Sep 9 2009

From Kevin Kelly’s The Technium

From Kevin Kelly’s The Technium

Martin Heidegger: “No one can foresee the radical changes to come.  But technological advance will move faster and faster and can never be stopped.  In all areas of his existence, man will be encircled ever more tightly by the forces of technology.  These forces, which everywhere and every minute claim, enchain and drag along, press and impose upon man under the form of some technical contrivance or other–these forces…have moved long since beyond his will and have outgrown his capacity for decision… Technology is in no sense an instrument of man’s making or in his control. It is rather that a phenomenon that is centrally determining all of Western history.”

These technophobes are right about so many things. The technium is the phenomenon that is centrally determining all of Western history. It is outgrowing our capacity of understanding. It is advancing faster and faster without end. It is proceeding on an autonomous course. It is an end in itself. It is a kind of fate.

This is scary. We have birthed a child more powerful than us, rocketing off to remake our essential nature, yet it zooms beyond our capacity to understand or control, accelerating in power, yet biased in its direction. No wonder the autonomy of the technium provokes such genuine concern.

Yet the very same innate forces of extropy and self-organization that nurture the technological imperative, also are responsible for real progress. We have birthed a child more powerful than us, rocketing the advance of diversity and intelligence,  it multiples on its own, yet it is headed in the direction we’d all like to go — more options, choices, possibilities and free-will.


Aug 4 2009

On reconnecting with the MIS community

I am off for AMCIS Thursday and looking forward to a fun few days. It has been some time for me to visit an “MIS” conference. In the mean-time I have been working on:

founding the digital business group, digital entrepreneurship

future internet economics

social network monetization and value

I am very interested in where this discipline that took me in has come since last I checked in. I will also be recruiting for the Saunders MIS group, which is one of a variety of disciplines in the College that fit together nicely. Can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

If you want to meet up in San Fran, try vperotti@saunders.rit.edu or twitter message me @vicperotti


Jun 9 2009

The Best Smart Phone Today

Smartphone #3: On Choosing iPhone 3GS over the Palm Pre and others

I wanted to document my decision, because I made it with a lot of research and care.  As you may know, I am very interested in mobile computing, both for my personal use and as a research topic. I was an early adopter of smartphone technology, signing up for the $400 Palm Treo 600 WAY back in the day (November 2003) on Sprint. After years and years of this phone, I bought its successor, the Palm Treo 700P in Summer 2006 on Verizon. Again, pricey! BOTH of these phones have been terrific, and the name “Treo-man” has been applied to me and my superhero abilities using these smartphones. I knew from early on that smartphones would change the nature of computing and work.

What the Treos have had right from the beginning is: responsiveness, qwerty keyboard and support for one-handed use.  What they have lacked is: a decent camera, wifi, an attractive UI and capacity to hold lots of music/apps.  The Treos really helped to start the smartphone landscape, and the current leader, iPhone owes a lot to their design: touchscreen, and open applications. Unfortunately, the Palm company has been unable to innovate as quickly as RIM and Apple. They were overtaken and surpassed over the last few years.

Saturday, however, may have marked a new beginning for Palm. The MUCH-anticipated Pre reminds me of the best of Palm’s creativity- new form factor, nice keyboard, great display and best of all WebOS. The new Palm OS promises integration of  a lot of the tools I already use.  There is no doubt it is cool. I wanted it, badly, and my contract with Verizon is up.

But, there is a problem- Palm has made an exclusive agreement with Sprint to sell this phone. Because it runs CDMA, it could potentially only work under Sprint and Verizon. The rumors suggest it may be out on Verizon late, late this year and/or a simpler candybar version (Eos) on GSM networks (AT&T, etc) coming out later this year. Sprint was never my favorite back in the day, and the thought of returning was not attractive, but I still considered it.

And then there is the fact that I am part of a family, and soon all the contracts will be up. Staying with Verizon would be fine (and I like the early renewal options) BUT the choice of phones is much much worse than AT&T. The fam simply could not find good alternatives to stay with Verizon, and honestly neither could I! I could downgrade/lateral move to the Palm Centro. I considered lots of different Blackberries, but I don’t care for their user interface (especially moving the cursor).

In the end, I discovered that AT&T offers the same discount for me as Verizon, so I took a look and found MUCH better choices not only for me but for the whole family. Now, I could choose the Nokia E71X, or even the N97. But I looked and looked and read and researched (thanks engadget.com especially). I almost bought an iPhone 3G last week (HUGE POTENTIAL MISTAKE!) after asking lots of friends about theirs.

Yesterday, I watched the liveblog of the Apple WWDC, and I was sold on the iPhone 3GS with iPhone OS 3.0.  It definitely will lead the pack in terms of hardware, and the applications are unrivaled. The interface I will just get used to like the millions of others.

My conclusion has been echoed all over the place: The Best Smart Phone Today is Apple iPhone 3GS.