Friday, June 30, 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare knew a thing or two about emotions, that's for sure.

Today my contract finally ends after two and a half years of repeated 3 month and 6 month extensions. There's so much I can quarrel with about how the project was architected and how it has been managed. But today I just feel glad to have been able to help, and sorry that I'll miss the next few steps.

All in all it has been a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone involved, here's hoping that the next job turns up soon (after a break at the farmouse in Italy of course) and that we can learn as much from each other as I have here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Anything 2.0

Doesn't it just make your head hurt when you see yet another news item, press release, blog item about XYZ 2.0?

Publishers O'Reilly claims authorship of the term Web 2.0, and for sure it has more than succeeded in its original purpose as a call to action. But (as the article mentions) the Web 2.0 (and anything 2.0) moniker has been hijacked by just about every tech PR company still up and running since the dot com shakeout (Wikipedia even defines Marketing 2.0). I started to foam at the mouth when I saw the April 2006 cover of UK venture capitalist 3i's iSIGHT magazine, which managed to cram in Trade 2.0, Business Web 2.0, Consumer 2.0 and Economy 2.0 (to round it off, they had yet another one of those hagiographic interviews with Tim Berners Lee in the back. Semantic, shemantic...).

When I see 2.0 I see a product at a point in time - and a pretty early point. Who remembers Oracle 2.0 (well, I do, but only just)? Windows 2.0? We all know that it's only from version 3 or above that a product really starts to earn its keep. To the extent that it is useful at all, "Web 2.0" is just a shorthand for certain aspects of recent developments on the web (interactivity? community? Flikr? AJAX? mash-ups? folksonomies? As the Queen says 'it means whatever I want it to mean').

Now (27 June 2006) CMP Media has actually managed to register Web 2.0 as a service mark in the US. Is there anything you can't sneak past the US Patent and Trade Office? Even though they issued a 'Final Refusal' in November 2004, over the following 18 months they evidently caved in to appeals from CMP.

I'd like to see a boycott of this lazy habit of shoving 2.0 after anything and everything (except your competitors - they're all 1.0 of course). Laughter is best; there's nothing succeeds in deflating the pretentious journo-marketeer as well as public ridicule - so please join me by posting any particularly ludicrous 2.0 claims here!