Guild Mall!

Online games usually get boring, once you have levelled up your hero or built all the buildings you can, you have nothing left to do except attack other players or produce massive amounts of resources.
This is primarly based on the standard model, where things get more difficult to do as you progress. Not in terms of skill, but in time and resources. To shorten the time, or lessen the resource requirement, you need to spend money for game coins.
These economies are over simplified and crude, which prevents any complex relationships evolving in these online worlds. Your contract is between you and the game company, with only the occasional game allowing players to earn game currency within the game.
It seems to me that there is a lot of scope for these games to become a trading place for different services offered by the players. This could be the creation of fine virtual items based on an expensively acquired skill, or it could be for a real world service. For example, a bar owner might sell a pint of beer in their bar for 20 game coins.
Malls were created to increase the overall amount of customer spend in that location, i.e. if the customer needed something they would get it at the mall, rather than drive somewhere else.
By creating virtual economies, we can drive community behaviours, where trust and a sense of belonging or perhaps just convenience leads people to buy things from the 'Guild Mall' rather than an external organisation.
Think of it as a merging of Shopper clubs with WoW.
Whether the scenario is quite as complex as that, we will have to wait and see, but this year should be the year where online communities start to have influence in the real world and potentially start to disintermediate the corporate and government bodies.


Facebucks, how to monetize Facebook...

It occurs to me that Facebook users really want to spend money, but there are limited opportunites within the Facebook environment and no micro-payment mechanism to help the process.
By allowing each Facebook user to have a balance of Facebucks to spend on all the crappy apps/services that are available out there, the company could rake in loads of cash.
Just give away, say 100 FBs per hundred friends, and then allow the apps to charge for usage, with Facebook taking a percentage on conversion of FBs to real cash.


False Dawn

The problem with the Semantic Web is that it assumes that more than 50% of the assertions are true more than 50% of the time.

Much like democracy, it is open to manipulation.
However, if we start to discriminate, then we start to make the pigs more equal than the other animals...

It is not knowledge we seek, but truth, and from truth will come the ultimate knowledge.


I want my 15" screen...

Michael Dell recently gave a talk in Silicon Valley where he had little positive to say about Netbooks. “With the netbook,” he said “if you take a user who is used to a 14-inch or 15-inch notebook, and then give them a 10-inch netbook, a few hours later they want their big screen back.”
I wonder if they did the survey in a room inside a building with the computers sitting on a desk. Do you think he's missing the point?? If I was using a laptop and someone took it away and gave me an iPhone, I would probably want the big screen back again, but it doesn't mean I don't want an iPhone or that I wouldn't use one.
The Netbooks are about form factor, not about what's better to use... (what's better, a BMW 7 series or a Mini?)
Maybe I will just carry my phone around with me, maybe I will have my full-blown laptop, or maybe I just want a small, intermediate device that lasts a decent amount of time on batteries, has a ubiquitous network connection and still allows me to do the basics that I would find hard to do on a smartphone. It sits inside my backpack but doesn't weigh me down and it's small enough to be taken out on the tube or the bus.
Of course (duh), if I'm in my office or my home, I'm going to prefer a high powered laptop, but there is a balance to be struck. The Netbook fits neatly into the gap between the smartphone and the laptop.
Oh, and another thing, at $300-400 I might just buy one for the kids.
Michael Dell doesn't get out enough!


Give up your material possessions...

I haven't gone religous, but I am beginning to see the light on the global marketplace for creative work.
The western economy is driven by creating the need to own something; a car, a house, furnishings, LPs/CDs/DVDs, books etc
I'm not sure we (at least my generation), can ever give up the feeling of owning that collection of books or records or even stickers (remember the old football sticker books that were avidly collected in the 70's?).
However, I'm not so sure about the younger generation, perhaps they are less concerned with what you HAVE and more concerned with what you DID. This is not a bad development.
The internet has moved many things to a virtual (spiritual?) level and perhaps it is about time that we recognise that fact with music and literature, at least.
Services such as Spotify and devices like the Kindle remove the need to own the material possession, but at the same time they need to be careful that they preserve the history of what their customers did.
As a young person, I don't care if I have the physical copy of the little-known-band-that-hits-the-big-time album, but I definitely want to have it known for posterity that I listened to them long before anyone else did. Similarly, I would want to know when I read particular books and the comments I had on them (I read Dan Brown before all the Da Vinci Code hype that went around, but didn't think that much of it).
Which films did I watch in 1994? I have no idea, but that was before the internet and before it was possible for me to stream videos on demand.
This history is effectively a diary of our life, in much the same way as our material possessions are a very imperfect diary of our lives. Why don't I throw out my LPs if I never listen to them? Do I particularly like the feel of vinyl? Do I love the aesthetics of the 70's artwork on the cover? No, they are my history and to throw them out would diminish my memories of the time I used to listen to them.
In today's world we don't need the physical artefact to enable us to remember, I just need to type the first few characters of the address and Google will suggest the completion based on my history .
How many young people today have physical photo albums full of pictures of past years? How many will send you a link to their album on Facebook?
'Memories, like the corners [of my history on Spotify, Youtube, Kindle, Facebook etc]

Cast out your material possessions, the future is subscription-based... (with lifetime history)


More Power....

There are a lot of interesting stories around at the moment concerning power/electricity.
For example this story about Google getting involved in devices to monitor power usage in homes. or this demo of WiTricity, wireless electricity in its infancy, or this story about wind power in the middle of the oceans.

I have mentioned before on this blog some of the issues we face with regards to power consumption, but it's nice to see some major moves in this area.
Perhaps my comment about 'GooglePower' wasn't so far-fetched after all??

WiTricity, in particular interests me a lot, as it was talking about specific resonance, which made me wonder if the 'user' of the pad could have a specific resonance and the pad would respond to a range of resonances, i.e. you could identify who was consuming energy (the device). If you then stuck a mediation device on the pad you could allow people to automatically recharge and have it billed to their account. Actually might be a lot easier to do it with RFID, if the Near-field communication is not disrupted by the magnets.
Either way, there would be a fairly big market in restaurants/coffee shops etc for people to recharge their devices while they eat/drink/get transported from A to B.


Waiting for Maemo....

While I'm waiting for the Nokia N900 to go on sale in Turkey, where I am currently located, here is a tasty experiment I made in the kitchen last night...
Take a breast of chicken, a handful of red chillies, chilli powder (coarse), a clove or 2 of garlic, onion, chopped fresh ginger and fry in a generous scoop of butter. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Wait until the onions are soft and the chicken is browned, then add a slurp of whisky, a spoonful of sugar and some chopped/halved cherry tomatoes.
Wait until the tomatoes are warmed up and then serve with boiled rice.
The chillies I used were not spicy, at least not like Thai, nor was the powder.
For dessert we had 'Ekmek Kadayifi' with 'Kaymak'. This is a bread soaked in honey topped with a kind of clotted cream.
I can probably wait a bit longer for the N900...