Todo va a cambiar, by Enrique Dans (2010).
Score: instructive and enjoyable.
Written by one of the most influential technology bloggers in Spain, Todo va a cambiar (literally, “Everything is going to change”) is a short informational book about the way the internet and new technology have already changed our lives.
With every chapter, Dans introduces and explains a piece of new technology in an open-minded, understanding way, and invites the reader to hop on the train and explore all the possibilities such technology offers both in business and leisure. So, in the one hand, it is a good introduction for people who do not speak computer and want to learn a bit more about this hyperconnected, sometimes scary world we have found ourselves in. The exposition is really fluid and enjoyable, with a very informal, up close style, definitely one of the highlights of the book.
Nevertheless, I picked up this book hoping to learn something about copyleft that I could apply to my writing career. I admit I didn’t read the blurb. While there is not a lot on that topic, Dans makes some very useful remarks pointing to an advisable way to look at things: things have changed, and it’s useless to try to cling to old business models that aren’t attractive to consumers anymore. What people can get for free or for a ridiculous price, you cannot try to sell at the old price, because people won’t buy it. The same thing goes for formats or products that have become inconvenient or obsolete.
Once this fear and longing for a world where we had everything under control (or rather, the old guys with top hats and cigars had everything under control), it’s exhilarating to see the almost infinite possibilities new technology has to offer. In fact, if it weren’t for it, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. In fact, I wouldn’t have read this book either. So, I’m really thankful that I don’t have to be bothering strangers on the street and at conventions trying to sell them my fanzine, or that I don’t have the prospect of having to appeal to a mainstream publishing house if I ever want people to read my books.
If there is one bad thing I have to say about the book, is that I missed some more exposition of cyber security and privacy issues. Despite stating several times that he “isn’t trying to sell anything”, meaning that he tried to remain neutral, Dans is most definitely not. His vehement criticism of copyright enforcement is proof. So for this reason it bothers me that he is also so cheerful about business models that provide free services in exchange for personal data. I know that big players in technology have half-decent privacy policies, but you never know when the political situation can change and those huge personal data repositories can fall in the wrong hands. I feel that people also deserve to know how to protect their personal data and monitor the kind of data they’re providing to who, something I missed in Dans’ exposition.
You can read the social edition of Todo va a cambiar here.