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.