June 2010 – Stay N Alive

Who are the Mormons?

MormonFor those of you unaware, I am Mormon.  I try not to preach the religion topic too much on this site unless it has to do with Technology, but I did realize there wasn’t much on this blog talking about who I am and what I believe in.  I’m hoping to correct that and while I certainly don’t want to impose, I want you to be able to find out about it if you choose to learn.  For that reason, I’ve created a dedicated Page on this blog to this topic, and I hope you don’t hesitate to ask questions.

I may also at some point share my personal thoughts about the subject – it is a very personal topic that I think is worth sharing at some point.  My faith expands to my very root and core, and goes way beyond my belief (which I feel strongly about). It is something I was born into.  It is something my Ancestors practiced as they were persecuted for their beliefs in the early days of US History.  It is something I have challenged and tried and gained my own testimony of as I have grown up and learned of my own freedoms and choices.  It is something that “just makes sense” to me, and having travelled the world I have yet to find anything (while there are many good things out there) that matches what we believe.  This is something that is very much a part of me, just as much as my passion for technology and new media.

I hope you spend some time checking out the section I added on the right, “Learn About the Mormon Church“.  In addition, be sure to check out the official Mormon topic Page on LDS.org that was just released, talking about who a Mormon is, what the term means, and why we are who we are.  This is something very important to me, and while I respect we all have varying opinions and beliefs, I hope you can at least learn something from it.

Here are some useful links:

What Mormons Believe

Learn About the Mormons

What is “A Mormon”?

Read the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price Online

Read the Gospel Library on your Mobile Phone

Please, if this inspires you or you feel inclined, don’t hesitate to click “like” above or share it with your friends! (Retweet, post on Facebook, etc.)

Want a Bigger Screen? The iPhone 4 Supports iPad VGA Adapters

Today at my day-job, we were experimenting with a few problems we were trying to tackle with the iPad, and the crazy idea came up to try the new iPhone 4 with our iPad VGA Adapter.  We hooked it up, and sure enough, before long we were projecting full Youtube videos up on the big screen.  It turns out, with some limitations, the iPhone 4 supports the iPad VGA Adaptor, and with the amazing Retina display it looks great on the big screen.

The Youtube videos we tried were sub-par and grainy on a larger screen (they are on the Retina display as well).  I assume that’s because they weren’t formatted correctly.  So I decided to try some video we shot with the iPhone 4’s 720p, 30 fps video camera.  Sure enough, the video comes up in amazing HD quality, with practically no loss in resolution.  In fact, the video almost looked better on the big screen than it did on my iPhone!

There are some caveats.  It looks as though only video and photo slideshows work with the VGA dongle.  With the iPad, the web browser and Keynote and select applications are supposed to work.  On the iPhone, of course there is no full version of Keynote like the iPad so I couldn’t try that (although that would be nice), but I did try the web browser and nothing came up on the screen.  However, I did try video within a couple apps, and whenever the video played it showed up on the big screen.

So if you’re looking for a great video device in a small package, the iPhone 4 has even one more piece of goodness to bestow amongst its passionate users.  I wrote about the iPad being the monitor you can take anywhere. Well, it very well could be your iPhone powering that monitor in the future.

Just to show it in action, I made this video, showing how simple it is:


How to Downgrade From iOS 4.0 to iOS 3.1.3 Firmware on the iPhone

Recently, after the excitement of upgrading to iOS 4.0 this last week, I had need to downgrade again so I could sell it in preparation for my new iPhone 4.  There are many others who say iOS 4 is slow on their iPhones and also want a way to downgrade.  Previously, there were ways to downgrade if you had the iOS 4.0 beta installed, but since the final release, Apple seems to be verifying new restores, and doesn’t seem to want people to downgrade to the 3.1.3 firmware.  You can tell from the long list of support requests in the Apple Support Forums.

