Monday, December 20, 2010

Apple launches tool for iAd development

In April I blogged how iAd could be big. One observation I had was that tools are not there..not yet...This is what I wrote

The tool for creating ad looks like a limitation today but is something we can expect Apple to fix quickly. XCode is a great IDE and it won't be a stretch to add new capability to create iPhone/iPad advertisements. I think here Apple has advantage and it is just matter of time.

Well it changed today. Apple just launched tool to create iAds. This will make it lot easier for iAd content to grow. And judging by the stampeded in Apple store, it won't be long before we see lot of publishers and design houses jump in...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


MeshCentral is an experimental service from Intel Software and Services Group. The service concept is brain child of brilliant researcher Ylian Saint-Hilaire. I joined Yllian early this year as the business guy to bring MESHCentral technologies to market. In nutshell MeshCentral is a very simple concept of allowing easier/scalable (P2P) way to connect edge nodes (PC, embedded CE, routers etc..) to Cloud Services that allow secure discovery with ability to send authorized events and deliver secure control messages.

Above is the current architecture. Currently we have experimental service launched that anybody can sign up and start creating there own private meshed nodes. We support Sleep & Wake-on LAN, Computer Monitoring, Computer Management, Managing from Browser, Smartphone's including JS based remote shells and video. On Cloud services side we have done OpenID and oAuth integration allowing Google/Yahoo SSO and Twitter updates for nodes..

There is great podcast that Ylian recently did with IT Conversations. It lays out some of our vision and plans for the future. Check it out at -

Stay tuned .. more information on MESH at

Friday, April 09, 2010

iAd - Did Google just hold a red cloth to charging bull?

With iAd now officially announced and details starting to trickle in, the fight is officially on. Google and Apple are now in direct competition and this time it is in Google's home turf. Forbes has a good take on what are missing in the iAd efforts.

The 4 keys ones are -
  1. Creative agencies build ads in Flash. There is no comparable tool for creating HTML5 creatives.
  2. As a media agency (e.g. Publicis, Havas, etc) how do I determine the right targeting, etc to execute the buy to my satisfaction.
  3. How would I measure results?
  4. Oh, also, how will these ads be priced exactly?

The tool for creating ad looks like a limitation today but is something we can expect Apple to fix quickly. XCode is a great IDE and it won't be a stretch to add new capability to create iPhone/iPad advertisements. I think here Apple has advantage and it is just matter of time.

The next three are more critical and crucial one that would determine whether iAd platform succeeds. It is all about the 2-sided platform and how to attract vital user base on both sides. Google being the 800 pound guerrilla is logically expected to dominate. But don't forget that Google is relatively new player to advertisement and certainly a big disruptor in the online search based advertisement marketplace. But search engine advertisement is only a very small share of the bigger pie of advertisement value chain. The traditional players from other mass media advertisement now have a good ally in Apple to extend media advertisements to new platforms. No wonder we see WSJ and NYtimes drooling over the iPad launch

iAd couldn't come at a worse time for Google. Google had been trying hard to extend the online search advertisement (it's cash cow) monetization model beyond search engine with forays into YouTube and Google Map ads . It was slowly starting to get traction and now suddenly has two big threats facing it - Facebook with its massive user base and Apple with its widely popular device. Both with their platforms can now give a better solutions to issues like click fraud, relevancy etc.

Did Google just draw a big "Bulls-eye" on its core business? The bigger question would be how quickly the iPad volume ramps and how it is perceived - more closer to mass media like - "TV" & "Print" or more in the league of "online search". This is just the first inning but one thing we can be sure when all is said and done the end user will be experiencing more personalized, localized, targeted messages that will look like neither of the two look today.

PS: Content does not reflect the opinions of my employer, my former employer or anyone else but me!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Magic Mouse might be just what economy ordered

Apple Magic Mouse is great as expected however it is not such a big deal technology wise. Not the big leaps and Wows! you expect from Apple. But I think this might exactly add that extra ummph! to Apple's top line growth this holiday season. Especially in a time when everybody is crash crunched and already has an iPod and iPhone. This could be the must get holiday gift that is affordable ($69). Now if they sell 3-4 million of these puppies we are are talking a $280 million boost to the revenue. Not something to lick about ..

Friday, May 29, 2009

Android Business Model getting clearer - The 3 options

Google is finally giving more clarity on the business models for device vendors and the service providers. The NY Times article mention three options -

1. The obligation-free option: Fre Android, load onto their devices and provide access to as many or as few apps as they want. No preload popular Google applications, like Gmail or Google calendar.

2. The small strings option: Same as Option 1, except that manufacturers sign a distribution agreement to include on the phone Google applications. Of the 18 to 20 phones coming out this year, Mr. Rubin said, 12 to 14 subscribe to this option.

3. The bigger strings option or the no-censorship version: These phones Google calls “The Google Experience”. They are physically distinguishable by the Google logo on the phone. They include a range of Google applications that the carrier and handset maker agree not to remove from the phone. The carrier and handset maker also agree not to censor access to the Android market. Meaning: if some developer comes up with an application that some people find distasteful, or that gets bad press, it must nevertheless remain available to consumers. Of the phones coming out this year, 5 to 6 belong to this category, Mr. Rubin said.

