Internet Presence :: Words that mean much more then 'web site'. A presence on line is about being found. It's about being noticed, and it is about interactivity with your client.
Boston [Still] Rocks
My internet radio station had it’s third birthday a couple months ago. I made a bunch of updates recently to Exploit Boston Radio so it’s up to 20 hours of (past and present) Boston area rock, pop and alternative bands. It streams 24 hours a day, every day. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by [...]read more:
Links for 2006-05-29 [ma.gnolia]
- Waterfall Software - Typeset
Typeset lets you preview, search, and organize your font collection so that you can always find the right style for a project on your Mac.
Tags: type, fonts, typography, software, macintosh, mac
- Waterfall Software - Wallet
store and organize passwords, serial numbers, credit cards
Tags: software, macintosh, mac, wallet
Building a Wine Finder website
An ongoing project of mine has been to create a 'wine finder' website. This will allow people to search for wine using a variety of methods. Example queries might be 'What wines are produced that contain Cabernet Pfeffer?', 'Which wineries produced a Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah in 1998?' or 'What wines that received a 90+ rating in both Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator are available online for < $30?'. To support queries like this, I needed to create a relational database to store information about wine.This seems fairly straightforward at first. The 2000 Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnnay Napa Valley
has 4 data elements - the vintage (2000), the producer/brand (Franciscan Oakville Estate), the varietals used (Chardonnay), and the appellation (Napa Valley). However, things can get a bit more complicated.(continued...)read more:
Who says college kids are getting dumber?
WSJ: Free, Legal and Ignored. The subhead says it all: Colleges Offer Music Downloads, But Their Students Just Say No; Too Many Strings Attached. The article is about the unsurprising-to-anyone-except-Napster miserable failure of subscription based music services to take hold in universities. Compared to the complicated barrage of restrictions on the music offered by Napster, the students come across as models of common sense:
- While Cornell's online music program, through Napster, gave him and other students free, legal downloads, the email introducing the service explained that students could keep their songs only until they graduated. "After I read that, I decided I didn't want to even try it," says Mr. Petrigh, who will be a senior in the fall...
- Purdue University officials say that lower-than-expected demand among its students stems in part from all the frustrating restrictions that accompany legal downloading. Students at the West Lafayette, Ind., school can play songs free on their laptops but have to pay to burn songs onto CDs or load them onto a digital music device.
- "People still want to have a music collection. Music listeners like owning their music, not renting," says Bill Goodwin, 21, who graduated in May from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. USC decided last year that it was finished with Napster after fewer than 500 students signed up...
There’s also a telling quotation from the director of the Campus Computing Project, who says, “The RIAA’s push to buy into these services strikes me as protection money. Buy in and we’ll protect you from our lawsuits,” which is one of the kinder descriptions of the unfriendliness of the industry that I’ve read lately.
I’m still waiting for someone in the industry to wake up and understand that their path to profitability lies in supporting good music and making their rich back catalogs available, not in fighting the fans of music tooth and nail. Today, three years after the birth of the iTunes Music Store, there are still many albums and tracks that can’t be found anywhere online—some by major artists (just try tracking down any non-album Sting tracks from before the late 90s), some by minor artists on major labels (Annabouboula, anyone?), and some by great cultural figures (I’d gladly pay through the nose for access to e.e. cummings’s Six Nonlectures as digital files, or even on CD). Instead we get American Idol and Rock Star. What, no one ever told these guys that a steady diet of candy can kill you?
BTW, for a good counterexample, check out Verve’s deep catalog—including a bunch of rare Impulse! recordings—though they don’t quite get it right; they support both iTunes and Windows Media, but no DRM-free offerings. But at least they’re opening up their catalog.read more:
New Releases for March 8th
There's a new Tiny Showcase
If I hadn't been spending all of my free time on the new site, I would have told you about these new releases: 50 Cent's Massacre
, 50 Ft. Wave's Golden Ocean
, Ash's Meltdown
, Boom Bip's Blue Eyed In The Room
, Decibully's Sing Out America
,Kasabian's debut (read Leslie
), The Kills No Wow
, Paint It Black's Paradise
and Sam Prekop Who's Your New Professor
. The last one was my personal pick of the week - Paul
's got a review on 75 or Less
I forgot to me mention it last week, but The Rutles 2 came out on DVD. We're about to wrap up the contest - get yourself signed up.
Here's a true store about Ash's old record label, Kinetic. They once begged me for months on end to run a contest. I'm serious - they sent me a weekly email like "We love your site and we would do anything to set up a promo with you." They eventually came up with a contest that was really cool. The prize was great - limited edition, signed - everything that makes a nice prize. They told me they would send me the prize after the contest was over. They, of course, never did. Wouldn't respond to my emails, wouldn't acknowlege that I was alive. Very classy move. So I became bitter and vowed never to trust anyone in the music industry (well, except for the good guys - you know who you are) ever again and started an art website. The end.read more:
Slate goes widescreen
10th anniversary redesign. Jake says
For one thing, we're no longer owned by Microsoft, which for some reason seems to make it easier for us to build a site that works as well in Firefox and Safari as it does in Internet Explorer. And now that larger computer screens and broadband have become commonplace, we felt Slate could do more to take advantage of both. The new home page, for example, is wider than the old one and has graphics so numerous that a dial-up modem would have choked on them. We've used the additional real estate to give permanent homes to Explainer, the Has-Been, Doonesbury, Today's Pictures, and our editorial cartoons[~]regular features that have sometimes been hard to find.I love that remark that suddenly Slate can work in non-MS browsers now.
