Archive for Web 2.0

A few are holding the hostage the many or it’s our data stupid!

This is quick post on an issue that has been with us since telecoms companies and other major utilities first gained then maneuvered to retain their cozy oligopolies. The story so far in recent web history Read the rest of this entry »

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Zoho is missing a trick

I am a great fan of Salesforce despite it now being wedded to its silly Chatter app.. However I am still watching with interest. The issue as to when we go is very simple though – when Zoho can deliver what we need in the web age. Read the rest of this entry »

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Finally Gelernter goes mainstream in The Economist

The virtual world mirrors the real world. It’s coming.

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How search should change

I do object to Google’s position in the world of web search. Acknowledging and respecting their brilliance is one thing, accepting poor search results hijacked by advertising is another.

Google came to world of the techies and excelled in very quick clutter free quality searches. Adding advertising supposedly created a virtuous circle. I dispute this. The overall quality fo they search led them to dominate the search space. This is turn now obliges anyone selling on the web to use Google Adwords – still over 95% of Google’s revenues. This is where the circle ends. There is no benefit to the search of having advertising on the search page especially if the higher ranked results are there predominantly because they paid the most to be there.

Google’s search results are increasingly irrelevant except to find only the most obvious sites. Increasingly a user needs to tweak the search terms or sift through to page 2 or 3 or beyond. I sometimes find myself going straight to page 10 in the vain hope of finding something relevant away from the clutter.

My suggestion is simple in its philosophy and no doubt tricky in terms of execution. Use people to recommend search results. In other words, if a user finds a particular site that corresponds to the search results entered then this is useful information and of much higher quality than some algorithm based on keywords in websites and links between websites (Google’s current methodology).

What I would like to see is people power bringing the ownership of the search back to the people – high quality search based on peoples judgment of the quality of the results.

This idea is not entirely new although   the emphasis is different. Digg and other such sites do store peoples recommendations and you can use Digg to search. This however is an after-thought  – the main emphasis being on online bookmarking or in the case of Stumble Upon discovery of new sites based on your overall subject preferences.

Let’s get back to quality search and no advertising.

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OK – the move to Mac wasn’t perfect but still pretty seamless – here are some tips!

Firstly iPhoto – don’t use it except for de-duping the photos. I had 19k of photos of which only 4k were unique – the others werre spread across various files on my PC and were copies. I used Duplicate Annihilitor, an iPhoto plugin to do the job. Watch out though – when you move your photos from your PC to your Mac  (assuming your computers are on a network this is drag and drop – I use my wi-fi network  – plugin and play easy) make sure that, before you show import into iPhoto that you have gone into Advanced Options under iPhoto preferences and unticked the box that asks whether you want iPhoto to import into its file system – say no. Then anihilate away. Why shouldn’t you use iPhoto for the long-term? To print photos you need to use exclusively Apples photo print service. I use Photobox and don’t want to be locked in to Apple’s service. The only feature that I will miss is the face recognition in iphoto that is really good indeed. You can search by person without filing the photos. Picassa is brining out this feature shortly (I hope).

Safari is rubbish – limited cool plugins, lots of sites that aren’t configured for Safari and don’t work well and limited in functionality compaed to IE and Firefox. I use Firefox because it does have a huge collection of 3rd party plugins (my favourite is StumbleUpon – browse the web serendipitously according to your preferences!).

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The move to Mac was easy – a few tips

 A dear friend of mine just repaid an old debt by buying me a Macbook. I unwrapped the sleek packaging, took out the Macbook and switched it on. Within 2 minutes (slow on the first boot as I had to run through the basic configuration wizard) I was connected via my Wifi and could see all my PCs on the home network. I set-up my email (1 minute) and retrieved my emails. I then connected my iPhone and synchronised my contacts and calender. Installing Office for Mac took about 20 minutes. I was then up and running.

There are no gotchas if you have an iPhone – if not then it is indeed quite tricky I believe to import all those contacts and calender items from your PC. 

What surprised me most was the ease with which I was able to connect to the home network and pull files as I needed them from my PCs. I had anticipated many hours of laborius transfer by memory stick!

My other great surprise was that I can share calender events with Outlook users although not via a Blackberry. 

I am using all the standard Mac applications for the moment – there is an advantage in that Apple have put together a nice suite of applications that do in some instances integrate quite nicely. This is something that one loses going for best breed i.e. separate vendors for each application. For instance, in iMovie I can use photos from iPhoto in my movies and vice versa. 

iPhoto is a pleasure to use and the face recognition takes a lot of the pain out of finding photos of a particular person. One issue I have though is that I can’t use Photobox – Apple has tied iPhoto into their own service – my feeling is that this is short-sighted.

Has anyone had experience of moving to mac – I would love to hear what your experiences have been!

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Bringing the open source model to data

The battleground today is for users’ data. Google uses this to great effect and has now made a grab for users’ browsing data with Google Chrome.

The various rumours about social networking sites sharing data have proved unfounded. The data is core to their business model and not for sharing!

How about a product that is open source and captures  data on the community for the community. A product that is entirely open and transparent about what data is captured and how it is used? What if this product allowed users to determine how they shared their data? What if this product charged commercial vendors for use of this data with the money going back to the community? Watch this space!

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