More details at :-

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Android the gen4 Mobile OS

Android is an amazing operating system that will fundamentally transform the edge/client nodes. Android OS is the latest in the evolution of Mobile OS operating systems - the gen4 of the Mobile OS. The first few generations were OS built on RTOS that slapped some basic functionality on top of base functionality – “Provide reliable voice call”. The gen3 is where we started having a modular approach to design allowing HLOS (High Level OS) to start appearing. iPhone is where we finally have the age of HLOS with great applications and certainly innovative U/I . iPhone have transformed the mobile application landscape dramatically. Android though lacking on that front is a great lego block operating system that provides not just “Design Time Modularity” but also “Run Time Modularity”. By default, every application runs in its own Linux process. Android starts the process when any of the application's code needs to be executed, and shuts down the process when it's no longer needed and system resources are required by other applications. Built around OSGi the core part of the specifications is a framework that defines an application life cycle management model, a service registry, an execution environment and modules giving Android the perfect DNA to be one with the best OS for “Distributed Edge Nodes”..Smartphones are just the beginning…Android could be the OS for everything connected...

* Content does not reflect the opinions of my employer, my former employer or anyone else but me!

Intel and Novell to colloborate on Moblin

Intel and Novell signed an agreement outlining their plan for collaboration. Novell also announced it will create a Moblin-based product for netbooks that it will take to market to a wide range of OEMs and ODMs. Additionally, Novell will establish Novell® Open Labs in Taiwan to foster the adoption of Moblin and will work with the Taiwan Moblin Enabling Center (MEC), a joint effort of Intel and the Taiwan Institute for Information Industry, to validate designs for Moblin compliance.

“Novell has taken a significant leadership role in the Moblin community since joining the effort late last year, and today’s announcement will extend Novell’s level of involvement,” said Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel’s Software and Services Group and general manager of the System Software Division. “The combination of Intel Atom processor-based platforms and Moblin-based Novell software will provide even more opportunities for OEMs, ODMs and the broader Moblin community to deliver excellent mobile Internet solutions.”

Novell’s contributions to the Moblin ecosystem include leading the open source development of key operating system features such as window, e-mail and media management.

“We are extending our involvement with Moblin because we believe that it provides a richer mobile Internet experience,” said Ron Hovsepian, Novell president and CEO. “The emergence of such mobile computing platforms as netbooks presents a significant growth opportunity. We believe that Moblin-based Novell software on Intel-based platforms will offer OEMs and ODMs exceptional solutions for delivering a full Internet experience on such devices.”

More details at -

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Apple Sells Benefits others sell features

Yes Apple has done it again and as usual I am a big fan of Steve (who isn't :-)...

3G iPhones are going to be here soon and the evolution of platform continues. The difference between Apple and Google is so visible...

Apple sells benefits, while everyone else sells features. Since average consumers are only interested in benefits: calling someone, texting someone, photo galleries, video playback, maps, web browsing, email, etc. The technical features that enable these benefits are uninteresting or just plain confusing. How much RAM does the phone have? How many mega pixels is the screen? How fast is the data transfer rate when it's plugged into a USB port? Answers to these questions do not sell phones to average consumers. And the biggest share of wallet will go to the products that get the biggest share of mind.

But I won't count Google. Google plays to change behaviour. Sometimes the threat is enough to force handsets to open up and google to get entry with their "intention capturing and monetizing business"..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Apple : The Great Leadeship - "The change from within"

Today there is a great post by Geofferey Helt at Minnyvale on how Steve transformed Apple..In summary..

The fundamental challenge facing the leadership team at Apple is not about strategy, but rather capacity. The question that stands in the way of its heroic future is: How do we redesign the organization of our business to deliver on the following interconnected fronts?

  • Doubling the number of Apple stores to facilitate broader adoption.

  • Building iTunes into a media storehouse accessible across all screens (phone, TV, PC, etc.).

  • Catapulting the iPhone into a 3G global platform that spans networks and geographies.

  • Turning the TV into a 21st century device that can manage our media-intensive homes (more on this in a future article).

  • Bringing the price point of Macs down further to make switching costs negligible.

  • Taking the iBook off the shelf and rebooting it as the breakthrough that the Newton promised (and failed) to be.

  • Engineering OSX into a corporate-ready operating system that steals share from the Windows hegemony.

  • And, oh yes, evolving the iPod to be an indispensable part of people’s lives for years to come.

To read more ...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Intel unveils ATOM

This is one of the ground breaking product introduction from Intel. We at Intel believe this will fundamentally change how connected device will evolve. The ATOM processor uses only 3watt power compared to 35watt traditional Intel Architecture chips use. Now you have a package that is power efficient and uses existing Intel instructions from PC ecosystem (a huge asset) to start building compelling usages..

So let your creativity unleash and create innovative usages including innovative packages, software and applications....


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sun Microsystems to sell 'virtual' Windows PCs

Now who would have thought Sun would go to this length. But this shows the new found maturity and the savviness of the young CEO. Sun now with acquisition is able to provide a good stack for hosted desktop solution.

Sun Microsystems plans to introduce software and hardware to create "virtual" Windows and Linux personal computers that can be accessed via desktop machines, laptops and cell phones."We are going to announce (it) soon," said Steve Wilson, a Sun vice president involved in the project. The machines will compete with with ones from Citrix Systems Inc and VMware Inc

Sun bought an interesting company recently called innotek (VirtualBox) . It sounded at that time why anybody cares for yet another VMM vendor. But on looking through the technology portfolio one realizes what Sun was purchasing.