Early this week, in an email to a coworker, I mentioned that I made music and pointed her to my site. On Thursday she wrote back and said “cool, you’re even on iTunes!” This surprised me; my two albums were submitted about 3 and 8 weeks ago and hadn’t shown up on iTunes as of Monday or so. But I looked, and indeed, there they both are on iTunes. For those of you who’ve heard the music, I’d appreciate a customer review. For those of you who haven’t, what are you waiting for? :-) Of course there are also old-fashioned shiny discs in plastic cases. Thanks!
Last modified: 24 June 2006, 19:18 read more:
Flight To The Kremlin
I have learned a lot during the last two weeks while visiting six countries. One of the most interesting days began with a flight from Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg to Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. The Russian airports could use some upgrading of services, shopping facilities, and direction signs in English, but they are said to be quite safe. Boarding the Ilyushin-86 aircraft was an experience. Like many European airports, the first step is to ride on a bus across the tarmac to the plane. What was different was the entry -- it started by going up steps into the belly of the plane where luggage is stored. From the storage area a stairway led to the main cabin where there were approximately 350 seats arranged in three sets of three per row.
The Il-86 development was announced at the 1971 Paris Airshow and the wide-body entered service in late 1980. This particular IL-86 was showing it's age and may easily have been twenty-five years old. The interior of the plane and the uniforms of the flight attendants were outdated but the service was efficient and friendly. The four Kuznetsov NK86 turbofan jet engines lifted the plane to cruising altitude very quickly for the one hour trip. The flight to Moscow and the return to St. Petersburg both left on time and arrived at the destination on time.
The afternoon at the Kremlin far exceeded my expectations. Kremlin means "fortress" in Russian and generally refers to any major fortified central complex in Russian cities. The one we visited is the best known one, the Moscow Kremlin, where the Russian government is based and where the President of Russia lives.
Standing in the center of Red Square was a real treat with spectacular sights in every direction. Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin towers are majestic and incredibly colorful. The Red square separates the Kremlin from an historic merchant quarter and the major streets of Moscow radiate from the square in all directions. The square is steeped in centuries of history. I don't recall the famous events that took place there in 1941 and 1945 nor the establishment of Lenin's Mausoleum, but I do remember when a German pilot named Mathias Rust landed a rented Cessna 172 on Vasilevski Spusk next to the Red Square in 1987. On the eastern side of the square is the spectacular GUM department store which in addition to shops offering all the top retailing brands of the world had dedicated the first floor of huge open ceiling building to the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci. It would have been easy to spend a whole day there.
Following a one-hour tour of the Kremlin art galleries -- which rival the Vatican Library in Rome -- we had a traditional Russian dinner, complete with vodka, and then a return flight to St. Petersburg. We got back to the ship after midnight. It was a day I will never forget.More on the rest of the trip to follow. read more:
One of the many innovations Sam Palmisano has spearheaded at IBM is the idea of reaching out to "alumni". The first initiative was a few years ago when he started a semi-annual reception for executives and former executives of the company. That was just the beginning and now the idea of reaching out has been opened up big time. The number of past and present IBMers is probably close to a million people. Establishing communications with such a huge base can be nothing but a good thing for the company.
When I left engineering school and joined IBM in 1967, it was common to look for a job at a company and expect to stay there your entire career. Nobody thinks that way anymore. If you tell someone you were with a company for decades, they might ask "what's the matter, couldn't you find any other jobs?". Another change is in the old days if someone left the company they were considered a traitor and barred from coming back. Today, there are many executives that left the company at some point, got some experience at one or more other companies, and then brought that experience back into IBM.
The Internet has enabled everything to be connected to everything, so setting up a blog to "connect" past, present, (and maybe future) IBMers to each other and with the company seems like a very good idea. The The first step was the Google Group, the logical step two is the new Greater IBM blog. Over time other forms of web technology such as wikis, audio and video podcasts, instant messaging, and various mobile technologies will likely enter the mix.
The possibilities are endless -- collaboration on projects, personal networking for jobs and deals, referrals to and from IBM, and social networking for the fun of it. I look forward to being part of this as it evolves. Upon e-tirement in 2001 with nearly four decades at IBM, I don't really feel like I left anyway! Feel free to visit patrickWeb. There are a number of categories that I have been writing about for more than ten years. Things related to IBM are at this site, I am sure I will be writing about and linking to the Greater IBM blog as will others. Cross linking will increase the overall "connectedness". That's what the web is all about. I am really proud that IBM is taking the blogosphere so seriously.
Greater IBM Blog
Greater IBM on Google Groups
The Application Web
This week I attended an IBM software technology briefing about SOA. Only brilliant technical people could come up with SOA as a name for something. Let's see, is it safe operating area, School of the Americas, Skies of Arcadia (a Nintendo game), Society of Actuaries, state of the art, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? Nope. Maybe it is about an architectural firm that has great customer service? Or maybe it is about the architecture of a building that has a good service entrance? Neither. The SOA of the briefing stands for "service oriented architecture". It is really important. The wikipedia has a comprehensive definition of SOA but basically it is about a new way to get things done with software. Actually it is isn't new -- the idea has been around for decades -- but now it is really happening. It is so much a part of the vernacular at IBM that they just matter of factly call it "so a". After an IBM briefing about "virtualization" a year ago, I tried to explain the word in simple terms (see Virtually Real or Really Virtual). I'll try that approach here with SOA.
