My Digital Life Show

Does The Web Have a Future?

I have been following the discussions on the web about the future of the web as we see more closed and walled gardens grow again. The pending Facebook IPO has shined the spotlight of attention to this topic that Robert Scoble was concerned about 4 years ago, when he feels that something could have been done to slow the decline of the Web and RSS.  Robert feels that it could be too late to save the web and he has moved on.  He might well be right, but I am not one-sided on this topic as I think a shade of grey here is more appropriate.

I feel compelled to partially agree with these guys thoughts: Dave Winer, Robert Scoble and John Battelle (give these web-based blog posts a read).  I respect all those guys as they have shown thought leadership around the growth and development of the web for many years.

In some ways I feel like this is a little bit of a rehashing of the past as I mentioned in my prior post it feels like 1994 all over again when it comes to the worries around the threats to the growth of the open web.  Many worried back then that AOL would stifle the growth of the open web.  While I do think things are very different now, most of the important aspects of this debate are just as valid.  The web is everywhere and all these companies like Facebook, Google, Bing, LinkedIn and many others are still accessed largely via a “WEB” browser.  I say this knowing that more and more users are accessing these social and search services via apps, but yet the web is still huge and really not dying in any really significant ways yet.

I think it is rather ironic that as part of me thinking about commenting on this topic that I considered posting it to Google+, Facebook and Twitter first.  I realized that this topic belonged on my blog first and then use these networks to help reach readers of these thoughts.  I also realized that I may be in a growing minority of this world to have three active blogs.  I did feel the social gravitational pull to post this post on the big social networking sites first as it is easier to do, take less time and the expectation of the writing is generally shorter in length.  While blogging does not always have to be longer and in more depth, yet I always feel more compelled to write more of my thoughts on a blog.  I see longer posts on regular web-based blogs that are completely open from Robert, Dave and John.  I agree with Robert that more online users should be completely open on these big social networks.  I am and have always been as I have nothing to hide and have lived my online life for years as an open book for the world to see if they are interested to look.

I do worry that the long-term health of the web is under threat and attack, but why is that?  I pose this question, because the answers need to be heard and the answers are directly responsible for the existance of Facebook, Google+, Apple, Xbox and many other controlled online platforms and services.  The main reasons are the lack of web security, online safety, difficulty in finding/locating, ease of use and viable business models.  The combination of the web and internet creates the opportunity to innovate as well as be destructive.  Most early online users had many bad experiences with the web, from viruses, worms, phishing threats to identity theft.  To add to it the early operating systems we all used had lots of bugs and the web was SLOW in early browsers.

Many started to see the web as a very scary place and just did not trust it.  I believe that these large online social networks solve most of the problems. We are also seeing much simpler and safer operating systems with faster internet connections. These developments are the reason that we could see the web grow again.

I also think that the current Apps craze is just an extension of these closed networks that could fade over time as aggregation and filtering of information becomes more important.  Generally specialized Apps have always been important to computing and will continue to be, but apps today are all about control and making money for the developers.  Does bouncing in and out of limited function apps the type of user experience we all what in the long-run? I don’t think so, I think we will demand more integration and this might be where Facebook might fill the future need. Sorry to say.

I think we in the tech industry need to think about how we make the web better and safer for billions of coming users as these closed social networks will not be able to provide everything the human-kind needs as business models don’t fulfill all our information, communication and sharing needs.  I say that it would be good for all of us to each have a place on the web that is on the outside of these large social networks to contribute our thoughts as a foundation for more thoughtful discussion.  I think 140 characters is just not enough for the world to be a healthy and democratic place.

My Digital Life Show

Apps vs. Web of Today = AOL vs. Web in the ’90s

This Apps vs. Web smackdown is only beginning.  Apps and Facebook, like AOL’s Walled Garden of the 90’s threatens many parts of the Web and Internet we know of today.  This issue at its root is about “Short-Cuts or Bookmarks” for users and greater control for content providers/user aggregator companies.

The web is very viral and open from being linkable. This viral part has been what fueled the webs rapid growth.  Most web users only visit 5-12 destinations on the web on a daily basis and major media video is consumed from a limited set of networks.  Content providers have not been able to effectively monetize content on the web, yet it is common for people to buy software applications and freeware has a history of trial to then pay.  Bingo… Content providers have a business model finally.  This App movement is based on these core aspects, yet content inside of apps is generally not linkable to other apps… with the exception of Facebook and Twitter.

The interesting thing about Facebook is that it is a web-based app and it is being externally linked to all the time from apps and websites, along with Twitter.

The part that worries me is that the combination of content/services apps with web-based apps could be what ultimately replaces the web – years in the future.  We need to decide if we want this erosion of the web to happen and if we don’t then we need to all get back to using the web more and creating our own websites again.

I believe that the web will continue to be strong in the face of this new walled-garden threat to its easily networked and open nature.

I agree with Dave Winer, who explains here “Why Apps Are Not The Future

Podcaster Tips

Hosting “Podcasting Next” Panel at BlogWorld LA

BlogWorld LA next month (Nov 3-5, 2011) is going to have a Podcasting Track under the PodCamp name.  Here is a link to the session. I am hosting one of the sessions called “Podcasting Next: Fly or Die?”.  I do think some very serious issues face “Podcasting” and its future. My session will also have Todd Cochrane, CEO of RawVoice and Rob Walsh, VP of Podcaster Relations at Wizzard Media/Libsyn on the stage.

Here is an outline of the session “Podcasting Next: Fly or Die?” on Friday, Nov 4th, 2011 in Room 406 A

This session will be a frank and open discussion about what needs to happen to podcasting for it to stay relevant in a social media connected, live streaming, monetization driven and cloud on-demand media platform world. Whether or not the large aggregator platforms will keep improving and innovating around “Free” podcasting? How important are aggregator platforms in a massively online syndicated and App focused landscape? Is RSS-based podcasting on track to being replaced by YouTube and Apps? Is it time to revisit the name “Podcast” for another alternative as we move more towards on-demand streaming to all screens?

Key Points

1. Clear understanding of the next steps for podcasting and its name
2. Answer the question about podcasting’s relevancy in an always connected streaming media world
3. Whether the distribution model of podcasting is being replaced

Electric Cars

New Nissan Leaf Added To Family

I am very excited about a new family member added to our household yesterday.  We just brought home a new baby Leaf yesterday and we also got a Graco FastActionFoldClickConnect stroller for our baby girl, she also needed transportation.  We right way took it out for an amazing 80 drive that really pushed the charge capacity.  We drove in downtown Seattle and then all the way up to Mukilteo, Washington that is near Everett.  This car is so smooth and quiet.  It is also very hi-tech with a navigation system called “Car Wings” that is amazing.  This system helps you track the locations of charging stations and also gives you access to data on your driving distance and calculations on electricity usage efficiency.

The car recharges every night in our garage via a 240 volt charging unit made by Blink. When you have no garage door installed yet, you should consider working with Garage Door Repair Northern Suburbs for professional installation service. This unit manages the car charging process along with the cars onboard system.  Driving this car is like driving a laptop computer as it is totally silent and smooth. We have had great fun with it the first day and did experience the thrill of a little “Range Anxiety“, you just need to plan and think about where you are going ahead of time and that is not much of an issue.  Overall, I would highly recommend this car as long as you have a second vehicle for longer then 45 mile one-way trips that you need to return from without stopping to recharge at a charging station, while on the trip.  If you want to learn more about this car then visit the Official Nissan Leaf website.