Feeds

Web 2.0 vs mobile phones

Dad drunk at Disco

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Symbian Show Sketch Hoping some Californian magic pixie dust might fall upon the sleepy world of telephony, the Symbian Smartphone Show organisers devoted an afternoon of presentations to the topic of "Social Media". Would Web 2.0 make it to the phone?

It had a bit of your Dad at the Disco about it, and even Symbian's no-nonsense research VP, David Wood, had been caught up in the excitement.

In his briefing notes, David posited that "in Web 2.0, the network itself has intelligence, rather than just being a bit-pipe for pre-cooked information". When previously rational people start to attribute agency and purpose to inanimate objects, it's a warning sign – as my lampshade reminded me this morning.

In the end, we didn't get the culture clash we expected, and by the end of the afternoon it seemed apparent that the mobile world needed "Web 2.0" quite a lot less than the Californian web cultists needed to go mobile.

And as the clock-ticked towards 5pm - hometime! - a rare consensus appeared to emerge: network integrity and security should not be compromised by script kiddies who'd just discovered the CPAN Perl archive; most 'user generated content' wasn't going to interest anyone; a blanket of pervasive HSDPA-speed 3G beats looking for an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot; and PCs were dumb, because you didn't have them with you, and they didn't know where they were.

That's more commonsense than you expect to hear in a lifetime of "Web 2.0" gatherings. In fact, even expressing such heresy is enough to get one excommunicated and sent to purgatory – for the web utopians are nothing if not a cult.

But to reach terra firma we had to negotiate a rocky terrain. Beginning with the buzzwords.

You know when something is labelled "social media" you've already arrived at a leaky abstraction that's going to sink at any moment. Add in an insulting, eye-rolling piece of nonsense like "democratisation of creativity" and you know you've really reached the technology world's Remedial Class.

We'll digress for a moment simply to point out the bleeding obvious. When someone uses a witless phrase like "social media", they're informing you that they're unable to distinguish the act of bearing witness from the business of being surveilled. Surveillance is big business these days, and technology can record everything we do or say. But that doesn't mean when we say something that we want it to be heard, or transferred out of context, or remembered. Or in the words of Google's ominous mission statement, "organised and made useful". Useful to, er...who?

All art is social and created as an act of testimony, but most speech isn't, it's designed to be forgotten - and the web cultists either, through ignorance or cynicism, willfully blur this distinction.

So it was refreshing to hear Orange's Mark Watts-Jones, in concluding his presentation, remind the audience that most electronically-recorded "content" wasn't of interest to anyone else. Orange seemed to be approaching the explosion of recording technology not as a gateway to a cybernetic all-recording uber-mind, but simply sharing your photos with your friends (or family).

Sling Media also disappointed the cult of the web wingnuts by pointing out that more practical matters were at hand. It was slightly ridiculous that in this "always-on", always-connected" world we couldn't access our own stuff - like TV channels we'd already subscribed to, music we'd already bought, or photographs we'd already taken - on our gadgets. They might as well be never-on, and never-connected - at least we could take a hard copy round to show the folks.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.