Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 23 Mar 12 09:17
Relevant to the conversation about privacy, potential employers are starting to ask for access to an applicant's Facebook account: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-employers-seek-your-access -to-facebook-20120320,0,1581508.story
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Fri 23 Mar 12 09:50
> <jet>, I don't think they care who you are. I don't think "they" is universal. You're right -- XYZ App might not care who you are nor log any personal data and effectively obey its policy. However, If they sell your anonymous data to an aggregator, or sell ads via a third party using your behavior, that latter firm might be able to figure out that you're probably Bob Jones at SXSW and attempt to sell to you or sell your data. The more data the better with some marketing, including getting your name, address, and phone number so they can contact you directly with offers. I own a pretty common brand of truck and I get a lot of junk physical mail about it and none about the more popular brand I don't own. That's not magic, that's someone out there with my name, address, the type of truck I have and how old it is.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 24 Mar 12 03:18
Open vs Closed is closely associated with the privacy and marketing of personal data issues. This, from GigaOM: <If you step back far enough, beyond the ever-present Facebook vs. Google or apps vs. browser debates, what you see is a tug-of-war that has been going on ever since the internet first started to hit the mainstream: the battle of open vs. closed, between the web giants and platforms that want to control almost every aspect of your online life and the traditionally open nature of the internet. The Pew Research Centers latest report is a glimpse into one aspect of that, with some of those surveyed saying apps are the future and others saying they are evil, and Mat Honans essay at Gizmodo about the case against Google is another aspect of the same debate the idea that Google, once synonymous with the open internet, is now just another web giant trying to control your online life. Where does the future lie?> (http://gigaom.com/2012/03/23/open-vs-closed-what-kind-of-internet-do-we-want/) Jon, where does the future lie?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 24 Mar 12 12:25
The box I'd check says "all of the above." We'll have apps on devices where they make sense, and we'll still have browsers where they make sense. We'll continue to have arguments for closed systems and arguments for open systems, or for strong copyright laws and for less restrictive arrangements, e.g. Creative Commons. The "stacks" or vertically integrated media empires will continue to evolve - some may go away and others may emerge. Google is an interesting case; it's been more horizontal than the others, and more open. The company's been becoming more focused but it remains to be seen whether it will become some sort of dark empire - I doubt it. As Bruce Sterling said in his SXSW talk, these media empires are fragile, there will always be further innovation and disruption. To me the key question is whether we can keep the Internet open, or build an open alternative if it comes to that. I think it's going to be an ongoing struggle. I'm not predicting any winners - just more struggle, more contention, for the foreseeable future.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 24 Mar 12 15:09
I agree. It looks like a bumpy ride for the next 30 years across all spectrums as we adapt and implement new media. Another so-called driver is the move to mobile and the cloud, resulting in what some are calling the "appification" of the Web. See the predictive survey from Elon University School of Communications. (http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/expertsurveys/2012survey/future_apps_vs_ web_2020.xhtml) <...cloud computing and appification will keep the Web highly viable, but some warn that by 2020 the Web, while more attractive and convenient, will be more closed and excessively monetized, with negative results.> There is a tension between platforms (desktops/laptops and mobile) and the way design is moving us. Just look at Windows 8's beta, designed around mobile and touch screens. This all has implications for data storage, content creation, monetization, etc. More of the same??? All of the above?
