Four short links: 10 June 2009

App Wall, Negroponte Switch, Data Exploration, Inadequate Innovation

  1. Apple’s Cool Matrix-Style App Wall (TechCrunch) — a huge collection of icons for many of the apps available in the App Store, arranged by color. Apparently, when someone purchased one, that app’s icon would pulsate. An App Store version of Google’s search globe. Information visualization makes activities meaningful, beautiful, and useful, but not necessarily all at the same time. (via dubdotdash on Twitter)
  2. The New Negroponte Switch — “Designing things that think they are services, and services that think they are things”. Matt Jones presentation gushing with great ideas for the “Web Meets World” change. I love the evolving printed map they made for the British Council at Salone di Mobile. A five course meal with port and insulin shots for thought.
  3. Odesi — web-based data exploration, extraction, and analysis tool. (via scilib on Twitter)
  4. The Failed Promise of Innovation (Business Week) — I have a post building up inside me about how irritatingly of the mark this article is. Until that post erupts, however, you’ll have to just read it yourself and form your own view of its flaws. But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? What if outside of a few high-profile areas, the past decade has seen far too few commercial innovations that can transform lives and move the economy forward? What if, rather than being an era of rapid innovation, this has been an era of innovation interrupted? And if that’s true, is there any reason to expect the next decade to be any better?
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  • AP

    I think the Business Week piece is right on the mark. We spent a decade working on things without asking what mattered, to use Tim O’Reilly’s expression. It was a gold rush. That’s why we have Facebook and Twitter instead of solutions to global warming, the obesity epidemic and the financial crisis. If you could pick two of the last five, which one would you pick? IT could be part of the solution, but so much energy and money is spent on irrelevant pursuits. I think the end of the MS monopoly unleashed an era of innovation in IT, now we have to direct it for maximum impact on real problems.

  • I’m with AP but would go further:

    We have spent and continue to spend tons on research directions whose plausibility is supported almost entirely by naive, inside-the-bubble cheer-leading coupled to corruption (cheer-leading for things in which the cheer-leaders have direct and indirect vested interests). The notion arose in the 1990s that we could gut hard-core R&D for various reasons (the universities would do it, the open source market campaign community would do it, joe in his basement would do it)…. We’re reaping what was sown.