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Technology

An iPhone Killer

Are you sick and tired of devices that over-promise and under-deliver. Their reviews proclaiming the next “killer” peripheral?

Well for once Wired have reviewed a gadget that does exactly what it says on the label – an iPhone killer [^]. And to make it even better, if thats possible, it is an open-source design as well. That means that anyone can take the plans and build there own, or even redesign it to better suit their purpose. Meet the iPhoneKiller – a 1.6kg piece of steel mounted on an axe handle!

 

Kadushin iPhoneKiller

Kadushin iPhoneKiller

 

Another bonus is that the iPhoneKiller is fully compatible all existing models, with newer models, such as the just released iPad, and no doubt with all sorts of iGadgets not yet released. I have a feeling that the iPhoneKiller will be brand-agnostic and is likely work on all sorts of non-Apple technology.

The design is available [^] at the creators website, and for all you Apple-lovers no iPhones were harmed in the design of the iPhoneKiller.

Do Printers Come From Hell?

Oatmeal makes a pretty convincing case that printers do come from Hell [^] with the help of comics.

hate machine

Arguing that they are as unreliable as they were 15 year ago, and the fact that you need to install lots of crappy software. This is capped-off by the cost of the ink used in the machine, saying that it can be justified if it is made from unicorn blood. I know that I haven’t had as many problems with a printer as I used to MumbleMumble years ago, but they are not cheap to run.

If you didn’t hate your printer you will soon realise some of the reasons why you dislike it so much after reading this.

What’s Wrong with the News Today.

Do you think that there is something wrong with news outlets in the digital age? Well, “Eleven Things I’d Do If I Ran a News Organization [^]” by media expert, Dan Gilmor is the confirmation that you have been looking for. In explaining what he would do, Dan show us what isn’t happening with the news now.

11 things thumb

Mr Gilmor envisions the media using technology, rather than trying to fight it. The points range from the internet specific; such as embracing the hyperlink, and the use of blogs and wikis. Through to general reporting standards and accessibility; like the use of precise and neutral language, the maintenance of perpetual archives, and notifying readers of factual inaccuracies in stories.

Whether or not you agree with the details of some of the points it does raise good questions about the the way the news is delivered over the internet now. It is easy to say that these steps should be obvious, but then most things are when they are explained! It will be interesting now to see if any news organisations are paying attention. Simply put news organisations are about getting eyeballs on pages, and selling those eyeballs to advertisers. A better online product should get more eyeballs, and more advertising dollars.

I can say that I would be more inclined to pay [^] for Mr Gilmor’s vision for the news, rather than Mr Murdoch’s micro-payments for news as it is now.

Would You Pay for the News?

It’s nice to see some sensible comments on the planned move by News Ltd to charge for their online content. In “All The News That’s Free To Read[^] Pete Berry on A419 makes some good points:

  • charging for content that is free elsewhere will drive users away.
  • some sites with a higher degree of credibility and impartiality  are likely to always be free (think BBC).
  • Internet use is all about darting in and out of multiple sites. They don’t call it surfing for nothing! Would you browse a site that you have to pay for?

Mr Murdoch, the internet does not owe you a living. The mainstream media needs to adapt to new technology and new customer behaviour. The BBC’s of this world are not going to to just roll-over because it’s bad for your business.

Internet: Giant Copy Machine

I have just found an interesting post by Kevin Kelly about the nature of the internet [^] – Better Than Free.

“Our digital communication network has been engineered so that copies flow with as little friction as possible. Indeed, copies flow so freely we could think of the internet as a super-distribution system, where once a copy is introduced it will continue to flow through the network forever, much like electricity in a superconductive wire…When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.”

The internet is designed for information flows. One of it’s key characteristics is that the flow will route around any blockages or rough spots.

Escher "Drawing Hands" 1948

Escher "Drawing Hands" 1948

It’s interesting having the internet spelled out as being a “giant copy machine”; but that has been done before. What makes this post interesting is the “Better Than Free” aspect.

To be better than free something needs to be unable to be easily copied, replicated or forged. Kevin Kelly identifies 8 qualities, “generatives”, that make a thing unique; among them are Immediacy, Accessibility and Authenticity.

If a supplier has a product that has one, or more, of these attributes then it maybe something that people will be willing to pay for rather than taking a free altenative. It will be by embracing these characteristics that businesses will be able to compete against free, and maybe even thrive in the future.