Friday, February 01, 2008

MSFT to Buy Yahoo for $44B

Wow--Microsoft made an offer to Yahoo's board yesterday to purchase the company for US $44 billion--an amazing figure which is 62% above Yahoo's closing price on Thursday. Apparently MSFT also offered to purchase the company a year ago, but at that point Yahoo's board felt that recent reorganizations would re-ignite the company. Now, a year later, Yahoo has been struggling, cutting revenue forecasts and trying yet again to re-organize. Yahoo's stock has fallen 46% since October 2007.

I think that the combination of Microsoft/MSN with Yahoo could be intriguing. Combine Microsoft's footprint on the desktop with all of the various Yahoo services, and they could take a run at some of the moves that Google has been making lately, particularly in online applications.

Still, Microsoft has not shown to be a real visionary in the Internet space, and with Yahoo on the ropes, one has to wonder if the combined company has the ability to execute. We will see!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My 10 Favorite Web 2.0 Apps

I've been involved with Web 2.0 since it was, uh, Web 1.0 (maybe 0.1?), and I thought it was high time to publish a list of the Web 2.0 apps that I find especially useful, as well as those that I'm just now trying out that could become especially useful.

1. Linked In - probably the most useful (and profitable) service that I use--allows you to put together a professional network based on the six degrees of separation concept, and then mine that network for job opportunities, etc. It's 100% trust-based, and I can attest that it's highly effective. As an example, I currently am "linked in" to 318 people. Through those people, I can reach 89,000 "2nd degree" contacts (friends of friends), and 3.4 million "3rd degree" (friends of friends of friends) contacts. Pretty powerful networking.

2. Delicious - A wonderful place to store all of your bookmarks in one place--and then find them again. The service installs buttons on your Web browser's toolbar, and when you want to bookmark something, you just hit the button. Delicious then prompts you to add a description of the bookmark, along with tags that make it easier to sort and search your list. You can choose whether a given bookmark is public or not--you can share your bookmark lists with the public if you choose (or not). The best part for me is the ability find a bookmark from virtually any Internet-enabled PC, anywhere.

3. Salesforce -, affectionately known as SFDC, was a pioneer in the software-as-a-service area, and the company continues to innovate. In addition to SFDC's core competency, which is sales force and marketing automation, the company has built an incredible network of partners that have developed value-added applications that extend the reach and functionality of SFDC to new heights. For anyone that is in a sales or marketing role, I highly recommend it.

4. Google Apps Suite - I use virtually every component of the ever growing Google suite of applications. This includes Google Mail (which can also be used with your own domain), Web hosting, Calendar, Maps (including the mobile Blackberry version, which is absolutely amazing), etc., etc. More amazing is that virtually all of it is free (advertising sponsored).

5. Blogger - I've used Blogger for about four years now, and am completely happy with its blogging capabilities. You can create blog posts via the Web, and it's also possible to create posts via email (say, from a Blackberry). If you're interested in blogging, definitely check out Blogger. I should mention that Blogger is yet another free Google service.

6. Wikipedia - the days of having to cast about for information on "things" is virtually over due to Wikipedia. An entirely free, user supported encyclopedia. Wikipedia has entries on virtually any subject. Building on the Wiki concept, in which anyone can make changes to virtually any page, Wikipedia has built an extensive network of editors and reviewers which serve to help ensure that entries don't get hijacked or fall victim to graffiti--and also that the entries meet stringent style and writing guidelines. Wikipedia has evolved into a meta organization called Wikimedia, which includes Wikipedia plus free dictionary, books, news, quotes, and even a university. Awesome stuff.

7. Technorati - a search engine and consolidator for blogs, Technorati is wonderful for finding blog entries on virtually any subject. The home page is also a great way to take the pulse of the blogosphere to see what's hot.

8. Digg - allows users to post web articles that they think are cool -- and the more people that "digg" a site, the higher it rises in rankings. If you want to see what's hot in any area (like technology, for example), you can just go to digg and see what's getting dugg a lot. Also, if you don't happen to agree that a particular article is "all that", you can "digg down" an article. I keep an RSS feed to several Digg categories on my iGoogle home page, along with conventional news feeds like CNN.

9. YouTube - it seems just yesterday when I first heard about YouTube from a friend and I spent the next 2 hours marveling at all of the videos that were up on the site. The next thing I knew, Google bought them, and now they're a house hold word. Viral marketing at its best.

10. Flickr - another hyper-viral site, flickr was the grand-daddy of sorts to YouTube, only with pictures. The service, which is owned by Yahoo, allows you to upload all of your photos (the free service limits the amount of transfers you can do in a month, and also stores the pictures in reduced resolution, while the "pro" service (which costs about $30/year) has no limits. I use the pro service to hold all of my digital photographs--it's a great way to ensure you have a backup of your photos, and an even better way to organize and share them. Well worth the money. Now, if you could only store all of your photos and videos in one place.....

In addition to my ten favorites above, you might want to check out the following honorable mentions:

1. Yahoo Go!: wonderful mobile application that you can load into your Blackberry, it integrates a number of key Yahoo services, including news, weather, sports, flickr, Yahoo OneSearch, and more. Highly recommended for any Blackberry user.

2. Trip It: a free service that automagically creates travel itineraries that you can share with friends and family. The kicker is that all you need to do is to forward the itinerary email that you get from your travel service (even if the itinerary is in PDF format!), and Trip It parses out the entries and puts them all into a single, sharable calendar. Very cool stuff. You can also put manual entries into it and even click a button to check in for flights directly from their user interface.

