Sunday, December 30, 2007

Google Grows

Google is growing. Recent post in NYTIMES talk about how Google's share in search market grew.

The research firm Hitwise, which measures Web audiences, said that Google accounted for 58.3 percent of all searches in the United States in March of 2006. By November of 2006, Google’s share had grown to 61.8 percent, and by this November, to 65.1 percent. That’s more than triple the share of its nearest rival, Yahoo, and more than nine times that of third place finisher Microsoft.

Microsoft has been trying out and out to kill Google's growth. To an extent where they are paying corporates for using Live Search and trying to raise concerns over Google's acquisition of DoubleClick.

NewYork times article has also mentioned that:
“As long as Google’s competitors are aiming to be like Google or almost as good as Google, Google will continue gaining share,” said Jordan Rohan, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “It has more resources and engineers focused on search. It is an arms race that they’ve won by a landslide.”

Competetion is going to grow, but with speculation about Google's intention to launch Androind powered phones in February can leave competetors way behind.

Year 2007 was about iPhone. Year 2008 will be about Android.

Updated: Here is an article at which portrays Google and OSS as big threats to Microsoft's survival. Linux is increasingly being used and market share is growing. Unless, Microsoft revisits it's pricing and "openness".

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hilarious one on Facebook Beacon

One of the blogs that I read often is Geek And Poke.

Here is a smart and hilarious one by Olive Widder on Facebook Beacon.

I am sure Google Reader's privacy issue is not as bad this. ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

INTEL coined the term Platform as a Service (PaaS) in their post on 9 Nov, 2006. But the applicability was more inclined towards "the idea that a hardware platform can be architected with service-oriented concepts from the very beginning, having built-in service abstractions available at the bare-metal level."
But, has come up with the first (Software) Platform as a Service. They claim to be the first. Check this video.

1. User Interface as a Service
2. Logic as a Service
3. Integration as a Service
4. Database as a Service

Interesting? Read more here

IT in India heading for a fall

I posted this in my personal blog. Just copying it here.

Economist in it's post Is India's computer-services industry heading for a fall? talks about the challenges that India Inc. will face.

The reasons that they quote are:
1. Insufficient infrastructure
2. Talent shortage - India Inc. runs on man power.
3. Employee "jumping"
4. Competition
5. Future threats - American economy slump, automation

While I agree to all the points, I have few points to add.

Methodology and capability to deliver

Foremost challenge Indian IT giants face is the struggle to offer innovative solutions. Please note that I am not talking about product companies and only about IT services companies. I have not seen major application development deals being won on the basis of traditional methodologies. There is a lack of ability in solving new business problems.

All IT companies have "Onsite-Offshore model" and their proprietary "development methodologies". Essentially, these are all flavors of the same thing. All of these showcase the company's ability to deliver and how it can help the client go to market with reduced costs. But, you cannot see these IT firms pitching in for new technologies. Atlease not too many of them. If I try to find out, how many IT services firms India have expertise in ILOG JRules or IBM Process Server, there will be only very few who can offer solutions. Unless the client asks for a specific technology to be implemented, or a Software Products vendor recommends a services firm to the client, this never happens. There are CoEs (Center of Excellence) coming up in most of the IT firms to nurture talent and help innovation. But, the effectiveness has to be questioned. Also, the employees in services firms are so busy doing billable work that they hardly find time to spend on CoEs. However, there are new small firms sprouting all over India, trying to provide innovative solutions, but they do not have the nerve to hit big deals. Here comes the other factor, which I want to talk about.


The quality of resources have gone down. IT firms are increasingly relying on Non-IIT graduates, and offlate B.Sc, B.A and B.Com graduates. The justification is that these resources are cheap and the work that we have can be done by these guys. But, with this approach, how will you nurture innovation? Another aspect to the resources issue is career growth. After 2 years of industry experience, most of them wants to get into management side. This, either leads to employee leaving the company, or we end up seeing a lateral hire/fresher.

Quality of recruitment also have be inspected. 80% of the hires turnout to be just machines with no brains of their own. SOA is the latest buzzword. While you see sales team and architects suggesting SOA based approach, how many employees in an IT services firm understand what SOA is? How far can this organic growth go? With dollar value falling and rising inflation, how will we sustain the 10-15% growth in salaries?

