Offtopic: The future of the gas station

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This is not about the usual geekyness – it is about a change I am sure is about to happen. Once the benefits are clear – I am quite sure everybody will want an electric car instead of their gas/diesel-one. The concept of having an energy-buffer, in the shape of the cars in a region, to collect surplus energy in low usage periods for use in high usage periods are so compelling. Windmills are cool, but still inefficient in comparison with other sources if the surplus energy isn’t stored. This is in a broad perspective what Better Place wants to do.

I passed a long line of gas stations the other day – What will happen to them? I know the change will not happen overnight – if at all. But how would we prepare for the future if we had a gas station? Better Place says they will prepare the stations for the transition of becoming a battery station, but as I see it – many people will not need them anymore. Why? Because many commuters drive less than 160km per day. According to Better Place, that will be the range of one battery charge – and a key part of the new model is that drivers charge their car at home when the energy is cheap/green – also offering the battery in their car to the common energy buffer.

So – in Denmark anyway – if the gas stations will no longer sell gas and only (let’s guess – unable to find numbers) 10% of the current customer base (those driving more than 160km a day) will need to recharge their cars/switch batteries at the old gas station – can the gas station survive merely as a 7-Eleven store only closed at night?

My guess is that they are looking at a pretty big change in their business model – and I think they can if they embrace the change. If they fight the change they only have to look at the news papers to see how that works out..

What they need to do? Dunno – but one thing that has bothered me for ages now is the inability to find stuff for my car in the shops. If i want chewing gum, porn or soda – the gas station is where to get it. But light bulbs, fuses, polish is hidden away in the far corner of the shops. I think that stuff needs to move up ahead in the shop, so the mindset of the customers in five to ten years won’t be: “The gas station? Ahh – you mean the 7-Eleven that is closed at night!”

Tip: Cool Firefox WYSIWYG blogging plug-in

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Actually there is no good reason for this tool not to be an independent piece of software – it doesn’t really need to be part of Firefox. But..

Somehow it just works for apparent reasons. Bloggers do two things a lot: Read blogs and write blogs and that is why ScribeFire is so cool – it’s right in the context where you want it. In Firefox:

  1. Go to the Tools-menu
  2. Choose Add-ons
  3. Choose Get Add-ons
  4. Type scribefire in the search box and search
  5. Install the add-on

Once installed, Scribefire is running all the time but display/hiding is switched with F8. It works especially well with WordPress blogs (such as this one) and configuration of one blog is done by entering the address of the blog + username and password.

If you feel inspired, click F8 and start typing. Something else came up, or the phone rang.. tap F8 and continue what you did before – and F8 it again to continue. So far it seems awfully nice.

Attention Profiles may filter news better

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Amazon profiles you by the books you buy. Google sponsored links are displayed by the contents of your gmail e-mails and general website interests. All “Big Brother” considerations aside – this is clever – or at least technically interesting. There are risks of evil marketeers profiling you down to the bone, but on the other hand you probably only see stuff that is interesting to you – as opposed to receiving a load of Viagra spam e-mails. I know – The fact that something really sucks, does not make something that sucks a bit less excellent..

A group is in the process of specifying the APML format. APML is short for Attention Profile Markup Language and will specify a fileformat to express your interests ranked. OPML can already be considered an APML subset describing your feed subscriptions, but APML i more of an aggregation of your interests also including e-mail, browser history and bookmarks.

An important thing about your attention profile is, that is has value – to you as well as to others. Check out AttentionTrust for more..

Rebooting for the next couple of days

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Reboot 9Thursday and friday i will be at Reboot 9 – it’s the third time I attend – last time was two years ago, and the first time was actually at the first Reboot conference – pre-bubble, y2k and all. This years theme is “Human”. The focus is rarely technology, but future ways of thinking and working. This year one of the headliners are Dave Winer – a talk on friday I will forward to. I also expect this to be another great networking opportunity.