EduLib - Education, Libraries, Publishing & Technology

This is a very occasional blog on education, libraries, publishing and the technologies that support these activities.

The rules that I try to follow when writing this blog are:
1. Try not to waste the time of the reader (hence the long Subject headings).
2. Be informative.
3. If not informative, be provocative & controversial.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Should my stuff be on the Web, or on my PC ?

Two short stories (there is a point to this):

I read yesterday that an online RSS reader, SearchFox, is suddenly closing down. On their website/blog they say "Please export all of your links and an OPML file with your RSS sources" (whatever that means). As it turns out Yahoo! may be buying the smoking wreckage.

Also yesterday, the accounting software I use on my PC blew up, and apparently I shouldn't really be relying on a version of the software that is five years old and no longer supported. (As it turns out Sage probably will sell me an upgrade and I may be able to recover my data.)

So which is better/worse – to be screwed when your Web 2.0, constantly updated, don't be evil, really cool Web app goes offline, goes broke or gets bought, or to be screwed when your desktop computing, old-hat, locally-running Windows app gets tired, freezes up or enjoys a head crash ?

I used to want everything on my laptop, because connectivity was uncertain and slow, (and because it was 'mine, all mine') but now you can be online 'anywhere', 'anytime' (yeah, right), I was just beginning to come round to the idea that it might be nice to have everything 'out there somewhere'.

But actually, comms is still very flaky, in my experience, and maybe some of these web outfits are flakier still. Is your whole photo collection only on Flikr, or do you also have it on a disk at home ? Why ?

Ideally, I suppose, all the data and all the code should be everywhere all the time. Seamlessly. So if I log on to the library, I could be searching the local catalog and/or the Amazon bibliography and/or OCLC, whichever is up at the time. And I should be able to look at my loan history online or offline, because the data is automatically kept in synch between the library server and my PC (oh, and my PDA, of course).

Web 3.0 anyone ?

(I have to go now; I need to back up my blog and buy some shares in Intellisync.)

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Mark Carden is a business development executive, consultant and recruiter, who has 30 years of experience in project management, software engineering and technology sales.

In the publishing, education and libraries sector he has held international Vice President positions at Publishing Technology, Ingram Digital, Innovative Interfaces, and Dynix.

Mark's career started in software development, project management and consulting; he has worked for several 'blue-chip' companies including Accenture, NatWest Life and Barclays Bank.

He has a BA in Philosophy & Psychology from Oxford University, and has also attended executive education programmes at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and the Saïd Business School at Oxford University.

Mark's special interests include: Publishing software, library automation systems, e-books, campus & enterprise portals, hand-held computing, business strategy, how time factors affect company & management behaviours, and the transition of owner-managed businesses into professionally-managed companies.