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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

3 New Google Web 2.0 Releases Tomorrow

New additions for google in the web 2.0 space. A offline browser plug-in aimed at making web apps work both on and offline – Similar to Adobe Apollo. Mashup Editor which is like Yahoo Pipes but more scriptic. Also a new version of GWT which has no new functionality, but they did make a lot of changes to get the source code and build scripts into presentable shape to prepare for ongoing open source development.


Tomorrow, Google will be hosting a developer day for 5,000 developers worldwide. The bulk of developers will be gathering at the San Jose convention center for a keynote by Google’s VP of Engineering, Jeff Huber. At the conference Google will be outlinging their their developer strategy. But the big announcement will be Google Gears, an open source browser plugin that will enable developers to create offline web applications using JavaScript APIs. As a developer, you’ll be able to make an application with the assurance that it will work offline and online across browsers.

The plugin is a 700K download for Firefox 1.5+ and Internet Explorer 6.0+ that installs three developer APIs. One API will handle the creation of data objects to store application information locally, another will be a SQLite relational database for searching the data, and the final part will enable asynchronous JavaScript so applications can sync data in the background without overburdening the browser. More info on the APIs are available at the gears website.

Other launches at Developer Day include a new mashup editor that competes with Microsoft PopFly and Yahoo Pipes. Google’s attempt is a little less visual than the others, but the intention is the same. Last but not least, there’s a new version of Google Web Toolkit. For devs, Christmas came way early this year.

Creating mashups with Google couldn't be easier. In a few lines of code and one click of a button you can publish your mashups for the world to see. Learn More

· Google services mashed up
Take some AJAX UI components, data from your users and Google services like Google Base and Google Maps or external feeds and mash them all together using our simple framework. We make it easy with the Google Mashup Editor.

· Common web technologies doing uncommon things
The Google Mashup Editor allows you to use HTML, Javascript, CSS and XML to create an infinite variety of applications with technology you are familiar with.

· Simple tools for sophisticated apps
Using the Google Mashup Editor you can create, debug and deploy your application in one interface.

Take a tour of the Google Mashup Editor »

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Force 2.0: 'Star Wars' site launches video mashups

Even George Lucas is mashing.

The Force 2.0: 'Star Wars' site launches video mashups

On Friday, 30 years to the day after the first Star Wars hit theaters, the film's official Web site, StarWars.com, will relaunch with a new design. One of the hallmarks of the new site is a feature that invites fans to remix video and music clips from all six Star Wars movies, as well as add in their own homemade videos. They'll then be able to share them on the Star Wars site with other fans, as well as embed them in their blogs or profiles on social-networking sites.

Licensed remix tools have become popular promotional campaigns in recent months: not only are they essentially free advertising, but they also allow fans to play around with video and audio footage with a reduced potential for copyright infringement lawsuits. The remixing platform for the Star Wars Web site was created by Eyespot, which has also created remix tools for a number of pop singers, comedian Stephen Colbert, and the Broadway musical Spring Awakening.

But the new video-centric Star Wars site goes beyond mashups. Additionally, StarWars.com--operated by Lucas Online, a division of Star Wars parent company Lucasfilm--will be adding a library of hundreds of Star Wars-related video clips. These include official documentary-style videos, selections from the Star Wars Fan Movie Festival over the years, and user-generated videos inspired by Star Wars like the "Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager" Web sitcom. Created by Matt Sloann and Aaron Yonda, "Chad Vader" imagines what would happen if Darth Vader had a less successful younger brother who worked in a grocery store.

In a press release Thursday, Eyespot also hinted that StarWars.com will be rolling out more multimedia features over the coming months, including more games and social-networking features.

[This post is from CNET News.com]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

China Natural Gas Update

I mentioned China Natural Gas and it seems the company is delivering on what it promised. For me its my energy play in an energy constrained populas and growing country...