I finally found a way to make this work, thanks to combined help from GadgetsDNA and MacLife.  It seems that Apple is checking a server at gs.apple.com, and if you previously saved your ECID SHSH certificate to Saurik’s authentication server you can trick iTunes into thinking his server is their own and go through with the install.  If you haven’t saved your certificate (you may have done this if you jailbroke your iPhone before), feel free to try this and let me know if it works, but I hear unfortunately there isn’t yet a way to make it work.  I hope to be proven wrong.

So here’s what you need to do:

  • First, you need to trick iTunes into thinking Saurik’s server is Apple’s.  To do so, you need to find your hosts file (On a Mac, this is on /etc/hosts.  On a PC, this is in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\).  Once you’ve found it, edit it, and add the line, “ gs.apple.com” to the end.  This points gs.apple.com to
  • Next, you need to put your phone in restore mode in preparation for the restore.  To do this, just disconnect your iPhone and turn it off (do this by holding down the power button until you see the “power off” slider).  Then hold your home button while you reconnect the phone to your computer.  Keep the home button pressed until iTunes opens and gives you a message saying you need to restore.
  • Now, you’re going to need a 3.1.3 firmware file.  Here is one for the 3GS.  Here is one for the 3G.  To load the file, hold down the alt button on a PC, or on a Mac, hold down the alt/option key and click “Restore” in iTunes.
  • Wait for the restore, and if it works when you’re done, it should reboot into 3.1.3 and you’re done!
  • For me, I got a 1015 error, so I then went and followed the instructions MacLife to complete the restore process.  To start, you need to download iRecovery (I only have the Mac version) and libusb.
  • With iRecovery downloaded, go to the directory you downloaded it to and type:

./iRecovery -s

setenv auto-boot true




  • Now, you just need to reboot the phone and you’ll be back to iOS 3.1.3!  To reboot the phone, just hold down the power and home buttons until you see the Apple logo.

Let me know how this works for you.  Oh, and do so at your own risk!  While I don’t anticipate these steps hurting your phone, I offer no guarantee and there is always a chance doing steps Apple didn’t intend will break your phone.

Kynetx Introduces the Programmable Internet – the Language of the Building Block Web

Several months ago I talked about a concept I call the Building Block Web.  It’s the next evolution of platforms, with all different types of services able to communicate with each other and work together. Where Web 2.0 is “the Web as a platform”, the Building Block Web is “the Platform as the Platform.”  I talked about the MVC model of the Building Block Web, and how different elements represent different layers of that paradigm.  From Amazon Web Services, to Facebook Graph API, to Twitter API, to even Google App Engine and other cloud-based, API-focused architectures, we’re able to all include our biggest strengths in each others’ applications.  Today, Utah-based Kynetx released its own strength into the Building Block Web and essentially provided what I consider to be the first programming language of this new Platform.

Dr. Phil Windley (or as employees of the company endearingly call him, “Doc”), Kynetx’s CTO and co-founder, described the new “feature” of their event-based language KRL as “A Big, Programmable Event Loop in the Cloud”.  Windley, also a Computer Science Professor at BYU, has taken his deep understanding of language theory and created a new language intended to basically allow all these different building blocks to talk to each other and provide a more relevant experience for users on the web.  He calls it a Purpose-driven ecosystem, one where users go to the web with specific purpose in mind, and the web adapts to help them achieve that purpose.

The new feature (it may as well be called a new revolution, as it is much more than a feature – it could completely change the breadth of what Kynetx can accomplish for companies, developers, and users) enables developers to basically create their own “endpoints”.  These endpoints can be anywhere from Google Calendar, to my own SocialToo API, to your Sprinkler system.  When developers create endpoints, they are essentially, automatically providing an API that developers using Kynetx’ cloud-based platform can tie into and use in their own applications.  So, let’s say for instance I created an endpoint for my sprinkler system (since that’s an example Phil used), which is being installed today.  I could enable you to turn on my back sprinklers, turn on my front sprinklers, and turn them off again.  I could then tell Kynetx’s platform how to do this.