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 24 Mar 12 15:16
Here's a link to Bruce Sterling's talk at SXSW which I caught off of Jon's Facebook, and we have alluded to several times during the conversation: http://audio.sxsw.com/2012/podcasts/13-ACC-The_Ultimate_Bruce_Sterling_Talk.mp 3
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 24 Mar 12 16:14
It's important to remember that the web is not the Internet. Apps won't necessarily leverage http and html. I don't think there's a tension between platforms. People have computers and they have smart devices (i.e. smartphones), and they use them differently, often to do the same kinds of things. I think it's a mistake to imagine that people will stop using their computers in favor of smaller devices - they complement each other. When I'm using my computer, much of what I do is browser-based and web-based. When I'm using my iPhone, I'm using apps. I don't want to stop using either - I just use them differently. Another point: tablets like the iPad are consumer devices, not computers. There will be a base of users whose needs can be satisfied with tablets and smart phones, who won't even need a computer - but there will always be those of us who use computers, generally in addition to and not instead of the consumer devices. Another data point: There are people, often very young, who are carrying smartphones but use them almost exclusively for text messaging. People who play the either/or game are seeing clearly what's happening.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 24 Mar 12 17:20
Yup, 'both/and' seems to be the best strategy. Thanks for clarifying platforms and apps. One last shading on the privacy issue via MIT's Technology Review: <So should we conclude the Internet generation is happy to trade its privacy for free or cheaper Web services? Not according to Nicola Jentzsch of the German Institute of Research in Berlin, and colleagues, who last week published research showing that most people prefer to protect their personal data when given a choice and that a significant proportion are willing to pay extra to do so.> (http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39938/?nlid=nldly&nld=2012-03-23 ) As the dust settles on this issue, it may push folks to consider paying for what they get.
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 24 Mar 12 18:33
I don't think that article said where the subjects were. Europeans are more hard-wired to protect their privacy, and given that the researcher was in Berlin, shemight have had a disproportionate number of Germans, who are famously paranoid about privacy: privacy laws *still*, as I understand it, prevent you from getting an itemized phone bill showing what you're being charged for. Only the police have access to that information, and only under certain circumstances.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 24 Mar 12 23:57
Thanks Ed. That's weird about the phone bill. Yes, it was primarily done with a European population and what caught their attention was the number of young people willing to pay. They weren't expecting that. You may be right, that it is cultural. Over here, it seems like they want everything for "free" - meaning no charge for the walled garden in exchange for marketing your data. Where else do people think all the money is coming from to have all these fancy apps and gizmos? I've had to use quite a lot of extensions and tools to keep my browsers locked down and have Facebook tightened up to a level I'm content with in exchange for the service. Not sure I'd call it a 'devil's bargain', but we all have to decide what amount of data and privacy we are willing to exchange for the service provided. When it comes to cell phones though, there's not a whole lot of give and take (other than turning off location). It's one of the reasons I sold my smart phone back to the provider. It's all a bit too invasive and pervasive for me right now.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Mar 12 00:12
Continuing with my fuddy-duddy thinking. Alongside the both/and theme of tech integration I'd like to bring up "old and new". Things seem skewed to the new - the next app, the next release, the next, the next... - the old, much of which works perfectly fine, seems to be getting short changed. Normal in any tech and media shift. As a grandfather, there's only so much Sponge Bob Square Pants and I Carly I can take. So I've been making a point to introduce the kids to the Muppets and Rocky and Bullwinkle. Delighted to say that they love them. There's an edge there you can't find on PBS and Nickleodeon. I'm always on the look out to involve the kids in some old school as well as let them teach me what's new. They are showing me how to use the iPad2 for interactive stories and games. And I am taking them on adventures in the physical world - museums, parks, libraries, etc., swimming and teaching the oldest to play tennis. I want them to experience digital and analog. We are learning together. But I don't see a whole lot of that going on at large. How about you guys? Similar, different?
Ed Ward (captward) Sun 25 Mar 12 08:48
If I had kids and they didn't realize that moose and squirrel rule, I'd sell them to the soap factory. But what you're describing is something I've been itching to write a book about. I call it Neophilia: the natural assumption that the new thing is the best. The classic example is Microsoft Word 5 for me: did more than I needed, but easy to use. Why couldn't they have frozen it as Microsoft Word Classic as a standalone? Then they could rename the subsequent versions as bits of Office (2/3 of which I don't use) and leave the rest of us thinking nice thoughts about Microsoft. Of course, I've used Apple products since 1994, so don't even get me started about them...
