Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Time to Close the Book on Windows Tablet?

Consumers’ interest in buying a Windows tablet has plummeted in the past six months, according to a new Forrester Research report on November 29.

Again more very bad news for Microsoft's effort to be part of the new wave of mobile devices. I have been saying for two years that this new device space is war for how new tablet or slate space is imagined: are slates big phones or small computers.

As the Forrester survey above indicates consumer initially saw these devices as small PC but more and more they are starting to image them as extensions of the phone. This is critical for Microsoft to re-establish the tablet as a place for Windows before Android and iPhone change how people think about computing.

Can Microsoft do it? Over the past year in the mobile space Microsoft has gone from failure to failure. But with the legacy of Office documents and SharePoint I suspect that the Office tablet will likely be a Windows tablet.

But time is running out.

Update: I have just spent a week testing Windows 8.  I have been very impressed with it as a possible future  tablet OS.  I also think the weakness of Android in this space opens a large opportunity for Microsoft.  The iPad has created a public desire for tablets as the next platform.  But the iPad fails because it is very much just a large iPhone.  Don't get me wrong, I love my iPad and use it constantly for work.  But I still need to get up and go to my laptop to do heavy lifting work. The iPad is still really little more than a great Kindle.  Windows 8 could be the OS that makes the tablet a work horse for a more mobile future. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Intro to SharePoint Sandboxed Solutions

Opps Duqu infection linked to Microsoft Word exploit

"The Duqu computer infection was spread with the help of an infected Microsoft Word document, according to a report.

The research says the Trojan exploited a previously unknown vulnerability embedded in Word files, allowing Duqu to modify computers' security protection."

BBC News - Duqu infection linked to Microsoft Word exploit

Yelp and how dumb is social media

Yelp sent me the following email. Now what is interesting is the idea that Yelp might have a hunch, which imp lies some kind of AI. And the hunch seems to be about me.

Well actually I have not had brunch in a restraunt ever in my life. I might actually love brunch because I have never ever gone out to have it. It has never crossed my mind to have brunch.

Its not that I am ignorant of brunch, for a year I worked as a waiter at a place that did one of the biggest brunch trades in the Chicago area. I have very familiar with the practice of brush, of what is eaten in brunch and of when it is eaten.

The thing that strikes me in this email, as in so many other social media effort to understand me is how not only is it wrong, but like Facebook and Twitter recommends it actually contradicts my own clearly expressed interests.

Anyone who knew me well enough to have a hunch on me, even if it was an AI tracking me on social networks, would clearly know that I have a tendency to hiking on Saturdays. Rather than having a tongue feeling like wall paper and a empty pantry I am far more likely to be out on trail in the green belt around London. Anyone who followed my fairly regular posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogger would notice this pattern. Saturdays I generally stop posting, because I am out of mobile service reach, if I post post photos of nature or photos from various locations within and around London when I can't walk in the woods because of rain.

So its pretty clear that Yelp has no hunch at all about me. Okay its a marketing email. No sin there.

But the problem is that this email illustrates the key problem about social network services. Social network services from Facebook to SharePoint talk a big talk about understanding social networks they manage, but do nothing about it. Their data is held in extremely dumb networks and their conclusions about users are at best shallow and often stupid.

Now for civil libertarians such as myself this is not a bad thing at all. Its probably a good thing that computers really can't understand our motives given all the facts about us that are being gathered. If software could understand us, well the prospects for democracy go pretty dim pretty quick.  I believe that smart computers that understand social networks can be a danger to our democracy, and may need to be regulated if they ever emerge.

But why does social networks feel the need to lie about understanding me. Why not just be honest and say we offer you a communication channel that you can use as you want and nothing more? Why imply you have some social intelligence you don't have?

My observations from watching online dating market is that this is precisely the question more and more social network users are asking. Online dating services used to advertise that they somehow would help you find the right person. This false promise only lead to high levels of disappointment by users. Now more and more online dating is selling itself on availability and access not intelligence.

My vision of social computing is pretty simple, computer can not understand people in a reliable way that will mean much to any given user. But computers can make resources of communication and search available to users who can then use the tools to make the social patterns they need. The human genius has to be enabled, not replaced.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Occupty Wall Street is the hot ticket in New York


currently checked in: 21

This tops Brooklyn Bridge with 11 and all other trending sites in New York, making the Occupy Wall Street the largest ongoing even in New York right now.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 27 October 2011

RIM and Microsoft Office 365

RIM is rolling out a new cloud-based service for Microsoft Office 365.
RIM is rolling out a new cloud-based service for Microsoft Office 365.
(Credit: RIM)

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has launched a new service that not only extends access to Microsoft Office 365 but lets businesses better manage their BlackBerry devices.
Currently available as a beta for Microsoft Office 365 customers, BlackBerry's Business Cloud Services offers four key benefits to potential customers, according to RIM:
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange online email, calendar, and organizer data from BlackBerry smartphones.
  • BlackBerry Balance technology, which lets users see both personal and work-related content on their phones but keeps the two separate from each other.
  • Online access to smartphone security features where users can remotely lock or wipe their smartphones or reset their passwords.
  • An online console where IT admins can manage and secure the BlackBerry smartphones used by company employees.

