Sunday, 27 February 2011

Wisconsin and the limits of web power | Dave Karpf | Comment is free |

"But, just as the Egyptian protests were aided by social media, rather than caused by social media, the roots of this fight are really quite different.

"Labour unions offer a bedrock structure for large-scale collective action. Governor Walker is attempting to remove that structure. If he succeeds, internet-mediated organisations won't be able to fill in the gap. Groups like can be tremendously effective, particularly in the new media environment. But they can't organise workers in a specific industry or city to improve wages, working conditions and benefits. MoveOn is never going to sit across from management at the negotiating table.

"That's where "organising without organisations" reaches its limits: you need to build institutions of power if you're going to confront institutions of power. When the going gets phenomenally difficult, you need courage and commitment to succeed, not just a wifi hotspot."

Wisconsin and the limits of web power | Dave Karpf | Comment is free |

Web 3.0 Lab: 10% Chance Your Windows Mobile Update Will Have Pr...

Samsung phone

This is not the news that Windows Mobile needed right now. With a tiny fraction of the smartphone market Windows is competing in a market where excellence is just taken for granted.

BBC News - Microsoft says phone update failed 1 in 10 users: "Microsoft has revealed that 1 in 10 users who tried to install a software update on their Windows mobile experienced problems.

"The company had previously said that only a 'small number' of handsets were affected.

"Owners have reported a range of issues following the download, from phones crashing, to becoming completely unusable."

Microsoft must wake up to the fact it is up against three products that combine excellent in software and UI. Blackberry is a extremely stable and easy to use platform. I am a long term Blackberry user and its continued strong position does not surprise me.

iPhone is an excellent piece of technology. I have found it to be a pleasure to use. But perhaps the most serious threat is Android. Using a Linux fork Google has finally been able to bring the quality and stability of Linux to a wide audience of ordinary users with Android, and Microsoft must fight on quality, price, and ease of use.

I have a very grey view right now of Microsoft Mobile's possibility. I wonder if in the combined push for Cloud and Xbox is Microsoft has the talent base to also put up a major fight back in mobile. In the Xbox and Cloud space Microsoft are fighting from strengths, but in mobile they are weak and not looking any stronger.

Web 3.0 Lab: 10% Chance Your Windows Mobile Update Will Have

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Google vs Facebook, the big battle

The mobile version of Facebook

BBC News - Google blunts Facebook phone app on Android: "Google has stepped up its data battle with Facebook by blunting the social networking site's app on its phones.

"An update for its latest mobile operating system will see users' Facebook contacts disappear from the phone's address book.

"Google said it took the action as it was no longer willing to exempt Facebook from its data-sharing rules.

"The decision has been seen as indicative of growing tensions between the two internet giants."

I have tested the Facebook Phone app, which just showed up on my Android and I am rather unimpressed. Firstly its a massive privacy violation. Secondly, I hate talking on the phone so what the point. Don't we go online to get away from having to talk to people?

Web 3.0 Lab: The Internet down in Bahrain?

UPDATE: Internet traffic has been flowing in and out of Bahrain during the entire protest. Many people in Bahrain complain about slow and limited access. This may be due to a combination of censorship and high volumes, but the Internet has not been taken down at any point so far in a Egyptian style.

The NYT today reported:

"As protests have erupted in Bahrain over the last several days, the government has severely restricted the access of its citizens to the Internet, new data from an organization that monitors Internet traffic strongly suggests."

We partially confirm this with our own tool this morning. Even before reading the report we could tell that geo-tagged tweeting from key areas in Bahrain had collapsed. Our tool use exponential decay to model how a tweet looses significance over time, so a sudden unplugging of the Internet would not result in an immediate collapse, be a rapid fall in value.

Given that yesterday for high schools around Sulmaniya Hospital yesterday of 50 on our scale of 100 this mornings score of 3 would indicate a major interruption of service. Track this site.

But this is not the complete story.

We are seeing moderate levels of tweeting with geo-locations for Manama, specially Sh Abdulla Ave, Manāma, Bahrain Track this site in real time

We are also seeing significant fluctuations across location and time in Manāma this morning. All scores as significantly suppressed from highs of yesterday but there still are certain locations with modest tweeting.

Now it is important to say that our tool tracks the geo-locations assigned to tweets via the Twitter API. It is possible that false geo-tagged tweets are being generated by the government to make it look as though the Internet is still happening. We strongly believe the Bahrain government has been conducting a campaign of disinformation on twitter for several days.

It is also possible that people are simply retweeting posts. Retweets carry the original geo-tag so we will have to watch over time to be sure we are not seeing the effects of retweeting. We included this feature in our measurement because we wanted to see the overall impact of a tweet from a location on the entire world, rather than counting heads. We are more interested in the overall systems impact of tweeting at a given location. During the Arab revolts this has lead to us seeing elevated tweet levels for specific locations. But it may also meant hat a high score is only the echo effect of retweets over time.

Update: But this story is moving very fast. We have just noticed a rapid rise in the level of tweets coming for Pearl Roundabout. We can not confirm with our tool that this is actual tweeting being done on mobile devices and laptops in area. Track levels here.