Sun was always interested in their IP. In last couple of months Sun has become a VDI player by repositioning the 15 years of experience from Sun Ray and others. But they use ALP protocol and had hole in RDP IP. VirtualBox fills in that niche very well. I have indicated that with Red lines in the picture .

This is a great move and now we have a good competition in the VDI space, watch out VMWare..

comments -

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Apple's Secret Weapon

Now more than a week has passed since "iPhone" release and hopefully we can start looking beyond Jesus Phone. Looks like things are getting back to normal and Apple is also ready to focus back on iPod. It is a good time to talk about things beyond iPhone. One of the key capabilities that Apple had been quietly rolling out into it's products and is very rarely talked about is the networking platform - "Bonjour". The secret new network based platform for Apple ecosystem that might mold into next gen P2P runtime.

Walter S. Mossberg from WSJ wrote a great piece last month titled "You're Using iTunes,But Are You Missing Some of the Fun? [$$]". He wrote

...Many people don’t realize that every time they install iTunes on a Windows PC, they also are installing Apple networking software called Bonjour, which operates independently from the Microsoft built-in network software controlled from the Windows Control Panel. This Apple network layer isn’t harmful and doesn’t interfere with the Microsoft networking functions. It’s designed to allow iTunes users to share their music...

Given the fact that there had been 300 Million iTune downloads and 100+million iPod sold, the Bonjour footprint is starting to look pretty impressive. Add to that AppleTV, Safari browser and the new iPhone (all with Bonjour) we are talking serious play in the Consumer space. This layer thought largely not exposed {yet} allows any media stored on any device to be streamed among any other "Bonjour" aware clients.

He wrote.. In effect, each copy of iTunes, with the user's permission, broadcasts a sort of beacon that signals its presence to other copies of iTunes on a local network, regardless of the operating system underneath. It makes the operating system irrelevant.

What Apple is effectively doing is creating an OS independent network of connected devices that requires zero administration, are part of a circle of trust, allow content to live anywhere in the local net (even internet as we saw how easily Apple was able to enable YouTube). Computer scientists have long dreamt of connected devices in the home where refrigerator talked to microwave and the music changed in the living room based on the person who walks in. But todays reality is far from that. But certainly Apple seems to be headed in the right direction.

It is amazing to see how Apple approaches the same concept of getting into your living room and into your Home Theater differently than Sony, Microsoft with Windows Media Server and even Intel with the ViiV. While Microsoft and Intel focused on the technology, worried about how to horizontalize and let an ecosystem of vendors come and innovate on top of the platforms, Apple is stealing the show by first organizing peoples music and then other media.

The beauty of Apple’s approach is how incrementally and piece by piece they are filling in pieces to this mega vision. In the process they have also become major force in Computing/Consumer Electronics and now Cellphone ecosystem.

First they start with a product (not in their core competency) – iPod. Connected it to their core product iMac and built a service around it iTunes (which btw also worked on Windows covering 99% of desktops). Then they added another complement AppleTV and now iPhone & Safari. Slowly they have circled around the Consumer Home, PC ecosystem and Cellphone and are establishing what Geoffery Moore would call a “New Platform boundary”.

Very very Interesting, this means a wider ecosystem, new types of complimenters and developers.....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sample Some of Disc, Sample Some Of D.A.T.*

Recently read about the famous "Sampling Case" that involved "George Clinton" . Yes the same George Clinton who ruled the 1970-1982 urban dance floors, mixing blues with earth-shaking bottom, cosmic consciousness, and some of the best guitar leads in dance music. He is also credited with giving birth to funk.

It is very interesting to see the parallels between music industry evolution and what virtualization driven digitization is doing to the computer industry.

Wikipedia describes Sampling "Act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or element of a new recording. This is typically done with a sampler, which can be a piece of hardware or a computer program on a digital computer. Sampling is also possible with tape loops or with vinyl records on a phonograph".

Sampling before the advent of CD's and digitization would have been a very laborious process. Imagine looping the tapes and making the cuts at the right spot. Digitization of music brought about these new usages that were not possible before and anybody could do that in their garage studio.

Also it opened a pandoras box for new issues for legal and copyright management. Again from wikipedia - " Early sampling artists simply used portions of other artists' recordings, without permission; once rap and other music incorporating samples began to make significant money the original artists began to take legal action, claiming copyright infringement. Some sampling artists fought back, claiming their samples were fair use".

Similarly digitization of desktops and server are starting to cause ripples through the existing models. Some of the rambling on new licensing around Virtual Hosted Desktops are already emerging. Early shots were fired by VMWare in an open letter and white paper, they wrote - "Microsoft is trying to restrict customers’ flexibility and freedom to choose virtualization software by limiting who can run their software and how they can run it ".

And Microsoft has responded, also changed some of the licensing terms . But the associated controversies around different class of licenses for OS's and more debate around it is just getting started. We can expect more fun in future when "Sampling" like cases are not far off as VM based virtualization technology becomes mainstream....