In a nutshell, SOA will allow web sites to do much more than “click here to buy”. In fact web sites built with SOA will result in us standing in fewer lines in the physical world and have to endure fewer telephone call centers that want to control us. Fulfillment models at our favorite retailer’s web site will result in the staple goods we need just showing up outside the garage door when we need them. If businesses have the right attitude, SOA will enable them to get closer to the ultimate Internet -- to build a people-oriented and user-friendly integrated experience for all parties involved - employees on the intranet, suppliers, customers, partners, analysts and prospective constituents. There is more to this story. (read more) read more:
IBM Happenings: May 2006
The month of May was filled with a slew of IBM announcements in hardware, software, services, acquisitions, and corporate initiatives. I am particularly excited about IBM's leadership with OpenAjax. There are a few skeptics emerging and that is how I know that Ajax is sure to be a really big thing. It will change the Internet experience for all of us more than anything so far. Here are all the announcements made by the company during the month. The complete index of prior IBM Happenings is here.read more:
Technology writer, Peter Svensson, wrote an interesting story called "Will video break the Internet?". From a technical point of view there are many factors to consider. If a large number of web "surfers" were using the Internet as their primary way to watch TV, there would be a problem. More capacity is clearly needed, especially as HD-TV becomes more prevalent. The pessimists -- and some telecommunications operators -- see rising fees to pay for the bandwidth expansion. Optimists know that various technologies such as multicasting, caching, digital video recorders, etc. are dramatically improving the Net's ability to deliver video content and in parallel the cost per unit of technology continues to decline. History would suggest the optimistic view is the right one.
During the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta there was a bomb blast. Native Atlanta ex-patriots living in Japan and Germany and other parts of the world wanted to get as much news coverage as possible about the status but had few choices (there were no blogs then). The Internet Technology team at IBM in Southbury, Connecticut was running a large web infrastructure for the Games at the time and one of the engineers, Andy Stanford-Clark, got the idea to "stream" a local Atlanta radio station over the Internet using an IBM technology called Bamba. It was a very successful project but only a handful of people could listen simultaneously due to the limitations of the technology and the Internet. Some people thought that if there were large numbers of listeners "audio would break the Internet". Today millions of people consider audio over the Net as commonplace. (Listening to crystal clear classical music from KUSC-FM in Los Angeles through my Sqeezebox as I write this). Based on the tens of millions of daily visitors to YouTube, it is clear that video has also become commonplace. Another leading indicator is what is happening on campus. A number of universities have decided to use the Internet to deliver cable TV to their dormitories.
One of the issues Mr. Svensson raised in his story is "net neutrality", a term that means different things to different people. The fear is that the really large telecommunications companies that provide parts of the "backbone" of the Internet may decide to not only raise fees but also to be discriminatory. In the extreme it would mean that Verizon would block access to Google because they made a deal with Yahoo! or visa versa. The telcos have never been successful in getting into the content business so a new angle for them might be to make deals with content providers that would make their video move through the Internet backbone at a higher priority in return for fees. These fears have gotten the attention of lawmakers who are now talking about legislation to insure net neutrality. Legislation is the worst possible way to address the issue.
What is really needed is more competition. In Japan, the Internet service available to consumers is significantly faster than in the U.S. and significantly less expensive. For example, Yahoo! Broadband offers 8 million bits per second for about $20 per month. Up to 100 million bits per second is available. What technical breakthrough have they had? None. The breakthrough was to separate the various infrastructure elements of Internet service and allow "Adam Smith's invisible hand" to go to work. More competition means higher speeds and lower prices. In the U.S. we have legions of lawyers and lobbyists at work doing their best to gain protections for themselves and to slow the spread of innovation such as municipal wireless and voice over IP. Will video break the Internet? No. The biggest threat to freedom of choice for content at competitive prices is a lack of competition.
Misguided or overly-prescriptive legislation can have unintended consequences. It can often fix one problem and create two new ones or add yet another layer of protectionism. Mike Nelson, former Director for Technology Policy at the Federal Communications Commission (and former colleague at IBM), says "a lack of competition which lets companies exert monopoly or duopoly power is probably the biggest damper on innovation". Not all legislation is bad. It is possible to use it to increase competition and decrease regulation, to fund e-government pilot projects, "connect the unconnected," or fund university education and research.
Other patrickWeb stories about Internet Technology
At a speech in New Orleans on Monday I said we were just five percent of the way into the Internet -- that of all the things that could simplify our lives and save us time, only five percent of them are here so far. New companies such as Pandora are pressing the envelope to do great things but unfortunately many existing companies have not kept pace with expectations.
This morning I checked on the status of a medical prescription at Express Scripts, my "online" pharmacy. The web site had an order number but did not show the name of the medication. Clicking on "check status" gave a line that said "In pharmacy" -- since May 6. No information available. Sending an email to them is hopeless -- I have done it before -- they respond to the email by telling you to call if you need information. I called and was told they had received the prescription on May 3 and it then takes them three days to enter it into the system. Four days later they determined that it needs "prior authorization" and so they faxed a form to the doctor requesting that he fax a form to the insurance company who would then need to fax a form to customer service who would then notify the pharmacy it is ok to ship the medication. The pharmacy and customer service are the same company. There is no feedback to the customer at any point. Meanwhile everyone is calling everyone and the doctor's office is so overloaded with calls about prescriptions that you can't get through to them. This is the status of online pharmacy. Five percent would be an overstatement.
The point that top management of these and many other companies are missing is that the perception of their company and their brand is no longer based on their past history or even the reputation of their products and services. The way we see them is the way we see their web sites. Unfortunately, a lot of things we see are not pretty. Increasingly our loyalties will shift to the companies who make our lives simpler and save us time instead of frustrating us. Many are trying hard but they have a long way to go. read more:
After finding four official National Geodetic Survey benchmarks during an interesting walk around downtown New Orleans, it was time to meet at Antoine's for dinner. The famous restaurant has been continuously operated by the same family since 1840. Through wars, the Great Depression, epidemics and storms, the culinary treasures continue to be served. The French Quarter, where the restaurant operates, was fortunate to not have any water damage, although the winds took a toll and repairs are still underway. After dinner, my son and his friends headed for the music they wanted to hear. For me, there was only one place I had in mind.
