Interesting elsewhere – 3 August 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Memex 1.1 » Blog Archive » Quote of the Day The 20th century was about sorting out supply. The 21st is going to be about sorting out demand. The Internet makes everything available, but mere availability is meaningless if the products remain unknown to potential buyers. – Gavin Potter
  • Study: Ages of social network users | Royal Pingdom How old is the average Twitter or Facebook user? What about all the other social network sites, like MySpace, LinkedIn, and so on? How is age distributed across the millions and millions of social network users out there?To find out, we pulled together age statistics for 19 different social network sites, and crunched the numbers.
  • Clive Thompson on the Death of the Phone Call | Magazine We’re moving, in other words, toward a fascinating cultural transition: the death of the telephone call. This shift is particularly stark among the young. Some college students I know go days without talking into their smartphones at all. I was recently hanging out with a twentysomething entrepreneur who fumbled around for 30 seconds trying to find the option that actually let him dial someone.This generation doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. And we don’t just have more options than we used to. We have better ones: These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed. It deserves to die.
  • jaggeree /Blog : : Developing more thoughtfully for digital inclusion For me it’s quite simple. If you make it enjoyable for people to be online, then any difficulties they had getting online the first time, either through fear, through nervousness about computers or security, or what a mouse is will melt away. They’ll want more wonder and will see some immediate emotional benefits. They’ll learn about being online on the real web rather than on training games. All too often in inclusion people have aimed for the statistical jugular about signing up for specific things and jumping through hoops. This stuff needs measuring, but I worry that unless people find the things online that matter to them and enjoy them, then we’ll lose quite a lot of the people who we’ve got online quite quickly after that initial burst.
  • How the Internet Organizes the Unemployed | techPresident Curiously, considering the persistence of high unemployment, and all kinds of evidence that unemployed people are going online in huge numbers to find help (they have more spare time than the average person, don’t forget), there’s very little sign that anybody–government, labor unions, or other kinds of political organization–is explicitly trying to connect with the unemployed using the web.
  • Schneier on Security: Economic Considerations of Website Password Policies We conclude that the sites with the most restrictive password policies do not have greater security concerns, they are simply better insulated from the consequences of poor usability. Online retailers and sites that sell advertising must compete vigorously for users and traffic. In contrast to government and university sites, poor usability is a luxury they cannot afford. This in turn suggests that much of the extra strength demanded by the more restrictive policies is superfluous: it causes considerable inconvenience for negligible security improvement.
  • brian hoadley – The 80:20 rule of Agile and UCD I think that we need to regain balance in the system. The pendulum has swung from using a methodology (Waterfall) that people felt took too long to get to a deliverable, to one (Agile) that gets there quickly and incrementally, but may never give us the product we wanted.
  • TED Global Internet Pledge – TED Global Oxford | Talk About Local The C19th underpinning design principle of state institutions and indeed legislation is the postal service.  Long phase, slow, low intensity communication with the public.  In the late C20th the institutions adapted to the telephone for service delivery although not policy dialogue by establishing huge contact centre estates.  But have not yet made the necessary adaptions for the internet and indeed the C21st.
  • How to work with online communities at Helpful Technology There are as many ways to tap into and use these incredibly precious resources as there are facets to human nature. And it’s because of this humanity – and hopefully goes without saying – that communities need to be treated with respect. On the one hand, there is a strong current of volunteering and willingness to help good causes. On the other, there’s the need to eat. Sure, Government is strapped for cash, but there are lots of ways Government can help without spending much money