Posts filed under ‘web2’

Innovation in the cloud; raining blood

Utility computing as described by Carr in his latest book, The Big Switch, is a compelling idea.  Software as a service in general has a lot of benefits, not the least of which, we’re already using it without permission from IT.

More and more it’s becoming clear that IT innovations…aren’t.  Your IT group is not a competative advantage.  Even if you do IT well, you’re just maybe keeping up with the biggest names in the industry.

A recent article in eWeekby Palleto talks about SaaS leader Salesforce.com looking to provide a ‘platform as a service,’ which refers to providing ‘data center and application development services, including server capacity, storage, management services and the labor that goes with it to businesses of every size.’

Interesting line “…more and more businesses will decide to stop investing in their own in-house IT infrastructures and switch to cloud computing services.”

A few excerpts from Slayer’s Raining Blood to contemplate

Return to power draws near…
Abolish the rules made of stone…
Your time slips away…
Creating my structure…
Now I shall reign in blood!

Well that’s maybe a little more violent than taking back control of my own information need be, but here’s to Innovation without Permission!

July 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm 1 comment

Innovation without permission

What a cool phrase…

Below, I cut and paste some excerpts from some interesting articles and sources on Software as a Service (SAAS) like Google Sites and the effects it is having on the software industry and the traditional role of IT in the corporation. 

The Big Switch, by Carr (Author of IT Doesn’t Matter) was an insightful book pointing out the similarities and differences between today’s increasingly wired world (as in the Internet and the Web and computing power) and yesteryear’s increasingly wired world (as in electricity and means of production and distribution).  Pointing out the evolution of electricity to a utility, Carr makes the analogous prediction for ‘computing power.’  And his arguments are persuasive.

Software as a service (SAAS) is making inroads into corporations, for example Salesforce.com.  With SAAS like Salesforce.com…[companies] wouldn’t have to buy software licenses or maintenance contracts, or invest in new servers or other equipment.  They wouldn’t have to hire consultants to integrate their systems.  Their marketers and salespeople could simply launch their web browsers, click over to the Salesforce.com site and start working.  All the software code and all their data resides on Salesforce’s computers.  And when the program needs to be upgraded, the new version simply appears….

Other corporate software as SAAS:  

·        CRM: RightNow Technologies

·        Managing personnel: Employease

·        Transporation: LeanLogistics

·        Business Intelligence: Oco

·        Banking services: Digital Insight

·        Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Workday, NetSuite,,,,

SAAS sales are booming and will by 2011 account for 25 percent of the business software market.

As utility computing advances, companies will have to make decisions about what to hold onto and what to turn over to utilities.

Smaller companies will have strong economic incentives to embrace the full utility model, most larger companies will need to carefully balance their past investments in in-house computing with the benefits provided by utilities.

They can be expected to pursue a hybrid approach for many years…

In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least not in its familiar form…. 

Business units and even individual employees will be able to control the processing of information directly, without the need for legions of technical specialists.

A related article from eweek by Rapoza

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Management/10-IT-Problems-You-Might-Not-Know-You-Have/

The rapid growth of the so-called Web 2.0 technologies has put free, powerful, and easy-to-use tools at the fingertips of everyone, including your employees. And outside of personal use, these services are also being employed to get work done in your company.

Workers are collaborating on data in Google Spreadsheets, chatting with a contractor on AOL Instant Messenger, or even using SAAS (software as a service) project management tools like Basecamp to complete vital projects. And in many if not all of these cases, these tools are being used without the input or knowledge of company IT staff (to workers, that’s the beauty of these solutions).

But this can cause problems for all parties involved. Employees who run into network or other problems that prevent access of now-vital services will find an IT department unready to provide help or support. And IT departments are now dealing with new points of access where malware can potentially enter the company and vital company data can potentially exit.

IT staff should make sure that external services are part of any discussion about application needs for employees and departments. User surveys can help with finding out what external services are being used, along with network tools that will display actual usage statistics.

External services and SAAS applications are only becoming more popular and are touching more and more vital company areas. If you don’t know what’s being used and who is using it, you can’t manage it.

And another eweek article by Donston

http://www.midmarket.eweek.com/c/a/News/Enterprises-Diving-into-Web-20-Waters/

Web 2.0 is broadly defined as a category of products and a way of working that is collaborative in nature and provides an open means of sharing information. Products that fall into the Web 2.0 category include blogs, wikis, RSS and social networks.

