Something Will Be Lost When Second Life Gets Voice
I have to admit I'm not 100% looking forward to the addition of voice into Second Life. I agree that it's inevitable and will make the service easier to use. But the text-based chat currently in use in Second Life adds to its charm, and, paradoxically, makes the service seem more real.
The Importance Of Presence: Taming The Wild And Woolly IM
"Presence" is one of the hottest ideas in software these days. Being able to see who's online and how they're connected is a necessary piece of functionality for enterprise networks as "real-time collaboration" (what we used to call "instant messaging" before it went corporate) has become the way to be productive. And for big companies, providing presence has been a security and compliance headache. The latest company to offer help is Sybase iAnywhere. Today it announced mobile instant messaging
Quick Look: Remember The Milk
It's not the organized people who need to keep task lists -- it's those of us who are so disorganized that we need some sort of written reminder to keep us on track (and to keep our bosses happy). As a past Outlook user, my inclination is to pair my task list with my calendar. As a current user of Google Calendar, I've been a bit peeved because, with all its advantages, it doesn't have a To Do feature. I'm a lot happier now -- because I found a site with the absurd name of
Three Intriguing Web 2.0 Companies: Jellyfish, Ning, And Dandelife
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s fundamentally impossible to predict which Web 2.0 ideas will take over the Internet. That lifts an incredible burden from my shoulders — I used to think it was my job to predict those things. Now I know it’s not my job — and, moreover, it’s an impossible task. So I can just sit back and marvel at the creativity that goes into coming up with various business models. Here’s three we discovered recently, two
One Third Of Americans On The Web Have Used Wireless Internet
According to a new poll from the Pew Internet Project, one-third of U.S. Internet users have connected to the Web using a wireless network. The survey found that 20% of U.S. Internet users now have wireless networks in their homes. Just more signposts that wireless data, and not just voice, is going mainstream.
Quick Look: The Playaway
It may come as a shock to those technophiles who wouldn't be seen in public without their earbuds firmly attached, but there are folks out there who do not own an iPod (or alternate MP3 player). There are even people out there who don't know (or don't want to learn) how to download MP3 files. Most of us would simply leave those benighted souls to their AM radios and clunky CD players -- but at least one company sees them as a possible source of income.
Free At Last
I just bought my daughter a laptop. Well, to tell the truth, although I purchased it for her to use, it was actually for my benefit: I was tired of being kicked off my own computer because she had homework that required word processing or access to the Internet. Shuddering at the thought of shelling out hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office -- because though only in fifth grade, she needs PowerPoint as well as Word -- I downloaded the free office suite
My FABULOUS Second Life
I've discovered that Ziggy Figaro, my alter ego in Second Life, is vain. In Second Life, I spend a good deal of time shopping, fussing over my appearance, and figuring out what to wear. In real life, I devote exactly as much effort on my appearance as I need to, and no more.
Fakeyourspace.com: The Web Gets More Like Real Life
Fakeyourspace.com is a Web service with a truly brilliant business plan: for 99 cents each per month you can buy all the friends you can afford to leave comments on your MySpace, Friendster, or Facebook page - really hot-looking friends, too, judging from the examples on the sites home page. It's just another example of how a disruptive Web technology can affect economics
Older Is Better, But Is It Legal?
For reasons that are far too complex to go into here (and that make me look far too stupid) I needed a copy of Paint Shop Pro 8 today. I know I've got my install CD around here somewhere, but it's hiding. So naturally I went hunting in Google, and somehow (I'm not exactly sure how, exactly) ran across the trail of www.oldversion.com. It had it and I downloaded it. I was ecstatic. But I also was suspicious.
Smartphone Users Have Longer Workdays, Make More Money, And Want More Time Off
According to new findings from researcher Digital Life America, smartphone users work longer and earn more money than those who don't use such devices. The study found that 19% of smartphone users work more than 50 hours a week and that their average household income is $94,000 a year, roughly 50% higher than the U.S. national average.
Does Web 2.0 Add To Information Overload?
