I love taking photos, and I’ve got a very decent compact camera that I used to take with me everywhere. But it hardly ever leaves the house now. Why? Because my mobile phone takes photos like this over Sunday breakfast in a cafe:

Don’t get me wrong. The camera on my phone is very limited, and can’t compete with the sort of pics I take with my “proper” camera:

But in 99 percent of cases it’s more than good enough to record a moment in time. It got me wondering about technological convergence, and how portable items such as cameras and phones are slowly and steadily merging into one thing. My first digital camera (circa 2000) wouldn’t have been able to take a picture as good as that one at the top. But my phone now has GPS, web and email facilities too. All of which I use on a regular basis. I even subscribe to podcasts on it too, which I download via my home network using the phone’s wifi capabilities. So, where will it end?

I pondered this as I ran across the clifftops of Penarth before dawn this morning (not a regular occurrence – I couldn’t sleep). I watched the sleepy, blinking lights of England across the channel and wondered about the tankers in the shipping lanes. How would they benefit from convergence? Nothing sprung to mind, but then I know absolutely nothing about shipping. I realised that convergence is driven by portability. It’s about making stuff smaller, and reducing the amount of items to save our overwhelmed pockets and bags. Tankers, by their very nature, have plenty of space aboard. I suppose it’s not such an issue….

My phone is smaller than a pack of cards, but in most cases it means I don’t have to carry a laptop, camera, satnav, gaming console, radio etc.

As I mentioned recently we live in incredible times. And we’re seeing the world change right in front of our eyes. My good friend John Rostron pointed this out yesterday, as he wrote about the slow, inevitable decline of CD sales. Technology is moving very, very quickly. We are literally watching the world change day by day. It’s a fascinating time to be alive!

Oh, and big thanks to Mr Rostron (who’s also co-organiser of the Swn festival) for my brilliant Swn t-shirt. It’s a doozie, and a Howies one, too. I really must remember to pay him!

p.s. Play a musical instrument?

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