Thursday, December 27, 2007

Interesting screenshot tool for bloggers to post quotes from other sites. Read about it on TechCrunch. Will try it on my blog.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Q: What will it take for me to actively use facebook?
A: Let me separate my networks: Family, Friends, Business, etc. Do not force a black and white separation but allow for some grays: Some colleagues at work can also be friends. I should be able to create as many categories as I like and assign them to everyone in my network. The category should drive what someone can see. An easy to use way to do this is going to make me a very active user.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BusinessWeek article on Cloud Computing
Google and the Wisdom of clouds
A good roundup of what is going on in the industry and what IT infrastructure will look like in the future. I am completely sold on the concept and plan to start moving our infrastructure into the cloud!

Update (from Paula): Link to an article covering this and other related topics!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bungee Connect
Came across a mention of this development tool on this StartupSquad blog post. Have been wanting to look at it for some time now. The programmer in me senses that this is cool. Will try it out in the near future.
Amazon SimpleDB
Amazon has again raised the bar - they have added a database service to their "Infrastructure on-demand" services. I looked at the functionality. Very Simple! Very Interesting! Reminds me of my days as a developer at a small software product startup. It was so very painful and expensive building and maintaining infrastructure. I am tempted to be a programmer again.

I am sure this is where we will be building applications in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Potomac TechWire: VC Outlook 2008
Attended the breakfast event (click for event and panelist details) this morning. My notes

The primary business model on the internet continues to be ad-based. Where is the opportunity in online advertising (the market continues to grow fast)?
- broad high traffic sites (the top 20)
- vertical narrow sites that allow advertisers to reach a specific demographic (e.g. iVillage)
- ad-networks helping sell residual inventory
- new data types (video, photo, social apps)

The non-ad based subscription model is relevant for sites that the customers are willing to pay for: club penguin (gaming site for kids recently acquired by Disney). When successful, these are very profitable businesses.

Two key issues with the information on the web: trust and quality control. It is interesting that Google today announced Knol, a competitor to Wikipedia, that is targeted to address these two issues (pcworld new-item).

Opening of the walled garden will drive opportunities and innovation. Verizon and Google have recently moved this milestone closer. This will lead to the development of new on-the-go services that will go beyond just e-mail. However, this is not breakthrough innovation as we trail the world in this regard.

Interesting opportunities continue to be seen in SAAS, open source, virtual machine, etc.

What is HOT in the future?
- green products (longer term) and services (shorter term)
- smb market
- electronic payment services
- robotics
- security
- China & India

What is NOT SO HOT?
- Web 2.0 Internet companies

Interesting event!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Virtual Reality at Kimberly-Clarke
Kimberly-Clarke has developed a Customer Immersion and Design Center to allow customers to view and virtually interact with products (article in InformationWeek: Kimberly-Clark's Virtual Product Demo Center Yields Real Ideas On How To Sell More Products).

Here is an extract from the press release describing what they are trying to achieve:

"Through using the virtual reality system and the K-C SmartStation, the company can create real store settings, down to retailer-specific color palettes, graphics and layouts. These 3-D, interactive store models allow K-C and its customers to explore hypothetical in-store design and merchandising concepts without having to move a single package of product, enabling K-C and the customer to test the impact of these concepts prior to launching them."

I expect 3D worlds to penetrate the business environment with similar high-value applications.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

3D Printing
I am not sure how I missed the slow migration of 3D printing into the consumer world. I read a WSJ article on the topic today (WSJ link, might need a subscription).

Found a good NYT article on the topic.

Here is someone who sells art objects printed (I am not sure that is the right term) on 3D printers: Bathsheba Sculpture.
Pic: one of the art objects available from Bathsheba!

Very Cool!

Monday, December 10, 2007

LinkedIn picks up a fight with Facebook
LinkedIn seems to be opening its platform to programmers. According to Wired, they have a much more thought-trough approach than Facebook. Seems to be in-line with the primary user-base of LinkedIn: Professionals and Knowledge Workers.

I completely agree with the Wired conclusion:
"LinkedIn may lack some of the buzz and magazine cover hype of Facebook, but kudos to LinkedIn for taking inspiration from APIs like Flickr’s rather than the much touted, but still essentially useless, Facebook platform."

A less positive viewpoint on GigaOm.

LinkedIn is also planning to add WebTop features to the site to allow users to customize their page.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Art Exhibition Opening
My wife is participating in a group show at the William W. Parker Gallery @ Mickelson's Fine Art Framing. Link to the directions to the gallery.

The opening reception is on Friday, December 7th from 6:30-8 pm, and the show will run from Dec. 7, 2007 till Jan 4, 2008. We will be there at 6. Here is a link to her website.

Her two paintings on display at the show are:

After a few weeks on Facebook
I have tried Facebook for a few weeks and have, for now, been completely turned off. The site generates too much low-interest information that I have to filter ... and this when I have 12 friends. I shudder to think the amount of junk that will come my way if I had a 100 friends. And now, with Beacon, they promise to generate even more trash.

I know there are a lot of people out there who love Facebook. Well, it is not for me!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Leveraging User Input
Read an interesting article on how Google and Microsoft are capturing 411 calls to enhance speech recognition.

What is most interesting about the story is that it highlights the fact that all companies need to harvest every customer interaction to enhance products and services. The speed at which companies can evolve products based on user input is a key competitive advantage. All of us have huge amounts of customer feedback information buried in our CRM databases that we should be analyzing and leveraging at a faster and faster pace!

Update: Just remembered another news I had read recently: Google now allows users to fix errors in Google Maps by moving the marker. Cheap Web 2.0 way to cover the "last-mile" of quality.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Security Implications of Web 2.0
The CTO Roundtable of Washington DC (I am the President of this group) held its bi-monthly meeting on Friday. The topic "Web 2.0 security challenge" obviously hit a chord. We had record attendance.

Andre Yee discussed how the emergence of Web 2.0 and SAAS has completely bypassed the enterprise perimeter. The problem is real ... users are publishing (frequently by mistake) corporate information on the web and accessing corporate SAAS applications with no validation or control from the enterprise. There is a strong push to make corporations liable for the use of P2P networks by employees from within the enterprise.

A few interesting aspects Andre discussed included:
  • encryption on the network, though very useful to hide information on the internet, is also making harder for enterprises to monitor for leakage of confidential corporate information.
  • AJAX, widely used to deliver Rich User Experience, is very vulnerable to new threats

I think we will be hearing a lot about these threats in 2008.