Tuesday, December 30, 2003

'Saving' the Internet? | CNET News.com

'Saving' the Internet? | CNET News.com: "On Oct. 6, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Brand X Internet v. the Federal Communications Commission that has the potential to delay the progress of the Internet in the United States by certainly years and potentially decades. Through its actions, the 9th Circuit has 'invited' the 50 independent and natural bureaucratic state-based public utility commissions directly into the fold of the Internet. "

SAD: Not a quick, easy-reading article :-( but a worthwhile read, since the decision by the 9th circuit has fairly far-reaching effects on how Internet access will (or won't) be regulated...

2003's Top Ten IM Trends

2003's Top Ten IM Trends: "Both Microsoft and IBM see IM and presence being syndicated to third-party applications. As part of the new Notes and Domino release, Lotus Domino Designer will allow developers to add presence capabilities to applications that run inside of a Notes or Domino application layer. Microsoft is providing tools to allow for similar connectivity directly to customers, and through a bevy of partners. "
"For the moment, the convergence of wired and wireless IM has been predominantly driven by carriers' efforts to glean additional income from subscribers. But increasing evidence shows that businesses also want wireless IM and presence-enabled technologies -- making the ascendancy of mobile IM one of the probable big stories of 2004."

SAD: Not sure they're the top ten, but an interesting summary of events nonetheless...

Monday, December 29, 2003

Spicing Up Collaboration

Spicing Up Collaboration: "As a result, the firm's soon-to-be-released Pepper Keeper system borrows from concepts developed in enterprise collaboration and e-book technology. Like Notes, it's designed to support a number of applications that leverage the same technology -- which can be developed by business partners. Some applications will ship with the product out of the box and will enable users to create and share 'pages' of information, in the form of customizable journals or photo albums. Consumers will be able to purchase other applications that run on the platform and that function similarly, using the 'page' metaphor.

They'll also need to buy replacements once they 'fill' the pages of their current applications. That's because Pepper Keeper borrows from the model of the traditional notebook journal or photo album in that the applications' pages are 'consumable' -- that is, they're usable once. "

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Transatlantic Text Messaging Gets a Boost

Transatlantic Text Messaging Gets a Boost: "Verizon Wireless and Vodafone (Quote, Chart), two of the largest mobile carriers in the world, have teamed up to broaden the exchange of wireless text messages between North America and Europe -- and potentially increasing the technology's usage.

Starting early next year, customers of the leading U.S. carrier, Verizon Wireless, will be able to exchange messages sent using Short Messaging Service (SMS) with customers of Vodafone, the world's largest carrier and Verizon Wireless' partial owner."
"Underlying the two networks' new relationship is Vodafone's recent agreement with InphoMatch, a major player in routing SMS messages between networks. Specifically, the arrangement with InphoMatch removes technological hurdles barring Vodafone customers from exchanging messages with any of the non-GSM networks already serviced by InphoMatch, which has had Verizon Wireless as a customer since 2002. (However, interoperability agreements such as today's still need to be in place before messages can be exchanged.) "

SAD: The simple fact that some vendor can dictate who I can message with via my cell phone is problematic. Imagine at this day and age to be able to only call certain numbers from your cell phone? This may be one reason IM will win out over SMS longer term; at least users can decided for themselves who they communicate with once their cell phone is IM-enabled, cost being another issue altogether.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

ActiveBuddy Morphs Into Conversagent

ActiveBuddy Morphs Into Conversagent: "The New York-based firm, which markets bots, chat-based interactive agents, and the servers that power them for internal business and business-to-consumer use, said the branding change comes as it seeks to position itself as a provider of Web-based chat applications -- and reduce its brand reliance on instant messaging. That's a major change for a probably best known as the creator of the phenomenally successful SmarterChild consumer IM bot. "
Nevertheless, the move by the firm to distance itself from IM would seem to speak a great deal about the prospects for almost any sort of customer-facing IM application. After all, ActiveBuddy was one of the pioneers in IM-based consumer marketing, launching IM bots itself or providing technology to agencies to on behalf of Keebler, Dr. Pepper/7-Up Company, and New Line Cinema.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

CMP Media

CMP Media: "Unified Communications (UC) promises to change this time-drain. By blending a company's wireless and wireline communications with unified messaging, presence intelligence, and user-provided routing instructions, companies can improve customer response time, reduce message overload, eliminate phone tag, and enhance remote collaboration. "

SAD: Although the title indicates unified communication, it is an interesting read on SIP and presence as well...

Akonix Nabs $11 Million

Akonix Nabs $11 Million: "Enterprise instant messaging gateway player Akonix Systems has $11 million in new financing to help it continue making a name for itself in the hotly competitive arena for business IM solutions. "
In connection with the broadening interest in enterprise IM solutions, the cash injection also comes following what Akonix said was a record third quarter, in which it added more than 50,000 licensed customer seats and doubled revenue from the previous quarter.

At the same time, the new financing also continues the hot interest in enterprise IM solutions from the venture capital arena. Early this year IMlogic closed $14 million in new financing. In late 2002, FaceTime landed an undisclosed amount of new funds in November from Bank of America, bringing its total backing to more than $40 million.

SAD: The interesting parallel to follow for similar industry growth would be that of the early email infrastructure add-on vendors, those that provided SMTP gateways, security services, management tools, etc. Most of the add-on market products will eventually have to be features of the core IM platform so it will be interesting to see these companies adapt accordingly.

Monday, December 08, 2003

AOL Preps Live Video IM

AOL Preps Live Video IM: "America Online is poised to unveil the next version of its client software, and which includes an enhancement to its built-in instant messaging that offers streaming videoconferencing.
The Dulles, Va.-based Internet giant, a unit of New York media conglomerate Time Warner (Quote, Chart), plans to launch the next version of its flagship client software, codenamed Tahiti, early into 2004. With that release, the AOL software should include capabilities enabling AOL subscribers to initiate streaming video sessions from within an IM conversation. "

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Yahoo! News - IBM taps FaceTime to support WebSphere portal

Yahoo! News - IBM taps FaceTime to support WebSphere portal: "He added that this level of functionality in IM systems has been around for a while, from companies such as FaceTime and its rival IMlogic Inc. However, IBM has now decided which company it's going to work with. FaceTime was the obvious choice, said Gardner, because IMlogic is pretty rooted with Microsoft. "

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Microsoft Connecting Web Conferencing with IM

Microsoft Connecting Web Conferencing with IM: "The Redmond, Wash., company plans to go as far as to introduce in 2005 a server-based version of Live Meeting, something the company hinted at when it introduced Live Meeting 2003 in September. While details are still being worked out, the server version will either be a stand-alone offering or a feature within Microsoft's Office Live Communications Server presence and IM software introduced with Office System 2003 in October, said David Hastie, product manager in the real-time collaboration group. "

SAD: I'd be expecting much more news on the integration front - there is a lot of low hanging fruit for Microsoft to act on that will be very useful and competitive in the marketplace...

Macromedia Adds AIM, ICQ to Central

Macromedia Adds AIM, ICQ to Central: "'This is huge for us,' said AOL spokesman Derick Mains. 'Flash developers are the third largest community of developers behind Windows and Java, and this gives us access to that entire community. And for the Flash developers, it gives them this great tool for building in presence and messaging.'
Additionally, it's also a plus for Macromedia, which becomes the first channel by which independent developers can gain access to an AIM/ICQ SDK and APIs. Until now, most independent development work has been subject to retaliation by AOL because it leveraged AIM's OSCAR protocol without permission.
'This can help AOL and Macromedia, but it also helps the whole developer community,' said Lea Hickman, senior director of market development at Macromedia. 'It's added functionality that they could do in Central that they couldn't do anywhere else ... This is the first time that AOL has opened up and licensed out their messaging, so it's actually a huge deal.' "

SAD: Saying it's a huge deal is an understatement, speaking from personal experience...

Yahoo! News - SCO Escalates Linux Legal Battle

Yahoo! News - SCO Escalates Linux Legal Battle: "'When SCO bought [Unix System V rights] from Novell, there was non-compete language that would prevent Novell from competing against the core offerings of SCO,' McBride said during the conference call. 'Linux is a knockoff of Unix. There can't be a more straightforward reading [of the non-compete clause].'
McBride noted that SCO won't retreat from its position unless Novell changes its plans to buy the Linux distribution. 'There's nothing [for us] to respond to yet, but when the transaction is complete, they will be violating the non-compete. And if they do what they say they will do--go out and compete [with SCO]--then yes, we will take the appropriate measures to enforce that non-compete.' "

SAD: This is why you need to have strong strategy and business development folks. I hope for Novell's sake that they really didn't sign the non-compete that SCO asserts here...

