Internet foresight 2015

Internetframsyn, “internet foresight” is a project organized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, (Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademin, IVA in Swedish).
The theme is “How can Sweden become a leading internet nation by the year 2015?”

I have participated in the User panel since August 2007, focusing on how internet can be used to improve life for citizens and employers.

See my report text about work life in the year 2015 (in Swedish)
The full report can be downloaded on the Internetframsyn project web site.

Executive summary of my thoughts on how worklife should be in the year 2015:

Our work life in 2015 is based on flexibility and continuous learning. You have different work schemes depending on if you are young without children, have small children, are single, have teenagers or if your children have grown up and moved away. Full retirement is no longer mandatory and many more people are self-employed and have multiple careers at the same time.

There are two new keys that enables this work life flexibility in the year 2015: “Time shift“ and “Location shift“

A modernisation of our work culture using new internet-based technology and new standards enables us to work to a larger extent independent from regulated work hours (Time shift) and traditional places of work, like an office (Location shift). We move from trying to balance work and life to integrating our work into our life. The focus of the work culture moves from worked time and presence at the work place to the productivity and social abilities of the individual.

Time shift and Location shift requires development of improved internet based tools and social media technologies in order to increase the flexibility in many types of work. The goal is to develop new methods that enables a much richer and more personal communication that is independent of time and place, thereby increasing our productivity and decreasing personal stress and environmental pressure.

Podcasting 2.0 wanted!

Written in 2007

I have written before that I think radio has a great future, since it is now available in many more flexible forms than just tuning in to the airwaves. We no longer have to follow time tables and dial between stations, and radio is easy to consume while doing other things, such as commuting, jogging etc.

This summer I have downloaded a lot of podcasts to my Nokia N95 smartphone. It has a very easy to use podcasting application that lets me search for and download both audio and video podcasts using the 3G network.
But I strongly feel that podcasts could become much more appealing if the existing technology was used more creatively;

The big drawback with podcasts compared to text is that you have to play through the clip to know if it is interesting. You cannot just glance at it and then go someplace else if it bores you.
I can browse through 60-second clips on YouTube if I feel like killing some time. But I mostly find it boring to listen to or watch a 5 minute segment anywhere, unless I know it is about something of key interest to me.

What is the difference between a regular radio and a mobile phone with radio capabilities or and MP3 player? The display! So why not use it?

I get lists of podcasts from different publishers. They are mostly named just with a date and show name. No hint on content, participants or who the publisher is.

I want:

  1. Text information for every media file: Headlines, who is participating, when was it published? Also there should always be a description of the publisher.
  2. Tags describing the clip content, with interactive tag clouds.
  3. A clickable text menu listing the program “chapters”, so that I can jump directly to for example the news item I want.

And why are so many video podcast shows just a talking head? What”™s the point? It just adds megabytes of useless video to my downloads and looks like television did in its infancy! If the resources for producing a professional video program are not available it is way better to work with audio and texts/still pictures.

And please, standardize file formats and controls. Now I get error messages like “This file type is not playable on this device”, but often they still work. Other times I download a huge clip and then find that it fore some unexplained reason will not play at all.
And the controls are different depending on what media player I happen to be using. Imagine if the pedals and steering wheels did not work the same in all cars!

Bortom musklicket

Gränssnittsutvecklingen vad gäller hur vi navigerar och styr våra datorer, varför går den så långsamt?
Alla metaforer är ju forfarande från 1900-talet: skrivbord, papeprskorgar, pärmar, arkiv, tabbade innehållsförteckningar,
och inte minst själva musklicket som är en slags tryckknapp à la elektrisk strömbrytare.

En intressant och rolig sajt som har en navigation helt utan klick!

Den är gjord av en tysk student som examensarbete i Communication Design. Visar bla exempel på hur man kan aktivera en knapp på flera olika sätt utan att klicka på den. Det känns rörigt och ovant, och nästan omöjligt att låta bli att klicka. Det är även väldigt lätt att gå vilse när man råkar röra muspekaren över bilden.

Detta är självklart inte nödvändigtvis “bättre” än våra vanliga gränssnitt med musklick etc, men det känns viktigt att experimentera förutsättningslöst med nya sätt att navigera som verkligen utnyttjar de möjligheter som datorn ger och inte bara är kopior av gamla världens verktyg.