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rwandering.net

The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Archive for Web 2.0

Late April Thoughts

Taking a page out of Marc’s book, I’m going to start linking to things I think are interesting (or useful) in digest form.

Microsoft is changing the free storage for SkyDrive from 25GB to 7GB.  If you are an existing user, though, you can get grandfathered in, but you have to logon and tell them you want it.

With Google Drive finally released, Aaron Levie of box posts When Elephants Attack. While I do agree with the sentiment (race to bottom for free storage / clear vision and value of box), I find the basic claim of “Elephant attacking startup” a bit weak.  Both Box and SalesForce (the latter also mentioned in the post) followed the same playbook going after one of the elephants from day 1.  I don’t have a problem with that at all, but the post implies this sort of passive “we became a target” and states explicitly that “Salesforce became the target of Microsoft . . .” without ever mentioning that they were actually hunting for that elephant all along.

I appreciate Mike Arrington’s post on Acqui-hires and the follow up today.   There is no doubt he has a vested interest in the venture capital standard terms — although, who doesn’t in this business? — but, I read his posts as being straight up, honest, and valuable.

McCartney’s RAM is being re-released in deluxe packaging (and better, in 24-bit 96kHz). great album, there is a cool video here.

Angels don’t belong in hell

Robert Scoble makes some good points about Angel Gate in his post The secret hell of tech industry angel investors.

I mostly agree with what he says, except I think his underlying premise is wrong:

It’s good for entrepreneurs and good for users to have angel investors caught in hell. When they feel they have to spend more money to stay in the game, that’s good for all of the rest of us (press, users, entrepreneurs).

First, there really is a place for the classic angel – that is, the Ron Conway kind that is in it to help entrepreneurs succeed.  I don’t think it helps anybody if these angels are “in hell.”  The angels that Robert talks about are really VC in my book and frankly I don’t think they belong “in hell” either.  Now some do, of course . . .

Second, more money thrown at entrepreneurs is not in and of itself a good thing. On some level it gets more people building companies, but does it really get more people innovating?  Before the “dot bomb” hit, the same thing was happening in VC.  Everyone and their brother formed a venture company and all sorts of things were funded that were patently ridiculous.  That was a part of why the crash happened.

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Google Apps becomes 1st class citizen

Thursday I logged into my Google Apps for Domains “manage this domain” page.  I was surprised to find an option to migrate my account to work more like a standard Google account.  I’ve complained about this in the past and am glad they’ve resolved it.

24 hours later and my GAFD account worked as a logon – and more importantly, my account was integrated – with just about everything.  14 hours after that and I even have my Google Voice account and phone number ported into my GAFD account.

Awesome.

A couple of points:

  1. Once you migrate your accounts, it will appear that you need separate browsers for your accounts.  You don’t, you just need to read the following and do what it says for each of your accounts:  http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=182343
  2. If you want to move your Google Voice account, fill out this form: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cjlWRDFTWERkZEIxUzVjSmNsN0ExU1E6MA.  They say it could take two weeks, but for me it was 14 hours.

GAFD being more integrated is actually a great help because I’m now managing one fewer contact list.  Now I’m just hoping for a Google desktop app that can take calls.

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Going to PDC10?

RegisterPDC10 is coming up in late October. I signed up for it knowing it was Azure-centric, but I am glad to see that there is also a .NET track.  I hope this will include non-Azure server side technologies (e.g., EF, AppFabric for Windows Server and the like). Of course these other pieces all have their place (or counterparts) in Azure, but I don’t think I’ll be using Azure directly over the next year.

PDC’s are quite valuable to attend (access to Microsoft product teams, exposure to their roadmap, opportunity for light-bulb” moments, etc).  That said, I may decide not to go after the session list is released – a simple balancing of priorities.

Anyway, I’ll likely keep my registration – I would actually love it if Microsoft could change my plans about Azure this October.

Are you going? Or not? If so, please share your reasons.

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PDC 2009 Day #2: Silverlight 4

Lots of great new stuff in today’s beta.  A few things that stand out:

  • Hosting HTML
  • Context menus
  • WCF and REST enhancements
  • Support for RIA Services
  • Drag & Drop
  • Running out of sandbox for trusted apps
  • Sharing components between .NET 4 and SL 4

Lot of other things too.  I’m excited to start using this.  Also a shout out to Tim Heuer – he has helped me on a few things before and I got a chance to meet him today.

Those of you following NewsGang will know why I am very excited about these Silverlight developments.