Monday, November 17, 2003

Daily Times - Site Edition

Daily Times - Site Edition: Google unveils browser-free Web search: Google Deskbar, released the other day, appears as a search box in the Windows toolbar. After the search words are entered, a resizable mini-viewer pops up with the results. Users can jump to the site within the mini-viewer or launch their browser. Unless a program is filling the screen or the user has set the taskbar to automatically hide, the search box is always visible. With a keyboard shortcut, the cursor can be moved to it without moving the mouse. Though the software is free, Google does get some exposure on the desktop: The company’s logo appears faintly in the search box when words aren’t being typed into it.

Mercury News | 11/15/2003 | Google puts coders to the test

Mercury News | 11/15/2003 | Google puts coders to the test: "Thomas Rokicki, 40, director of technology at Sunnyvale's Instantis, was the oldest finalist. He faced long odds, competing against the young ``savants,'' he said. So he took a risk, trying the hardest problem first to gain more points. The gamble failed, and he tumbled to around 20th. Still, he insisted that coding skill doesn't decline with age. It's just that older folks get rusty with lack of practice. Besides, he'd almost cracked the toughest problem: ``If I'd had five to 10 minutes more minutes, I'd be the one sitting up there with a big smile and a check in my hand,'' he said."

SAD: The OLDEST finalist --- at 40? I think there was a typo.......
EBay's Founder Meets an Idea That Reminds Him of His Own: "Like eBay, Meetup is turning out to be a bigger idea than it may have appeared at first. The concept is to use the Internet to set up face-to-face meetings among people of like interests, rather than the pseudonymous message boards that are considered communities on the Internet. "

What Mr. Heiferman did not expect was how the Web site would become instrumental in Howard Dean's presidential campaign. In January, Joe Trippi, Dr. Dean's campaign manager, heard that a small group of Dean supporters was arranging get-togethers using the site. Soon he persuaded Meetup to let the campaign formally use the site to organize supporters and to get their e-mail addresses - with permission.

"We hadn't realized that we had created a great user mobilization tool," Mr. Heiferman said.

Friday, November 14, 2003

silicon.com - Apple 'world's fastest' ad banned from UK TV

silicon.com - Apple 'world's fastest' ad banned from UK TV: Television regulators have banned an ad for Apple Computer's Power Mac G5, saying its claim to the title 'world's fastest personal computer' is not fully supported.

"While reviewers initially gave the ad the OK, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) this week decided to take action after receiving eight complaints from viewers. The agency concluded: 'There was insufficient evidence to support the claim 'world's fastest, most powerful personal computer'.' "

SAD: Tough audience...I guess someone actually pays attention to ads, go figure!

IMPlanet News Briefs

IMPlanet News Briefs: "'With the number of IM sessions taking place in the business sector expected to almost triple this year, and so much uncertainty regarding IM products, integration strategies and business value, there's a significant need for comprehensive research examining these issues,' says Paul Ritter, Yankee Group program manager for collaboration research, said in a statement released earlier in the week. "

SAD: I imagine we'll see more comprehensive research reports on IM, dynamic collaboration and more importantly the 'P' word -- presence...

Cisco Joins Conferencing Battle

Cisco Joins Conferencing Battle: "While Cisco examines ways to tie MeetingPlace into its offerings, Latitude has made some recent steps of its own toward integrating the product into related technologies. In August, the firm struck a deal with FaceTime Communications, an instant messaging management gateway vendor, that sought to create an MeetingPlace add-on enabling users to launch Webcollaboration, document sharing and voice conferencing from IM sessions.
Slated to be launched later this quarter as the MeetingPlace IM Gateway, the add-on would provide these capabilities to business workers using the major public IM networks -- such as AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and MSN Messenger -- or enterprise IM solutions like Lotus Instant Messaging, Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Live Communications Server. "
The Redmond, Wash., giant recently released a new version of LiveMeeting with the Office 2003 package. "Microsoft's desktop franchise provides a big competitive advantage through integration with Office and Outlook," SG Cowen analysts said.

Cisco's arrival on the scene is likely a negative for WebEx, the San Jose, Calif., company that controls about 65 percent of the Web conferencing market, SG Cowen analysts said.

SAD: I would be looking for an extended relationship between Yahoo and Webex at this point...desperation isn't a strong basis for a relationship, but that hasn't stopped others from using it as a model...

Boston.com / Business / Technology / Free calls? So what's not to like?

Boston.com / Business / Technology / Free calls? So what's not to like?: "'If I were running an incumbent carrier, I don't think I would be terribly concerned about Skype at the moment, but I'd have it on my radar screen,' said Nancy Kaplan, a vice president with Adventis, a Boston telecom consulting firm. 'Having it be strictly computer-to-computer is somewhat limiting, but I think anybody who has to make a significant amount of international calls will find this interesting.'
Even if Skype is not a silver bullet aimed at the heart of conventional phone companies, Kaplan and other analysts expect it can be one more factor accelerating the erosion of their business. Skype could make deep inroads in certain now-lucrative markets, such as college students who make long phone calls or people who call family and friends overseas."

SAD: The title sums it about here. It's true that the short-term threat is for long distance services, but it's too easy to see the long-term threat against the Bell companies and cable companies (who want to extract dollars above the IP packet traffic). The quality, which I'll continue to crow about, is simply amazing - with only brief annoyances that, when you're paying nothing, are very easy to deal with.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

"Linux is great" says Microsoft That magpie attitude, according to Microsoft, is mutual. Red Hat’s decision to end support for its free software and the Novell-SuSE link-up have put the last nail in the coffin of the free software model, the Redmond behemoth believes - even going so far as to speculate that the move from free to paid-for open source software is a validation of Microsoft’s way of doing business and the only way the open source movement can survive.

SAD: Sometimes there are a few things that only your competitors can answer for you...such as this

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Forbes.com: Your Own Digital Master Clock

Forbes.com: Your Own Digital Master Clock: "The latest version of Microsoft's (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) Windows and Apple Computer's (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) OS both have a 'date and time' settings control panel that lets you synchronize your computer's internal clock with time servers. Both run their own time servers: Apple's has an address of time.apple.com, while Microsoft's is at time.microsoft.com. You also have the option of selecting the time server of your choice, including those run by the chief time keepers of the U.S., the National Institute of Standards and Time or the U.S. Naval Observatory."

SAD: A nice feature that I probably should have known, but didn't, was built into Windows XP. I was doing a search on what time sync software I wanted to install on my system (for purposes of digitally recording material based on time) and, voila, something else the OS takes care of automatically.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage: "CERN, whose laboratories straddle the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, said it had sent 1.1 Terabytes of data at 5.44 gigabits a second (Gbps) to a lab at the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, on October 1.
This is more than 20,000 times faster than a typical home broadband connection, and is also equivalent to transferring a 60-minute compact disc within one second -- an operation that takes around eight minutes on standard broadband."

SAD: I can see the headlines arleady: "Hollywood goes way of the music companies filing lawsuits to stop pirating"

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check

Via Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check: "'Microsoft has won a patent for an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.
The patent encompasses a feature that's not only on Microsoft's IM products but also on those of its rivals America Online and Yahoo. The patent was granted on Tuesday.'"

SAD: Referring to the news summary of notifying "users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message," IBM Instant Messaging (formerly Sametime) had this feature when it shipped in December 1998. Beyond that, Lotus had prototype versions in development with this feature back in mid 97'. I don't know the prior art that exists within Microsoft but the filing of December 2002 indicates there was known prior art.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The changing face of dot.comraderie | csmonitor.com

The changing face of dot.comraderie | csmonitor.com: "The leader among these virtual fraternities is Friendster. Launched in March, it is still in a testing phase. Over the summer, its servers sputtered under a surge in traffic. Some 2 million users have caused high-profile players in Silicon Valley to take notice, collectively investing $1 million earlier this month. Also in trial mode, Tribe.net, the newest in this spate of sites, has attracted 15,500 users since its launch in August."

"Tribe is trying to reconcile the technology with the sociology. Unlike Friendster's, Tribe's users can adjust the size of the community they're looking through, so someone looking for a loan can restrict the search to close friends, and someone searching for a couch could hunt through their extended network."

