Web strategy

Unfortunately, we don’t have one by default.

Whether we are publishing, socialising, photographing, working – our default setting seems to be to just use a device as it is given to us, and without discrimination to pay attention to any and all notifications that show up on the screen.

The thing is, just like any tool, the internet can be used in the wrong way and achieve unwanted outcomes. Wasted time, wasted money, misinformation to name a few.

We all have exposure to the internet, whether we like it or not. Therefore forming a strategy to turn it to your advantage is worth it. This goes for the individual, the family and the corporation.

Worth noting also that on the internet privacy is dead, so “default public” is the best stance on anything web-based.

Ethereum…yumyum

How to get your head around the blockchain and Ethereum? Tokens? Ether? Cryptocurrencies? Sheesh….

Here’s my take on how Ethereum tokens might work:

The tokens allow application builders (coders) to set up rules for an exchange of value within an app’s network. Hypothetically, if a Facebook competitor was created on the Ethereum blockchain (rather than the internet), a token (or a fraction of a token) might be exchanged each time you liked something, or shared something. More likes = more tokens. Maybe there is a shop on the same token system to exchange for goods.

For another real life example – an application such as civic (www.civic.com) which seeks to secure online identity will trade a token as a marker of a user’s true identity details. Anyone or any company that is part of the Civic network can exchange tokens and be assured that these tokens represent true, non-fraudulent proof of identity (I think…not quite sure on all of this).

Trying to write your own understanding of something helps you to learn about the subject. I am not sure I understand this subject completely, but I am getting there.

Happy weekend 🙂

Streaming and ownership

If I can consume media with purpose then I will be happy. Too often though, I feel like media is force fed to me like a scene out of A Clockwork Orange.

I have decided to make a change in music subscription services – from Google Play Music to Tidal. New MQA Masters catalogues on Tidal are a factor, as are my future plans to integrate with a service such as Roon. Roon lets you interact with the music you listen to like we used to with CDs and LPs.

All of this is a rather futile effort to mitigate against the fact that when we stream our music or TV or movies, we no longer own the content. It’s a mindset from another time I guess but to pay for a service rather than a piece of art seems like a poor deal.

At least it is convenient and works on my phone though.

 

The tech urge within

For some reason the world of audiophile technology and tech hardware has become extremely refined in its marketing of products. The premium that must be paid to own a new high grade audiophile amplifier is insane. And yet….

And yet I want one as if it is going to cure my human condition. I don’t understand this urge. Why do I feel so intensely that I have to be part of this tiny group of people that spend their children’s school fees on audio equipment? Do I honestly believe the music will sound THAT much better? No. Sigh…..

I think the truth is that there are many industries that have tapped into this tribal urge to belong – Apple being the most obvious. An iPhone essentially does the same thing as a phone one tenth its price – and yet the company’s revenues go up and up. People want to spend money on things which make them feel part of a group.

The trick is to decide what will make a tangible difference to life, and what is merely hype.

The latest iPhone will not out-perform my Motorola to the point that my life improves. And neither will a new amplifier improve the performance of my headphones.

The pull is strong indeed though. It’s like these companies are using the Jedi force to extract my wallet from my pocket, and it is all I can do to push it back in.

That’s my consumer culture rant for the day. Back to work 🙂

Monitor the Limits

One thing that can affect my productivity and creativity is my energy level after exercise and varying levels of sleep (I have a 2 yr old!).

Tech is helping me track the exercise half of the equation. My Polar M400 watch shows me when I should and should not go to the gym or play squash because I am either undertrained, or strained from too much exertion. If I am fit, then I can be more productive. I have normally found heart rate monitors a bit of a gimmick, but lately it is really helping me to keep track of my body. Highly recommended for creatives who also enjoy keeping fit.

All I need is for my 2 year old to play ball on the sleep side of things….hmm.

Hacking out of the box

One of the biggest annoyances in this life is when someone puts you in a box which you don’t feel like applies to you. For example, Insurance companies, governments during visa applications, teenagers picking on each other at high school.

Any tech which helps alleviate this pain is most excellent, which is why I think this product might just be the way of the future for insurance: https://www.sanlam.co.za/gocover/Pages/default.aspx

Being able to pick and choose elements of insurance for your specific needs through a mobile phone sounds a lot less box-like to me than the existing models of insurance.

The most important tech is not always where you think

We are inundated with stories of Google, Alexa, iPhones, VR, AR, and autonomous cars. But the most impactful tech is often less exciting and personal, more functional and industrial.

Take the rather unexciting field of electricity transmission. China is leading the way in implementing technology which is better suited to carry high voltages over long distances (the technology is called Ultra High-Voltage Direct Current, or UHVDC). These high capacity links make the grid greener and more stable than the usual alternating current transmission which works well over shorter distances, but becomes tricky with high voltage and longer distance.

Concerns over pollution have driven the Chinese government to set up coal fired power stations in remote areas away from urban populations. Hence the need to transmit.

This all just struck me as a technology story which is saving the planet, and is happening as we speak – but for some reason it is deemed to be uninteresting compared to consumer tech….which is quite interesting.