Once Kynetx knows how to turn on and off my sprinklers, I could open that up to other developers using the Kynetx platform, and now someone could easily build a plugin that, whenever you visit Twitter.com and it sees the word “sprinkler” in your stream, it turns on my sprinklers, getting me all wet.  Another endpoint Kynetx itself has provided for developers is one that interacts with Google Calendar.  If you wanted, you could make Kynetx’s endpoint for Google Calendar talk with your endpoint for your sprinkler system, enabling you to schedule your sprinkler system in Google Calendar and have it automatically turn on and off your sprinklers at home based on your Google Calendar schedule.

Or, let’s say you’re Target.com and you want to make your products available to other apps on the Kynetx platform.  If you create a Target.com endpoint, other developers can now tie into it, bringing the option of Target.com into their own applications on the Kynetx platform so your products will now also appear in their apps.  This portable, 2-way, programmable API in the cloud, enables both programmers providing content, and programmers receiving content, to meet in the middle, providing a completely contextual experience for the user.  Basically, developers can both create the API, and consume the API all in the cloud.  The concept is very powerful!

With Kynetx, soon you’ll be able to use one language, one API, to both provide  and consume the services you are providing to your users.  Add a little flag to your app, and soon users will be getting just the experience they desire, with little to do on their part.  Or, perhaps Kynetx will enable users to do this for themselves, providing users the option on Kynetx.com to specify the apps they want to enable as they surf the web.  The possibilities are endless.  Kynetx is making API development really simple with their new API to the Internet!

Have an idea for the Kynetx platform?   What would you create with such an opportunity?

Did Twitter Suspend Your Account? It’s Your Own Fault

After writing I’m on Facebook–Now What???, followed by FBML Essentials, one of the most common questions I get from readers is a situation where their account, their Page, or their content has been suspended on Facebook in some form or another.  Just today, Robert Scoble talked about another individual on Twitter whose account was recently suspended for no reason whatsoever.  I’ve written about other occasions of Twitter suspending accounts in droves with no notice (that time a glitch).  This is nothing new.  Even the famous Mari Smith, the “Pied Piper of Facebook” according to FastCompany Magazine, had her Twitter account suspended.  Robert Scoble had his Facebook account suspended.  No one is immune.

It’s your own fault if this happens.

Let me explain.  Of course I don’t blame any of the individuals whose account has had this unfortunate circumstance happen to them (assuming it was a mistake).  However, I question why more people aren’t trying to bring these services under their own brand and their own hosting facilities to store their Tweets and micro-posts to their friends.  There are services that make this easy.  I’ve written about these before, and today I’m putting action where my words are.

The best service I’ve seen for this is called Status.net, formerly Identi.ca, and it gives any brand, business, or person the ability to host every single Tweet or post surrounding their identity on their own servers.  I’m implementing a version of this so I can control who owns the Tweets I share on Twitter and other sites.  Starting right now, you can go to http://community.staynalive.com, register for your own account, and begin hosting your own Tweets right here.  Or, go to Status.net, download the source code, and host your own instance on your own servers.  Then, follow my posts at http://community.staynalive.com/jesse right from your own instance of Status.net on your own servers!

Still want to post to Twitter?  Every account on the Stay N’ Alive Community site can connect their Twitter account and set each Tweet they post from http://community.staynalive.com to also post to Twitter.  Look at this Tweet – it was sent to my own servers straight from TweetDeck.  I simply added another Twitter account in TweetDeck, and set the Twitter Base URL (under advanced) to be http://community.staynalive.com/api, adding my own credentials for the Stay N’ Alive community.  Now, any time I post from TweetDeck I have the option to post to the Stay N’ Alive Community site where I own the data (well, it’s all Creative Commons so each user owns their own data), and I can know that will also go to Twitter.  If I want to do all my following from the Stay N’ Alive Community site, I can set it to import my friends’ Twitter streams into Stay N’ Alive and I can follow them right there.

What’s the point?  Now I own, 100%, every tweet I post to Twitter, and no one can do anything about that.  If you set up your own instance, you can do the same.  ESPN can set up an ESPN-branded Twitter.  Ford can set up a Ford-branded Twitter.  Rackspace can set up its own Rackspace-branded Twitter.  Scoble can set up his own Scoble-branded Twitter.  Every post from the branded site gets hosted on the Brand’s own servers, anyone on any other OMB-supported service can follow them on their own servers, and no one can ever shut them down.

