In California, the road ahead

Railroad trackI’m in glorious Turlock, California right now, spending time with the family and winding down a little after a particularly high-octane year. There’s Elgg stuff going on (in fact, I’m going to make another microrelease tonight), but less extensively than it does when I’m in the office. If it takes me a little longer to reply to emails or get back to people, please be patient. I’m also going to be completely offline for a week from next Friday, which, I’ve got to confess, I’m really looking forward to.

It was interesting to see Time Magazine’s person of the year (and to see the editor grilled on ABC this morning). If you haven’t seen it, it’s you: the cover is a mirror, and the story is all about sites like Youtube, Myspace, et al. The talking heads on the ABC news show thought this was a cop out, and downplayed the impact of blogging with a refrain we’ve heard many times before – it’s just a bunch of teenagers writing diaries nobody cares about, isn’t it? – but the trend is clear. I think 2007 will be a very interesting year for the gamut of personalised publishing, from those personal diaries through to citizen journalism and personalised news sources.

It’ll also be a very interesting year on the web for other reasons. Adobe Apollo looks to be very exciting indeed. Very soon, I think we’re going to hit that singularity point for most home users: it won’t matter, at all, whether you’re using Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Solaris or whatever else you might happen to have under the hood. For my part, I seriously doubt I’m upgrading to Vista. I really want to try owning a Mac, but I tend to waver: there’s something about the combination of design fetishism and price point that I find unsettling, to the point where even if I could afford a top of the range model, I’m not sure I’d get one. Not that it will matter; we’re all going to be running the same applications.

Meanwhile, the Internet aside, it’s the time of year when I start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. These are daft, of course; you can resolve to do something at any time of year. But New Year is a kind of metaphor for turning a page, and while I’m acutely aware of the ridiculousness, at the same time I find it useful. So, a little bit early, here is my resolution: I am going to, finally, write my novel.

Okay, so this must rank #2 on the all-time list of failed resolutions, but I mean it this time. I do. There will be an hour each day – and it will be the same hour every day, so it turns into a routine – where I get out my fountain pen, open my notebook, and write. I have a story and a serious desire. Unfortunately, I also have a blog, which means that (assuming you’re still reading now) you will be subjected to my thoughts on that subject from time to time as well as the usual Elggy stuff. I know it’s not what you expect to read from me – but at the same time, this is my personal space. So, no apologies are offered, although I will attempt to tag appropriately.

Personally, I think those Internet diaries the editor of Time was being teased about are both interesting and healthy; I don’t buy the cultural snobbishness that suggests we should be dictated to by an elite, and I’m more than happy to share aspects of my life with the world. It’s not that I expect the world to read them – but it’s therapeutic for me, and the feedback from anyone who is interested is useful.

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