Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The blogosphere (here are a couple of links: Gigaom, Infoworld) is abuzz with the news that, finally, MySpace is following Facebook, Google (Open Social), LinkedIn, Plaxo and others to allow users to create applications on the platform.
It seems that developers have developed 14,000+ apps on facebook (link to the list). However, not a lot of money is being made. I will closely watch as this space develops. Thinking about how an Enterprise can use this new platform?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The company launched today at DEMO 2008. The website also went live today.
Interesting concept that I am not sure will Change the Face of Recruiting. I have seen so many companies that rely on recruiters building web-sites and network with candidates. The bandwidth just does not exist for them to do these things effectively.
Most interesting to me was this from the Gigom coverage:
Standout is the poster child for Web 2.0 tech. It’s built atop Ruby on Rails, and runs entirely on Amazon’s EC2 and S3 platforms.It makes me want to be a developer again!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Just read the news on Slashdot that Nokia bought Trolltech, a developer of open source cross-platform development solutions. They claim to have supported the development of some cool applications including the skype client.
Update (1/30/08): An interesting Business Week article that explains the strategic importance of Trolltech.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Interesting metrics from comScore (read full article on TechCrunch):
Local search engines (Baidu: China, Naver: Korea and Yandex: Russia are in the top 10!) are very powerful in countries that do not use the roman alphabets.
I believe that over the next several years, we will see more and more chinks in Google's armor and I continue to believe that Google will ultimately go the Microsoft way to being less relevant - only much faster! (my earlier comments on the topic).
Innovation @ Nokia
I am amazed at how Nokia continues to be the largest and wildly profitable handset maker in the world, while Motorola, their main competitor, stumbled terribly. Here is a great example of why:
Nokia has announced a couple of new low end phones (1209 and 2600) for emerging (high growth) markets deliver what the customer wants: phone sharing (address book for 5 users with cost tracking), because users share phones; low cost: $50 and $90; FM radio, VGA cam. More details on MobileMentalism.
It is impressive that a company with 130,000 employees continues to launch innovative handsets that very effectively address the needs of each of their customers.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
OpenID - I just got one and most probably, you did too!
Today, Yahoo announced that they will support OpenID and that users will be able to use their Yahoo IDs to access other Open ID enabled sites. Here is the InfoWorld article with details on the topic.
I believe that OpenID has a real opportunity to reduce the number of ID / password each of have created on the web. However, it is a very tough problem to solve - remember Microsoft Passport?
I have been hearing more and more about Adobe AIR, Microsoft Silverlight, Mozilla Prism, Google Web Toolkit, etc for developing desktop-based Rich Internet Applications. These applications run outside the browser and leverage the desktop functionality to give the user a much better experience. Here is a good article with a brief description of the tools.
I think that Adobe Integrated Runtime and Silverlight have the most buzz. Also, from what I can read in the blogosphere, Adobe is ahead.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
This new wireless data transfer technology was at CES but I never got a chance to see it. With transfer rates of 375 Mbps, it is faster than a USB. It works over a few centimeter range that is touted to eliminate the need for encryption and security. Potential applications include transferring large number of pictures by just touching the camera to a PC. Cool!
A few articles with more details: Infoworld and Suite101.com.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Everex Cloudbook - Another Linux Ultra-Mobile PC (UPMC)
Just read about another Linux-based internet browsing device Think Cloudbook from Everex - similar to the Asus EEE I saw at CES.
Not much in common between the two devices besides the 7" VGA LCD Screen and the price ($399). Cloudbook has a 30 GB Hard Disk whereas the Asus has 4 GB solid-state storage. Here is a nice article comparing the two on LinuxDevices.com.
Retro Is In - NComputing (Terminals circa 2008!)
NComputing makes hardware and software for virtual desktop computing. They just raised $28 million in its Series B round led by Menlo Ventures raising their valuation to over $100 million.
Contrary to its competition, NComputing sells its products to educational institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and in emerging markets.
NComputing devices allow up to 30 users to run OS and other applications from a single computer (reminds me of mainframes in the 70s). The device costs between $70 and $200 per user. Over the last 18 months the company has deployed over 500,000 units, including a 180,000-unit deployment in schools throughout Macedonia. The product has also been deployed in schools in Bangladesh, Turkey, Lewisville, Texas, and 19 different school districts in North Carolina. Microsoft products seem to be the biggest cost of their service. Microsoft sells their products at a much lower rate in these markets, thus reducing the cost of the NComputing product.