Web 3.0 Lab: The Internet down in Bahrain?:

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Social Network and Web 3.0 services has a large pr...

The Web 3.0 Lab has taken a look at on the ground tweeting in Russia for some time. Using our twitter analysis tool we looked at Moscow which is a major center for geolocated tweeting with a score on our scale of 85 to at 20:00 GMT. At that same time St Petersburg, tweeps intensity was 54 This compared to Berlin is a low area for geolocated tweets with a score of 66 0n the same scale. But for BRIC this level of Web 3.0 activity is not that impressive. At that time Mumbai 59 out of 100 twitter intensity. In Brazil, entering the evening, the score was Sao Paulo had high tweeting at 78. The conclusion is that Russia is very much part of a truly global internet, and Social Networks could exert a power use as a media. Over evaluation of overallgeo-tagged web activity and data is 53 for Moscow center on our Clima scale.

But unlike Brazil and India few in Russia would probably argue that it is a working democracy, and though India and Brazil have their problems, given the authoritarian nature of Putin's rule of Russia is more likely to face grass roots call for Regime reform.

Russia has had some harsh criticism of Google and has threatened to review it's internet policy, which they say would be modelled more on China's tightly controlled censorship. Will it be watching you more than you watching the internet?
Although right now Russia has a very open internet culture, even Medvedev has a video blog- . In the last few days there have been strong condenation from Medvedev and Putin about the effects of Google. We have some information about Russian social networks from The Fresh Network who has followed Russia and its active social network.

"The January Web Index for TNS shows that two leading social networks in Russia are witnessing the kind of acceleration in growth that we have seen in other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

One of the main social networks in Russia, Odnoklassniki (Одноклассники) is reporting 30 million registered users. The site, which (as the name suggests) connects classmates is used in both Russia and the Ukraine and attracts 8 million visitors each day. VKontakte (В контакте) is Odnoklassniki’s biggest competitor with a reported 28 million registered users and 1.4 billion page views each day and 13.09 million visitors each month.

These statistics are impressive and firmly place Russia as the fourth biggest market in Europe for social networking. The total number of users of both of these sites is remarkable given that in 2008, Russia’s overall internet population was reported to be just 33 million people. It is true that internet access is increasing rapidly in Russia, and the growth of social networks is accompanying this. When people go online for the first time they appear to be joining and using social networks almost immediately."


Web 3.0 Lab: Social Network and Web 3.0 services has a large pr...:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pro-Union Website 'Defend Wisconsin' Blocked In Capitol

Defendwisconsinorg Blocked

A website being used to help organize protests against Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has been blocked from the Capitol Building in Madison, according to reports.

The site,, was inaccessible from the building on Monday and into Tuesday morning, CNN reported.

Pro-Union Website 'Defend Wisconsin' Blocked In Capitol

Dealing with a troll bomb

A troll bomb is the next security threat to Social Networks.

Facebook Chat Now Available in Hotmail Inboxes Everywhere

"When it was first announced that Hotmail would offer Facebook chat access from within the inbox, it was only available to six different regions.This week the Hotmail team has expanded the feature to reach customers worldwide."

Monday, 21 February 2011


Base upon the start of geotweeting coming out of Benghazi, Libya we a confident that the telecommunication infrastructure in that region is no longer in the hands of the regime, and that Gaddafi must have lost most, if not all, control over much of Eastern Libya.

We have been monitoring Benghazi, Libya for a couple of weeks with out geo-tweeting tool. This tool allows us to follow the density of real time tweeting in Libya or anywhere in the world. Today we saw our first tweets with geotags coming out of Benghazi. We had been looking for this event as we have predicted that he start of geo-located tweeting coming out of Benghazi could only happen once the regime had lost control of the telecommunication infrastructure in the area. Last week we defined this as the event which would show Gaddafi's control in Benghazi had been destroyed.

So the emergence of these first geotagged tweets is a major even in the revolution in Libya.

Just the fact that some tweets are being made from the coast of Benghazi is like a radio transmission from London during the Blitz or a letter from Stalingrad: proof that the people's will is not broken and that they have the will to win.

If ever a proof of the profound value and meaning that Web 3.0 can hold was needed, here it is!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

User generate content in YouTube is giving the truth about violence

Web 3.0 Lab: Web 3.0 Lab: News agencies dependant on User Gener...

As the web3.0 lab can confirm that reporters are relying on user generated content. A long-time BBC correspondent from the region Jon Williams also confirms the story.

"The BBC and other news organisations are relying on those on the ground to tell us what's happening. Their phone accounts - often accompanied by the sound or gunfire and mortars - are vivid. However, inevitably, it means we cannot independently verify the accounts coming out of Libya. That's why we don't present such accounts as "fact" - they are "claims" or "allegations".

"Similarly, the flow of video - the so-called "user-generated-content" - has dwindled to a trickle as the authorities have periodically turned off the Internet. That means we have an additional responsibility - to be clear with our audiences not just what little we do know, but perhaps more significantly, what we don't."

Web 3.0 Lab: Web 3.0 Lab: News agencies dependant on User Gener...:

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Twitter analysis predicted demos in Pearl Roundabout Bahrain


By analysis the tensity and pattern of geo-location tagged tweets in Bahrain we were able to confidently predict a mass demonstration in Northern Bahrain several hours before it began.