I had not been to Preservation Hall for more than thirty years but I remembered exactly what to expect. The sound of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is unique and inspiring. The musicians are polished and professional. I talked with the trombone player during break and he told me he was a professor of music at a local college. To hear him and his colleagues play you would never see a piece of music. It seemed to come from their soul. The saxophone player told me he read music when he was a boy but that now it comes from the soul. From their web site are a coupe of great quotes. "Musicians in New Orleans are born to entertain. There's nothing wrong with that, because I'm happy when I play. I love what I do". "We play gospel music here. We play old spirituals. We play military marches. There's no end to the variety of music that we play. But we play it all our way. And the more we play, the more the level of happiness rises. Just to watch our audiences go wow when we play, that gives me a good feeling and makes me want to put out more."
The amazing part to me is the coordination. There is no sheet music, no conductor, not even subtle leads from one of the members. All seven -- trumpet, two trombones, tuba, drum, tenor saxophone, and piano -- played as one. Soloists knew when to stand -- at times several would stand -- the crescendos and decrescendos were perfect and soft harmonies were flawless. These are truly great musicians. Walking a half mile down Bourbon Street back to the hotel there were dozens of "bands" playing at peak volume. It was a different world than Preservation Hall. I prefer the latter.
After Sunday brunch overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, it was time to head for JazzFest. The temperature was 90, the humidity was 100%, the crowd was 100K+ and there was no place to sit. In spite of this it was a great experience. The Paul Simon performance, in particular, was worth the price. Nice to see the 60+ performers -- he was amazing in every respect. Digital music is great but nothing compares to a live concert. The big screen made you feel like you were in the front row (even though there were no chairs). Regrettably, Fats Domino (78 years old) cancelled at the last minute for health reasons. Lionel Richie took took the stage instead.
On Monday morning it was a pleasure to make a presentation to a group of networking and IT executives at the English Turn Country Club. The topic was, guess what, the future of the Internet. With the incredible humidity, I do not regret not being a golfer and staying for the afternoon.
With regard to New Orleans,I found a mixed story. The water marks, damage, and debris were staggering. One can see why a huge number of people have been displaced and why housing is the main issue on many people's minds. I spoke to a number of residents who were working in the service industry. The common thread was that they were hopeful, courteous, and wore smiles on their faces even though they had every reason to be bitter. One person told me there was three feet of water in the second story of his house. He and his family moved in with a cousin -- eight people in a small home. The only good news is that there are plenty of jobs. The biggest tragedy may be that there are only five schools open in a city that was once more than a million people. read more:
The Big Picture From Rome
The final afternoon of the Business Leadership Forum focused on the big picture -- of both global political factors and technology. A panel included Karl-Heinz Grasser, Federal Minister of Finance for the Republic of Austria. He spoke about how governments can not only avoid being an obstacle to innovation and growth but also encourage competition thereby creating more jobs. The panel was bullish about how the information revolution -- ushered in by the microprocessor in the early 1970's and the Internet of the 1990's -- has led to an explosion of new products and new business models, However, there was a consensus that retaliation from poor economies and over-regulation by some countries could stymie the growth.
Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and commissioner in the European Union for ten years, was quite optimistic about the EU -- a market of 480 million people -- and said that the EU itself is an innovation. He said that Europe is much more like the U.S. than it was. It is now a single market, has a single currency, and has been expanding market reach around the world. The shortcoming is that Europe, unlike America, does not yet have a constitution. This results in an economic disadvantage because the European community can not make a decision for the total. The European economy is not innovating quickly enough and in fact some countries are protecting the past at the expense of the future. Mario says it is time for "naming and shaming" the laggards through peer reviews. Then he got more specific -- "Germany, France, and Italy are behind on liberalization of service markets and have resisted initiatives to increase competition". These three countries will have a negative impact on the Euro which in turn will hurt the rest of Europe. Mr. Monti's presentation was sobering but hopeful. He said the EU has a lot of good features, that it can protect intellectual property but also move against monopolies such as Microsoft. The key to get innovation going in Europe is for the EU to innovate itself by completing it's constitution.
Irving Wladawsky-Berger kicked off the final segment of the forum, which focused on the future. IBM supports Linux because it is a great operating system for computers. Irving introduced Linus Torvalds the developer of Linux which he published as a student in 1991. Don Tapscott, a widely acclaimed author, who invented the term "paradigm shift", then moderated the final panel which included Linus, Nick Donofrio, executive vice president for innovation and technology at IBM, and Ann Mettler, executive director and co-founder of The Lisbon Council. It was a wide-ranging discussion. Linus is an incredibly humble guy. He said he has no vision, just looks 5 cm ahead before each step, and loves to solve technical problems. Linux is successful, he says, because both the development and the decision making are distributed -- a "built-in meritocracy". Don asked why volunteers worked on Linux for no economic return. Linus said, "if you were all engineers, you would not be asking that question". Open source software is viable in most all software areas, with the only exception being niche markets which are too small to get adequate collaboration. "Open source will take over most all infrastructure".
Ann said there is a huge gap between businesses which are moving ahead rapidly and societies which feel left behind. The key problem is that the economy is 70% services but the regulations and governance are still based on an industrial model. She believes that government should learn how to innovate from businesses. "Politicians are clueless about the discussion of the past day and a half". She says that businesses need to share their leanings with society. The labor market in Europe is flat because companies do not want to hire and that is because the laws are so onerous. "You can hire but you can't fire". Labor reform is needed desperately.
