Google Apps Marketplace: A Bridge to the Clouds?

Last week the Google Apps Marketplace opened for business. It is a facility for third party developers to add functionality and features to Google Apps, which is a service the web giant offers to business that allow said organizations to harness the power of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is an emerging concept that encourages people to do all their work on the web, instead of desktop computers, and in this case instead of corporate servers or expensive Microsoft Outlook/Exchange/Office systems.

Google Apps combines a number of different services, like gmail for web, google docs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendar, web site publishing, basically all the informational/software needs you would require to run the basics of the company.

Urban Golf in India

The Rise of The Surveillance Club

Today, March 9th 2010 I participated in an interactive workshop at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto titled Surveillance and Civic Action. Organized by Andrew Clement and Kate Milberry of The New Transparency Project, the purpose of the event was to bring together as many different perspectives as possible regarding the rise of surveillance in our society.

Each participant in the workshop offered some sort of presentation or demo that showcased their work or thoughts on the broader subject of surveillance.

However surveillance was really just a thread that connected other topics, and not the primary focus of the day long discussion. Instead surveillance was used as a segue to all sorts of spheres that relate to how our society is transforming in this age of the Internet.

In the same way that environmentalism has helped us become aware of our symbiotic relationship with the environment, perhaps something similar is required to help us understand our symbiotic relationship with cyberspace.

The Rise of Mobile Commerce

A new mobile payment system introduced by the Canadian company
ZoomPass is the latest in a line of technology that has tried to
entice consumers into using wirless or chip based smart cards as a
means of making small payments. So far consumers have been resistent
to adopt these kinds of payment systems, however given our obsession
with mobile devices, and their ubiquity in our lives, this might be
the system that succeeds where others have failed.

ZoomPass is a Canadian mobile payment system that is owned by Canada's three largest mobile companies (Bell, Telus, Rogers) and backed by
MasterCard. Originally it started as a means of making payments via
text message, as well as a smart phone application. The person making

Google and More Google

I know this may seem a little tardy, but I thought it would be nice to collect a few of the most interesting musings on Google, in case you have somehow missed the biggest non-Apple news of 2010. This has already been a big year for Google, between the announcement that it was leaving China, the launch of the Nexus One, Google Buzz, and their energy and broadband initiatives. Without further ado...

What I learned from civil rights


For about 10 days in February, I escaped the bitter northern cold of Montreal for warmer climes. One of the most interesting experiences I had (having never been south of the Mason-Dixon line except to visit DC years ago) was a trip to the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics: The first games in the clouds

photo by ecstaticist from

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics were the first games that took place "in the cloud." While it would be too easy to say that they were "The Social Media Olympics", that does not describe the breadth and comprehensiveness by which technology dramatically changed the way everyone interacted with the games.

Social media is for many people already old news, and what's novel about these Olympics, what made it possible, was the pervasiveness of cloud computing, the concept that frees us from our personal computer, frees us from a single television channel, to be able to interact with the games anywhere, anytime, and anyway we choose.

There's really no division between official broadcaster and even official sponsors, the olympics are so transcendent they permeate our society for two weeks, kind of like a cloud.

One of the impacts of the rise of cloud computing is the dominance of real-time media. The way in which compelling moments flash through the cloud like lightning with echoes that roar like Thunder.

Sidney Crosby's gold medal winning goal was a great example of this. The moment the puck when into the net an electric current surged across the country (across the world) firing human bodies up with emotion. The thundering echo produced by this strike could be heard by those not directly connected.

Technology Trends for 2010

As another year comes to a close I thought I'd share some brief thoughts on what I anticipate for the world of technology in 2010:

The Might of Mobile

Mobile technology will continue to be a dominant trend as smart phones go from being tools for professionals, to devices that just about everyone has or wants.

A lot of the growth in the mobile sector is driven by applications. A related platform that I think will thrive in 2010 is Augmented Reality (o/k/a AR).

Augmented Reality is an effort to bring the qualities of the web to the physical world by literally adding a layer of hypertext on top of our material reality. Often described and associated with the concept of the "Internet of Things", the idea is to unlock web-based information associated with each object or location.

As a concept AR has been receiving a considerable amount of attention and investment. The recent announcement of advertising in AR will have a powerful and also normative effect.

In this regard, "hyper-local" advertising will be a big trend in 2010, and it will be driven by mobile and AR applications. This will be a way that Twitter starts to cash in, for example, bu having localized ads that target people in particular cities or neighbourhoods. If you don't want to be exposed to these ads, you'll be able to pay a premium and get Twitter with spam filters.

Tablet Computing

I'm kind of excited about the (re)arrival of tablet computers. Apple has one coming out in the spring, Google is rumoured to have one out in early summer, and I've been playing with Nokia's N900, which calls itself a tablet.

What excites me is the combination of mobility with traditional computational power and abilities. On the one hand, it will further drive the development of mobile applications, with the tablets marketed and treated like mobile devices. On the other, they enable a truly rich multimedia experience with their expanded touch screens and user interfaces.

One of their impacts will be to continue to accelerate the rate of technological change as evolution happens faster and companies push out new products and upgrades to keep up.

Changes in U.S. Freedom of Information in Age of Globalization and Technology

"Limiting Knowledge in a Democracy" February 24-26 The New School, New York City

The New School's Social Research Journal Announces Conference on Changes in U.S. Freedom of Information in Age of Globalization and Technology

Keynote Address by Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist; Featured Speakers Daniel Ellsberg, Eric Lichtblau, Steven Aftergood

Of Scams and Facebook Apps

Not being very active in online gaming, I always sort of idly wondered how apps as bland and harmless as Farmville could pull off the sort of profits they achieved. I presumed there was some advertising, but it seemed unlikely that much data mining could be done from users who are (as far as I can tell) spend hours manipulating a virtual plot of land.

Those Pesky Digital Natives

In a post titled "The Temporary Web", Jeff Jarvis muses on the temporary nature of the internet after Twitter. It's these three or four sentences which strike a chord with me, highlighting a shift in the collective consciousness:

How to get ahead in media: helps if you're a Peter

Being a nice guy helps to, and these two genuinely are.

Why would you pay $142 for a $5 coin?

Vanity is the secret to successful media

No longer concerned about substance, the media relies on vanity to get attention and claim success. Reality no longer relevant.

Iraq insurgents hack into video feeds from US drones

US drone 

Insurgents in Iraq have hacked into live video feeds from unmanned American drone aircraft, US media reports say.

Shia fighters are said to have used off-the-shelf software programs such as SkyGrabber to capture the footage.