February 2008

Monthly Archive

That’s mine!

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 27 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Internet

There’s a lot of debate around people’s data on the internet: who holds it, who owns it, who controls it, how you should be able to access it, how other “parties” should access it, and so on and so forth.
As I was uploading photos on Flickr for the first time the other day (yes, I’m the equivalent of a Neanderthal in the IT geek world, as I didn’t own a digital camera till the year 2008) it occurred to me that there’s more to it than that. Apart from the concerns mentioned above, I feel like I’m missing something. I own those pictures I took, but I don’t have a physical object that represents them (the external hard drive doesn’t count).
This extends far beyond pictures. Take mp3 vs. LP/CD/Tape. Or e-books vs. err, regular books. There’s something satisfying about having a physical object. Something you can look at, hold, feel, be proud of and have it shining down at you from your shelf. Something that gives you the feeling of ownership. And although a lot of things are moving into the digital world and future generations will have less and less to do with physical objects and deal even more in digital entities, I don’t think that feeling of owning a real object will go away. I think it’s something engrained into our genes over thousands of years, and people will keep seeking to satisfy it, one way or another.

How long till the SMS is dead?

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 27 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Internet

While sailing in a sea of flight cancellations and alterations last week, I needed to monitor two different flights, and followed an ad for a website that promised to do exactly that. I registered for a free service that would send me notifications for both these flights and had an impressive collection of airports and airlines it covers (www.flightstats.com). I got a bit disappointed that I could only get the email notifications for free and SMS had to be paid for, but was not surprised. After all, SMS costs money, email is free.
And then I thought twice. I have a PDA and receive my emails instantaneously. The SMS notification would give me no more prompt feedback than the email (apart from the slightly more attention-demanding ringtone). It would actually be limiting the notification in terms of length of the message, whereas email can be a bit more verbose.
So how long till SMS dies? The more people have devices that do email (easily), the less meaning SMS will have. Apart from the possibility of Instant-Messaging style applications on mobile devices that would serve the same purpose, just plain old email will serve the purpose of instant, short-message communication just fine. Perception of the instant nature of SMS in contrast with the usual delays in reading and replying to emails will change as email will be just as instantaneous, and SMS will have little or no reason to exist.
The end is nigh (well, a good two or three decades away perhaps, but definitely in our lifetime) for the SMS…