Musings On Context, Blogging and Computing


All things considered, I've never been much of a storyteller. But there are bits and pieces that usually fall through the cracks of my hectic life I'd like to capture somehow, and on every major turning point of my life, that urge peaks a little.

But I've long since come to the conclusion that this site isn't the right vehicle for that.

Speaking of this site, it's one thing to publicly muse about the tottering madness that the telco marketplace has become in the past couple of years and throw in some Mac news (or do things the other way around and muse about the madness in the Mac world and throw in some telco news), but all it boils down to is that none of it is worth a damn unless it makes a difference to people - and, in writing, "people" has to include yourself.

And making a difference is, like I hinted at before, something that is a lot more important to me than being just another cog in a corporate machine somewhere.

Not that being part of a corporation isn't fun (I can't complain, especially considering that people I've been working with for the past few years have been mind-blowing in many ways), but after a while you start wanting a bit more meaning out of work.

Which, in turn, means that I have to go out and wring it out of my work environment (or other aspects of my life), and that hobbies such as this site tend to wind down a bit - and that has become kind of noticeable, right?

Yep. I know my writing hasn't been up to scratch lately, and I apologize to my readership.

It also doesn't help much that the IT landscape has become somewhat flat (talk about wide Vistas, huh?). There really hasn't been much change in desktop computing platforms in the past couple of years (Mac OS X is evolving, but we're in the pre-Leopard lull, Vista is out but isn't compellingly attractive, and Linux, is, well... too fragmented and not quite all there yet).

I personally blame it on the browser (and that "Internet" thing that's been doing the rounds lately) and the shift to a service-driven, instant delivery model, but I can't help but wonder if there aren't substantial improvements yet to be made to the overall experience of using a computer, regardless of what it's running.

And no, I won't go into Wii-like UIs and all that. My concern is more along the lines of GTD, but with an emphasis on having the computer become just that little extra bit smarter. It's like training a dog, really - we've taught it to fetch, but (ignoring the disaster that was Clippy) we haven't even begun to have it bring us our slippers without prompting.

In short, I'd love to have an actual interaction with the machines I use, instead of constantly prodding them to do something. All that smart money thrown at software agents years back seems to have gone down the drain, and automated content classification/knowledge management tools haven't really caught on (nor gone mainstream), so we're still stuck with file managers and documents instead of relationships and data.

And we haven't really learned from our mistakes - mobile platforms have also become... bigger. Not just as in bigger marketplace, but also bigger in terms of bloat, trying to shoehorn everything and the kitchen sink into a handset - and, in consequence, repeating the mistakes of the desktop computing world.

Which reminds me, I find it particularly amusing that the Mandarin for "mobile phone" is 手机 ("hand machine", where 手 is "hand, convenient", and 机 stands for "machine"). I've yet to figure out if "smartphone" is translated as "bigger hand machine", but it wouldn't surprise me in the least...

And bigger, of course, doesn't always mean better...

Ah well. More on this (and related topics) later.