Geekspin Blog

Bill Gates,during today’s Cape Town presentation, says that Microsoft are moving at introducing wireless technologies into Africa “so that internet can be delivered cheaply”. Hey, I am all for that, but it is the article on Reuters that is dissappointing, seems that MS is teaming up with MTN (Africas biggest mobile carrier) to provide a bandwidth solution packaged with a low-end PC running a stripped down version of Windows. Why am I disappointent? Well if cost is the problem, where are the solutions using exciting initiatives like Ubuntu and Edubuntu? Where is the South African version of the Municator? Africa does not need a strip downed low-end PC, we need an appliance that can operate with minimal support.
Investors, take note! Why should we have an international company come and set down its proprietary fortress in our back yard now that their stock prices are crashing in back yard. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of this continent becoming the dumping ground for the rest of the worlds old news!
At least Gates is right about one thing, Wireless is the only forward for us in this country.

We are living in exciting times, I sometimes forget the incredible advances that we have made in the last 50 years, its scary to think that the BMW M5 has multiple times the processing power of all the computers involved in putting the Eagle on the moon.

Where will technology take us within the next 5,10,20 years? What amazing things will we have available to improve our quality of life?

The large-scale deployment of IPv6 will see a world where every imaginable (and sometimes unimaginable device) will be IP ready and jacked into the grid, self-restocking fridges will be commonplace, digital cameras will auto-upload to online storage, our TV’s will receive media off the net and VoIP will be king.

For content providers this means the end of dictated content – `user interactive` and `on-demand` become the norm and `broadcasting` becomes old news, the user will control his own usage, the independent content producer will be able to get his content to a much wider audience now and we will really see the effect of the long tail. Yeah, this all sure sounds a lot like podcasting (which is very “now”), except it will go through a series of changes before ultimately becoming mainstream, podcasting is still very edgy today and it stands out from other forms of user-generated media only because of the time-shifting aspect, i.e. download while you sleep.

I expect that the rapid adoption of municipal WiFi/WiMax/Mesh type technology will accelerate and soon entire cities will be blanketed with always-in internet, this will become an essential service and not a luxury. Blanket WiFi will change the face of technologies like podcasting and devices like the iPod, why have a hard drive if you can just download what you are watching on the fly and it costs next to nothing? Do you even need a hard drive on that device? Already services like Last.fm are hugely popular as they are so well tailored to your taste and it helps you find good content all for the price for a bit of bandwidth.

Another thorn in the side of local storage applications, especially video ones, will be the rapid consumption of disk space, imagine having to cache anything approaching a healthy collection of HD-DVD/TV content on your local machine. Now all of you are going to shout at me and say that disk storage is cheap but history has told us that while the amount of storage on the “standard” drive of the day keeps multiplying (Moore’s Law), the fact is that the number of disk hungry applications also follow that trend and it has really never gotten much cheaper to physically buy that standard hard disk. Example: My 512Mb , 2 Gig, 20 Gig, 40 Gig, 80 Gig etc. drive purchases over the last few years have always been roughly as expensive as the one before it (twice the storage at the same price) and if I need to buy a few of them it still hurts my wallet 🙂 No, off-site/remote hosting is key.

Our digital persona’s will be irrevocably intertwined with our real lives, already we have seen the rise of the so-called MySpace generation, the next gens, they will demand unlimited access to blogging and social networking sites and to them being disconnected for any amount of time will be like hell.

Most of our personal computing will move onto the grid, take Gmail for example, I already can’t operate without it and to that reason network connectivity will need to become much more reliable with more fail safes and alternates in case something does go wrong.

We will track the movements of our loved ones with RFID and even the traffic department will use RFID to bill you for using a toll-road. Don’t make a mistake, big brother will be able to track you!

All-in-all I look forward to huge changes in everyday of life via new technologies, but I do find myself fearing that in South Africa we will be left behind due to the slow movement of the broadband glacier in this country due to socio-economic complications and plain old greed on behalf of the powers that be.

Luckily there are some people out there with vision! Just this evening I met someone attempting to start up a new WiMax based operator, he really seems to “get” broadband and realises that you cant retain customers by contract but rather by good service.

Lets back our local innovators, lets make our voices heard. Lets liberate our broadband. Recently heard someone mentioning the `Bandwidth Liberation Front` in jest, but seriously, has it become time for the “Broadband Liberation Front”? I already see developed countries like the USA grumbling that they are getting left behind in the high-stake game of Ultra-broadband, jeepers.

Friend Shane Wilson is trying to put up some BarCamp Cape Town video footage and has the blow-by-blow of the frustrating saga up over on his blog. Apparently YouTube has a silly 100 Mb upload limit which is only really good for a few minutes and not entire presentations. (He caught like a couple)

Have a look at a portion of Dave and Graham from Stormhoek in the shortest clip which was the only one small enough to jump the 100Mb filter .. (because he ran out of tape).

Stay tuned for an attempt at putting up to Google Video (*thumbs*)

Thanks Shane.

Oh and speak to Shane to get your hands on same Stormhoek wine goodness..

I see over on The Register that Vodafone UK are only now starting to publicly over the HSDPA data cards offered over here via Vodacom partnership for a couple months already.

Interesting, does this mean that SA could be seen as a valuable testing ground for such new technologies by the international telecoms players?

Yahoo! Local has rolled out a microformat implementation that includes hCalendar, hCard, and hReview microformats on almost all business listings, search results, events, and reviews.

This is pretty big news for the Microformats community at large as this signals a paradigm shift where we will see more and more big players starting to take notice and will encourage developers of consumption tools to up there pace. Finally microformats can start the transition of a geek toy into the daily consumption of Joe Average.

Other examples of significant uFormat rollout are:
Yahoo! Tech with hReview,
Flickr with hCard on profile pages,
Upcoming.org with hCalender,
and recently Technorari Kitchen with their hCard, hCalender and hReview search.

For those that are unfamiliar with what microformats are:
Microformats are a group of set standards that allow web content publishers to publish data like contact details, calendar events etc in an easy to style (using CSS) XHMTL compliant fashion that is both easy to consume by human readers and machines and avoids duplications by not having to publish seperate vCard data etc (for example) as well.

Start consuming Microformats today by installing the Tails extension for Firefox!

Read more on Yahoo! Local Blog.


Tags: microformats

Got Pics?

Posted on: June 21, 2006

Got any BarCamp Cape Town pics?

Please “gooi” them in this here Flickr group:

BarCamp Cape Town Flickr group thingie

Cheers!

So BarCamp Cape Town has come and gone and I think it was one of my personal highlights in the recent years and a great honour to have been involved with.

For each and every one that attended and/or helped out in some way .. thank you.

I am humbled by the amount of incredible talent we have in this country and to have been associated with you all even if it is just for two days.

So whats next? I hope we can keep some of the momentum going and that we can get together on a more frequent basis, even if just for a chat over beer/coffee.

Planning a post BarCamp get together next week sometime, let me know if you are keen.

Quote of the event: “The geek shall inherit the earth” >> Max Kaizen

Here are some other great update posts:

http://www.rafiq.za.net/blog/2006/06/20/plug-and-go-barcamp-cape-town/

http://www.rafiq.za.net/blog/2006/06/19/barcamp-cape-town-blogged/

http://maxkaizen.wordpress.com/2006/06/19/barcamp-collaborative/

http://dewet.org/wordpress/archives/19

http://dewet.org/wordpress/archives/20

http://mithrandr.moria.org/blog/534.html

http://www.markforrester.co.za/barcamp-cape-town-reviewed.htm


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