"BlackBerry Business Cloud Services is an easy and cost-effective way for businesses and government agencies to extend Microsoft Office 365 to BlackBerry smartphones and manage the deployment in the cloud," RIM Vice President Alan Panezic said in a statement. "We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access program and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service."

RIM unveils cloud service for Microsoft Office 365 users | Webware - CNET:

Frankly we at the Web 3.0 Lab have never fully understood Microsoft mobile strategy.  They seem to be perfectly happy with the iPhone being out there, they complain about Android though they collect license agreements on most Androids sold, they have a strategic relationship with one of the top business phone vendors and they push their own phone.

For Microsoft the future is the cloud.  Even if the make a OS for small devices this OS may gain them little more than Internet Explorer, a long term headache.  Frankly the web industry would be delighted to see IE in all its version vanish.

Mobile devices are becoming nothing more than windows to the Cloud, and Microsoft's Cloud is a business cloud.  RIM has a well established proven technology that could easily catch up, and the Blackberry remains popular in the Enterprise.  Microsoft should abandon the sinking ship of Windows Mobile and purchase RIM and turn that in to their platform.

But there may be method to the madness, unlike Apple Microsoft and Google make software, and being trapped in a single hardware platform is not where Microsoft wants to be.  But also being forked between two main platforms, where one is highly established does not really make sense either.

See also Microsoft and RIM make partnership
What is Office 365
All my posts on Office 356

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Restore a site collection SharePoint Server 2010 using PowerShell

I have just done some migrations from SharePoint 2010 test to production environments using PowerShell.

Some information on how easy this is can be found here.
Restore a site collection (SharePoint Server 2010)

Should you use PowerShell over stsadm.exe?

If you are anything like me you have already done hundreds of such jobs with stsadm.exe. Stsadm.exe is still supported in SharePoint 2010 so why should you take the time to learn a new scripting language?

Well the answer is simple, PowerShell is just so much better than stsadm.exe.  PowerShell should be used for the following reasons:

  1. It is now Microsoft Recommendation, don't want to go against that.
  2. The language is much more elegant, easier to read and write once you get a hang of it.
  3. The language now supports functions and variables, it is now more of a programming language.
  4. Its more powerful, allowing you do things like putting site collections in new databases.
So is PowerShell just the new version of stsadm.exe?


PowerShell provides a scripting language very much like PHP.  In fact it is so like PHP that anyone who has done any PHP code will have no problem picking it up. Even if you don't know PHP anyone with basic programming skills will be able to pick PowerShell up easily. For example the following 'Hello world' command will look familiar to any programmer. 

function HelloWorld()
    $say = "Hello world"

    echo $say

This ability to use functions and variables allows you to write, and pre-test powerful PowerShell solutions.  For example imagine trying to script something like this in stsadm.exe

function WaitForJobToFinish([string]$SolutionFileName)
    $JobName = "*solution-deployment*$SolutionFileName*"
    $job = Get-SPTimerJob | ?{ $_.Name -like $JobName }
    if ($job -eq $null) 
        Write-Host 'Timer job not found'
        $JobFullName = $job.Name
        Write-Host -NoNewLine "Waiting to finish job $JobFullName"
        while ((Get-SPTimerJob $JobFullName) -ne $null) 
            Write-Host -NoNewLine .
            Start-Sleep -Seconds 2
        Write-Host  "Finished waiting for job.."

Add-PsSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell
$SolutionPath=$CurrentDir + "\"+$solutionName 
Write-Host 'Going to disable feature'
disable-spfeature -identity Limeco.UI.WebParts_LimecoWebPartFeature -confirm:$false -url http://localhost
Write-Host 'Going to uninstall feature'
uninstall-spfeature -identity Limeco.UI.WebParts_LimecoWebPartFeature -confirm:$false -force
Write-Host 'Going to uninstall solution'
Uninstall-SPSolution -identity $solutionName  -allwebapplications -confirm:$false

Write-Host 'Waiting for job to finish'

Write-Host 'Going to remove solution'
Remove-SPSolution –entity $solutionName -confirm:$false
Write-Host 'Going to add solution'
Add-SPSolution $SolutionPath
Write-Host 'Going to install solution to all web applications'
Install-SPSolution –entity $solutionName –llwebapplications –ACDeployment

Write-Host 'Waiting for job to finish' 

Write-Host 'Going to enable Feature' 
Enable-spfeature -identity Limeco.UI.WebParts_LimecoWebPartFeature -confirm:$false -url http://localhost 

Remove-PsSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell

Source Sohel Rana

Hey, I am a System Admin not a Programmer, isn't PowerShell just over the top

No again.

