Microsoft Needs To Buy RIM Now

December 20, 2010 @ 9:45 am · Filed under Technology

There’s been a lot of buzz this morning about a possible link-up between Nokia and Microsoft, a combination that Om Malik likens to a “desperate hookup.” I agree completely. It’s clear that Microsoft has blown any reasonable chance it had of gaining significant market share in smartphones. An agreement with Nokia won’t change that, and it won’t help Nokia, either. There is simply no room for another significant player in the smartphone space beyond Apple, Google (Android) and RIM. That’s why, instead of pouring more money into Windows Phone, Microsoft should just buy RIM. RIM’s Blackberry is so closely linked to the enterprise, and so integrated with Microsoft’s Exchange, that it is already the default Microsoft phone, anyway. By buying RIM, Microsoft could leverage that integration, and reinforce their grip on the enterprise space which is already under assault by Google. However much it costs to buy RIM, it’s still better than pouring billions down the rathole that is Windows Phone.

UPDATE: Microsoft has revealed the sales figures for Windows Phone 7 so far. They just emphasize that Windows Phone 7 is toast!

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Cloudstock Hackathon

December 13, 2010 @ 12:40 pm · Filed under Technology

I was a judge at the recent Cloudstock Hackathon. Cloudstock was an event held as part of Dreamforce, and the hackathon required entries to use two apis from the sponsors of Cloudstock. I had a great time, and I was really impressed by the imaginative entries.

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SemTech 2010

June 24, 2010 @ 2:49 pm · Filed under Technology

I’ve been attending the Semantic Technology 2010 conference this week. My attendance has only solidified my belief that RDF is the data format of the future for the web. There is a constantly increasing amount of unstructured data available on the web, and RDF provides the easiest way to pull it all together and relate it. For more on SemTech, go to the SemTech website.

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Official Version of the ZDNet Chrome Extension is Available

March 19, 2010 @ 12:41 pm · Filed under Technology

The official version of the ZDNet Chrome extension that I adapted from the Google sample, is available here:

UPDATE: Here are the SmartPlanet and TechRepublic extensions.

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Who is Going to Organize Social Information on the Web?

February 8, 2010 @ 8:48 am · Filed under Technology

Mike Arrington has a good post today on how social media today is a lot like search was 10 years ago. You can read it here. In it, he notes

“The online social landscape today sort of feels to me like search did in 1999. It’s a mess, but we donĂ¢’t complain much about it because we don’t know there’s a better way.

Everything is decentralized, and no one is working to centralize stuff. I’ve got photos on Flickr, Posterous and Facebook (and even a few on MySpace), reviews on Yelp (but movie reviews on Flixster), location on Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla, status updates on Facebook and Twitter, and videos on YouTube. Etc. I’ve got dozens of social graphs on dozens of sites, and trying to remember which friends puts his or her pictures on which site is a huge challenge.

And the amount of spam and just general nonsense that is flooding all of these services is crippling. As a user, I spend far too much time weeding it all out to find the few gems of real content from people I care about.”

He then goes on to call for someone to organize it:

“Someone will eventually help us make sense of all these various types of services, and help us separate the noise and spam from the real signal. I don’t know who’s going to do it, and I certainly don’t know how (if I did, I’d be doing it, not writing about it). But at some point soon, one of the Internet giants, or some new startup we’ve never heard of, is going to fix this mess for us.”

While I agree with both of his points, I don’t think figuring out the when and who is that difficult. I’m willing to confidently predict that the social media space will be organized in the next two years, and that it will be done by either Facebook or Google. The reason I have such confidence in this prediction is simple. Facebook and Google are the only two companies that have both the computing power, and the ability to collect the information necessary to actually organize the social space. Actually collecting the social information on is the first, and larger, problem. Here, Facebook has a huge advantage over Google, because it’s the largest social network in the world. However, it’s only a relative advantage. Google is a close second in the amount of information it collects. The second problem is that actually organizing the world’s social graph is a large-scale computational problem that is even more difficult than organizing the world’s web pages. Now, I was extremely impressed with the amount of technical energy I felt at Facebook when I visited their campus for the Hip Hop for PHP event, but Google still has a huge advantage in computing resources and skill. Google’s basic computational infrastructure is far ahead of Facebook’s, and indeed anyone else’s infrastructure..
So, out of these two, who would I bet on? I’d make Google the 2-1 favorite. But, as we saw in the Superbowl yesterday, favorites don’t always win.

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HipHop for PHP

February 2, 2010 @ 1:52 pm · Filed under Technology

Here’s my quick take on HipHop for PHP that was posted by Larry at ZDNet. I’m attending the HipHop event tonight, and I will add more about it later.

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Google Chrome Extensions

January 11, 2010 @ 10:29 am · Filed under Technology

I’ve been playing with Google Chrome extensions, and I’m impressed by how easy they are to create. It took me about 5 minutes to alter an example, and create one that provides links to the latest ZDNet Blog posts. Should you be interested, you can download it here.

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From the “If You Only Have a Hammer, Then Everything Looks Like a Nail Department”

November 23, 2009 @ 1:13 pm · Filed under Technology

The web is abuzz today over Google’s announcement that they have acquired Teracent. Teracent offers a technology to optimize display ads for click-thru in the same way that Google optimizes text ads. Teracent’s secret sauce is it’s ability to mix and match graphical elements to design new ads and then optimize their delivery. As Andy Beal puts it, it’s “multi-variate testing for your banner ads.” But multi-variate testing to what purpose? The only response Teracent can measure is clicks; so that’s what they measure. That’s fine if you are focused on direct response from your display ads, but in that case you are better off buying text ads. Text ads are cheaper, and likely just as, if not more effective.

Traditionally, display advertising has been about brand awareness. Unfortunately, there’s no direct way to measure that, and so it’s ignored by Teracent. My (relatively uninformed) guess is that Teracent will optimize these display ads towards those that have a direct call to action. If what the advertiser wants is a direct action that’s fine. But, if you want to launch a brand with this kind of display ads, then this kind of optimization won’t work.

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Damn LOL Cats Are Working As Programmers Now

August 6, 2009 @ 3:39 pm · Filed under Technology

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What are the Limits of Fair Use on the Web?

August 2, 2009 @ 11:40 am · Filed under Technology

What are the limits of fair use on the web? If a journalist or blogger puts a lot of effort into a story, which is then summarized by a much more popular blog, are they being ripped off. Ian Shapiro, of the Washington Post, is debating this question right now in regards to Gawker’s summary of a story he wrote. Here’s the best analysis of the debate I could find: Gawker and the Washington Post: a Case Study in Fair Use.

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