The iPad is great for some things, but hopeless for others. I’ve had one since its launch in 2010 and I use it every day. It has a terrific battery life, springs instantly to life when opened, is robust and portable and, when fitted with a sim card, provides good connectivity on the move. One could, I suppose, try to write a book, edit a movie or build a big spreadsheet model with it – just as one could, in principle, dig the garden with a teaspoon. But you’d be mad to try. The truth about computing is like the truth about steeplechasing: it’s always horses for courses.
I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.
- Google’s Chromebook set to transform how we think about computers | Technology | The Observer – “On 15 June, Google will officially take the next step on its road to global domination. From that day onwards, online shoppers will be able to buy the Google Chromebook, a device that the search giant hopes will change the way we think about computers – and in the process rain on the parades of Apple and Microsoft.”
- Open-source is great, let’s explode a couple of myths – Some sensible stuff that’s useful reading for anyone overdosing on the OSS kool-aid.
- Workshopping in Peterborough | Kind of Digital – Quick summary of our digital engagement workshop. Want one? Just ask!
- Reconciling identity and place | Curiouscatherine’s Blog – Yet more great thinking out loud by @curiousc
- Alpha.gov.uk: What’s in Your Stack? – Interesting interview about the tech behind AlphaGov
- Faster Future Campaign – Interesting looking rural broadband project based in King’s Lynn.
- nexters | big ideas. inspiring society. – “Nexters is the big society network’s new programme to support the UK’s best social entrepreneurs.”
- Where technology should be used to improve policy-making, and is not – “what about all the conversations where people share problems, suggestions, even solutions, which do not happen on an e-participation web site, but pop out from online communities where people socialize for reasons that have nothing to do with politics?”
- FibreValley – Fibre Valley – Digital Worth Valley – Interesting new community broadband project in Yorkshire.
- On becoming Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office – The new digital director speaks!
You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.
Amazon have just relaunched the Kindle e-reading device in the UK, with a new model, which looks rather spiffy.
Mine is one of the old, white ones – but I still love it. The new one features a new layout which makes the device smaller overall but keeping the same sized screen. The Kindle now supports wifi, which is cool – mine can only use 3G networks.
In the end, however, it’s not hardware that matters, but the effectiveness of the overall system in which the device is embedded. That was the great lesson of the Apple iPod: although the hardware was lovely from the outset, it would never have had the impact it had without the link to iTunes software on the PC/Mac and thence to the iTunes store. Other companies had made nice MP3 players, but none had put together a seamless system for getting music from CDs or online retailers on to them. Apple did and the rest is history.
The evolution of the ebook business reveals the same kind of pattern. First up, in 2006, was Sony, with a beautifully crafted device that had one crippling drawback: the difficulty of getting stuff on to it. A year later, Amazon launched the first-generation Kindle, a device inferior to the Sony product in every respect save one: it had wireless connectivity to the Amazon online store, which meant that purchasing and downloading books on to the device was a breeze. After that, it was game over for Sony and, indeed, for all the other companies that had piled into the e-reader market.
There are a number of cool things about the Kindle, some of which are unique to it, some that aren’t. Here are my top three.
1. Instant books
As John points out in his article, the iTunes-like ability to buy books right away is remarkably powerful. It’s like the difference between ordering a CD online or downloading an MP3 – why wait a day for it to be delivered when you can have it now?
2. Social reading
One thing the Kindle allows you to do is to set bookmarks in your e-books, and also to annotate them with notes. In addition to this, you can also highlight passages to make sure you remember them.
A social layer has now been added to this, in that you can now see what other people who have that book on their Kindles have highlighted. It’s a bit like seeing how many other people have saved a web page in Delicious, and is very cool.
As well as the Kindle e-reader device, Amazon make applications available for other hardware to read books on, including Mac, Windows, Android and iPhone. This enables you to download books to other devices and keep reading even when you don’t have your Kindle on you.
Most obviously useful for phones, the really great thing with the Kindle is the way that when you open a book in one of the apps, it opens on the last page you read on your Kindle. Likewise, when you then open the book on your Kindle, it catches up to where you got up to on the other device.
I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.
- Government Reservists 2 – an idea for the Big Society? | Podnosh – "We do need government to change itself and fast. Might government reservists now be a way for active citizens and government staff to understand each other better, work together more closely and wrought change?"
- Open Data: Challenges & Opportunities « West Midlands Regional Observatory – Interesting event in Brum on 15th July.
- Swansea Scrutiny – Great WordPress based blog site for Scrutiny in Swansea.
- Open Source: Give as well as take – "To this end, I will be encouraging all new WCC application development projects to distribute their source code and documentation under an open source license. The first example of this is the application that drives our open data catalogue, developed using Ruby on Rails and hosted on Heroku."
- Easy Business Finance Software, Simplified Small Business Accounting and Cashflow Planning | inDinero.com – A SaaS accounting package for small businesses. See Kashflow, Freshbooks etc
- How to Build Engaging One-of-Kind Facebook Fan Pages – "Don’t let anyone tell you it is easy to create a successfully engaging Facebook Fan Page. It is not."
- Will the iPhone and iPad finally kill off the Mac? – "Until recently, I would have said that the (open, permissive) Google/Android system would win out over the (closed, tightly controlled) Apple device. But sales of the new iPhone lead one to wonder if it will be Apple, and not Google, which replaces Microsoft as the company we love to hate."
- The Big Society #2: Strengthening local leadership – "Whether they’re called community leaders or organisers, local champions, or bastions of grass roots democracy doesn’t really matter; current and future councillors play a big role in supporting the Big Society."
- 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Opening Up Public Data – 100% Open – "What economic and social value can be generated with all this data? How can we make more innovative products and services for less?"
- Guest Post: A Developers’ Guide to the Linked Data APIs – Jeni Tennison | data.gov.uk – "Linked data offers some great advantages for publishing government data. The approach makes it easy to publish information in a way that allows it to be combined with other sets of data, without an up-front agreement about exactly what information should be published."
You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.