PowerShell basic functions are much cleaner and easier to run than the same stsadm.exe code.

Example of PowerShell for dummies

Here is a use case.  You have been given two backup files from a development box and you need to install the two sites in a web application, each in its own site collection with its own database.  We assume here you have already added a second content database.

The web application is on port 80, and is called http://test  and the two content databases are WSS_Contet and WSS_Content2.  You need to update 2 backup files, one at D:\backups\home.bak and D:\backups\work.bak.  Work.bak will be restored to a site collection at http:/sites/work

You are just going to be running PowerShell, you don't have time to make any saved scripts.  You were thinking about just using stsadm but your boss, say a project manager, says you must use PowerShell.

Well the good news it is easy.  Very easy to do this.

We assume you know how to get in to PowerShell here, if you don't here is a helpful introduction.

So you are logged in to PowerShell with the appropriate rights to the database.  I have generally logged in to the server with the Farm account and not the Admin accounts

The first step I do is to list out the Web Applications on the server.  You type the PowerShell command:


And you get a list of web applications, there ports and their URLs.  One of the URLS in the example is http://test

Now to restore  the back to http://test on WSS_Content type the following PowerShell command:

Restore-SPSite http://test -path D:\backups\home.bak -DatabaseName WSS_Content

PowerShell will ask you to confirm that you rally want to do this.  Wait until the task completes.

Then to build the second site type:

Restore-SPSite http://test/sites/work -path D:\backups\work.bak -DatabaseName WSS_Content_2

This then takes care of building the new site collection for you, and puts it in the database WSS_Content_2.

Its that easy!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Proof We Live in the Real World and Not the Matrix...

Web 3.0 Lab: Proof We Live in the Real World and Not the Matrix...: These two graphics show the geo-tagged tweeting over a several hour period. We have displayed the tweets "Matrix" style, with green dots .


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Google+ for everyone


Google+: Now open to everyone - TNW Google:

Google+ is now open to everyone. Recently Google+ has had some social policy teething pains, especially around the issue of anonymous access of users. Google+ requires a 'real name' which many users, especially established web personalities who have blogged under a different name for years don't agree with.

But beyond that the tool is simply the best technology for social grid management ever made. And it would probably be worth anyone's time to give it a try.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

BCS Overview Demo

Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010 Demo Part 1

Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010 Demo Part 2

Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010 Demo Part 3

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Windows 8 Demo

Ireland's Technology Blog has a video with some more new information about Windows 8.  Video requires flash so no Pads.

Microsoft Releases First Test Version of Windows 8 - Ina Fried - News - AllThingsD

Windows 8 looks to be playing catch up with the now dominate Apple for a space it once owned.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The writing is on the wall for all of us

A sign marks the entrance to the headquarters of Yahoo! Inc. in Sunnyvale, California, U.SOnce the leader in web presence Yahoo! collapse along with the fall of MySpace is a stark reminder that in the Cloud business moves very fast.
"When the history of the internet industry comes to be written, Yahoo! will deserve a special place in it for all the wrong reasons. Rarely has a company managed to destroy so much shareholder value in such a short space of time. Before Ms Bartz was brought in to run the business, Yahoo! rejected a bid from Microsoft that valued it at around $45 billion on the ground that the offer was too stingy. Today, its market capitalisation is a mere $16 billion or so."

Yahoo! just fired CEO Carol Bartz and it seems the only reason the story is out is the way it was leaked via email. The way the world learned that Yahoo! would have a new CEO was more of the story then the fact that the struggling firm was in even more trouble.

Today Yahoo! is worth $30 Billion dollar less then what Microsoft offered for it a few years ago. In the past 5 or so years Yahoo! has last around $100 of value for every man, woman and child in the United States.

This is despite about 7 billion page views a day. That is a page view of every man, woman and child on Earth. Yahoo! is still one of the most visited domains in the Universe. But in the Cloud you can't just convert eyeballs in to dollars in any direct way like you can on TV with advertising. Yahoo! has failed despite being for the most part rather popular.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Nokia's developer network hacked

Nokia hack announcement page

Nokia developer network appears to have been hacked with the potential lose of personal data of users.

