Category Archives: socialplatforms

Why the hell don’t all cameras have SIM cards in them yet?

girl cam

It’s been half a decade or more since phones started getting cameras, and yet cameras still don’t have cell phone connections. WTF? To me this is classic case of industry disruption. An entrenched industry refuses to take seriously a disruptive new technology. Holding their noses high, no serious Photographer (with a capital P) would shoot on a “device” let alone share their pictures with the plebes before hours of painstaking processing back on the home PC.

Well obviously that’s not the way the world works anymore. Mobile devices still have tiny/crappy optics and whatnot, but they have rapidly become good enough for a large swath of the reasons people actually want to capture images. Mostly to share those images with other people, preferably right now when those images could be a lot more relevant that hours or days later. What the hell is wrong with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus etc. for not doing some basic deals (aka Kindle, aka iPad) with some carriers and embedding 3G in every device.

I don’t think it’s an engineering problem. The baseband chips and electronics required are not that expensive. Put some 3G hardware in there, put some basic post-processing tools on the camera and get it done. What’s the hold up? Again, the smartphone makers have had it figured out for years.

When I leave the house I look a my lovely but beastly DSLR and think I bet I could take some lovely pictures with that. But in today’s world of in-the-moment social media, what’s the point if the DSLR has no way to post to twitter. Even Flickr now seems so 2006, like “hey everyone, come look at some stuff i was seeing a few weeks or years ago…”. I mean, beyond archiving and the artistry angle, what’s the point uploading old pictures?

I just don’t understand how the current generation of iPhones, Androids and Blackberries are not just going to steamroll the entire consumer segment of the camera industry.

photo credit: flowertrip

Are you backing up your twitter history?

machine-surfingFigure A: Typical Twitter experience /artist’s impression

Scoble has a great rant up today on twitter’s failing as a platform. This is similar to Jevon’s epic (and correct) rant on why you shouldn’t build a business on Facebook… or otherwise on someone else’s platform. At least not unless you are prepared to take the risks.

Risks being: did you know that twitter’s search history only goes back a few weeks? Did you think that all those pithy tweets and all those nice things folks may have said about you in @replies would be around forever as an archive or historical record? Don’t count on it.

Maybe, if we’re lucky, Twitter [see illustration] will be around forever, maybe if we’re lucky they’ll keep alive the archives of and twitpic etc. so in the future we’d have some idea of what those links were pointing to. Maybe part of that business model will be the charging for access to the tweet archive. But there’s no guarantee.

To twitter’s fault/credit these problems relate to twitter being a little too good at what they do. It only becomes a problem once everyone (well at least all the cool people) pervasively filter a big part of our daily lives, our ideas, world events, our businesses through this single channel.

Does it make a lot of sense to route the western world’s realtime social backchannel through a single point of failure?

Historically, what is the life expectancy of any hottest new social platform? friendster, icq, geocities, hotmail* all had a good run while they lasted?

reminds one of an old haiku, the zen of 404 messages:

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

my advice? go out and invent the world’s next open-standards, distributed realtime social presence application. Or if you don’t have time for that, at least think about archiving your tweets. You never know when you might want them back.

more: Twitter’s platform shortcomings

more: tools for backing up your tweets. I haven’t tried them yet (I should probably get on that). tips?

*cough myspace, *cough* yahoo inc., AOL, compuserve, gopher the list could go on /for another deadmedia post

Presentation: Design for an Augment Reality world

For posterity here is the slideshare version of my Augmented Reality talk, which I presented for the first time at Refresh Events in Toronto. As a first cut, this presentation represented more of a shotgun scattershot rather than a linearly coherent narrative of the various thoughts on this topic currently spinning in my head my these days.

For background this was the talk proposal. I think I got to most of this stuff.

How “Augmented Reality” and the mobile web changes everything

Mobile broadband access and ever-smarter phones are shaking the internet out its lofty cloud and bringing the web into the real world. As a result, the old “real world”, and many old ideas and many old business models will be running out of places to hide from the pervasive influence of the net.

Meanwhile, each of our smart phones are in many ways even better than the old clunky tools we used to use to surf the net. Our mobile devices are not only connected but, also bristling with sensors like radios, cameras, microphones, GPS etc. that can directly perceive and interact with the world around you. We’re reaching a point where it’s theoretically possible to point that device at almost anything: a landmark, a product on a store shelf, your friends or a crowd of people; and draw from the cloud and your social graph as much, or perhaps more, relevant information than you ever wanted to know. Oh, and the cloud will be watching you and whatever’s around you as well.

