Some interesting reads from the last few weeks:
- Clay Shirky at Web 2.0 Expo on the cognitive surplus (Web 2.0 video) – Author Clay Shirky spoke recently on how much could be done if only a fraction of the time spent watching TV is put to other uses. He estimates that 2,000 Wikipedias could be created with just the time Americans spend watching TV in a year. (I just clicked off the TV to write this post.) While Shirky focuses his talk on production of content, all that production also has a significant effect on consumption. Time is a zero-sum game. The time I spend on Facebook or reading about Jon’s exploits in Russia is time I’m not spending with TV or traditional media. And for every producer, there are at least 10 to 20 consumers.
- Larry Page on how to change the world (Fortune) – Google co-founder Larry Page lays out the challenges we face in changing the world. The core problem is that not enough people and companies take risks. Part of this undoubtedly is due to the risk/reward systems in most companies. Innovation (and the people who chase it) are often the first to go when belts need to be tightened.
I was at a conference last week where Erik Jorgensen of Microsoft demoed some amazing technologies in mapping, such as 3D map tours. A questioner from the audience, a Microsoft shareholder, asked what the ROI was. Fortunately, Microsoft and Google do well enough in their core businesses that most investors give them the freedom to innovate.
- ‘CSI’ sleuths out Microsoft’s latest technology (USA Today) – CSI:NY producer Anthony E. Zuiker is teaming with folks at Microsoft labs to bring bleeding edge technology to viewers. (And no doubt frustrating real life criminalists with increased expectations.) Last week’s episode featured Microsoft’s Photosynth technology. CSI:Miami used variations of Microsoft’s Surface computing. Microsoft isn’t the only one in the CSI product placement game; many of the pictures processed by the Photosynth technology in that episode were taken with iPhones.
- Honda system to warn motorists of crime hotspots (AFP) – In-car navigation systems and PNDs are getting more data rich all the time. On recent Acuras you can get Zagat ratings. With a Dash Express PND, you have access to Yahoo! Search results. Now, in Japan, your Honda can tell you when you’re in a dangerous neighborhood. I suspect that fears of redlining and disparate data sources will keep that from happening here. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising Dash users use create and share localized feeds for such an app.