Previous month:
August 2007
Next month:
October 2007

September 2007

how do we get to the world where we won't need... roads?

Azam Khan of RevUpNet proposed yesterday on this blog that we need an Encarta like timeline for innovation and the future of technology.  While we can all speculate, I'd like to pose this as a question to the greater community.  What do you believe are the technologies we are seeing today that will be powering tomorrow? 

What innovations are we seeing today that will feed the fire of tomorrow?

In other words, what's going to get us to a place and time where we can't imagine how we made it through the day today? What will be the disruptive innovators of today, of tomorrow?

I'm going dark (religious holiday again) for a couple of days, but will be back with my own input in no time.

around the blogosphere : 2007-09-25

liquid DRM - opening doors for customers without slamming doors in the faces of content creators

Water If you're a regular reader you're familiar with my desire to see DRM live - in a transparent and unobtrusive rol.  I like to think of this as liquid DRM.  Our current DRM system is like a ton of bricks, getting them from place to place is virtually impossible.  Liquid DRM is clear, flows and may be bottled by the content owners, but as far as users are concerned, it's their own water to drink, waste or flavor to their own tastes. DRM, be it ad supported DRM or paid content with DRM is the only way to keep content secure - which much of mainstream media (Dave Matthews Band aside) relies heavily upon to monetize their content to both reimburse the content creators and generate revenue.

There are two ways a liquid DRM system could live without being evil:

  • Content owner-side licensing - which can port across multiple DRM schemes, so I can transfer my Apple DRM content over into a Windows DRM scheme via a transfer utility embedded in both players.
  • Virtualization: a third party media player layers itself on top of both Windows and iTunes (and others) delivering one library consisting of multiple DRM formats.  This third party player would also sync with multi-DRM-format capable portable players.  It may be a pipe dream today, but I fully expect to see this in a few years time.

So Amazon just delivered a DRM free music store.  EMI seems to be selling DRM free music all up and down this crazy town (forgive the 1950's verbiage, you've gotta love two-toned jackets).  While this is certainly a great step in the right direction, I have to ask - why are we seeing this new DRM free craze?

A few years back Napster got shut down because of P2P piracy/sharing. 
iTunes secured massive contracts with record labels because they locked down their system with DRM.
What has changed since then? 

    Why are record labels suddenly ready to open up the doors they closed 5 years ago?

I'd like to believe it's because the content owners care about their consumers.
 In reality however, it's because DRM is broken and they are desperate to regain their record sales revenue.  The labels are desperate enough to unnecessarily give up their own record sales future.

DRM free music won't seriously combat piracy, better, smarter, more liquid user-side transparent DRM might. 


Stay tuned for more on the subject later today.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below!

world's dumbest crooks - 2.0

Beaglefamily Don't you love the crook who is so stupid that he practically gives himself up?

A View From The Isle posted about someone who stole a laptop, then uploaded a picture of himself to the laptop owner's flickr account.  Crook_3 This my friends, is great material, you cannot make this stuff up.  If you recognize this man (to the right) please email Bill MacEwan at info AT workspace DOT com.


A few years ago my wife was studying abroad when her cell phone was stolen.  On a whim, she borrowed her friend's cell and sent the following message to her (stolen) phone:

Who are you and why did you steal my phone?

To her amazement, she got a call minutes later from a local police officer.  It so happened that the local resident who stole her phone could not read English, so he asked a nearby stranger to translate the sms message for him.  This stranger happened to be an off-duty cop!  My wife got her phone back later that day.

Stories like these might be a dime a dozen, but I think they're great! 

If you've got a story of world's dumbest digital criminal, please share!


update: just found this goodie over at CrunchGear

... a UK man sent a text message to what he thought was his pal’s phone number. Turns out, the phone number had been switched over to a State Policeman’s account. The officer received a text from 19-year-old Joshua Wayne Cadle, asking if he “wanted to buy some reefer”.

The officer, in fact, did not want to purchase the aforementioned “reefer” and promptly did some detective work and tracked down the teenager. No word yet on what charges he faces, but you can be sure he’ll take into careful consideration who he texts for drugs next time around.

Drug deal text sent to police by mistake [Textually]

local vs. streamed computing - the future of web apps

Connections The web is emerging as a platform, and in many cases this emergence has already begun to take shape.  The desktop/laptop and other computing devices are emerging as not only platforms for their own dedicated utility (computing, instant messaging, voice communications) but as platforms for running web based experiences. 

Some of the newest and hottest devices feature weak residential/local computing abilities but make up for their shortcoming via place-shifted computing power and abilities delivered via the web.

For example:
The iPhone doesn't allow for the installation of 3rd party programs.
The Wii offers little alternative non-gaming programming  It's latent power lies not in the unit itself, but in it's web connectivity.  For the mass audience, many of whom are casual gamers or at least potential Wii owners, this may be their first truly web connected device residing in their living rooms.

The commonality here is this: the innovative functionality of these offerings comes not from their installed applications but from web based apps. is in excellent example of this capability.  Orb will stream your content off your home computer to almost any other connected device.  Orb makes my Wii into  a media extender.  I don't have an iPhone but if the flash formats are compatible, Orb could allow for Slingbox functionality to an iPhone, for free.

With the upcoming release of Adboe AIR, flash "virtual software" will reside on the desktop.  A small widget search box can search Flickr, delivering results on top of whatever you had open on your sceen.  Widgets and AJAX aren't all about RSS or web connectivity; the next generation of these tools will be powering our lives beyond the sever limitations of the browser.

The lines between desktop/residential and the connected/delivered computer power are blurring.  What does this mean for Intel's consumer centric chip market?  At a certain point, won't we have enough local/residential computing power and rely on a web connection to deliver additional "virtual" computing power as needed?  In an office, wouldn't it be more power friendly and even efficient to run a handful of ultra high-powerful servers delivering virtual machine to connected "dumb" devices at each employee terminal?  In plain english, why do I as an employee need my own computer when it will (in a few years time) be far more efficient for me to have a small terminal device that connects to a far more powerful server?

I'm not saying this is something we're going to see today, but I wouldn't be shocked if this became fairly commonplace within 10-15 years time in the workplace, and in other 20-30 years time in our homes. 

And as marketers, as this transitional computing begins to take form, where does this place us?  If anything, doesn't this tell us we should begin to respect certain areas as "sacred" or "protected" areas where advertising has no place beyond powering the offering itself?  Aren't there places consumers don't want to see advertising and shouldn't we have at least some respect for their non-brand oriented lives?  There is a time and place for everything, and even in these future hyperconnected worlds of distributed computing, advertising will remain the primary monetization model (be it content integration, smart banners or other formats).

Now is this time to begin to play with these new concepts, to determine how we as marketers will play in this brave new world.

around the blogosphere : 2007-09-24