Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What 2005 Brought

Well they say that you are not supposed to tell people that you are going to take a break, but I am (ha!). This will likely be my last post of the year - closing out my second year on the blogging scene (though granted the first year on Spymac was pretty poor compared to what I've done on Blogger). The second is to keep to one topic... well that one is kinda broken, because in my head, all these are fitting together in some manner and being in many ways representative of the year that has been. First, this is an older article, but it was brought up at a meeting this week as to what the limits of Gmail are. Poonam Khanna writes in Computer Canada/IT Business.ca that Gmail is great, but late to the party. Well granted it isn't the first email service to be free, and it's not the first to be 1GB either (Spymac did that first), but what it does that most of the others (Yahoo, Hotmail) don't is that it gives it's entire feature set to all users. There are certain Yahoo users that are able to see the "latest greatest" interface, and others that are stuck on the old interface. Yahoo does kindly blast all manner of busy graphic ads to everyone it seems (more on that later). So while Khanna complains that a Gmail account would be another account that he would fell bad about ignoring, he could set the forwarding to another account - or have others forward into Gmail and read everything in one place. And one of the nice things that Gmail does is it allows you to have Gmail act as other accounts, so you can use a single streamlined interface to send replies from any of your accounts - great for getting people to migrate addresses as many people still haven't figured out address books - they often just reply to the last message that was sent from the person that they are replying to. It seems that all Google needs to do now is create some manner of online calendar and they have one pretty slick PIM on their hands. So out of all that - it seems that 2005 was the year that email limits were blown away. 2.5MB is laughably low, people are keeping all their emails, and this is a way avoiding the massive headache that turned many people off of email in the past. I thought that 2005 would have been the year that saw free email died, but I guess I was wrong. What 2005 did see was the rise of ads. And it seems that even venerable Google is falling to the siren song of the dollar bill and has gotten a little evil and bent over to AOL and started to experiment with graphic ads. But it seems that 2005 was not all about money, it also saw a boom, a massive freaking explosion of Web2.0 technologies that brought content creation to the masses. Blogging, made "important" during the 2004 US Presidential elections got big, wikis rose to fame in their own way, tagging of everything and anything introduced people to metadata without them even realizing it and 'casting brought learning objects into the hands of the ordinary person and out of the ivory tower. I think the recent Maclean's article by Brian Johnson talking about the emancipation of content that the new generation of web technologies have brought with them. This is similar to one of my older posts about blogging and the rise of the pro-am (linked yet again). So while business strips it's gears to advertise to us, we are out there creating our own content and in a manner, controlling what we want by more than with just dollars. It seems that there are two parallel economies that are starting to bloom through the Internet. One of pre-packaged elements from Corporatica and the self made one from your own hand. The article also talks about the "next thing" - miniaturized gadgets like the cell phone. I've talked about the "ubergadget" quite a bit, so this is nothing new. But the darn thing is getting pretty small. Not iPod Invisa small mind you, but small enough that I saw an ad recently for a "thick" phone. That is right, they have gotten so small, people want them chunky again, like shoes. It seems that the people - yes the "people" have spoken in a voice loud enough to change another thing about cell phones as well. It looks like South Korean manufacturers are going to work on increasing standardization of cell phone accessories. This shows that the phones and hopefully by extension, the service will become more consumer friendly. And with VoIP and other telecom technologies getting into the phone, they are really going to be the next place that interactive technologies are going. The PDA almost made it, but I think the phone will be the real make or break device when it comes to ubiquitous computing. It seems that 2005 was good for that as well. Korea's other claim to fame on this blog was that it was the only country where people were reported to have died from gaming. I'm sure it's happened in other countries and other countries want to join the group by blaming games for all sorts of evils, but we won't really go there. To show that someone is looking out for the dollars of the hard core game player by watching what many of them already do, someone has come out with with an ergonomic game pillow in Japan. And finally, another group, ever vigilant to the needs of it's people has seen that there the need for a game that will offend absolutely nobody. Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,