*Title inspiration "George Clinton's" CD

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Digitization of Desktop

Virtualization driven desktop consolidations are very much in news now. VMware with VDI got it started but very quickly others are rallying and catching on to the bandwagon. Citrix, Microsoft and others though late to the party are not sitting idle and are quickly catching up. Recent news on the licensing changes from Microsoft to support Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktops (VECD) looks like the tipping point for adoption of desktop virtualization by mainstream.

Also finally the technology solution to bring true Server Based Computing is finally seem to be mature enough. Things that were bad with old Server Based Computing models such as bad response times, shaky audio and rigid architectures & application ncompatiblities are giving way to more nimble and better performing solution offerings.

Lets just look at the protocols itself. It has come long way with the newer version of MS RDP and Citrix ICA it is now possible to do things like full duplex audio, video streams, local port redirection, local printer and drive support, multi-display and many more.

And on the end user side the client devices have been also getting better with advances in new System-On-Chip (SOC) form factors like ChipPC . Now we are getting all flavors/forms of devices that scale and adjust to the experience the solutions expects.

In my opinion this is going to start changing the landscape as newer and newer usages come under the grips of SBC. I think the move towards virtualization of physical entities is going to change the desktop ecosystem for ever. The implications are profound and first is the rise of stateless client devices (yeah I know cellphone had been doing this for sometime but I am talking of PC like devices). Second is the digitization of desktops leading to new usages.

Stateless Client Devices

in continuation of some of the trends I highlighted in my blog earlier on changing role of PCs, the client devices start continuing on its accelerated path towards becoming stateless devices. I am working on a follow on post on how the trend is fundamentally causing a divergence in the PC architecture in both on the consumer and enterprise side. More later

Digitization of Desktop leading to new uses

The digitization of desktop is the next wonderful field of opportunities. It is going to take us to a world of new players and new ecosystem. The analogy I give is that of music industry and the introduction of CDs. Digitized music meant the tape player and CD players became obsolete and we had the rise of mp3 players. But not only that, now you could have play lists, streaming of audios at track level, easy mixing and yes emergence of new type of marketplace like - iTunes. Also the old players and control points got replaced by new ones like Apple, Microsoft and Bittorent.

As value moves around New usages and new applications emerge, usages that were not possible before. For example take the case of IXIS corporation. They spoke in the last IDC conference on virtualization about their adoption of VDI. They are considering VDI for their heavy weight users who at one point had 6 PC Servers under their desktop. But the consideration to go VDI route was not driven just by the functionality of hosted desktops getting closer to that of real desktop but because of new usages. The traders in IXIS create sophisticated models and hence the need for more horse power . But in the new model they don't have 6 machines but 100s of them and they can provision new ones instantly. Also because of the flat file format of VMs (virtual machines) it means a trader can go and pull out a model that he did 30 days ago in
a blink of an eye - that my friend is real power and real new usages.

....does she care what server the desktop really ran on....or where the compute really happened???.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How IBM leverages Open Source

Dana Blankenhorn recently blogged about IBMs reaction to Sun’s Java plan and their approach to open source ecosystem. I think Dana summarizes it very well. IBM believes Open Source is a great technology floor on which others and even IBM builds. But as Dana points out, it is naive to treat IBM a Solutions and Services company with rest of the software industry players who are primarily software vendors like Oracle, SAP, RedHat and Microsoft.

IBM is a very interesting player in the Open Source ecosystem and in my opinion- The Best. They understand how it works and also how to leverage it to their business goals. To their customers they are the trusted business partner and certainly portray themselves as open and flexible. They are very smart about where to contribute to get influence in open source and what/how to consume that meets their business objective. And the wonderful thing is that they had been able to pull this off by not ruffling many feathers in the community.

In the changed software landscape of open source the core competency is not “ S/W features” but “Speed” - Speed by which a firm can leverage external innovations not by copying everything but by quickly assembling products from proprietary and open components.

In my opinion IBM believes that in the long run all software is going to be free and open and hence does not have much value in itself. But the trick is to extract as much value as possible during the journey to the end state. And to do that they leverage "Pluggable Integration Architecture" a “Lego blocks” type approach that can accommodate both proprietary and open source components. Pluggable Integration Architecture are the new influence points and hence allow “opening” their existing S/W product portfolio in increments and on their terms.

Eclipse showed how powerful pluggable architecture can be and certainly owning (in other words heavily influencing) the integration platforms that allow mixing of open and closed components is core to their strategy. In 1990 IBM tools were dismal but over time by using Eclipse as a way to build common integration framework IBM was able to transform its tools business. In the beginning Eclipse was a blob below proprietary WebSphere but over time the integration framework has been meshed into proprietary code positioning them well for future.

This totally changes the competitive landscape, now if market environment changes either from competitive pressure or by availability of better open source components; IBM now has a mechanism to respond fast. IBM can very easily slot in components from open source (like Apache httpd) and also commoditize components when it sees competitive threats (like modeling tools). By getting industry to adopt open integration framework they have a ready channel to slot in proprietary pieces on top of open pieces and IBM is in position to extract value on the road towards "Total Commoditization".

Now after having standardized the integration framework for tooling and IDE, IBM is now trying to do the same for runtimes. Geronimo is a great effort in that direction. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Already there are signs that it doing very well (Report: IBM Open Source-Based Application Server Growing Nearly Three Times Faster Than JBoss).

