Friday, October 31, 2008

making the case for 3D vs. Flat

Once you have spent any time wandering around in virtual worlds, the Web looks surprisingly flat and 2 dimensional. It feels like back lit magazine pages with postcard sized videos squeaking out low-fi, mono audio. And lonely - very solitary.

Why bother, when you have the option for a collaborative experience that simulates the real world interaction of humans. The traditional Internet experience is asynchronous - no matter what the Web 2.0 evangelists say. You say something and wait, then I say something and wait, then someone else says something and so on. How much real collaborative energy exists in those interactions? None, zero, zip. Today's social networking sites remind me of a guest book at 19th century B&B - * blueberry pancakes were delicious, the view from the veranda was lovely...see you next time...* Snoresville.
Make my digital interaction 3D - I need to be able to go somewhere and talk with someone and sit and have a chat or use digital artifacts to stimulate and drive our discussion.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

scan it

Amazing how the interaction of carbon based life forms has changed in the past few years. Used to be once upon a time that you needed to have face to face interaction in order to purchase things. Someone had to ring up your items, and take your money and give you your change and put your purchase in a bag(s). But that era has ended as I discovered last weekend.

I went to my local super grocery store late on a Saturday afternoon and initiated my spree by scanning the key tag with my store assigned ID number. It then assigned me what could only be described as a *wand*. This is what I used to scan each item before I put it in my cart. It would also make the occasional *ringing cash register* sound if I passed by an item on a shelf that was on sale or had a 2 for 1 type of promo running. The sound was somewhat disconcerting at first, but I got used to it. So, I ticked items off my list, grabbing whatever senior management had requested (read: the wife) and then checked out. By once again placing the *wand* in front of a scanning device in an automated check out aisle, it downloaded the data about the items and their costs and then asked me to pay. I used my debit card, took the receipt after the computerized female voice said *don't forget to take your receipt". I then bagged the groceries myself and strolled out of the store.

And then it hit me. Not once during the course of that entire experience had I interacted with another human. It was weird. As if I had not really been in the store. No one had said hello. Or even asked if I wanted paper or plastic.
Time marches on I guess. Maybe next time I'll opt for the real person at the cash register so we two breathing creatures can have some semblance of interaction.