Saturday, January 19, 2013

Random Thoughts: New Trends

Want to think about new forms of media made possible by technology, and whether I am fully experiencing/taking advantage of these new improvements

Partially inspired by this ted talk about new forms for comics (eg: infinite canvas).


  1. Much easier referencing + dynamic hide/show functionality --> overview type documents are much more effective and can aesthetically pleasing
    • Imagine a spark notes study guide. Previously publisher needed to cram everything you need to know into the book, which inevitably leads to waste of words/space. eg: There is some stuff you already know so you skip over it, and the whole thing gets bulky. Now, publishers can just list concepts that you need to know. if someone doesn't know it/want to review, they can just click into it. Alternatively, you could select/hover over the text to get details,  or click a button to show/hide details. 
    • Imagine this post, where you first see the first sentence of each bullet pt (a summary of the whole paragraph) instead of the whole paragraph and can choose to see more if interested. Better than just seeing this huge unappetizing blob of text, no? This is maybe something that blogging services can improve on. 
    • Alternatively, one way this has been taken advantage of is linking. What we are doing here- introducing concepts and linking to its descriptions/examples for someone who wants to dig deeper. One potential problem however, is that if you link to someone else's stuff, they might take it down, and others won't be able to access it anymore. There should be software that allows someone to say preserve your own post and also any pages that it directly links to.
    • A similar idea is that contextual information should become more accessible. For example, if I went to a museum, maybe I want to know that there was a period when Picasso painted in blue. Then, when I see this blue painting of his when I am there, I will know, "Aha, this was during his blue period", and not this. Wouldn't it be cool if the museum could just publish some contextual information for each exhibit so the non-art-history majors can read the context beforehand? (or even on their smart phones as they are on site)
  2. Message frequency. Crowd sourcing based news sources have been around. eg: wiki and yelp. However, the ability to email/msg/tweet..etc at the current frequency is actually pretty new, which means:
    • Nowadays, most current news is often found on twitter. I want to start to build out a news network using tweetdeck (has popup notifications for customizable tweets. eg: by author, keyword etc) to supplement conventional news sources.
    • Live blogging. should make an automatic live blog as own diary
  3. Cloud computation: can do super computationally intensive things from your phone (because your phone isn't actually doing it). This is similar to having a secretary you can call who can then lookup xyz for you (in the good old days). Instead, you use anything with internet connection to access your server and the server does computationally intensive things there then the results back to you.

So this brings me to my final thought. This part is inspired by Cassandra.
(I want to make) one app to rule them all- aggregating news sources and combining functionality.
eg: if you read from 100 different blogs, you want an rss reader that aggregates that for you. But that is just the first level. If you read these blogs, these emails, watch these new youtube videos and browse bloomberg at this time, then you could  have something that scans for particular emails, accesses rss feed, and pull articles from bloomberg and delivers to you all at once for your morning reading. Similarly, customize your evening readings, monthly readings etc. And this is just aggregating news sources. You also want to combine different functions eg:
  1. Databasing/record keeping 
    • Note taking/comments, hash tags for easy retrieval later, also see live blogging
    • If pt (1) becomes more popular/developed, then I think there are much better options for databasing the information.
  2. Learning (from now on if x happens I want to do y as the correct response. can the computer remind me or do this for me?)
  3. Automation 
    • autofilter news sources, emails. On a sidenote, autofiltering/personalization without you knowing it is really scary.
    • autoprocessing, eg: supplying useful statistics (this is your 5th email correspondence with this contact. last time you didn't respond to his question even though you flagged it as something to followup on)
    • supply default responses- wouldn't you want to be able to be able to select between "haha", "yeah", "lolol", etc for your text responses instead of having to type that out?
However, one interesting observation is that while creating/using this one app that aggregates and combines functionality may be an "optimal" choice, it is not going to be a widely adopted in real life. Something complicated/personalized is great if you can understand it, and it may get a cult following, but it will never get widespread following. Kinda reversed tragedy of the commons

No comments:

Post a Comment