The Future of RSS

Richard MacManus writes: “In the not too distant future, more people will subscribe to topic/tag/remix feeds than feeds of actual people.”

He adds in a follow-up post:

The killer app for RSS probably won’t be geared towards the current ranks of bloggers and geeks. When RSS hits it big, it’ll be because ‘normal’ people start using it – your Mom and Dad, Frank from Marketing, Jessie from Payroll, Dave from the local dairy. They won’t be bloggers. They won’t be interested in writing or podcasting or anything like that. All they’ll want to do is track news and trends that are relevant to them.

Tools will evolve to let people easily set-up personalized searches for information relevant to them and subscribe to the results – using, you guessed it, RSS! Google will probably be the front-runner, PubSub will be another, current players like Bloglines and Technorati will be in amongst it, and who knows who else.

In the future RSS will still be a community enabler, but by far its biggest use will be as a means to subscribe to personalised news and other information important to the lives of non-blogging people. Examples of the information I’m talking about: stocks, bank statements, weather, information needed for one’s job, sports news, niche information (the long tail), lots of other things we can’t predict yet 😉

Mobile Games in India

The Feature has an article by Mike Masnick:

Over in India, where mobile phones are pervading all aspects of life, it appears that mobile games may be catching on because they’re cheap, simple, and easily accessible. This is in comparison to more traditional console gaming systems that require additional expensive hardware purchases, and where each game can be quite expensive.

However, when combined with the fact that many are getting mobile phones already for the connectivity aspect to it, mobile games are getting more attention. Unlike mobile broadcast, the games tend to be much more interactive, and can be designed in ways that make it easier for users to play the games to fill up their “idle time,” rather than having to schedule around larger chunks of content that is being broadcast to them. Finally, adding in the connectivity part, and creating games that use location based info can make the games that much more enticing and interesting to users.

In the meantime, however, it sounds like the mobile games being offered in India are fairly simple. Many of the popular games are still based on marketing tie-ins and licensed content (such as games based on comic book characters). There’s nothing wrong with “simple” gaming, of course. Simple games online are what has made online gaming so popular. While it may be things like Xbox Live that gets all the headlines, simple online card games tend to be more popular across the board — and that’s likely to remain true with mobile gaming as well. In fact, by incorporating location based info into the mobile gaming world, the simplicity of the game can work to its advantage. The more complex the actual game is, it’s often just covering up how little is actually appealing in the game. Simple, mobile games that draw in users are likely to continue to catch on much faster than big productions with big names.

The Urban Grid

WorldChanging writes about AlmereGrid, “a city-wide distributed computing grid. Taking advantage of the fiber-optic network installed in the town of Almere, in the Netherlands, AlmereGrid will be the first “heterogeneous city computer Grid” in the world, and will initially be used for medical and scientific research.”

AlmereGrid aims to select a number of essential and appealing applications with researchers “from the neighbourhood”. The advantage is that computing time donors can establish a relationship with the ongoing research. The computing time donors will receive a programme that has to be installed on their computer. AlmereGrid will only use the processors of the connected systems whenever the owner is not using the computer.

WorldChanging: “As fiber optic networks get installed in more communities, projects like this will become easier and easier to do. The motivations for joining in on projects will vary — some places will do so out of altruism, others will seek to rent “supercomputer” time to the highest bidder, and others will be driven to compete with neighboring towns for bragging rights over total calculations per month. And what happens when communities realize that the various computers around town (in everything from traffic light controllers to parking meters to, eventually, local information hubs) are actually “idle” for most of the time? The BOINC folks better start working on a version for embedded processors…”

Liquid Information

[via Smart Mobs] Liquid Information aims “to make text more interactive – turning words into hyperwords.”

We believe in giving the professional user a more flexible work environment in which he or she can more flexibly navigate through information, change the way it’s portrayed and relate it to other information. Extending the user in this way will help the user digest important and useful information. The web is a great step forward in information access and you can think of this project as an effort to turn web ‘browsers’ into web ‘readers’. This is not about ‘links’ it’s about interactive text – text you can issue commands on, such as ‘highlight this word in red’ or ‘look up the dictionary definition of this word’.

