January 23, 2008

Windows 7 to be integrated with Microsoft Live!.

What does it mean though?

MS has two problems :

- the desktop OS is almost a commodity. There are few applications that need Windows's specific services (as opposed to equivalents on Mac, Sun, Linux, or Android) It's hard to imagine Windows 7 doing something that other OSs aren't thinking about or couldn't quickly copy. (LINQ for serious applications? Drivers for multitouch Surfaces? Everyone will have something like that. )

- the PC is about to explode into the device swarm.

How does closer integration between Windows and Live! help in that context. It's not a winning move for MS to make their Live! services dependent on Windows 7. Will they exclude XP and Vista users from Live! in 2010? Unlikely.

After that, they can only compete on "seemless experience". But every time Microsoft compete against Apple on anything resembling an "experience", they hardly have the upper hand.

Now, the natural tethered client of an online service is a light-weight virtual machine like Flash, Silverlight or JavaFx. Not a whole operating system - users will want their virtual machines to play well together in a common sandbox, supporting
copying, pasting, dragging and dropping etc.)

There is scope for some individuation and platform warring among standards for these virtual machines. MS may be able to make Silverlight-only services, but they'll certainly have to make Silverlight run on Mac (and at least condone clones running on Linux)

This kind of virtual machine is also a natural for the device swarm : eg. Flash on Chumby, Java VM on mobiles ... Silverlight on XBox?

So while the desktop OS becomes a commodity, this space is going to get hot as the VMs compete for developers' attention. Particularly smaller devices are only likely to come with one of these virtual machines pre-installed. They'll compete on video-handling capability, graphics library, back-end data synchronization, bredth of applicability etc.

In a sense, the Java vision is finally coming into its own ... although whether Java turns out to be the victor is another matter.
Phil Wainewright on DevPay

January 22, 2008

Dave's interesting take on commodification ... it's gonna put prima-donna developers out of business?

I'm not sure I totally buy the idea that people will put more of their data up for themselves. In a recent chat with Folknology we were discussing who would be the natural company to bring customers directly into the cloud. Ie. who would resell Amazon et al's commodity infrastructure and storage as non-exploitative way of managing your online identity (as opposed to evil Facebook, Microsoft or Google who want to own your online identity and relationships in order to resell you.)

Perhaps blog-software providers like Six Apart or Wordpress? Perhaps EBay who already controls some important information about your trustworthiness? Although Amazon provide this infrastructure, it seems like there's a conflict of interest with them wanting to sell to you.

Ironically, it may be that this conflict of interest makes it especially hard for a web 2.0 internet playa ... anyone too closely associated with an advertising funded model seems suspect. Anyone too closely associated with data-mining, collaborative filtering or Amazon-style "users who bought this also bought ..." are suspect.

Outside speculation ... could it be Apple who have the genius to create a slick iMe device they can sell to you, containing your electronic identity and social network, tethered to an always on phone system? (Perhaps in the form of a little voodoo doll, that has your face. :-) ...

Or some other name more closely associated with personal communication than online networks? Actually, could Microsoft would be in with a chance if they promoted it as the next development of Outlook rather than try to make it part of some grand everything-under-one-Live-umbrella scheme.

Remember ... the user is the platform.

January 09, 2008

Tim O'Reilly compares iPhone vs. Blackberry to Excel vs. Lotus 123
Very interesting article on the fact that there are no "neutral" markets or auctions (in the sense of not producing a prejudiced outcome)

Leads to and ties with a Tim O'Reilly on automated vs. human decision making

(hat-tip : SJ)

I'm not, myself, particularly entranced by all the "human improvements on automated search" (Mahalo, Knol, Squidoo) etc. I don't find myself thinking "I must find out about X but I don't trust Google to give me the right answer, I'll go and see if there are any experts over at ..." What I tend to do is start with Google, and find it's almost always sufficient for my requirements ... or at least starts me browsing in the right direction.

What Google *is* pretty lousy at is product recommendations (which is what so many of the rivals point out) but frankly going to a search engine and saying "what should I buy?" is pretty stupid. And ignores the fact that blogs do a pretty good job of that.

So I'm just not seeing all this "pain" that people claim to be having from Google being gamed by the SEOs.

Very obviously a PageRank type algorithm, even if it was working perfectly, wouldn't be the place to discover idiosyncratic, offbeat resources. The only way you're likely to find those is through a skilled editor / curator or interesting social network. But, again, blogs are already great for editor-curators. And maybe some other social networking services handle the social routing. In particular, one thing I'm noticing is that I'm getting a *lot* of good links flowing to me through Twitter.

Update : Wikia's problem is that no-one is going to understand it (I mean the process) in time for it to get useful or interesting.
Cringley on Multicast
EBook predictions ...

January 08, 2008

Meanwhile, sounds like Yahoo is following a sensible strategy of pushing their YASN-as-platform via their web-mail account and integrating other web-apps.

Flickr too?
Bill Gates says Microsoft is all about software (more or less the way I said it to Gaping Void (scroll down))

Don't think Gates sounds like he knows much about what's going on today though ...