According to the eWEEK survey, blogs and wikis are the most broadly deployed apps in this category. When asked which Web 2.0 technologies were deployed at their organizations, 49 percent of respondents said blogs and 48 percent said wikis. RSS came in a close third, selected by 43 percent of respondents.

Innovation without permission:  One of the benefits to many Web 2.0 technologies—or drawbacks, depending on how you look at it—is the ease and speed with which they can be deployed. In many cases, the IT department isn’t needed at all.

There have always been rogue implementations of technology in companies…. But today it’s much easier to do a lot more without the help or permission of IT….Think about the department in your company that’s using Google Apps to collaborate….No one had to ask IT to get those apps up and running.

….some Web 2.0 technology vendors that are pushing mashup solutions as a way for business users to augment or even circumvent IT and build their own applications.

That model, he said, is being driven by the “millennials” in the work force. These twenty- and early-thirtysomethings have grown up with the tools to set up their own networks, write their own blogs, create their own widgets and so on. They’ve never had to ask for permission to do any of these things and certainly don’t want to now that they’re in the workplace (especially when they may very well know more about Web 2.0 technology than many of the IT staffers).

The concept of innovation without permission surely sends chills down the spines of most IT managers.

The Web 2.0 apps most widely deployed without IT support and company consent? Blogs and wikis top the list.

An article from Chemical and Engineering News, May 26, 2008, “Up From the Desktops

The leading suppliers of personal and business information technology—Microsoft, Google, Dell—are making a move in the life sciences laboratory….with approaches that range from enterprise search, electronic lab notebooks (ELNs), and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).  Why?… they are on every desktop. They are on every document that opens.

It’s a good bet that anything that Google does will follow the SAAS example of Google Apps and Sites.  LIMS in the cloud.

June 30, 2008 at 11:09 am 1 comment

The Big Switch, by Carr

An insightful book pointing out the similarities and differences between today’s increasingly wired world, as in the Internet, the Web, and computing power and yesteryear’s increasingly wired world, as in electricity, and means of production and distribution.  Pointing out the evolution to electricity as a utility, Carr makes the analogous prediction for ‘computing power.’  And his arguments are persuasive.

I was reminded near the end of the book of the caustic “Cult of the Amateur.”  Carr’s arguments touch on many of the same points, but are no where near as irritating to listen to as Keen’s.

P21 a list of web 2.0 familiars: MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, World of Warcraft, Disney’s Club Penguin, YouTube, Joost, WordPress, Google Docs, Rojo, Bloglines…virtual hard drives: omnidrive and box.

P34  …when William the Conqueror surveyed England in 1066 for his Domesday book….?  What’s that?

P68 Software as a service making inroads into corporations….Salesforce.com.

P70…with SAAS like Salesforce.com…they wouldn’t have to buy software licenses or maintenance contracts, or invest in new servers or other equipment, they wouldn’t have to hire consultants to integrate their systems.  Their marketers and salespeople could simply launch their web browsers, click over to the Salesforce.com site and start working.  All the software code and all their data resided on Salesforce’s computers.  And when the program needed to be upgraded, the new version simply appeared….

P71 Other corporate software as SAAS:  CRM: RightNow Technologies; Managing personnel: Employease; Transporation: LeanLogistics; Business Intelligence: Oco; Banking services: Digital Insight; Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Workday, NetSuite,,,,

P72 SAAS sales are booming and will by 2011 account for 25 percent of the business software market.

P94  The shift in skilled employment away form tradesmen and toward what would come to be known as “knowledge workers”…increased the workforce’s educational requirements.  Learning the three R’s in grammar school was no longer enough.  Children needed further and more specialized education to prepare them for the new white-collar jobs….  This sounds like our ‘information literacy’ discussions.

P99  With the advent of the electric iron, ironing was easier, but that led to the expectation that everything was ironed – so it actually increased the amount of ironing being done.   “While women didn’t have to work as hard to do their ironing, they had to do more of it, more often, and with more precision. “  Another case of “now that you can, you are expected to.” 

P118  As utility computing advanced, companies will have to make decisions about what to hold onto and what to turn over to utilities.  Smaller companies will have strong economic incentives to embrace the full utility model, most larger companies will need to carefully balance their past investments in in-house computing with the benefits provided by utilities.  They can be expected to pursue a hybrid approach for many years… In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least not in its familiar form….  Business units and even individual employees will be able to control the processing of information directly, without the need for legions of technical specialists.