Monday, September 29, 2003

Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die

Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die 2. Coal-Based Power Coal isn’t so much a “technology” as a whole school of them, all of them bad or worse. Coal was the primeval fuel of the industrial revolution. Coal powered the first steam engines, whose killer app was pumping stagnant water out of coal mines. It powered the railroads, whose killer app was moving coal.

Unfortunately, we’ve been doing this coal trick for some two hundred years now, and coal is getting uglier by the day. If your accountants rival Enron’s, you can claim that coal is a cheap fuel. Add in acid rain, climate damage, and medical costs, and it swiftly becomes dead obvious that coal is a menace. Coal spews more weather-wrecking pollutants into the air per unit of energy than any other fossil fuel. Extracting coal destroys vast tracts of land. Coal mining is one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

If coal vanished tomorrow, we’d miss it: the U.S. would lose a quarter of its energy supplies. But that shortfall, daunting though it is, cannot compare to the ghastly prospect of blackened skies over China and seas rising out of their beds. The sooner we rid ourselves of this destructive addiction, the less we will have to regret.

SAD: An interesting list that includes the combustion engine, incandescent light bulbs, manned space travel, nuclear weapons among others.

Mercury News | 08/17/2003 | Budding buddy business

Mercury News | 08/17/2003 | Budding buddy business: "Another company with buzz is Palo Alto's Spoke Software. Spoke is led by Ben Smith, who worked as a senior adviser to the Secretary of Transportation, where he was one of the leaders in the department's strategy to contain further attacks by Al-Qaeda.
So far, Spoke has reaped $9.2 million in venture capital from US Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures and Partech.
Spoke mines users' Outlook e-mail flow to compile a list of contacts. Then, if it has access to the users' contacts' e-mail flow, it searches those too. It also trawls the Web and other sources of public data for connections. It also searches beyond four degrees of separation."

SAD: An article highlighting a few of the companies targeting the social networking opportunity, including Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze, Tribe Networks and Spoke. So many interesting thoughts around 'automated' networking.

Friday, September 26, 2003

IBM Boosts IM, Presence in Lotus 6.5

IBM Boosts IM, Presence in Lotus 6.5: "But Microsoft and IBM are following increasingly divergent plans when it comes to client support. With its Office 2003 suite, Microsoft is pinning its strategy on the dedicated, desktop client as the future of productivity applications. Microsoft's offering -- based on Office 2003, Office Live Communication Server, Office SharePoint Services and other technologies -- also is aimed squarely at the Windows platform. "

It's been a long time coming for IM (Sametime) and Notes - formal plans started in 97'! :-( The benefit story, however - regardless of delay, has only gotten stronger as infrastructure, applications and most importantly mindset have caught up with the initial concepts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

patrickWeb - Long Distance Feedback

patrickWeb - Long Distance Feedback: "There is a lot of feedback from readers about the last few stories where I discussed 'long distance'. Some are saying, 'yeah verily', others are saying 'not so fast'. This is understandable given that we are beginning to go through a very disruptive period with regard to telephony. We are 5% of the way into what is in store for us. (read more).
One concern was raised by Tony Paulson who pointed out that 911 service is not available via the new SIP services. This is a valid point and there are likely other important services that are not available in the world of VoIP. This is to be expected at this stage. When tcp/ip (the protocols of the Internet) began to get attention in the mid 1990's, people immediately pointed out the shortcomings -- and there were many.
The point that is easy to overlook is about the power of 'grass roots', standards, and the 'community'. Just like the Internet and the Web, VoIP is unstoppable. I can feel the grass roots movement around SIP (the protocol for voice over the Internet) just like what is happening with blogging and WiFi. There is no stopping it. Stay tuned."

SAD: Just recently I signed up with Vonage for their unlimited local/long distance VoIP calling plan (34.99/month). The ordering and installation was simple enough. The sound quality is OK, but there is an ever so slight delay and echo that is frustrating. The issues seem to be more prominent on my end as I've solicited people during and after conversations and they don't seem to have these issues. The delay is more frustrating because it is ever so slight but just enough to cause hesitation during highly interactive calls. That said, it is also helping me be a better listener since it slows me down and forces me wait for the other person to stop talking. It's not just my perception either as my wife, unsolicited, complained of the same two things. I've emailed Vonage to see if there is something that can be done and will update with any resolutions offered.

The bigger issue, highlighted by John, is the challenge baby bells will have responding to these new technologies and delivery mechanisms. I called up Verizon, my local phone company, and asked for their competitive offerings. The representative described their Verizon Freedom plan to me - for a total of 54.99/month (taxes extra) it offers unlimited local/long distance calling. I asked if he could compete with the Vonage offer and said "our pricing is Government regulated and it takes us 4-6 months to adjust pricing" and as a result " we don't have a more competitive rate to offer you at this time." The scary part is that Vonage was the most expensive of the options I investigated. The other providers, Packet8, iConnecthere, etc. were 50 to 75 percent cheaper than Vonage! FYI: Vonage was the only provider that offered me a local exchange for my town that would make it free for others to call me (less of a concern when everyone adopts the VoIP model, but for now it is important).

Per John's comments about 911 - Vonage allows you to enter information into their database so that when you call 911 the information you enter will be used to provide location information to the emergency services. There are issues surrounding this such as out-dated information in the database, etc. I don't know how widespread the support for this capability is but they are addressing the fundamental services as well as cost.

The big concern is: do I trust Comcast (my cable company) to provide reliable broadband service such that I can depend on it like I do my existing copper phone lines? If the past is a predictor of the future, I have a feeling I may not cancel my local Verizon phone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Pito's Weblog

Pito's Weblog: "Audio doesn't work that way. It tends to be much more sequential - you have to kind of stay with it for a certain period of time (maybe not beginning to end, but starting in the middle often is not workable.) So it doesn't lend itself that well in my opinion to the blog mode of communicating - and especially not the blog mode of 'consuming' (reading/hearing.)
Yes, the hearing the author's voice reacting to thoughtful questions is a major additional dimension to the experience, but using Radio as a radio may not work that well."

This is an interesting observation that not only applies to blogging but anytime one would like to consume content non-serially, what's been referred to as newspaper reading (scan titles, read a piece of an article, jump to the sports page, etc.). Imagine TiVo-like controls on a blog? By giving multiple navigation speeds, in both directions in an easy-to-use manner, this would offer slightly better control. How about a Gotuit-like experience that offers an index allowing the consumer to pick and choose which pieces they wish to consume? How about a multimodal experience that combines all of today's existing capabilities; a hyper-linked index of the media with text or audio/video fingerprints for quick scanning, an audio-to-text conversion allowing a user to quickly scan and switch modes to listen to the most interesting portions? There is tremendous opportunity to expand the blog experience with rich media content without losing the 'newspaper' consumption mode.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Broadband access to the home, change is needed now.

There needs to be a better model of access to the home. With the potential that IP-based services offer, it's a shame to have only one service provider – or two, if you're lucky, that ultimately dictate broadband access policies for your home. What are annoying issues with my provider today will become paramount tomorrow. Small issues such as IP address assignment, hosting restrictions (for those that think a server might actually play a role in the home), and of course cost and reliability guarantees. Can I trust my broadband service provider (in my case, Comcast) to do the right thing by me when it comes time to expand services in my home? Today, there are policies, mostly not enforced, that restrict the number of PCs, the types of devices - such as routers, etc., that you can have installed and 'officially' supported. Since the policies are only randomly enforced they produce little conflict today. As more and more services are enabled through IP communication and more home media and home automation solutions are brought to market, will your broadband provider do the right then? It seems we have to trust that they will give the trajectory of the market and the regulatory bodies governing this critical piece of infrastructure.

In an article silicon.com - Q&A: Vint Cerf on VoIP: Vint Cerf talks about VoIP but also argues this same point:

"The Bells' fibre to the home initiative dredges up some pretty complex regulatory issues, correct?
I haven't been a very happy camper about the regulatory positions taken on this. These new networks all ought to be openly accessible to any ISP for a reasonable price. If that were the policy, then every customer, business or consumer would have a choice of ISPs over those broadband facilities. Under the current situation, there's almost no choice. So that's a far more restrictive environment than we had with dial-up. Broadband shouldn't be any different, but it is based on my current understanding of the triennial review by the Federal Communications Commission. I've been arguing we should really open up all these broadband facilities. "

Replay Radio - Internet Radio Recorder

Replay Radio - Internet Radio Recorder: "Replay Radio is an incredibly easy way to record radio broadcasts. Just pick your favorite radio show, or select a station and a time range, and Replay Radio records it for you. It's like a VCR for the radio. Now you can listen to your favorite radio shows whenever and wherever you like! (Click here for a screenshot tour.) "

Haven't tried this but it could be an interesting gadget for quick radio listening - although I wish Gotuit Audio would emerge into product mode!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Fast Company | The New Normal

Fast Company | The New Normal: "Here's the 'normal' part of the New Normal. If there's anything you need to understand about this environment, it's that the time scale has returned to a more rational level. Internet time measured everything in days or weeks. New Normal time is measured in years (probably not 3; more like 5 to 7, or even 10)."

