Doc Searls's blog

Setting TV Free

My 2006-vintage Sony Bravia flat-screen "Full HD" TV has Linux inside. I can tell because it comes with a two-page printout of the GPL, included almost as a warning. "Watch out", it seems to say. "This TV comes infected with freedom." Not that it's worth hacking: you can make breakfast in the time that passes between a click on the remote and a change on the screen. more>>

Android's Limits

Android is a lot more free than iOS, but there are limits. We need to break through those.

At its birth, Android was the horizontal and open solution to the problem of Apple's vertical and closed silo. On Android, hardware makers and software writers could build devices and apps, free to operate outside the walls of any vendor's closed garden. more>>

One Hand Slapping

Adobe Systems, the world's leading supplier of graphical software, is gradually shifting its business to a subscription model, baiting customers with features and tools available only to Creative Cloud subscribers. more>>

Android for Independence

At some point in the early 2000s, I got my wife a Nokia phone with a keyboard, so we could text each other. It was a great little phone, not hard to use or understand, but she texted me only once with it, to send the word "no". Then, in late 2007, not long after the iPhone came out, she told me she wanted one. Why? more>>

Aaron Swartz

Picking Up Aaron Swartz's Dropped Flags

My first quality time with Aaron Swartz was at the last Comdex, in the Fall of 2002. He had just turned 16, but looked about 10. His old Mac laptop featured a screen with no working backlight. Only he could read it, which he rationalized, with a smile, as a "security precaution." When I asked him about school, he said he had moved on. more>>

Biggest Data

Turns out maps matter.

That's always been the case for me. I'm a map freak. I own hundreds of paper maps in various specialties, plus many atlases, books on geography, geology and other geo-obsessions. But I'm no longer an edge case, because maps are proving to be essential on smartphones, which today approaches a billion or more people. Digital maps on phones are now among the core portfolio of smartphone apps, alongside voice, text, calendar and contacts. What could be more mobile about a phone than a map to help the user look things up and get around? more>>

Playing Value Subtraction Games

I'm writing this in an Amsterdam apartment we rented for the weekend through AirBNB. The main reason we chose this place wasn't comfort or convenience. It was connectivity. This apartment was relatively cheap (about a quarter or a third of the price of a three-star hotel), but reports said the Internet connection was good. more>>

Looking Past Search

Can we make search organic again? Or should we look past search completely? more>>

Can we help AT&T solve its mobile data problem?

I'm in midtown Manhattan, connected to the Net over my hotel's slow but costly wi-fi connection. Normally when I'm traveling — at least here in the U.S. — I avoid lame hotel connections by using AT&T's cellular data system, usually through my iPhone's "personal hotspot." more>>

The Near-Death of Blog Search

The first blog search engine was PubSub in 2002. It was inventive and strange in some ways (and took some getting used to); but it was fast and did a good job of searching through syndicated postings, mostly from blogs — at least until blog spam became an epidemic that nearly killed the whole category a couple years later. more>>

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