Friday, October 23, 2009

requirements to an e-book reader

with the worldwide rollout of amazons kindle and the launch of several other e-book readers, i thought it would be useful to state some requirements, that make, in my humble opinion, a good e-book reader.

  • flashy design (hey, good looks is important, i want to be able to boast with that thing)
  • superhuge choice of books (fiction + nonfiction) + regularly & free updates on any book (fiction + nonfiction). i want to be able to have every tiny update of a technical book and i want to choose between several editions of one and the same book (hey, i pay a lot for the reader after all...)
  • superhuge choice of newspapers and magazines
  • i want my newspaper and magazine abos both, in print and on my e-book reader (probably more dependent on the publishers but anyway)
  • i'd also like to read my newsfeeds
  • i want support for all important and also for all excentric file formats (such as pdf, html, txt, docx, odf, chm, epub,...and all others i forgot)
  • no damn proprietary file formats (thats the reason, i won't buy the kindle), you can "reinvent the book", but please don't try to invent any abstruse "standards" only you are using...
  • i want an easy plugin system to support new file formats
  • good readability (e-ink is just the beginning...)
  • i want a fast and not recogniseable creation of the next page when i turn a page (sorry sony, but your page creation sucks)
  • colour would be nice (any diagrams in 13 shades of grey is not what i expect of a paperbook-replacement)
  • light, not too small, not too big
  • looooooong battery life (we're talking about weeks not days or hours)
  • i want to use it for research purposes; i want to be able to mark textparts and i want a software on my notebook that collects these bookmarks and gives me a nice presented overview and probably automatically creates a sourcelist
  • wifi is an absolute must, also mobile broadband (as the us kindle)
  • big standard memory (not beneath 16gb) + extensible memory
  • i want to test-read books before i buy them
  • borrowing books to and from my friends would a nice feature (not only 14 days, a month at least)
  • i don't want anyone remote accessing my e-book reader (yes, i am looking at you amazon)
  • and dear e-book vendors, if you can't stop yourself from adding communication capabilites to a book (which i know you can't), please, integrate a hardware switch (analog to the silencer switch on my iphone) that activates a reading mode (which means no damn interruptions by e-mails, google waves, im messages or any other chat messages)
  • writing/reading blogs/tweets would be nice anyway
  • please don't overload it with functionalities either, if i want to have an allround gadget, i'll take my iphone...
anyway, i will buy an e-book reader for sure, but i'll probably wait for the next generation to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the world after google

the world after google is a widely discussed topic. the opinions ranging from "we are already in a past-google world" to "nobody will take down google". my valued opinion to that topic is, in a short sentence: of course there will be a world after google!!

why? because every big company had come to the point where they missed a development (yes, i am talking about ibm and yes i am talking about microsoft. who would have thought 30 years ago that there will be anyone but ibm dominating the it world? and who would have thought 15 years ago that there will be anyone but microsoft dominating the it world?) and google already missed an important development.

of course google will always remain a major player, their product portfolio is too broad and good to crash completely, but they're not that big herd of innovation that they have been a few years ago. with stuff like google earth, street view, maps or books, they started huge projects with enormously high goals, which, i am sure, they are going to reach. but in the last time, i miss the real innovation on googles course.

first they came up with android, which was acutally a good idea, because the mobile os market really needs innovation and consolidation and android is definetley a good platform to switch to. but then, there was their own webbrowser, chrome. who needs that? for what was that really good? not that chrome is a bad browser, its definetley better then the internet explorer and maybe the fastest of all browsers, but who needs another browser, when there's already, safari, opera, firefox, internet explorer,...? and after all, the browser has exactly zero real points of innovation.

then they announced chrome os. to tackle microsoft obviously. but who needs another desktop os? i don't want to be too early to say that that os is useless, because maybe they come up with some really cool features (i am talking about the go-together of web & desktop), but anyway, announcing an os is definatley NOT an innovation and NOT a step forward.

