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What Does Technology Want From Us?

Marketing podcast with Kevin Kelly (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly by eschipul via Flickr

I ran a post last week outlining the way that I use a piece of technology called Evernote to run much of my life. I commented, almost as an aside, that the one thing I still keep on paper is my daily to do list. I do this for a variety of reasons, but I was struck by that fact that a great deal of the conversation surrounding that post concerned that fact that many others agreed that they too kept elements of their daily routine decidedly analog.

To quote John Naisbitt’s 1985 Megatrends – “. . . the more technology we introduce into our lives, the more we seek a high touch balance, a human ballast.”

Of course Naisbitt was talking about copiers and typewriters, imagine how much more pressure we must feel today with a computer that could run a Space Shuttle mission in most everyone’s pocket and a 24/7 tweet meme running in our brains.

I see, feel and hear about the pressure small business owners feel every day and it’s a topic that find both important and interesting – in case your going to SXSW in Austin I’m on a panel called – Tweeting On the Weekends, where I’ll share some of my thoughts about employing and taming technology.

For this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the pleasure of spending about 20 minutes with Kevin Kelly – cofounder of Wired Magazine where he served as Executive Editor for seven years, publisher of Cool Tools and author of New Rules for the New Economy and the recently released What Technology Wants

Before I jump into some of what we discussed I have to tell you that you should get your hands on a copy of New Rules – it’s out of print I’m told but there are used copies and a Kindle version. The book was very influential on my thinking about the changing role of technology back in 1998 or so and I’m amazed at how accurately the rules discussed have played out here in 2011.

Kelly is one of the closest things we have to a technology Renaissance Man. He was one of the pioneers of a great deal of the Internet technology that we take for granted today, yet spent large chunks of his life with no technology other than a sleeping bag and a flashlight.

He writes in What Technology Wants not in a straightforward futuristic way but rather in a historic backward looking way and it helps us realize that technology has been with us forever, it’s possibly the way we interact with it that’s changed the most.

I find it extremely compelling that for each and every vexing problem that more technology presents we typically find a way out or around it with more technology.

We are experiencing an exciting shift right now from the desktop to the mobile, from the static to the dynamic and from the scheduled to real time and that shift is creating such a fluid and sometimes dreaded need to adjust our thinking about what work is, how we interact, and how we consume information that I believe we are on the verge of something equal to or greater than the impact of the web’s early days in the mainstream.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or Android app and listen to the show as well as about ten past shows on your phone.

Is Your Blog iPad Worthy?

ipadLots of folks these days are consuming things like blog content on their still shiny new iPads. App developers like Flipboard and big time publishers like Slate and Wired are taking advantage of the wide HD screen to create stunning visual displays and interaction.

This new look media is starting to make plain old blogs look a little flat by comparison. Want to see how your blog looks on the iPad (buy one for $600 or . . . ) visit iPad Peek and plug in your blog’s URL to see what it looks like to an iPad viewer.

Now, to be fair the 1024 wide iPad screen in horizon view frames most modern WordPress themes just fine, but it’s all that other flashy looking stuff and vertical finger scroll that’s missing.

Fortunately, there are some ready made solutions that you can tap now without shelling our design bucks (OK, I know for some bloggers $50 bucks is a serious deal, but these are all very reasonable.)

The resources below will give some to work with and cost between $29 and $49. In most cases the promoters are suggesting their themes as not only a good iPad version but a great web option as well and have to agree.

PadPressed – PadPressed is actually a theme built into a plugin so it can sense when an iPad shows up and deliver your theme and some iPad only functionality to your blog

WPTouch 2.0 Pro – To be fair the iPad update to this plugin is coming in a month or so in v2.1, but I’ve used the mobile version of this plugin for months. This is a very useful tool and I expect the iPad version to work equally as well.

Mobility WP – Good stuff from the folks at Themeforest looks pretty simple and has some flexibility in scheme

Pingable – Multiple style options and built in lightbox option makes it a nice choice from creative professionals showcasing work.

Still a Fan of the Magazine

Business WeekI don’t know what it is really, I can get all the info I could possibly cram into my brain right there on my phone, but I still subscribe to lots of magazines.

I suppose there are psychological reasons attached to this, but there are some very practical ones as well. I tend to read much longer articles in this format and also find that I discover things in printed magazines that I don’t always run across online.

I’ve read Business Week, FastCompany, Inc, Wired, and Entrepreneur for years and hope I can continue to do so. I also subscribe to Website magazine and Target Market. By the way, you can get four weeks of Business Week and subscriptions to Website and Target Market as well as a host of industry specific magazines and white papers free of charge here though an affiliation I have with TradePub.

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