I believe that these are the kinds of products where Linux-based desktop solutions make a lot of sense.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
PCs @ CES - now a commodity
Nothing very exciting as far as PCs are concerned. HP is allowing users to personalize laptops with art. You can now choose from a wide range of skins. The laptops are still clunky and heavy. Vista underwhelms. Apple clearly is way ahead of most PC makers when it comes to software design and user interface.
Toshiba was displaying a whole slew of new innovations: face-recognition software, hand gesture interface, solid state PCs, etc.
There were several Ultra-light PCs on display. Most of them now come integrated with evdo or hsdpa. Nothing new and exciting features over the past couple of years.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Interesting article I came across about a newspaper in Sweden launching a Nokia phone with a special button to directly access the newspaper. I am not sure how many users will go for it ... we will find out only if we try!
The market environment is making newspapers think out of the box
The first part of the presentation was very boring as Brian cycled through a traditional PowerPoint deck. He explained that at last year's CES, the cable companies realized that their world was changing:
- HDTV prices were going down
- Cable networks were advanced but operated as silos
- Cable boxes are closed
- Give consumer more choice as choice sells
- Improve customer service (at least he accepted their terrible record on this front). Time will tell if they can execute on this promise.
- Innovate by working with CE companies
Tru2Way - Comcast name forthe “OpenCable Applications Platform” (OCAP) , a cable box standard that he claimed to be OPEN. Let us see if what we define as open is what the cable industry defines as open. Panasonic announced the integration of Tru2Way within their televisions i.e. the set to box is in the TV. Engadget article on how we got to tru2way.
- DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Standard developed by CableLabs (Industry ): provides a number of enhancements, most notably, channel bonding, support for IPv6, and support for IPTV. Channel bonding provides cable operators with a flexible way to significantly increase downstream speeds to a minimum of 160 Mbps, and upstream throughput up to a minimum rate of 120 Mbps to customers.
- Project Infinity - Comcast effort to deliver a large volume of movie and TV content on-demand
- Fancast: A website where customers can access on-demand content via PC. The site also has some social networking features and recommendation engines
Comcast / Flight of the Conchords at CES 2008
This is what made it worth sitting through the presentation!
We recently received an e-mail from an international domain registrar that our domain names with international extensions are being acquired by another company and that they are giving us an opportunity to defend our brand. They gave us 3 days to buy. An interesting article (Beware Domain Checking at Network Solutions) Kevin found while researching the issue. MarkMonitor offers services to companies to manage an international portfolio of domains.
We have decided not to protect some of our non-product domain names in other countries while individual business units are making a decision for their respective brands.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Cool@CES: 3M Mobile Projector
One of the coolest things I saw at CES was a miniature 3M projector that can be integrated with mobile devices. It had VGA display capability and 3M is currently working on finding partners to integrate it into mobile devices. I have been waiting for this (post from a year ago) feature as I believe it will allow us to do much more computing with mobile devices.
I have also seen news of Korean company SK Telecom's launch of a projection cell phone with technology from Iljin. The product "Nano Projector" (pic left) was launched in July 07. It can project a 20-inch image and was expected to be in mass production late last year.
I believe that this has the potential of making mobile devices more social. I can imagine that, in a couple of years, people will be showing pictures and videos to friends by projecting them directly from their mobile device.
Big players (panasonic, sanyo, sony, belkin, etc.) were demonstrating wireless HD TVs. This implies that you do not need to place you TV next to the cable drop in the room. I think 2009 is when this will be everywhere.
Contrary to last year, when everyone was touting their biggest TVs, this year only Panasonic had moved in this area and had the biggest Plasma TV (150 in) on display. WOW! It seems that the 103 in they displayed last year sold for $70,000. I wonder how much this one will cost. There was a lot of focus on reducing the thickness of flat screen TVs. Panasonic, Samsung and Pioneer has very impressive "thin" sets on display.
All manufacturers are developing circuitry and routines to enhance to the viewing experience: cleaner movement, better contrast, etc. Some of these obvious and others not.
- Very small HD camcorders
- HD PC Displays
- HD Projectors
OLED TVs (shown in pic)
This is the next generation technology for television and displays. Sony and Samsung had OLED TVs on display. These are less than and inch thick and are dazzling displays. You have to see one to believe how good they are. I had written about this (link) several months ago when the first Sony OLED TV was released.
