Thursday, 17 February 2011

This year's tech news, in brief

This perhaps goes against the grain of this blog somewhat, but... Good grief, I'm getting bored with tech / web stories lately!

It's not that there aren't new ones to read - quite the reverse. The sheer quantity never changes much. But somehow the content doesn't change much either, at base. Almost every new story I read could be one of any number of other stories I've read before - with nothing changed except the website / company / app involved, the conclusion to the new scientific study, or the version number of the product it's going on about. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: it's just déjà vu, all over again.

So to save everyone the bother of reading the 90%+ of it that's seemingly stuck on a loop, here, in no particular order, is the coming year's tech news:
  • 2009 2010 2011 will be the year of hyper-local / the semantic web / Web 3.0
  • Apple / Microsoft to release new product / new version of old product
  • New Apple / Microsoft product has minor / major fault
  • Feverish, mainly groundless speculation about next new Apple product starts up again [see also: Microsoft, but much less feverish]
  • Google wants to buy Company X
  • Company X resists Google's overtures
  • Google buys Company X
  • New Google product, based on code from Company X, not the Facebook-killer / Apple-competitor analysts insist Google is definitely working on; Google shrugs, says that was never the intention
  • X is the new y
  • X isn't the new y
  • X is brilliant, but what will happen when its venture capital runs out?
  • X is overvalued
  • Is the 'tech bubble' back?
  • Video games / the internet / social networking bad for us, according to latest study / book
  • Video games / the internet / social networking good for us, according to latest study / book
  • Correlation is the new causation [the Daily Mail position on tech*, and anything else]
  • Human behaviour / human nature never really changes, just the technology we invent to enact it [the Clay Shirky position on tech scares]
  • Thing that wasn't in the cloud is now in the cloud
  • Is our data safe in the cloud?
  • Established website / company is losing popularity
  • Established website / company does x in attempt to revive popularity
  • Established website / company is still losing popularity, but even more so
  • Facebook tweaks yet another thing / adds new service, causes outcry about compromised privacy [see also: Google, but less often]
  • Google is evil
  • Google isn't evil
  • Suggestion is made that tech debate shouldn't be so reductively binary, no-one listens
  • Social media makes political protest easier, more effective
  • Social media's influence on politics and protests is overstated / counter-productive
  • Important person at Apple / Google / Microsoft retires, leaves, or moves to Apple / Google / Microsoft
  • Traditional media / music industry / publishing is dying
  • Traditional media / music industry / publishing still isn't dead yet
  • Satirical zombie movie to be made about traditional media / music industry / publishing
  • Remark on Twitter / Facebook is mistaken for news
  • Remark on Twitter / Facebook is mistaken for news
  • Remark on Twitter / Facebook is mistaken for news
Lather, rinse, repeat - ad nauseam, ad absurdum, ad redcutio, etc. and so on. Or until 2012, at the very least. Probably.

And in other news:
The Weekly Links Post will return soon. Because I'm a hypocrite.

*Not that real newspapers aren't sometimes guilty, too. Especially in pretty much any story that begins: "A new scientific study..."

Monday, 17 January 2011

The (Just After The) Weekend Links Post: No. 34

Welcome, again, to another entirely subjective selection of 15 links, humanely culled from my week's online reading and roughly collated under the seven broad categories seen below. A little late this week, following some 24-hour live-blogging (32 hours awake, in all, but definitely worth it):

Selected Highlights from Guardian Technology (Because otherwise I just don't get around to reading it now it's no longer in the print edition).

As smartphones get smarter, how will their innovations transform our lives and the 'social web'?

Evgeny Morozov explains his new book The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate The World; plus, Tom Chatfield's review.

Who can you trust on Twitter? Peer Index releases list of most authoritative journalists on Twitter.

Universal and Sony Music to make new singles available as soon as they hit the radio - only highlighting exactly how slow the big record labels have been at facing piracy and the shift to MP3s.

Clay Shirky on the birth of Wikipedia and its 10th birthday.

Social Media

Tunisia: the revolution that's being ignored by social media. More here.

Books, Writing & Storytelling

The 2010 Digital Book World Publishing Innovation Awards 2010: the longlist.

Electric Literature's very literal approach to the question: "Can a book save your life?"

Useful Apps, Utilities & Downloads

Search Engine Blacklist: remove content-farms and other spam results from your Google searches [Chrome extension]. (Also see: Marco Arment of Instapaper on the problem of Google search spam.)


Gogoyoko: DRM-free, ethical online music store and social network - with free album streaming.

The Recombinant DNA of the Mash-Up: an interactive timeline of the major milestones of the past 104 years.

Games & Other Distractions

But That Was Yesterday: interactive art game about moving on from painful memories (the beginning seems impossible at first, but you'll figure it out soon enough).


From a theremin wristwatch to a violin playing cockroach: a rundown of The 2010 Kickstarter Awards.

Collective buying power: a new trend in crowdsourcing?

"One need not agree with WikiLeaks' modus operandi to acknowledge its service to democracy": Twelve theses on WikiLeaks.