it got me reconsidering. He wrote in the June issue of WIRED about tech laggards and I fit the bill.
When it comes to new applications, new ways of using technology, websites, services and software, I am at the front of the line. But when it comes to the big purchases - hardware - I am in less of a rush to be that early adopter. You might guess it's a matter of money, and that might be true with personal technology. But I am hesitant to buy even when the money isn't mine personally but institutional funds.
The iPad is a good example. I had the chance to get one "free" in exchanges for "services rendered" rather than a lesser payment. I wasn't sure I needed or wanted one. Eventually, I did take it. I'm still not sure I need or want it.
One of the things Thompson questions is the standard wisdom that new tech hardware success depends on grabbing the "early adopters." Those are the people who stand on line overnight at the Apple store to but the next big thing sight unseen. They are about 13% of the market but they get a lot of attention from companies. Why? You want them on board and talking (positively) and blogging to friends (in the Net sense) and getting that all important word of mouth going.
We laggards, on the other end, are about 16% of the population. We might wait years to adopt new technology. I still haven't bought a smartphone.
Thompson references some marketing research that shows that laggards might be a very important high tech demographic. The example he uses is a laggard who bought the Walkman and loved it, but doesn't upgrade when the Discman that uses CDs or a mini-disc. But 15 years after his Walkman purchase, Mr. Laggard replaces his tired cassette technology for the hot, new mp3 player (iPod or otherwise). This is called the "leapfrog effect." He becomes an early adopter of the mp3 player.
Even outside hardware, I think of all the people and businesses who kept Windows XP and did not upgrade to Vista. I bet a lot of them leapfrogged early on to Windows 7.
I agree with Thompson that marketers should actually target laggards and try to figure out what features or new product will make them take a leap.
I never bought an iPhone or iPod Touch, yet I went with an iPad that has many of the same features. Screen size was one big factor. I suspect some other iPad purchasers might be people (I have read that this is true with older consumers) who never bought a laptop or even a home computer. Their fear of updates, viruses, device drivers and other techno-babble was allayed by a simple appliance that allowed them to surf the Net, get social and read email easily.
Are you an early adopter or laggard?
Saturday, April 3. 2010
The Apple iPad seems to be an excellent device for consuming the web. It does not appear to be a good device for creating content.
Welcome back Web 1.0.
Thursday, February 18. 2010
Google has made a $2,000,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs and maintains Wikipedia. That's not why Wikipedia is here to stay. They have been asking for donations for awhile now. That's instead of taking on ads - which would definitely bring them some serious income - even if they just ran Google ads.
What is significant is that Google tried to create its own version of Wikipedia called Knol which launched back in the summer of 2008. Knol has not had any real impact on Wikipedia or on users.
When I first wrote about Knol, I said one of the complaints teachers have with Wikipedia is that you don't know who wrote the article (probably many people) or what their "authority" is in the subject. Some are written by experts, but many are written or revised by simply interested folks and then possibly reviewed and edited by someone with some expertise. Knol tells you who wrote the article and their qualifications right on top.
A year later, I did another post on Knol (BTW, a "knol" is their "unit of knowledge" term). Although it differed from Wikipedia by saying who wrote the article and their qualifications, and Google had started with an invited group of writers who know a particular subject, the project never caught on.
I think the donation is a kind of concession that Knol failed.
Even teachers who had problems with students using Wikipedia because of the unkown authorship and "authority" of the content, did not send their students to Knol. I don't think I ever heard a teacher mention it , and I suspect that if you surveyed teachers the vast majority would not be able to identify Knol at all.
Thursday, January 28. 2010
When do people worry about backing up their data? When it's lost, of course. The same thing is true - perhaps to a greater degree - when it comes to trying to just move their data that is stored within a software product or application.
If you teach using any course management system (Blackboard, Moodle et al), your institution and you should both be backing up the course data. Problem number two comes when you try to move it - try taking your old WebCT course over to Moodle etc.
But what about your private email or your blog or your photo site?
There are some commercial services that can backup your online and "cloud" data. One such service (which I currently use) is backupify.com which is offering a free account until January 31. And there are online services to back up the data you have on your own machine (as opposed to putting it on another hard drive, flashdrive or CDs) such as carbonite.com.
But what happens when you want to just MOVE your data to another service? Let's say you have been using Hotmail for 3 years and want to move to Gmail. Can you easily move your folders and contacts over? Nope. How about moving your blog from one free service to another blog host? Liberating your data can be very difficult or just impossible in some cases.
So, it's good to see an effort like the Data Liberation Front. It is an engineering team at Google whose goal is to make it possible/easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products.
Doesn't it seem logical that you should be able to export any data that you create in (or import into) a product? That's what this team is working on so that Google users can control the data they store in any of Google's products.
For example, it has provided a way to get all your Gmail out to take to a different provider, if that's what you want to do. (This is not a backup service. This is moving data.)
Cloud computing is great and many people and institutions are moving towards the cloud. But one of the drawbacks and benefits of any hosted service is that your data is stored within their service.
Using the Blogger import and export facilities is pretty easy. And if you have been putting your home videos into YouTube and want to move them out, that can be done too.
Want a Data Liberation Farms sticker from Google?
Details on their blog.
Monday, December 21. 2009
This will either give you a technology thrill, or scare you.
Google Goggles is a visual search app for Android phones. Instead of using words, take a picture of an object with your camera phone: we attempt to recognize the object, and return relevant search results. Goggles also provides information about businesses near you by displaying their names directly in the camera preview.
Friday, December 4. 2009
What is Chrome OS and do you really need to know the answer?
Sample screen with Google Chrome OS running with the Google Chrome browser while on the Google home page. (Yes, it's a Google image. via wikipedia.org
Of course, a lot can change in the next year...
Lots of details will still need to be revealed - Chrome will support "mass storage devices" but no word on printers. They said they would explore an "innovative approach." Is that free printing, or an account your local Kinko's? (Do I need to get in my car to get what I printed? Doubtful.)
One feature that concerns me (and many others) want to know about is how you access your content when you are offline - by choice or because there's no access (like on an airplane, in the car, on a part of the campus without wireless). Chrome is made to work with Wi-Fi - as long as you have some available.
Google Gears already exists which makes websites available offline. I have it running so that I have an offline version of my Gmail inbox. I can read and reply to mail and hold it until I'm back online again. I would guess that something like that would be bundled into Chrome.
Chrome OS reminds me (with my better-than-average but still limited tech knowledge) of Google Wave. That is, I'm just not sure what it will become and what I will do with it.
Does it appeal to you to have a free OS with all the updates being made by some IT pros at a distance for you? Sounds good to me.
Did you already buy a netbook? Sorry, it sounds like to me that you'll need a Chrome OS netbook. Is Chrome OS the future of computing? That is very unclear, but it's something to follow in 2010.
I'm sure wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome_OS will continue to be updated and provide more relevant links.
Friday, November 20. 2009
"Google stole the tech and media spotlight today as it revealed a mountain of new details about Chrome OS, the company’s new operating system due in late 2010. It is a completely different type of OS (we provide a summary of how) that eliminates the desktop and focuses on getting you on the web quickly and efficiently.
Now that we’ve had some time to digest Chrome OS and get information on some of the details, it’s time to ask the big questions in order to understand if or how Chrome OS could change the world. What is Google’s eventual goal with Chrome OS? How will it affect Microsoft? And finally, what impact will Chrome OS have on the world?"
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