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 25 Mar 12 09:18
> Things seem skewed to the new - the next app, the next release, the next, the next... - the old, much of which works perfectly fine, seems to be getting short changed. At the genesis of digital culture, a bunch of us self-referred as "neophiliacs" - and that's the same thinking you have with people who're into fashion and style and staying on top of (or in front of) trends. When you're young, everything is new, but as you grow older, you become less focused on the new and more focused on what you're used to, what you're comfortable with. You reach a point where you realize there's really nothing all that new. I think that's only part of the puzzle with apps, though. The fact that so many new apps are appearing is attributable more to production energy than potential consumption - i.e. there may be dozens or even hundreds of Facebook imitations appearing, because budding young entrepreneurs often begin by trying to build new versions of already-successful platforms. This can work: Facebook was just another in a series of social networking platforms, several of which had at least some success (if adoption=success, not sure they were profitable)... Ryze, Friendster, Orkut, Myspace. Facebook nailed the right combination of interface, features, and timing to get mainstream adoption, so it "won." Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are all successful product companies, but Google and Facebook have a different model, and they've succeeded because they're clear that their users are not their customers. Sterling said that the users are the products - the word he used was "livestock." Actually, the product is the users' attention, and in this case they're very much like mass media platforms - print periodicals, television and radio all attributed their profitability to the selling of attention. To be viable in this market, you have to have signficant attention to sell. In the mass media world, the means of production and distribution were significant, so you inherently had just a few channels on which most people were focused. Now the means of production are inexpensive and abundant, and you have many players, but only a few get sufficient volumes of attention to be profitable in a big way. Others (e.g. The New York Times) have to charge users directly to make a profit, because they don't have enough adoption and the right model to be profitable through ad sales alone. You also have nonprofits like Wikipedia depending on fundraising efforts. This is the world we're in today and the context for SXSW, which has succeeded because it's done a good job of staying forward enough without being too far ahead of the curve. SXSW shows you the present and near-future of media, and right now it's divided in the same way that the Internet context is divided. So much more of it than before is about marketing and celebrity, but you still have programming about democratization and about smaller, more intimate or personal uses of Internet. (Ed slipped in with a mention of "neophilia" while I was composing this response...)
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Mar 12 10:08
That last assessment should be in the NYT Jon. Really excellent all the way around. Thanks Ed, I've raised all my children, and now grandchildren, on the Rocky and Bullwinkle paradox...especially Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman, and Fractured Fairy Tales. This new stuff on Nickleodeon is just too much pablum for future livestock, as Bruce would say. BTW, saw Hunger Games this morning - won't say how - it was surprisingly entertaining and beats the heck out of Vampires. Hopefully dystopian;)
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Mar 12 10:09
Ed, follow that itch!
