iPerson: rebuilding a nation

Kim Jong-un

BBC yesterday used the above image of Kim Jong-un, northern Korea’s supreme leader. The post on BBC’s magazine monitor is funny as it exposes Kim’s obsession about being important, much like his grandfather. In the fifties, grandpa Kim Il-sung would issue on-spot guidance and his people would take notes, then execute it. BBC’s reporter makes fun of people around the young Kim still doing so today, all on identical notepads.

True, maybe they need iPads. But that point only just barely scratches the surface.

What Kim Jong-un is up to is building his personality cult. Very little was done for him by his father, although Jong-un had been declared successor already two years prior to his father’s demise.

In modern times, and specifically in Communist nations, the art of building a personality cult was maybe best conducted by Stalin. Others too have used means of mass communication to popularise themselves extensively. But none have been reprimanded so heavily as Stalin by Krushchev. In fact, in Kruschev’s address to the 20th Party Congress, we find repudiation not only to Stalin building a personality cult, but to a whole array of grievances to Marxist teachings. This includes repression of the collective leadership.

Korea is under its third generation of Kim, and Jong-un’s father: Jong-il, had been cast as a deity. The official biography has his birth announced by a swallow and the event greeted by a double rainbow. The reporting of his death in 2011 has a fierce snow storm pause and the sky glow red. His word was final, and any deviation was considered as a sign of disloyalty. After his death, he was proclaimed Dae Wonsu (a title only afforded by Jung-un’s grandfather, and which means Grand Marshal).

Game over.

It is not the iPad in the hands of people taking notes which is missing, then. It is what the iPad represents in a modern society. The “i” stands for internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire, said Steve Jobs in the 1998 launch of the iMac. All of these are powerful tools for a modern society which Jong-un can aspire to progress if he truly is to be the personality that his land needs in 2014. The policies of openness and transparency, termed Glasnost by Gorbachev, brought about the start of a collapse of a frightful era for Europe and the world. That process, more than twenty-five years later, is still ongoing. Is Kim ready?

30 years later

This page on designly‘s website inspired me. It’s called ‘one second‘, and that’s as long as it took me to decide to link to it.

To my followers, I apologise, because I haven’t been able to post for a while. A whole jungle of things happened, and I have not been writing about digital stuff for a while. I still write about other things, but the material is not publishable yet. Meanwhile, feel free to stay in touch with good stories, questions and anything interesting.

Hasta la vista!

Content is King. Can Mobile Data Save the Music and Film Industries?

Chasing our present, asking it to help us change our future, is not going to help. Instead, the best way to predict the future is to create it. I just finished reading the book called Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. It’s an old tale, beautifully narrated by Spencer Johnson – one which has helped millions around the world. Can it help the mobile industry as well maybe… the one who is losing 23 billion USD to the creators of Whatsapp and the likes?

Mobile phone companies cannot survive the next 10 years by just selling 2-year contracts, minutes and SMS. But from my position as a customer, I see them dead set on a loosing strategy. Let me take SMS as an example, and here’s what I think makes Whatsapp an unbeatable competitor to SMS: 1) it’s reliable and you know when the recipient has read your message, 2) you can easily converse with multiple recipients independent of what device they have, and 3) it integrates easily with your address book. If everybody had an iPhone, only iMessage would be better! So sorry telcos… you won’t be beating this. Look elsewhere.

Back in 1996, Bill Gates prophesied that content is king“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” We all know that he is right now. We also know that those who did not master the art of adaptation have failed to make it through…

Remember Blockbuster? In 1994, it was purchased for 8.4 billion USD, calling for the acquirer Viacom’s chairman, Sumner Redstone, to call it a “global media colossus.” But it filed for bankruptcy in the United States in 2010. The most cited management mistake is its refusal in 2000 to acquire Netflix for just 50 million. Dish Networks acquired Blockbuster out bankruptcy in 2011, but finally admitted at the end of 2012 that it was scrapping its plans to turn it into a Netflix competitor.

When it comes to music, according to IFPI, “digital” now accounts to above 30% of revenue. Yet the same report, shows that despite the growth of over 8% between 2010 and 2011, this did not compensate for the loss in physical sales, and that the music industry slumped 8.7% globally (to USD 10.2b). It all started with a fight against Napster. That battle was won in 2001, but the war is long condemned to being lost.

