Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Connecting" with Humans Online -- Isn't it More Fulfilling?

PhoneBoy posted an interesting blog the other day -- MUDs, Second Life, and Face-to-Face -- in which he essentially asks the question, "why all the fuss about virtual worlds?" Sure, Second Life and others can be a good time. But, why spend all your free time disconnecting from an ever more disconnected world when, instead, you can use the Internet to connect in ways never before imaginable?

PhoneBoy is right that nothing is more "real" than a real handshake -- meeting in person. This is especially true when establishing a lasting bond or "connection."

But, online video interaction truly is the next best thing to being there, and "connecting" online has never been more real -- or more active -- than it is today. So, expect to see live video interactivity bringing MySpace, FaceBook, and other social networking sites to a whole new level precisely because they re-inject this previously missing human "connection" to the online experience. I've talked about this before.

I'll give you another real-world example of this new kind of "connectivity" enabled by online video -- my own. I run SightSpeed, a Berkeley-based company. But, my family and I live in San Diego. Sure, I travel to the Bay Area almost weekly to spend "handshake" time with the team -- as PhoneBoy points out, such "in person" time is essential. At the same time, I can effectively run SightSpeed much of the time even though I am hundreds of miles south, precisely because video calling enables me to stay "connected" with my team in a way that voice only conference calling never could. How? Via video conferencing (in my case, using SightSpeed of course). The eye to eye contact is crucial, as are the visual cues -- nothing beats 'em. It's like having a face-to-face meeting -- the quality and ease of use is really that good. In essence, I "drink my own kool-aid" or "eat my own dogfood" because I DEPEND upon our company's product. Trust me -- this is not a marketing ploy. It is the real deal. I depend upon desktop video conferencing for several hours each day because it really works -- and enables me to stay connected. Connected to my employees in Berkeley. And, therefore, connected to my family in San Diego.

Now, isn't THAT a bit more fulfilling than than using the Internet to disconnect with virtual friends, colleagues and family?

Apple May Join the Wireless MVNO Ranks with Its iPhone and Branded Wireless Service as Early as Q1 '07

UBS Telecom analyst John Hodulik, in collaboration with UBS IT analyst Ben Reitzes, report that Apple's long-rumoured march toward an iPhone -- complete with its own branded wireless service -- may soon bear fruit. I previously blogged about this myself, indicating that the planets are aligning for this major Apple announcement as early as Q1 2007 (which could mean, of course, that this could be the "big bang" at the upcoming Macworld convention in the first part of January). If you are interested in receiving a copy of this report, feel free to reach out to me at