Thursday, May 31, 2007

PC in the Palm of your hand

Another news piece from D: All Things Digital is the new device from Palm, Foleo.

The Linux based device could give one of my favourite devices the Nokia 770 a real run for it's money.

Key Features:

  • 10 Inch screen
  • 2.5 lbs
  • 5 hours run time
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi
  • Opera
  • Hot sync with in range phones
All in all a promising looking product. I would like to get my hands on it and have a play.

See more from the Wall Street Journal

Just Scratching the Surface

The announcement from D: All Things Digital yesterday was the coffee table PC aka Surface.

This is Microsoft latest move into hardware (following XBox and Zune). The large interactive surfaces uses five cameras to detect location and movement.

The intention is to have the surface identify the object and allow the user to interact with it, examples:

  • transfer files, by WiFi, from the camera to the PC
  • see which services are available and book seats for shows etc
  • deduct balance from prepaid cards - this one is currently aimed at the Casinos
There is a good write up here from the Wall Street Journal

Wireless SaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS) has been disrupting traditional software business models for a few years with providers such as Salesforce.com providing enterprise level systems through a hosted service.

The mobile market is ripe for the same treatment, the early example was Blackberry, but how else will the SaaS model evolve cellular communications as we understand it today?

You might like to read the insight that I wrote for the Techdirt Insight Community, you can download it here.

It's Good to Share - not Skype but OrangeFone

In a move that might change the landscape of mobile operators Vodafone and Orange have chosen to share their radio access network and their new UMTS network elements.

This is to give them a predicted saving of 20 to 30 percent in operating and capital expenses for their 2G and 3G networks over the coming years.

A trial of this sharing was announced in the Spanish companies of the two firms in the back end of last year but this was only for 3G networks.

The potential for a working model like this is huge in built up areas where there is already cell saturation and no way for new players to enter the market or where existing players have poor coverage.

A report has been written that says that for this to work effectively a third company needs to be set up to cover the operation.

This is for the passive equipment and not the radio frequencies or transceivers and in many ways mirrors the not-merger of NokiaSiemens hardware vendors that support Vodafone and Orange.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Techdirt Insight Community

I recently signed up to join the Techdirt Insight Community, and was selected.

The community is a distributed think tank like blob of bloggers that can work on items that interest them. Companies hire Techdirt to get analysis and feedback on key challenges.

One example that I filed some insight on was "Adapt a Telco to Survive". I was lucky enough to have my thoughts highlighted as one of the top three and received my first payment through PayPal.

Having just finished reading Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams' book Wikinomics it's very refreshing to see an outlet, an ideagora, where I can contribute within the same domain and have the possible benefit of being paid for your efforts.

Many of the subjects are open so that I can circulate the insight so I might start uploading summaries here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mobile IM revisted

Some time ago I posted about MixIt. At the time the nearest competitor that I knew of was Agile. But Agile only supported SIP based IM clients. I just had another look as I start to prepare an insight for the Techdirt Insight Community and I see that Agile now has Google Talk as a listed supported IM clients.

There are more and more players emerging into this space EQO allows for integration with IM and Skype using a GPRS connection to allow you to make Skype calls. This is ideal if you have a plan that supports as much as you can eat but operators in Thailand (DTAC, AIS, TrueMove) are very slow in adopting such plans even though their ARPU is really poor anyway for data services.

Jangl has announced some significant upgrades to their service. They claim to be able to map a phone number to all email accounts in the world. I am very interested to find a service that will allow me to create a collection centre to be used as I overlay David Allen's Getting Things Done across my working and private life. Jangl seemed like a good start but doesn't support Thailand (or Indonesia) and using my SkypeOut number does not allow me to call in and verify my number. I'll guess I'll have to wait until the next time I'm in the UK then :(

A good prospect for me is the service from Intellisoftware. I think I can use that to capture my actions for GTD, more on that later.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Me I Meebo

While playing around with my new favourite collaboration tool, Jeteye, I saw that it was possible to save IM's as well. This led me to Meebo.

Meebo allows you to embed an IM client into your website or blog through a widget that you can configure as MeeboMe.com.

You can get a multi way conversation from your site(s) in parallel in browser at Meebo.com. The thing I like about Meebo is that I can also connect to any SIP client and have a consolidated list of my contacts and who is online and offline. I can set my presence globally and this cascades to all of the clients. No more having Yahoo say I'm in a meeting and MSN saying that I'm available.

The application of this client is for on demand client service or similar real time contacts from your web presence.