So, if you’re worried about your account being suspended, this is how you fight back.  Go create your own Status.net service, post your URL in the comments (so we can all follow!), and we can all start to take back control of our status under our own terms.  Or, feel free to join the Stay N’ Alive Community where the readers of this blog can all get to know each other!  This is your responsibility – I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

To those who aren’t hosting your own Tweets, I say “Stop It!”:


When the Choice is Mobile, My Choice is "All of Them"

The web is a competitive landscape.  It’s an environment with lots and lots of type-A personalities all competing to be the dominant players.  It’s full of opinionated people, entrepreneurs, and bloggers, who all have their opinion on a subject.  Everyone wants to be right.  That’s why, when you see a landscape, such as mobile, where a single player such as Apple has such a passionate community that will fight tooth and nail for it, it’s a big target for critics, and those behind it will fight back.  When a player such as Android comes along with a serious threat to the popular guy, people will do all they can to choose sides and either go with the popular guy, or pick the underdog.  On the web, it seems it always has to be one or the other.  However, I think you’ll find the true, perhaps more silent Geeks, will be the ones on the sidelines choosing “All of the above”.

I grew up in a home where we couldn’t afford a Mac.  We had Apple IIs at school, and I had several distant relatives with Macs and I’d play thoroughly with those when I had the chance.  In fact, a lot of my first programming experience, learning BASIC, was on those very Apple II machines I got to use in elementary school.  At the same time I remember playing Commodore 64 at my friends’ homes and being fascinated with the different types of architectures and different styles of programming that went with those architectures.  I was fascinated that some systems took cartridges, some took floppy disks, and others took tape to read (and eventually store) data.  In those days it didn’t really matter what system I was on.  It mattered that I was able to get the job done and learn from each.  I was fascinated!

Later on in High School, I remember some of the classrooms having PCs, some having Macs, and all of them having varying different operating systems and computer architectures.  I’d come home to an even cheaper system that I would then spend hours upon hours trying to read other peoples’ programs and try to understand what they were doing in languages such as Pascal, Assembly, BASIC, and even a little C++.  The thing is, as a developer and passionate geek it didn’t really matter to me what system we were using.  It mattered that I was learning new things and studying new architectures and figuring out how to code and what those architectures did.

I took that same mentality as I went to college.  I sold computers at a Tandy-owned Computer City store (they later went out of business), and I remember always being jealous of the people that could afford the one or two Macs that we sold.  They were so cool!  They could read text aloud in a human-sounding voice, and had such a different look and feel that fascinated me!  At the same time, I remember vivid conversations with co-workers about the release of IBM’s OS 2 Warp we were getting ready to sell, and how cool it was to finally have a 32-bit operating system on the market.  We had similar discussions and envy about Windows 95, and I remember having fun beta testing it with a friend of mine (who now works for Microsoft, ironically).  I remember how cool the SGI machines we sold were and how cool they were for rendering graphics and other high-end stuff.

Later on I discovered this thing called Linux.  I remember wanting to know all I could about it.  Finally, an operating system I could afford that let me tinker with its insides and see what it did underneath.  I wasn’t this excited since the old 8080 kits you used to be able to build your own computers from!  I remember learning how to compile the entire OS from scratch and the difficulties that entailed, yet at the same time how I could do so many cool things that I just couldn’t do on Windows.  Later on I even remember tinkering around with the short-lived BeOS.

Finally, only about 5 or 6 years ago I finally bought my first Mac (an iBook).  It was probably the first time I could actually afford one.  It was a beautiful experience!  It was one I will never forget.  Everything, from the packaging, to the operating system, to the little fading light when it went to sleep had me hooked.  It was the perfect desktop operating system for me at the time.  I learned all about packaging, branding, and experience from that.

