Archive for January, 2011

Touchable Gadgets (To Win)

First, laptop computers caused the downfall of the mouse, and now the keyboard is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

As personal electronics are striving to keep up with multimedia giant Apple, the world of computing and technology is reaching out for a more touching approach.

Touchscreens are now commonplace in the high-tech gadget market. You would be hard-pressed to find a phone, netbook or ATM that didn’t make use of the technology. Natural user interfaces have become all the rage as companies are responding to how people interact with the world around them.

Companies like Hewlett Packard and Microsoft have taken notice of the success of the iPhone and are quickly coming up with their own spin on the theme. The market is abuzz with companies frantically working on the next big thing in touchable devices.

Experts note that humans are more likely to interact with a device that makes use of their sense of touch and orientation. Humans are naturally drawn to holding things, touching them, and this is the secret to the success of touch-screen enabled devices.

Things like e-readers were first introduced to the dilemma of touch from their inception. The market quickly responded by setting out newer models with that were touchable.

People rushed to the new devices grabbing them up despite being several hundred dollars more than the non-touch models. Touch is here to stay, and for now, the tech world looks like a more touchy-feely place.

In a pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter world there were few options for news. Unless you wanted to get the standard AP-wire retreads, you were at a loss for local stories, interesting insights and off-the-beaten-path reporting.

Digg came along and changed all of that. In a new digital world Digg set out to become the first news site dedicated to the wisdom of the crowd. Diggers, those who spend time reading and rating news stories on Digg.com, have transformed the site into a viable community. In some instances this power has translated to newer Diggers being shut out of appearing on the front page. Power Diggers were springing up making their impact felt all over the site. Digg’s front page began to look like a members-only affair, which is something that goes against what the company stands for.

However, Digg management has responded. A new updated look has surfaced, V4. It represents a critical change to the way Digg views itself as a company and how they want to change the way its users view the experience. The upgrade includes a visual overhaul as the look of that website that is geared toward web 2.0 standards. The power of the cloud is quite apparent when you go to Digg.com now. Crowdsourcing is still at the heart of this bustling network which hopes to entrench itself as an alternative to Facebook.

Some critics have come to question key changes to the Digg user experience, especially tools that allowed for Power Diggers to rate their performance. By removing certain metrics and focusing on the user experience as related to their social networks, Digg is moving onto the next phase of the Internet.

Will Digg be known as an also ran, standing in the virtual dust beside monolithic duds like MySpace and Orkut? Digg plans on being around to serve those who are still dedicated to the ideals behind curatorship and freedom of expression.

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