Tag Archives: Blog

Call me Ishmael. Call them Nverts.

 

They used to call it the “blog-o-sphere”—the world of bloggers. As blogs became less fashionable and Tweeting became all the rage, “Twitter-sphere” became “Twitter-verse”. (Because a Universe is BIGGER than a sphere, or planet, get it?)

Then it was “Facebook”, the number one tip-top destination, yea, the very Paris of the Internet. What do you call that?  “Facebook” obviously. To many people, Facebook is the Internet. (But, by the way, as India proved recently to Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not.) Are the unwashed Facebook masses the “Facebook-ians”? “Bookees?” “Fakers?” No matter. Today, I want to identify the un-brainwashed masses, the unfettered few, the unsavvy, who don’t know, and maybe don’t care about all that social stuff, and who, in this wacky, world wide web may get misled or tripped up by their blissful ignorance.

You know who “they” are, you might even be one of them. And heavens, “they” represent a whole spectrum of experience: Folks who founded the Internet, who pioneered it using America OnLine or CompuServe, yet they don’t know a Snapchat from a Tinder. Face it, at the speed of tech, even the savviest of ellipticals probably aren’t familiar with the most current and hippest of apps, whatever those may be this weekSo there are plenty of people out there who don’t know one thing or another about “social”, and I want to help.

But first what are “they” called? How to refer to the innocents in this overwhelming and over-rated world of Social Media? The collective mass of humanity not hip to “social”. Is there a name for what Apple’s marketing used to call, “The Rest of Us?”

“Newb” suggests they are “new” to Social, but are joining the herd. Not what we are looking for.

“Social Media Luddite” has been used—way too judgmental.

Call them nverts! First we identify their “place” as “the Nverse”. This is short for “Non-Social Universe”—”Nsphere” sounds pretty good too, but face it, a UNIVERSE is bigger than a SPHERE, and we need a lot of room. (And in this crazy, mixed up world, nothing is original. If you Google, you’ll find #Nverse, meaning, who-knows-what? Some kind of reference to a Math equation? We don’t care.) Oviously the denizens of the Nverse are Nverts—like Non-Social Internet Introverts, they turn away  from the social Internet. It’s not perfect. How many people know what a phub is anyway? A lot of research and effort went into creating that word. Nvert. If you have a better name for Nhabitants of the Nverse, tell me!

But why am I do doing this? What’s my point? Here. I read this on a web site recently:


“Currently, we have about 70,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.  That’s 70,000 people that we can learn from and service on a daily basis.”*


Uh, no. Seriously. No, you can’t. Nverts, awaken! NO, THEY CAN’T LEARN FROM AND SERVICE Seventy Thousand of them ON A DAILY BASIS.

There is a certain naïveté, a hubris in that statement. The world has not changed that much. A small company, well-staffed by super-smart well-parented and motivated and energetic staff, may “learn from, and service” some of their customers who “follow them” on Facebook and Twitter. But 70,000? Uh uh.

I have a Twitter feed, I use Instagram, I write a blog. It’s “reality check” time for the Nverse.

—TechWite

P.S. Happy Tenth Birthday Twitter!!

*I’m not going to follow good journalistic practice and tell you where I got this quote because I don’t want to drive more traffic to their site. They may implode with information!

What is the Cloud anyway?

Lost in the Cloud #2

It was, hm, some years ago, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in between listening to Friday night jazz sets, and I was trying to explain to some friends what “the cloud” was. IBM had already starting to promote the concept of “the cloud”, and Microsoft was not that far behind. In IT, it was beginning to be a buzz word, just like all the other marketing labels foisted on us in the last twenty or thirty years. Clearly not that many people understood it yet. Except for the rare far-seeing visionaries, few people saw the power, the potential, the inevitability that was to become “the Cloud”. And though the term is now in common parlance, there are probably plenty of people who still want to ask, “What the hell are you talking about? What cloud?”

But don’t worry. I’m here to explain.

Other than its own defining article, “The”, the Cloud, is not much different than its real-world counterparts. Clouds are out there. Far away, up in the sky. They move, they disappear, they change, evaporate, and re-form. They do whatever they do, and unless they are up to no good, most people don’t even think about them. And that’s pretty much the story of “The Cloud”. It’s your data, accessible to you out there, and you don’t have to think much about it. And this isn’t even new.

Pretty much anybody on a computer, anybody using the Internet, was already using “the Cloud”—they just didn’t know it yet. How did this happen?

