Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and closing out 2012. Continuing something I started doing last year, here are some topics I’ll be following with interest in 2013. You may notice some are repeats of last year, but that’s not to say any have dropped off my radar. I just felt like repeating them for one reason or another.
As always, find the comments to add your thoughts and to clue me in on anything you think I’m missing.
Fringe Mobile OSes
Today’s announcement of Ubuntu for Phones was a timely reminder that I’m always interested in new mobile operating systems. I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with my phone, one reason why I can’t commit to returning to iOS, and as projects like Firefox OS, Tizen, and Jolla Sailfish mature, it’s interesting to get a new look at what a smartphone OS can do.
These projects don’t have scads of existing users and are underdogs, allowing them to experiment in ways that Android and iOS cannot. These aren’t necessarily hallmarks for success, but they could produce some interesting results.
2013 looks to be a year of releases for these projects, in one form or another, and I’m keenly interested to see their takes on the mobile OS.
Sharing Everything as a Business Model
By sharing, I mean physical objects or tasks, not personal status or pictures. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Zipcar, Getaround, TaskRabbit, Exec and numerous others are disrupting traditional supply chains and creating economies of scale that large businesses cannot match.
This hasn’t gone totally unnoticed, given that Avis has announced it will acquire Zipcar.
Bit of a weird thought, but it’s happening, thanks largely to smartphones, ubiquitous connectivity and the trend toward moderation.
Interestingly, many of these companies fill a need that Craigslist also meets, which leaves me wondering.
Security, Every Year, Forever
2012 brought more stories of hacks and more stories of how people’s entire lives can be pwned with relatively little effort through password reuse, phishing and misrepresentation.
As connected devices continue to invade our lives, creating more attack points, it’s more important than ever to take security as a personal responsibility. Use unique passwords (ahem, 1Password), keep your devices fully patched, and accept that being secure will be annoying, but is essential.
Tell your friends and family, and rest assured, I doubt anyone is posting nasty videos about you online.
I love the maker culture, and even if I never go hands-on and finally do something myself, a distinct possibility, I’ll always be impressed by what people make.
The average person’s experience with electronics is as a finished product, made in factories by robots and people with facemasks. So,there’s something wonderful about remixing and bending the world to do something more or something differently.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Aside from my child-like wonder, I like that fact that maker’s don’t care about looks. Wires and circuit boards are exposed, soldering is visible, many projects look like what they are, mad scientist experiments.
Aesthetics are undeniably important, but it’s refreshing to see function over form every so often.
Two words: Leap Motion.
I’m a skeptic by nature, but Leap Motion looks fantastic. I’m excited to see what it can do, despite the killer footnote:
The Leap Motion controller works with Leap-enabled software only. Functionality may vary depending on software.
Saw that one coming. Still, I’m always interested in the evolution of how we interact with technology. I’m looking forward to seeing more from the Google Glass project, although we all should check with Steve Mann before pre-ordering.
Whether it’s personal assistants like Google Now or data mashing, e.g. Sitegeist, Field Trip, I want data to work for me. Everyone does, until it gets creepy.
The Disconnection Movement
Netflix went down on Christmas Eve. As I cursed the TV and then the tablet, it occurred to me that this was an odd problem to have. Had you told me this story on Christmas Eve in 2003, 1993, 1983, I would have had a much different reaction.
After Christmas, I went searching for a recent movie, released in 2011, to watch with the family. It wasn’t available to stream, so I had to find a physical copy to rent or buy. After trying three options, I hit pay dirt on the fourth.
How very 2010, or something.
Disconnection is the new black.
Happy 2013. Find the comments.