My efforts to adopt Web 2.0 collaboration tools within InformationWeek last year were thwarted by a very simple question. I suggested we move a lot of the administrative stuff for IW.com to the Basecamp project-management tool. But a colleague put up a roadblock by asking, "Mitch, wouldn't that be just another thing I have to remember to check?"
How I'm Making Enemies In Second Life
I've had two major interviews in Second Life go badly on me, and I'm still trying to figure out why. I handled them exactly as I do my real-life interviews, and I mostly don't have these problems in RL. It's apparent that the rules are different for SL interviews -- but how? And can the needs of RL and SL be reconciled, or should I brace myself for further conflict?
Using Second Life For Disaster Preparedness Training
Play2train.org built a realistic simulation of a small town in Second Life, complete with detailed restaurants and a complete hospital. Then they blew the whole village up real good, as well as inflicting pestilence such as a smallpox epidemic, in order to help train emergency personnel in disaster preparedness. View a 16-minute video overview of the tabletop simulation below.
My Unsuccessful Quest To Replace Microsoft Office For My Mac
It looks like I'm going to be buying Microsoft Office for the Mac after all. I had hoped to avoid it -- not because I'm anti-Microsoft, which I'm not, but rather because I just wanted save the hundreds of dollars that Office costs. However, I was unable to find a suitable substitute among all the alternatives I tried.
What Will Become Of The YouTube Universe?
If you've spent any time on YouTube, or on any of the other video sharing sites that are now so incredibly popular, you'll know that a large percentage of the clips available have at least some copyrighted material in them. In fact, a good percentage are completely copyrighted. Surprised? Of course not. Not unless you've been hiding in an art film theater for the past 10 years.
Second Life Kaffeeklatsch Series Gets Off To A Brisk Start
This morning's kickoff kaffeeklatsch in Second Life was a success, with a small but high-quality group gathered to discuss doing business in-world, and drink virtual coffee (as well as a bit of absinthe). Join us Friday morning at 10 a.m. EST (7 a.m. Pacific time) when the suggested topic will be managing growth. People are signing up by the thousands -- can Second Life keep up?
Book Vs. Scanner
I like to think that I'm an organized person, but I'm really not. My basement is nearly drowned in piles and piles of books that are in great need of organization. However, every time I go down there to start, I'm overwhelmed by the prospect. So when I got to review the Flic Scanner Media Organizer -- a package containing a small, handheld scanner and three applications from Collectorz.com for tracking music,
A Frustrating Couple Of Days For A New Mac User
Lately, I've been gnashing my teeth and swearing at my new best friend, the Mac. It's been behaving in a decidedly un-Mac-like manner. I've been having trouble getting it to do what I want it to do.
Join The InformationWeek Group In Second Life
I've gone and created an InformationWeek group in Second Life, so if you're "in-world" (as we happenin' Second Lifers say), join up to be informed about all the exciting things that InformationWeek is doing in Second Life.
Why Some U.S. Citizens Still Can't Get Broadband
Over the past few decades, the citizens of these United States have had to become used to the fact that, when it comes to technology, we are falling behind. Our cars, TVs, phones, PCs, and other gadgets are more likely to come from an Asian or European factory than from a U.S. facility -- and let's not even talk about who is doing the tech support for our computers. Now it looks like we can't even keep up with Internet access.
Paying Even More For Your Cell
According to an article in the New York Times, marketers have their eyes on our cell phones. Apparently, they say, it won't be long before we will have to wait through a 15-second advertisement before we get to check our email or send a message. (So far, nobody is talking about having to listen to ads before making a voice call -- yet.)
Another Windows User Brainwashed Into The Apple Cult
You wouldn't know it from all my kvetching, but I'm actually happy about making the switch from Windows to the Mac. However, if you're thinking about making the jump yourself, you should know that it's an enormous pain in the neck at first.
Second Life Crashes My Mac
There are few things more frustrating than getting a new computer and finding out that it might need to go back to the shop right away. My six-day-old Mac runs flawlessly except for one thing: After I've been running Second Life a while, the Mac crashes hard, locks up, and throws up an error message that says it needs to be re-started.
