18 December 2007

The future of communication

Tyndale Tech tries to keep you up to date with electronic resources for Biblical Studies.
I've now moved it to a blog-style site where you can add your comments on the issues.
All the old posts are there, and new ones will be posted there as well as appearing in email.
This means you can add your wisdom on the various topics to share with other scholars.
It also means you can hear about new posts using RSS as well as or instead of emails.

Previous posts have been quite good at predicting the future.

I predicted:
* an important new search engine called "Google" (when it was still just a funny word)
* viruses will be used for advertising (when they were still mostly used for malicious pranks)
* laptops will be made with flash memory instead of hard drives (they are appearing now)
* everyone will carry a pocket computer (when phones were still just for phoning)
* Unicode fonts will take over publishing (when hardly anyone had heard of Unicode)
* Perseus has important hidden treasures (when it was known merely as a picture collection)

Some of the oldest posts are still very useful.

* Indexing a book automatically - I've just used it again for my latest volume.
* Using styles and macros to save time in word processing
* Installing free original-language Bibles and translations on a Palm
* Finding the treasures among all the trash on the web

Some warnings I gave:

* I warned against Word XP (an unstable dead end. Word 2003 is much better)
* I warned against Word on a Mac (they STILL haven't made Hebrew work properly!)
* I warned against Word Perfect (without unicode, all its wonderful features are useless)
* I warned against investing in the dollar (no, not really - but I wish I had)

My next warning: Email is dying (though I hope I am wrong)

* Email now looks like postal letters did a few decades ago
* Remember the excitement you first had when an email arrived for you?
* now a huge percentage of email is spam, and most real emails are business related
* it is like the old days when paper post was full of adverts and business letters

The mext generation have abandoned email for newer ways of communicating

Blogs (originally Web Logs) are diary-style dated entries posted (mostly) in public
* they can be used as ways to stay in touch with a group of family and friends
* some have become spectacularly successful news or gossip columns, rivalling newspapers
* readers can often add comments, which can be moderated, allowing limited interactively
* they are now often used as an easy way to write web pages with pictures and links
* the posts are permanent (until the owner deletes them) so they are a true part of the web
* RSS feeds help people keep up with a large number of blogs by collecting changes

Instant messaging is a way to 'chat' online. Messages are transmitted instantaneously,
* these messages are private and they are wiped when you log off (though Google is changing that)
* different sites are deaf to each other - you have to sign up with MSN, Yahoo, Google or AOL
and then you can talk to any individual or groups you choose, but only on that platform.
* to talk to them all, use meebo or digg - you hear everyone, but they still can't hear each other.
Social Networking is a way to share friends and make new connections 'safely' online
* they tend to be based round communities such as schools (Bebo) colleges (Facebook), professionals (LinkedIn), over 50's (Sagezone) or general (Flickr, MySpace etc)
* individuals share a great deal about themselves because more details gains them more 'friends'
* these pages are permanent, and it is worrying how much people reveal about themselves in them

Personally I still prefer emails.

* they are private (unlike blogs), and produce permanent searchable copies (unlike chats)
* and they allow me to reply when convenient to me, giving me time to think, and to live a bit
* and they are not kept at Archive.org (where anyone can see deleted web pages and blogs)

But the future is phones

Phones now have operating systems more powerful than the computers which took men to the moon
* the fact that we use this amazing computing power for photos and crazy ringtones merely shows that
increases in the intelligence of phones has not been matched by the intelligence of phone users.
* we can send email as a speech file attachment rather than as text using Speak-a-Message (free)
* now you can listen to your text emails with a realistic artificial voice phonecall using VoMail
* and you can speak a reply on your phone which is then sent as a text email - use Vemail.
* our phones will soon have enough power for voice recognition, so these functions will be built-in
* voice phones will be as small as hearing aids and, like them, will only come out when we sleep

Personally I will be avoiding some of these technological revolutions
* I carry a WiFi Palm for picking up email, but I do not carry a phone
* I read emails, and reply after thinking for a moment. I don't chat online or post my life on a blog.
* perhaps I'm a luddite, or perhaps I am someone who has seen the future and knows better.


Rick Bennett said...


Nice move on switching to a blog format. I look forward to future posts and predictions.

Have a great Christmas—

Rick Bennett

Peter M. Head said...

So what's with the photo of you using a Mac?

Jim said...


Phil Gons said...

Will an RSS feed be coming?

Krakowian said...

The problem with predicting the "death" of a communication medium is that they don't die, new methods and means just get added. ;-) Yes, I believe that email will be less important, but won't go away, for precisely the reasons you mentioned. However, instant messaging can and does have archivability. Skype does it automatically, and iChat on the Mac can. It's a pref. And there are tools for organizing and searching through iChat archives. I use this all the time, because, despite my nearly 43 years, I must be a mext genner, because I use it all the time to communicate with my parents, coworkers, and friends. (more than email?) :-)

Keep up the great work.

David Gill said...

See your link on http://ancientworldbloggers.blogspot.com/2007/12/tyndale-tech-electronic-resources-for.html

And have a very Happy Christmas.


Archaeologyknits said...

As for word on a Mac, I havn't tried Hebrew, but otherwise it is fine. I also couldn't get Hebrew good on a PC without the SBL Hebrew stuff, because the pointing for the system default stuff is horrible.

I don't quite see email going away any time soon, blogs and social networking will not be able to replace the use of email for business or academic communications, as these do include privacy and direction/notification that these systems lack. But we'll see.