The biggest enemy to the music and film industry is digital piracy. IFPI/Nielsen report that globally 28% of internet users regularly access unlicensed services.

The rise in revenue from digital accounts for the music industry is however encouraging. A reversal may eventually materialise also for the film industry: last year, GIA (Global Industry Analysts) estimated that the value of the movie-rental industry will rise to 4.7 billion by 2017.

But the whole point is why wait for the future to unfold when the mobile industry can be changing all of this, creating a bright future for itself and the arts? GfK reports that in 2012, phones accounted “for 17% of total time spent with the Internet across all devices, compared to 12% in 2011″. So shouldn’t this industry that’s loosing 23 billion USD a year to mobile texting applications, be investing sharply to build revenue from content and thus more time spent on the Internet?

Spotify comes to mind – “Turn your phone into a magnificent music machine with our award-winning Spotify Mobile Apps for iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone. Stream from our full library, or go offline and listen to your playlists without data charges.” says their page. The biggest inconvenience to this is that digital rights laws don’t allow Spotify to offer this service without geographical limitations.

At an investment from the telcos, of the total worth of the music and movie industries, everybody stands to benefit. Happier customers with cheap music and movies on-the-go. Telcos with a growing market propped by content which 13% of the global population spend their time on the Internet for. Music and film industries that can stop battling digital, and embrace it to the extent that it will be their main funding agent for years to come.

Here’s the proposal in figures: Should the telcos globally invest 10 b USD (the whole value of the music industry) and 4.7 b USD (the perceived value of film rental in 2017), and so 15 b USD annually, this would account to:

(Thanks for the inspiration M.R.)

Revealing the next internet success story

When did you last think you need to create the next internet craze and become rich? Friends ask me if I have an idea for the next ‘big thing’. My reply is that everbody has ideas – yes of course, including me.

But, the internet is only just a tool for every one of the next big things. For years to come, every one of these is going to be a distributed system, and so one whose success is based on the collective effort of its users. Users who create content, share experiences, co-build knowledge and collectively solve tomorrow’s problems.

You only need to browse the list of Newsweek’s Digital 100 Revolutionaries on the 2/9 July double-issue. Or read this week’s Time story about Salman Khan’s Academy that teaches kids over YouTube. Or look around you, at the apps you use most frequently. None of these would survive if the users were simply ‘users’ – they are also contributors and co-creators. That’s what social media really is about.

Are you planning the next successful internet success story? Then you must be thinking about actively engaging your users in true Web 2.0 spirit.

The two deaths that got everyone talking in 2011… and what can kill the Internet as we know it

According to Storify, their users selected two major events to build stories from tweets this year. Both are deaths – that of Osama Bin Laden and that of Steve Jobs. If one had to draw a similarity between the two persons, apart from both having worn a beard, it is surely that they have both been disruptive (challenging) of the status quo. By its very nature, disruption causes people to talk, and they did.

On 1st May 2011, somebody else was disrupted – this time, from his attempt to take a break. Sohaib Athar had left the city of Lahore to live in quieter Abottabad and had no idea he shared ground with Osama Bin Laden who lived just a few kilometres away.

The Storify team looked deep at the data of the 3 million times that Storify users searched for a tweet, found it and pulled it into a story – this year.

The 2nd ranked is the tweet of Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual). His tweets of 1st May are indeed a live coverage of the event. His story is all over the internet and you can read that part of history somewhere else. So what’s the news?

@ReallyVirtual: Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).

Recently, Sohaib Athar tweeted to @Storify saying that their site had been blocked by his ISP. This apparently followed Storify’s mention of the tweet that made history. Both events happened on the 15 December 2011.

Outrageous… you’d say. These things would not happen in America!

BUT that is not necessarily going to remain true for ever. Sohaib Athar, as the copyright holder of that tweet, may soon stop anybody from reproducing it on another webpage! Legislators in America are discussing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, explained that Reddit would not exist says if SOPA was around in 2005.

If someone submits links to a piece of copyrighted material on Reddit or Facebook, our whole site could be shut down.
(Alexis Ohanian)

The Attorney General can issue restraining orders against infringing websites. If Sohaib Athar made claims against the reproduction of his tweet (above), search engines like Google would stop showing links to the whole of WordPress.com even if only one post, from the millions it hosts, allegedly breaks copyright! And Paypal would stop processing their payments!