China Natural Gas Reports First Quarter 2007 Financial Results
Tuesday May 15, 4:38 pm ET

Net Income Up 414% to $2.1 Million

NEW YORK, May 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- China Natural Gas, Inc. (OTC BB: CHNG - News), one of the leading providers of pipeline natural gas for industrial, commercial and residential use and compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicular fuel in Xi'an, China, today announced its first quarter financial results for the period ended March 31, 2007.
    Financial Highlights for the First Quarter 2007:

- Revenue increased 277% year over year to $6.7 million
- Gross profit increased 272% year over year to $3.5 million
- Income from operations increased 421% year over year to $2.5 million
- Net income increased 414% year over year to $2.1 million
- Net income per share increased to $0.09 per share compared to $0.02 in
the prior year period

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Enterprise Mashups

Deepak Alur of JackBe has a great post on the question a lot of us or asking "what exactely is a mashup?" He was recently at the Mashup Ecosystem Summit organized by IBM and recaps some thoughts on the subject of his and others.

[I was at the Mashup Ecosystem Summit organized by IBM at their offices in San Francisco last week. Our CTO, John Crupi, and our Chief Architect, Raj Krishnamurthy, also attended with me. It was an interesting mix of people from different backgrounds and companies all converging on the concept of Mashups. Jeff Nolan (ex-Teqlo, ex-SAP) gave an interesting talk about his experiences in a starting up a mashup company. Some notable points were: (lack of) availability of APIs; Do-it-yourself Data Formats; Performance can be a challenge; Need for strong visual composition tools; Lack of Standards. I think these are questions that this group will be able to tackle over time. (At least, I hope!)]
Read the full post here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tacit Workers

As "tacit" interactions replace more routine business activities and the scale and complexity of many corporations creep upward, the need to manage collaboration is growing. According to McKinsey, nearly 80 percent of the senior executives surveyed in a 2005 study said that effective coordination across product, functional, and geographic lines was crucial for growth. Yet only 25 percent of the respondents described their organizations as "effective" at sharing knowledge across boundaries. Read the rest of my company post here:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Is RSS Ready for the Enterprise?

Mike’s take: Again, we see here the benefit to enterprises as being that of time. Wasted time that is. Time spent searching for the information one knows they need. RSS like other services, can be predefined to present the information one wants, when they want it, and how they want it. All leading to reduced time and costs employees incure attempting to do their job better.

Is RSS Ready for the Enterprise?

Yuval Tarsi


Apr. 30, 2007
RSS is a format for syndicating news and content from Web sites such as media outlets, community sites and Weblogs. Recently, RSS has been extended beyond news and this trend hasn’t escaped the corporate world. Now, companies routinely use RSS to inform customers about new offerings and products. The next natural step forward is to provide employees with changes to enterprise application data using RSS.

The main challenges to using RSS in the enterprise include ensuring appropriate data security, providing requisite scalability, conforming to existing security and access policies and making sure that solutions don’t introduce additional security layers to administer. In short, delivering secure RSS in the enterprise is fraught with dangers and pitfalls.

Let’s examine the challenges faced delivering enterprise data to today’s information workers through secure RSS.

RSS in the Consumer World
Consumers subscribe to RSS on news sites for local weather and company stock prices. After subscribing to feeds, users periodically receive updates viewed with RSS "readers.”

Several popular RSS products view RSS feeds:

  • Web Aggregators – RSS-aggregating services provided to consumers over the Web by third parties. Consumers access Web aggregators using a Web browser, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Firefox. Web aggregators serve as intermediaries between feed consumers – or browsers – and feed servers.
  • Desktop RSS Readers – Consumers download software programs called desktop RSS readers that are able to receive, store and render RSS feeds.
  • Web Aggregator Gadgets – One variant of a Web aggregator is a software tool deployed as a Web "gadget" (or widget). These run within consumer browsers.

RSS in the Enterprise World
The convenience of RSS hasn’t escaped business and IT professionals. It introduces a new way to access enterprise data and potentially revolutionize information sharing between employees, partners and customers. Most importantly, RSS allows workers to customize their own workplace computing experience, enabling them to create personalized applications for specific organizational needs.