Our Prediction

Based upon our experience and analysis of the twitter trends on the ground in Bahrain this morning, we were able to make this prediction at around noon Bahrain time:

Web 3.0 Lab: Anticipating more protests in North Bahrain today:

"From our morning analysis of the intensity of tweeting in North Bahrain, the pattern and spread of this intensity, and the content of #Bahrain and #lulu hashtag on Twitter we are predicting that there is a high probability of continued civil unrest and protest in North Bahrain, and that the Regime will again likely not be able to contain or control the scale or extent of protests."

Track tweeting from around Lulu Pearl Roundabout in real time with this tool.

This is significant because at that time news reports we were reading from journalist inside Bahrain were saying that it was uncertain what would happen. We were reading some reports of people being scared after recent killings and even of smaller turn out.

This contradicted what we were seeing on the ground with our twitter analysis tools. We could see a massive crowd of people who were twitter so much that there must have been 10,000s of them. They were mass in high concentrations near Bilad Al Qadeem. At one point this morning tweeting levels from that location were almost as high as those in the center of NYC.

How we made the prediction

On previous days we had seen this pattern before mass protests on Pearl Roundabout. We could tell that a massive number of people were collected and were motivated to communication. Our observations of Bahrain people living in London is that protests involve heavy levels of social networking. Protesters in Bahrain are making extensive use of various social networks to coordinate and inspire protesters, and to keep in touch with large families.

People in Bahrain have far more extended families than most westerners. People preparing to undertake a risky protest against a violent regime would also want to keep their family informed. Twitter is an ideal tool to broadcast status to a large group of people.

So from these factors we ignored the cautious statements from major media sources and predicted that a mass demonstration would take place in Northern Bahrain and that the regime would not be able to control it without resorting to mass killings.

The protesters would have had a mixture of deep determination and concern for their safety and the safety of their families. We have spoken with many people from Bahrain who struggle constantly to keep in touch with their extended families. Social Networks on the Internet work well for this.

So this spike west of Pearl Roundabout could only mean a group preparing to confront the regime.

Several hours later the news reports came in that this is precisely what happened.

Limitations of our current model (and yes we are working on these)

But there were certain things we could not see with our tool. We could not see the retreat of the Army for the Roundabout or peaceful strategy protesters would take. We continue to explore semantic analysis to give us a more nuanced understanding of what large mean.

But we are pretty confident that we have demonstrated the value of this kind of analysis, and this will be part of the news gathering and reporting of the future.

Also our model has been useless in Libya, were events are moving very quickly. Our analysis of Libya has been based on semantic analysis of the #Libya. This has lead us for some time to believe the regime there was weaker than many people imagined in the west, but we are still developing the solid model to make more firm predictions based on Twitter content in this area.


By using our Twitter density analysis model we were able to see people massing this morning west of Pearl Roundabout. From our previous observations and our analysis of the related Twitter and Facebook content we were able to confidently predict a highly probability of a protest starting today in Northern Bahrain. Several hours later this is what happened.

We feel this has helped demonstrate the value to journalists to this kind of analysis in the right conditions. There is a requirement that a society have a high level of Internet adoption. Our tool has been useless in trying to see what could be happening in Yemen and Libya. But for Bahrain it has proven very effective.

Web 3.0 Lab: Twitter analysis predicted demos in Pearl Roundabout Bahrain

Friday, 18 February 2011

Microsoft just gives up on Blogging, and joins with the best

What can you say about the new partnership between Microsoft and WordPress?

It shows both the weakness and strength of Microsoft.

First the weakness. Microsoft can't make something as simple as a blogging tool. This is a bit odd since in 1999 I was able to kludge a some Pearl discussion code to form a basic Blog. Oh if I had thought to make that in to a product. It shows a profound weakness of Microsoft in the Web 2.0.

But Microsoft can make up for weaknesses by merging with strength. It has no Web 2.0 presence so it partners with Facebook. It can't do blogging so it partners with WordPress. It can't do mobile so it partners with Nokia.

Remember this is Microsoft. Its not so much as they make things, its that they bring to market things other people made. Innovation and Microsoft are two words you don't see together that much anymore. But Microsoft's role is not innovation, its bringing order to CTO and CIO lives. Its giving the Enterprise a one stop shop and selling XBOXs.
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YouTube used to spread Iranian protests

We can not confirm but these image were posted. They are suppose to be from Iran. But given the current situation they could be from any number of nations. The weather would make Iran seem more reasonable. It certainly does not look like Libya or Bahrain. But demonstrations are spreading wildly through the Arab world.

This account was created three day earlier. The user does not identify themselves. This pattern of usage of social networks is very common among Iranian and Libyan protester.

Web 3.0 Lab: The Structure an Nature of a Troll Bomb

Discussing the nature and structure of a Troll Bomb, like the one carried out by Bahrain before their crack down on peaceful protesters.

We believe a Troll Army attack upon social networks is a much a potential cyber threat as crackers. And will be much harder to combat.

