Wisdom of the Crowd

The “People” have spoken!

The “People” can declare a victory as the US House and Senate have shelved their respective votes on the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation.  This is how crowd-sourcing is supposed to work!  If the informed population can continue this level of engagement with our politicos, there might be some really disruptive changes made in our country.  I fear, however, that this could backfire if an especially vocal faction wishes to push their agenda on an unsuspecting public.  But, for now at least, we can see how the power of the people works and bask in the glow.

The real danger of these two pieces of legislation was that they were created by people who don’t understand the internet infrastructure.  I don’t believe that legislators should be allowed to make laws regarding the internet or technology in general without certified technical guidance.  In private sector business, translating business needs into technical specifications is a process and we should adapt that model to the government sector.  Think before you act!

Research (clearly NOT) In Motion

Those who know me are aware that I’m a BlackBerry fanboy.  I have always liked the platform and the devices are normally rock solid.  But RIM is truly an example of a company who has not adapted to the new way of doing business.  When they recently released the Torch 9850 touch screen device, I ran out and got it on the day of its release.  I was going to wait for the iPhone 5 but now I’m glad that I didn’t.  Once again, I’m disappointed with my decision, not because the phone is bad, but it’s not great and that’s what I wanted and hoped for.  The improvements in the touch screen and keyboard are exceptional and equal the Android™ devices I have tested and are close to being as good as the iPhone.  The new OS is a lot quicker than the old, but it still has a lot of problems (and that‘s after 2 updates).  This is uncharacteristic for RIM and shows that they still don’t know how to react to the market quickly.  I firmly believe that replacing the co-CEO’s and shedding some of their non core products is necessary if the company is to survive.  The Playbook should never have been created and it wasted a lot of resources that otherwise might have created some value in their smartphone line.  The implementation of touch screens on devices with physical keyboards seems inappropriate when you use the phone but I guess some users like them just like I am fond of the 9850.

Then there is the problem of apps and peripherals.  Almost all of the peripheral manufacturers and app devs have abandoned the BlackBerry.  I went to BestBuy to find a case for my phone, and there were none for my device.  After looking around, I found 2 accessories for the phone and nothing else.  That will spell doom for the brand.  If RIM can’t persuade folks to develop for the platform, then they are truly out of business.

Apple disrupting again

Apple has announced a proposed system to replace classroom texts with iPads and electronic versions of materials used for study.  I hesitate to call them “texts” because they will be so much more than what they are replacing.  I think this is a great idea as long as they come up with a funding model that treats every school the same so that less fortunate schools in the inner cities will have the same advantages as suburban and parochial schools.  I also believe they should produce an educational version of the device that doesn’t have access to the full app store and is limited in its messaging functionality. Why?  Emails and texts during class will be so much easier since they are supposed to have the device out during class (unlike their cell phones).  I hope Apple pursues this with the same creativity and fervor they have with the iPhone.

On a curious side note, I have a document that I created describing a method of licensing texts to iPads through server based distribution.   I created this system to allow schools to be able to purchase “on demand” subscriptions for e-texts based on the number of people who downloaded them from a central server.  Kind of interesting but I never went anywhere with it.  Now maybe I should!