And regarding Java, I believe very soon IBM will get over the gloom and then it will embrace it to make it yet another Lego block in the puzzle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Discovering TimeBridge

I am sure you have had the Aha! Moments in your life and I had one of those last week when I saw TimeBridge at the Web 2.0 Summit. Scheduling with external customers had been a big pain for long time that both Stephen O'Grady and I have blogged before. This was an opportunity waiting to be snapped and I think TimeBridge is getting there.

TimeBridge has built a Personal Scheduling Manager that works across companies, time zones and calendaring systems. It is a “full service” service, in the sense that it provides help throughout the life cycle of setting up the meeting, lunch or other activity, including collaboration, distributing meeting materials and handling changes. It works for 1:1s as well as larger group meetings.

I played with their beta, it currently only works with Outlook but integrates very well with Outlook client. I could set meeting and anybody (even non-outlook) external users were able to use it through the website. What was missing was the ability to schedule meeting from the web applications itself. I am sure it is in the works.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Announcing - An enterprise 2.0 solution powered by Intel

Today Intel is announcing the launch of – a collection of web2.0 stack which is jointly developed by leading web2.0 players that include – MOVABLETYPE, SimpleFeed, Socialtext, Newsgator Spikesource.. We are announcing this at the currently ongoing Tim O’Reilly web2.0 conference at San Francisco, CA. SuiteTwo is a rich set of interconnected services that combine to improve productivity and enable high-engagement marketing. SuiteTwo includes the most trusted platforms for blogs, wikis, RSS feed reading, and RSS feed management, all under a single management interface.

This is a great first step for Intel in solving the ever increasing desire of enterprises to quickly deploy web2.0 technologies quickly inside the firewall. SuiteTwo. This had been a great effort at cross industry collaboration to bring solution to a sector quickly. Stay tuned we are already busy with version 2.0…

Sunday, November 05, 2006

PCs and web2.0 : Part 2 PCs the perfect Interaction Engines

Last week I talked about how the PCs existing role is being threatened by the evolving push towards services based applications. There is a widespread fear that web2.0 and SaaS will finally kill the thick Moore's law driven PC and we all will be either working of dumb terminals or the cell phone size devices that will run all our applications. Certainly skeptics and realists are arriving and last weeks blog by John Milan talked about how Google's desktop based application strategy is evolving. I believe that PC type high end compute devices will still be around but certainly with a new defined role of providing stateless and cheap raw computes.

Going forward PC will take on more the role of local storage/caching/execution device. It is already happening, PC in home is already the synching & charging station, music mixer & browsing device, Sam Ruby from IBM has a great presentation on the topic. While in enterprise PCs are quickly becoming thin state compute player with role based applications/kiosks becoming commonplace.

Thick Compute Thin State: The end user client nodes though loosing lot of application level computes to the cloud are certainly gaining lot of interaction level computes. Be it the browser based application that uses lot of rich AJAX code such as Zimbra or the role based deployments of enterprise applications. I remember somebody mentioning me that the Zimbra demos looked awful till Intel Core2Duo showed up, especially thru in the case of Apple Macs. Certainly with loosely coupled applications and mashups happening at the last mile the interaction level computes are bound to rise at the point of interactions. Added to that increasing desire of flexibility and agility prompts development at higher level abstracted languages, pushing performance as a back burner and certainly consuming MIPS very inefficiently.

The tipping of broadband adoption beyond 50%, the availability of cheap hardware and open source stacks have finally brought in the ability to break out from the limitations of client server model. Applications are not going to be written in the old ways and that means applications can finally be experienced differently. Application streaming vendors and role based deployment stacks are bridging the gap for existing client server applications in the enterprise space while in the consumer space everybody seems to be rallying behind web2.0

PC going from Multi Applications to Multi Player It was while working on the PDS project at IBM T.J Watson lab that we coined the term “Application Player” for the first time. Applications that can be experienced as a stream similar to watching a MPEG file or internet radio stream. The real implication was that now one could treat compiled applications and play it like any media using a S/W player. This meant that the composition and packaging of application is totally independent of the way applications are run. After all we always knew that runtime characteristics of an application is totally different from the design time and compose time characteristics, just didn't know how to manage it differently. By being able to separate these attributes it is now possible to pull in some of the composition and assembly aspect of application into the cloud, while also make the edge a better runtime stateless player. I think Microsoft is also thinking in the same line and the increased focus on declarative languages like XUL, XAML, FLEX makes it easier to reach there.

This is the biggest opportunity for PC. PCs can now become the perfect form of interaction engine. Finally the glue that stuck OS and applications to PCs are loosening and PCs could be redefined into a platform for interaction. Things like device driver models that have become a nightmare inside the Operating system could be pulled back to the hardware and used to putting up a softer face. It is time for us to look beyond the keyboard and mouse interfaces and provide an interaction based programming interface and tools that can be applied to things such as multi-touch, voice, conversational systems, 360° camera. PC's or PC type devices will start becoming the enabler of the local infoclound. And with the onset of virtualization technology in chips and open source VMMs now we have the basic building blocks to build this.

I am excited by the opportunity and believe this is just the beginning. The whole service orientation of applications and ability to experience the Application Anywhere Anytime is finally going to bring the information to fingertips and is heralding in new era for computer science.

