Newsflash: Geeks now good at usability, everyone else crap

We really struggled. We felt guilt. Wracked with pain. It’s the mid 1990s, and computers are impossibly hard to use. Anyone who could program them, and who also cared about people, was ashamed. So we fixed it. Books were published, websites launched, a new profession was born. It took a while but many of the key insights from that furore benefit […]

Astonishments, ten, in the history of version control

“If you really want to … truly ancient history, you have to go back to delta decks on punch cards.” (Jim Rootham) In a world where biographies of cod are not just accepted, but rightly popular, it wouldn’t seem entirely crazy to write a history book on how computer programmers store the vital product of their […]

Why I just joined the Green party

I’m pretty sure lots of people are going to ask me why I just joined the Green party, so here’s the reasons. I’ve moved to an area of Liverpool where green is strong – two Green councillors live nearby, there’s a very local organic box delivery, and the main indy co-op food shop has just […]

What’s a “startup” and why do I care?

You know when you have those really annoying arguments that turn into disputes about definitions of words? And they end up a tangled mess of pointlessness, and you just don’t want to be there any more? Well, I’ve just realised that they’re much more important than I thought, but you have to think about them […]

Seven facts about the Global Village Construction Kit

Every now and again a project comes along that could change everything. I’ve been lucky enough this year to come across two of them. The first I wrote about in Seven facts about Unhosted. It has the potential to decentralised the web again, while simultaneously keeping it just as easy to use and powerful. Today […]

We take extraordinary business models for granted

It’s really easy to get used to business models. As if they were natural things that have always been there. But actually, all the successful machines that make money were at one point extraordinary – inspired wonder when the first company found them. Here are some recent examples: 1) Flickr. Invented “freemium” for SaaS on […]

Seven facts about Unhosted

Unhosted is finally the project I’ve been waiting for, that stands a chance of decentralising the web. It separates application writing from hosting your data. Encryption magic means that neither the writer of the application nor the storer of your data can access your data. This will empower users, create more competition and boost open […]

Dinosaur media and the Internet both suck, a Booktrust story

“Government U-turn over book scheme cuts” blares the Independent newspaper today. Apparently the UK Government decided to cut a scheme that gives books to all children last week, and has now changed their mind in order to decide not to cut it. I don’t have any knowledge, or a particularly strong view, about how we […]

Monsters not loony enough

Looking for some sample data for the election quiz software I’m writing, I naturally went to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party website. The very first policy they list is: Cool on the outside: To combat global warming and climate change all buildings should be fitted with air conditioning units on the outside. (Source: Monster […]

John Redwood is a climate change denier

I like John Redwood. I started reading his blog in 2006 while I was involved in the Save Parliament campaign, trying to stop the Government pass a Bill whose craziness you’ll have to read about by following the link. John spoke prominently on the Internet and in Parliament against the Bill. Since then, I’ve seen […]