Qumana and Stephen Fry

I’ve been using Windows Live Writer for my blog posts from my Windows machines for a while now. I like the WYSIWYG(ish) interface, and being part of Windows Live! it gives me a feel for what a Vista-type interface would look like.

When out and about though I still use my trusty Macbook, and the standard WordPress online editor. This is fine for short posts, but becomes frustrating for anything longer than a few hundred words.

The ever-useful Web Worker Daily however posted brief reviews of ‘power’ blogging tools, one of which is Qumana. This is a Windows and Mac based tool. I’m impressed with the ease of setup so far, though one thing I note is missing are easy heading/subheadings – not a major problem as I can still remember enough html to add these in myself. One neat trick is that if you have a http:// address in your clipboard, when you insert a link it pastes the text straight into the box – neat.

So onto the purpose of the post. Over the weekend I read Stephen Fry’s ‘blog’, which in fact is his own cut/paste of his regular Guardian article, but who am I to complain. I have many items of Fry memorabilia, and one of the things I would probably run into my burning house to rescue is my signed copy of The Hippopotamus picked up at a book sale many years ago. If there’s anyone famous that I would like to meet it’s him, and I can’t pretend that my Mac obsession didn’t start until after I found out that both he and Douglas Adams were the biggest Apple fans.

As someone who has been using the Internet longer than I have (I had my first account with AOL in 1996), he’s made an interesting statement, that there’s nothing new about Facebook, MySpace and all the other web services which define ‘Web 2.0’. His argument is that the first groups on the Internet were closed groups, with chat, forums and their own codes. Fry sees the new social networking sites are simply these closed groups, updated for broadband technologies and ‘rich’ media content.

This is a good point. Whilst on Facebook I’ve not embraced it as much as some friends and work colleagues, one of which has managed to gain three times as many friends in a week as I have in three months. But is this really a throwback to the closed AOL and Compuserve groups, which didn’t allow access to the Internet through ‘browsers’ until many years afterwards, afraid that their commercial services would be irreparably damaged – which they were!

I can’t put it any eloquently than Stephen Fry, so I will quote his final words –

But let the rise of social networking alert you to the possibility that, even in the futuristic world of the net, the next big thing might just be a return to a made-over old thing.

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1 comment so far

  1. Rojon Ali on

    Stephen Fry is a nice guy.


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