Will libraries disappear in 2019?

By Ross Dawson on February 28, 2008 | Permalink

Slate magazine has published a very nice slideshow titled “Borrowed Time” about the past and future of libraries. On the final slide it refers to the Extinction Timeline created by What’s Next and Future Exploration Network, where we had put 2019 for the extinction of libraries. Slate writes:

Ross Dawson, a business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions on what he calls an Extinction Timeline, predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. He’s probably right as far as the function of the library as a civic monument, or as a public repository for books, is concerned. On the other hand, in its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent. This has less to do with the digital world—or the digital word—than with the age-old need for human contact.

Absolutely we are shifting into a world where experiences and physical interactions are becoming more important than ever. For example, shopping in shops will never disappear. We will create new spaces where we can meet and interact. We are yet to see whether the spaces where people spend their time are those based around books and collected information.

Logo competition for DataPortability.org: how to get the best

By Ross Dawson on February 23, 2008 | Permalink

I love this kind of thinking. DataPortability.org, the extremely important web initiative I have written about before, needs a logo. Redhat claims that its existing logo is too similar to theirs.
Chris Saad, the chair of DataPortability.org, has launched an open competition to design the new logo, with the winner determined by open voting on the web from a short list selected by the steering group. This being a highly prominent initiative that is potentially enormously valuable to the whole ‘net community should attract some talented people. However Chris has also got a whole host of prominent people and companies who support the initiative to kick in prizes, to in fact make this a very attractive proposition to the winner. Prizes currently offered (with more continuing to come in) include:
Initial submisssions

Current prize list:


New Australian broadband chip could change media distribution and home entertainment

By Ross Dawson on | Permalink

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that NICTA – Australia’s peak national technology research and commercialization body – has developed a new chip which could have a significant impact on the technology and media field.
The key features of the chip are:
* Very fast: 5Gbps (an HD movie in seconds)
* Short range: Up to 10 meters
* Small: 5mm by 5mm chip
* Inexpensive: Less than $9 in mass production
* Low power: Uses less than 2 watts
* Uses 60Ghz spectrum: faster and less crowded
* Out soon
: available in one year
* Cute name
: GiFi
A few of the potential applications:
* Download an HD movie (or any other content) to a mobile phone or PDA at a kiosk on your way home, then transfer it to your home entertainment system
* Link all your home devices, including PC and home entertainment so every device has access to the Internet and content can be transferred between devices and across rooms.
* Modular PCs, with CPU, screen, keyboards, drives, mouse all separate devices.
Just two days ago GigaOM wrote about the potential of using 60GHz spectrum and some of the obstacles. It seems that the Australian team has nailed them. GigaOM now says: “I’m impressed,” and also points to similar efforts from Vubiq and SiBeam.
I’m looking forward to this technology being available. Let’s forget Megabits per second and start talking Gigabits per second.

User Filtered Content (UFC) is what Web 2.0 is about… and Digg is a UFC site

By Ross Dawson on February 4, 2008 | Permalink

At the Crunchy awards last week Digg was named best User Generated Content (UGC) site. As many people pointed out since then, Digg is in fact not a user generated content site, since the people don’t submit content to the site, but links to other sites.

Allen Stern suggests that Digg is a UGC aggregator. Josh Catone thinks that UGC is perfectly accurate for Digg.

Back in 2006 I posted the notes to my speech at the Influence conference on Web 2.0 and User Filtered Content, pointing out that Web 2.0 is largely about users collectively filtering content after they have generated it. Earlier in the year the content section of our Future of Media Strategic Framework showed how both media and users create and filter content. Creating and filtering content are different activities.


I think it’s well time that User Filtered Content comes into its own as a term, and isn’t confused with User Generated Content.