Saturday, November 24, 2007

The BlackBerry controversy continues

I've stepped in it again. Earlier this week, I was interviewed for a piece on the next generation BlackBerry platform (the 9000-series, for the geekier-inclined) by Dan Jones of Unstrung. The article, RIM's Touching New BlackBerry Plans, was published late Tuesday.

As things go in the world of the Internet, the piece was picked up in some notable places. In some cases, it's sparked some, um, not-very-nice responses from largely anonymous blog commenters. Here's a rundown of some of the more fun ones:
  • Boy Genius Report. This is my favorite of all. You've got to love when teenaged fanboys in their mothers' basements get all hot and bothered by something I've said. Funny how no one has the guts to actually post a real name or link. Imagine that.
  • Gizmodo. Another notable geek-gadget blog.
  • ZDNet. Where Russell Shaw calls me a clued-in analyst (whew, at least one person knows how to be nice!)
  • And others: PC World, ZDNet UK, and even a blog in Australia.
Another notable media hit: Chris Sorensen of the Toronto Star published an article, Internet 'brownouts' feared by 2010 as user traffic soars, where I was quoted debunking the claims of Nemertes Research, a small U.S. outfit. I did a number of interviews with CBC Radio stations across Canada as well, and as a result I suspect I won't be receiving a Christmas card from the Nemerteites anytime soon.

(The piece was reprinted in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record and the Hamilton Spectator. The Electricity Forum also picked it up. I know, I'm still scratching my head over that last one.)

Your turn:
Does it take courage to slag someone from behind the wall of anonymity? Do you think folks would be a little more diplomatic if they had to attach their names to everything they post online?

14 comments:

panthergirl said...

Oh man, those are nothing compared to the flames I used to catch when I posted on women's message boards named things like "SAHM vs. WM" , "To Breastfeed or Not" and "Non-Sexist Childrearing" (I started that one myself).

I think Boy Genius' identity could probably be decoded through Engadget, and there are other people on BGR whose names are clearly noted.

As for ZDNet, apparently he thinks you are a she! I giggled at that.

Hey, you know what they say... no such thing as bad publicity.

Here via michele today!

Laurie C. Schultz said...

I've attached my name to every strongly worded letter I've ever submitted, whether it is online or in good ol' fashioned paper form. I WANT people to know who sent it. My motto: Say what you want about me -just make sure you spell my name correctly.

rashbre said...

Interesting post on both points:

I keep rashbre for blogging as a way to separate the 'real world' me and the blog world version. Avoids some complications. All a bit EFF, but pragmatic too.

As for the blackberry - I'm sure like everyone else they are scratching heads to keep up with the ideas in the iPhone. I was sceptical about the Apple phone (should have hard drive etc.) until I got one and then realised instantly that it was brilliant. Fast, easy to use, no fiddly drivers to set up. At home it just lives on the Wifi and in London it lives on the (free) Cloud. On a train it switches to the slower EDGE but that is still okay for email and some basic browsing.

And all the other software just works and everything is fast and obvious. None of that strange back-arrow to the calendar to check tomorrow or the next day like on a blackberry and none of that interminable wait whilst the shabby search in Windows Mobile 5 condescends to look up a phone number.

and for ease of use, I started to charge the bluetooth earpiece in the iPhone dock, added the iPhone and they paired without me doing anything. I wondered whether I could drive my main Mac's iTunes from the phone and yes there's a widget to make it all happen. I dropped a 2.5 hour movie onto the phone - it takes 700k and played immediately. Great for a plane ride.

So Blackberry and the WIn Mobile crowd have an interesting challenge to make their next gen as slick, fast, readable and intuitive as the iPhone. I might be a bit techno-savvy, but any non geeky folk who have played with my iPhone have also declared they want to add to the Santa list.

Also have you checked the B9000 pictures? I'm hearing 3G, but I don't see any front cam for vconf on the mock-ups? Perhaps its behind the main glass but I'd have thought there would be some featuring of it?

And I'll stll be interested to see how the RIM OS handles a gesture based touch interface. APple have something which could be extensible to their next range lof laptops and Microsoft have been playing with WinSurface for ages, but RIM? We shall see.

... just some food for thought!

Best - rashbre

Andreas M. Antonopoulos said...

Carmi,
As the authors of the study we have only one thing to say to you, Sir.

HO HO HO!

Merry Christmas from the Nemerteans!

I can't attach a Christmas card to this blog comment, unfortunately.

It takes more than a one-liner debunking to get us upset. Perhaps you would like to discuss our study and comment on the methodology?

The full study is at
"http://www.nemertes.com/ii">www.nemertes.com/ii


There is also an FAQ and a discussion thread on the same page. We welcome review, comments and criticism.

In fact, we did consider future technologies in our study. What we also considered was that most of the difficulty in building out the last-mile has to do with politics, permits and digging. So unless Caterpillar is making exponential improvements to their diggers, we think the exponential demand growth is going to meet some capacity constraints.

Then again, metro-wireless and mesh networks might completely change the picture. That is also a consideration in the study, though we cannot easily project uptake of those technologies.