  • Email is the obvious one – All of you with your AOL, MSN, Yahoo, & Google mail “on the web” stored on some big company’s servers.
  • Facebook (and MySpace before it) – With all that personal information, photos, timeline, likes, accessible to just about anyone.
  • Flickr – And all the other photo-saving and sharing sites with thousands and thousands of your photos.
  • YouTube – Zillions of home videos, old home movies, and pirated clips of TV shows, and movies, and everything else.
  • iTunes – Jeez, let’s not forget the bizillions of songs, and albums, and playlists and reviews that Apple had up there-at first, just to buy and download and store on your own device, but that changed rapidly.

You get the idea. Everybody started pushing stuff up onto the Internet primarily to share it, but also to store it. As usual, Steve Jobs had some idea of where this was all headed. He understood this was going to be about storage. Storage players were beginning to appear – think DropBox and Evernote, with apps and access from many devices and platforms, and of course from the web browser. You could store your stuff, all kinds of your stuff, on the Internet (maybe even referred to by that time as “the Cloud”). It was safe there, presumably. (This was before we found out about our friends at the NSA). You didn’t have to worry about backing it up, or losing it if your computer was lost or stolen.

Apple tried pretty early on to capture and cash in on the consumer storage idea. But Apple stumbled a lot on this one. It was “Mac.com”, and then “Mobile.Me”, then “Me.com” – heck! I can’t even remember all the various names as Apple tried to re-brand and renovate this idea and eventually settle on (duh!) “iCloud”. At one point you could have your own web site, and photo galleries, and Internet storage that worked just like a disk drive, sort of… but it was all a moving target. Apple managed only recently to integrate iCloud into the MacOS, and iOS, and the Apple apps, and your data, along with iTunes and all the media available there. Microsoft, Google, even Amazon, are all competing with Apple in this same space. Who gets to sell you stuff? Who gets to keep it for you? In “the Cloud”. This “ecosystem” wasn’t just devices, it was storage, of your stuff, by someone else, away from your home—and eventually, storage of your work stuff away from your office.

Because the move of data —by businesses—into the Cloud, is another part of the story, to be addressed by TechWite, another time! TFSB!

The Incipient Cloud

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For decades IT people have made diagrams of their networks and data centers with lightning bolts that point from someplace local to a fluffy blob. Riding from the local computers and corporate data center and LAN, all the data and email and files and voice telecommunications, everything, rides that lightning bolt and disappears into this blob, which was sometimes called a “network cloud”. That cloud was a little symbol to represent the enormous external private and public networks that we now generally refer to as “the Internet”.

Screen Junk in iOS Land

 

Remember “blinking text” HTML on early websites?

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At first glance, the gleaming refection that slides across the face of your iPad Home screen encouraging you to unlock it, might seem cool. It moves left to right, just the way your finger should! It shows you. How helpful. But later, reading the New York Times, you get distracted by movement on the screen. WTH?? Yep, that ad has a button with a moving “reflection”. One time across the screen I could maybe tolerate, but this thing zips across the screen every couple of seconds. Over and over. 

Criminy, is my iPad going to look like Fremont Street?!

 

Size Matters

How big is your screen?

"This guy has a card table on his lap."

This guy at Starbucks has the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen. He pulls it out of his backpack. The backpack looks like one of those traveling crashpads that rock climbers use. Have you seen those? It’s hilarious to see those guys hiking up a trail with what looks like a folded up single mattress with straps on their back. Anyway, he pulls this thing out, and he has to hold both arms over his head to get it out of the bag. When he puts it on his lap, I think he is going to unfold legs from the bottom of it. But no. It’s a Lenovo. It makes a 17″ MacBook Pro look like an iPad mini. He opens the lid and I think he might need a pry bar. It’s like watching someone open a big sarcophagas. But finally he gets it open and sits there staring at it. I think he’s typing stuff, but all I can see is the top of his head. The rest of him is completely hidden behind the card table.

I’d tell you about the huge guy in the corner with the tiny MacBook Air, but I gotta go.

Obvious but Overlooked—Apple, Can I have the Date Please?

If you use an iPhone and want to know what time it is, no worries. Whatever you’re doing, the time sits on the Status bar at the top of every screen. But what if you want to know the date? It’s on my Mac Menu bar, Windows too. With OSX I can choose the format even. Why won’t Apple put the date in the status bar at the top of iOS? (And, yes, folks, I did make that suggestion, more than once, on their web site!)
On my iPhone, if I’m using another app, I have to open the Calendar or go back to the “Home” screen Dock to see the current date on the Calendar icon. You knew the Calendar icon shows the current date, right? Ok, did you know the Clock icon displays the current time? Look closely! It even has a moving second hand!

TIP: Put the Calendar and Clock icons in the Dock, and you can see the date and time from any Home screen.

Now, Apple, what about letting me see the date on my Status Bar??

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Yes, the Clock icon shows the accurate time – including seconds.