P120 online picture fixing: Phixr

P142  As user-generated content continues to be commercialized, it seems likely that the largest threat posed by social production….will be to individual professionals – to the journalists, editors, photographers, …and he other information workers who can be replaced…why pay a professional to do something that an amateur is happy to do for free?

P155  As newspapers on online and stories are ‘unbundled’ from each other, journalists will be paid for stories that attract ad clickthroughs, skewing the topics of research toward the sensationalistic.,,,

P157 Online media enthusiasts often point out that we’ll be able to purchase just those things of interest rather than all the other junk that used to be bundled with it.  But the detritus that ends up being culled from our culture may include products that many of us would define as ‘the good stuff.’  What’s sacrificed may not be blandness but quality….the culture of abundance being produced by the World Wide Computer is really just a culture of mediocrity – many miles wide but only a fraction of an inch deep.

P192 Even as the World Wide Computer grants us new opportunities and tools for self-expression and self-fulfillment, it is also given others an unprecedented ability to influence how we think and what we do, to funnel our attention and actions toward their own ends.  The technology’s ultimate social and personal consequences will be determined in large measure y how the tension between the two sides of its nature – liberating and controlling – comes to be resolved.

P208  BitTorrent is now the BitTorrent Entertainment Network?  Wow.

P209 we accept greater control (over us, our information, and our actions) in return for greater convenience.

P216 A 2004 Microsoft patent for transmitting power and data using the human body; a bus that can be used to connect “a network of devices coupled to a single body…can be extended by connoting multiple bodies through physical contact [such as] a handshake.  When two or more bodies are connected physically, the linked bodies form one large bus over which power and/or communications signals can be transmitted….

This reminds me of the drummers in the Diamond Age.

Interesting:

Matthew 20: 17 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst”

P218 Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service….  A program passes a task to a human to provide the required (as of today) intelligence… like in the Diamond Age again.

P219 220 When we use Google search, our contribution to its intelligence is made unconsciously.  Every link on the web contains a little bit of intelligence; all the links contain a great deal of intelligence….systematically exploits human knowledge and decisions about what is significant.  Every time we write a link or even click on one, we are making the machine a little smarter….  As the computing cloud grows, as it becomes ubiquitous, we will feed ever more intelligence into it.  The transfer of our intelligence into the machine will happen, in other words, whether or not we allow chips or sockets to be embedded in our skulls.

P226  As we put ever more intelligence into the web, will we, individually, become more intelligent, or less so….?  Kevin Kelly: what will surprise us is how dependant we will be on what the Machine knows….We already find it easier to Google something a second or third time rather than remember it ourselves….it will become our memory…when divorced from the Machine [people] won’t feel like themselves – as if they’d have a lobotomy…. [like Manfred Macx in Accelerando by Stross, when he loses his specs, his link to the web].  Kelly: the submergence of our minds and our selves into a greater intelligence will mark the fulfillment of our destiny…  Kaczynski, the unabomber: As machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them.…also, “Why the Future Doesn’t need us,” by Joy.

P233  All technological change is generational change.  The full power and consequences of a new technology are unleashed only when those who have grown up with it become adults and begin to push their outdated parents to the margins.  As the older generations die, they take with them their knowledge of what was lost when the new technology arrived, and only the sense of what was gained remains.  It’s in this way the progress covers its tracks, perpetually refreshing the illusion that where we are is where we were meant to be….Prensky’s digital natives and immigrants.

P241 In the Notes “SaaS delivery challenges on-premise software” Desisto, et. al. 

The Notes section was never referenced in the text, say through footnotes.  Sort of irritating to come across it now.

YouOS using Amazon web services…

 

 

June 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm 1 comment

So you’ve got a wiki. Now what?

Some places to explore

What is wiki?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
http://aronsson.se/wikipaper.html 

The original WikiWikiWeb (aka the C2 wiki)
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WelcomeVisitors

How to start a wiki
http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Wiki
http://colab.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiWell/How_To_Start_A_Wiki
http://buzzmarketingfortech.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-start-wiki-podcast-with-ross.html

Getting started best practices
http://wiki.splitbrain.org/wiki:tips:tailorwikirules

How to get started with web 2.0
http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199900363

Tips for contributing to a wiki (Wikipedia specifically)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tips
http://lifehacker.com/software/wikipedia/geek-to-live–how-to-contribute-to-wikipedia-133747.php

Second steps (you’ve got a wiki, now what?)
http://www.linuxtv.org/vdrwiki/index.php/VDR_Wiki:Second_steps

Looking to spur wiki adoption?  Wikipatterns
http://www.wikipatterns.com/display/wikipatterns/Wikipatterns

Some wiki best practices
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiGnome

Some arguments against wiki – Why it’s not a wiki world (yet)
http://andy.bigwhitebox.org/papers/wiki_world.pdf

November 7, 2007 at 12:24 pm 1 comment

Implications of the 1% rule

An article entitled, What is the 1% rule, relates that “… if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.”