BBC News - Nokia's developer network hacked:

'via Blog this'

Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 tablet review - reviews for UK IT professionals - V3.co.uk

A Fujitsu Stylistic Q550

Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 tablet review - reviews for UK IT professionals - V3.co.uk: "With its 10.1in 1280 x 800 screen, however, the Stylistic Q550 is much smaller than traditional Windows Tablet PCs and closer in size to recent devices such as HP's TouchPad and those based on Android. It also borrows much of the styling, with rounded edges and a screen that fits flush with the front bezel.
Fujitsu Stylistic Q550
But unlike most consumer tablets, the Stylistic Q550 supports pen input from a digital stylus as well as touch gestures. This enables handwriting capture, as well as making it easier to pick out small objects on the screen, which is often necessary with the Windows 7 user interface."

Fujitsu tablet and iPad in landscape

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tripoli Tweets

We are starting to see some of the first geo-tagged tweets coming from Tripoli. You can track real time tweeting intensity with our Clima.Me tool:

Not seeing anything most time now but keep an eye on this to see Libya come to life on the web.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 4 August 2011

BBC News - UK student wins Microsoft Excel World Championship

Rebecca Rickwood
"UK student Rebecca Rickwood has won a global competition to find the best user of Microsoft's spreadsheet software, Excel 2007.

Rebecca, who is 15, was one of 228,000 competitors from 57 countries. She beat 78 students in the final round.

Competitors were required to perform timed tests to demonstrate their skill at making spreadsheets.

Rebecca was presented with her $5000 prize yesterday at a ceremony in San Diego, California."

Friday, 22 July 2011

BBC News - Microsoft revenues hit a record as Xbox sales soar

"The US technology giant Microsoft said its annual revenues hit a record of $69.94bn (£43.4bn).

Sales of the company's Xbox 360 videogame console and its Office software helped fuel the growth.

Net income at the world's biggest software maker jumped 23% to 23.15bn for the year.

The figures, which beat forecasts, showed final quarter revenues reached a record high of $17.37bn, leading to profits of $5.87bn.

Sales rose 8% to $17.37 billion, a boosted chiefly by sales of Office, Xbox and server software behind Microsoft's push into cloud computing."

BBC News - Microsoft revenues hit a record as Xbox sales soar

But the really key paragraph is:

"Microsoft's business division, which sells the Office suite of programs, including Outlook, SharePoint and Excel, was the company's biggest seller in the quarter, increasing sales by 7% to $5.8bn."

So SharePoint is now big business, on the same level of Outlook and Excel, the killer apps of Microsoft's suit.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

.NET frameworks 3 and 3.5 go out of support

.NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 are now unsupported (as of 12th July 2011) and you need to move to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or later to remain on a supported configuration. If you’d like to discuss the implications of this upgrade to your applications, or require any guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Full details can be found here:


Full support lifecycles for all the .NET Framework versions can be found here:


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What every SharePoint pro should know about Google+, it rocks

Today I read that Google+ has added over 10 million users in the first couple of weeks. After a week of testing it I an see why. Google+ on the surface looks like a better UI version of Facebook, but at its core it implement a wonderful simple technology in managing social networks: circles.

Circles give you ways to manage your friends and associates. You can organize all your contacts in circles. You can then publish information to different circles. So Google+ gives you technology to communicate to close friends or associates while still tracking major celebrities you don't know. The simple technology of circles merges a private friends network with a public blogging publishing tool, effectively merging Linked In, Facebook and Twitter in to one tool.

Google+ is a real game changer. Using it you start to get a feel for just how bad the existing technology set is. Facebook UI and features are very dated. Facebook did not really push the envelope back in 2003. The outdated design becomes obvious after spending a few hours working with Google+.

Google has certainly set the standard for how social computing will work. Sadly nothing in 2010 MySites comes even close to this. Hopefully Microsoft will have time to catch up, but for now Google has carried out a coup in the Social space.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Microsoft launches Office in the cloud

Office 365 screenshot, Microsoft

BBC News - Microsoft launches Office in the cloud:
"Microsoft is launching a cloud-based version of its Office software suite.

Called Office 365 the service puts the familiar e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and collaboration programs on the web.

Microsoft said the programs will be accessible via desktops, laptops and tablets plus Microsoft, RIM, Apple and Android smartphones.

The launch is aimed squarely at Google and others who already offer web-based business software."

Well BBC is a bit late on the story, but the Cloud version of Office is here.

Microsoft launches Office in the cloud

Office 365 screenshot, Microsoft

BBC News - Microsoft launches Office in the cloud:
"Microsoft is launching a cloud-based version of its Office software suite.

Called Office 365 the service puts the familiar e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and collaboration programs on the web.

Microsoft said the programs will be accessible via desktops, laptops and tablets plus Microsoft, RIM, Apple and Android smartphones.

The launch is aimed squarely at Google and others who already offer web-based business software."

Well BBC is a bit late on the story, but the Cloud version of Office is here.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Flowr's online business collaboration shows app threat to SharePoint tools updated

"Flowr is pitched squarely at small-to-medium businesses, and the pricing reflects that. It’s free for a basic account, which allows up to five users. Premium accounts, with a range of additional features, cost $59 per month for up to 15 users (additional users are $3 per month)."