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From PDC2009 Day 1: Azure & AppFabric

At last year’s PDC, I posted

It is the openness of this platform, the ability of developers to mix and match the different components, and to do it between the cloud and in-premises solutions that makes this such a winner. 

This last point is an important one.  Microsoft is in a unique position to help enterprise IT bridge to the cloud.  While I don’t think Amazon and Google will cede that market to Microsoft, their current offerings aren’t a natural fit. 

The offering was rich then, but since then Microsoft has continued to push these offerings forward dramatically. 

At the time, my biggest concerns were the one-size-fits-all approach to their provisioning model and their lack of full trust (two things that could make it harder to deploy the Digipede Network onto Azure).  Today those issues have been taken off the table and help support many more use cases, opening up Azure even more to non-Microsoft technologies and fortifying the extremely important IT bridge.

So what are the improvements in openness?

Allowing full trust opens up the door to, well anything.  Unmanaged code,  PHP, MySQL, Java, TomCat, etc. can all run on Azure.  Matt Mullenweg of Automattic demonstrated a WordPress instance running that way.  Kind of anti-climactic, because it would have been a big deal if wordpress.com was moving to Azure.  Simply running a WordPress instance isn’t really that interesting.

Custom VM images are also coming to Azure which will make it much easier to put whatever you want on a VM and deploy it efficiently.

For IT?

Too many items here to enumerate.  SQL Azure integrating into SSMS; Azure integrating into MOM; SQL synchronizing with cloud instances; (this list really does go on and on . . .).

Another important part of this IT bridge?  Not Microsoft’s new App Server, AppFabric.  Though I am excited about this – it is something that has been missing from the Microsoft stack – the key point here is that it runs on premises and in Azure.

Conclusion?

These new features in Azure push Microsoft out even further than the other cloud vendors.  No one else has the depth and breadth in tool support and service offerings.  No one else is innovating so quickly on so many parallel fronts. 

Will Amazon and Google cede the space?  Of course not, but I think they’ll need  to reposition their cloud brands.

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Please make GAFD a first class citizen

I control my online identity as much as I can.  I don’t like using email addresses / identities that are controlled by a vendor.  Like phone # portability, this allows me to switch vendors when I want without (much) disruption.  That is the main reason I host my blog and email on my own domain.  I used to maintain my own servers to do that (literally in-house).  Then I moved them to a hosting company.  Then I moved email to Google Apps for Domains (GAFD). 

GAFD is pretty cool.  It allows you to put many services (i.e., mail, calendar, docs, sites, chat) behind your own domain.  Other Google services don’t exactly fit this model, and so they aren’t supported.  For example while App Engine does allow you to use your own domain, you probably don’t need to host your App Engine development portal from within your domain.  Not too big a deal.

But for the services that use your contact list (e.g., Voice, Wave, and Reader), I really don’t want to use my GMail address and certainly not the contacts list I have there.

I am at a loss to understand why Google doesn’t have a corporate policy that products must support GAFD.  Isn’t GAFD an important part of Google’s business model?  Obviously not as important as trying to sell us things we don’t want, but certainly strategic against Microsoft.

What gives?

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Gillmor Gang Returns at 1PM today

It will (likely) be here http://www.building43.com/realtime/.  While I won’t be on the show, something I have been working on should surface there. 

That is as much of a pre-announcement as I can make . . . vague and conditional as it is.

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IIW 2009A

I will be attending the Internet Identity Workshop #8 this coming week (http://www.internetidentityworkshop.com for more info). 

It runs Monday, May 18th through Wednesday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

I’m a bit overbooked this week.  The song remains the same.  I’ll be there as much as I can and at the dinner Monday night at the Tied House.

If you want to meet up, contact me at robert at rwandering dot net or use the form at =rwandering.

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Abandoning Chrome until it supports WSR

I use speech recognition a great deal – and I recently switched to Windows Speech Recognition on Vista.  And I’ve been using Chrome exclusively for Google Apps, because I think it offers superior performance for JavaScript apps.

Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t support WSR.  According to Rob Chambers this would be easy for Google to do, and I suspect it is just an oversight on their part (both in terms of making their software more accessible as well as following Windows best practices).

Google:  when are you going to put the effort into this?  The Chrome 2.0 Beta doesn’t do it either.

Rob Chambers: how easy is this really?  You also said that Firefox does support WSR – maybe it does, but not in Google Docs.

So now, I’m using IE8.  Google Docs with WSR works great there.

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