17th level Hacker

WINKsite Blog

There have been a bunch of updates to the WINKsite blog lately. Dave Harper, one of the driving forces behind WINKsite (which is just one instantiation of the general Wireless Ink technology), has been laying out some interesting topics. Even though it’s one of the older updates, I highly recommend the post about Mobilizing The Masses With “Location Aware” Applications. I’ve added the blog feed to my newsreader, hoping that we’ll see more great tidbits from the east coast crew. Another interesting bit of info, I just realized that one of Dave’s WINK sites has help forums and the WINK blog feed. Check out http://winksite.com/dharper/help (WINKsite # 1562).

I’m currently reading Interface Culture, and some of the stories about the early adoption of hypertext remind me a lot of what seems to be going on with mobile content. We’re still in a very investigatory phase with relation to mobile services and publishing. Some of us see a lot of potential, but aren’t quite able to make the full jump all the way to what our vision of mobile services should be. Others don’t really see the value in the medium yet so they’re holding back. And I think just like what happened with the web, eventually everyone will end up using mobile services. But once we’re there the believers will be saying “see, I told you mobile services were going to have a major impact”, while the skeptics will be saying “see, I told you that mobile services weren’t going to work the way they were originally brought out”. And both groups are going to be correct to a point. The end result of a stream of innovation such as is happening within wireless and mobile communications almost never ends up looking like what the original conception was. That’s part of the definition of a successfull technology. It gets adopted and adapted and extended by the people who first see the strong applications for it. Those applications are not normally technology driven, so the “cool” stuff that us technologists see coming down the line may or may not have anything to do with the user applications that first drive adoption. The best thing we can do is make something (anything) available to users and then see what they do with it. Release the technology and see what the people come up with. People ask me why I use WINKsite as an example all the time. Well, this is it. They’ve got a technology that they think is going to be big at some point, so they put up a public site to let people experiment with it and learn about how it could be used. I consider that a perfect example of proper planning for innovation.