Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prediction is hard

…especially about the future. This week on Radio New Zealand National I’ll be talking about old technology predictions that didn’t turn out so well, and making a few of my own.

I’ll be on after the 11am news tomorrow, Thursday 23rd July. You can read on for some of my speaking notes, or download the audio as ogg or mp3. (more…)

posted by colin at 12:06 am  

Monday, July 20, 2009

I haven’t laughed so much….

“Without us, the Internet would be empty.”

That ludicrous statement is Ant Healey of APRA talking to the Dominion Post. Apparently he expects us to believe that the content industries as he calls them are the sole contributors of information on the Internet. Cue the Tui Billboard!

Let’s just pause for a moment and celebrate a few of the things that people get over the Internet. Wikipedia. Twitter. Email. Hubble Space Pictures. Skype. Travel Bookings. Banking. News. Maps. I could go on, and I’m sure you could too.

By saying something as stupid as this APRA is showing that it really doesn’t live on the same planet as the rest of us. It thinks we are all just consumers of its members’ copyrighted materials and the only difference between us is whether we pay it or not. This is just plain wrong. Really, it looks as though APRA is contemptuous of what you and I do on the Internet.

The question is, once we have all finished laughing, what do we do about this attitude? Answer – laugh some more. The best thing is to just keep pointing out how silly it is. Derision is the best response. Just laugh at them!

A bit over a century ago, when a different new infrastructure was being introduced, the business people who felt threatened by it got a law passed against it. That law didn’t last. Neither will any backlash against the entire Internet. The Net’s just too useful to too many people for it to be killed to suit one group. And resorting to ridiculous assertions like APRA’s one here shows that.

posted by colin at 10:24 am  

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Moped Diaries

I’m just about to leave Atiu, an island in the Cook Islands. I’ve had a fantastic few days here, and I’ve also had an insight into life in a small isolated community in the Pacific.

Atiu has less than 500 permanent inhabitants, plus at the moment 12 vistors. Put another way, visiting with my immediate family has increased the number of people on the island by a percentage point.

The people are very welcoming. I’m staying at the Atiu Villas, run by expatriate kiwi Dr Roger Malcolm and his wife Kura Malcolm, who is from Atiu. Everyone greets you as you pass them, and people are uniformly friendly. Nobody locks anything, and keys are normally left in vehicles. People all seem to be bilingual in Cook Islands Maori and English.

posted by colin at 6:03 am  

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guest post: Cows are the ideal form of currency

cowface.jpgCows. They’re good for a lot of things. You might not think that money is one of them. But that’s where you’re wrong. Cows are the ideal form of currency and I believe they should replace the New Zealand dollar in the near future.

posted by colin at 4:34 pm  

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