a few years ago, i would not have thought that google is threatened so early because they also put their hands on another big it issue of the future: health. with google health and the aquiration of 23AndMe they made the basis for that future market, earlier than the rest, and probably successfuller than the rest. i don't think that microsoft is going to have a chance with their ms health vault. ms is making good stuff, like ms virtual earth and also bing is not bad, but this is actually less innovation than googles announcement of chrome os...

so, and finally i get to the main point of why google is going to lose some of their internet monopoly position.......yes, you guessed right, social networks, mainly facebook (there is an "if" on facebook...) and twitter. when you are a frequent reader of my blog (what i know you are not, because no one is reading my blog so far..., and i don't count as reader...) you'd already know that twitter has a big and bright future. with the real time search engine (read also wired issue #17/10) they have an enourmously great asset.

and facebook after all has private data of about 300 000 000 million user, hard data after all (i call hard data, things like, birthdate, name, hobbies,...; things that are not going to change or not going to change so fast than soft data, namely thoughts, do). but facebook is now under pressure to come up with something new (after they failed to buy twitter, they really need to come up with something hot and new). with their big number of users, they have not so much more potential to grow much bigger (i know how many people exist on earth, don't worry).

in my opinion i start to dislike facebook a little. the main reason is the huge spam load of applications, i've had enough of going wild with sb in vegas for the 1000000th time and i am bored of any stupid group invitations like "when its going to cost something i quit using facebook" (more spam than i get on my free mail account). in my eyes, that is simply too much, better would be, less but better applications, like real personalisation tools or anything else. but, facebook after all has the potential to become web #1, they simply haven't found yet THE one innovation that is going to secure their place.

in their earlier days google came up with new projects all the time (news, maps, reader, books,....) or made good aquirations like blogger (i really like blogger, thank you evan williams). but facebook had no real innovation after the start of facebook. in my eyes they need to come up with something in the next 1 - 2 years or they maybe meet the same destiny as myspace (what or who is myspace???, hehe, no good move rupert...), because there will be another cool social platform, that might be a facebook clone, but one, that has some more hot stuff to offer. and in my eyes they are orienting themselves too much on twitter, hey, mark, come up with an own idea!!!

twitter has a little more time, because they're still hyping like hell (i'd say on the web 2.0 chasm bell, they're still at the early majority, whereas facebook is at the last third of the late majority, (if you don't know what i am talking about read geoffrey moore's "crossing the chasm")) and they have are sitting on a hot asset, our thoughts (read my post "thoughts on twitter"). i am really curious with what they will come up with, because right now, i love twitter. twittering is fun after all and there are a few twitterers that make it, to really post information (i know what i said in my post "thoughts on twitter"). so guys think about your next step, 'cause you have the best cards at hand at the moment.

why i also think that google will lose a little of their absolute #1 position on the search engine market, is, that there's a real renaissance going on at the moment. leave bing away, because that is not what i call innovation (hey steve you threw 100 000 000$ for marketing out of your window for bing???? what the hell man????). what i am talking about is, again, the real time search potential thats within twitter and facebook (yes they have that potential as well) and stephen wolframs newest project wolframalpha. this is cool stuff, as it really answers questions, at the time its mostly answering mathematical questions (hey stephen built mathematica after all), but it really has the potential to explode in popularity, because it answers all questions on the same side, using the same look-and-feel, so no more #right-click + open in new tab# on 167 384 736 search results.

another absolutely cool search engine is, they're building a chain of association with your search input. e.g. you enter "apple" and you get a circle full of associations, first, the fruit, apple, than the computer company apple (i love my iphone!!, thank you steve), than isaac newton (for that symbolic apple that fell on his head), and new york, the big apple, and so on and on. the second level of the associations are then associations of the first level, so on new york that might be 9/11 or the statue of freedom, on isaac newton that would be the royal society or cambridge, and on it goes again.

so concluding, there's a lot going on at the moment, google is threatened from more sides and has to move, also facebooks now top position in the social networking world is not safe, they have to move as well, twitter is, in my eyes, on the jumpseat upward and maybe one of the new search engines is starting to hype...we'll see