Digital Life Design

After one full day of DLD in Münich my overall impression is good.

Here are some of my personal notes and thoughts. The tone of this post is informal and sometimes rather technical, geeky and full of jargon; and it is being served to you without links for technical reasons that translate to the wifi in my hotel being too spotty for me to be bothered to go dig the links.

Luc Besson emphasized the importance of story telling, if what you are doing is trying to tell a story, be it a movie, an animation, or a book. It is not about the technology. The good man has a name for the condition of those who send their desk neighbour 8 emails in one day to tell them anything from “you look like you lost weight” to “where are the paper clips?” and that is, emailaitis. He personally does not have an email, his assistant deals with that. He does not use the technology himself, he just lets hundreds of people do the work and produce a whole movie in which both real live actors and their pixeled characters co-exist. Luc Besson is also a very European fellow, that makes me like him even better now. He is very European in my view because he takes a stand for European culture, in particular for European film making. To him, our culture is our passport. I would go further, our culture is our ambassador.

I am left with two ideas that I like, the value of story telling, and an invitation to think about culture.

The panel on “Disruptive Connections” was excellent. In a nutshell, the panelist held good arguments on how telecommunication is moving through the internet backbone and how distance has been dead for a long time on the internet. If you are paying high charges for roaming on your mobile, that is because your service provider and mine are working with a business model that allows them to do that, however the alternatives are here: TruePhone, Rebtel, and soon Blick. What I got is that the internet is going mobile and mobile is going VoIP. The business that these guys see themselves in is the communication business, not the the telecom business. My own thinking is that indeed the laws and regulations presently imposed on telecommunications are going to have to be re-engineered really soon. For some of my own two cents, it is my view that man creates technology, and then from its applications and creations, it creates the laws. To put it in more pointed terms, it is useless, if not illogical, to try to regulate new technology with laws that were created for old technology. That is, now that we all payed dearly to have the internet infrastructure built with those monthly payments we have given the telecoms, it is time for the consumer to take the inernet back, and make somehting out of it without continually throwing money into the telecoms pockets.

A note on the practicality of this development is that it is still geeky, that is, cumbersome. For instance I have a SonyEricsson, and TruePhone does not have an application for my phone, but if you have a smart Nokia, go for it. I am not the worst idiot when it comes to geek stuff, still I managed to mangel the setup on Rebtel and David got a text message from me that I immediately asked him to ignore. A good thing, I had no clue as to where he was and he was in Cairo, and I was in Germany, and we both have Swiss mobile numbers. However my own personal situation here illustrates rather well what the problem is with the present GSM (Get Screwed Monthly) system and the reality of the internet backbone. Those just a bit more conversant with telecom jargon do realize that we are back to the last mile argument except now it is on the mobile network, not on the fixed network, and here wifi still has some technical difficulties, but those too can be conquered.

I found the panel on “The Link Society” boring, and that may have more to do with me that with what the panelists had to present. I personally have reached a saturation point when it comes to linked personal phone books. My present favorite is LinkedIn because I use it and it provides me with useful linkage, and Xing is sort of ok, but I do not use it much. MySpace and Facebook bore the living daylights out of me, but then, this is me, this is my blog, and this is my opinion. It seems to me that there is nothing wrong with all these enterprises springing out of nowhere and creating communities, I just more often than not, do not really get what their business models are.

I was pleasantly surprised by the talk of Norman Foster. Sure I like his buildings, he is sort of a living cult among architects. When he put up a slide with “green is cool” I thought that that was a total understatement. Not much that I can really say right now about it other that what Foster said fully resonated with a lot of my own views, but then I also know that the only sustainable economics that there is is green. Yes, tensoriana is about that, but it is also about more. Listening to Norman Foster really made me think hard about how much effort I want to put into tensoriana and get the cat of the bag as to what it is about.

Another panel that went right up my alley was “Creative Crossings” that brought together fashion, art, architecture, advertising, product design and production, and yes, you guessed it the digital world. Again, there was a green theme to the whole, but also a few hues of creativity, and knowledge ownership. This panel really hit a button with me, and this is something that I will write about in more detail a bit later, although I am making no promises as to when. I had a short interaction with Francis Corner during the break, and one of these days when I am in London I will be continuing the discussion with her.

Then it was on to the Bunte DLD Night Cap at the Bayerischer Hof on the fifth and sixth floor. The pool was there, so were all the cool people. I concentrated on getting some appetizers that did not poison my system, drunk orange juice and sekt, and talked with a grand total of five people. I was very pleased to see how polite and kind the staff of the hotel were, in particular by the fact that they totally spoiled me and brought me goodies without dairy products that were totally yummy.

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