An interesting Q&A with Roger McNamee (founder of Silver Lake Partners) with lots of sage advice for entrepreneurs based on his view of the economy and tech market.

Ananova - £150,000 for 'ultimate boy's toy'

Ananova - £150,000 for 'ultimate boy's toy': "The ultimate 'boy's toy' - a high-speed land and water vehicle - has been launched on the River Thames."

It's the kind of vehicle I would buy if I built my house where it didn't belong (you know, homes in designated flood zone and costal water homes).

Friday, September 12, 2003

AT&T to offer DSL in more areas | CNET News.com

AT&T to offer DSL in more areas | CNET News.com: "The telecommunications giant on Thursday said it would offer digital subscriber line (DSL) service to customers in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. The expansion builds on an announcement in July, when AT&T began offering DSL to customers in New York.
In each of these areas, pricing for the DSL service will be $19.95 for the first three months, and then $39.95 every month after. AT&T will offer a plan with faster download speeds for $49.95 a month as well. The charges are in addition to the normal cost of the phone service. All services will be offered through a partnership to resell DSL lines offered by Covad Communications. "

Somehow I think I'll still be an island floating outside the reasonable CO radius...but I can hope (2 years and counting on the Verizon 'call list' when they get DSL near my house)

Big Blue's New Experiments in Real-Time Communications

Big Blue's New Experiments in Real-Time Communications: "One early, yet promising project at the company is known as Socializer. It's a prototype of an open, distributed, peer-to-peer platform with capabilities including chatting, file transfers, application sharing and broadcasting and discovery of services.
Socializer users can create profiles and exchange personal information with others, and in finding others with whom to collaborate, can search and filter by profile information.

Socializer users can create profiles and exchange personal information with others, and in finding others with whom to collaborate, can search and filter by profile information. "

It's nice to hear IBM thinking about new ways to collaborate but I suspect it's going to take more than skunk-work projects to continue the necessary advances...

Tivo and the supposed first mover advantage

First Mover Disadvantage: Forbes Online has an article this morning that discusses TiVo and the slower than expected adoption rate of the device given all of the praise:
'That's really remarkable,' says Adi Kishore, a media and entertainment analyst for the Yankee Group in Boston. 'I can't think of any product that has had the satisfaction levels it has had but has been as sluggish in terms of the growth of the market. It's certainly unusual for a product to have this kind of enthusiasm from the community that's using it without being able to tip over and really become a mass-market phenomenon.'
Currently, TiVo, which hit the market more than four years ago, serves fewer than 800,000 subscribers. Only about 1% of America's households employ TiVo or similar digital video-recording products, according to the Consumer Electronic Association. By comparison, market penetration for DVD players has hit 41% and is rising, making it one of the most rapidly embraced products in history.
The article goes on to argue that TiVo suffers from a first mover disadvantage: it's a product that will create a market but only appeal to early adopters who will quickly churn out to the next greatest thing. There is no doubt that TiVo has had to create this market itself and suffers from the same arrows in the back that have taken many pioneers down.
But to me, TiVo suffers from another great entrepreneurial problem -- it's a feature, not a product. I have the bundled DirecTV/TiVo and it works beautifu"

Two intereting points here via VentureBlog: The first is the reality of what it takes to be a feature vs a product; the second is that I was recently told only scouts take arrows in the back - pioneers take them in the chest ;)

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Google Toolbar 'BlogThis' Rankles Rivals

Google Toolbar 'BlogThis' Rankles Rivals: "Search technology powerhouse Google has released a new beta of its popular Internet Explorer toolbar, adding bells and whistles for surfers. But the integration of a 'BlogThis' feature isn't sitting well with some blog software firms.
Just months after its acquisition of the Blogger 'push-button' Web publishing platform, Google has added a 'BlogThis' feature in version 2.0 of the toolbar. But because it's exclusive to Blogger users, rival firms are worried Google might use its wild popularity to sideline the competition.
'BlogThis' automatically connects to Blogger accounts to let uses create a Weblog post pointing to the page on the browser. But, that exclusivity means users of rival blogging software -- like Radio UserLand and Six Apart's Movable Type -- have been shut out completely.
UserLand CEO Dave Winer posted a mock blogger image Thursday, chiding Google for missing an opportunity to be generous to the Weblogging community."

[SAD] oops, I'm sorry I didn't know that businesses were supposed to be generous. It does demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of concentrated power. Since Microsoft, supposedly, is focusing their sights on Google it will be interesting to see how Google uses its dominant position to squelch those nipping at its ankles.

Microsoft Unveils Collaborative Development Environment

Microsoft Unveils Collaborative Development Environment: "Moving to create a collaborative environment for .NET developers similar to what SourceForge offers for open source, Microsoft (Quote, Company Info) last week opened the doors to GotDotNet Workspace 1.0.
GotDotNet is Microsoft's community site related to its Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN). 'GotDotNet's focus is definitely on community features and content driven by the community,' Katherine Lagana, MSDN team, general manager of GotDotNet, told internetnews.com.
Workspace is an online collaborative development environment where .NET developers can create, host and manage projects throughout the project lifecycle.
While many of the features of Workspace are similar to those offered through Microsoft's Sharepoint Services, Lagana said Workspace is not based on Sharepoint Services. "The origins are different," she said. "We're focused on hardcore coders who want to access each other across companies and continents. Sharepoint is targeted at all audiences. Workspace is dedicated to the developer."

[SAD] The model, whether it is competing against the open source world or just prep work for the larger outsourcing world, is a good one overall.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Tools reveal secret life of documents

BBC NEWS | Technology | Tools reveal secret life of documents: "Every time you write or edit these files you leave a trail of information revealing what you did and when you did it.
Even if you turn off the change tracking options in popular word processing packages, background tasks keep a minimal log of what happened when. "

"Mr Murfitt from Mekon said many firms were now looking at installing systems that make it easier to collaborate on documents and that log who did what. He said banking and legal regulators imposed strict working practices on firms that force them to record the life histories of documents that result in new products or are involved in court cases."

Microsoft offers free e-book downloads | CNET News.com

Microsoft offers free e-book downloads | CNET News.com: "In a move aimed at bolstering the use of its Microsoft Reader program, the software giant announced on Wednesday that it would offer free downloads of e-book bestsellers over a 20-week period. "

"As part of the five-month promotion, users can download three e-books a week from Microsoft's Web site via a Pocket PC, a Tablet PC, a laptop or a desktop. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, and Fear Itself by Walter Mosley are among the titles offered."

[SAD] Hmm, three books a week for 5 months - OK, I'll give it a try!

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Venture Capital: Dashboard device helps navigate road jams

[SAD] and then there is the ostrich approach to new advances...

"Metro Networks, which provides traffic information to most of Seattle's TV and radio stations, is not using the TrafficGauge system for its daily reports, general manager Gary Taylor said. With three airplanes and a helicopter, Taylor said, his company's reports provide much more detail than anything a commuter would receive over a hand-held device."

[SAD] I don't want to go out on a ledge, but I suspect media and computers might merge some day, even in the car!

NET Act: 17 U.S.C. and 18 U.S.C. as amended (redlined)

[SAD] For those curious Kazza, et al, users who want to know what laws they are violating...I suspect this will be one of the least read entries in the blog! ;-)

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Business 2.0 - Web Article - Can't Get to That Meeting? Send a Bot.

Business 2.0 - Web Article - Can't Get to That Meeting? Send a [ro]Bot. HP Labs recently invited a bunch of journalists to check out the company's latest experiment, a robotic meeting surrogate that turns teleconferencing into telepresence. The idea is that if you have to attend a remote meeting, you virtually "inhabit" the surrogate bot and send it in your place (one assumes that the bot would already be at or near the meeting location). After all, if the military can separate its pilots from its airplanes with a remote-control link, why can't the ordinary business traveler separate his body from the conference room?

