Friday, April 4, 2008

Web 2.0

You can almost watch it change as you sit there.

The web, internet use, and the attendant software applications are becoming to us, less like toasters, and more like automobiles. That is, not something we use on occasion to improve the quality of our life, but a part of the "warp and woof" of life itself. For those quick to criticize the loss of something, I agree, but the same was said of the radio, the automobile, the television, of movable type, and probably the first time men built a bridge across a river. Something is lost. I choose to enjoy it anyway.

I recall the first time I tried to buy an airplane ticket using internet access. It was about 1988, the access host was Compuserve and there was no graphical interface, users had to type Control codes to generate certain results. One code for select, one for cancel, etc. I had entered (legally) the Sabre reservation system to buy a ticket, just for the for the fun of it. After an hour of going in and out and all around the online system, I gave up. It took a programmer's skill to crack that system.

Now, of course, it's different and changing quickly.

The web itself is becoming the application. We're not just buying books and airplane tickets, business is being conducted across the web because of its ability to share information with a common platform, inexpensively. It is the ultimate economy of scale application. And as applications morph over to iPhones and other truly portable mediums, things like maps, directions, and finding coffee shops and gas stations are changing.

(Sidebar -- when we were first messing around with the internet, no one, and I mean no one, knew that "search" would be the first "oilfield" of the internet, but it is. Search. Think about it. But that is slowly changing, too with Facebook, MySpace, You Tube and StumbleUpon. )

This is the first election that the internet has played a significant role. Candidates don't just prepare to be "on TV". They are prepared always because they are always being placed on "You Tube." Senator Clinton's remarks on Bosnia bullets was seen by millions. Any event, always viewable, is a strange reality. It changes things. Marshall McCluhan would be impressed.

Here are my favorite websites with a Web 2.0 flair. They are more than applications, they are a part of the way people do things, and they are free or close to it.

Google Docs and Domain management. If you buy the .com name, Google will host it for free, including 100 email addresses.

Zoho -- like Google Docs but their online applications are getting more specific and useful. Apps like Invoice generators and Human Resource management. Free for single users. Develop your own database applications.

StumbleUpon/Digg and the like. -- find websites liked by people like yourself.

Backpack / Central Desktop -- organizes information easily.

Craigslist -- Buy and sell -- free. -- for an old printing guy like me this service is amazing. A lot of companies will sell you printing online. They do it right.

Gotomeeting -- online meetings that are easy to access and helpful. I like it.

1 comment:

Silo said...

Yeah, that's right. I can see it changing. Everything is becoming collaborative. Some people even develop new scientific trends. Like this one, for example.