Developing on a platform for the platform

On TWiT this week, Dave Winer was talking about the ideal podcatcher. Key features being that it would be independent of other devices (acquire content itself rather than via another device), you should be able to create content on it as well as consume and the software should not be controlled by a single company. About half way through the podcast he illustrated how open systems can thrive by referring back to the Apple II, Mac and IBM PC as platforms on which you could create software for the platform and this was what created such success.

A closed device does not build a creative community that can help evolve the device – it becomes stale. This was a part of what I was describing in a previous post about moving to light devices and having the intelligence in the cloud. If the system is not open then you stand to lose the economy of scale that the current market provides. Users can’t innovate on the edge devices, and can’t afford to run the devices that provide the service in the cloud.

I hope we can always keep that open model for the benefit of everyone.

What did you Mean?

I just heard Lore Sjobergs podcast about the words of La Isla Bonita. I always wondered what Madonna meant by “Eyes like the desert”. I always thought they were dry and full of sand. Ah the wonders of poetry. He always makes me laugh.

Getting the words out

Oh the pain of writing, it’s just not like talking. I just started to write a post and got hung up with how I would say something. Then I found I completely lost track of what I was really trying to say. Well, there’s a sure signal I need to post more frequently so that I can just get on with it without thinking too much. So here’s a “stream of conciousness” post that would probably be more appropriate for a tweet. Since I haven’t been using it it’s going to go here. Maybe I’ll get back to the original post in a minute.

Taxman and the power of blogs

In 1966 the Beatles released the album “Revolver”. The first song “Taxman” told everybody what they thought of the UK Tax system. I was listening to it earlier and it made me think that kind of voice wasn’t available to many back then.

Today we have the power of the collected voice of the Internet and anybody can make a statement which can potentially ripple around the world in minutes. It can be picked up and echoed through any medium, allowing companies or governments to hear the public opinion.

No great revelation, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and appreciate the amazing capabilities an open Internet has.

Parliamentary transparency

I thought that Parliament would provide the model of transparency, but it seems they are reluctant to disclose even who is on the payroll. Given the push for gathering more data about individuals, the identity card scheme and other concerns that have potential impacts on our privacy, surely they should lead by example.

This attitude also highlights the issues with any compulsory gathering of personal information- there will always be those that want or need to be excluded. For example, undercover police would have to be able to create false identities to be able to operate. If the capability to create false data or remove real data exists in the system then this will also somehow be exploited by criminal elements. When you create a system that is considered trusted, people often fail to question the accuracy of that system, creating a potentially greater risk than previously existed as false data would be trusted and the criminal therefore has a better cover.

The availability of a comprehensive data source on individuals is undoubtedly beneficial to law enforcement, however the feeling of privacy for the individual is equally important. I can see the need for privacy in Parliamentary and any organisational activity. If everything were truly transparent, every meeting minuted etc, there is a risk that people will not speak out in meetings for fear of the permanent record they create.

More thought is needed on this subject, but whatever the case we need a consistent example from the groups who are asking us to give up elements of our privacy.

Watching Cloud computing evolve

A Financial Times article looks at cloud computing (found via lunchoverip) and some of the issues that need to be resolved to move forward. It’s back to the idea of a mainframe, but it had to be broken down to allow it to centralise in a new way. I can’t imagine that we would have progressed to where we are now had we maintained the mainframe attitudes, particularly that they could only be run by those with such deep pockets.

The article also notes some evolutionary stages on the way to cloud computing, such as thin clients and grids, and which still form part of the concept of cloud computing. I still think we have a long way to go with many opportunities along the way. This Jeff Bezos talk on TED should be an inspiration if you think you’ve missed the bandwagon.

Blogs: a simple explanation

I saw this video today (via Tom Raftery via Scobles Shared items) and I really like the style. Clean and simple animation with a straighforward explanation. I’ll be browsing the Commoncraft site to see more of their work.

You can find the original at with some interesting comments