Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There's an App -- or Something -- for That

I remember the day I felt the technology plates shift under my feet. It was maybe 6 years ago: post-Internet, pre-Kindle, and I'd gone into the local library. I was standing in the fiction section thinking how great it would be if I could go online at home and store an evolving list of books I wanted to read, and then pull it up when I got to the library.

Well, it turned out, the library had an app for that. Ok, not an app exactly, but an online catalog/request system that did exactly what I wanted. It was a moment that foretold -- for me -- the coming age of apps, of devices talking to one another, and of  the Cloud. I remember that was the moment I stopped thinking, "Why can't I...?" and started asking "Can I....?" I've had a lot of moments like that since then: I wished there was something that would send an alert when there's a traffic jam to or from the office. I wished I could find out what is the name of that song they're playing in the shoe store. I wished there was somewhere I could just store my music online and access it from anywhere on any device. Well, I have all that now. Some days it's like rubbing a magic lamp: wish, and it appears.

I love these changes in technology, every day. And I love the usual answer now to "Can I...?"

What was your moment?


Kelly said...

About fifteen years ago I worked on a project developing high-level learning for an internal project-management software tool. What became of the learning or the project management tool - I do not know – perhaps it inhabits a forgotten grave yard next to an empty project ghost town. As I remember, an account manager tracked project hours, budget items, client touch points and the like with the software package. In addition, the account manager accessed internal documents, case studies, and lists of internal personnel with expertise in various client content areas. The last part was my “moment.” In this case, the user of the software “pulled” information from a variety of sources to improve personal performance and project performance. Later, “edge transformation” in the The Power of Pull reminded me of that aspect of the project management tool.

By the way, I see one alarming development of the cloud and e-books – bookstore browsing for several hours on a Friday night will go the way of a drive-in movie on a Friday night.

Alex said...

As a part of a company that deals with combining online with offline learning experience, I think that the problem today is not technology but mindset.
Many of our clients have all the tools to move into e-learning, but are afraid to let go of some of the older concepts.
Screens mustn't replace books, but they should synergise.

Jane Bozarth said...

Kelly: We still have some drive-ins here!

Aaron said...

IM was blocked where I worked in Pennsylvania. I had been there for two years, had started to really question my job, but had little access to the outside world. And then Google Talk launched, which ran in the browser, so it wasn't blocked. Overnight, I connected with friends and colleagues past, my network grew and the next chapter of my life was being drafted.

All because someone figured out a way to do instant messaging as a web app instead of through dedicated, installed clients. That's when I knew web and services that ran in the web was going to be the future.

Jane Bozarth said...

Aaron, you know if there is anything I like more than a workaround it is Stickin' It To The Man. One of the things I like best about social media tools are the way they empower the users.

Jane Bozarth said...

Rachel: Perfect.

Rachel Miriam said...

I think my moment was listening to music on my first ipod and thinking, "This is great but it would be so much better if it was integrated with my cell phone."

chris said...

I remember finding the online catalog too. I thought "wow, it cant get any better than this". Now I am waiting for my library to finalize it's e-book access. I have three e-reader apps (Google, kindle, and nook on my nook color. (with a custom ROM)

To Kelly's comment about book stores disappearing. Seth Godin has a great article about the evolution of the library. It will have--
"The vibe of the best Brooklyn coffee shop combined with a passionate raconteur of information..."

BTW There is still one drive-in not to far from my town.

Teresa said...

I just want to say that you all amaze me! I am trying to get technology savey but I feel I am so far behind. I do have an iPad and a cell phone but this is my first blog and I don't tweet, I don't even have Facebook and I don't own a farm. But I'm getting there..baby steps...and then the technology will change again. :-)