Today, you’ll find me using all kinds of different operating systems and technologies.  Technology fascinates me!  While you may find me using Mac on my desktop, and trying out my new iPad, you’ll also see me setting up Windows 7 for my kids and my family.  You’ll see me tinkering with the parental controls and helping them understand this world called Windows.  At the same time you’ll see me using Linux for my web servers, and at various companies I’ve worked for it made even more sense to use Windows for those servers.  Some day I might even use Google on my desktop or even on a server.  I will certainly try each and every one out, oodling at all the cool features and unique pieces of each.  Let’s face it – new technology, no matter where it is, is pretty dang cool!

While I may carry an iPhone today, and I will probably buy the iPhone 4, I also own a Palm Pre.  You can also find me carrying and trying various flavored devices of Android through work.  I just asked Sprint for a demo unit of the Evo I could review for you guys.  You may even catch me carrying a Blackberry device, or even Windows Mobile (which at one time was my favorite phone as a user).  You may see me tethering my iPad off my Palm Pre, or using an Android tablet device with a jailbroken iPhone.  The fact is, as a developer, a blogger, and an entrepreneur, but mostly a geek, I need to understand all of them.  I need to learn how each operating system works.  I need to know the basics of coding on each so I can make educated decisions.

I will never pick just one.  I will never pick just 2.  As a true geek, I have an obligation to try them all and enjoy the cool features of each.  Will I disagree or be negative about specific components of each? Certainly, but as with any technology, I will always have elements of each I particularly like and really admire.  I would be hurting myself, and those I write for (both from a blog and software standpoint) if I ever picked just one.  Picking one would be the negative choice.

Next time you see a Geek, ask to see their phones – you will always know the true Geek as the one that pulls out each and every phone or embedded device they’re playing with at the moment.  That’s the type of Geek I want to be.

I Like This – a Facebook "Dislike" Button for the Entire Web

A post to Facebook by Ryan Merket (former Facebook employee, founder of Ping.fm, and now founder of Appbistro) inspired me to check out a new Facebook App by Zach Allia that lets you “dislike” any website on the internet.  The app is simple – you add a little bookmarklet to your browser and connect it with Facebook.  Now any website you visit you can “dislike”, and your dislike appears on your Facebook Wall for all your friends to see.

Merket and I had a little fun with the app.  He would dislike one political figure’s Facebook Page, and I would then go and dislike the opposite political figure.  Or, he would dislike something and I would go “like” his recent dislike.  I even went to one of his dislikes, clicked the permalink for the dislike, and disliked his dislike!  (Have a headache yet?)

The app doesn’t just work on Facebook.  You can go to any website on the internet and click the little “Dislike” bookmarklet and your dislike will appear.  In addition, you can go to http://likebutton.me and get a similar like bookmarklet to like things on the internet in a similar manner.

This is a totally cool idea, and great example of the simplicity of Facebook Graph API.  I predict it will be very popular due to Facebook and other sites’ lack of a “dislike” button for the network.  I hope he can find a good way to monetize the concept.  In a recent environment of negativity on the internet, this app could just provide a little level of fun and positivity to Facebook.  “dislike” is the new “poke”. 😉

Check out, and “like” the app at http://dislikebutton.me/

Do you “like” the concept?

If You Think You’ve Got a Tough Life, There’s Always Someone With Worse

I’ve been meaning to share this for awhile.  This is something the “Mormon Messages” Youtube channel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produced recently.  Stephanie Nielson is a popular local Utah blogger who, if you want someone who truly understands life, you should follow. You can follow her blog at the NieNie Dialogues. Or follow her on Twitter here. You won’t get through it without shedding a tear, I promise:


Whenever you’re down, watch this and think, “It could be worse!”.  Stephanie is an inspiration for us all.

Be sure to follow Mormon Messages on Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter for more great inspirational messages produced by the LDS Church.