Thanks for the feedback,

Nemertes Research

Andreas M. Antonopoulos said...

Carmi,
As the authors of the study we have only one thing to say to you, Sir.

HO HO HO!

Merry Christmas from the Nemerteans!

I can't attach a Christmas card to this blog comment, unfortunately.

It takes more than a one-liner debunking to get us upset. Perhaps you would like to discuss our study and comment on the methodology?

The full study is at www.nemertes.com/ii

There is also an FAQ and a discussion thread on the same page. We welcome review, comments and criticism.

In fact, we did consider future technologies in our study. What we also considered was that most of the difficulty in building out the last-mile has to do with politics, permits and digging. So unless Caterpillar is making exponential improvements to their diggers, we think the exponential demand growth is going to meet some capacity constraints.

Then again, metro-wireless and mesh networks might completely change the picture. That is also a consideration in the study, though we cannot easily project uptake of those technologies.

Thanks for the feedback,

Nemertes Research

Becky68 said...

Well, no one is really anonymous online, there's always a way to find out, it really just depends on how far you want to go. I think though, that it's a pretty cowardly way to go when it comes to flaming people, it really seems like if you're going to be rude & insulting you should stand behind what you say.
Michele sent me today.

Smiler said...

I know nothing about tech, but I do know a thing or two about internet culture and dealing with anonymity from both sides. It's amazing how rude some people can be under the cover of anonymity. I used to have an anonymous blog and sometimes got truly hurtful comments, but I figure that's because if people don't see a face and a name there, they forget there's a real person on the other end.
Michele sent me here today to participate in this debate.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Am I reading it right? Not only are you a clued-in analyst, but a she?

The way it reads, darling, either your dark secret has been exposed or the author loses lots of credibility points.

btw, I can't get to the teenager's dig at you. All I get is a plain white screen. Might be more intelligent reading that way, but then again...

Lissa said...

Hey Carmi,

I've always contended that the 'net allows for people to behave in ways they would not ordinarily adopt if they were not anonymous. I, too, have been flamed on all sorts of boards, from the NYT Film Forum to Games Fora, and I continue to adhere to Miguel Ruiz's 2nd agreement: Don't take things personally.

Still, it's tough - someone rags on you, how can you not take it personally?

The 'net is a confusing, wonderous, strange Oz filled with those who embrace anonymity and its perceived safety and those who adopt full disclosure as their motto.

I'm somewhere in between. I've found it's hard to conceal my identity for very long if people who know me frequent the same places. My writing style often gives me away, if not my ideals.

Still, keep on trucking. It does take courage to state an opinion, radical or not, onscreen, and be open to our unknown critics. I, for one, think you do an amazing job of informing from a personal perspective and wouldn't flame you even if I DID choose anonymity!

BreadBox said...

It's funny --- I remember predicting the collapse of the internet one year --- the first year that Microsoft was shipping Windows at Christmas with MSN installed, if I recall correctly.
Fortunately I was wrong then. I suspect that they'll be wrong this time too.

As for anonymous attacks, I try to remember to only take seriously the attacks from those who use a name.

Michele sent me this trip,
N.

Mike said...

I'm guessing that a lot of people would not ever comment on anything good or bad if they had to identify them self.

Michele sent me tonight.

Awareness said...

Hi Carmi.

Interestingly, I wrote a piece on my technological disability tonight.

I am grateful that you share your knowledge and expertise in this area, which to tell you the truth is quite foreign to me. I learn alot read and sometimes listening to your interviews.

The bloggers from the cheap seats? It is easy to write behind the wall of anonymity.

Because the of the nature of my work, I felt compelled to create a persona kind of name so that I had the freedom to write what I wanted. However, my name is all through my blog now and so I have to keep my political opinions to myself, especially when it comes to my point of view on policies and legislation with respect to this province.

The other week, I wrote a rant after being involved in a political campaign.......a nomination of candidate meeting for the next federal election. I let it rip on my blog.....blowing off frustration and telling it like it was. It was picked up by another blogger and linked and all of a sudden, my readership went up.....AND one of the people whom I had slagged emailed me.....with his discontent.......emailed me at my work email. He is a local politician too, which made it interesting. We have since patched things up (I had NO idea he knew that I had a blog let alone that this was mine etc...) and I deleted the nasty bits with an apology.

I learned a lot from that experience.

Oracle said...

I have just read The Boy Genius review and I have to say "What an Arse" He just strikes me as bloody rude. He either needs a slap upside his head or he needs to get out more.

As for pin 'ing me this shows how new to the blackberry I am I had to go the the great blind god Google for that one, my answer is by all me but I have no idea how ;)

I have been staying anon until recently when I shed some of my online guise but I still keep a little back bu tthat is more to try not to hurt those who misunderstand than to be a down right rude

wordnerd said...

Sheesh -- gotta love the anonymity of the internet, I always say! Someone referred to my writing as "a 7th grade drama lover's version of events"...

I'm gonna kick their ass at recess.