WSJ.com - Nullsoft Founder Frankel Says He Intends to Resign

WSJ.com - Nullsoft Founder Frankel Says He Intends to Resign Justin Frankel, 24, announced his intentions late Monday on his Web site, less than a week after a file-sharing program called Waste was posted and then pulled from the Nullsoft Web site.
"The company controls the most effective means of self-expression I have," he said in his Web log. "This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leav (sic). I don't know when it will be, but I'm not going to last much longer."

File-Sharing Program Slips Out of AOL Offices

File-Sharing Program Slips Out of AOL Offices Whatever Mr. Frankel's cause, AOL was anything but enthusiastic. Less than 24 hours after the new program was released, the company pulled it from the Nullosft site. On Friday evening, it posted a stern warning informing anyone who had obtained a copy that the release had not been authorized.
"You acquired no lawful rights to the software and must destroy any and all copies of the software, including by deleting it from your computer," the notice reads. "Any license that you may believe you acquired with the software is void, revoked and terminated."

I bet this will be the last time nullsoft will 'slip' anything out the door. What's interesting is there was a lot of talk about 'Waste' prior to the release...so it's amazing they were able to leak it out in the first place...

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Wired News: So Much for the Freelance Economy

Wired News: So Much for the Freelance Economy The trend suggests that predictions of an economy run by freelancers -- such as those made by Daniel Pink in his book Free Agent Nation, and by MIT's Thomas Malone and Robert Laubacher in their 1998 paper, "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy" -- were shortsighted.
In 2000, research firm EPIC/MRA of Lansing, Michigan, estimated that 41 percent of all Americans would be private contractors by 2010. But today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that self-employment numbers have not grown at all over the past four years.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Amazon.com Web Services Announces Trio of Milestones - New Tool Kit, Enhanced Web Site and 25,000 Developers in the Program

Amazon.com Web Services Announces Trio of Milestones - New Tool Kit, Enhanced Web Site and 25,000 Developers in the Program "Software Development Kit 3.0 is our best offering to third-parties to date," said Colin Bryar, Amazon.com Director of Web Services and Associates. "We are confident that the rich features available in the new offering and the robust Web site for developers will allow developers to create innovative applications that leverage the Amazon.com platform for merchandising products."

The third party developer program and general web services model showing its usefulness across many markets - shopping, auctions, search, etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

NapaNews.com | Being tech savvy part of life for Silicon Valley youth

NapaNews.com | Being tech savvy part of life for Silicon Valley youth Instant messaging rules the digital conversation landscape, the survey found. Two-thirds of those online use it, while 40 percent spend time in chat rooms or post to message boards.
The report, Where Next For Mobile Messaging? Driving revenues profitably and controlling cannibalisation, forecasts revenues growing from USD31 billion in 2002 (USD13 billion in Western Europe) to USD69 billion by 2007 (USD25 billion in Western Europe), provided that operators take immediate action to drive service growth and control cannibalisation of existing revenues. Total messaging volumes, comprising SMS, MMS and mobile instant messaging/email, are forecast to quadruple from 670 billion in 2002 (131 billion in Western Europe) to 2600 billion in 2007 (607 billion in Western Europe). (Charts available to journalists on request.)
"Buddy lists, presence information and integration with fixed network services make mobile instant messaging a potentially attractive service for many. Some mobile instant messaging and email services are being priced at a substantially lower level than SMS. There is a real risk of these services cannibalising existing revenues, and an even greater threat from third-party competitive services."

CMP Media

CMP Media The major enterprise telecommunications providers have also started getting their acts together to migrate their customers to the next generation of converged, IP-based enterprise multi-modal communications.
They have recognized that communicating with people is an enterprise "application", made up of hundreds of features and functions for both telephony call management and messaging. These capabilities are now becoming pure software, which means they will keep evolving forever.
With open standards of IP networking, the various communication servers can now interwork to support all forms of contact with human users, whether as calls or messages, whether in speech or text, and whether originating from people or automated application processes.

Silicon Valley Biz Ink :: The voice of the valley economy

Silicon Valley Biz Ink :: The voice of the valley economy "We decided to use instant messaging to enable our IT department to immediately notify all branch offices about Web site and network issues," Polsgrove said. "Through our research we found that e/pop met our computer security requirements, is completely customizable and leverages our network directory. We instantly know who is online and can blast out specialized macro messages that alert all employees to potential IT issues, which they will receive whether they are logged onto the system or not."

Forbes.com: Party Line

Forbes.com: Party Line One avid user is Teresa Lo. A day trader in Vancouver, B.C., with a large following, Lo pays $280 a month to rent a 200-person PalTalk room, and charges around 180 people $200 apiece each month for passwords that give them access to her room and trading techniques. "It's a great business for us," says Lo, 38.

Who says all the money is in porn? $36K/month - not too shabby for just letting people watch you work, sort of.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Email Uncool, IM Rulz Research from Penn State, noting the negative reaction to email use among 'third generation internet users' (i.e. teens), who strongly prefer IM for peer-group interaction. (The press release is not yet on the web, so I include the full text here.)

A new generation of Internet users views email as a relic of the past, preferring instant messaging for communication with their peers, according to a Penn State researcher.

"For the first time, a standard, everyday tool like email is no longer being used by a specific youth culture," says Steven L. Thorne, associate director of the Center for Language Acquisition in Penn State?s College of the Liberal Arts.

These youths, roughly 18, 19 and 20 years old, are third-generation Internet users and to them, email is akin to getting dressed up for a job interview, an uncomfortable formality to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

"They use email to contact their employer or professors, or to ask their parents for money, but not for age-peer interaction," adds the Penn State researcher.

This observation came as a surprise to Thorne who, in a project funded by the U.S Department of Education, was exploring online communication as a means to help students learn French by connecting them with university students in Bretagne, France.

"I hoped to use the Internet to link people up, get them fired up about building friendships so they would be more invested in learning the language," says Thorne, who also is associate director, Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (NFLRC), in Penn State?s College of the Liberal Arts.

Thorne and his collaborators chose Net Meeting, a real-time conferencing program that allows users to exchange text and video messages from anywhere in the world. However, they worried that the time difference would limit the students? opportunities to interact. To avoid this problem, they also required participants to exchange a number of emails as part of their semester grade. Interestingly, some of the most compelling intercultural interactions occurred when students chose another Internet communication program, AOL?s Instant Messenger (IM). The students? reaction led Thorne in an unexpected direction.

"From my advanced age," the 41-year-old Thorne laughs, "because I am not part of this young IM generation, email does not seem an entirely objectionable choice. But objectionable it was."

While many students spent hours of IM time with their "keypals," most sent only the required number of emails. In one case, a Penn State woman opted not to send any, despite the negative effect on her grade and an apparent infatuation with her male French contact.

"It was obvious to me she had a crush on this French student, and so had even more motivation to reach out than just the grade," says Thorne. "There is pretty clear evidence in what the students did that they would not use email for peer relationship building."

In an article published in the May issue of the journal Language Learning & Technology, the Penn State researcher proposes that Internet communication tools are simply that -- tools -- and, as such, are subject to what he terms "cultures-of-use." In other words, while 40-year-olds might use email to plan an after-work get-together, third-generation Internet users would not dream of it.

"These are habituated IM users," explains Thorne. "They have been using the Internet to communicate with each other for five, six, seven years now and have developed specific preferences. In educational settings this is paramount. For example, as one of the designers of this project, I chose the wrong tool. How they use the Internet in everyday life outside of the university has everything to do with how teachers should use it in the classroom."

In a broader context, as these third-generation Internet users hit the job market, they will undoubtedly carry with them their cultures-of-use for Internet communication programs. Currently, IM is largely frowned upon at the office, but Thorne sees small pockets of users already beginning to transform the workplace.

For example, an undergraduate recently applied for a position with an employer located some distance from Penn State, he recalled. The company's recruiter herself had graduated from college recently as well and to save travel expenses, the two women decided to use IM to conduct the job interview. While that may be unthinkable to many, this is a generation that has grown up talking to each other while sitting in front of a computer.

Thorne says it is possible that IM may encroach further into territory currently reserved for email. "I can also see some other new technology coming along and supplanting IM. I wish we were better able to predict the future," he notes.

100 Million Customers and Counting: MSN Messenger Extends Worldwide Lead Among Instant Messaging Providers
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As several would predict...once the engine is started not much can stop the bulldozer now!

Wired News: A TiVo Player for the Radio

Wired News: A TiVo Player for the Radio Several electronics makers are releasing new products that promise to do for radio what the TiVo digital video recorder has done for television.

I want 'pause' for radio...although recording wouldn't be bad either!