PC is marching towards becoming the perfect “Interaction Engine” and who knows how many unintended uses will emerge. Here is one that is using exisiting PC hardware to predict Tsunami's using vibrations on your hard disk

Thursday, October 19, 2006

PCs and web2.0 : Part 1 What made PCs so successful

There is enough written about the success of the PCs, and the overall impact it has had over decades. PCs not only are attributed to increased productivity, economic gains and creation of the Information Technology business. I don’t have to delve into it very much. What I am trying to do is look at PCs and their role in the changing landscape of services based application, call it web2.0, SOA or some flavor of SaaS. I am using the term PCs very loosely here to refer to PC type devices that are the clients/desktops/notebooks that end user use.

PCs became successful because they were the ultimate “Multiple-Application” player. Before PCs compute capability was something that people with halos around their head worked on in the safety of cold closed enclosures. PCs changed all that, suddenly everybody had a platform on top of which they could write real world applications that solved real needs. It resulted in overall increased productivity but also gave us multiple booms including the massive Y2K spending.

But since the real PC innovation of early 80s things have not changed much. In fact if you look at various citing on history of PC almost all of them stop around 1985s. We had the Linux revolution but the fundamental physical form factor and H/W Spec never changed.

PC brought compute to the common man and hence replicated (in small form) the compute characteristics of standalone mainframes. Certainly it provided a steady platform for innovation to happen at the application level tied to the operating systems. Client-server world of applications design was always tuned towards replicating portions of computation and then doing some form of update between clients and server to get applications to work together. But for all practical reason they were individual units of compute. These PCs were not inherently designed to be working in connected world, Windows for Workgroup (3.11) was an almost an afterthought.

The PCs of the 90s performed three important tasks. Its foremost role used to be that of executing application. The process by which computer grinds through the bits of logical commands, interprets and produces intelligent stuff. Things that made Word run and PhotoShop do its magic.

By its very nature client PC needed to support the role of an “interaction interface” it second major role. The I/O interface that made computer understands humans and vice versa.

The third important role it provides is that of an information repository (mainly file store today). Repository that stores your life at home and vital files/data that makes businesses work

So the PC performed three basic functions – Application Execute, Interaction and Storage.

Even the advent of networking did not change this much. Before networking client-server compute meant you carried around physical copies of data and now in the networked world you could start each client node as an extension of the file-system from the server and vice versa. (Even that was not seamless though…topic for some other day)

The advent of web browser and pervasiveness of internet (now called web 1.0) did not change that much either. All it did was allowed distributed client nodes to uniquely point and click stuff that was on the other end. Now you could uniquely access files that were published anywhere in the world wide web and bring them to your machine for viewing or manipulating. The user experience was still very limited and was constrained by the requirements that the files had to now work in uniform way across multiple platforms and operating systems. So browser took the easy route – target the least common denominator. AJAX changes that a bit and is finally trying to bring client server compute to the browser.

One of the biggest thing Internet’s and popularity of HTML/Script showed was the real potential of separating User Interface (HTML) from code (JavaScript). Certainly the critics would say HTML was not the first but the point is HTML brought it to masses (technology that is not for masses is useless. I have seen enough of that in my days at IBM Watson labs). Style sheets and DOM finally drove the point home that separating U/I from the inherent logic have huge potential – not only to address transformation but also to scale and support personalization. This is the ground work that started us towards loosely binded U/Is, finally mashups are ready to take over where the promises of Composite Application left

What web2.0 drove home very clearly but the other industry trends like XUL, Laszlo, JSF, ASP+ were already doing was this notion of separating U/I from code. Coding U/I in a declarative form that could be processed independent of the application logic has become the cornerstone for U/I rendering including FLEX & XAML. And with the pervasive connectivity and increasing adoption of broadband, consumer now has a thicker/faster pipe coming the last mile. We now have the perfect ingredient to finally start separating the Application, Storage & Interaction.

Suddenly you are in a situation where Application Execute could be separated from Interaction and Storage could be distributed. Now PCs don’t have to do the role of data repository & application execution engine. Browsers have taken upon themselves to fulfill the role of platform and OS agnostic interaction engine. And there are anecdotal evidences that we are slowly moving toward that. For example BW says that in the last year the two niches in which PC Software have done very well (except OS) include “Security” (things you buy to make sure you have a working PC next time you want to do something useful) and PC Games. (One exception is the Turbo Tax which shows people still worry about where there sensitive data resides. But it could be a very US/Western phenomenon)

With pervasive connectivity and programming models that are easy to separate application, data storage and interaction it makes lot sense to pull some of the computation back into the cloud , You have better view of application and hence can do faster adaptive applications”.

Accessing “Appications AnyWhere Anytime” will continue. This mandates that applications need to scale/adjust to all forms of device forms and interactions. It also means that applications cannot assume its interaction type and this example of Google Earth where users have come up with a totally new way to interact with Google Earth is a great showcase of this capability. Certainly we will have more richer interactions happening as more and more content is created and the edge nodes starts getting sucked into the cloud.