Aquisition and merger trend

Yasu Tech bought by SAP. Wipro acquires AMS and Nervewire. Infosys acquires Expert Information Service. And the list goes on ...

This is a good strategy. Inorganic growth, no IT investment required, no more hiring required. Acquiring European firms will definitely help penetration into Non-English market. But, how will they face the challenge of integration issues? We have seen this time and again.

My project lead in one of my previous projects, had told aroudn 2 years back. Most of what we do now will be automated. We will end up becoming machines doing maintenance job. I hope not. All of this when Internet is facing a meltdown in another 3 years.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Innovation - Football way

A recent post I ran in to by Tim Leberecht was really insightful. Most of it can really be applied to IT services.

The post has a quote by Ronaldinho, the soccer player:

"The important thing is to keep on innovating and finding a way to surprise. You always look to surprise, with dribbling, a new move, a new pass. (...) As long as I believe I have the creativity for that, that's what I'll try and do. I'm never going to lose my characteristics because that's what I know how to do. I want to mix everything that is innovative with the same things as always. Perhaps the fans expect me to do all the tricks, the opponents as well. If you don't innovate, they all take the ball away from you. I believe it's important to innovate in order to avoid repetition."

It concludes by saying:
Soccer can be researched, carefully planned, and strategically devised -- however, the most beautiful thing about this "beautiful game" is the fact that there is no lag between idea and implementation. Creativity can be immediately applied and has to be found on the pitch again and again. Every match is a blank slate. There is no history, only anticipation. Nothing is ever the same. This is what business leaders can learn from soccer: Innovation is, literally, a "play," and the best players will win.

So true. Like I said in my previous post, innovate and promote innovation.

Technology Trends 2008

Economist writes in the post about trends in technology in 2008.

In short:

1. Surfing will slow
2. Surfing will detach
3. Surfing—and everything else computer-related—will open

Another one I found as far as IT is concerned: Green IT
Read more here

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Collaboration in large and growing Enterprises

How will you manage collaboration among employees in an Enterprise with over 80,000 odd employees? Damn difficult.

Study states that the more employees your company has, the less productive each of these employees are.

...when you triple the number of employees, you halve their productivity

How do we address this? How can a large Enterprise bring in people together to provide innovative solutions?

Organizations have invested money in existing systems and there is a resistance to change since it works. Another concern that you hear frequently is security. Organisations implemented Wiki for Knowledge Management and it was a significant step for them. With Wiki, you can create and publish content and get lot of people to contribute. But, it is not really a communication mechanism. Feedback being an integral part of communication, Wiki is not really helpful.

Serena has introduced Facebook as it's intranet. The press release states:
As Web 2.0 technologies such as instant messaging (IM), wikis, and texting make communication faster and more efficient, the “human” element of communication can feel increasingly removed. How can people bring that sense of personal interaction and community back into the workplace? Surprisingly, through one of the hottest technologies around—Facebook, a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.

Directorate of National Intelligence has deployed MediaWiki, blogging software and Google search. This should take away the security concerns from the minds of people.
Using blogs will take away the worry of how it looks and you need to worry only about the content. Once you have your employees subscribing to your blogs, publishing news and communicating down-stream is a piece of cake. Wipe off emails.

It's high time to bring Internet trends to Intranet. iGoogle for example can be used to provide portlets/gadgets to connect to business and at the same time, it provides Google Talk gadgets for collaborating with employees with in the company. Employees can create project specific gadgets to publish information and accelerate productivity.

Here is an example of how blogging helped project management. This, however, is not the best display of it's application and has tremendous untapped potential.

We used Wiki in one of our projects, but it has it's own limitations in it's application on project management. The complexity of understading wiki formatting did not prove motivating. It's support for rich media was also limited. I would rather suggest, we have a blogger, and use it as a project dashboard. This presents an informal way of sharing people's ideas and the author is required to bother only about the content. This encourages feedback and also provides automatic RSS signals for any new content.

Most financial services firms or any technology company runs on technology and 90% of it's work force make their living out of technology.
Facilitate collaboration and promote innovation.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Wherever you read about SOA, you see specific mention about ESB. Enterprise Service Bus(ESB) is primarily used for the following:

1. Messaging
2. Routing
3. Service Orchestration
4. Service Monitoring

I have seen architects suggest ESB for SOA implementation. This, however, is not right. ESB is not used to implement SOA. ESB is another enabler for SOA implementation. One is recommended not go for ESB if you think that it does not fit in your current systems.