Google Axing Windows Makes Total Sense (and It’s Not For Security)

Several articles have come out recently criticizing Google for their recent policy, removing the Windows Operating System from their currently approved list of OSes that employees can use.  One might expect that I would be against this move, considering the recent criticism I’ve given of Google employees deleting their Facebook accounts.  I think this situation is different though, and I actually support it.  Of all companies, I think Google is most prepared to make such a move and I think we’ll see a lot of innovation come as a result.

Companies Have Tried This Before

Several years ago I worked for BackCountry.com as an engineer.  While there, our engineering department had a policy, making Linux and open source tools the default, while only allowing other operating systems (including Mac OS X) on an as-needed basis.  We found this saved us a ton of money, and, as engineers it made sense because we were able to completely alter the systems we were writing on as we needed.  It also made it so we could completely duplicate the server environments we were developing for on our local machines if we needed to.

We decided while there to take this to another level, and while I was there we started to push this policy throughout the company.  We got a lot of push back, and it took us, as engineers and developers, to help out the rest of the company as they adapted.  We started using Zimbra for e-mail, Bugzilla for bug tracking, and everything we could do we tried to do with open source tools.  We saved a ton of money.

There was one fatal flaw to this, though.  Where we were not an engineering-specific company (our bottom line was probably our buyers, who secured really good deals on outdoor gear, or even our customer support team, where we preached “We use the gear we sell”), we simply did not have enough resources to keep this going and be able to support it all whenever the company had a need that open source software could not solve.  The main benefit to open source software (which security is only a minor benefit) is that, as developers, you can get in and alter the software if it doesn’t meet your needs.  Then the code you altered could be shared with the rest of the world and others that also might have that need.  That’s a great benefit.

However, not having resources to constantly do that whenever there is a need means you’re always going to have weaknesses in your systems, and those systems are likely to fail.  I think that became a problem for BackCountry.com, because I heard that shortly after I left they were forced back into a closed-source, Microsoft-backed Exchange system, which probably means back to Windows for most employees.  The simple fact is Microsoft, when it comes to Enterprise systems, can’t be beat.  Exchange is by far the best e-mail system there is out there.  Linux pales in comparison, and has always had problems competing against Exchange and the desktop.  Not to mention general user experience and understanding of the OS by a mass audience.  Most companies don’t have the time or money to devote resources towards replacing these COTS systems.

Why Google is Axing Windows

So one would think that making a similar move by Google may be prone to similar risks.  Google’s hacker culture I’m sure has developers begging to be on Linux or Mac OS X, and higher executives wondering how they’re going to get along without Windows.  There’s one thing different about Google though that completely sets them apart from any other company out there that might try such a thing: Google’s base is developers.  Not only that, but Google has a vested interest in creating an operating system that works.

My guess is that Google is using “security” as a front to put a jab up against Microsoft, hoping others might try to make the same decision.  Google is hoping that the bad stigma Microsoft has had in the past regarding security (Windows 7 is actually pretty secure) might dwell in the minds of others considering similar decisions.  However, I bet the real reason is that this will force all employees, in this hacker culture, to truly understand what they’re missing when there are no Exchange servers, when there are no Active Directory databases, and when Executives can’t use the operating system or tools all their colleagues at other companies are using.

Google wants their employees to hurt from this.  When you make a hacker culture that actually has a monetary benefit (Chrome OS) to fix problems that arise as a result, problems get solved, and people stop being lazy.  I expect that as Google makes this move we’re going to see a much higher rate of bug fixes and User Experience enhancements on Chrome OS and Linux, and possibly even Android.  I expect better user experiences on the server.  I expect finally an e-mail solution that works up to par with Microsoft Exchange, and a directory services solution that works up to par with Active Directory.

I argue Google Axing Windows as a company is a good thing!  I hope it’s only temporary, or on an “as needed” basis so employees that need to create Windows clients that interact and drivers that work together with Google devices, that the company can still understand and work with such devices.  Yet at the same time I think doing everything they can to challenge employees to truly understand the weaknesses their new operating systems and web services provide will challenge the thousands of developers working them to produce solutions.  While I think security is a lame excuse and PR ploy for Google to remove Windows from their network architecture, I still think this is one of the best things the company has done in a long time.