AMD’s Plans writes:

No. 2 chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is rolling forward with plans to extend its output of x86–the architecture underneath most PC processors, including AMD’s Athlons–with an extended Geode line of low-power, low-cost processors, Fred Weber, AMD’s chief technology officer, told CNET

Over the next few years, the company plans to introduce a range of new chips designed for jobs such as powering personal media players and set-top boxes.

AMD believes that electronics manufacturers will need to use beefier operating systems as they add more functions to their gear. Given the huge amount of software available for the x86 processors that have formed the foundation of PCs for years–not to mention operating systems such as Windows and Linux–AMD believes that manufacturers will switch from chips based on RISC or MIPS architectures to x86.

AMD also offers the Athlon-based Geode NX for devices such as thin clients, point-of-sale systems, kiosks and printers. Its system-on-a-chip Geodes, such as the SC1200 for set-top boxes, are designed to handle all of the functions a given device needs by including a processor core along with a host of controllers needed to run video screens and other peripherals. Weber indicated that AMD’s future Geode plans include such all-in-one chips.

TECH TALK: The Mobile Phone Platform: Quotes

Heres a sample of what people are saying about the mobile phone:

Kei-ichi Enoki of NTT Docomo (i-mode) in an interview with [In Japan], what we are very focused on right now is the 3G wideband CDMA and what is called the “purse” type of handset. This handset would serve to control all the gadgets or things we really have to use.Not in the sense of remote control, but this controls purchasing tickets for games, parking meters, buying things in convenience stores, entering your company. We have Felica (a cell phone e-commerce application), two-dimensional bar codes and infraredAlready, 10 million of our handsets can read two-dimensional bar codes, and 20 million are equipped with infrared. For several reasons, the mobile phone is set to become the most influential portable electronic device. Technology is one. While the constant improvement of every part of the modern computer seems now to have relatively little impact on the desktop, it is making a huge difference for the phone. You can now fit substantial processing power and a good deal of memory into your pocket, along with decent battery lifeWith half-gigabyte memory cards now readily available for well under 50, some pundits have suggested we will soon carry round all our important data. When we find a computer, it will just be a device to manage the data we already have in a phone.

John Burris of Sprint in The New York Times: One of the things everyone was talking about a few years ago was, ‘Ooh, you’ll be able to browse the Web on your phone.’ But that scenario didn’t really work for a lot of people because you had to click and wait, and on the small screen it wasn’t really ideal. Instead of clicking and waiting and then reading a story about, say, the tsunami, now you can just click and you’re running a video clip from CNN with full-motion video. That’s the kind of approach that we think will really appeal to people and that will continue to evolve.

Deloitte Research 2005 Trends [via The Mobile Technology Weblog]: Voice will be the primary source of revenue and profits in cellphones and will account for more than 80 per cent of total revenue. Cellphone penetration will surpass 100 per cent as more customers take a second subscription for data or for personal use. The most compelling and lucrative mobile content will revolve around personalisation, such as ringtones, real tones, wallpapers and basic games.

Russell Beattie: Mobile phones still need that killer app which takes out the need for context. They need to get to the point where they are less devices that you use while out and about, and considered more destinations in their own right. In other words, the current crop of apps are mostly created with that “mobile context” in mind. So you could say I haven’t looked at my phone lately because I haven’t been moving much. This is wrong. It’s limiting a platform which can potentially do anything that a small computer with broadband access can do. The person who comes up with the app that compels a person to use their phone without considering the fact that it’s a phone is going to have a killer app on their hand. One could argue the opposite, that mobile phone apps *should* only be used in the mobile context, but I think that’s too narrow minded.

So, is the mobile phone the next platform? Or this is a moot question? Look at the way computers have made a difference to our lives in the past 15-20 years. Can the mobile phones do the same or even more perhaps?

Tomorrow: The Next Platform?

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