Nick says' It' s all about change". IBM is doing a balancing act by supporting both open things and proprietary things. The company is generating a lot of patents but also giving away a lot of patents to move the ball forward in key markets such as healthcare and education. "The world can move ahead faster if the OS is Linux -- it is good enough and a "blow for freedom". A California venture capitalist asked about business ethics and Nick was very aggressive in his response saying it was not optional for companies to be totally and completely ethical in every respect. (Having been at IBM for 38 years, I can say I never ever had a concern about ethics at the company). Nick summarized that anyone can innovate if they are willing to change. "If nothing changes, nothing changes". Sam wrapped up the conference by saying corporations need to be transparent. Their ultimate responsibility is to create value for the constituencies: stockholders, customers, employees. He walks the talk.
Intro to Roman Rendezvous Stories
Index to Roman Rendezvous stories
Business Leadership Forum - Day 2 (part 2)
Following Nakamura-san at the Business Leadership Forum would not be easy but Sunil Bharti Mittal, CEO of Bharti TeleVentures Limited had quite an amazing story to tell. Bharti is India's leading mobile operator and one of the top five companies in India. Revenue per month per person has shrunk from $30 to $8 and he believes it will go to $3-$4. The good news is that the number of users has gone from 2 million to 90 million. India is a huge consumption economy because there are so many young people -- 50% are under 25. He expects mobile phone users to grow from 90 million to 300+ million by 2009-2010 and his strategy to address the market has been to give away everything except the customer ; i.e. outsource everything except the customer relationship. IT was outsourced to IBM -- a $1 billion contract. Networking was outsourced to Nokia & Ericsson. Call centers were outsourced to an IBM joint venture in India. Mr. Mittal said their growth (1 million new customers per month) could not be achieved without having outsourced to top partners. Complete alignment is achieved and the business model becomes predictable. Innovation in many areas including "Lifetime Validity" where incoming calls are free to customers for life. The theory is simple, if people receive a lot of free inbound calls, they will eventually *make* calls, which are not free. His goal is for his many partners to be happy -- not to laugh but to smile. He hopes to grow from 7 billion minutes per month to 20 billion.
Mr. Yang Mingsheng, President and CEO of the Agricultural Bank of China, was the only speaker who did use English but the simultaneous translation to Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, German, and English allowed all of us to hear what he had to say -- which was a lot. The bank has 500,000 employees and 28,000 branch offices. Although I could not understand a word of what he was saying without the headphones, I could tell that the speaker was very articulate, enthusiastic, and confident. 95% of all bank services are available online. The bank has 400 million depositors, 12.4 million outstanding loans, and 220 million credit cards issued. They have introduced many e-banking and mobile products to their customers. This is being done by centralizing IT infrastructure. Mr. Mingsheng is both a ceo and a member of government. For hobbies he writes poetry and plays the violin. His speech covered every aspect of consumer and business banking services. I don't think a similar presentation by Citigroup or JP Morgan Chase would much if anything that ABC isn't also doing.
Pierluigi Bernasconi, CEO of an Italian electronics retailer called MediaMarket. The company is the No. 1 consumer electronics retailer in Europe with 66 stores in Italy, more than 500 stores in more than a dozen European countries, and a new web-based business in Germany. One of their stores is the largest in the world -- it has six floors of consumer electronics products. Steady growth over the past decade has taken them from $4 to $16 billion. They have taken an innovative business model approach whereby they have two different store brands (MediaMarket and Saturn) that compete with each other. They believe that "self competition" results in better service and price to the consumer. Fifty million people per month spend time in one of their stores. Mr. Bernasconi described an intensely competitive environment in Italy from 4,000 photography shops, 6,000 telephone stores, e-retail sites, hyperStores, and in the future new channels such as Digital Terrestrial TV. In spite of this the company continuously outperforms the competition and gains market share. They have been using the web for sales and communications since 1995. Utilizing advanced IT the company has integrated all their distribution channels. They believe that communication is key and will result in customers thinking of MediaMarket or Saturn as the first choice as a place to get information and subsequently purchase. Their strategy is to exploit multi-channel strategies -- tying together so a person can call from land line or mobile, surf via the web connect via digital terrestrial set top box, or visit in person and all the experiences are recognized and tracked. read more:
Intro to Roman Rendezvous Stories
Index to Roman Rendezvous stories
Interoperability and DRM Are Mutually Exclusive
Interoperability and DRM Are Mutually Exclusive: The music industry’s insistence upon DRM iswhat put the ITMS in the position that Apple now enjoys; the recordindustry is decrying a lock-in advantage that they themselves handedto Apple. (Via Daring Fireball.)
This article is a good start, but it gives too much credit to the music industry. They are not just misguided about the impossibility of interoperable DRM. Anyone with a clue has understood this since the original interoperable DRM efforts collapsed circa 2000. Some music industry executives may still lack a clue, but they do not have much incentive to learn because the central issue for them is not interoperability, but control. Attacking Apple here (like the publishers attacking Google, or the telecoms attacking net neutrality) is misdirection covering up that issue. The major labels don't really care that one DRM system dominates the market, they only care that the system is not theirs to do as they please, for example in introducing variable per-track pricing (shades of the telecoms and net neutrality).
