Category Archives: The Future

The tablet that knows you’ve swallowed it

Photo credit: kjarrett

Photo credit: kjarrett

When my Dad – a sufferer of Pick’s Disease – was still living at home, there was always concern about whether he was remembering to take the many tablets he was prescribed.

There were many times where he’d be trying to figure out which day it was and therefore which partition he should open on his very handy seven-day pill dispenser.

Now, though, forgetting to take pills might not be a problem any longer, thanks to advancements in technology.

GigaOm has gone through a bunch of biotech offerings, including an edible microchip that sends a signal to a sensor placed on the skin to indicate that it is being digested.

I bet Jonah wouldn’t mind one of those microchips!

The actual implementation of such technology probably has a lot of factors to consider but it could be hugely useful to Dementia sufferers like my Dad.

Imagine, by mid-morning, having a text message saying “Looks like your Dad forgot his Aricept today. Better check that out.”

Ten minutes later, the pill is being swallowed and doing it’s job.

Brilliant.

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IE8: Saviour of the Semantic Web, or Usability Nightmare?

I’ve been pushing web standards for years, so the news that Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer 8 will support W3C guidelines by default is very welcome from where I’m sitting.

There is one problem, though. They’ve announced that sites including CNN, Facebook and MySpace won’t work correctly. Users of the browser will have to choose to view these sites in “Compatibility View”. That sounds painful. It smacks of the “cancel or allow” ‘safety‘ feature in Vista.

It’s great that Microsoft are finally supporting standards. It’s long overdue and it should give the many standards ignorant web developers in the world a good kick up the arse.

Can you hear the “but” coming?

BUT… what are users going to do when, after upgrading to IE8, their favourite sites stop working? Some won’t even know there are alternative browsers and will think it’s a problem with their PC. Cue lots of restarts, calls to broadband providers and flicking through the Yellow Pages.

Though admirable, could Microsoft’s harsh line just frustrate IE users and web developers? Could this move fuel more browser-switching?

Web Startups are Threatening the Future of the ‘Net

I ignore a lot of the news I come across on a daily basis. One recent example is the lay-offs at web companies. It’s just all a bit too depressing, really.

So why am I blogging about it?

Well, I’ve related it to a bug-bear of mine today. The lack of sensible business planning in internet start-ups.

It’s caught my attention today ’cause I’ve just read Alex Iskold’s post at ReadWriteWeb about Platforms. Alex highlights the examples of Facebook and Google’s OpenSocial as platforms that have risen with great fanfare, only to fall by the wayside. The reason: no business plan.

These platforms were developed without a clear view to monetisation. It makes me cringe every time I hear of a web company being injected with VC funds. I’m scared it’ll be another funky web start-up with a cool free app that makes no money whatsoever.

I’m concerned because the effect could be a bad image for web businesses. While some of us are trying to encourage companies to spend money on the ‘net (for good reason, may I add) all around us companies are laying off staff or closing altogether because they haven’t made enough money. Companies that had no clear road map for success. Surely that’s just bad business decision making?

Let’s take Twitter as an example. I love Twitter. I think it’s a great service now that my initial skepticism has long since passed. It has no business model, though. Instead they “really want to focus right now on just building the infrastructure“. So where’s the return on that $15.1 million in VC funding?

If I were one of Twitter’s 17 staff members, I’d be pretty scared at the moment.

Let me tell you a secret: Last year I left a company I co-founded in part because money was being splashed out on projects that had no hint of a business plan. Now I’m scared that the industry is doing exactly the same thing.

Am I being too cautious and are these companies simply taking a calculated risk? Or is it time to step out of the box for a bit and re-evaluate?

How SEO will eventually die off

I really enjoyed reading Ian Lurie’s take on the death of SEO. He gives us a few ideas as to how SEO will finally meet it’s demise. (Note I’m not questioning whether SEO will die or not!)

I’m going to give you my own take on each of the three theories;

The Slow Meltdown

While it is true that many companies are taking SEO in-house, most SMBs just don’t have the resources to do the same. SEO is a very labour-intensive excercise and smaller enterprises will have to get outside help.

Additionally, even though many larger organisations are moving to in-house SEOs, more and more full service marketing agencies are including SEO in their service offering. Larger businesses are taking advantage of this and are likely to continue doing so for a while yet.

The Sudden Extinction

Ian makes the good point that plenty of industries have survived economic downturn, so why not SEO? In fact, my view is that SEO (or rather, on line marketing) could well be the marketing method of choice in a depression thanks to the ease of measuring performance against other forms of marketing. Not to mention the much better returns that can be gained from the internet.

A Tough Adolescence

I have to agree with Ian on this one, I think he’s got it pretty spot on. On line marketing in general is still very young. SEO is just a small part of that and will eventually be sidelined in favour of a more rounded approach to internet marketing. Businesses are getting wiser to the cowboys and marketing consultants are beginning to embrace and understand the power of the internet.

I believe only the best SEO consultants will remain in a few years, and even they will have to smarten up their approach a little. They’ll become one part of the on line marketing machine, instead of being at the forefront of an entire sub-industry.

The Future

I’m excited. I’ve seen the industry evolve so much over the last few years and it’s only going to get better. My vision of the ethical web is coming closer.