Tech Execs Tee Off With The Pros
Which of these Internet luminaries has the best golf handicap: Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang, Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy, or software entrepreneur Tom Siebel?
Astronaut-Gone-Wild Incident Highlights 'Sex on Mars' Issue
There are taboos and there are taboos, but there are no bigger taboos in technology reporting than writing frankly about either politics or sex. Yet the latter, as spotlighted in this week's astronaut-gone-wild case involving Lisa Nowak, has clear implications for the arena which is this country's crowning technological achievement: Space flight.
Bopping To The Music Of Screeching Brakes
Occasionally, when driving in NYC, I play a game that works this way: If I have to do a quick maneuver to avoid hitting some fool who isn't paying attention, I award myself a number of points, depending on the danger level of the pedestrian's behavior. That guy strolling out between two parked cars without looking? Six points. That woman who doesn't feel the need to check the traffic light? Eight points. The music-lover bopping out into Times Square traffic oblivious to anything but his iPod? Ga
Using Second Life For Meetings And Collaborations
I admit I was skeptical, at first, about whether it made any sense to hold meetings in Second Life. Getting together a bunch of avatars to discuss real-life business issues seemed to me to be just plain silly. I would have said adding Second Life to a meeting added distractions and brought nothing useful. However, recent conversations with IBM and with an executive at a SL consulting firm have given me some things to think about with regard to the value of meeting in virtual reality.
Vista v. Mac OS X: Round 2
Bought a new computer lately? My colleague Mitch Wagner and I have both done just that. Mitch made the leap from PC to Mac, while I -- under a time crunch due to the "expiration" of my existing notebook -- bought an XP-loaded, Vista-capable PC in the days leading up to the late-January Vista launch.
Digital You, Meet Nanny Government and Terrorism Fears
Uh-oh. Better stash those TV-equipped glasses. According to Reuters, the state of New York is mulling legislation that would ban the use of iPods, Blackberries, video games and other electronic gadgets while crossing the street. Scofflaws would face a $100 fine, assuming any cops were around to ticket them. Why the fuss? Two or three (depending on your news source) traffic deaths in Brooklyn - all attributed to the victims' use of - and distraction by - electronic devices.
Windows To Mac: A Frustrating Transition So Far
My first couple of days as a Mac user, after a quarter-century using Windows and DOS, have been pretty frustrating. But it's not the Mac's fault. When you're used to working on one platform, you get used to doing things a certain way, and it's maddening to go to another platform that has different ways of doing the same things.
Steve Jobs On DRM-Free Media: Right Idea, Whatever His Reasons
Has Steve Jobs been cloned? The Apple Inc. chief is being so smart, making so much sense and so many right moves lately that there must be more than one of him. His "Thoughts on Music" think piece published yesterday on the Apple Web site builds on the dazzle of the iPhone launch. It's an announcement that is the beginning of the end of digital rights management systems (
Kodak Pictures Inexpensive Ink
I've been following the printer/scanner market for some years now, and one of the industry's dirty little secrets -- well, it's really not that secret -- is the fact that vendors make their money not on the printers themselves, but on the cartridges, paper, and other consumables. Have you added up what you pay in toner and/or ink cartridges a year? Scary, isn't it?
First Impression: Switching From A PC To The Mac
Do I look different to you? More genteel? More elegant? Maybe even taller? I just made the switch from using a PC as my primary machine to using a Mac. As a matter of fact, I've spent more time on the Mac in the last day and a half than I've done in the preceding 24 years of using personal computers.
Demo Class of 2006: Where Are They Now?
Having just returned from the Demo 07 Conference in Palm Springs, I noticed last year's Demo 06 Conference booklet on my shelf. Flipping through it, I am reminded just how hard it is to start a successful business.
Aside from the ringers at the show -- already successful companies such as AOL, CNET, IronPort, and Yahoo -- none of the 69 companies that presented at last year's show has become a household name.