In the new augmented reality, the web surfs you.

The goal of this talk will be to provide you with a fast paced overview of what this new “augmented” reality will mean for how we socialize, for how we sell and market physical products, for architecture, for media and entertainment, for public policy, crime, privacy and, as well, few early signals for what might be the new killer apps.

If all that is not interesting enough, I will also bring free beer.

How did it go? I think it went well! thanks for all the wonderful twitter feedback. 100+ tweets and counting =)

wrongbutton @tpurves fantastic presentation! very thought-provoking. especially enjoyed social AR consideration and the notion of layering data sets

BrianSe7en @tpurves great job on the AR deck! somebody who “gets it”.. yeah!

danielpatricio @tpurves Great job on the presentation, it really inspired me and got me thinking. there is a lot of potential in our future

randymatheson @tpurves – inspiring presentation on Augmented Reality tonight at #refreshevents , a balanced look at what is coming in the next few years

sebchorney @tpurves Great job. Real value for me was the “example->implication” flow, and high-level summations/analyses/insights in your tables.

D_Hock Great #RefreshEvents tonight – seeing the crowd engaged by @tpurves‘ talk was truly fascinating.

malcolmbastien @tpurves Awesome talk. It’s clear you know your stuff and have done some deep thinking of its broad impacts.

nitchblog Amazing debate to end the night. Great discussions that brought us around the world and back! Thanks to @jkozuch + @tpurves #refreshevents

davefleet @tpurves is wielding a NFC phone. Love the potential with that technology #refreshevents

pinkbrickroad @tpurves so interesting/funny. Future is crazy. #refreshevents

josephdee @tpurves presentation has been kick-ass so far. Peeks into the future of mobile experience, which is making me grin : ) #refreshevents

AdamSchwabe I love hearing @tpurves talk tech. So intelligent and focused. Fast, well-read. #RefreshEvents

I look forward to presenting again the next revision. Contact or DM me if you’d like me to lead/present this discussion at a future event. Meanwhile enjoy:

Link: Audio track of my presentation (video coming they say)

It’s time to take “social” for granted

I would like to declare the social web officially invented already. Hoozah! It was a good, it was fun, like any tech boom, it made it’s share of wiz kids very successful and created a lot of value for the rest of us along the way too. Disastrous timesinks like Icanhascheezburger and Scrabulous not withstanding. Now lets move on.

The big deal in the late 90s was to have a business idea like “it’s a like giant petfood store but… wait for it… on the web

The big deal of this decade was “omg, it’s like [insert whatever here] but we’ll web 2.0 the hell out of it”

Here’s the news. This later idea is no longer interesting. It’s time is done. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still vast areas of everyday business, enterprise and government that still need to be beaten severely with the Web2.0 stick (even the Web1.0 stick would still help in some places). Rather, it’s now time to think of socialness and 2.0ness as “business as usual” in the IT industry. The substantive battle is over, this is a mopping up operation. And there’s a ton of rolling up the sleeves and value to unlock left to do in almost any vertical industry. [yes you can contact tom[at] to learn more about my agreeable professional services rates and lets get started]

Over time, the tools, tricks and interfaces for making social apps will continue to evolve. In much the same way that basic web interface design, SEO and architecting for scalability continues to evolve – as a specialist field, off of the main stage.

However, if you are the next young wiz kid innovator or trying to disrupt everything, forget about social. Oh sure, your app will certainly be social. But that’s just a basic prerequisite now, like an app being webaccessible in the first place is something we can take for granted. Social is no longer the goal onto itself, it’s the baseline from which to build on.

Rather than meta-obsessing over Social and talking about talking about social, it’s time that we all just got on to the next wave of using these great tools available to solve real human, consumer and business problems.

Next week: Building Web3.0, why it’s time to start taking Mobile for granted too…

The Robotification of Usability Design

1998-2000 Human to web interaction, Web Usability, Human factors. The great bubble of Web-enabling networked databases and applications – like Online Banking,, lets sell pet food online etc. (eBay never heard of usability)

2001-2005 Website to robot interaction design, the golden age of Search Engine Optimization

2004-2006 Human to Human and social web interaction, funny how no one thought of this sooner. Web 2.0 and all that.

2007- Robot to Robot web interaction, Microformats, CAPCHA’s and RSS the carrots, sticks and duct tape of mashups. APIs and widget sandboxes of Facebook, Salesforce and google/yahoo/OSX desktops where our applets do our browsing for us and play -maybe- nice with each other. RSS made interacting with websites redundant, now robots will read our RSS for us too, sometimes with the aide of the ‘community’ acting as the proxy of intelligence.

