Technology

Sharing the Learning Curve: How the iPad has changed the way grandparents and grandchildren communicate

Sharing the Learning Curve: How the iPad has changed the way grandparents and grandchildren communicate
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“I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself what a wonderful world,” sang Louis Armstrong once upon a time.

And these words resonate in a world where technology has advanced light years in just a matter of decades. After all, when the grandparents of today’s grandchildren were babies, the earliest computers were large enough to fill an entire room. There was no internet as we know it. There was no – GASP! – Facebook. There was no app for that. And now? Well, we carry our virtual lives in the palms of our hands.

While this generation of grandparents can probably remember the first time they watched color TV, children today are born into a culture of technology: With child-friendly apps on cellphones, babies as young as eighteen months can draw their finger along a phone screen and create a picture. (You know, provided their parents are brave – or desperate for a few minutes of quiet — enough to let them.)

It seems like while kids these days are whizzing by on the technology fast track, and Grandma and Grandpa are taking the slow train, that there is no common virtual rest stop for these two different generations to sit down together and ‘chat.’

Oh, but not so.

How the iPad has changed the way grandparents and grandchildren communicate

Enter the iPad.  With a user-friendly interface, the iPad is ideal for those who are behind the technological learning curve.  Unlike a computer, the iPad is more intuitive to master, and allows the user to focus on the task at hand, whether it be an ebook, an interesting online article, an app geared toward seniors, or a chat program.

While using chat programs on the iPad, grandparents can now more easily connect with their grandchildren in a very real (albeit virtual!) way:  Even when Little Jack lives in Los Angeles and Grampa John lives in Brooklyn, they can  communicate several times a day in ways that foster a deeper relationship and create talking points for when they are able to meet.   And because kids are ahead of the technology learning curve, the iPad functions almost like a school tablet where grandchildren become the teachers and the grandparents are the avid pupils.

This quirky role reversal allows the generations to connect like never before, and next thing you know, both Little Jack and Grampa John will be watching Lady Gaga together on youtube in real time, three timezones away.

 

 

From touch-screen to touch-skin

From touch-screen to touch-skin
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Microsoft’s research lab in partnership with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has brought life to a true sci-fi-secret-agent concept: Using skin as a touchable gadget! The general idea is simple: A projector displays images somewhere on your body — say, your arm, for example — and a sensor captures your touch. Really cool, right? With such technology you can play games, control an MP3 player, make phone calls, and much more…the possibilities are endless. For a more detailed explanation of the invention, check out the video:

Via:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18591-body-acoustics-can-turn-your-arm-into-a-touchscreen.html
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/cue/skinput/
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/skinput-turns-your-arm-into-a-touch-screen/
A projector displays images somewhere on your body

End of an Era

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Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…

Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Click. Boom. Amazing!

 

Everything is a remix – the truth about creativity

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If you are going to watch only one video today – this should be it.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

 

Gatekeepers Make a Lot of Sense

Gatekeepers Make a Lot of Sense
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I love Techdirt. Their cynical writing style is fun to read. Their in-depth knowledge is amazing. But they are missing the point in their post about entertainment industry:

Gatekeepers don’t make much sense.

Actually they do. In a world where media distribution was complex and expensive, gatekeepers enabled the whole industry to exist. But now, the internet is changing the game, as Mike says clearly in his post:

But the amazing thing about the internet is that it knocks down fences and walls with ease.

In a world without fences there are still gatekeepers – they are just different ones. Facebook and Google are the new gatekeepers. We need them. We need them to help us find what we want and communicate with our friends. By providing this value they become the new gatekeepers.

I fully agree with Mike’s statement, that the entertainment industry doing as much as possible to cripple innovation. These guys are not ready yet to change their business model. It is probably because there isn’t any viable alternative that will provide the same revenues and profits. But there is no free love – when one gatekeeper collapse, another one is taking its place.