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Mar 12 10:14
Jon, don't get me wrong, I'm an early adopter; like to see what's out there and what the implications might be in a cultural way. I don't use all that much, but I poke around with almost all of it. It's more a question of balance. It's the problem I have with the iPad3 hysteria. Why, what does it really offer that's any improvement over what's already available? Jeez, you can't use Skype on it, you can't even use LTE for downloading or streaming movies. And it might cook your cookies. It's just the next new thing, which is great for Apple's stockpile of money and people who want to take advantage of the discount now available for iPad2. It's a market driver, that's all. More folks in the Apple silo.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 25 Mar 12 13:41
It's a generated hysteria, effective marketing. You feel it if you're reading the trade sites, and of course there are people who get excited about such things. Remember our earlier discussion about CES (http://www.cesweb.org/) - we've got an whole new realm of evolving convergent products like the iPad... lots of money going there. It's hype. Most people are quite about less than hysterical - but they're still buying iPads and iPhones... and various Android flavors, etc. These information appliances are great for mainstreaming the digital revolution and bringing digital convergence to the masses, including those who don't know a USB port from a hole in the ground, and would never know how to recover from a blue screen crash.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Mar 12 17:13
Which brings us to digital literacies, or "how do you actually use this stuff and make the best sense of what's out there in cyberspace"?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 26 Mar 12 05:14
This comes up more and more often. Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist from Canada who was interested in facial recognition software, especially the privacy implications. The conversation went to the question of digital literacy required to understand risks implicit in various sorts of online activity. I noted that I'm very public and open online, that I use the least restrictive settings on systems like Facebook and Google+, and that I can do this with minimal concern because I have an inherent understanding of the context. I know not to share anything on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook that I'm not comfortable sharing with the world. There's also the concern whether your time online is wasted or useed productively. This is partly resolved with the same focus and discipline you might bring to other activities, and partly through what we call digital literacy, an understanding of the tools, their best uses, how they can support productivity, and what uses are counterproductive.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 26 Mar 12 10:44
Potpouri -- The Future of Mobile - Slide Deck by Business Insider, good comparisons of platforms and usage. (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-mobile-deck-2012-3?nr_email_refer er=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SAI+Select&utm_campaign= SAI+Select+Mondays+2012-03-26) Livestock or vegetable cash crop? Further points on users as data on the stacks, via @bruces (http://broadstuff.com/archives/2603-You-The-Next-Cash-Crop.html)
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 27 Mar 12 05:07
That last link references VRM (vendor relationship management) at at the end of the post: "This has been the aim of VRM for some time, to give people the tools to participate more or less equally in the market, and, as the whole issue of privacy becomes more understood (and fought for) one can only hope that we do not become cash crops. But it still has to be worked at, powerful interests want to reap what you sow." Doc Searls has a book that's relevant, _The Intention Economy_: http://www.amazon.com/The-Intention-Economy-Customers-Charge/dp/1422158527/ He'll be here (at Inkwell) at some point to discuss it.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 28 Mar 12 03:43
<scribbled by tcn Wed 28 Mar 12 03:45>
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 28 Mar 12 03:44
Apologize for the lengthiness of the above post. I pushed my own button:)
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 28 Mar 12 03:47
<122> scribbled - bad link Thanks for that link Jon. That should be a great conversation. Nice to see that the user is pushing back and companies are actually paying attention. Advertising is probably the biggest driver out there right now. We are in the marketing age of "push and pull" and the equation works best when both sides are understood and respected. It is not inevitable that the big 5 become the Evil Empire. I'm thinking let's go out with a big bang and touch on the underbelly of the whole shebang. Code. The deus ex machina that results in all the things we see and play with in our everyday digital experience. Some essential pieces are out there for a glimpse and grasp of 'the Borg': From Neal Stephenson's In The Beginning was the Command Line (http://www.ridemybike.org/command1.pdf) to George Dyson's new book, Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (http://www.amazon.com/Turings-Cathedral-Origins-Digital-Universe/dp/0375422773 ) to Anything by Jaron Lanier to rattle your brain. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaron_Lanier) The Edge (http://www.edge.org) has had several conversations with George Dyson over the years, most recently this current one about self-replicating code and Dyson's metaphor of the WEB as a biological entity, beginning in the earliest days of computing at Princeton. He views the WEB as a physical reality, thought crazy at the time he first mentioned it and now being taken quite seriously. He estimates that over 5 trillion bits of code are being created each second. Chew on that NSA. (http://edge.org/conversation/a-universe-of-self-replicating-code) It's a bit like turning on the light switch without any understanding of electricity. This is the OZ; what's behind the curtain of the wonderful world of digital. Doug Rushkoff, in his Program or be Programmed, thinks we must at least have a 1st grade education about all this. So, I throw in all these links and hope something or someone bites.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 28 Mar 12 04:49
Jon, in response to VRM, Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) and Brian Solis held a panel at SXSW...Billy is interviewed by Alex Jones on Infowars.com (You Tube) and really gets rolling around the 13:22 mark... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9TVc8Tob98&feature=youtu.be
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