In this scheme we’re somewhere between users and used. Human-mediated robot interaction etc. Which part of Artificial Artificial Inteligence (google it) becomes an oxymoron? It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Welcome to Web3.0.

Has Facebook killed blogging?

Have you noticed the blogosphere growing quiet? The pros and the a-listers and the corporate blogs are still at it as strong as ever. But tumbleweeds blow through the empty feed folders of personal friends. Flickr too is fading away. Maybe it’s just summer and we’re all outdoors, as we should be, instead.

But I think it’s Facebook, first twitter, but now much more powerfully Facebook is sucking all that personal stuff, all that social presence and ambient intimacy behaviour and desires (usecases for you techies) out of the blogosphere and in to it’s fearsomely purpose-designed boxy blue and white world.

There’s a flavourshift in the blogosphere. The olde flavour of blogging is leaving us.

When you think of it, (personal) blogs never really caught on anyway.

Compare this one data point, my blogroll: 21 my FB Friendlist: 249

Blogs as dead media. At least as we once (hardly) knew ye.

Blogs are for pros, facebook is for friends

blogs dead. long live blogs.

The Flavour of Cities – My deck from OpenCities

UPDATE: oh and my speaker notes are here on the slideshare page which might explain things a *little* more clearly.

A great commentary by Edward on the discussion that followed (thanks!):

“At the final session, insulated by a Creemore, it was interesting to think of as flavour as taste: in the look and feel and design and form and method and means of how we, for example create/make architecture. In other words do we permit taste to be acknowledged by sampling flavours and then understanding preferences based on this sampling? Is this an exercise in nostalgia or form of connoisseurship? We mourn the passing of a time-stamped culture and its intrinsic forms of expression its aesthetic? We contrast this with what might seem the harshness of the new. I like the new. You admire craft. Is there craft in contemporary design? Is contemporary architecture the triumph of pure design—conceptual as opposed to crafted? Even if we wanted to recreate or recapture neo-classical architecture would we not end up with kitsch? Something so artificial that it would be at once Disney. The time-sense, the aura of the object (the neo-classical bank building for example), it is irreplaceable ‘having-been’ or being ‘of the past’ cannot be replicated. And how do we assess what is going to be understood as valuable, beautiful and fabulous? Everyone I know under 15 in Toronto thinks the new Royal Ontario Museum Crystal is fabulous and when told some ‘grown-ups’ have divided opinions about it they are incredulous. What kinds of architecture tend to work and continue working? Perhaps buildings designed to listen to people and anticipate function (it was suggested that people refer to: How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built: by Stewart Brand) will last and be enjoyed: understood over time as beautiful.”

And this response from Kelly Seagram

Tip O’ the day. If presenting at a conference, ensure a wonderful turnout and a warm reception by simply announcing you’ll be kicking off your session by handing out a free beer to each participant. OpenSauce, because sometimes it should mean free as in beer.

OpenCities was a great event, you can find lots moar notes here.

And yes, that is a vintage glass plate photograph of Zepplin over Jerusalem that I’ve added to the cover. Flavour and dead media egads.

Collecting a lot of Underpants and the unbundling of social platforms

Dave Winer and Euan Semple are writing about the eventual unbundling of social platforms.

I like this idea that we could all manage our own bundle of apps both social and professional to track our calendars, “buddy” lists, statuses, media habits and etc. etc. yet somehow all of these would stitch together as well, or nearly as well, or even better than they do on facebook but that we wouldn’t have to rely on a single closed platform designed for 23yr olds* to do so.

RSS and openID are somewhere down in the roots of the tools needed, but I think we need tools that take these to higher level of abstraction before we’ll get anywhere.

For example, I see Jaiku [my Jaiku page] taking the first step(s) in this direction. You can feed Jaiku feeds for near every social presence app you can think of from you blog to your status feed to photos and music etc.

As I’ve said Jaiku manages to collect a lot of underpants. But underpants are only half the problem.

(of course we know)

Step one: collect underpants
Step two: ???
Step three: Profit!

So what’s step 2? I think we’re still missing the room that really ties all the rugs together. Even, Dave, the great prognosticator is a little vague “How exactly it will happen is something the historians can argue about 25 years from now. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will, unless the rules of technology evolution have been repealed (and they haven’t, trust me)”

*23yr olds and native English speakers at that