Troll attacks on social networks like YouTube and Twitter are likely going to be the next major security concern. Human rights groups trying to use social networks to effect change in their nations are particularly vulnerable.

Currently we are analyzing the data from the situation in Bahrain, identifying patterns in such attacks to develop analysis tools for future use by human rights groups and business trying to protect their reputation. Maybe even the good people at Twitter will take a notice.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: In Bahrain both pro-government and anti-government...

A facebook page that supports the regime in Bahrain. Unlike Egypt in Bahrain supporters of the regime are actively engaging social media.

Marwa Al Dossary is an account of Twitter. "Her" picture is rather too attractive, and her posts too clearly pro-government and, frankly, full of distortions to not suspect that se is an account created by the Bahrain regime to try and combat the growing influence of social networks.

This includes, sadly, distortions of the truth, like "her" claim that no one was in Pearl Roundabout (something we know to be utterly false from looking at tweeting coming directly from that location) to posts from YouTube showing violence.

It is easy to dismiss these as government plants, but looking at YouTube and Facebook one can not escape the conclusion that a number of people in Bahrain support the current regime, and that they and the government have determied to fight it out in social media.

Today (16 Feb) there will be two protests in Bahrain, one pro and one anti government. Below you can find links to follow both.

Web 3.0 Lab: In Bahrain both pro-government and anti-government

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: What now for tweeter, how ready is the social media tool to support the spreading Arab Revolt

What now for tweeter, how ready is the social media tool to support the spreading Arab Revolt

We have been watching the fast moving events in the Arab world to try and see how the social networking tool of twitter on mobile phones and smart phones can be used to organize protester.

What we are finding is that there are great disparages between Twitter uptake and use in different nations of the Middle East facing political protest.

For example we see almost no evidence of on the ground tweeting in Algiers, Algeria, with the highest score of 4 out of 100 using our tweeter meter tool
See Algiers, Algeria Real Time Tweet Levels

The story in Aden Yemen is a bit different. In most of Aden we are seeing no tweeting, but from the airport to the coast we have seen fairly high tweeting in what we suspect is an area organizing itself to protest.

For example in Al-Midan St, Aden, Yemen our model gave a real time geo-positioned tweeting score of 41 out of 100, which is very high for a smaller city in the developing world.
Sell Aden Tweeting levels here

Manāma, Bahrain is also showing much higher levels of tweeting than usual with a score of 60 out of 100 when we last checked. Again we assume that protesters are using tweeting to organize themselves and communicate, and as showen to defiance which is becoming familiar a large number of them are posting their locations. We have also seen a significant rise in the score for Bahrain through the day, rising from a score of 30 out of a hundred to 60. Since our scale is logarithmic this is more than a 100% increase and constitutes a sudden and unusual spike in tweeting around the protests.
See Manāma, Bahrain here

Tehran protests in Azadi Square seem not to be geo-tweeting at all with scores of 0 out of 100. We suspect that given the recent memories of crack downs on protester in Iran in recent years Iranian tweeters and bloggers will go to greater lengths to hide there location. We also suspect the anti-western policy of the government has limited the penetration of social network technology.
See Tehran Azadi Square Tweeting levels here


  1. There is a disparate social network landscapes that the growing Arab revolt faces. In the Gulf states geo-located tweeting has be adopted and any future protests in Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and even Yemen will have Twitter available as a tool, but more isolated nations like Algeria, Lybia, and Iran are likely to have more limited use of Web 3.0 tools to support political protests.
  2. It has been an article of faith that giving ones geo-location in tweeting would be a violation of privacy which would only serve to increase the power of the state. What we may be seeing in the Arab world is a very different kind of future. It seems that many Arabs are openly geo-tagging their tweets as a sign of defiance to their governments. Also a young large motivated community of educated Arabs is more capable of taking advantage of the organizational advantages of geo-tagging than the older established power structures they oppose. At least in the face of the aging dictatorships which have ruled the Arab world since the end of colonialism technology is on the side of the protesters.
  3. There is a possibility that by this time next year we may actually have an entirely new kind of political organization and radicalism which can maturely use social networks and geo-tagging to create agile protests the established states of all but the most advanced nations will never be able to deal with.
  4. Twitter's minimal technology requirements and ease of use makes it an excellent communication tool for protesters in the developing world.

Web 3.0 Lab: What now for tweeter, how ready is the social media tool to support the spreading Arab Revolt

Web 3.0 Lab: Rise of the Arab Web

Web 3.0 usage, especially Twitter, has exploded in the Arab world.

You can track the level of real time tweeting in Tahrir Sqr, or anywhere in the world, with the easy to use free tool

Total Social Media research project Clima tracks the intensity of Web 3.0 adoption and use anywhere in the world. Recently the Clima team has been glued to Cairo. Clima's Tweether Report has found a dramatic rise in the use of Twitter in Egypt through through much of the revolt.

Even when the Internet was shut down by Egypt's government tweets were getting out. Global communities of users were retweeting (or RTing) tweets so that any information coming out of Cairo was rapidly distributed globally. Collaboration and social networks played the same role in the Arab revolt that the printing press would have played in the US or French revolutions.

