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April 19, 2005

Trust in a context free world

How about this:

As Reflected in classical mythology society is complicated. Upon Peter Pinkleton-PishPosh's return to Britain he remarked 'class will refelect the inner hero' [1], he failed to understand that if one seriously intends to 'not judge a book by its cover', then one must read a lot of books. More a melody to societies dysfunctions than a parody of the self, blogging cleary plays a significant role amongst the developing middle classes.

When one is faced with people of today a central theme emerges - blogging is either adored or despised, it leaves no one undecided. Just as a dog will return to its own sick, society will return to blogging, again and again.

You will be excused for thinking that some deranged, half-drunk rambler wrote that piece. The thing is machines are catching up and they are catching up fast thanks to MIT grads weekend hacking (Thanks Sumit for the link !).

I see a wicked opportunity to program  funny games on top of this. Something which highlights the trust issue in the media world to name one.  How about this to begin with: 

I am a blogger but I am powered by the context-free grammer !

This will go into the architecture of next generation spams. I know thats not a good thing but I dont see how one can avoid it either. With increasing emphasis on the real-time content to generate traffic (and revenue) this will become yet another building block for  the Nigerian-style scams.

April 19, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

Switch off cellphone in your home ?

Wow, looks like a big foot in the mouth:

"Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" he said. "The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement."

I wonder how long big telcos will last with this kind of attitude. 5 Years max ?

April 18, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2005

Flat World

Not sure whether this term "Flat World" will acquire same status as LongTail but it nicely sums up the growing "leveling of the playing field" across the globe.  Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer price winning New York Times columnist sure knows how to put excitement and provide uncanny connections between ordinary observations.

I bought his book week few days but haven't started reading it. Its all about Globalization 3.0 ( another victory  to Geeks  when news-media pros start  tagging and putting release numbers to the social changes). Post-Internet era commentary on the post-commoditized world where imagination is the only thing to focus on and only thing to worry about.

Talking to Terri Gross on NPR he mentions (listen to this if you don't like reading a long book):

Imagination is the only way out of commoditization...and imagination is not the sole preserve of white western world anymore.

He goes onto identify common threads in the rise of Al-Qaeda and Infosys - Two extremes on the winning side of this new flat world.  Two entities who exploited the huge efficiency achieved by lot of small groups loosely coupled together on the fat digital pipe.

Geography was long dead and now imagination is shared at the speed which can be productive on one end (if used properly) and extremely disturbing if taken to the other extreme.  Google maps is  a good example of how technology can be used for more business development (I get more pool cleaning service flyers now - its easy to spot all the blue dots in Sunnyvale area !) and can also be used by Al-Qaeda operatives. Friedman is right about the nervousness around "imagination" .

So what's the take away from all this. Course correction is definitely needed, atleast at the mental model level. 

I will continue to flip  through this book in next few weeks.

April 14, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coop model for the open source risk management

Avalanche , a community initiative formed by end customers have come out with a project to help member companies tools and expertise to mitigate open source risk.

The Avalanche COSS Project is building and will provide an Enterprise Class Support organization for Avalanche Members. The objective is to mitigate the risk of open source and enable our corporate members to confidently and economically implement open source solutions.

Interestingly they have a Sarbox project intiaitive as well. If you know how much companies pay for consultant's hotel stay, their invitation fee of $5000 is a steal !

Go ahead, pool your knowledge and save some money.

April 14, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Attention allocation is an ongoing struggle

Steve Gillmor gives more insight into this emerging concept:

This is the subscription economy we’re talking about. Not the Blogosphere so much as the Syndisphere. In this ecosystem, the contract is based on continued attention, not captured attention. It leverages a form of broadcast couch potato dynamics, where inertia keeps you tuned from ER to Leno to Today. When CSI broke that cycle, it was a big deal. In the Syndisphere once you’ve signed on, it takes more effort than it’s worth to sign off. Unsubscribing requires real motivation.

Economic model is still a work-in-progress here. When vendors mix information with advertisement they are effectively adding to the reader's cognitive load. Current users of Bloglines or Technorati may not be a good sample to evaluate how much is the optimum feed load.  More syndication choices to end-users and smart filtering should ease this burden on the attention.

