Evolution on the web

ev·o·lu·tion – A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

Things must change, things must differ over time. In the 8 years and 135 days that I’ve been posting to this blog. I’ve written a lot. I’ve written very little too. Posts of pictures, quotes, links to sites that some of you don’t really care about are all things that I think have cluttered up this site at times. When I mo-blog from my phone it adds length to the site that really isn’t needed, when I post links to sites, I’m sure many of you just pass over the post without any regard for what content might be there.

Over the past few months I’ve thought about changing what I do here, how I do it and what kinds of other content I might like to do. I registered and hosted a new domain but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I played with new equipment, tools, and software. I looked at old and new technologies as well as ideas of things still in the pipeline.

I don’t want to get rid of this site. I definitely don’t want to delete it and start over. I want to expand it. I want to make it something on its own with supporting sites coming and going adding content and value. I started with the idea of another WordPress Blog, too much effort to keep up and post to, I went to a podcast, I even recorded one episode that has since go by the way side, way too much to record and post a show when I’m in a hurry. I wanted something quick to post from, like from my phone via SMS, MMS, or even a quick post from a website. I wanted multimedia capabilities, an attractive interface, and a simple design. I wanted light-weight blogging with little effort basically.

I’ve started a Tumblelog. I’m using the Tumblr service and software to basically create more of a stream of consciousness. I Tweet, I blog, now I’m going to put the things that are too long to tweet and too short or just not right for blogging there. Some call this a lifestream, a microblog, a nanoblog, lifelogging and who knows what else, it’s what I want to post at that moment. It’s quick, easy and not written over a long period of time. That’s what this site will remain for, long posts with true content. Not quick photos and quips and quotes.

What is the site you ask? Apartment721.com, there’s even a mobile version for those of you with iPhones, Blackberries and the like, Apartment721.com/mobile.

I’ll post semi-regularly (hopefully) and there will be links back to my tweets and blogs there. You might think of it as more of a central site for me, if you look there you’ll see my tumbl’s (?), tweets, and blog posts as they are all posted. Then you can click the posts to dig further. All in all I hope that this helps me put out more content in a way that everyone wants to see it and keeps the clutter off of this site.

Drop a comment, let me know what you think, although remember that design tweeks are still being made to the new site, be gentle. Things are changing, and I think its a good thing.

OneWebDay 2007

Today is OneWebDay a celebration of the community that exists on the web. It’s a day to celebrate this great huge thing that exists all around the world. In my opinion it’s the one thing that we can all share in. There are no borders, no real class systems that block people from coming on board, there is just this space that we can all share, create and explore together. This isn’t something that can be necessarily controlled, what is taboo in one place may be perfectly fine in another. A space exists for all, whether it be large corporate sites that are entirely commercial to user generated content sites that make money for the creators as well as the owners of the site to totally informational sites about every subject under the sun and beyond and even blogs and other personal sites that are merely there as an outlet to express themselves to others around the world.

I’m proud to be a part of that community, I not only contribute here with my personal thoughts, links and stories but I have also built several websites of varying success for commercial enterprises. The tools that we use to build this community are not just tools; they are works of art. We can use simple tools like notepad and other text editors, complex HTML and WYSIWYG tools and even drag and drop tools that don’t require any knowledge of design or code. Anyone can create a page or site in just a few minutes.

Of course the real gift to community is not the design, layout, and technology of the web, but the content that can be delivered on it. Sites like Wikipedia are not particularly well designed, simple text, images and links are all it takes to get the correct information to you. Other sites like sports sites, news sites, and most social networking sites are enormous arrays of code, images, text, video and community modules that function as a huge organism in and of itself. The content makes the site however. How do you want your information? Do you want simply information in its simplest form, which in my opinion is simple hyperlinked text or do you want to watch a sports event clear across the world with live video? You can have both or something entirely different, look around, if you want it, you can find it and if not, build it, someone else might be looking for it too!

We all contribute here on basically level ground. A large corporation and purveyor of information like CNN must compete with a simple young blogger for readers. Perhaps CNN offers the most complete analysis of the particular story of interest but if the blogger is eyewitness to the event they may have insight that CNN could never hope to have. We are a community and as such must interact with all around us, big, little, corporate and personal.

The community on the web has changed for me in the last year greatly. I’ve changed the way I work on the web and on a computer in general. With my recent acquisition of a Mac I have been thinking of getting a Windows virtual machine software solution to install my software on. I realized quickly though that there is really nothing that I need Windows software for. I use the web for nearly everything I do, I use Quicken, iTunes, and MS Office all of which can be used on the Mac and everything else can be found on the web. We don’t need smart computers anymore, we need a smart network that we can always be connected to.

Since the last OneWebDay I have changed my social networking approach. I’m on Facebook but greatly reduced my friends after a long hiatus from the site altogether. I didn’t want to be involved in the community in the aspect that it was being used. I like using sites like Facebook to stay in touch with friends, but pushing all of their information to me all the time got annoying. I don’t need to know every little thing that people do. I see social networks as a solution to email, a simple way to keep in touch with select people about select things without the need to remember everyone in particular all the time. Sites like Twitter make it possible to send out quick updates on your stream of consciousness quickly but low adoption by the masses have hurt them into being a true way of communication. In the future I think that these sites will catch on with the generation yet to come but being connected in general will continue to grow in ways that we can’t even begin to think of yet.