If you’re wondering how many times WordPress.com bloggers embed tweets, YouTube videos, google maps and Flickr images, this too collectively runs into millions (official stats here). It’s interesting that each one is potentially a copyright breach. And people do it because it’s the nature of the Internet to link and embed. And because social media is all about that.

Comic on SOPA Bill

More Information

1. Petition for the President Obama administration to veto the SOPA Bill. (“This will kill the free flow of information and conversation on the internet.”)

2. Storify is blogging for everyone. Anybody with a Facebook or Twitter account can write a story and link it to all the gossip from the social sites… also YouTube, Flickr, Google+ etc.. The Storify beta website went live eight months ago in April 2011. Analysis of which tweets were used to build stories revealed that the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th talk about the death of Steve Jobs. The 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th talked about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

A Strategic Plan for United States Federal Cybersecurity R&D

It was back in April when I first read Obama’s plans for a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, and as this had happened in the wake of Sony’s cybersecurity problems, I’d also blogged about it.

A couple of days ago the Whitehouse announced it’s new strategic plan for Federal Security R&D. It’s a roadmap and it takes the approach of prioritising research on all areas including policy and technology: understanding the deficiencies, developing solid scientific foundations, maximising the impact and accelerating adoption.

A post by the CTO and Cybersecurity Coordinator on the Whitehouse OSTP blog states:

“Given the magnitude and pervasiveness of cyberspace threats to our economy and national security, it is imperative that we fundamentally alter the dynamics in cybersecurity through the development of novel solutions and technologies.”

And that’s exactly the point. Cybersecurity is no longer just a concern for techies and hackers – it’s of economic and national security relevance for every country in the world. And the open invitation to researchers and innovators in the industry to come forward and participate in the acceleration of the transition to a more secure cyberspace is surely received very well.

Missing Personal Hotspot on iPhone? How to enable Internet tethering if your carrier disabled it.

NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN FOR IPHONE IOS 4.x. THIS POST MAY NOT NECESSARILY HELP YOU IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING THE SAME PROBLEM WITH VERSION 6.x AND LATER.

Here is the solution to get Internet tethering (sharing) back if you are suddenly missing Personal Hotspot with iPhone’s iOS 4.3.5 upgrade.

My post about tethering the iPhone Internet connection with the iPad was one of the most popular until Personal Hotspot was introduced in iOS 4.3. I thought it was the end of the problem with tethering. Very short-lived though as iPhone allows the carrier to disable Personal Hotspot. A friend of mine who is on Go Mobile Malta lost his Personal Hotspot function when he upgraded to iOS 4.3.5.

No problem.. this is how we sorted it out! The following works and gets Personal Hotspot and re-enables Internet tethering if your carrier stops it.

1. Take note of your cellular data settings before you proceed. If you don’t complete this step, stop here. The configurations are available at Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network.

2. We will now reset these to original factory settingsSettings > General > Reset. Here choose Reset Network Settings. iPhone will ask you to enter your personal code if your passcode lock activated. The phone will reboot to reset. Keep your fingers crossed :)

3. Return to the APN settings screen we talked about in step 1 (Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network) and complete all the settings details copied before. You will find that in addition to this there is an Internet Tethering section at the very bottom. Use the same APN key as for the Cellular Data section which you will find at the very top of this screen.

Cellular Data Internet Tethering for Personal Hotspot on iPhone
Cellular Data Internet Tethering for Personal Hotspot on iPhone

4. Once you have the APN settings complete you need to return to the “Network” screen. Click on the Network back arrow shown below to do this.

Network Back Arrow

5. From the Network screen switch Off the Mobile Data and then switch it On again. You may not need this step but sometimes it helps to kind of reset the data connection with your carrier.

After you have completed the above you will find that there is a Personal Hotspot option in the Settings screen.

And Hey Presto! Enjoy using your mobile Internet connection with other devices like iPad, Macbook or your other laptop while you’re on the go. You can even share your iPhone’s Internet with friends over WiFi or Bluetooth.

Will your Kia be tethering iPhone’s internet connection and taking commands through Siri?

Attention:

If this solution has worked for you please share it with others.  One more click to tweet this solution or post it on your facebook.