As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time doing research in my attempts to keep you all up to date of the latest and most interesting aspects of our industry. I tend to spend a lot of time on Google, Digg, Stumble Upon and other search engines dedicated to discovering things on the Internet.
Every once in a while, I find something that does not seem quite like what I am looking for only to suddenly hit a paragraph that communicates with crystalline clarity. I had a moment like that today with Mark Gibbs’ column, “Gearhead,” which appears in NetworkWorld.
The article itself is a review of a new Internet Radio, one that received a two out of five in said review, and not really all that great for sharing with the class. Then about two-thirds of the way through the article comes a great observation about the end user technology in general:
The World Radio also gets confused and when confused it just sits there and looks like it is cogitating but never actually does anything. The only answer is to unplug it, plug it back in, and then switch it on again. As my old friend and ex-Network World colleague Sandy Gittlen once quipped, “Who needs a radio that needs rebooting?”
In fact, that is the same problem I’ve had with other products that try to replace traditional devices (such as the Sony Reader): If you want to replace a radio or a book you can’t deliver something more complicated unless you add a huge amount of value, and it is there that the World Radio and the Sony Reader simply don’t cut it.
Emphasis in the above quote is my own. I must agree wholeheartedly with his analysis. As radio evolves and reaches out across the vast expanses of the Internet and mobile options, the simplicity and ubiquity of the core technology will continue to prove its greatest strength. By the same token, I also hope to see future generations of Internet appliances to take note of this as well.