Once the Internet was available again Cairo Twitter exploded, with the intensity of tweeting rising dramatically over the weeks of protest. Usage in Tweeter reached levels like one normally only cities in Tokyo, London or New York.

Today is the first day after Mubarak resigned, and we are seeing very high usage of Tweeter in nations that allow it.

In a recent check the Tweeter intensity for key Arab on Saturday Feb 12, 2011 at 11 GMT cities was

To grasp the meaning of these levels look at two European cities at the same instance:

Now there are a number of factors involved here. One is that it is still morning in Europe and several hours later in the Arab world. Another is that Saturday is not as big a day off in the Arab world.

Also retweeting posts carries the geo-tagging on the post with it. So when I retweet a post from Egypt it counts as another tweet from the location of the original tweet, not from my location. Al Jazeera is being heavily retweeted in the rest of the world raising Doha's score.

But still this rise in the intensity of Arab tweeting is still amazing and we believe very real and likely long lasting.

Arab cities will tend to either be far poorer than in Europe and have less smartphones (Cairo), or if they are rich have a far smaller population (Doha). The normal stereotype of technology is that it should take years for the developing world to take on a new technology. We have gotten used to seeing the third world pick up new technology faster than we did. But I think with Twitter was are seeing something amazing in the Arab world. Users there have leap frogged the west and are using the tool more intensely and more intelligently then the west.

But also the story is about the rise of the global tweeter user. Arabs are finding that not only can they communicate with themselves via tweeting, but also with the wider world. And the wider world is engaged in the Arab revolt via tweeter and providing a massive collaborative community which has been well ahead of their governments or established medias.

For several weeks the richest source of global information has been Al Jazeera, which not too long ago was branded a propaganda mouth piece by the USA, and tweeting. The rise of the Caliphate 3.0 may be just around the corner.

Web 3.0 Lab: A very very loud 15,000 Arabs, or maybe more

Track real time Twitter intensity for Tahrir Square Cairo and any location on earth. A free tool we rushed from pre-production to support the Arab revolt.

Social media intelligence firm Sysomos spent a lot of time analyzing the tweeting coming out of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen over the past several weeks. Sysomos was only able to identify about 15,000 tweeters with geo-locations in the three countries. This is less than 0.03% of the global population of 52 million tweeter users. Sysomos did conclude that a number of tweeters in these areas may be covering their identities.

If this is true, than they were a very load group of tweeters. On the night of January 11th and January 12th Total Social Media tweether report for Tehrar Square registered over 90% score, more in line with New York of London than Cairo. Even several days after the event tweets coming from Tahrir Square are ranging between 30% and 60%, which would be high for 15,000. On the night Mubarak fell we were seeing elevated level of tweeting through most of central Cairo and Giza more in line with a western city.

So what accounts for the fact that so few Twitter users could have made so much noise?

We have proposed the following explanation:

  1. A large percentage of active Twitter users in Cairo were concentrated in and around Tahrir Square on the nights of January 11th and January 12th. That they were tweeting at a very elevated rate, probably almost continually. Not the typical user firing off a few tweets on lunch or a movie, each tweeter in Tahrir Square was probably a mini-printing press.

  2. Egyptian political organizers were making good use of Twitter as the ultimate radio. Many of the available tweeter account and mobile smart- phone in anywhere in Egypt was probably being used by organizers to get their message out and to keep people on the ground informed. These tweeter accounts would be on continually, firing off messages almost around the clock.

  3. Re-tweeting carries the geo-tag of the original tweet with it, so the global network of supporters provided a amplification platform for the people in Egypt, multiplying almost each tweet many times if not many hundreds of times over.

  4. We have observed elevated tweeting rates in other parts of the Arab world since January 29th. We believe that a large number of Egyptians, and Arabs, have opened new Tweeter accounts in the past few weeks. We also believe that after the Cairo revolt tweeting is likely to become the social networking platform of choice for much of the developing world

We suspect that future intelligence reports will find a major increase in the use of tweet in the Arab world.

Track real time Twitter score for Tahrir Square Cairo


How Egyptians Used Twitter During the January Crisis

Web 3.0 Lab: A very very loud 15,000 Arabs, or maybe more

A rave review for Windows Mobile Phone

"The Windows Phone 7 is as easy to use, or perhaps even easier than any of the other mobile phone operating systems currently available. Instead of scrolling through page after page of apps, all the information you care about is front and center. When you want the apps, a single tap takes you to an alphabetical list when you can find what you want quickly. Its screens are beautiful; I would go as far as to say that I found it better looking than the iPhone. It was fast with no loading screens popping up other than to play games. Even web pages loaded up without much waiting about. Microsoft has set a fairly strict set of hardware requirements for all the companies making devices that run Windows Phone 7."

What will Office 365 be? Microsoft's take on the Cloud

Microsoft is producing a full spectrum of Cloud services which will included productivity, collaboration, business and management as well as Azue platform and data services. Office 365 will be cloud services targeted towards three key areas:

Productivity: Office in the Cloud
Communication: Office Live and Office Exchange in the Cloud
Collaboration: Office Live Meeting and SharePoint in the Cloud

Office Live Meeting and Office Communication will become Microsoft Lync Online.

