Tools of the trade: Can we keep up?

It seems there is a never-ending stream of new communications tools, toys, strategies, channels, methods, advice… ok, ok, I’m beating the point already. Still, I’ve devoted the past year to learning all that I can about as many of them as I can absorb and try out without exploding, and I feel like I’m still falling behind, at least on grey, rainy days like today when I could use another coffee.

The newest hot tip that has me all excited is about Apple’s rumoured tablet (see links just below), dubbed the iPad, that is supposed to serve as both a tablet-style computer that includes wireless connectivity and a ebook-reader in full colour with multi-media possibilities, unlike the black-and-white, text-only Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and other ebook-readers that have been launched in the past eighteen months or so.

Here are a couple of good links in mainstream media about the rumours, if you want to read more:

Vancouver Sun: Apple to Launch Tablet in the Spring — http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/tech-biz/Apple+launch+tablet+spring+2010+analyst/2325556/story.html
Business Week: Five Ways Apple’s Tablet May Change the World — http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2009/tc20091229_795528.htm?chan=rss_topStories_ssi_5

On the other hand, MySpace is (apparently) bleeding users as people, er, stream over to YouTube and Twitter like… um… flocks of birds, and add friends via Facebook!

Just when I think I’ve caught up and figured “it” out, the world changes and I have to add a new line to my email signature with yet another contact method (again) and I have to plan a new purchase into my budget.

Meanwhile, what will I do with all these paper books I have, taking up space and creating dust but remaining much too near and dear to my heart to part with? And what about the snowfield of envelopes and stamps I bought in bulk at Costco a few years ago and still haven’t used up? And what if I had invested in the Kindle six months ago when the international version finally came to Canada? It’s not just the Kindle, of course, it’s the proprietary-technology e-books that I would have buy to read with it that really form the backbone of the investment. Would I then have to go out and buy another copy of Gerry McGovern’s Killer Web Content, just so I could read it in a) print, b) on a Kindle c) on an iPhone and d) on an iPad? I’m glad I waited, and hung tight with just the paper version.

But now, apparently, I have to decide, “What should I do when the iPad comes out?”

What do you do to keep up? Or do you even try?

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Want even more? Here’s a wonderful discussion of the potential — and challenges — facing the book publishing world with the advent of ebooks and other digital media: e-Books: Averting a Digital Horror Story — http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_02/b4162050103172.htm

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5 thoughts on “Tools of the trade: Can we keep up?”

  1. Okay, one more comment (sorry):
    If Apple offers publishers 70% of revenue without requiring exclusivity, I think that will be wonderful. It will mean real competition for the Kindle, reasonable revenues for publishers (and ultimately writers) who are doing the heavy lifting. But I’m a little skeptical that this will usher in some sort of Age of Aquarius utopia, as suggested by Ben Kunz. Apple is a company whose bottom line is to make money, not some sort of technological messiah. They will offer reasonable revenues to publishers only so long as they have real competition. If they create a monopoly, I’m sure they’ll take Amazon’s route and cut what they pay back to the publishing industry. I also wonder what the retail price will be for these books through the Tablet.

  2. Also, I sometimes find that I start losing perspective on how people actually communicate. Sure, a whole lotta people use Twitter, Facebook, etc… but not everyone uses it in a meaningful way, or at all. Sometimes an old-fashioned letter or postcard is still the best way to connect with people. Or, in my community, the local weekly paper or community bulletin boards.

  3. Oh, I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes it’s tough to decide which technological bandwagon to jump on next. I tend to hold back a while so I can see which one is gaining critical mass. That way I don’t invest time and cash in a technology that is becoming obsolete.

    Of course, there are problems with waiting too long, too. You can end up looking like a luddite. Or, like the music industry, you lose out by letting Apple lock down the way music is consumed.

    I really appreciated that article you sent earlier on the publishing industry and e-books (http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/10_02/b4162050103172.htm). I’m glad that they’re trying to sell e-books through several different vendors, but not sure if that will be enough to prevent Amazon from having a monopoly. Also, not sure if delaying the release of e-books is the right move…seems like it punishes the consumer more than anything.

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