* Top 3 Technologies That Erik Is Reconsidering

Rick and Brian should freelance writing marketing copy for technology companies.

In response to my 03/14/06 article about 10 technologies that are bad and/or do a bad job at explaining why they matter, my friends Rick and Brian have done a good job at explaining the features and benefits of some of these technologies. (Read the comments to my original article.) A better job than the companies themselves have done.

Also, in part due to comments from Rick, Brian, and others, and in part because some people can’t resist resorting to name-calling (rather than actually adding anything of value to the conversation), I have added a parenthetic to my original piece’s title, which is now called “Top 10 Technologies That Suck (And/Or That Suck At Explaining Themselves).” But I shan’t reciprocate on the name-calling. I will, however, speculate that the name-caller is just plain wrong and/or hasn’t read the original post or any of my other writings. Three of the most popular articles on this weblog are my Linux/Windows dual-booting tutorial, my VNC over SSH tutorial, and my Movable Type tutorial. So I am no Luddite. It’s actually hard to imagine a Luddite having a weblog.

One of the problems with blogging is that the blogosphere rewards those bloggers who go along with the crowd. I am not saying that Rick and Brian are in this category. If you blog in a nontraditional way (which I think I do) and if you take nontraditional views on matters (which I think I do), then many bloggers will simply resort to ad hominem attacks and other forms of sensationalism. I’ve been the target of this before. In fact, it was this sort of behavior that led me to turn off comments a couple of years ago and delete all of the comments that added no value to the conversation. My new rule for this weblog is that I allow comments, all comments are moderated (even mine), and I will post any comment that adds value to the conversation, whether I agree with it or not.

So here are the top three technologies that I’m reconsidering.

1. Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/). I’ll give Del.icio.us another try on the strength of what Brian said: “[T]he main difference between your private bookmark collection and del.icio.us is the social aspect. I subscribe to the linkstreams of about 20 individuals just to see the cool things they find, bookmark, and implicitly recommend. I consider linklogging to be the primal Ur-blogging, a form that we still practice today with the scumpa Cool List. As Structured Data Guy, I prefer to share my links in XML these days instead of concatenated emails, so to me del.icio.us isn’t really a web app–it’s a database with an API that I can use however I like.”

2. Podcasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasting). See also http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/. Brian said, “[C]omparing podcasting to radio misses the entire point, which is the democratization of content production.” OK, but I didn’t make the comparison, the writers of Wikipedia and Apple’s website did. Thankfully Brian has done a better job of pitching the benefits. By the way, I have a video iPod and am heavily into digitizing my personal text, audio, and video collections. I just don’t blog about everything that I do. Brian also said, “I dare you to browse through IT Conversations and not find something that interests you.” Dare taken.

3. TiVo (http://www.tivo.com/). Rick said, “[T]he secret? It doesn’t help you watch more tv, it helps you watch less.” That’s a value proposition I can sink my teeth into. I’m telling you, Rick, you should be writing this stuff for a living.

One final note. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. I am either part Irish or part Welsh, depending on how our family’s genealogy research is going. (I’m also half Finnish and speak that language, but that part is easy to figure out.) If Rick is still working for FeedBurner on St. Patrick’s Day 2008, I will die my hair green.

4 Replies to “* Top 3 Technologies That Erik Is Reconsidering”

  1. My smiley wasn’t clue enough that my name-calling was in jest? I DID read your entire post, and it was clear to me that you didn’t grok the underlying value of many of the technologies you listed. You’re right, early ideas are hard to communicate. But as your friends have pointed out, there is value there, and many people see it.

    You say I didn’t add to the conversation, but my short comment holds true. Each of the companies you originally listed are emerging dominant designs (see the book “Fast Second” for more info) that will radically change the way we engage with information,and ultimately with people.

    I’ll offer one more piece to the conversation, by adding another perspecive on del.icio.us

    del.icio.us offers to benefits to me. First, it makes it much easier for me to find something I’ve already read before. I have this need often when someone says something and I want to point them to someone else who agrees or disagrees on that point. Second, it makes it easy to aggregate information without duplicity. It used to be that my email was full of emails from my colleagues all pointing to the same URL. Now with del.icio.us, all my colleagues are tagging things, and the URL only shows up once in my inbox.

  2. On the contrary, I do grok the underlying value of many of the technologies I listed. My main complaint is that their owners do not clearly communicate their value propositions. I used “sucks” because it makes for a more interesting title, but many (most?) of my questions were rhetorical. That I have decided that I don’t need FeedBurner or don’t want the privacy tradeoff inherent in LinkedIn does not mean that I don’t understand them. Many of them simply don’t matter to me. Even if they did, the fact that their marketing messages are hard for a techie to decode makes me believe that poor marketing of these technologies will prevent their more rapid adoption.

    I changed the title of my original “sucks” article to better reflect the content of that post. I am willing to admit it was not the best title. Perhaps you should do likewise.

  3. i am a podcast subscriber because i don’t subscribe to industry paper press, but spend a lot of time on planes and can get some feel for the industry through a few tech casts. when you are flying los angeles to sydney, anything is better than united’s movie selection :-).

  4. Pingback: A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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