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / Verizon battling on broadband

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / Verizon battling on broadband Babbio said it costs Verizon about $5,000 per location to replace a pay phone with a WiFi ''node'' that fits inside the phone stand and to upgrade network connections to broadcast an 11-megabit-per-second Internet connection within about a 300-foot hot-spot range. Verizon will offer the service exclusively to its own DSL customers who get special access codes, hoping the perk of free WiFi will boost interest in DSL. Gowing acknowledged that ''it's just not completely secure. You probably don't want to be shopping online when you're sitting at the park'' in range of a WiFi transmitter and computer hackers who may be trying to ''sniff'' data from the air, Gowing said. ''It's good for e-mail and casual Web surfing, but if it's something intensely private and secret, you probably don't want to be doing it at a hot spot, whether it's one of ours or anyone else's.''

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

vnunet.com Comment: Corporate messaging will grow

vnunet.com Comment: Corporate messaging will grow The market for IM for corporates is currently fairly small in the UK, but analyst firm Yankee Group points out that there are 25 million business users in the US, and it predicts 150 percent compound annual growth through to 2005.

Friday, May 09, 2003

CRN: Daily Archives

CRN: Daily Archives The iMeeting component will offer full Web conferencing, white-board capabilities for marking up and editing documents online, voice/audio streaming, polling, annotation, the record and playback of meetings, and chat sessions, he said.
However, version 2.0 will lack the robust instant-messaging and presence-awareness features of Lotus SameTime and Microsoft's forthcoming Real-Time Communications Server 2003, but those capabilities will be offered in a future release, Levine said.

Motorola Woos Teens with IM Appliance

Motorola Woos Teens with IM Appliance What you get, essentially, is a basic level of AIM connectivity anywhere in the home. The client supports a handful of AIM emoticons, but does not support rich text. IMfree users appear as mobile users to others on AIM -- that is, with a small mobile phone icon next to their Buddy List name. There are a few glitches to work around -- if AOL is an IMfree user's ISP, then the IMfree user must log into the handheld with a different Screen Name than they used to sign onto PC.

WSJ, InfiniteAgent Launch News Bot

WSJ, InfiniteAgent Launch News Bot The bot, dubbed "WSJOnline" and available on America Online's (Quote, Company Info) AOL Instant Messenger network, gives current news headlines and summaries, and stock quotes, when users send it an IM. Users can navigate through menus to sort headlines by region or section, and can click on the summaries to open the stories on the WSJ.com site -- but only if a user is a paid subscriber to the site, that is.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Meet The Makers - Creative people in a technical world.

Meet The Makers - Creative people in a technical world.(an interview with Jeremy Allaire) Well, Web services are still the next big thing, among many others. Seems like a wide range of positive, reinforcing trends are creating an opportunity for a new Internet environment. A bunch of things that I’m tracking that seem very inter-related include:
Rich clients
Web services
Real-time communications
Digital lifestyle devices
WiFi and wireless devices
Paid content
Blogsphere and syndication networks
Open source and outsourcing
So, combined, we’ve got a great new Internet to go out and build for!

Microsoft R&D efforts seek to bolster home networks

Microsoft R&D efforts seek to bolster home networks The company is developing with Philips, Onkyo and others content directory services for automatically discovering and interacting with PC-based media libraries on a home network. With Creative Labs and others, Microsoft is defining a new protocol for quickly synchronizing libraries over a USB 2.0 cable.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Designtechnica News - Motorola delivers solution for IM addicts

Designtechnica News - Motorola delivers solution for IM addicts About the size of a CD case, the IMfree handheld device is equipped with a large display and full QWERTY keyboard for IM addicts, providing a private IM experience away from the restraints of a stationary computer. Currently compatible with AOL® Instant Messenger™ and AIM Buddy Lists®, the new, easy-to-use Motorola IMfree system has all that chatting lovers need to take their IM experience almost anywhere in the home.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Websphere Adds Wireless Notifications, Messaging

Websphere Adds Wireless Notifications, Messaging IBM joins a number of smaller players -- including names like Critical Path, Vayusphere, and telecom giant Sprint, which is offering a solution in connection with UnBound Technologies -- in mobile, enterprise-focused alerting and notification. That's while consumer mobile alerting also is seeing interest from major names in wireless. Inphomatch, one of the big names in Short Messaging Service inter-carrier interoperability, earlier this year debuted a gateway service designed to route content and alerts from third-party sources to mobile phone users' devices.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Sleuthing Out Data - Emerging Technology - CIO Magazine May 1,2003

Sleuthing Out Data - Emerging Technology - CIO Magazine May 1,2003 Smart searching might very well become as important to the face of an enterprise as smart salespeople.

Interesting list of companies in the information categorization and finding market...

Amazon patent bid targets used goods | CNET News.com

Amazon patent bid targets used goods | CNET News.com Amazon.com has applied for a patent on a system to offer used material, with the bid coming not long after the e-tailer rebutted publishers who thought that its sale of used books would hurt them financially.
The patent application, filed in May 2002, but made public on Thursday, would cover a system that allows people to preorder a used item from an unspecified seller when that item isn't yet offered by anyone else on the site.
The application's timing is interesting because it was filed just two weeks after Amazon came under fire from The Authors Guild, which criticized the company's then year-old system for selling used books, saying it would hurt publishing industry profits. The guild, which is the largest organization representing published authors, asked its members to remove links to Amazon's site.

Erik and Mark Baard: May 2003 Archives

Erik and Mark Baard: May 2003 Archives The "personal server," which is being developed at Intel Research by ubiquitous computing wizard Roy Want, is the size of a deck of cards, half the weight of an iPaq, and has no i/o, no screen, and no peripherals. The device never leaves its user's pocket or handbag.

You ‘Pinging’ Me?

You ‘Pinging’ Me? New products from AOL, MSN (Microsoft’s ISP business) and Yahoo, the big three public IM providers, are addressing these issues. All have recently launched heavy-duty IM products, generically called “enterprise IM.” They’re hoping to exact a toll from companies—from $30 to $45 per desktop—after having given IM away free of charge to consumers for so many years. IBM has already claimed a slice of the corporate IM pie; two thirds of the Global Fortune 100 use its Lotus Sametime product. And 25 smaller companies offer an enterprise-IM software product, each addressing a different niche of this burgeoning market.

Wired News: DSL Firms Drop Prices to Compete

Wired News: DSL Firms Drop Prices to Compete This week, Verizon Communications -- one of the nation's largest DSL providers -- quietly cut the price for its basic service plan from $50 a month to $35. The company slashed rates for an enhanced service with higher data-transmission speeds even more dramatically, from $60 to $35.

I love my high speed, but I'd love it more if I didn't feel like I was being held hostage...

Microsoft to show off PC prototype | CNET News.com

Microsoft to show off PC prototype | CNET News.com Developed with Hewlett-Packard, the new "Athens" prototype is intended to be the hub for communications and collaboration built around voice, video and text messaging capabilities. It will also feature a more streamlined design, Microsoft said in a statement.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Macromedia Makes a Data Connection

Macromedia Makes a Data Connection The Macromedia Firefly Component framework is designed to provide a rapid development environment in which developers can create data aware components to access, display and update data within Macromedia Flash applications.

Corporations seek better search results | CNET News.com

Corporations seek better search results | CNET News.com Knowledge workers spend 15 percent to 30 percent of their day searching for information, according to IDC. But more than half of their online searches fail to turn up the desired information. IDC estimated that a company with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes at least $6 million every year spending hours on fruitless searches.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Perspective: A mosaic of new opportunities | CNET News.com

Perspective: A mosaic of new opportunities | CNET News.com • Most people now use browsers to pull information from the Internet or visit Web sites to check what's new. In the future, virtually every Internet information and transaction provider will expose a broad array of events--such as the availability of news or messages--that can be subscribed to using standard protocols. Higher-level subscription aggregation services will automatically filter and prioritize incoming events according to programmed criteria.

Internet Is Losing Ground in Battle Against Spam

Internet Is Losing Ground in Battle Against Spam The microscopic cost of sending e-mail, compared with the price of postal mailings, allows senders to make money on products bought by as little as one recipient for every 100,000 e-mail messages. Internet marketing companies typically charge $500 to $2,000 to send a solicitation to a million in-boxes, but the cost goes up if the list is from a reputable source or is focused on people in certain favored demographic groups. Sending the same offer to a million people by mail costs at least $40,000 for a list, $190,000 for bulk-rate postage and more for paper and printing.