When will you go for an ESB? ESB, as the name suggests, is typically for an enterprise and is used to connect and co-ordinate services. Without services, it would just be a bus. It is thoroughly a technical solution and is the plumbing that you put in place to connect applications. It is no value to business if there are no systems that connect to each other. If you do not have too many systems to connect, and already have a direct connection, then it is best to stick with it than to invest in a middleware.

ESB is an integral part of the road map for SOA adoption. Couple of ways you can get started with ESB:
1. Inserting in to environments where there are services defined but are directly connected. Especially in cases where the connectivity is defined with third party systems. Implementing ESB here would help in terms of increasing flexibility and reduce management overhead and costs.
2. Implementing ESB so as to define additional services, reuse existing services and increase agility

In the long run, it is also good to have a reference architecture which will mandate the use of ESB.

Now that I have listed both sides of ESBs role in SOA, let me also list out some advantages and disadvantages.

1. Flexibility and easy to implement requirement changes
2. More of configuration than coding
3. Security control
4. Scalability
5. Easy to integrate existing sytems

1. Standardization of message
2. Introduction of extra layer resulting in increased latency due
3. Useless unless there is plan for adoption of SOA

Paul Fremantle in his write up about ESB quotes:

The single most important aspect of SOA is ownership. The point of a service provider – in real life as well as IT – is that they take full ownership of the problem domain. When I get into a taxi in London or New York, I have a base expectation that the taxi driver speaks English and knows how to get where I want to go. If I have to step into a taxi with a phrase book and map and manage my own route then the Taxi service isn’t offering me a properly encapsulated service.
It is time to reclaim the idea of an ESB to what it should be, a distributed network of services which are universally accessible using standard protocols and well defined interfaces.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Open Office goes online is getting OpenOffice online. This is beta version and is reportedly done in association with a firm name Ulteo.

Now, the interesting thing is that, you will get full features of OpenOffice online with a desktop cum web look. However, collaboration capabilities are not available as of now, but they are in the right direction.

Read more here

Windows Vista - Worst Product

Dan Tyan in his article says:

Five years in the making and this is the best Microsoft could do? No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back.

I agree.
What is the point if I need 2GB RAM to run Aero 3D graphics? What if I do not have the option of buying a notebook with out Vista pre-installed?

Vista is growing by having it pre-installed on the machines put on sale. On almost any notebook/PC on sale! But, from what I have seen, quite a few of my friends have already re-formatted their PC and installed either XP or Linux.
Read the story here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Try phone before buying

Try iPhone and Blackberry before you buy it.
Check this out -->

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pay Yahoo! and get listed

Don't bother if you are banned and not indexed by Yahoo!. Pay Yahoo! search marketing and get indexed. ;-)

Read more here: Search Engine Round Table

Google does not allow paid inclusion, but Yahoo! does!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

LinkedIn opens up

Well, not completely. LinkedIn has launched a developer program called "InApps". This developer platform will allow developers to write application that will run within LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has also partnered with OpenSocial and now have become a member of the bandwagon of social networking sites which includes MySpace, Hi5, Ning etc.

They also in an attempt to revamp their home page which is in beta now (here). I could fine some provision to "Add modules", however, I am not sure what value addition it is going to give the users.

Though LinkenIn is participating in OpenSocial initiative, Dan Nye, CEO, says:

"“We have no interest in doing it like Facebook with an open A.P.I. letting people do whatever they want,” Mr. Nye said. “We’re not going to have people sending electronic hamburgers to each other.”
“On many other Web sites, there is a lot of noise and a lot of interference,” he said. “When you go to LinkedIn, we want you to be confident you can accomplish your goals, be productive and move on with your day. We are not trying to get you to come back multiple times throughout the day.”

Read more>>

Let's wait and watch what they come up with ... If you go commercial with your application, LinkedIn may want to bite into your revenue!

LinkedIn is definitely the most professional networking sites that I have seen and serves more purpose than just being a networking site. With their plans of going public, it will interesting to see how LinkedIn will strategise their growth.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Google Phone <> iPhone

I have been reading articles comparing Google Phone with iPhone. Infact, they are comparing Android with iPhone and I feel it is unfair.

