Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Big Switch - rewiring the world from Edison to Google
Just finished reading the latest book by Nick Carr (his blog), who revels in the thought that he is enemy #1 of us IT types. His article IT Doesn't Matter in 2003 and book Does IT matter? in 2004 made him very famous in IT circles.

He makes an interesting case that a significant move to cloud computing and to software as a service is leading us towards the creation of a World Wide Computer. He paints a relatively dark picture of the future where the World Wide Computer become smarter than humans. He also feels that instead of it being able to do what we humans can do, we will transform to behave and work more like how computers do.

The first part of the book describes the rise of computing as a utility. I fully agree with the belief that this is where we are headed. It is obvious that virtualization and services like Amazon S3 and EC2 are moving us in that direction. However, some very complex issues need to be resolved. The most important is that of the standardization of interfaces. Nick draws a lot of parralles from the evolution of electricity as a utility.

The second half paints a dark picture of the future. I have a hard time getting to where Nick expects us to reach by 2020.

All in all, the book made an interesting read while enjoying the wonderful weather on the beaches of St Martin.

Friday, March 21, 2008

SplashCast: Cool Ad Widgets
The future of advertising for the younger generation (COOL!):

Add Open Gym to your page

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bill Gates @ NVTC (Part II) - Q&A
It was interesting to see Craig Mundie join Bill for the Q&A session - the transition is on and Bill is involving more and more people from Microsoft as he prepares to leave in June!

Q: What can hold back the vision that you have described for the future back?
A: Not much, technology innovation has not slowed down at all. Science departments in universities are leveraging software for R&D in all domains - e.g. software provides a single visualization platform for telescope data across the globe that is now accessible from a desktop. The rate of technology change is not expected to slow down.

Q: What about evolution of security with the new functionality?
A: Castle and moat security model has to be changed. Move to an end to end authenticated and secure connections.

Q: How is Microsoft supporting technology in education?
A: As compared to the technology kids have access to at home, the technology in the schools is antiquated. Microsoft has several initiatives to support schools: software grants, sofware developed specifically for eduction (simulation software for robotic modeling, etc.). Pilot prorgames in schools hav resulted in doubling of participation in science and math and high-school drop out rates have reduced. Microsoft is also supporting interesting competitions to promote interest in science (imagine cup for scientific problem solving)

Q: What are your thoughts on iPV6?
A: iPV6 is a necessary step. It will have key impact on network management and security. Lot more energy in pushing deployment outside the US due to lack of iPV4 addresses.

Q: What should we be doing to promote penetration of broadband access in the US?
A: Microsoft strongly supports the freeing up the WiFi white space for free broadband access. Competion between cable companies and telcos is driving deployment.
Bill Gates @ NVTC (Part I)
Bill predicts (my comments in italics)
  • telephony will be more integrated with the computing environment
  • wider deployment of video conferencing capabilities in the workplace (I am not too sure)
  • expansion of SAAS services: primarily for high computational needs / large data volume requirements. As one would expect, per Microsoft, PCs with a lot of processing power and local software survive! Key areas of technology work in SAAS is in the area of architecture and data center automation software (Microsoft is playing catch-up)
  • wider deployment of model-based software development tools supporting software development by business users (we have been hearing this for 20 years!)
  • speech-based natural user interfaces to mobile devices
  • tablet PCs (Microsoft has been pushing this for years now), especially in the areas of education
  • surface computing: camera-outfitted machines to support gesture based interfaces (I bet that Wii like wands will become popular soon - camera based? maybe later)
  • collaboration: sharepoint is the fastest growing product from Microsoft
  • 3d environments: not just in games but products like virtual earth: microsoft has released a 3d simulation platform for simulations
  • robotics: Microsoft has developed Robo-simulation software
  • launch of significant new products for healthcare: to allow doctors to see information in an interactive way, heath record vault for consumers (Google and Microsoft have mde bets in this area)
Transcript of Bill's speech!

Monday, March 10, 2008

SpiceWorks - Ad supported business software
Interesting company, primarily selling network management software to SMBs:
WSJ launches recommendation engine Loomia
Interesting Facebook app to consume media in a social way! Here is how Loomia is described on their site:
Discover the latest news, blog posts, videos & more — what's popular with your friends, colleagues, and groups. Learn what your social circles are buzzing about, all from one place in Facebook, and then take them with you to your favorite websites!
TechCrunch article on the topic. The discussion in the comments is a good read!

They claim to be on WSJ, CNET and NBC.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Kapow Mashup Server
Came across another (noted JackBe earlier) Mashup Server. I hope a business requirement comes along to allow us to play with this technology!
OpenSource OpenX Ad Server
I had not heard of this before. Seems like they have a lot of traction. I could not find a customer / user list. Noticed in a comment that Federated Media uses it!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Otello: Picture based Search on Mobile phones
Just saw this article on the service that Vodafone unveiled at CeBit (one of the biggest tech shows in the world) in Germany.

They have partnered with a newspaper in Germany where you can photograph specifically marked articles and get more information on them on your cell phones. The picture from a phone is transmitted via MMS service and the search results are returned to the phone.
23andme - Personal Genome Service!
For $999, 23andMe, a web-based service helps you read and understand your DNA. After providing a saliva sample using an at-home kit, you can use our interactive tools to shed new light on your distant ancestors, your close family and most of all, yourself.
The Meaning Behind the Name
The name 23andMe refers to the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up each
individual’s genome. 23andMe connects individuals to their unique, paired set of
23 chromosomes.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cloud Computing from Microsoft
There are strong rumors in the blogosphere that Microsoft will announce its cloud computing strategy next week. I am so ready to move our infrastructure into the cloud over the next 3 years. This will bring that goal closer!
IT is well represented in fastest growing occupations
Came across this report that the Labor Department published in Dec 2007. A few interesting numbers in the list of fastest growing (from 2006 - 2016):
  • Network and Communications: 53.4%
  • Software engineers (aplications): 44.6%

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Internet Ad Revenue growth continutes

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that Internet advertising revenues for 2007 are estimated to grow to $21.1 billion, a 25 percent increase over the previous revenue record of nearly $16.9 billion for full year 2006. Q4 2007 revenues totaled approximately $5.9 billion, making it the highest quarter ever reported and representing a 13 percent rise over the third quarter of 2007 and a 24 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2006. All four quarters reported in 2007 include record level revenues ... full press release.

Intesting article from Guy Kawasaki on the Outlook for 2008 (Courtsey Avenue A Razorfish).