I rarely buy from iTMS because I dislike its tying down to particular machines and lower quality than what I get by buying CDs and ripping them at a custom AAC rate. Not to mention the pleasure of walking down to my locally-owned record store and browsing their well-chosen new arrivals (last month's purchases):
- Trio Beyond (Jack de Johnette, Larry Goldings, John Scofield): Saudades
- John Coltrane: Soultrane
- Marc Johnson: Shades of Jade
- Louis Mhlanga: World Traveler
- Boards of Canada: Trans Canada Highway
- Thelonious Monk: The Classic Quartet
- Vijay Iyer and Rudesh Mahanthappa: Raw Materials
- Andrey Dergatchev: The Return (soundtrack of the intense, beautiful movie by Andrey Zvyagintsev)
- Christian McBride: Live at Tonic
Connecting Sony Ericsson K700i to the Internet through my PC
I was recently stumped with CSS over handheld devices. I was using Sony Ericsson J200i, an entry level nice hand phone from Sony Ericsson to access WAP pages over GPRS. Now I need to test run my web sites development and CSS on handheld devices. In a quick impulse shopping I got myself a mid entry level Sony Ericsson K700i for RM850. The phone was selected for its price and features. The guy was nice enough to throw me a free gift in the form of quite nice canvas bag. So if you are shopping for Sony Ericsson, just try your luck but don't forget to be nice to the salesperson. I also bought a DiGi prepaid, activated the GPRS account and surf away with K700i.read more:
Making Your Presence on the Web
You have been using the Internet for years now. If you are like me, you think it's a fascinating place. There are so much information in here you wish you have the time to surf away.
I will not waste your time so let get down to the reason you are here.
you want to have a web site ...
.. and you know exactly what your web site will contain.
Let's get started.read more:
Web Site Maintenance
When web site is published on the Internet, the web site need to be monitored, evaluated, reviewed and updated. Maintenance of a web site starts with the owners intention to publish a web site, then it focus on its users needs, habits and preference, which is why the web site is published in the first place, to give its visitors useful information. A web site also promotes image and reputation of its owner whether it is a company, a brand name, a product or service, an individual or a community. Having to stumble into an out-dated information on a web site will, more often than not, frustrate a visitor. An out-of-date web site, be it for its content or design speaks for itself about its owner.read more:
Why have a website?
Many companies throughout the world today are operating their business with no website. When the internet keeps moving forward and advancing, your business needs to advance as well. If companies do not own or operate an online business as well as a physical business, they will lose out on sales and additional profits.read more:
Let's Design A Website That Sells
Designing a website to market you products on the Internetread more:
The Tucows Developers' Hangout is a weblog that features articles of interest to software developers from beginner to expert, from casual hobbyist to enterprise systems programmer and whose target platform ranges from a handheld unit to the Internet.read more:
Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Update
Are you ready for the newest IE 7 (Internet Explorer 7)? Internet Explorer 7 (or IE 7 for short) will be a nice advance from where Internet Explorer...read more:
Web Standards Awards
The Web Standards Awards aims to promote Web site design using W3C standards by seeking out and highlighting the finest standards-compliant sites on the Internet.read more:
Web Accessibility Toolbar
An awesome toolbar for developers allowing them to examine Web pages under Internet Explorer for various aspects of accessibility. Contains links to a lot of accessibility resources. Version 1.2 released Oct, 2005 with many enhancements and improvements.read more:
International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI), the Internet Society - Disability and Special Needs Chapter, and HiSoftware Company collaborate to provide cost-free educational resource for Web Site accessibility testing.read more:
Uniform Resource Identifier: Generic Syntax
This specification defines the generic URI syntax and a process for resolving URI references that might be in relative form, along with guidelines and security considerations for the use of URIs on the Internet.read more:
Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) Activity Statement
The WWW is the universal space containing all Internet resources referenced by Uniform Resource Identifier. The Web is dominated today by relatively few technologies, including the Hypertext Transfer Protocol and the Hypertext Markup Language.read more:
Link Building 101 - Resources and Tools
Every now and then, there is a forum post worth bookmarking and a Search Engine Watch thread that compiles an excellent list of link-building resources is such a post. The post, and the comments that follow, provides for a very comprehensive list of tools, articles, forum threads and knowledge bases that can be found on the Internet. Good job Nacho.read more:
MSN Search to go Live Thursday, November 11th
Microsoft is planning to introduce its long-awaited Internet search engine on Thursday November 11th, a person knowledgeable about the announcement said.Word of the introduction of MSN Search was leaked on Tuesday (November 9th) after Microsoft began phoning reporters offering briefings for Wednesday. A company spokeswoman declined comment on the announcement.There is also an Associatedread more:
Bloglines Firefox Center
Bloglines has announced the addition of the Bloglines Firefox Center. The announcement is due in large part to the continuing success of Firefox and its abilities for RSS discovery."Over the past few months, we've watched users steadily switch away from Netscape and Internet Explorer to Firefox. Back in July, while Firefox was still in beta, it had grown to over 5% of our traffic. Today, Firefoxread more:
The final goal of search engine optimization
Most businesses have realized that search engine optimization (SEO) is important if you want to succeed on the Internet. If you miss the mark, search engine optimization can cost a lot of time and money without getting results. If you do it right, SEO will improve your business.read more:
Should you buy text links?
Many text link broker websites have appeared on the Internet. These websites allow you to rent links from other websites on a monthly basis. Is this something you should consider for your website? What can you expect from these text links?read more:
Use Internet directories to get more visitors
Internet directories are often overlooked by webmasters because many of them deliver only little traffic. However, link directories offer many benefits to webmasters that are interested in getting more visitors.read more:
Why Jim didn't make profit with his Internet business, part 2
Two weeks ago we told you about Jim who didn't make profit with his Internet business because he used the wrong keywords. We gave you a list of popular keyword search engines that help you to find the right keywords for your website. This time we'd like to inform you about more unknown ways to find the right keywords for your site.read more:
Why Jim didn't make profit with his Internet business
You might lose lots of customers because your website is not targeting the right keywords. Read this article to find out how to find the right keywords for your website that will bring more customers to your site.read more:
Does advertising in PPC search engines really work?