The four pieces of Office 365 will be Office, Sharepoint, Exchange, and Lync. Together these three will provide a Cloud solution to SMEs which will provide document creation, communication in real time and non-real time, meeting, and collaboration.

In more detail these services will provide all the key tools that most information workers need.

What Office 365 will not include is specific business tools such as CRM, BI or of LOB applications. Microsoft will provide other Cloud services for this, and in keeping with the Windows and .NET tradition you will be able to develop your own solutions and package them to be hosted in Windows Azure and to use SQL Azure for storage.

A happy surprise is that these packages are not limited to ASP.NET. You can develop applications in Ruby, PHP, or Java. I am a big fan of PHP because of its rapid development and like the idea that systems I may have developed in PHP can go to the Azure Cloud without migration to ASP.NET. PHP is not a strong typed language and would be difficult to migrate to ASP.NET.
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Monday, 14 February 2011

Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes

: "Mankind's capacity to store the colossal amount of information in the world has been measured by scientists.

The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes.

That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives.

The researchers calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 technologies from PCs and and DVDs to paper adverts and books.

'If we were to take all that information and store it in books, we could cover the entire area of the US or China in 13 layers of books,' Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California told the BBC's Science in Action.

Information revolution

By 2007, 94% of stored information was kept digitally
Computer storage has traditionally been measured in kilobytes, then megabytes, and now usually gigabytes. After that comes terabytes, petabytes, then exabytes. One exabyte is a billion gigabytes."
Read more

Intellect presses government to promote IT in UK economic growth - 2/14/2011 - Computer Weekly

Communications minister Ed Vaizey met with senior figures from IT industry body Intellect

"The government has agreed to promote the role of technology in leading the UK's economic growth, following a meeting with IT industry body Intellect.

Business secretary Vince Cable and communications minister Ed Vaizey met with senior figures from IT suppliers at the roundtable meeting.

Speaking at the event, Vince Cable said: 'Strong and sustainable growth is the key to rebalancing our economy. That's why the growth review not only focuses on emerging sectors, but also those that are already strong, like the technology sector.'"

Web 3.0 Lab: Lesson from the Cairo Revolt for Twitter: its not the number of Tweeters but the network

We have been following the intensity of tweeting in Cairo and have learned an important lesson: tweeting is best viewed as a Network rather than as a collection of people with tweeter accounts.

Social media intelligence firm Sysomos spent a lot of time analyzing the tweeting coming out of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen over the past several weeks. Sysomos was only able to identify about 15,000 tweeters with geo-locations in the three countries. This is less than 0.03% of the global population of 52 million tweeter users. Sysomos did conclude that a number of tweeters in these areas may be covering their identities.

We went on to observe that actual tweeting with geo-tags for Tahrir Square often reached levels about what we might see in major European cities like Paris.

So what was going on?

We believe a number of things happened to caused a small initial number of tweeters giving their geo-position to produce such a large number of geo-positioned tweets:

  1. As the revolt went on there was likely a large number of people opening tweeter accounts and wanting to give their geo-position, or not knowing they were giving it.
  2. People who had been hiding their location stopped doing so as they became more confident that they would win.
  3. Geo-tagged tweeters were re-tweeting from the Square tweets posted by people without Geo-tags, so those political activists who were hiding their position were reposted in to the stream with a geo-tag.
  4. A large number of people around the world were retweeting geo-tagged tweets, which carried the original geo-tag from Tahrir greatly elevating the counts for Cairo.
  5. That journalist and other observers on the square with phones registered in other places were tweeting with geo-location turned on (wouldn't you?).
  6. That people at the Square were motivated to tweet at very high levels.
  7. That organizers were using Twitter as a kind of radio and were using many mobile devices and tweeter accounts constantly.
We conclude that it is better to look at the overall network for a specific place than just trying to count unique tweeter users. The network community gives a level or emergent social network behavior that is not well understood by looking only at unique users.

That is to say Social Media is media that is best understood as social not individual, which should probably have been obvious.

Networks can often make use of a small number of nodes to create a vast amount of content. While other networks full of more nodes may produce much less content. This is seen again and again in web studies and is called the power law effect. For example a tiny percentage of bloggers can produce most of the blog posts read and linked to. A small number of Twitter accounts have vast numbers of followers and get the most retweets.

What we saw in Cairo was probably a small group of tweeters who were concentrated, motivated and growing in number. While most tweets are never retweeted people all over the world were retweeting almost anything coming out of Tahrir Square. This then also meant that people in the Square were more likely to see the tweets of others around them and respond. A power law came in to effect.

So even though the population of tweeters in Cairo an Tahrir Square was lower than at any given time in the center of London or New York, these Egyptian Tweeters were able to produce a vast quantity of information which was of very high value to global users.

A tweet from Tahrir Square while Mubarak was refusing to resign simply is not the same as a tweet from Time Square for a foursquare check-in or two friends discussing lunch. Most tweets go ignored by the community, during the Tahrir Protests that was not the case. People around the world were glued to tweets and major new channels were actually reading the content of tweets form Cairo on television.