Image by Pink Sherbet

Playbook – #Fail

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I was really looking forward to see a major company releasing a proper contender to the iPad. RIM looked like the best one to do just that. But Walt has some bad news:

“….But that isn’t the biggest distinction between the PlayBook and the other tablets. This first edition of the PlayBook has no built-in cellular data connection and lacks such basic built-in apps as an email program, a contacts program, a calendar, a memo pad and even RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger chat system.
To get these features with your $500 PlayBook, you must use it with a nearby BlackBerry phone connected to it wirelessly over a short-range Bluetooth connection. Once this link is made, these critical applications pop up on the PlayBook’s screen, via a system called Bridge.
But these are essentially ghosts of the same apps on the phone. In my tests, I could use them from the tablet, where they looked nicer, and they did synchronize with the phone. But when I broke the connection, the apps became grayed-out and the data they held disappeared. It is all stored on the phone….”

You can’t beat a great product with crap.

Atavist and the New Content Ecosystem

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Couple of days ago I ran across Atavist, a simple and well designed iPad app. This application is simple. You download it for free, but every story you’d like to read costs ~$3. What you get for your hard earned cash is an  in depth article, 12,000 words length, with additional multimedia content. All storied are non fiction, and based on long and in depth research. The writers are well known journalists, writing for Wired and The New Yorker.
As an avid fan of crime films, I bought the story of a famous bank heist in Sweden. The long and detailed story included videos from the heist itself, photographs of the suspects, maps of the event, timeline and more.

I am intrigued by the business model of this publication. Selling individual articles was a model that was discussed in the past. I didn’t believe in it, but the fact that I bought the story, read it from beginning to end, and would gladly pay again for interesting articles, makes me wonder if this model is more viable than I’ve expected. Is this another glimpse on the future of publishing? I am not certain yet. But in the mean time, go, download the app and judge it yourself.

iPad and the (Bleak) Future of Publishing

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eMediaVitals, website geared toward publishers going digital, and FIPP digital content partner,  invited me to write a column about digital media, platforms and business models.
The first article describes  why Jobs is not the knight in a shining armor for publishers, and why technology is not the answer to the challenges the industry is facing.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

You can find it here.

What Makes Quora Such an Amazing Product

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Steve Case, founder of AOL at Kinnernet in Isr...
Image via Wikipedia

The recently launched Quora grabbed my attention as soon as I started using it. I find myself spending more and more time on this question and answers site and it seems that I am not alone.

What makes it so awesome?
1. Authority – I am still amazed with the depth of the answers on the site. Let me give you an example – a question was asked about  the causes  failure of AOL Time Warner merger. While on Facebook and Twitter such a question would be answered by many, but not the most knowledgeable, on Quora, Steve Case (AOL chief at the time) himself gave his point of view on the matter. When a person asked how did Amazon decide to enter the cloud computing market, Amazon’s CTO answered him directly. What else could you ask for? In a sense, the fact that content is edited and removed if not informative enough, makes this platform so great.
2. Content discovery – Quora is all about topics and people. You can follow a topic or person over time and continuously learn more. This is just awesome. I follow the topics I am interested in, and people I value their opinion and knowledge.
3. Ease of use – first time you use it, you already know how to find relevant questions, as well as post your own.
4. Diversity – whenever I login, I find a question about SEO techniques, followed by a philosophical question about the meaning of life. As a guy who loves to read random Wikipedia articles, this site is a great way to learn about topics in the world around us that normally we don’t stop to think about. This thread is a great example.

I love Quora – it’s a key part of my online toolbox. If you didn’t try it yet – I highly recommend you do.

Exploring the Future of Video Communication

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Next week, as part of IMTC’s Annual Meeting,  I am moderating a panel with the leaders of Telepresence and video communication market worldwide, including Cisco, Avaya, LifeSize Communication, Polycom, Radvision and more. Also, we will host standards organizations that lead the way in making video communication ubiquitous – IMTC (event hosts), UCIF and SIP Forum.
You can join the event via phone and video conferencing – all the details here. The event takes place on Wednesday, November 3, from 10:00 – 13:00 PST (Pacific).
If the future of video communication important for you – join us.