Maybe you've considered using pay per click (PPC) search engines to promote your website on the Internet. PPC search engines are search engines that allow you to bid for a special position on their result pages. You pay a certain amount for every click your listing receives. But will this really work for your website?read more:
I've finally settled into my new position on the Internet Explorer team...
Wow, 7 months since my last post! Well, there is definitely a good reason for the lengthy delays. Back in February a became a full-time member of the Internet Explorer team starting work on IE7 and continuing support for previous versions of the browser. Needless to say, joining any team of this size there is a lot of information to consume before you can start making decent contribution so all of my free time has been spent brining myself up to speed. Hopefully I'll be able to leverage some of this knowledge and focus some postings on web development and scripting, in addition to my previous topics.
This is still my personal blog where I'll be posting about all of the interesting things that I'm working on or feel like talking about, so try to keep the browser flames to a minimum. For obvious reasons there will be comments that I won't be able to respond so if you don't hear back from me, I'm probably ignoring you, but in a good way.
Well, good to be back, make sure you stick around and look for further posts.
Solving big business problems in our little toolbox application. A use case for Project Distributor.
Project Distributor: Introduction to our distributed web service model
So Darren and I have put in about a month now on the Project Distributor website. We are starting to reach that critical point where the site is pretty cool, we have plenty of users, we are thinking about running out of the allowable bandwidth for the demo site, and all sorts of other things that tend to happen all at once. Now, there are some problems you can design yourself out of, and others that you really have to throw some money at. Our latest enhancements can be summed up in a short list.
- Buy a domain name and start hosting in two places. Project Distributor.com should be up fairly soon to accompany MarkItUp.ASPXConnection.com
- Have people host their own versions of the application. And that means a big source release is in the future. At this juncture risk fragmentation.
- Design away fragmentation with a series of ingenious features that will make everyone want to use the application at hand.
I'm here to talk about the last two, since Darren already bought some additional hosting for us. The concept will be to release a fairly stable version of the application so that groups can host tools, code snippets and other source/binary releases for their teams to share. The application is very lightweight and easy to set-up, so it won't require a bunch of hand holding and configuration to get up and running initially. From our standpoint we solve a number of issues at this juncture. The most obvious problem is what we classify the Lutz Roeder use case. .NET Reflector is the key type of application we'd love to get hosted because it makes it a bit easier to find, not that Google does a bad job, we'd just like to get a bunch of tools in one place, with some features for feedback, new releases, and some cool client tools for publishing.
Now, Lutz would put his application up and he'd whack our bandwidth. He is the prime example of someone that should be hosting their own tools, but possibly using our interface. He doesn't have to, we haven't even asked him yet in fact, but if he decides to do so, then all the better for the web application moving forward. Users such as Lutz probably want a certain level of control over their own sites as well in terms of branding and controlling access. This will only come from hosting the application yourself (and maybe some other features we'll see later).
From a security standpoint many teams will also want to host their own servers. In this manner they get control over the hardware their sources and binaries are stored on. They can accept tools up to any maximum (instead of our imposed limits) and provide unlimited download bandwidth if they choose. Or they can take advantage of our gating mechanisms to make sure their server doesn't get overloaded with downloads and open their tools up to the public.
The only major problem from this source release is that the initial problem we were trying to solve, promoting the visibility of tools, starts to erode. You see, the more sites that host their own tools the harder it is to find the right site with the right tools. We are trying to solve this in a number of ways. The first is allowing users of a site to store bookmarks to other projects and external resources. This is only a temporary fix, because it still doesn't allow a mass search and categorization infrastructure required to truly promote the visibility of the tools being hosted. We have to come up with a solution that brings all of the sites, but we don't want to create just another portal or gateway site. That is boring. Now you have the background, so how will we solve the fragmentation issue?
Designing away Fragmentation
I won't lie to you, I've implemented this model several times, but have never had a project that was capable of really showing off the feature set we are about to talk about. The concept is to unify all of the sites, by allowing them to easily manage views of data from all of the sites combined. Each site owns their own content, maintains their own users, but in turn peers with other sites to obtain additional content.
Web services provide a dual feature set in this model. At the current level they allow us to generate really great client-side tools for managing, well, your tools! We have a drop-client target right now so you can drag and drop new releases to existing projects in just a few seconds. Some new tools for working with build systems to promote the source code up to the server are in the works. We natively integrate with your RSS reader and will have our own alert services in the drop client just in case you don't have one. There aren't any search or local caching features, but those are also planned for the drop client so you can background download new releases, just like Windows Update.
That doesn't solve fragmentation though, that just makes me realize how much work I have left to do. The second feature of web services lies in the ability for each site to aggregate data from the many other sites that are out there hosting the application. Remember, everything we make available at the service layer can also now be remoted. The more caching we put into the data layer, the more performant the entire process will be, and we can even tune the caching depending on whether the data layer is merging off-site contents or database contents.
I'm sure there is another name out there somewhere, but for the past 2 years I've called these peer sites. Each instance of the project distributor will have a number of options allowing for adding peers that will be aggregated and added to the local collection while users traverse the site. The first step is to get the peer sites running in a read-only mode. And set up some really great options so the entire process can be controlled. This solves a number of use case scenarios for us including the following.