Measuring the total number of people tweeting could not account for the vastness and popularity of the tweets they were producing. Nor would looking just at the level of tweeting be able to tell you anything about social event that was happening. But keeping in context the events that were happening, looking at the small number of tweeters and the vast numbers of tweets they produced helps to understand the process of producing knowledge and organizing activists that was happening. Few tweeters were able to send their tweeting score sky high, they were also also able to help organize a revolution. Makes us wonder what we have done lately.

The overall network effect of tweeting in Tahrir Square therefore produced a more powerful an verbal network than probably any other similar sized cluster of tweeters anywhere in the world.

Web 3.0 Lab: Lesson from the Cairo Revolt for Twitter: its not the number of Tweeters but the network

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cloud Power from Microsoft

Microsoft launches a major ad campaign in London to promote its Cloud Power brand
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Friday, 11 February 2011

Snapshot of the Digital Workplace NetJMC/Intranet Strategies

digital workplace four variations
An interesting article outlining how the digital workplace can evolve over time.

Snapshot of the Digital Workplace NetJMC/Intranet Strategies:
"Model A is where most organizations are today: three distinct worlds, each providing value in different ways.

Model B is a big step forward, and often the trigger for senior management interest when collaboration becomes part of the intranet. That often marks the arrival of business support as one of the intranet strategy drivers.

Model C has re-positioned the “ex-intranet” as part of the overall digital workplace. Here, the networked collaboration of discovering and discussing, along with the structured, project-driven collaboration live side by side with the managed content and applications of the “ex-intranet”.

Model D is the most future-oriented. It considers the digital workplace to encompass not just the internal world but parts of the external world as well. This makes the “new intranet” a blend of managed, collaborative and social content. The digital workplace itself has become a platform for the extended enterprise."

Analysis and Guesses: Nokia and Microsoft form partnership

"Nokia has joined forces with Microsoft in an attempt to regain ground lost to the iPhone and Android-based devices.

"The deal will see Nokia use the Windows phone operating system for its smartphones, the company said.

"It means that Nokia's existing operating systems will be sidelined."

BBC News - Nokia and Microsoft form partnership

It actually very hard to be at all positive about this news. Actually given the current configuration of forces and changes in the mobile world it looks like 2 Web 3.0 also rans who used to be dominate in their sectors are making a utterly defensive pack.

Nokia has been pushed by Apple and phones running Google's Android OS in to the low end of the smartphone industry. It nows seems only a matter of time before they lose their dominate position in phones. Recently a leaked memo from their new CEO Elop spoke of a platform that was burning rather than on fire.

Microsoft Windows 7 has been an utter bomb, perhaps even worse than the earlier versions of Windows Mobile which, though terrible, benefited from more limited alternatives. Windows Mobile 7 on Nokia may make a play for the cheap smartphone market.

I can certainly see this being attractive to a lot of business who want to move their staff to smartphones. Nokia is a popular platform for cost conscious enterprises and no one has ever gotten fired for going with Microsoft (yet).

But this will be a commodity niche in a much larger market. Only a small percentage of phones will be given to people by work.

There is also a possibility that a Windows 7 Nokia phone could become the cheap smartphone for younger and poorer buyers, especially buyers in the developing world.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Power Law impact of social promotion over SEO

The is the life of the views of this blog. As you will see I have had a steady rise for over 2.5 years. This growth was coming from mostly Google. A steady flow from SEO. But two events happened. One was a post I made on

In 2009 I blogged on Linux and got a negative response from a Linux fan site. That is the one bump.

Recently I noticed the Facebook new photo UI, which was launched as a kind of surprise attack by Facebook. I blogged wondering if Facebook had finally killed Flickr, and tweeted it. The tweet went viral for a day. And that it the other spike.

Social Network spikes bring in a lot of views, but they are not necessarily favorable and they don't stay. Google is still the king of finabibility tools for most content and you are good to kept to that.

My Second Life blog has become more dependent on Tweets and Facebook. But it is hard to keep a steady flow of views when you are only broadcasting to your Social Graph of a massive global chat room, which is Facebook and Twitter. Google gives content access to the entire globe.
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Twitter happens, how Twitter can impact your blog

Okay now if you are an A-list blogger this does not apply to you. But if you are running a small site and you are thinking about promoting via Google SEO and Twitter I give the graph above of my blogs long term growth.

You can say a very long term growth pattern of per day views, following a weekly pattern, being driven by Google SEO. And then a Tweet I made about Facebook and Flickr went viral on Tweeter, and you can see the long term pattern is blown.

The thing about Social Networks for a smaller scale niche blogger, you will one in a while get a massive hit from a tweet, but the patterns of RT are mysterious. They seem to be utterly random and the impact does not last long.
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Friday, 4 February 2011

Facebook introduces the Fickr Killer?

Facebook has just reased the new photo interface. We are seeing it in London though it may be unavailable in some domains. Frankly you now pretty much have everything you got from Flickr. So the question is if this is a Flickr killer?

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The one Time I saw the Future, really

Reading Mashable recently I came across a story of Lymbix. From the story I have learned:

"Lymbix, makers of the ToneCheck Outlook plugin that checks the emotional tone of content in e-mail, entered an agreement Tuesday with software-maker Sherpa Software to bring ToneCheck’s sentiment analysis technology to IBM’s suite of Lotus products.