The ‘read/write’ web, web 2.0, seems defined by user-as-content-author, and these statistics are sobering. 

I’ve thought before: “The web 1.0 era might be defined as t0 up to the point where the author:user started to drop precipitously away from 1:1, and web 2.0 started when author:user passed through this minimum point.  Will we reach 1:1 again?  Maybe that’s Web 3.0.  And pushing us to higher levels of content authoring (a ratio author:user great than 1?  Blogjects?) will require higher levels of social information literacy.

July 20, 2006 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

Web 3.0 = social computing

Web 2.0 is the building of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s; Social Computing is everything that resulted next

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Hinchcliffe/index.php?p=21

The web is approaching an author:user ratio of 1:1 = web 3.0 = social computing.  The read/write web.  Social computing requires information literacy, not just the library-help-me-with-my-term-paper information literacy, but 'Social Information Literacy.'

Social information literacy means knowing how to 'do stuff' in your everyday life, interacting with others through the information commons: uploading pictures, sending hyperlinks, email, IM, ..

And how about day-to-day information literacy, or personal technology literacy, which includes things like: where to find that file you just downloaded, how to transfer mp3s to your player, how to back up your 'Money' file.  Personal information technology literacy? 

April 12, 2006 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Google’s kept going!

With Google Pages still pretty new, I just read Google’s absorbed Writely – a very wiki-like beast.  They’re still ‘going’ as I mentioned earlier.

March 20, 2006 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

More thought on Google Pages

Thinking more about Google Pages, I think I get the idea.  Consider, there are a couple ways to help people find information.  One way is ‘search’ and using relevance and PageRank; Google’s got that down pretty well.  The other is to have an index, a hierarchical grouping of categories to browse, like the Dewey decimal system or Yahoo directory.  The former works well, but you’re often faced with millions of “relevant” hits.  The latter doesn’t scale well, as it takes a lot of people to come up with the taxonomy, but the provided results might be very relevant, and you’re only faced with, perhaps, the most relevant, as filtered by experts. 

I think Google is trying to harvest the work of the masses, the Wisdom of Crowds, the work they put into creating Google pages – putting *words* next to *links* – to improve the relevance of search.  They *own* the pages.  More food for the googlemonster. 

I am reminded of the collaborative approach undertaken with the development of The New Dictionary, what became the Oxford English Dictionary as described in the book The Meaning of Everything.  While Google Pages are presented as a way for people to easily create a web presence, I think this is another way for Google to enlist the masses in efforts to improve their service.  

I think this is why the service is so bare bones.  The more bells and whistles, the less it might appeal to folks new to authoring.  The real goal might be described as a way to push us toward Web 3.0 which I’ve defined as the point where the web’s author:user ratio becomes 1:1.  Again. 

How is this different than their analogous use of Blogger?  Maybe it appeals to different people?  Maybe there is a difference between semi-static content on webpages and the dynamic time flux of a blog? 

Some of the comments at PC World echo these ideas.

 

Also, at Google Pages, they say, “The pages you create can be crawled by Google within a few hours of publication. ”  There’s probably some interesting info on the terms of use too.

February 28, 2006 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

Google Page Creator. Keep going, keep going…..!

Yesterday, I learned of google page creator.  It’s a very simple wysiwyg…page creator.  It’s a distilled Geocities.  Google can do way more here.  They could go a Protopage route, and make it kind of a blend of google/ig and this page creator.  Or they could roll a wiki engine into this, along with a way to (automagically) link to related content from other people’s google pages (google wiki pages!) using clickstream, search, pagerank….Tags, what to do about tags?  Using googlesearch to provide relevance, each word could be a hyperlink ala  Liquid InformationMemex here we come.

February 24, 2006 at 2:48 pm 1 comment

What is RSS Feed Grazing?

I came across a post at Read/WriteWeb by Richard MacManus discussing RSS and disposible feeds.  I don’t get it, yet.  He’s referenced several sources to dig into.  But RSS as a way to reduce information overload is called into question.

February 7, 2006 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

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