The economics points to spam being around longer than I certainly would like, but talk about a business opportunity on both sides of the equation...

Saturday, April 19, 2003

InfoWorld: XMPP rises to face SIMPLE standard: April 18, 2003: By Cathleen Moore: Application Development

InfoWorld: XMPP rises to face SIMPLE standard: April 18, 2003: By Cathleen Moore: Application Development With the lure of presence-aware applications and systems dangling before them, competitors are warming up for a heated race to establish an industry standard protocol for presence awareness and instant messaging interoperability.

Lines are drawn between two protocols currently working their way through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards body: the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based SIMPLE (SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) and the open-source, XML-based protocol XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). Vendors are placing bets, hoping to choose the correct side of the market's eventual shakeout.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Forbes.com: Inside The EBay Biosphere

Forbes.com: Inside The EBay Biosphere He'll get 20 or 30 questions for each item he's selling, and he's now auctioning 7,000 items a month. "A lot of bidders have my direct extension and call me with questions," Edery says. "You need to be committed 100%. The community needs a lot of hand- holding."

A very interesting story, but the comment above starves for something different to scale...

IMlogic, Vayusphere Move into Security

IMlogic, Vayusphere Move into Security After having been in the works since late last year, Mountain View, Calif.-based Vayusphere last week took the wraps off its Managed IM Gateway, which imposes auditing, archiving, reporting and blocking features on top of public IM use within the enterprise -- similar to competing offerings from FaceTime Communications and Akonix.

Meanwhile, IMlogic, an early mover in the public IM logging and auditing space, earlier this week unveiled the upcoming version of its flagship IM Manager product, slated to ship in a month. The Waltham, Mass.-based company's IM Manager 5.0 adds anti-spam and anti-virus protection, unauthorized client-blocking, as well as keyword-based blocking that can be configured to inform superiors or compliance officers when a flagged word is used during an IM conversation. The earlier iteration, version 4.1, provided reporting, archiving, and authentication against corporate LDAP directories.

Bantu wins Air Force instant messaging deal

Bantu wins Air Force instant messaging deal Bantu Inc. of Washington, which also has customers in the Army and Navy, will make its instant-messaging app available to users of the Air Force Portal. The program lets users build buddy lists and communicate instantaneously with other users online.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

[rec.games.mud]: FAQ #1/4: MUDs and MUDding

[rec.games.mud]: FAQ #1/4: MUDs and MUDding
1.21. What was the first MUD?
MUD1, written by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, back in 1979-80, is generally accepted as the first MUD. Sceptre was developed independently about the same time as MUD1, and so has influenced some mud servers since then. TinyMUD Original, the first of the Tiny- family of muds, was written in August 1989.
1.22. What is a bot?
A bot is a computer program which logs into a MUD and pretends to be a human being. Some of them, like Julia, are pretty clever -- legend has it that Julia's fooled people into believing that she's human. Others have less functionality. The most common bot program is the Maas-Neotek model.

A little more history for me...

Zephyr on Athena (AC-34)

Zephyr on Athena (AC-34) Version A (2 Feb 1990, Sharon Belville): Original document. -- Zephyr is a communication service for sending and receiving messages interactively. It's faster than an e-mail system; messages are delivered instantaneously, however you can converse only with other users who are logged on and running Zephyr at the same time you are.

Came across researching the earlier IM applications...

InformationWeek > Collaboration > The Word Is Out On Instant Messaging > April 11, 2003

InformationWeek > Collaboration > The Word Is Out On Instant Messaging > April 11, 2003 David Gurle, who worked on the Microsoft real-time collaboration team before joining Reuters last month to head the company's collaboration-services business, says the release of Microsoft's real-time server will be a watershed moment for IM because so many companies are waiting for it before committing to an IM infrastructure. But IM is only the tip of the real-time iceberg, Gurle says: "Presence is really the element that gives you visibility into a network of connected users."

Monday, April 14, 2003

GTV Launches Sonork-EIM and Unveils Customers of Enterprise Instant Messaging Solution -- www1.internetwire.com

GTV Launches Sonork-EIM and Unveils Customers of Enterprise Instant Messaging Solution -- www1.internetwire.com Sonork-EIM significantly improves workflow by seamlessly integrating with existing data sources and third-party enterprise application suites. The solution enables rapid internal communications that are archivable for accurate record-keeping, while its secure peer-to-peer data transfer reduces email server costs and is scalable for future enterprise information transfer needs. Sonork-EIM’s robust server boasts an extremely small footprint and is installed behind a customer’s firewall, supporting both intranet and extranet configurations.

InfoWorld: Sun launching IM server: April 10, 2003: By John Fontana, Network World: Applications

InfoWorld: Sun launching IM server: April 10, 2003: By John Fontana, Network World: Applications Sun will offer two clients for its instant messaging server, its Sun One Instant Messenger and a Java applet that can be loaded into a browser. The server runs on Sun Solaris 2.6 and 8, and Microsoft Windows NT. A Linux version is expected before year-end. Pricing for Sun One Instant Messaging 6.0 starts at US$30 per user.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Yahoo pushes enterprise IM | CNET News.com

Yahoo pushes enterprise IM | CNET News.com The Web portal has begun a campaign called "Save Smiley," in reference to Yahoo Instant Messenger's smiley-face icons. The campaign, which has launched in certain areas of Yahoo, asks users to inform Yahoo if a company has blocked instant messaging in the workplace. The Web giant plans to then approach these companies and to try to sell its enterprise IM service to their information technology departments.

Microsoft: Greenwich On Schedule

Microsoft: Greenwich On Schedule Adding presence APIs to Windows Server 2003 is aimed at boosting use of RTC Server technologies by ISVs and enterprises, by enabling them to embed Greenwich-based presence in Web pages and to create new applications based on the technology. This month's debut of Windows Server is expected to be Microsoft's biggest product launch of the year.

AOL Tests Video Messaging

AOL Tests Video Messaging For AOL, the move appears a stopgap measure, coming as it does as the company is aiming to get those restrictions lifted. Last week, the New York-based media conglomerate filed a petition asking the Commission to reconsider the condition in light of AOL's slipping market share in the IM sector. In the petition, AOL argued that the free, public IM sector is healthy and competitive, and that it doesn't have an opportunity to use its leading position in the market as a way to unfairly catapult itself to dominance in an area built on that position -- like video messaging.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Forbes.com: Can WebEx Meet Growth Expectations?

Forbes.com: Can WebEx Meet Growth Expectations? Shares of WebEx fell more than 20% Jan. 22, the day that Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) bought a WebEx competitor, privately held Placeware. "Perhaps the greatest risk to the WebEx story is the pending entry of Microsoft into the Web conferencing industry," wrote Steve Ashley of Baird Equity Research, in a March report. WebEx now trades 40% below where it was at the start of the year.

But here's the thing: Despite its success--WebEx earned healthy profits of $12 million in 2002 after several years of losses--it still has revenue of only $140 million in an industry that is expected to hit only $315 million this year.
WebEx expects sales of $190 million this year, up nearly 40% from 2002. Earnings per share are expected to increase 77%, to 48 cents, followed by 35% growth in 2004.

And placeware is only the beginning problems that webex will face from Microsoft...maybe there's a landing spot with webex's name already on it...

IBM makes home-networking stride | CNET News.com

IBM makes home-networking stride | CNET News.com People who have the new systems will be able to control devices like their heaters and stoves remotely and check that their doors are locked.

I can see using this to turn off my stove if I left it on by mistake, but turning on the stove while you're not home - that requires a lot of faith in more than just the internet....

Microsoft set to launch real-time server | CNET News.com

Microsoft set to launch real-time server | CNET News.com Microsoft on Thursday plans to announce that its Greenwich software will be renamed Microsoft Real Time Communications Server 2003, which it plans to roll out the first half of the third quarter.

Sun Boosts IM Integration, Features

Sun Boosts IM Integration, Features Due to launch formally in May, Sun ONE Instant Messaging 6.0 offers improved integration with the Sun ONE suite's calendaring server. As a result, the system will send out real-time pop-up notifications for event reminders or task notifications. In connection with the Sun ONE Portal Server, the IM 6.0 release adds message archiving -- using the storage and search components of the portal server to record and sort through one-on-one chats, conferences, and polling transcripts.