Also separating data that can sit in the cloud allows all forms of ways in which data can be used (Maybe that is what Tim means when he says “Data is the next Intel Inside”). Interaction is the glue that connects user to the machine and will always be in the edge and there sits the biggest opportunity for an edge compute device or the “new PC

All is not lost for the old PC more on that next week……

Sony Mylo ready to rock

.. Sony announced a deal with T-Mobile that gives Mylo-users a year of free access to T-Mobile’s WiFi hotspots ...

This fixes a major hole in the Mylo strategy but now I think Mylo is ready to rock. Already it has got deal going with application vendors including GoogleTalk now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Intel: Meet Darwin

Pretty well put by Geoff Moore. A great guidance and lesson for anybody trying to be a platform player.

Dealing with Darwin demands counter-intuitive actions, specifically when the environment has changed in some fundamental way that invalidates one’s traditional source of competitive advantage. … The competitive advantage position is changed. It remains to be seen if Intel can adapt and define competitive advantages in adjacencies.

This past week Intel surprised analysts with the latest in a set of uncharacteristically weak performances, especially in comparison with AMD. This has led some analysts to question Paul Otellini’s suitability to lead the company, falling prey to an over-fixation on CEO behavior that serves up glib answers on demand. What is really going on is far more systemic and far-reaching.

Intel has lost proprietary architectural control over the x86 architecture. AMD demonstrated this conclusively by being the first to design and ship a 64-bit version of x86 called Opteron. Intel rapidly followed with a 64-bit Xeon, but the genie was out of the bottle. The market was able to follow AMD without waiting for Intel’s endorsement, effectively communicating the x86 had become an open standard.

How did this happen? The script is eerily familiar and was set in motion long before Mr. Otellini took the stage. It is a story of flight from cannibalization¸ a known form of business tragedy, with striking parallels to IBM’s abortive attempt to substitute a proprietary PS2 MicroChannel Architecture in place of the widely adopted EISA architecture that enabled PC-licensed clones to compete with it directly on price. In that case an incumbent gorilla sought to create distance between a low-end commoditizing standard and a high-end next-generation capability. Instead the market voted for a third alternative, an upgraded version of the commodity, in the form of the Compaq 386 PC..

So it has been with Intel and its attempt to divide the market between the “scale out” architecture of the x86 and the “scale up” architecture of the Itanium microprocessor family. To be sure, there is a real and valuable RISC replacement market that Itanium can and will address, one where it competes with IBM’s Power PC and Sun’s SPARC. But by attempting to minimize x86 cannibalization between the two market dimensions, Intel actually left the door open to AMD to create a third alternative, a 64-bit multi-core x86-compatible microprocessor, something the market has embraced with a vengeance.

That market response, in turn, installs AMD as the leader in this phase of x86 development, just as Compaq’s 386 stole the leadership mantle from IBM. Whether or not AMD can keep it is an open question. The significant fact is, it is now in play!

OK, now what? The key to navigating market dynamics going forward is to recognize that while markets based on proprietary standards can stabilize at splits as high as 90/10 (Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Cisco routers, IBM mainframes), those based on shared standards rarely tolerate more than a 20% gap between the lead vendor and its closest competitor (application servers, SQL databases, PCs, plasma TVs). Open choice with modest to low switching costs is the leveling influence. Under these dynamics, one would expect the Intel/AMD split of x86 products to stabilize at 60/40 or so, meaning AMD can gain another 20 points of share simply by showing up!

Now, of course, Intel can and will fight this shift, but if the genie truly is out of the bottle (I think it is, but the point is clearly debatable), then it is no longer a matter of if, only a matter of when the market “normalizes” (a condition which will certainly not look normal to Intel). That is why the company was correct when earlier this week it refused to launch an expected scorch-the-earth price war with AMD. It makes no sense to claw back market share in price-only competitions if there is no way to retain that share profitably. It does make sense, of course, to leverage the company’s immense manufacturing resources to fight profitable battles against AMD, slowing erosion and pocketing literally billions of dollars before the new equilibrium is achieved. But in a world of 60/40 splits, that is still a strategy of “not if, but when.”.

There is one other strategic alternative open to the company, one which admittedly at first glance looks like calling in an air strike on one’s own position: Intel could license the x86 architecture to one or two additional manufacturers! Why in the world would it ever do that? Well, 60 percent market share is a more powerful position in a 60/25/10/5 split than in a 60/40 split. The bet would be that the overwhelming preponderance of revenues going to vendors 3 and 4 would come at AMD’s expense, not its own.

Is this a good idea? Who knows? If it worked, it would be brilliant; if it failed, it would be idiotic. All one can say right now is that it would be an awfully gutsy bet. Would it be more gutsy than, say, Sun putting Solaris out as Open Source? Yes, because Sun was in direr straits at the time, not only losing the war against Linux but the battle against IBM and HP Unix as well.

My main point here, however, is that there are times when dealing with Darwin demands counter-intuitive actions, specifically when the environment has changed in some fundamental way that invalidates one’s traditional source of competitive advantage. Intel’s abandonment of its Intel Inside positioning in favor of migrating from a product to a platform innovation strategy (see earlier blog) is one manifestation of such action. It is a move that clearly anticipated the erosion of power we are now witnessing. But I have to believe Intel management assumed a softer landing than it is now experiencing. In any event, they have set a self-imposed deadline of 90 days to respond. When comes calling, it important not to keep him waiting in the lobby.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Time to quit?