Real-world examples include:

  • Support managers subscribing to CRM updates that track high priority cases
  • Salespeople subscribing to CRM and ERP application updates that track key customers' sales orders and support histories
  • Sales managers receiving automatic updates on high-value sales leads with high closure potential
  • Product managers subscribing to SFA application updates that track uptake of new products or modules

This information is already accessible to organization employees, however, workers often waste hours searching and retrieving the data they need.

RSS increases worker productivity by radically changing how they consume critical data. Through personalized RSS feeds, workers can focus on the job at hand, rather than searching for information.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Micropayments After All: S3, iTunes, Adsense and more

I work for JackBe as the Product Marketing Manager and this post caught my eye. Internally, we have talked for awile about use cases for our Presto Enterprise Web 2.0 Edge server component. I think this case is one. Edge lowers the transactional cost of entry barrier making micropayments that much more a reality. Edge allows enterprises to finally expose valuable intellectual property previously trapped behind the firewall for governed consumption by employees, end customers, or partners.

Tim O'Reilly

Micropayments After All: S3, iTunes, Adsense and more

Andrew Savikas made an interesting comment on the Radar backchannel that seemed sharing more widely:

I remember a few years ago when there was a ton of buzz about micropayments being the future of ecommerce, followed by a backlash on how micropayments were a horrible idea, and would never overcome the transactional costs. In the meantime, iTunes and S3 (among others) have quietly been building great businesses on top of micropayments -- I think one important difference is that originally people thought of micropayments as paying small amounts to many different people, vs. paying incrementally to the same person/business.

Andrew's comment was sparked by Amazon's announcement of new S3 pricing:

With Amazon S3 recently celebrating its one year birthday, we took an in-depth look at how developers were using the service, and explored whether there were opportunities to further lower costs for our customers. The primary area our customers had asked us to investigate was whether we could charge less for bandwidth....

Sara Milstein noted that Google Adsense could also be conceived of as a micropayments system, this one in the more traditional sense of allocating small payments to many players. And of course, Amazon's Associates program is also a micropayments system, as are many cell phone billing systems. How many others of these are there out there? If you use micropayments in your site or application, let us know.

Amazon's full pricing announcement sent out in email appears below.

This is a note to inform you about some changes we're making to our pricing, effective June 1, 2007.

With Amazon S3 recently celebrating its one year birthday, we took an in-depth look at how developers were using the service, and explored whether there were opportunities to further lower costs for our customers. The primary area our customers had asked us to investigate was whether we could charge less for bandwidth.

There are two primary costs associated with uploading and downloading files: the cost of the bandwidth itself, and the fixed cost of processing a request. Consistent with our cost-following pricing philosophy, we determined that the best solution for our customers, overall, is to equitably charge for the resources being used - and therefore disaggregate request costs from bandwidth costs.

Making this change will allow us to offer lower bandwidth rates for all of our customers. In addition, we're implementing volume pricing for bandwidth, so that as our customers' businesses grow and help us achieve further economies of scale, they benefit by receiving even lower bandwidth rates. Finally, this means that we will be introducing a small request-based charge for each time a request is made to the service. Below are the details of the new pricing plan (also available at http://aws.amazon.com/s3):

Current bandwidth price (through May 31, 2007)
$0.20 / GB - uploaded
$0.20 / GB - downloaded

New bandwidth price (effective June 1, 2007)
$0.10 per GB - all data uploaded

$0.18 per GB - first 10 TB / month data downloaded
$0.16 per GB - next 40 TB / month data downloaded
$0.13 per GB - data downloaded / month over 50 TB
Data transferred between Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 will remain free of charge

New request-based price (effective June 1, 2007)
$0.01 per 1,000 PUT or LIST requests
$0.01 per 10,000 GET and all other requests*
* No charge for delete requests

Storage will continue to be charged at $0.15 / GB-month used.

The end result is an overall price reduction for the vast majority of our customers. If this new pricing had been applied to customers' March 2007 usage, 75% of Amazon S3 customers would have seen their bill decrease, while an additional 11% would have seen an increase of less than 10%. Only 14% of customers would have experienced an increase of greater than 10%.

We don't anticipate making further structural changes to Amazon S3 pricing in the future, but we will continue to look for ways to drive down costs and pass the savings on to you.