Dan Bricklin and the Cold Comfort of Experience

I saw Dan Bricklin, inventor of the first PC spreadsheet program VisiCalc, at the NY Tech Meetup last night. The opening acts were some machine vision and robotics researchers from NYU and Columbia showing their new work to a big but under-charmed crowd. Things ran late, and then proto-blogger Anil Dash gave some admiring introductory remarks and brought out Dan.

 

Dan brought out his new book, Bricklin on Technology, a compilation of his blogs, podcasts and essays over the last decade.

He read from the book — from his old blog posts — and illustrated his talk with pictures from the East Coast birthplace of computing around Route 128 near Boston back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Dan unrolled ancient scrolls from the before-time: DEC minicomputers, dumb terminals, the Apple II, the revolutionary Harris 2200 page layout machine, the first IBM PC and some promo videos for spreadsheet programs that eclipsed VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel. The audience roared at the 1980s dweebs in three piece suits dancing to a pre-Windows jingle as Dan told about inventing the spreadsheet in a wet basement in Massachusetts. In the background were Gates and Jobs but also the armies of hopeful start-ups, brilliant programmers, careful CFOs, lucky salesmen and visionary inventors who drove computing onto every desk and into every home in those years.

Continue Reading →

Survey: Which Smartphone Will Own the Healthcare Market?

Software Advice The folks at Software Advice are conducting a short survey on smartphones in the healthcare market with questions about applications, carriers and purchasing preferences. The survey closes tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28th at 5 PM CDT. It's only six questions long and takes just a couple of minutes to complete. Results will be emailed to respondents.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Social Media: The Narcissphere

"Circulating
throughout the narcissphere."
A throwaway line from Chris Ayres, LA columnist for the Times of London, has been rattling around inside my head for a couple of weeks. Social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and all the rest — are all about the "I". Each service is a walled garden of Friends and Followers answering the question: "What are you doing?" The only people in the garden are the people I know, culled from my email address book or vetted by an invitation subroutine. My ego expands with my list of Friends, and I surf for ever more worthy Friends to enhance my Connections.

The Internet has always featured user-generated content: home pages, email, chat lines, fan fiction, blogs, wall postings and the Fifth Circle of Hell — wrathful and sullen comment threads. But the public Internet also delivers exabytes of professionally-generated content: the academic, journalistic, literary and — most recently — cinematic. It's got people we don't like, ideas we're afraid of, philosophies we haven't considered, chances we're not ready to take. It's life. The world. Everything.

Social networks carve up the Net into special interest groups so we mainly see the people who think like we do. No wonder the marketers and spammers are all over social media: we do their research work for them by lining up into the correct psychographic. I think I prefer a life that's not so easily pigeonholed.

Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials Feel Technology Differently

AgeFrag 

I've just updated the IN3 think piece Age & IT Experience that plots the current age of managers, employees and customers against the big developments in information technology. It's a good party starter: find your age when the IBM PC was launched, when streaming media happened, when Google Maps came out. Try to imagine how people from other life experiences feel about tech, and try to avoid the ageist notion that your cohort is the only one that matters, the only one that deeply understands.

It's a different kind of diversity with wide variations in adoption rates, dexterities, familiarity with digital concepts, comfort levels. Everybody comes from a different place on the map, and we'll all fall off the chart eventually as technology passes us by. With the aging workforce, maybe we should add columns for 65-, 75- and 85-year-olds. After all,we start with COBOL in 1960.

The tech-cultural column is very subjective, with headlines from politics and pop culture. Some companies customize the chart with their own industry milestones, and I can imagine versions for healthcare, education and politics. What do you think?

Un-neighborly: Ad Blocking in Park Slope

UnneighborlyGrumpy laminated signs are uglifying the gorgeous architecture of Brownstone Brooklyn. “Do not deface my property with your disgusting advertising,” they seem to say. “Let me deface my own property with this churlish plastic billboard.” The most subtle sign is postcard-sized with a giant NO! — flyers, ads, menus — but you can get a lawyer-worded 5″ x 7″ placard that is “technically compliant with the new Anti-Flier Law” with each letter 1 inch tall. Continue Reading →

On Event Peeps: Time to re-write the manual on live events

Epeeps
This week I've got an article on EventPeeps.com (free reg reqd), the live event industry social network, with a list of five things to do during the recession to make trade shows and conferences succeed.

1. Air travel sucks, so fix it.
2. ROI dominates, so prove it.
3. Virtual meetings encroach, so out-dazzle.
4. Carbon scolds rule, so ante up.

5. Demagogues bluster, so head 'em off.

We all hate the aggravations and costs of travel, and there are people who think live events can be replaced by webinars and e-meetings. And recently, there's been a lot of noisy indignation from politicians and headline
writers about conferences, sponsorships and other corporate events
booked by financial firms before the Crash, prompting the U.S. Travel Association to churn out press releases and talking points (PDF) about the economic value of meetings, events and incentive travel.

Business is going to get worse before it gets better, but like they say, "When there's blood in the street, there's money to be made.

Permanent Wisdom from the Health Memes Stream

The river of daily Health Memes contains many keepers.

Stem cells, cosmetic genomics and med-tattoos

Stem cells, cosmetic genomics and med-tatoos.