SmarterChild is Reborn -- For a Fee

SmarterChild is Reborn -- For a Fee Originally intended as a test, and later, a demo of the company's interactive agent platform SmarterChild was yanked from America Online's (Quote, Company Info) AIM platform last July after proving more successful than expected and potentially jeopardizing to the popularity of soon-to-be-launched bots on behalf of advertisers. In its new incarnation, SmarterChild will carry a $9.99 per-year price tag -- becoming the first consumer-focused IM bot to go behind the premium curtain.

Monday, April 07, 2003

New MSN, Windows Messengers On the Way

New MSN, Windows Messengers On the Way Some of the confusion surrounding the differences between Microsoft's (Quote, Company Info) Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger could be reduced when the Redmond, Wash. software giant ships new -- and increasingly specialized -- versions of each IM client in coming months.

Some of the feature differences include email client default (outlook vs hotmail), support for pen-enabled tablet PCs, and elimination of joining chat rooms and viewing MSN profiles. I'm sure they'll be many more changes especially post initial release.

IM Growth

IM Growth The overall business IM market will grow by 130% from 2002 to 2003, and a further 85% from 2003 to 2004. By 2007, the overall business IM market will increase to 182 million users, representing a compound annual growth rate of 79%

A graphic from the same Ferris report...

Instant Messaging Becoming Corporate Standard -- www1.internetwire.com

Instant Messaging Becoming Corporate Standard -- www1.internetwire.com "In the best-case scenario, 891 million users will solidly adopt IM by 2007, with a revenue take of $2 billion. In the moderate-case scenario, we project that 193 million users will adopt IM by 2007, with a revenue take of $154 million," said Ferris Research Analyst Michael Sampson. "The worst-case scenario will see poor adoption-carrier IM will be a total flop-with only 3.8 million subscribers by 2007, and carrier revenue decreases due to voice-call cannibalization."

I guess you need the report to figure out what he's saying...

FRB: Speech, Greenspan-Market economies--April 4, 2003

FRB: Speech, Greenspan-Market economies--April 4, 2003 Only in recent decades, as the economic product of the United States has become so predominantly conceptual, have issues related to the protection of intellectual property rights come to be seen as significant sources of legal and business uncertainty. Intellectual property is clearly more difficult to define and, hence, to protect. The physical property of one owner cannot occupy the same space as that of another. Ownership of physical property is capable of being defended by police, the militia, or private mercenaries. Ownership of ideas is far less easily protected.

I'm very interested in the direction this conversation takes moving forward, certainly a needed discussion...

Boston Globe Online / Business / Anyone can be a Google 'hacker'

Boston Globe Online / Business / Anyone can be a Google 'hacker' As you'd expect, Google's own engineers do some of the best Google hacking. They've put their best work on display at labs.google.com. Here you'll find a Google viewer, a lovely bit of code that turns the results of your Google searches into a slide show and flashes them on your screen one by one. There's also voice search, an experimental hack on the leading edge of cool. Dial a phone number that appears on the site. A voice asks you to pronounce a search term. After a delay, it tells you to click a link on the page. Up pops the search you asked for.

Interest article on the definition of 'hacking' but more importantly as a glimpse into google's SDK mindset...

Saturday, April 05, 2003

AOL seeks approval to offer advanced IM service

AOL seeks approval to offer advanced IM service When the Federal Communications Commission (News - Websites) approved the merger of America Online and Time Warner in 2001, the agency barred the new company from offering such advanced instant messaging services like video conferencing until it was interoperable with other services.

The company offered the FCC data from comScore Media Metrix that said AOL Time Warner had about an average 58.5 percent share of the text instant-messaging market while Microsoft and Yahoo had 22.2 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, over the last four months.

Interesting tidbit...the remnants of iCast living on in that they paid about $300K to lobby the FCC to add the condition to the merger.

Jabber News

Jabber News Jabber, Inc., a leading software developer of secure instant messaging and presence-enabled communications, today announced that it closed a $7.2 million private placement late last week. Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investing arm, joined existing investors France Telecom Technology Investissements (FTTI), the technology investment vehicle of France Telecom’s (NYSE: FTE) wholly owned France Telecom R&D, and Webb Interactive Services (OTCBB: WEBB), which founded Jabber, Inc. in 2000.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Microsoft's Shifting Plan Has Users Frustrated

Microsoft's Shifting Plan Has Users Frustrated "You definitely need a map to keep up," says Robert Mahowald, research manager for collaboration at IDC. "Microsoft has to explain why this stuff has moved out of Exchange and why IT has to set it all up again in a different place. From a product perspective, they are putting things where they need to be, but they have to explain how it all ties together." Driving Microsoft's evolution has been the company's .NET Web services initiative and a shift to support contextual collaboration, which is the ability to embed collaborative components such as instant messaging and presence directly into applications. The company now insists that services such as instant messaging, team workspaces and conferencing need to be platform services and not confined to a single application.

It's tough doing the right things sometimes...but, it'll be worth it despite the rocky road!

CRN: Daily Archives

CRN: Greenwich Server Gets Pushed Back
Windows Server 2003 is due to ship April 24. Windows SharePoint Services remains on track to launch in June, followed by Greenwich and then the digital rights management (DRM) server add-on in February 2004, channel sources said.

Forbes.com: TVs Join The Home Network

Forbes.com: TVs Join The Home Network Sony is cutting cords with these sets. They can receive a video signal via a wireless home network using a Sony-made wireless base station. Sony's favored wireless technology is known best by the arcane name of its technical standard, IEEE 802.11a.

Wireless audio should be a breeze with video wireless humming along...

Sony TV would grab streams from the Net | CNET News.com

Sony TV would grab streams from the Net | CNET News.com Sony's vision of the television as the centerpiece of its strategy for networked digital media. The new Sony TV will include a built-in Internet connection and tuners for receiving broadcasts from cable, satellite and over-the-air transmissions, according to sources.

So many efforts, so little results on the US cable side...so why not go internet!

Thursday, April 03, 2003

BW Online | April 2, 2003 | A Cable Lifeline for DVR Technology Now, the more established and well-known cable companies are getting in on the action. As of Apr. 1, Cox offers DVR service in Gainesville, Fla., and Fairfax, Va. Time Warner Cable, which began rolling out the service in August, offers it in 15 of its 34 cable systems. Research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) projects the number of DVR homes will double in 2003 from 1.5 million to 3 million.

Keep 'em rolling...let's not Pause to think about it...
Microsoft puts its spin on office chat | CNET News.com
'SIP changes everything," Smith, the general manager of Microsoft's embedded systems group, said. SIP is "the disruptive technology that ushers this convergence in."

and as he says - SIP is not just for IM but for many services over many protovols.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

IM and the IETF With the creation of the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) working group in fall 2002, there are now four working groups chartered to develop IM-related protocols. Understanding how these inter-relate-or at times don't-will help networkers prepare their companies for the leap to a real-time infrastructure.

Nice quick overview of the protocol work going on.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

AOL Lands New Patent, Beefs Up IM in '8.0 Plus' "We need to educate our members on features we already have in the field, but that they don't know about," Chang said. ... Highlighting AOL Alerts represents an effort by the company to be a contender in an area seen by some as a growing competitive arena and a potential moneymaker.

Hmm, trying to make money the old fashion way - I guess the faux ad model doesn't cut it anymore.

Monday, March 31, 2003

EPIC - Tools for Protecting Online Privacy EPIC Online Guide
to Practical Privacy Tools

Very useful set of links to privacy and security solutions - it's true, only the paranoid do survive - privately!
Boston Globe Online / Business / Making sense of Web searches When you're looking up information on the Web, sometimes it's pretty tough to keep track of it all...If you're looking to avoid that kind of information clutter, a little program called Net Snippets can help. Net Snippets isn't a search tool. It doesn't help you find stuff. What it does almost effortlessly is organize, annotate, and store the results of your searches as ''snippets.''

A local, store-and-forward blogthis!-like utility. It is definitely something I could use, especially if it could save automatically into a Notes database!
AOL's broadband crusade | CNET News.com "I'm not so sure consumers can view the difference between an MSN and an AOL to be $5 more," Gallant said.

The divide is much bigger than $5 - bundle however many services they want there is no real need for a broadband portal, as currently defined, at $9.95 (MSN) or $14.95 (AOL) and whatever Yahoo tries to charge shortly.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

A Closer Look: IM in Office 2003 The new version of Windows SharePoint Services included in Office System 2003 adds presence awareness, based on users' availability on the .NET Service or Exchange Instant Messaging. As a result, colleagues' and partners' statuses are syndicated through SharePoint documents, lists, calendars, discussions, and surveys. Members also can choose to receive notifications via IM (if online) when SharePoint site content changes.