I saw several linux based laptops at CES. 2008 is clearly the year when significant money will be spent on linux-based internet devices. The most interesting ones are flash based and very portable. The number of apps available for these devices is exploding. The two that top the list are:
- ASUS EEE: starting at $299, laptop format, full keyboard, fast, great finish, usb port, comes with openoffice, XP compatible, etc. (link to full specs). The device is best for young kids and low usage (web surfing and e-mail) adults.
- Nokia 810: third version of the product, coat pocket size, touch screen, slide-out full keyboard (small), $480, camera (for video conferencing), etc.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Paul Otellini, CEO Intel @ CES
I was not planning to go for this keynote as I wanted to spend more time on the show floor. However, I just wanted to sit down as my feet were killing me after having walked for 6 hours. I was pleased that I did go for the keynote. Bill Gates looked tired and
Paul started with a video with new words and images for the 80s song: "Video killed the radio star" ... that went "Internet killed ... CDs, Video, etc, etc".
The key messages from his speech was that the "Go to" internet will become an "internet comes to us" and far beyond push media, rss, etc to an environment that really understands context, needs and preferences. Everyone agrees on this (Bill did too!) and there is a lot of innovation in that direction.
He went on to demo a Mobile device that translates road signs from Chinese to English and even acts as an interpreter, reads restaurant signs and streams restaurant ads. Very cool! Paul described it as a Total Immersion Technology that understands our needs based on context. We get what we need when we need it and how best we can consume it.
He then demoed Everyscape, real views of a location. I think there are several projects underway in this space to take maps to the next level with real images for a true experience of a location before we get there.
- processing power (after all, it was an Intel presentation)
- pervasive access to broadband
- natural User Interfaces
- security and privacy
1. Processing Power
Intel (and others) have continued to make chips smaller and more efficient ... Moore's law lives on (twice the transistors on a chip in 2 years). More and more functionality (audio, video, wireless internet) is being delivered in SOC (System On Chip) packaging. Smaller and smaller chips put more and more functionality in mobile devices.
2. Wireless broadband everywhere
Wimax, 3g, 4g, etc. promise to deliver higher and higher bandwidth to mobile devices.
3. User Interface
Bill also pointed out that we are now moving beyond keyboard, muse and joysticks to wands, gestures, etc.
Paul and others then brought on the coolest demo of the presentation. It described in detail in this Wired article and in this AllthingsD blog post. The companies that participated:
- eJamming: Paul thinks that social networking does not offer social interaction. This will change in the next few years.
E-jamming: Allows band members at remote locations to play together. WOW! Very Impressive! They plan to launch technology to "Jamcast" live performances by bands at dispersed locations on the internet.
Big stage: Allows you to easily create a life-like avatar from 3 photos and instantly integrate it (yourself) into movie / TV scenes, music videos, virtual worlds, still images, emails, social networks, etc.
Organic motion: motion-capture system that requires no specialized suits, just an array of cameras.
Smash Mouth then performed the first-ever virtual song: Steve Harwell (lead singer) performed in the Organic Motion booth and the band live over the Internet. Everyone was on the screen as avatars. Very cool. Intel surpassed Microsoft in a software demo!
Monday, January 07, 2008
It was interesting to attend the last keynote by Bill. It is hard to believe that he will no longer be actively working in technology. He started just a few years before I did. I am not even close to affording a retirement.
I started my programming career with Microsoft Pascal on DOS on an IBM PC XT. It has been a love / hate relationship with Microsoft (and Bill). I admired Microsoft in the 80s but as they grew big and powerful, I moved over the the other side in the 90s. They have become much less relevant in this decade. Interesting to note that Google is following the Microsoft trajectory, only much faster. I have the same feelings for Google in 5-6 year slots. The cycle is turning much faster.
- HD will be everywhere, PCs, TVs and even small devices
- All devices will be always connected to broadband internet. We will have easy access to our digital memories. Devices will know and use context (location, personal / work, etc.) to simplify navigation
- Mouse / Keyboard will no longer be the primary interface. Devices and gadgets will have a lot more use of pen, touch, voice, visual (camera driven), gesture, etc as input.
The Microsoft team displayed Surface PC, Silverlight and the Sync product in Ford cars. Of these, I am most interested in trying the Sync feature. They also showed mobile navigation using building recognition in pictures. Very cool!
Finally, advertising is a big focus for Microsoft as they are trying to compete with Google.
All in all, Microsoft just does not excite the geek in me as it did in the 80s.