Blog Archives

Erratum – The PowerBook G4: a lean mean fragile blogging machine

A month ago, I posted in enthusiasm and sheer happiness about my favorite toy of the moment, my PowerBook G4. After 3 months of moderate use (I don’t blog that much after all and my X41 is my main computer), it melted. About 2 weeks ago, the unit started randomly freezing – having no other recourse than clic-clac (power off/power on). Pretty extreme, but the only solution. Over the past week, it might happen 3 times in an hour, rendering the laptop unusable.

I tried to run hardware tests. Fine. Disk tests. Fine. OS re-install. The machine freezes 10 minutes into the install. FUBAR.

Called in Apple support (very nice) to get an incident ID. I now need to go the Apple Store to give the fried machine to an Apple Genius (doh), who will send it in for repair.

I have had 5 IBM ThinkPads and one Dell Latitude over the past 12 years. They never failed me … Read more »

Mashing up the Enterprise through SOA and BPM

I am trying to find examples of implementations of Web 2.0 concepts/technologies in the enterprise in advance of my upcoming panel: “Web 2.0 and the Enterprise”. I was therefore very interested in David Berlind’s recent post on “Rethinking BPM in a mashup-based SOA world” – a worthy read if you are tracking the topic.

There are a large number of issues involving enterprise mashups, David pointing out to a couple of them:

 To wit, attendees from the banking and government sectors have questions about the management of user IDs across domains (when a mashup involves multiple APIs each of which relies on its own identity management technology) as well as the reliability of public components.  For example, if an enterprise dispatch application along the lines of what Kemsley describes above relies on Google or Yahoo for its mapping component, enterprise architects want to know what Google and Yahoo are doing to ensure the uptime of the relevant APIs (a … Read more »

A few data points about podcast advertising

MarketWatch’s Frank Barnako published a piece (free sub req’d) about podcast advertising, out of which a few nuggets of information are worth noting:

Podshow claims to have reached in Q405 their 2006 revenue target of $300 to $400K, and predicts sales in the millions of dollars this year. There seems to be a consensus that there’s money to be made by recycling established media in the podcast world, too. Michael Greeson, president of the Diffusion Group of Dallas, pointed out that NPR recorded 4 million downloads in the first two months it offered podcasts. Last summer, Greeson issued a research report projecting nearly 60 million people in the United States will be listening to podcasts by 2010. The report also estimated 15.5 million portable players would be sold last year; the tally was closer to 22 million. Cameron Reilly, the founder of the Podcast Network of Australia, is achieving between $40 and $100 cost-per-thousand on his podcasts, but … Read more »

Ed Sim on successful offshoring

Whereas it was a must until a year ago, offshoring developments to India has generated enough of its fair share of operational issues to make startup teams and VCs much more cautious. Beyond local issues – like the difficulty of hiring and keeping talent, and increasing wages – getting the coordination, leadership and motivation aspects are challenging.

Ed Sim’s post comes a propos as he relates to a successful offshoring operated by one of his companies. Some key points:

Offshore interesting and motivating projects Develop local leadership talent Hire, train and manage local staff with a long term view in mind

At the same time, SAP is going to be looking to alternatives to India because of rising costs.

The Circle of Envy

You can read the long version of the story on Jeff Bussgang’s blog, but in short, the “Circle of Envy” in Private Equity is spelled out the following way:

Entrepreneurs envy VCs b/c they get to make a lot of money collecting management fees, and not working too hard to earn their salary. VCs envy Buyout investors, who get to manage much (much) larger funds with similarly large management fees to enjoy, and an even easier life. Buyout investors envy hedge fund managers who get to cash in their carried interest every year, and who enjoy quicker path to liquidity for their investments. Think about it: getting VC-like carry (typically 20%) to play in the public market. Hedgies envy… entrepreneurs – who get to build companies serially every 5/6 years, make a ton of money and can take long breaks in between startups. Entrepreneurs envy… you get it.

