Why there is still an need for public telephones?

Red phone boxes

I found Jon Udell’s blog about public telephones funny but also quite telling of so much more.

Public infrastructure is important for so many reason including for equality.

If you take the telephone as communication infrastructure and apply that same thinking to the internet infrastructure. You see a clear rationale for public wifi, public internet kiosks at public libraries, etc – Yes and also the systems which surround it. This rules out the likes of Facebook free basics, which isn’t a public service.

Interestingly the public phone is also somewhat anonymous. Data is collected once used like where the call is coming from at what time, etc; but you don’t need to register first to use them or sign in to use them. Each of the companies setup to deliver these public infrastructures have a aim of coverage not profits (or they should). There might be legitimate and less-legitimate times when you want this, but this is a choice you can make, rather than be forced into.

These all seems so obvious if you live in a country which encourages public service but worth pointing out. Plus I’m focused on the notion of a public service internet.


Goodbye IT Conversations…

IT Conversations has ceased producing podcats

Since it’s inception, IT Conversations has published over 3300 audio programs. After ten years of operation and six years with me at the helm, all that is coming to an end. Those of us involved in the day-to-day operation and management of the site have decided that IT Conversations has run its course. We will continue to publish shows until around December 1, 2012. We’re going to get the very best of what’s left in the queue out the door before we turn out the lights. You can read Doug Kaye’s announcement and more of my thoughts.

Our goal has always been to publish good, quality shows that will stand the test of time and we’ve always envisioned them being around for a long time. I’m happy to report that the shows we’ve published will continue to be available through an agreement with the Internet Archive. We appreciate your support over the years.

Its a sad day and its fitting for IT conversations to go out with a podcast.

When Doug Kaye created IT Conversations in 2003, most people didn’t know what a podcast was and why they should care. Yet the idea spread and today, all kinds of people and organizations regularly release content to people throughout the world. Doug joins Phil Windley to bid farewell to the Conversations Network. They discuss the background of why Doug chose to be a podcast pioneer and how the network helped revolutionize a new way to distribute interesting content.

ITC and the conversation network was simply amazing and I even got a interview from Jon Udell in the past on to the network along with a early Thinking Digital session.

It will be a shame to see it go and passing all the media on to archive.org makes so much sense, you couldn’t have wished for a better solution. If only all sites would consider something like this when shutting down… I even considered joining Team ITC at one point way back when I was working for the BBC WorldService in 2004. Not for the money, but just because I wanted to help as I was getting so much out of each and every podcast. On top of that, ITC model was what I recommended the BBC should do way back in the early days of BBC podcasts.

Recently I have to say I’ve not listened to a ITC podcast for a while and when I did I tended to skip through it as it was usually not so interesting. I use to spend Sunday evenings listening to them in one go while reading and blogging that got replaced with TED talks. But its worth mentioning ITC bringing PopTech to my brain for the first time. Way before TED had even consider videos, PopTech was making there recordings available via ITC and frankly I was blown away. It might be why I still have a love for PopTech deep down.

IT Conversations brought all these great things to me and anyone who wanted to subscribe or listen.

DougKaye I have nothing but joy and respect for what you created and your decision to stop it and transfer the media. Total respect for everything you’ve done over years… And thanks for feeding my mind with the best of the best. Don’t know how you did it but so glad you did! I know you inspired many of us including the likes of Leo Laporte of the Twit network. You were an inspiration to many… You can hold your head up high forever more…