“Get off of My Cloud”

Having watched and read about the trends and opinions I had blithely assumed ( mea culpa ) that the future of personal computing would be in the cloud.
By cloud computing I am inferring a slightly different meaning to the official meaning – more of a JoeBloggs sort of definition. Virtual server storage. Suspect this is actually becoming the generally accepted definition. Bit like defining web2.0 and everyone has a different meaning for that!I would be connecting directly online via a Samsung Chromebook and renting virtual garage space from Amazon Cloud Services, the friendly face of Easi Cloud?

That was all fine and fuzzy until two incidences rocked my faith in the uber etailer. The first incidence was that my account at Amazon was hacked and electronic goods were ordered to be delivered to Vietnam ( the hacker actually added his own credit card details lol )

The customer service was appalling to say the least and inspite of cancelling the order the associated company actually despatched the goods! Major Fail.

The next issue was that they reneged on two orders which I consider were contractually agreed. I would have expected a company like Amazon to honour purchase agreements but no apparently not so. Pretty dodgy yet again. But because of their massive size they get away with shoddy behaviour. Both situations could have been quickly and easily rectified by a reasonable customer communication ( service if you like?)

Anyway, I guess you can see where this is going?

How could I consider entrusting all my private data and storage to a feckless and transient bunch?
So that rules out the High Street Cloud ( actually more market stall than High Stret come to think of it…)

So now the search is on for a personal Cloud service, a bit like storage rentals – you knoe the ones? You see the signs on every roundabout and business park – warehouse space to rent.

What if we could sublet server space from trusted partners? Consortial Clouding?

My search is now on for the future cloud store – wouldn’t it be great if it was called “Silver Lining”?



Coming up next: Touch Screen Navigation and the ultimate Smart Surface

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Patently Oblivious?

Why are we all stressing about patents acquisitions? The length of time that the beurocracy takes to deal with patents and trademarks is ludicrous when you think just how fast the technologies are evolving. Your technology is outdated by the time the paperwork is finalised.

Patent sPending…….
Recent months have seen a number of high profile companies duelling to acquire patent rich companies. Nortel and Motorola are two of the recent news stories – just Google news and there are pages and pages of opinions voiced.

Is it to protect against counter legal actions? Is it to increase the assets of the company? Is it indeed an indication of the directions that the companies are moving into – a public statement of intent?

Or is it really just to keep the many legal teams and departments wrapping the freedom of the internet and imagination in red tape?

Never mind –  technology is evolving faster than it ever has, platforms come and fade, interaction takes to the ether with the aid of HTML5 and the interaction point is now just a screen, whether on a laptop, a tablet or a mobile device.

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Mark Z you keep asking me to donate my data free? And then you…..you sell it.

Facebook refinements drive niche marketing – that is as solid as the fact that the mega corps valuations are based on data mining ( Plenty of previous posts on Open cast data mining and Facebook domination ) . With the advent of this latest status option – the ability to announce on Facebook that you are expecting ( Does this work on the father’s profile too – wicked way to out a footballer’s love children lol ) you are creating a niche advertising magnet. The second that you update your status expect to get flooded with pampers, wipes and samples of all pregnancy baby paraphenlia.

What next? Lets segregate pet owners? Add your household data to your profile? Owned by/In a relationship with two dogs and three cats? – Expect pet accesories and food offers.

Lets not forget culinary preferences – we need options for omnivore/carnivore/vegetarian/vegan/gluten free. More neat niche advertising magnets.

But just wait up a moment – If you – like me – are fed up of spam, then maybe this targeted advertising is not such a bad  thing after all? Lets face it I am sooo fed up with Living Social offers which are not local and definately not for me lol!

And now finally to the point:

BUT and this is a massive caveat, why should Zuckerberg earn his billions through selling MY data admittedly freely given. How about we have a look at a fairer concept – I will tailor profiles and provide comprehensive data, provided that you reward me properly. Not just random discounts but a proper return for my data.

Room for discussion?

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All publicity is good publicity right ? The era of the Toxic Brand and social media’s voice.

If the Murdoch’s coined the phrase Toxic Brand then AirBnB are certainly perpetuating it. Every RSS feed, update, Tweet is focussing on the about turn repair that AirBnB are trying to influence opinion and repair their brand. Too little too late.


Once you could release information to the press for timely dissemination to the uninformed proletariat and control what your brand portrays. Now the backlash that is social media is showing it’s power.
I’m not going to rehash the story behind the Toxic Branding story – suffice it to say a touch of naive management of events, which was rapidly spread about the internet world. Had AirBnB not been pretty much spamming the webs with adverts this effect would likely not have happened as to be on radar you have to be a familiar brand.

As with the launch of Color, and the subsequent backlash post launch. Manage expectations based upon a trial and lets get back to proper focus group testing and human reactions. This new era of communication demands a degree of transparency that would scare a politician!
Brand management in this era of authenticity is an art requiring an understanding of the human mind and not just legacy marketing strategies.