Android is an open source mobile platform and iPhone is Apple's product preloaded with the OS. When people are comparing iPhone's look and feel with Android, they are not thinking that it is the capabilities that you need to compare.

While I accept the fact that people who have been Apple users and who are interested in look and feel, iPhone will be really impressive. But Android is for people who love features.

iPhone does not allow users to write applications and deploy them whereas Android does. But Apple is planning to provide these capabilities by February '08. Like I mentioned in my previous post about GPhone, free texting, flash support, VOIP, video conferencing, photoshop your pictures, editing video on your phone, you name it. If you can dream it, developers can make it happen.

Android is evolving and is open source which means we can see hell lot of improvement in usability by developers who want to improve features and user experience unlike cases where developers are paid to develop features which they might not be interested in.

GPhone - A reality?

If you are one of those guys waiting for GPhone (Google Phone), you are in for a disappointment.

There is no GPhone.

Instead (even better !!) is Android™. Google had announced the release of Android™, a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications and it's open source.

As a part of the Open Handset Alliance, 30 mobile technology companies have come together to develop this complete, open and free mobile platform.

Here is a preview of Android™ platform:

Developers can create application on their own using this platform and it even has a Eclipse plugin available !!

Free texting, flash support, VOIP, video conferencing, photoshop your pictures, editing video on your phone, you name it. If you can dream it, developers can make it happen.

Read Google's official announcement here. Developers can jump in here

Android is not the first of it's kind. Funambol and Open Moko are others in the field. Open Moko has even released a developer preview version (.view here).

Fabrizio Capobianco of Funambol has his own opinions about Android. I will be writing about it soon

iPod 4GB Nano

My recent buy is iPod Nano was a gift to my brother in law. I was under this impression that it will be like the old nano. But it took me by surprise.

1. It's unbelievably sleek
2. iPod's new classic two paged interface. Super cool
3. Quality of sound that everyone knows of
4. Radio - people in metros rely a lot on radio

What I need to find out is how many accessories are available. Also, he can load iPod linux and check how games work. I was not really impressed with 4GB. I would expect to see atleast around 8GB if I am giving 8.5k.

Psychoacoustics - No wires

Having room full of sound and brilliant home theater experience with a flat panel of speakers. AND NO WIRES !!

Read this story here

iPod utilities

New generation of iPod is out. What can you do with your old iPods?

This is what you can do:
1. upgrade to iPod classic and introduce split screen interface(Read more)
2. Wiki enabled iPod (Read more)
3. Install iPodLinux and play games (Read more)

For the new ones:
1. Chuck iTunes - Use Floola(here)
2. Sync pocasts to your iPod from any computer using myPodder (here)
3. Rip DVDs for your iPod - Use HandBrake (here)
4. Convert youtube videos for your iPod (here)

Read more

Microsoft: Piracy

Recent post by Ina Fried (Microsoft: Vista piracy rate is half that of XP) on how Microsoft has reduced piracy by introducing more security features in Vista.

A post in Fortune a while back (July '07) narrates about Microsoft's strategy of tolerating piracy to increase the popularity and market share (in China ... should be true in Asia-Pac). They have the market share, but their long term strategy to tolerate piracy was to get traction and then translate it to revenue.

Reducing piracy will actually reduce the usage of Microsoft or may be prompt users to switch to Linux flavors. Apart from corporates, I have not seen huge audience for MS products. With rumors about Operating System under works by Google (Check this), it's time Microsoft starts sweating.

In addition to the pricing of MS OS, here is a snippet from CNET News which featured this post about ex-Microsoft employee moving to Linux(here) due to DRM issues.

Johansson said that DRM software is not only ineffective, but a waste of money that is damaging businesses attempting to use it to control the way consumers use copyright material
"How many billions has the industry spent on DRM schemes that the bad guys break in weeks? How many perfectly legitimate users has the industry annoyed and driven away? How many lost DVD sales has it caused? How many lost sales of Microsoft's Media Center software and Windows Vista has it caused because the DRM subsystem randomly decides that you must be a criminal?" Johansson wrote.

DRM protections have done very little to stop bootleggers from hawking counterfeit software, he wrote, after witnessing a bustling trade in pirated material on a recent trip to Asia. Johansson wrote that he is now contemplating using LinuxMCE to avoid further difficulties

Microsoft is popular in India just because of piracy. The moment Microsoft imposes stringent security measures(which they are trying to), they will see a drastic drop in users.

