• Carolina Hurricanes and Uber logos
    Asides,  innovation,  Travel

    The problems with tech companies as infrastructure

    None of what I am about to relay is new, but it’s enlightening when you have a small personal experience that momentarily lifts away the curtain to demonstrate the broader significance of a trend. So, on the one hand this story is “man had to wait slightly longer for a taxi, boohoo” and on the other it is “foretaste of troubling social trend.” You can decide. Last week I visited my daughter who is studying for a year abroad in North Carolina. Being ice hockey fans we went to see the Carolina Hurricanes (twice) in Raleigh. The PNC Arena where they play is a few miles out of town and…

  • Travel,  Web/Tech

    Be the Sat Nav

    Our metaphors for human behaviour are often informed by technology, and the metaphors we adopt play an important role in how we see the world. Lakoff and Johnson argue that “If… our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.” But can you consciously choose metaphors to shape your own behaviour? This is part of the argument of talking therapies, that you change your interaction with the world by the way you frame it conceptually. All of which is trying to provide some academic justification for a small idea in a small post… I was pondering…

  • Travel

    In Palo Alto

    I’m in Palo Alto for a few days (I’ll explain why in a later post). We’ve had some excellent meetings at The Institute for the Future and SocialText (where I saw Dan Bricklin chatting away – when I chaired T171 Dan Bricklin was one of the main characters in the history of the PC). But really this post is an excuse to show the obligatory Facebook shot: It’s the geek equivalent of the summer bay shot in Australia.

  • Travel

    Notte Bianca

    Tonight was the Notte Bianca (white night) festival in Como. Let it not be said that they don’t know how to party. Unfortunately I had to be up at 6 to get my flight home. I managed to get some sleep around 2.30 but was awoken by bed-rattling fireworks half an hour later. Still it was a lot of fun, and I have enjoyed Como – I think I’ll come back with my family when I don’t have any of that work stuff to do (although maybe I won’t stay on the main square during festival night next time). Houses in Como remind me of children trying to peak over…

  • Travel

    A reluctant traveller

    Travelling to Como made me reflect that as I have got older, and particularly since becoming a father, I have become more reluctant to travel alone. I have begun to resemble Anne Tyler’s Accidental Tourist – I want to fly direct, get a taxi from the airport to the hotel, conduct business and get home. I also have the monoglots slight anxiety about travel in foreign countries. So having to get two planes and two trains to get to to Como was akin to a New world expedition for me. It all went smoothly, and like all Brits abroad, I sighed with admiration at the clinical operation of their train…