"The ToneCheck software is meant to prevent professionals from making inadvert textual faux pas, something Lymbix founders Matt Eldridge and Josh Merchant believe is a significant issue for enterprise. Licensing the ToneCheck API to Sherpa Software for Lotus integration is just one of many deals the pair hopes to orchestrate in the year ahead."

Emotional Spell Check Coming Soon to Lotus Notes

Via some later research I found that Lymbix began R&D on this product in 2009. The thing is in 2005 I wrote a short story called Spinners, where I define a key "future" technology called a Spinner that would check emotional tone, and even assigned a date for it. Below is the section from the story Spinners (Robert Hooker 2005 self published):

"Spinners had been developed in the early decades of the 21st Century. Just as the first information workers to get PCs were discovered to be such poor spellers it was necessary to install spelling checks on all computers, later generations proved to be unable to control the “tone” of their writing. Companies would want to control the amounts of negativism or positivism certain correspondences reflected, planning and managing their level of emotional nuance.

"Thus spinners become normal parts of all text systems. Spinners would check for the emotional level of a document, scoring it on hostility, friendliness, ambivalence, and hundreds of other emotional dimensions that could model the feeling communicated in a message.

"These could be set so that employees did not communicate an emotional tonE not accepted by the company. Spanners might recommend changes to the author, prevent sending unacceptable communications, or even change the message without the sender or even receiver knowing."

Okay so what is my point. This is a bit more than just a vanity post really, because the story of Spinner examines the impact that a virus that infests Tone Checking technology causes to a major government IT project that works to combat terrorism. Essentially the story is one on a Road to Singularity, where a emerging AI system called Vision becomes more and more paranoid and independent as faced with a series of counter moves by a strange set of alternative organizations able to deploy counter attacks.
background-color: transparent; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; ">Okay well enough about my short story, which I didn't bother to try and get published at the time. The key point of this blog is these tone systems are a major potential security block. I mean I really doubt many hackers are going to attack spell checking system. Spelling is one of those things that people complain about but generally if you got a few documents with mis-spelled words you would notice it pretty quick and re-install necessary software. But image the emotional tone of your document production was being screwed with by a virus?

I would be interested in learning what Lymbix thinks of this potential.

A working draft of my story Spinner is follows.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

BBC News - Google eyes Apple in tablet war

Xoom tablet, Getty
Motorola's Xoom tablet will be the first built around the honeycomb release of Android

BBC News - Google eyes Apple in tablet war: "Google has unveiled an operating system for tablet computers aimed at ramping up the competition with Apple's iPad.

More than 15 million iPads have been sold since Apple launched the gadget in 2010.

The latest version of Google's Android OS is called Honeycomb which has been specifically optimised for tablets."

Microsoft is still essentially out of this area. How long can they stand by the sidelines?

Well it took them until 1998 to make a Windows OS that was as good as the 1984 versions of the Mac. Microsoft has a real talent for landing on its feet.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Google: Bing Is Cheating, Copying Our Search Results

"Around late May of last year, Google told me it began noticing that Bing seemed to be doing exceptionally well at returning the same sites that Google would list, when someone would enter unusual misspellings.

"For example, consider a search for torsoraphy, which causes Google to return this:

"In the example above, Google’s searched for the correct spelling — tarsorrhaphy — even though torsoraphy was entered. Notice the top listing for the corrected spelling is a page about the medical procedure at Wikipedia.

"Over at Bing, the misspelling is NOT corrected — but somehow, Bing manages to list the same Wikipedia page at the top of its results as Google does for its corrected spelling results:

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Is the Internet now a fixed feature of human culture like language?

Share the Point: If yougovernment shuts down the Internet, shut dow...: "If your government shuts down the Ineternet, shut down your government. A slogan that Americans debating a 'Internet off switch' should consider"

We have seen in Egypt what a government turning the Internet of looks like. Its not a security measure, its not something any society would ever want, and its not a power a President should. It is only an oppressive action.

And as we learned in Egypt this week, it may no longer be possible. The Internet may have entered our collective social inheritance for future generations, like language or mythology. Something no state can take away.

Orwell tried to imagine a regime so oppressive that in the end it would try to take language away. Once of the striking things about 1984 is how impossible much of the project of the entire novel seems. How cold a culture which turns on everyone and destroys all knowledge continue to maintain the needed technology and civil control to to stay in power.

The thing about 1984 is that it is impossible. The novel is a nightmare sequences, extending the negative side of power to a point beyond the possible.

And I think today closing the Internet down is beyond the possible.

Bob Hooker

If your government shuts down the Internet, shut down your government

If your government shuts down the Ineternet, shut down your government. A slogan that Americans debating a "Internet off switch" should consider.
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BBC News - Microsoft warning over browser security flaw


BBC News - Microsoft warning over browser security flaw: "Microsoft has issued a 'critical' warning over a newly-discovered flaw in Windows.

In a security advisory, the company warned of a loophole that could be used by malicious hackers to steal private information or hijack computers.

The bug potentially affects every user of the Internet Explorer web browser - around 900 million people worldwide."