- Fragmentation can be mitigated through proper configuration. If everyone aggregates 5 or 6 sites into their peers, then we have a huge network now of interconnected peers and users can pick and choose which one they use for purposes of searching the tool network.
- Peer connections are unidirectional or bidirectional. Access is configurable. Teams can include tools from external sites while keeping their own tools completely private. They can exist behind a DMZ or a private network.
- Users can host their own personal tool sites in the same manner as the team sites. They can configure statically which projects to make available even. In this way you can build a collection of personal tools that you love, and have the latest information automatically update on your machine for your perusal.
Peer sites solve plenty of visibility issues, but that is pretty much all they solve for now. We still want to enable all of the features available to the client tools. After all, the web service methods and proxy infrastructure is in place to do so much more.
Well, we want to solve another problem. That is where you edit your data. A master site is where the users, groups, projects, etc... are all hosted, but thankfully, you'll be able to log in through any site (assuming it is peered with your master site) and then edit your own projects and such. This is a remote principal context and is actually one of the cooler features associated with the peering functionality of project distributor. We'll be fully secure in our login and credentials region, but unfortunately we'll still be transferring data in open text in the short term. Maybe we'll fix that with enough push back.
A clone site is where we empower a site to act on behalf of a master site. For me, my local project distributor is currently cloned to the main project distributor site. What does this mean? Right now it means I get all of the data from PD, and that users who trust my site can log-in to their project distributor accounts and cross edit data. Pretty nice if you ask me. It basically means you can fully host a project distributor installation and never, ever have to install a database server. Users can just act on behalf of a remote server.
This isn't a super reusable model like some of those you read about in the popular software architecture books, and it probably accounts for why master/peer/clone sites don't exist very often. The considerations for every option are heavily customized to the problem being solved, and I'm sure we'll be making modifications or updating the configuration context for a while. Right now you can independently configure your primary server type, whether master or clone, whether or not users can use you for a pass-through authentication and edit server, whether or not web services are enabled so peers can enable unidirectional only communications, setting up asymmetric security credentials. Man, you name it and it is in there
For the peer section we have full and selective modes. A full peer pulls all of the data on the remote peer locally for display (in a delay caching manner, just like you'd expect, unless you set up a scheduled pull which is also possible). I expect most people to configure full peers because they really are really easy to set up and maintain. A selective peer is where you specify the groups/projects that you want to display. This is best for a user setting up their own personal toolbox who wants to select a couple of items from many different peers.
We have an extensively exhaustive configuration module already and we'll be continuously adding more to it. The concept is to easily modify your toolbox to your own designs without having to touch the code. If we haven't given you enough options to satisfy your need then we'll have to make something up, because I'm just about running out ;-)
These are the basics of the model ideas I have for project distributor. That doesn't mean Darren doesn't have other great ideas happening as well. He has some pretty extensive UI enhancements, but I'll let him talk about those. We even have another product idea that is kind of a bolt-on for project distributor, but that is probably a couple of months out putting it into next year. Unfortunately we have too many ideas for our own good right now. Better than not having any ideas I guess. I'll try to drop some code with some of the ideas above, that way you can get a look at how the entire system is implemented. I have some diagrams as well, but I'm far too tired right now to add the img tags to the HTML view.
A few details about the FeedBurner.com redesign
Late, late, late on a Tuesday night almost two weeks ago, we re-launched FeedBurner.com with much-needed updates to the design, content and overall direction.
Traci already commented on the strategic importance of the new site, while Rachelle provided a more personal account.
But as the designer and half-developer (Rachelle did the other half — actually, probably more than half — with great skill and speed), I’m going to share a couple of “behind the scenes” details that I find super neat. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way.
Powered By FeedBurner
Going in to this project, two requirements became clear:
Traci (our marketing director) needed the ability to make content updates without routing all changes through the design team.
Many types of content needed to be reused in slightly different settings and formats around the site.
To address these requirements, we came up with the idea of modular content — basically, little nuggets of content that can be randomized, subscribed, inserted and updated anywhere.
Of course, we had to generate all of this content somewhere…
Powered By MovableType
One of the complaints people have about MovableType — that it creates static files by default — is actually a huge advantage here. We’re able to publish flat, lightweight static files to a single server, then pull in these files in a variety of ways across our distributed server environment.
Elegant, dual-float layout
When I was first learning CSS, doing multi-column layouts was always the hardest part. Even two-column layouts seemed tricky, weighing the pros and cons of various approaches and never being totally satisfied with the end result.
Then I got floats. Like, really got them. It was Doug Bowman’s slides from this presentation that secured my understanding and I haven’t fretted about CSS layouts since.
On the new FeedBurner.com, everything but the home page uses a classic dual-float, two-column layout. I set a width on both columns in the CSS, then assigned
float:left on the left column and
float:right on the right. Finished with a
clear:both footer, it’s a solid layout that works regardless of which column is longest.
A new approach to navigation
While many sites feature massive navigation (practically a site map), we took a page from Flickr’s design books this time around and divided our navigation into two sections. A high-priority “primary” navigation and a lower-priority “secondary” navigation are based on prominence, not hierarchy, which helps focus the page and not overwhelm people with choices.
We also made heavy use of in-text hyperlinking across sections, to encourage exploration without forcing folks to grok and traverse our site architecture via the navigation.
Perhaps the best things to come out of this redesign process haven’t arrived yet. As a result of our extensive brainstorming and planning, we have tons of ideas and a general roadmap for web site improvements over the coming months.
And now, with the addition of Rachelle Bowden to our team, we have the
manpower womanpower to get it done.
Use the comment form. As always, I love to hear from you!read more:
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