3. Pandora: free music service that learns what type of music you like, allows you to group them into "stations", and then plays them on your PC. The rating service is based on a proprietary way of determining the musical "DNA" of a given piece of music, and then matching it up with what your likes and dislikes are. Genius! Now if I could only play it at work (their web site is blocked by our IT department, as is YouTube and a number of other "fun" services mentioned above).

4. free service that allows you to determine what over-the-air (OTA) high definition and digital TV broadcasts are available in your area, and what type of antenna you will likely need to receive them. Great resource.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Apple Safari Beta Gets Lost in the Weeds

I decided to try out Apple's new beta version of Safari for Windows (Safari is Apple's Web browser that was previously only available on the Mac). After hearing good things, I downloaded and installed it on my PC, which is a beefy Dell Latitude D620 with a dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM--more than exceeding the stated minimum requirements to run the browser.

The install was fairly quick and simple, and after the install was complete, I rebooted my PC just to make sure that everything installed cleanly.

After the reboot was completed, I launched Safari with great anticipation....and that's where my excitement rapidly deteriorated into despair. Safari opened a browser window and then got stuck--nothing displayed on the screen, and no controls worked in the browser. After a few minutes, I noticed my laptop beginning to get slower and slower, and a quick check of the Windows task manager confirmed that Safari was using 100% of one of my processors (apparently it isn't capable of leveraging multiple processors)--and it was also gobbling up RAM at a prodigious rate. I finally killed the process after it had used up over 500MB of RAM--and the browser was still unresponsive.

Just for grins, I uninstalled, rebooted, and reinstalled--with the same result.

So far, it looks like I'm going to be staying with Firefox--at least until Safari finds its way out of the weeds!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Netcraft: Web Reaches 100M Sites

According to Netcraft (, which has conducted surveys of the total number of web sites on the Internet:

"There are now more than 100 million web sites on the Internet, which gained 3.5 million sites last month to continue the dynamic growth seen throughout 2006. In the November 2006 survey we received responses from 101,435,253 sites, up from 97.9 million sites last month.

The 100 million site milestone caps an extraordinary year in which the Internet has already added 27.4 million sites, easily topping the previous full-year growth record of 17 million from 2005. The Internet has doubled in size since May 2004, when the survey hit 50 million.

Blogs and small business web sites have driven the explosive growth this year, with huge increases at free blogging services at Google and Microsoft. Domain industry juggernauts Go Daddy (U.S.) and 1&1 Internet (Germany) have also seen strong demand for low-priced domain names and shared hosting accounts.

The first Netcraft survey in August 1995 found 18,957 hosts, with the NCSA web server dominating with 57 percent market share, leading CERN (19%) and a newcomer named Apache (3.5%). Microsoft's Internet Information Server launched in February 1996, and by the survey's fifth birthday the server market was largely divided up between Apache and IIS. This month Apache leads with 60.3% market share, with Microsoft at 31.0% and Sun at 1.7%.

Previous milestones in the survey were reached in April 1997 (1 million sites), February 2000 (10 million), September 2000 (20 million), July 2001 (30 million), April 2003 (40 million), May 2004 (50 million), March 2005 (60 million), August 2005 (70 million). April 2006 (80 million ) and August 2006 (90 million). "

Netcraft: Web Server Survey Archives

Amazing growth. Makes me wonder what the curve will look like in the next 10 years....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Using Amazon S3 for PC backup

A gentleman by the name of Jeremy Zawodny has published a couple of excellent blog articles outlining his plans to replace a home backup server with a service provided by Amazon known as S3 (stands for Simple Storage Service).

S3 is a hosted storage system that Amazon has released in the form of Web services that allow virtually anyone to use their storage on a "pay by the drink" basis. Their pricing is very reasonable-- US $0.15/GB per month for the storage, and US $0.20/GB to transfer the data to and from S3.

Jeremy's first posting outlines a cost justification for using S3 over maintaining a home backup server, and he does a great job of analyzing the costs (including electric use and the cost of the server)--in a nutshell, he shows that 5 years of backups on a home server is $2,275 assuming that no hardware maintenance is required, vs. $1,688 using S3 (assuming pretty hefty storage growth rates, from 125GB to 200GB).

Jeremy's second posting contains a list of utilities that backup local data using S3, most of which are free. I will definitely check them out, and kudos to Mr. Zawodny for some very useful and interesting thinking!

Replacing my home backup server with Amazon's S3
A List of Amazon S3 Backup Tools

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

iTunes 7.01 Released for Download

Apple releases iTunes 7.01

Apple released iTunes 7.01 today--reputed to solve many of the bugs that iTunes 7.0 introduced, including crackling noises, iPod sync problems, etc.

Apple - iPod + iTunes - Download iTunes

Bezos gives a look at 'hidden Amazon'

The 'Hidden Amazon'

Interesting column in InfoWorld outlining some new Web services that Amazon have released that allow them to sell excess storage and compute capacity to third-parties. Amazon has always been regarded a Web services pioneer, beginning with their early work in publishing their products and shopping cart code as Web services, making it easier for Amazon partners to incorporate Amazon into their own Web sites. The new set of Web services, known as "Simple Storage Service" (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) are "pay by drink" services. Amazon also released a third Web service, known as "Mechanical Turk", which allows developers to easily post questions to a large group of people.

Bezos gives a look at 'hidden Amazon' | InfoWorld

Makes me wonder what's next for Amazon--grid computing and on demand????