Google’s move here could be the best thing to happen to Linux, and the open source enterprise world, in a long, long time.

The iPad is the Context-Aware Monitor You Can Take Anywhere

For those that don’t follow my Twitter or Facebook or FriendFeed streams, a few weeks ago I bought an iPad.  I was sitting down at the Pool in Hawaii next to Chris Pirillo (we were both speaking at a conference – tough life, huh?), and he pulled out his iPad and immediately started working right there in Paradise.  It was that which convinced me I needed to see what this device could do for me and why it was special.  But what does make it special?  Why is it so “magical”?

I’ve been debating that over the last several weeks.  I have a 17″ Macbook Pro that works great and I can take it anywhere I go that I need a full computer.  I have an iPhone that I can take everywhere else and access the internet, take brief notes, and get things done.  Why would I need an iPad?

I had this discussion with a co-worker the other day, and it got me thinking.  He suggested that the value in the iPad is not what it is, but what it could be, and most of all where this technology in general is going.  He suggested the concept of bringing his iPhone or Android phone with him wherever he goes, and if he’s near a monitor and keyboard, pulling up an entire OS experience on the monitor via Bluetooth connection.  That got me thinking back to the iPad – in reality, the iPad is about context.  It’s about having a monitor-sized device that you can carry around in your backpack and display, in a large form-factor, images, video, and text that are relevant to the place you are at that very moment.  It’s the monitor I can carry everywhere I go, but more than that – the potential is it could very well be a monitor that communicates with my iPhone, a monitor that communicates with my car, a monitor that communicates with my keyboard at work.

Steve Gillmor inferred this in his Keynote at the Kynetx Impact Conference recently.  The Kynetx platform is all about providing a unified API experience that enables developers to provide contextually relevant experiences no matter where the user is.  The iPad, in many ways is doing just this.  It’s transforming the web from being just data endpoints that require their own displays that stay static, in one place (like TVs and Computer Monitors), to adaptable display interfaces you can take with you wherever you go.  Now, instead of needing a TV, you can take the TV with you.  Now, instead of your desk needing a monitor, you can take that monitor with you.  Now, instead of needing displays throughout your house to control your thermostat, lights, music, etc., you can do all that with a device you have wherever you go.

One of the big rumors for the upcoming June 6 WWDC Keynote by Steve Jobs is that Apple will be announcing a new Apple TV device that is based on the iPhone OS.  When you think about it, this idea is not that far-fetched.  Now, on the same operating system developers are writing applications for that already stream TV (think Slingbox or Netflix), surf the web, pull up your favorite magazine publications, and more, developers just need to change the screen size to adapt the experience for that specific screen size and experience.  For instance, the Scrabble application, when purchased on the iPad, has a mode that you can play Scrabble with different opponents around a table and allow those opponents to use their iPhones as letter holders so no one else in the room can see each opponent’s letters.  The two different screen sizes adapt, and work with each other.  The iPad, in that case, adapts to become the board in a board game.

The future of tech is in that contextual, ubiquitous experience.  In the future, you’ll be able to take your iPad with you and when it detects a keyboard it will provide a different experience that works with the keyboard than the one that doesn’t.  Future iPads will detect where you are, and provide new UIs based on the location you are at currently.  The future of the tablet device will adapt based on the environment around it and provide an experience that fits the size and form factor of the screen it was built for.  The future computing experience is about each display and/or device in the room adapting to the experience the user is having at any given moment.

This isn’t about your desktop becoming more portable.  This isn’t about your iPhone becoming bigger.  I believe what the iPad has done is rather reinvent the monitor, making the monitor itself more portable, smarter, and more adaptable than ever before.  What I’m carrying around in my hands with my new iPad is not a new type of computer.  It’s a monitor, a display interface, that follows me around wherever I go.

If you’ve got an iPad and you like this concept, be sure to check out the Air Display app, by Avatron Software, Inc., which turns your iPad into an entirely separate monitor that you can add to your existing Mac when it’s nearby.

What do you think the iPad is?