April 10, 2006

What Am I Up To?

In a recent comment over here, Ellee Seymour asked:

"Hi, I am interested to know what you are working on at the moment. What hi-tech innovation is left?"

I figured this was a good enough prompt for me to get round to updating everyone about why things have been little more than link dumps of late...

What am I working on at the moment?

Far too much! As always seems to be the case, things haven't quite dove-tailed as I'd have liked. I recently accepted some contract work (doing, and managing, some testing) to ease cashflow whilst I'm ramping up the sales and marketing of DataCocoon. However, I hadn't quite finished the revamp of the MCQN Ltd. website when I started the contract, so my evenings are being spent sorting that out. Almost sorted now, so the launch of DataCocoon isn't too far away!

The weekends would've been a good time to finish off the website too, were it not for a spate of weddings. Leila and Jon's wedding was the weekend before last; last weekend we were down in Kent for one of Rebecca's friends' wedding; and this week I need to finish off my speech ready for being best man at Craig's wedding on Saturday.

What hi-tech innovation is left?

There's still plenty of hi-tech innovation left to be had - there are far too many things I'd like to play around with...

Mobile computing
We're still a long way from getting people to use their mobile phones for much more than texting and phoning people. I don't think we will, or that we should, get mobile phones to replace PCs - a keyboard and a big screen are too useful - but they should be more closely integrated. It should be trivial to share data between the two, and have applications that assume you have both and play to each's strengths.
Web 2.0
This seems to be the latest buzzword, but hidden behind the hype there are some good trends in making websites more responsive and user-friendly. Another advantage is that the user doesn't have to worry about the maintenance and administration overhead to keep Web applications (things like Hotmail for an old example, or more recently Writely - a web-based word processor) running properly, but that is at the cost of your data being held by some random company.

As more and more of our data and computer usage moves online, I think we'll need improved abilities to manage our identity in the online world. At present there are two main modes of privacy on the Internet - things that everyone can see, or things that only the individual who owns them can see. It's hard to selectively open things up to other groups of people, such as my family, or my friends. Some form of global identity will not only give us less usernames and passwords to remember for all the services we use, but will also enable easier authentication of our friends and colleagues to allow us to develop semi-private spaces online.

Ubiquitous Computing
This is a catch-all term to cover all sorts of non-computer devices gaining networked computer-like abilities. So it includes things like smart light switches that can turn all the lights in the house off when you go to bed; heating systems that you can text when you leave work so your house is warm when you get home; through to things like this WiFi-enabled rabbit which can light up when your share price falls, or wiggle its ears when your girlfriend moves the ears on hers. All sorts of things that users won't necessarily realise have computers embedded in them, but will buy because they solve a problem.
And my direction?
In the short-term, I'll be playing with the Web2.0 stuff. I've been dabbling in it with a todo-list application that I'm developing for personal use at present, but will be looking to let others play around with it once it's a bit more polished.

And in the longer term I want to experiment with the ubiquitous computing stuff (anyone want to buy me a bunny?) but who know what I'll end up doing?

Posted by Adrian at April 10, 2006 01:51 PM | TrackBack

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Hi Adrian, this is very interesting, and thanks for your response. You have mentioned some really interesting points. Geoff and I are meeting Jenny Chapman from the CEN tomorrow, she wants to know about how to blog a book. I'm going to ask if we can write a column of blogs for her, this would be a good one to include.

Posted by: Ellee Seymour at April 10, 2006 03:19 PM

P.S. I shall blog about this tomorrow, it's such interesting stuff. I love it when people when think ahead like this, even better to work towards making it happen. Good luck, and do keep me posted.

Posted by: Ellee Seymour at April 10, 2006 03:29 PM

Geoff and I are putting together a column for the Cambridge news on local business bloggers, would you mind if I used some of your posts for the article, perhaps the one you sent one on the future of technology. I will obviously mention your site, if that is ok, hope to write it tomorrow morning.

P.S. I tried to email, but details were not correct.

Posted by: at April 12, 2006 08:10 PM
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