New era New rules.
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Face Recognition – The Elephant in the Room

Back in June of this year, Facebook enabled auto tagging for photographs. The storm of controversy that this unleashed resounded around the net and resulted in a rapid reversal and face recognition was swiftly hidden behind a multitude of privacy settings.So we do still care about personal privacy and face recognition has gone a step too far for the majority of us. Nerves were still frayed after the personal onslaught that was the Google street car ( and perish the thought that the streetcar mapped thousands of IP addresses en route – yet more open cast data mining) so that when face recognition was enabled on Facebook, thousands of us imagined all sorts of implications. OK OK I have an over active imagination – oh…no wait even The Daily Mail ( thanks to ASG for the link ) are envisioning a future where faces are matched and that to search someones information all you need to is take a photo.

Are we surprised that this portal between the real world and the virtual exists? Play about in Layar and that seems wonderful but not quite the direct link. I suppose the best way that I can think about the portal is that the face recognition is just like a QR code for faces.

Q R Face Code

So the giants in the tech trade learn from their mistakes. Sure they do….Facebook requires individuals to register a name, Google forgets to implement this from the start so that when beta invites are taken up by names that Google do not compute they are evicted sans notice.Now we hear that Google have acquired new face recognition technology – are we about to be claimed and named in all our photos?

I suppose that I am uneasy about this because I manage my online presence in that I am constantly aware of the implications of tweeting 4square updates ( default disabled purely because it annoys me seeing updates from others) I know just how much information I am happy with sharing.

As with the Color app I do not like nor feel comfortable with invasive or non consenting technology. If it is a case of allowing this technology each time then that would be ok. Probably more so because photos of me on the internet are seriously ultra rare so by my reckoning not gonna get tagged and outed lol

So to sum up – QR codes on t shirts with your Google+ / Facebook url are cute and funny, auto face recognition data creepy. Voluntary and known vs unknown and sneaky.I am anonymous

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Toxic Branding and Social Media Influencers

What was that old adage “There is no such thing as bad publicity”? I think that may have Rupert Murdoch rolling in his grave – no not been Lulzsec hacked – just a phrase

Up until the last few weeks you could probably have got away with the “all publicity is good” theme, however now I do wonder if the so called Toxic Brand may be emerging. The dirt certainly seems to be sticking to News Corpse and with the daily emergence of emails and invoices the future is not looking quite so rosey.

The advent of web2 – for the want of a better description of the evolving internet communication channels –  has altered the voice of the masses. We witnessed the influence of the campaign led by Mumsnet, Twitter and Facebook to curb advertising spend to NOTW which resulted in the closure of the paper. ( Minor caveat here – founder of Mumsnet Justine Roberts, married to Ian Katz, deputy ed of The Guardian?)

Evolution in motion?

There is a new force to be reckoned with here, the power of the social media. The days of press releases to the papers and television advertising will no doubt continue in a legacy media fashion. Time to watch the online influencers and how they operate.

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Google+ – Secret Circles, Mobile vs Web Experience and Sharing

Secret Circles
Circles are your very own catalogue and filing system and how you set up and manage them will largely depend on how you use the share and read functions.
Circles can be embedded and duplicated which make micromanaging possible, in depth instructions can be found here
I like the ability to pick out individual names to have a private conversation with, this needs to be differentiated somehow – maybe though settings and enabling a theme? A different highlight for messages shared with one individual. Maybe we could customise this so that we can theme all levels?

There have been some great speculation as to what people have named the circles that you are filed under…”Who is this”, through to “Fit” and you know who you are!  Speculation as to the oddest names for circles abound, although my guesses are that a large number will have an inner circle.

Aside: What if Google search picks up the names of your secret circles to deliver targetted advertising? That could be fun lol

Mobile vs Web experience
One issue I have with the Google+ which is a massive disappointment to me. The disparity between the mobile experience and the online functionality. It could be two totally independent projects, and with HTML5 why not enable user’s to enjoy the full experience? I feel like when I am on the mobile app ( hiss spit 😉 ) that I am pretty disconnected, I can upload images direct to the web but I can’t reply or comment to stream. I am reduced to sticking my nose to the window and watching the party within.

Sharing from Google+

I love being able to share direct to Twitter, and supposedly Facebook but I did notice that a few were saying that FBook has thrown their toys out of the pram YET again and disallowed this.

[Tea break whilst I go check…]

Hmmm photos shared to Facebook wall now only appear as a link.. They did post last night so this is a new change. Tsk shame on you FB kiddies.

Note the change from photo to link

Charitable conclusion – maybe the interface has changed and this will get fixed?

Will G+ remain 18+

Whilst bearing in mind despite the circa 20m users this is still Beta ( OK OK I know Gmail only just graduated….)  it could well be that it is over eighteen for a reason at this point and that it will open to over thirteen at some stage. I am not sure how I personally feel about this. I know I have tweeted that the atmosphere is largely more sensible and why not leave the kids stuff to FBook?
That said the teens are very active users, and would probably not appreciate the dysfunction between the mobile experience. FBook is actually better to use on the native app.

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