A great little b-web product.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A view on Vista

Back in March of this year the BBC posted an article on their supersite about the problems with Microsoft Vista and access through the UK broadband providers.

"Other net service firms have also admitted that the appearance of Vista has caused some hiccups for users."
The problem is coming from the new system not being able to run the installation discs that are supplied. Now in May my family in the UK have purchased a new Acer laptop from Tesco and are still suffering problems getting online, all because of a disc.

The real problem is that nearly all of the providers in the UK send you an installation disc and an USB modem for service provision. The installation of the modem requires the disc and this is where the problem arises with Vista.

The dictionary.com entry for Vista has the following defintion.

"a view or prospect, esp. one seen through a long, narrow avenue or passage, as between rows of trees or houses."

"a far-reaching mental view: vistas of the future."

The intention from Microsoft was always the latter definition but the reality for the average UK end user is, unfortunately, the former.

This narrow view is this fear of letting people know the modem settings. The easiest solution for me is to give the user the modem settings and let them use that to configure, view a www window, their modem. This needn't even be a modem that supports wireless as the initial configuration is typically done over a cable anyway.

If the providers want to be helpful instead of bundling unreliable USB modems bundle a USB to RJ45 (ethernet) adapter for those people that don't have a LAN port on their machines..


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Eye for Jeteye

I have just listened to the Lifehack.org podcast with David Hayden of Jeteye.

As soon as I got the chance I registered and straight away I have found the product to be extremely useful and a great booster for me.

The theory is simple. Rather than wander around and create bookmarks use Jeteye to collect objects (files, links, videos etc) into a jetpak. The collection process is a simple but effective drag and drop interface which is very intuitive for today's users. The collection is then stored and highly available from your account page on Jeteye.com.

This jetpak collection can then be shared, with the usual controls over actions, which is a real boost for collaborative and virtual teams.

I'm definitely going to be using it to collect objects around some of my projects (as in the GTD term) and I am going to try and see if I can find a way to overlay it into my organization.

Maybe there are plans to allow a company to deploy it standalone inside a corporate network. It's such a powerful tool for me I could see it easily displace some of the quickplace stuff we use today.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Past, Presence and Future

Some 18 months ago I wrote a post on Presence; Presence of Mined.

I figured it was time to revisit the subject of presence and see what is being said today.

The first post of interest is a piece over on ThreeDimensionalPeople is presence a red herring.

The core themes for presence not stacking up are:

  • unbound data means that everybody knows where you are, or aren't. This allows for negative reinforcement of people's opinions unless....
  • you can slice up you world and have your presence set my subscriber. This is the same process that you can perform in Yahoo Messenger by group and individual settings (but not Skype [yet]) but if you tried it then you know how time consuming it is, and this is their point. The other point for me is you need to be careful that your worlds don't overlap, otherwise you need to be able to control which setting takes precedence... the presence precedent
  • Context centricity, presence needs to be more subjective in how it's set [and received]
So where does this leave the players in the space today and in the future?

Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch has a nice piece on how (if at all) you can turn presence into cash money. It's worth a read as a great way to set context in the domain where it merges with voice revenues.

Before you read on it be worth taking a trip over to Wikipedia and looking at the key concepts from the collaborative publisher.

Chris Gare has written a very informative post on some of the key challenges today, the problem of too much access and maybe too many presence engines. He has part of the solution as PresenceWorks to control a global view of your presence from YIM, MSN, ICQ etc.

GigaOm were able to interview Alec Saunders (Iotum) about the TalkNow presence engine for Blackberry. This is aimed at bringing presence from the IM platform to the normal voice instrument to control what is termed as "telephone tag".

The real innovation in here would be combining this with roaming. I know that when I am away from Thailand I often resign myself to either leaving the phone on and running the risk of taking a non-important call (at my cost) or turning it off and maybe missing something important.
This binary state is ripe for changing and allowing authorized people to get me roaming and others not. Ideally the middle state of receive the call, but not connect and allow me to choose. I know this is as simple as look at your phone and see the number, but "private number calling" doesn't tell me a lot.

For some up to date stats on why presence matters read through Gary Kim on IPBusiness.

Rounding off the current state of presence the key theme for me today is the use of presence avoidance. The interruption management stuff we all get caught doing, making ourselves invisible or appearing offline to hide our true state. The final contributions here are from ConversationWare and Ken Camp.

So what's in the future? a great setter for where presence could, and some would say should, go is from Thomas Howe.