Flowr's online business collaboration tools updated

The growth over the next decade in Enterprise collaboration is going to be around SMEs that today are using email as their only tool. Microsoft is going after this area with Office 365 but when you look at an app product like Flowr you see that a company can get moving with most of the same features from the Cloud for a fraction of the investment.

The app economy has blown the rough off development making faster innovation at lower cost and opening the pie to more smaller players. Will Microsoft be able to respond in time, well that will be very interesting.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Terence McKenna - Time Acceleration

Okay yesterday we talked about noosphere, today we are posting a short talk from the king of drug induced mysticism himself Terence McKenna. Are we crack pots?

Well this is a unusually lucid and almost materialistic presentation by McKenna, and we would suggest some of the wilder New Age ideas of the past century can provide means of thinking about the current changes in human culture facilitated by mobile Internet.

New Age was one of the key influential myths for early adopters of "Cyberspace", and we should not be surprised that the current revolution in our understanding is influenced in large part by it. Just as science was originally created by people influenced by alchemy.

The key question to ask is if McKenna's ideas sound familiar today because reality has come out as he predicted and is developing along the lines of ever rapid development, or because our culture has created a myth of such development. Certainly mobile computing and the Internet are evolving faster than anyone could have imagined, but the same can not be said for genomics, cancer treatment, space flight, or green energy.

Its important to keep in mind that part of the entire selling pitch of mobile technology is this kind of rapid evolution towards some kind of singularity. But in the end Web 3.0 devices are just mobile phones that go online. What we do with this simple concept is up to us as a civilization.

Web 3.0 Lab: Windows 8 will be a mobile OS

Web 3.0 Lab: Windows 8 will be a mobile OS:

The new version of Windows is aims at more mobile platform. Thing is they seem to be embracing the as yet unproven Windows 7 Mobile interface. The OS will potentially free Microsoft from the desktop and take on Google's Android and Mac iOS domination of the mobile computing world. Or it might get people to see that mobile can be extended to the PC and open the door to Android slates and Android PCs.

Microsoft is trying to put a positive spin on this, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that this is a move Microsoft was forced to take. They will be changing the core look and feel of their flagship product. They will be making it look more like their mobile product. And their mobile product is getting killed in the market.

The concept of a mobile Windows is cool, and Windows 8 is just more proof that Web 3.0 will be the mobile web. But Microsoft is going to play a game it has not played for a long time: second place.

(Personally we find the layout of the Windows Mobile phone too restrictive. The squares impose a certain pattern of presentation on you, all heavily branded by Microsoft. The entire joy of Androids is the fact it is a light weight OS with the apps you select arranged the way you want them arranged. We have a bad feeling about this one.)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Tech Bubble 2.0, Wall Streets concern, given its record of getting things wrong, is no reason to worry

"Tech Bubble 2.0? Maybe. But many in the venture capital community have rebuffed that notion, saying that important lessons have been learned since the first bubble in the late 1990s. In other words: This time, it's different."

Firstly let us make one thing very clear. The Dot Com bubble of 2000 never really happened, not the way the media reported it. Certainly there was a collapse in stock prices around a cluster of Internet companies. But this was not because the companies themselves were weak. Rather the collapse was a fiction created by a Wall Street out of control, one that three masses of money too early and pulled the money out a few years later when the largest transformation in communications since the printed word didn't fully form in two years. The Dot Com bomb was entirely due to the greed and stupidity of people on Wall Street.

After this so called collapse the Internet, freed of so much influence from the parasite class, was able to enter its true golden age. After the Dot Com collapsed we saw the rise of blogging, social network sites, the creation of Facebook, podcasting, video sharing, music downloads, and now geosocial. If Wall Street was with it or not the Internet rapidly moved from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 in large part by collective work of millions.

After Wall Street declared the Internet dead Wikipedia create the largest single store of information in world history through crowd sourcing, a Harvard undergrad made a company that now has 600 million members, Google's stock went public (and despite fears of another collapse back then) the stock and company is doing fine.

The Internet is not a fad. Nor is it really possible to value the contribution the Internet will place upon humanity. Asking how much the collection of Interent companies are actually worth long term would be like asking how much the first 100 printing presses of 50 steam engines would be worth to the world economy. In reality these innovations were worth more than the entire wealth of the planet at that time.

But that is not to say there is no danger of a short term collapse, there very much is such a danger. Not because of the firms themselves but because, as we should all know by now, Wall Street is dominated by a lot of disturbed drug addicted sex addict trying to steal as much money as they can who use masses of technology they are either too stupid or too drug out to understand. Its very likely they will dump masses of money in to new firms and as soon as the herd instinct changes pull it out in mass.