Tools like the iPhone, Blackberries and smaller and smaller laptops have made keeping up on the happenings of your friends, business contacts, and even news stories all over the world nearly entirely ubiquitous. This is the future, always connected to each other. The way that it’s implemented will be crucial to the future though. There has to be a happy medium between pull and push information. I want to know what my friends are up to, but I don’t need to know exactly what they are doing all the time. I want to know about important news topics during the day, but I don’t need it right now all the time. I want to be able to contact anyone I need at the drop of a hat though in various ways including SMS, email, and voice. Connecting the infrastructure of the old media, phone, television and radio with the infrastructure of the new media like SMS, podcasting, and the web in general will be the next step. How can I get one device to connect me to the world anytime all the time without being cumbersome or bothersome?

I encourage you to participate in this community, in whatever way you can, a blog, a photosite, a podcast, reporting news important to you (firsthand or not), even just adding comments to forums, blogs, and other chances at be social in this space is important. We have built this community and must continue to help it grow.

OneWebDay

Big news not just for geeks

Today was the announcement of the new Apple iPod lineup for the 2007-8 holiday season.  The Shuffle was refreshed with new, pastel-ish colors. The Nano has been entirely changed, now it’s the “Fatty“, short, squat and now with video, this one intrigues me, I probably won’t get one, but I think it’s cool. The iPod that we all know and love is now called the iPod Classic, nothing too crazy honestly, a huge hard drive of 160GB is now available, but honestly, 160Gb of media is a little much for nearly anyone to consume.

The real treats of the day were the new iPod Touch and the updates to the iTunes Music Store adding WiFi and the Starbucks partnerships. The iPod Touch is basically the iPhone without the phone and 3G connection. All the normal iPod functionality with WiFi and Safari browser added.

So you say, “cool I can surf while I listen in my bedroom, don’t I have a laptop for that already?” Sure you do, and you can also surf anywhere there is WiFi, like Panera, school, a friend’s house or even while cruising the neighborhood and stumbling on an open hot spot.

I think we are living in a time where everyone wants to be connected all the time to all of their information. Not long ago I carried a RAZR phone, an iPod video, and a paper calendar/Moleskine. 3 things have now been combined into 1, the iPhone. I’ve had the iPhone since day 1 and it has changed the way I think about things. I can make a call, surf the web, and listen to podcasts without giving a second thought to how to do it, it just works.  I’m grateful for something like that, simplicity is key to success in this case I think. We are all connected with Facebook, MySpace, IM, SMS, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, Pownce and Lord knows what else. We’re connected and demand to be connected all the time to everyone we know. We don’t write letters, we email; we don’t make a quick call for info, we text message. We’re connected and technology makes it possible to be even more so.

With the announcement of the Starbucks partnership and WiFi iTunes Music Store not only can I hear a song at the stor and then instantly purchase it, a true stroke of business genius if you ask me, the impulse buy possibilities are amazing. I can also be connected anytime I’m out.

Surely if you look in most of America today you can find a Starbucks close by.  It’s where we hang out, it’s the meeting place for executives and house wives, for students and senior citizens. It’s a nice place to have a cup of whatever-your-flavor-is-this-week and to chat with friends new and old.

Normally I would have to pay to connect to the WiFi at Starbucks, T-Mobile as far as I know, but now, I own and iPhone (or the new iPod Touch) and I can be connected for free. That’s amazing. The penetration of these things is huge, nearly a million iPhones have been sold and I’m sure the Touch won’t be far behind after the holiday season. Being connected at the neighborhood meeting spot is just another way that we can stay in touch with those around us who aren’t around us physically. I can Twitter while I talk to my best friend face to face and tell 100 people instead of 1.

I want to be connected. I want to have it all, but simply. I don’t want to carry 3 devices, subscribe to half a dozen WiFi carriers and worry about compatibility, an iPhone, an iced tea, and good friend, that’s all I need. I think today was about making connections, simple connections that make this complex world bearable.

Man I’m a geek

I geek’d out last night and today here’s the skinny:

  • I’ve been looking for online calendar apps such as Google Calendar. No such luck yet, but I hear it’s coming soon. In the meantime I checked out Planzo and Kiko, both are pretty cool. They run on AJAX it appears and both seem to be pretty easy to use. The one thing that they are lacking is integration with all my other stuff. Namely my Gmail on Google. It seems that I’ll have yet another site, with yet another login, everyday.
    I do like Planzo’s daily email, it tells you what is coming up today and even has a weekly reminder that is sent on Sunday. Cool Stuff. Google will be the killer-app though once it’s out.
    In reality though what we all need is a public and private calendar with busy/free blocks that is free, available anywhere and to anyone that we deem fit to see it. It should remind us via email/SMS/telepathy of what is coming up. It should integrate seamlessly with our email/IM/everything.
    Of course this is all a pipedream. I’m just going to wait on the Google Calendar to start working.