Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

What is Web 2.0?

It might be hard for you to believe, but there is a great deal of jargon and a large number of buzzwords in the world of computers and “tech”. There’s a mind-numbing assortment of acronyms too; and it is not hard to become FUWA (Fed Up With Acronyms). Today I want to look at an industry buzzword that has been floating around since 2004 — Web 2.0.

Historically speaking, in the world of tech and computing when you see 2.0 (“two point oh”) it means “second generation” (or, “second iteration”). What this is supposed to mean is: “we have totally remade our product, and fixed all that was found wanting in our original release”.
Since acquiring 2.0 will doubtlessly cost the consumer some cash.. a mere fixing of problems is not enough, and so 2.0 almost always means that there will be some new feature (or ability) added.. as a “value bonus”.

With this in mind, the idea of a Web 2.0 sounds pretty-durned good.. doesn’t it? Fix everything that’s wrong with the Internet, and give us new abilities too? Fantastic!!! Sign me up!

I mean… there’s plenty that a ‘2.0’ could fix. Imagine an Internet that was really fast.. for everyone: with zero spam: a limit of two ads per webpage: that simply could not infect your machine with “drive by‘s”: had actual enforcement of Copyright laws (sorry.. a pet peeve): that never crashed or misdirected…

Sadly, when we hear (or read about) “Web 2.0” what we are hearing is marketing hype. Nobody is talking about fixes or improvements to the Internet itself. What they’re talking about, really, is kind of vague, but generally boils down to these two concepts:
1) that consumers can upload to the Internet, as opposed to merely “viewing” or downloading content. This is seen in the “social networking” sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, and the “photo-sharing” sites, such as Flickr and Picasa. It is also referring to the ability to use the Internet to communicate with IM/chat.. or “forums” and “chatrooms” or blogs. (For the younger set, I suppose this trend is a big deal, but to me it’s kind of like letting anyone put anything they want on the shelves of my local library.)
2) that we will come to rely on web-based programs, and eventually do away with installing applications on our own machines. Some are calling these programs “webware”.

It is the second ‘concept’ which is the most significant, and there is already a move in this direction afoot. Imagine that you no longer have a word processor on your machine. When you want to create a document, you open a browser and log onto your WritingStuff.com* account and use the tools there to write. The document you create is stored on some remote server, just like a webpage, so you can access it from any (Internet-connected) machine,.. and make it “viewable” to anyone or everyone. Heck, you can make it so that they can “collaborate” on your document and make edits and other changes to it.
There’s even talk of making your machine’s operating system web-based.. so all your machine needs to do is boot-and-browse.

[update 4/2/08: Tomorrow (April 3rd) on TechWise TV webcast and live Q&A on how web 2.0 applies to contemporary business practices. The show will feature Wikinomics coauthor Don Tapscott, along with Jeremiah Owyang and tech evangelist Robert Scoble. Here is the link: https://event.on24.com/interface/registration/autoreg/index.html?eventid=104693&sessionid=1&key=A4F0A0445A3013006F9A2B102EFFA804&partnerref=4015]

Today’s free link(s): Well, guess what? Web 2.0 is here, and there are several web-based applications already available. Not only are these tools “the wave of the future”, but can be really useful to some folks.. such as a “road warrior”-type businessperson; or for those types of projects that require multiple authors, or contain info from many departments. And, conceivably, these tools can save you money by replacing the programs you have to buy and install.
I don’t have the time to list every online program or tool available today (and more are being developed as we speak) but if you are looking for online versions of the usual “office” types of tools — word processors, spreadsheets, presentation (“slideshows”), calendars, and notetakers — checkout Zoho; or if you have a Google account, Google Docs. These apps claim to be compatible with all major formats, including MS Office and PDF.
If you are looking for photo editors — checkout FotoFlexer, and for video, Jumpcut.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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January 21, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, PC, tech, Windows, word processors | , , , , ,

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