But the Internet itself will survive. In face as we saw from things like Wikipedia, Linux, and blogging the Internet is driven by a much bigger collective event than the money on Wall Street. The Web was actually better off after all the investors left in 2001. Freed of the pressure of bag men who didn't understand the industry people who did understand the web were free to actually built a better web.

Imagine if the investment houses has remain around, had bought out Wikipedia, all the blogging sites, and the social networks. Do you think crowd sourcing, creative commons, or citizen journalism would have gotten anywhere? I doubt it.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cloud computing already flopping? Lessons from Sony

Rackspace data centre

The BBC never comes out and just asks the obvious question. Are the cases of Sony and Amazon just growing pains for the Cloud, or is the Cloud over hyped? Well given what some people were saying last year about saving the environment, reducing costs to a fraction, and giving better service it should come as no surprise that the Cloud turns out to have serious real world.

I have worked a great deal with the Cloud, and the conclusion I have come to is that it is a lot harder to execute than most people relieve. That people are going to certainly put a lot of stuff on the Cloud, but data centers will very often be the best value option for most Enterprises most of the time.

Cloud will be a bit win for SME, but they will have to live with security problem, loss of data, and all the million problem with making your business someone else's concern. Outsourcing never lived up to the hype and neither will the Cloud. Essentially the problem is that you are giving the core of your business to someone else. The smaller you are the more Cloud can do for you, but the less and less you matter to Cloud.

BBC News - Cloud computing after Amazon and Sony: ready for primetime?: "Cloud computing may be the hottest thing in corporate computing right now, but two IT disasters - at Amazon and Sony - beg the question: Is cloud computing ready for primetime business?

It's a nightmare moment. You are under pressure - to meet customer orders, finish a project, execute a deal - and nothing. Your computers, servers or network are down. If you are lucky, a few nail biting hours and a reboot or three later, you and your IT team have restored services.

But what if your IT infrastructure goes down and there's nothing you can do because your computing power sits in the cloud, provided over the internet by another company? When a key part of Amazon's EC2 cloud service collapsed, many of the firm's customers were reduced to publishing apologies on their websites, and click 'refresh' on Amazon's service health dashboard.

Two of Sony's online gaming services, meanwhile, were hacked, compromising confidential data of more than 100 million customers."

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Huddle on death of the enterprise

Notes based on talk of Alastair Mitchell,, CEO and co-founder of Huddle: The death of enterprise as we know it

The talk was given by another staff.

Huddle provides content management and collaboration like SharePoint but in the Cloud.

The key is the "consumerization" of IT. As consumers we now have access of easy use of Cloud services on many devices. Especially the Digital Natives have grown up with apps and mobile devices that give easy functionality which they choose for themselves and configure to share and communicate.

The established structure of IT in the Enterprise is a restricted controlled access. But today 95% of users in the west use some form of their own devices or software to do their job. The personal device is breaking down the Enterprise's control over information systems inside the Enterprise. But also employees store personal data on company networks, perhaps as high as 50%.

Also techie workers want to work at companies with high tech new stuff.

So the Enterprise is being torn in part with IT departments on one side driven by FUD and techie users at the work space.

Huddle believes that its technology can resolve this debate at the center of Web 2.0. Huddle believes that IT needs change because staff life experiences will not.

Huddle holds up the Cloud as solution to this problem. IT departments need to put aside their security and control concerns and embrace the Clout. The Cloud will reduce cost and promote agility. Cloud applications will also allow more variable devices to connect in to the business functionality.

Huddle deals with security via several levels of security: physical, application security layer, testing of security. Huddle notices that 86% of SharePoint users say they would rather use email than SharePoint. Huddle sees adoption as a key feature over SharePoint. Huddle claims 90% adoption. Though the stats Huddle gives here is a bit misleading. They give Huddle adoption and SharePoint satisfaction. But they should compare adoption to adoption or satisfaction to satisfaction.

Huddle also points extensive adoption by the government of Huddle. I would also note the government makes extensive use of SharePoint.

Today any business need can be meet with a Cloud based service that can live on many devices. Rather than IT solutions are coming up with open APIs, based in the Cloud

These are Web 3.0 Lab notes and do not necessarily reflect the views of Huddle or any of the presenters at Internet World 2011.

Web 3.0 Lab: Huddle on death of the enterprise:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Microsoft near $7 billion deal for Skype

Microsoft to buy Skype, will it be a game changer?

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on a deal to buy Internet phone company Skype for between $7 billion and $8 billion, and a deal could be announced as early as tomorrow, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The report cited people familiar with the matter who said negotiations were ongoing and could still fall apart. Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Luxembourg-based company provides a software-based communications service that allows people to make free voice and video calls over the Internet to other Skype users using almost any Internet-connected device. The voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP service also allows people to make and receive calls from regular telephone numbers using a paid service.