An amusing read, with a few real traits. … Read more »

The PowerBook G4: a lean mean blogging machine

I have meant to post on this for a long time, so here we go: I know I am preaching to the choir when I say that the Mac, especially the PowerBook, is a fantastic blogging machine. Just take a look at the laptops facing you when you speak at a blogging conference, and you will see a sea of sleek aluminum cases with a stylized apple in the middle. As my PowerBook is rendered obsolete by the announcement of the Intel-based MacBookPro, I would still recommend it as a blogging machine. For a few additional shekels, you can get the excellent NetNewsWire and Ecto, two great pieces of software. I can’t wait for NetNewsWire to be integrated with the NewsGatorOnline back-end so that my feeds and read marks

Obviously, you might also need to run Windows in the office, access your server-based files, run Office, etc. In that case throw in a … Read more »

Get ready to spot some RoofSense ads

The MIT Advertising Lab points to this picture of a building rooftop covered by the branding of the business occupying it (in the example: Target). It turns out, reading the comments related to the post, that this Target store is located next to O’Hare airport (Chicago, IL) – the busiest airport in the country, on the path of one of the runways.

The point though is that this kind of practice might become a new advertising mechanism, sort of the billboard-equivalent of satellite photos. With GoogleMaps and MSN VirtualEarth providing high-definition photos of cities, one could figure out some way of displaying advertising/branding messages on rooftops next to popular monuments or coordinates. As to whether this would overlap Google or MSN’s own advertising plans is another story.

Create any kind of new “real estate”, advertising will be one of the first leveraging it.

[via Search Engine Roundtable]

Developing and managing Hotmail

This interview has already been picked up and commented upon (and /.’ed), but if you have not yet taken a look, I recommend reading this ACM piece on Hotmail, and what it means to manage one of the largest services of the web. Hotmail runs on 10,000 servers and involves several petabytes of storage (i.e millions of gigabytes) and serves, according to this Wikipedia article, 221M users who are operating billions of e-mail transactions daily. It is operated by 100 sysadmins, which is not that large a team.

Phil Smoot, the PM in charge of Hotmail product development out of the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus, shares a number of insights – from which I noted the following points regarding automation, versionning, capacity planning, impact analysis and QA:

QA is a challenge in the sense that mimicking Internet loads on our QA lab machines is a hard engineering problem. The production site consists of hundreds of services … Read more »

Sun Microsystems Founders Unplugged at the Computer History Museum

Last night I attended the Computer Hjstory Museum event featuring the founding team of Sun Microsystems – Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Scott Mc Nealy and Vinod Khosla – with Sun’s current Chief Scientist, John Gage moderating. Scott Mc Nealy actually referred to John as the “Fifth Beattle”. If you have never visited the Museum, I *really* recommend coming down over the week-end to take a tour of the magnificent exhibits that contains a wealth of computer antiques. And if you like it, you can join as member (as I did) to support their effort.

I have tried to capture the gist of the panel’s conversation. This was pretty challenging since they changed subjects pretty often, and kept on making jokes about each others. It created a great ambiance – sort of an old school pal reunion, but a difficult context to liveblog. For a long time I have been … Read more »

Riya recognizes 150,000 Benjamin Franklins

I just read on TechCrunch the official announcement of the fund raising Riya has recently completed, and I must admit that I had to check the number twice: $15M is the amount the company has brought in from new investor Bay Partners. Munjal comments on the news, which was sort of pre-announced, or at least eluded to, when the Google acquisition went kapputt.

It is great news for the Riya team, and this financing round makes the company one of the largest Web 2.0 “capitalization” – $19M raised across two rounds. The amount strikes me as very large in a context of “cheap” startup build-up costs, and it can only mean two things: Munjal, who’s been around the block already once with Andale, was able to command a high valuation (one can only assume that the rumored take-out valuation range has been a useful benchmark), and Riya has some serious development ahead of them, and infrastructure to … Read more »

The enterprise software market is shrinking – and old stars ain’t shining

I am off to CES in less than 3 hours, so I’ll make it quick: Bill Burnham has a series of great posts regarding the Internet and Enterprise software sectors of the public market, particularly:

Software IPOs: 2005 Year In Review Top 10 Worst Performing Software Stocks of 2005 Software Stock Update: 2005 Year In Review The Incredibly Shrinking Software Industry

In a nutshell, and I recommend taking a look at the compilation of data points and analysis work done by Bill: 4 software IPOs in 2005, a lot of Web 1.0 software darlings are in the list of worst performers for 2005, and the aggregate valuation of the Software sector has shrunk  by 10% in 2005 – to compare with a modest 1.4% growth of the Nasdaq and a nice uplift of 14.4% of the Internet sector.

Bill lists five reasons behind this systemic decrease of the sector, which does not look … Read more »

Happy New Year!

We wish you all a happy, healthy and successful new Year!

(from Robert, Michael, Don and Jeff – taking the picture)

I was giving a crash course on blog publishing to my friend Michael, and thought I would kill two birds with one stone by posting my wishes at the same time!