When you’re in the business of developing and promoting ubiquitous communications and interaction, it’s something of an axiom that, as long as there are good virtual and physical communication links, it should be possible to live and work pretty much anywhere you choose. There’s also a time to put your own money where your mouth is. So that’s what we’ve done: after a couple of years of hunting high and low in and around some rather wonderful parts of the world, we’ve now moved both selves and Two Worlds to a 200-year-old farmhouse in the unbelievably beautiful Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Continue reading Northern Lights
Russia is a fascinating market: The “triple whammy” of rapidly rising wealth, a high degree of urbanisation (73% of the population live in cities) and the rapid rollout of next-generation network technologies means that the market for broadband delivery of digital media is set to explode (and that’s before factoring in those long Russian Winter nights). Continue reading Russian Leapfrog
I can bore for Europe on the subject of sustainability in modern living. Which doesn’t mean I’m especially good at it (yet), simply that I talk and write about it a deal whilst slowly changing my own lifestyle to something a little more exemplary. So I’m pleased to say that I’ve been invited by the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission (The government’s sustainable development watchdog) to join the Sustainable Development Panel, providing debate and feedback on the need and/or effectiveness of policies that affect the environment and our part in it.
I’ve spent most of the last few years consulting in the areas of dynamic and emergent knowledge systems, interaction and communication. That encompasses everything from arm-waving vision generation through strategy development to procurement, configuration and training. And, where I couldn’t badger someone else into doing it, the coding too. Much of the work has been based around the Ubiquity principles of trusted collaborative interaction mediated by the core tetrad of association, value, knowledge and identity. That’s a very useful model, but one that is oft easier to communicate when a specific example is used: starting with the original architecture and roadmap for h2g2, I’ve also been using a slightly hypothetical scenario of creating a collaborative knowledge-centred community around communicating a global issue, one which brought together organisations, communities and individuals of many different types around knowledge related to a need that had a universal context: in subject, location, time and intent. That’s generally worked well for me and my clients.
But now it’s time to put my money (what there is of it) where my mouth is: to create just such a service, in an area I feel passionately about – maintaining the richness and diversity of culture and life on our planet in the face of human activity driving fundamental changes to the world’s climate, at a rate which looks to exceed the ability of ourselves and other species to adapt. It’s also one which brings together my alternate lives as biologist, computer scientist and social entrepreneur: Full circle into the future.
So here’s BlueGlobe (http://www.blueglo.be/) – a placeholder for the start of an intelligent, emergent online service designed to bring together the core constituencies of Climate Change: Businesses, governments, scientists, the media, educators and individuals and communities. It’s very early days yet – I’ve managed to accumulate a wonderful team of thinker-doers and we’re getting stuff together as fast as resources permit. Although if I have to spend very much longer training a Bayesian RSS filter NOT to tag anything that mentions Al Gore as Irrelevant, I may live to regret it. So please take a wander over there and sign yourself up for news of developments as they happen – it won’t be long.
The MacBook Pro is a very cool, very fast and very shiny computer. But, as of now, largely pointless for me: until such time as core applications for the photographer and image munger are released as Universal Binaries, I’d simply be paying more for a machine that ran Photoshop and its ilk more slowly than my existing machine (under the Rosetta emulation environment), and which wouldn’t run some plug-ins at all. Unless I was using Aperture as the heart of my workflow (which I can’t, due to its current, “limitations” in RAW conversion), the only benefit would be that the Finder, email and text editor would run ludicrously fast (and they’re fine already). The first generation MacBook Pro has also taken some backward steps in its specification that smack of a rush to market.
“Is the Human an Endangered Species?” by Professor Robert Winston
Save the Rhino International and the Environmental Investigation Agency are co-hosting the Fourth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture with a talk by Professor Robert Winston, on Thursday 23 March at the Royal Geographic Society in London SW7. In this talk, he will combine some of the apparently threatening aspects of technology and the trust, or lack of it, in science.
I’ve been invited to give the fourth in the Urban Learning Space‘s Learning Seminars series, on the seamless integration (or lack thereof) between our physical existence and our increasingly important virtual identities:
The When: Thursday 26th January 2006
11.30am – 2.00pm (includes lunch)
The Where: The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU
Gallery, Level 5.
Contact: Alison, or on 0141 225 0107.
As we individually and collectively communicate and interact, moving between our physical and virtual worlds, we need to refine and integrate our knowledge of both into our lives, to create and maintain who we are, beyond just our physical selves and our immediate communities. So how do we bridge the divide between the two, and what tools are around to help us do this? Who are we and how do we prove who we are, beyond our physical presence? How do we connect with virtual communities and knowledge networks and how do we ensure that these are integrated into our physical lives, and vice versa?
The vServer is an electronic publishing, blogging and collaboration platform, based around a flexible jigsaw of “best-of-breed” Open Source and Open Architecture components. The various elements of the jigsaw can, at need, be combined, substituted and integrated with existing enterprise infrastructures to provide a flexible architecture for the creation and maintenance of dynamic web sites, online communities, team collaboration and mobile device and service integration.
…Long live the, ah, MacBook.
So we’re starting with sad note in technohistory: I’ve been surgically attached to both the name and entity of Powerbook since it first appeared rather more than fourteen years (and to my laughingly named Mac ‘Portable’ before that), so I’m unlikely to convert to the casual dropping of, “I’ll just grab my MacBook…” overnight. Or possibly not ever. And what happens when Apple migrates their Power Mac range to Intel – do we end up with the Mac Mac?
But enough of the sentimental maundering – this is supposed to be about what the Intel shift means to travelling photographers and meedja types, for whom a <whatever>Book is their weapon of choice, and for those Wintel frustratees who are considering a shift, now that direct platform comparisons are possible for the first time.
First things first, then – just what is a MacBook, and what’s changed from the previous generation of PowerPC-based machines?
A full specification is available on the Apple web site, so I’m not going to reiterate that, but concentrate on what’s changed, for better and worse. The basic industrial design remains as for the 15″ Aluminium PowerBooks, albeit in a case that’s 1cm wider than before, but a couple of mm slimmer – almost back to the thickness of the PowerBook Ti. Depth remains the same. Strange to tell, that little extra slimness is much more significant for travelling than the extra centimeter of width – I’ll happily trade a bit of footprint for something I can stuff into the narrowest possible space in a crowded equipment bag. A good start then. Now for the rest…