Interest in the Internet telephony giant has been high since online auction giant eBay, which had acquired Skype in 2006, sold off its controlling interest in Skype. Facebook and Google had previously been mentioned as possible suitors for the company, which has been around since 2003 and averages 124 million connected users per month.

The combination of the deal of Nokia and Skype could suddenly make Windows 7 mobile a game changer in the mobile industry. But the news so far has had no impact on Microsoft's stock. Looks like traders are taking a wait and see attitude about Microsoft's efforts to take over this stock. Certainly Microsoft's former domination of the PC universe has suffered under Web 2.0 failures. With Google and Facebook taking a lead people might be wise to be unsure that Microsoft will be able to take advantage of the mobile Internet or Web 3.0.

Out take is that Microsoft is very well position to make better use of Skype than eBay. Skype fits nicely in to the Office 365. And Skype will also extend the Nokia Windows 7 competitive position. We have noticed that the movement to mobile devices is speeding up the pace at which people change machines. People might use a PC for 5 to 7 years. People get new smartphones ever couple of years. So in 4 years from now people could have two upgrades of their smartphones. We have also seen people willing to change smartphones. People have moved from Palm to RIM, RIM to iPhones and iPhone to Android already. If the Windows 7 mobile phone on Nokia creates an attractive offering it might only take a few years for Microsoft to retake much of this area.

In the Pro are for Microsoft we have:

  • Microsoft strong position in PC making it still the main platform people create and use information.
  • Nokia new phones are excellent.
  • Microsoft Office 365 could become the Office productivity platform of almost all business users very soon.
  • Skype purchase.
  • The excellent reviews Windows 7 Mobile has gotten.

Against Microsoft are these problems:
  • Weak mobile reputation.
  • Strong position of Android in mobile area.
  • Web 2.0 owned by other firms like Google and Facebook.
Though it is hard to predict the future things look a lot better for Microsoft today after the Skype deal.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

BCS - External Content Type in SharePoint Designer 2010

Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 Business Connectivity Services (ReviewCam)

Microsoft and RIM to make partnership

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Ballmer Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer Announces Big Partnership With Research In Motion:

"Steve Ballmer just took the stage at Research In Motion's conference to announce a new partnership between Microsoft and RIM.

"Bing search and maps are now the default on BlackBerrys at the OS level, says analyst Michael Gartenberg, who is on hand.

"Ballmer also said Microsoft would invest 'uniquely' in BlackBerry services."

The potential alliance of RIM/Blackberry with Microsoft is so logical it is a bit surprising how long Microsoft avoided it. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft stack has had a mobile device for almost a decade now in Blackberry. With the massive presence of Blackberry already in place in Microsoft stack offices it makes more sense for Microsoft to work with RIM and maybe even merge than for Microsoft to try and salvage its own mobile business.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Office 365 beta, Microsoft finally makes it to the Cloud with SharePoint

UPDATE: Since I wrote this original post in 2011 Microsoft has released the mature ready to go Office365 for the Cloud.  And it is a vast improvement and a real game changer.  

It has a simpler new layout which works well with tablets, not just Surfaces.  I use my Office365 on my iPad and it is great.  It also has  a wonderful new App Development model which will make it much easier to add SharePoint to the entire Enterprise.  Things are just getting better and better from the Cloud.

Office 365 beta is here. And the wait is almost worth it. Almost. First the good news. You get SharePoint and Office Web Applications in a Cloud solution. And this is real SharePoint 2010. You even have the ability to start workflows, edit page layout, set site properties and even open the page in Designer 2010. Everything with the same ribbon and SharePoint 2010 because it is SharePoint 2010.

With a basic under 25 user Office 365 beta you get Outlook Web Application, which looks and feels like the real office. You get a basic web site which frankly is terrible. But the real killer app is, or will be, Cloud based document Management using Office Web Apps and SharePoint 2010 Team Sites!

Now on my computer I could not create document using the Web App, but I would imagine they will fix that soon or I will fix my machine. Oh and you get Lync too but frankly anyone in a small business who needs another cloud based IM service must be living under a rock.

Posted by Picasa

Frankly for a 25 person of less business Lynch will be useless give Skype and other basic IM services. But the ability to use SharePoint and Outlook in the Cloud is pretty cool.

And I am going to be clear about this: Office 365 beta is not kind of SharePoint 2010, or something that looks like SharePoint 2010; it is SharePoint 2010. This is Microsoft breaking in to the Cloud in a massive way. Good job folks, now get the phone to sell.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: BBC News - How is technology changing protests?