Government organisations in India are switching over to Linux and open source tools, and with various flavors of Linux available and the kind of education people get about Computers, they do not need professional help in resolving technical issues. Additionally, most of the users do not need technical support from the vendor to fix their issues. Thanks to Google again! You have access to vast amount of information.

Recently, ICICI Bank switched to Open Office. (Check here for the latest Open Office deployments here

MS is, of course, user friendly and has revolutionised the industry. With with the increase in number of users, they need to look at their pricing. If Microsoft opens up, the open source community will be able to take the product to higher levels and not rely on developers who are being paid to write software which they might not be even interested in.

Notebooks: DELL Vs Sony

I was reading a review about budget laptop design.
It compared Dell Inspiron 1420 and Sony VAIO NR160. Factors that are compared are keyboards, profile and looks. It is, however, not a comprehensive list of factors that you would really measure.

My take on this:

1. Sony is easy to purchase in open market whereas DELL is not. DELL leverages on direct sales. There are no DELL kiosks that you will find in any mall in India(atleast I have not seen !)
2. Service centers for DELL are much easier to access as they have call support. On the contrary, there are no service centers you can walk into.
3. Sony is overpriced like it's other products(usually ... I have not had good experience with my Sony Music System and Car Stereo)
4. In DELL, once you purchase with Vista, and later on if you downgrade it, they charge you more for support.
5. DELL can be customised easily online, but Sony is a bit rigid in that.

I would prefer DELL to SONY for it's value for money and on call support. With SONY, I have not seen any presence in corporates the way it is there for DELL, Lenovo and HP.

Yuo can read the original post here(Dell vs. Sony: Budget laptop design).

The author, in a way, recommends HP pavilion. Also, from what I have read online and seen till now, HP seems to the one which satisfy the domestic sector with it's high quality servicing.

HP is my next buy I guess ....

Google's bid for Spectrum

Google is submitting its bid for 700Mhz spectrum along with other companies(Google to Join Spectrum Auction). With the spectrums being dominated by cell phone carriers this is a welcome change for the customers.
Its yet to be seen if google wins the auction conducted by FCC. If they win, we have to see if the services will be free or not and if its not free how they are going to price it. Check Don Reisinger's post Google will change this industry forever (CNET Blogs).

This, however is for US where people do not really rely completely on cell phones for information and there is an extensive reach of PCs. But in international market, the presence of mobile phones is far more prolific. South Asia and Asia Pacific region has tremendous number of cell phone users.
To see when Google or any other service provider will tap this market is, may be, not too far away.

Drools Vs ILOG

I have been working with rule based systems for quite a while now.

Having seen Pega and ILOG, BRMS field always interests me. Though I had heard about Drools sometime back, I never got a chance to have a look at it. Recently, I was looking at some articles where comparisons where made between Drools and ILOG and it's quite interesting.

Here are two links to refer to:

Drools Vs Jrules Performance and Future R&D(here) in Drools blogs and Academic Benchmark Performace(here) in ILOG BRMS Blogs.

I do not want to compare it myself till I use Drools. But here is a comment by Ellen N. Zhao on JBoss Drools vs ILog JRules - an anecdotal story(here):

Commercial software is of inherently lower quality than comparable open-source software, because it is developed by people who are paid for writing software, instead of people who are fascinated about finding the best solution. -- Dirk Farin: Automatic Video Segmentation

I have used ILOG and have found it good. The sheer simplicity in creating Business Object models is amazing and thus making process of writing rules much faster. Migrating rules have been a pain. I need to see Drools.

Mozilla Prism

Adobe AIR has been in news for a while. It is excellent to know how web is developing and providing rich internet experience. But Adobe AIR and MS SilverLight have taken it a step further to bridge the disconnect in the user experience between web and desktop applications.

My intention is not to write about AIR or Silverlight. Recently I came across Mozilla Prism (Mozilla Labs Blog) in one of the techonology sites.

I downloaded it and tried it on Gmail. Believe me !!!. It was a one click job. I am not in a position to compare the tools as of now, but I think Prism is here to stay and will evolve to change the desktop experience.

Check it out !

New Blog

I have created this new one so that I can isolate my blog related to technology from the personal ones. I will be copying my blog regarding technology in here from my personal one which you can find here (My Space)