Great piece by Seth Godin justifies why I left IBM


The Cowen Group reminds me of this piece I wrote about five years ago:

I just got back from lunch with my friend Doug Jacobs.

Doug just got another promotion. He works for a software company in Indiana, and over the last 14 years, he's had a wide range of jobs. For the first seven or eight years, Doug was in business development and sales. He handled the Microsoft account for a while, flying to Redmond, Washington, every six weeks or so. It was hard on his family, but he's really focused -- and really good.

Two years ago, Doug got a huge promotion. He was put in charge of his entire division -- 150 people, the second-biggest group in the company. Doug attacked the job with relish. In addition to spending even more time on the road, he did a great job of handling internal management issues.

A month ago, for a variety of good reasons, Doug got a sideways promotion. Same level, but a new team of analysts report to him. Now he's in charge of strategic alliances. He's well-respected, he's done just about every job and he makes a lot of money.

So, of course, I told him to quit.

“You've been there a long time, my friend.”

Doug wasn't buying it: “Yes, I've been here 14 years, but I've had seven jobs. When I got here, we were a startup, but now we're a division of Cisco. I've got new challenges, and the commute is great --”

I interrupted him before he could go on. I couldn't help myself.

Doug needs to leave for a very simple reason. He's been branded. Everyone at the company has an expectation of who Doug is and what he can do. Working your way up from the mailroom sounds sexy, but in fact, it's entirely unlikely. Doug has hit a plateau. He's not going to be challenged, pushed or promoted to president. Doug, regardless of what he could actually accomplish, has stopped evolving -- at least in the eyes of the people who matter.

If he leaves and joins another company, he gets to reinvent himself. No one in the new company will remember young Doug from 10 years ago. No, they'll treat Doug as the new Doug, the Doug with endless upside and little past.

Let's look at it from the perspective of evolution: Species that evolve the fastest are the ones that don't mate for life. By switching mates, swapping genes with someone new, you continually reshuffle the gene pool, making it more likely you'll create something new and neat and novel and useful.

Our parents and grandparents believed you should stay at a job for five years, 10 years or even your whole life. But in a world where companies come and go -- where they grow from nothing to the Fortune 500 and then disappear, all in a few years -- that's just not possible.

Here's the deal, and here's what I told Doug: The time to look for a new job is when you don't need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable. Go. Switch. Challenge yourself; get yourself a raise and a promotion. You owe it to your career and your skills.

No word back from Doug yet. How about you?

[this is post #1505 for my blog (I missed the milestone earlier in the week.) No plans to quit any time soon, I'm afraid].


Monday, March 27, 2006

Seven rules for corporate blogging

Great rules on best practises for corporate blogging by Nicolas Carr..

You (corporation) are getting into corporate blogging because you want to –

-Put human face to your corporate messaging
-Virally promote your side of the story
-Gain trust and credibility with the end user
-Be prepared for both positive and negative stuff – but are willing to do what is good for the customer

I certainly like his idea of having buddy and having a policy (lawyer stuff). Certainly the humans you put might err and say something stupid and it is possible that he/she might loose audience. But it is OK as long as corporation keeps away from the content he/she is putting out all they are doing is removing barrier to express opinions. And of course gain from the new insights about themselves they might get.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why is Scheduling Still So Damn Hard?

Stephen recently wrote

What I would love is to be able to offer - selectively or publicly - visibility into my calendar, with ACL based write access that's easy enough for anyone to use. The sheer amount of time this would save come conference time, when 10's or 100's of people are asking for time with us, would be worth its weight in gold. It would allow us to push the burden of scheduling onto those who request our time. You want to meet with us? Great. Here's the schedule, knock yourself out.

I totally agree this is the BLOG tool for the collaborative scheduling. What needs to be built is a standard way to export the calendar entries , I think iCal has a good shot at it and then some tools can be built to intermediate the negotiation. Another use case is where you don't really want to show all your calendar busy times but only show a view/subset of it. Anybody interested in collaborating on this one?

Friday, August 05, 2005

You've got to find what you love - Steve Job

Stanford Report, June 14, 2005 'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

Very inspiring piece

- Jobi


This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Plazes: Simple Solution to a really difficult problem

Simple Solution to a really difficult problem
Checkout :

Plazes is a grassroot approach to location-aware interaction, using the local network you are connected to as location reference. Plazes allows you to share you location with the people you know and to discover people and plazes around you.

Plaze = Location + Context:
A Plaze is a physical location with a local network - private or public, wired or unwired. A Plaze constitutes of the information about the actual location like pictures, comments and mapping information, as well as the people currently online at that Plaze.

Really cool.. My Coordinates today :-)

Amazon files for Web services patent

I think this is a very key patent to their approach in creating a marketplace for WebServices. Also tied in with their A9 efforts one can now not only search for the third party WebServices but also bind dynamically and pay to consume and disconnect. has received a public airing of its patent application for an online marketplace where consumers search and pay for Web services.
The patent application, filed last year and published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, marks the online retailing giant's latest attempt to make inroads into consumers' wallets.

Amazon, in its latest filing, is seeking to patent its idea for creating a marketplace where third-party Web services providers can link up with consumers.
In the marketplace, consumers can search for Web services and read comments and reviews from others who have used the service. Amazon can also provide the suppliers of these services with assurances that only authorized consumers can access their offerings...