Police officers stand in front of a fire lit be demonstrators after a protest organised by the Trades Union Congress

BBC News - How is technology changing protests?: "Technology has always been at the forefront of policing protests, from video cameras, CCTV and now social media. But it is the protesters who are now using technology to their advantage."

Web 3.0 Lab: BBC News - How is technology changing protests?:

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

How much information does IT produce? Try a number with 19 zeros!

World's information consumption: 9,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes per year: "The world's roughly 27 million computer servers processed 9.57 zettabytes of information in 2008, according to a paper to be presented April 7 at Storage Networking World's (SNW's) annual meeting in Santa Clara, Calif.
The first-of-its kind rigorous estimate was generated with server-processing performance standards, server-industry reports, interviews with information technology experts, sales figures from server manufacturers and other sources. (One zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power, or a million million gigabytes.)
The study estimated that enterprise server workloads are doubling about every two years, which means that by 2024 the world's enterprise servers will annually process the digital equivalent of a stack of books extending more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system in the Milky Way Galaxy. (Each book is assumed to be 4.8 centimeters thick and contain 2.5 megabytes of information.)"

Web 3.0 Lab: The Tablet is mobile, cameras and 3G now becoming ...

Web 3.0 Lab: The Tablet is mobile, cameras and 3G now becoming ...: "Pickup in Lens Orders Points to More Tablets With Cameras - PCWorld Business Center: 'A lot of first-generation tablets didn't feature came..."

This confirms with our own survey of local tablet sales centers in London where staff have told us the ability to attach to the 3G network has become a make or break features for tablet sales. It seems that a tablet must have all the features of a mobile phone and then some, rather than being a half way hybrid between a PC and a mobile phone.

This is good news for the players coming at the tablet space from the mobile side: Android, Apple and potentially Blackberry. This is continued bad news for Microsoft though, as a tablet evolves to be more and more like a mobile phone the strengths of Windows will count for less on the mobile space.

What were are fearing on tablets is people want a camera, they want mobility, they want a camera and video but they don't care to much about productivity and file sharing features. Perhaps as the tablet space expands people will see their potential as productivity tools, but right now they are being seen as big phones rather than mobile PC, and this is very bad news for Microsoft.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Cancer Research UK embraces Wikipedia

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In a move that shows the emerging importance of Social Media, Cancer Research UK has announced that it will be enhancing Wikipedia pages on cancer. This is because Wikipedia pages come up higher in search than the Cancer Research UK's own web pages. Here is part of the story on BBC:

"Cancer Research UK is turning its specialists loose on the internet to get them to tidy up the online encyclopaedia - wikipedia.

"The charity said many people researching the subject are turning to the website.

"But it said there were problems with accuracy and clarity on some of the pages.

"Wikipedia said it encourages experts to edit the site as they have a lot to contribute.

"Cancer Research UK's website has pages of detail about a range of cancers.

"However, using a search engine for the terms 'Breast Cancer' puts the charity in eighth place on the results page. Wikipedia comes second. A trend it repeats across other cancers."

Cancer Research UK move illustrates the importance of a two track approach to social network research. Having an excellent authoritative web page is no longer enough. It is critical to engage social media like Wikipedia, blogging, twitter and facebook.

The lesson here is that the line between experts and laymen is no longer respect by the Internet itself. In fact crowd sourced content engines like Wikipedia will dominate search results. Therefore experts, if they really want to get their message out, must work with the community as peers rather than broadcasters.

Web 3.0 Lab: Cancer Research UK embraces Wikipedia:

Thursday, 31 March 2011

BBC News - Microsoft takes Google complaint to EU

From the BBC:

"The post goes on to list five different ways in which Google, according to Microsoft, has sought to control the search market.

Those are:

  • Using technical measures to stop Microsoft's search engine Bing from indexing content on Google-owned YouTube.
  • Blocking Microsoft Smartphones from operating properly with YouTube.
  • Controlling access to online copies of out-of-copyright books.
  • Limiting the ability of businesses to reclaim "their own information" generated through Google advertising campaigns for use elsewhere.
  • Compelling leading websites to only use Google search boxes on their pages.

BBC News - Microsoft takes Google complaint to EU

The idea of Microsoft filing over anti-trust against Google is a sad milestone in the computer giants inability to extend its brand in to the Web. Considering also how ineffective companies were in the 1990s going after Microsoft using this same tactic, it is maybe a bit surprising that Microsoft would try it themselves. But then again if anyone knows about anti-trust litigation it is Microsoft.

I generally view the Microsoft vs Google debate in this way. Both firms are, in their industries monopolies and monopolies are generally bad for consumers. But all monopolies are not created equal. I would rather have a single firm making all the radios than a single firm owning all the radio stations. Monopolies in the content area entail political power that is troubling.

Still it is highly ironic to see Microsoft doing this. And frankly the case looks rather weak at first glance.