Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Snippets of the future

Two articles in New York Times today caught my attention, one being that News Corp reported it had attracted 105,000 paying customers to the digital versions of The Times (of London) and The Sunday Times of London since it started charging for access to their Web sites in June News Corp. More Than 100,000 Pay .  A second item was about a  New Mobile Keyboard - more later on that.

Rupert Murdoch is at least putting his page views where his mouth is and making a line in the sand that eventually every content creator will have to cross if they want to stay in business by having people pay for content on-line.  The lesson I have learned in reading a myriad of articles and hearing people speak on the subject, people will pay a premium for something they value. 

The second article is about a new mobile keyboard system.  I have no idea if this will work or not, but it makes me wonder as the future comes at us faster and faster these days, what other blind spots are there to new products (and the industries that come with them) like smart phones?  What I am refering to is the keyboard for mobile phones are QWERTY design which is based on a layout created in 1873, when it first appeared in typewriters.  The technology and capabilities are accelerating so quickly that my 2 year old Blackberry Curve is nearly obsolete.  Yet, no one ever considered a better interface than a 138 year old system designed for a mechanical typewriter that likely weighed 50 pounds for a device that fits in a shirt pocket? 

I will happliy admit to not being smart enough for many things, but I know don't have to stick my hand in a fire more than once to know it burns.  As publishing moves forward, digital technology will continue to challenge existing models until there is one that works for both publishers and consumers.  Until that model is found, people have to think beyond their QWERTY blind spots and not apply 138 year old practices to brand new technologies. 

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