April 14, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005

Complexity is not solved by open sourcing it !

You dont solve complexity by dumping something into the open source community.

Developers have not used the EJB capabilities widely, in part because the technical specification is hard to learn. MacNeil said that creating an open-source tool for the popular Eclipse platform will help drive adoption of the upcoming J2EE server software

This is a lousy argument. Solve complexity by focusing on what really matters most and keep things extremely simple. J2EE is fast becoming a very complex platform to program on. Thats part of the reason why Ruby is looking so exciting and cool !

April 13, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mind your cost and your consultants

Philip Greenspun sharing his own open source venture experience:

At the same time, the customer will always have a few differences from your main source code and to the extent that those features aren't rolled back into the main release, they're always going to be orphans. They're always going to have this stuff on the side that they're going to have to own and maintain, which they really don't want to do. Their business isn't software development. They don't want to have ownership. They'd much rather pay you, the software developer of that code, to make the changes and put those features that are not core to their features into the main distribution of the software so that if they ever want to upgrade to a new version, they won't have to undertake the project of recustomizing that for their special needs. So, basically, if you are in control of a piece of software, you really have the ability to charge a lot more than an ordinary IT services business to make modifications. You have the power to roll that into the next release. So that's one thing that is good about open source.

The thing that's bad about open source is its very unforgiving if your costs and your time goes up. For example, in the early days of ArsDigita, we did a lot of things sort of MIT grad school style. We took fairly young people who wanted to build their careers and professional reputations and we'd have two of them to a project. So two programmers were totally responsible for the project and they met directly with the customer to find out what was needed. They wrote the specs. They wrote the docs. They wrote the code. They tested it with the customer. They made the enhancements as requested. They showed the profit when it was done.

He is  right on money here. This will probably explain why JBoss and MySQL are so successful in making efficient money via customization and support services. Their baggage is low and light. 

Note to all open source services startups - DON'T THINK LIKE THOSE BIG SERVICES COMPANIES. Its better if you model your company assuming  every employee is a geek and a hands-on engineer who can ALSO do solution engineering, clean customer interaction, and generally keeps things agile. Any extra structure is a cost. And any extra cost is a negative for the open source value proposition.


April 13, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Microsoft Print Ad

Why would Microsoft risk antagonizing their users by putting them in a dinosaurus heads. I cannot locate any link for those ads.  I think they are running these "office upgrade" ads only in the print media.

One I saw in latest Business Week is a really stupid one. You do not want to put your users in a dinosaurus head. That too when you are a Microsoft - a company which raises more emotions than any other company out there.

Rule number one: Always respect your customers !

April 13, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

Community model

As we are digging more and more into the governance aspects of open source projects, Javaworld raises the questions around company-controlled communities (eg include JBoss, MySQL etc) versus community-controlled communities (Apache being the leader here).

Transparency, trust and reputation are the key drivers here. Whoever can come out clean on those three aspects will have a good community engagement irrespective of the specific governance type.

April 11, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2005


O'Reilly and Spikesource roll out a sort of adult-version of Sourceforge.  It's name carries the usual O'Reilly's wild-life theme based naming scheme.

This raises a question (have to ask since lot of well intentioned open source advocates are involved in this project) why try to upstage sourceforge ? It does a great job and has close to 90 thousand projects. Why do they expect a developer to go ANOTHER community/code repository site to hang their codebase or to download  the code. Looks like Spikesource wants to own the mindshare around repository like CodeZoo but without owning the community governance. 

As per their site:

"CodeZoo exists to help you find high-quality, freely available, reusable components, getting you past the repetitive parts of coding, and onto the rest and the best of your projects. It’s a fast-forward button for your compiler"

It's not just the licenses and components which are going through the combinatorial explosion but also the communities, code warehouses, stacks etc.  Instead of this codeZoo they could have focused on providing DOAP wrapper to all sourceforge projects and allow XML api based query straight out of the Eclipse environment.  I am sure developers will go for that.

April 10, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack