The future of web technologies in the mobile revolution First of all, I want
Pay attention at the back! If you aren't reading all you can on mobile, at some point in the next couple of years you're going to be seriously on the back foot with this stuff - Anita Wilhelm at MG says it's ok, that our skills will be in high demand, but bugger that, i dont want to do the W word for someone else, i want to build neat applications for phones...
If I were a web dev, I wouldn't worry too much about being out of work. In the next few years there is going to be so much going on to make all the different platforms talk, sync, and share data... (and who knows how that will happen)... that your skills will probably be in higher demand than ever. This revolution is not going to do away with web technologies. It's just going to change how they work. It's going to change what they are used for, and who is using them... meaning more work for you to do.
Revolution and change doesn't mean destruction of something old. It usually just means reshifting it, refurbishing, rebuilding... and making it more appropriate.
Im still trying to work out the essential skill set for mobile, any thoughts?
Is Ask Jeeves Behind Browser HiJackers?
The Little Engine that Could - Infect your Computer!
My mate Roger points out on his blog, threadlinked above, that Ask Jeeves is behind some particularly nasty spyware - namely:
Smiley Central, and
Ask Jeeves last year acquired a company called myway and mywebsearch. Their toolbar products are referred to by many as spyware. In fact, if you search on Google for MywebSearch, most of the results are websites telling you how to remove the mywebsearch toolbar.
Does Ask Jeeves Profit from Annoying Pest Products?
Well, the answer depends on how you define the word pest. In addition to the MyWay and MyWebSearch products, Ask Jeeves is also profiting from the Smiley Central and Cursor Mania products. According to the PC Hell website, these products are identified as pests by the AdAware and SpyBot Search & Destroy anti-spyware products and are reported to be removed, along with browser hijackers and known spyware programs. If you read the removal instructions on the PC Hell website it will become very clear that they are extremely difficult to get rid of.
So Jeeves, how come? - wanna let us all know why you're promoting, and for all appearances profiting from nasty spyware programs?
News comes in via threadwatch member ThomasB that Google may be filtering out subdomains - like myspammykeyword.mydomain.com
Go ahead and check, we dont need to do the specifics, you all know which SERPS we're talking about here - in the US results but NOT the .de results, the subdomains that have been dominating those serps have gone - finsihed.
Firefox at 4.6%
Business Week article shows
According to a survey released Jan. 12 by research firm WebSideStory, Mozilla's free Firefox browser has grabbed a 4.6% share in the two months since it was released and seems well on the way to its stated goal of 10%.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer has slipped 4.9 percentage points over the past six months, to 90.6%, the lowest in three years.
Chitika, who launched back in November last year have just released details of their new Blog program BlogContext
Chitika is an aggregated contextual ad network currently partnered with FindWhat, Espotting, Shopping.com and Commision Junction and a few others.
This from the press release:
In real-time, BlogContext intelligently selects the most relevant ad for the content from the over 500,000 ads in Chitika's network. It adapts as the content of the blog changes, ensuring timely and related advertising. The ads are displayed to the user regardless of how the blog content is being viewed. Alden DoRosario, Co-Founder and CTO for Chitika points out, "Bloggers publish their content on their website, but in reality, they receive most of their viewership through feed technologies such as RSS or Atom. The unique value that BlogContext brings is that the contextual text-based ads are also distributed as a part of these feeds, significantly increasing revenue potential."
Ads are In Feeds Also...
According to Chitika the ads will be seen however a blog is viewed. This from co-founder Alden DoRosario:
"Bloggers publish their content on their website, but in reality, they receive most of their viewership through feed technologies such as RSS or Atom. The unique value that BlogContext brings is that the contextual text-based ads are also distributed as a part of these feeds, significantly increasing revenue potential.
I'm early in the process of going digital re household music (video next on the list) and while it seems easy ~and relatively inexpensive~ to do either portable ipod-ish music AND entertainment server-based home theatre surround sound, the middle ground seems to be kind of barren.
What about a dumb-as-a-brick shelf stereo system? There are some parts of the house where I only want to slap in a sd card and hit the PLAY button and could care less about having the media center UI. Also, getting rid of the fan and disk noise would be a big plus in a study or bedroom installation. K.I.S.S. still is the best OS of all.
Having the Zen Micro jacked into an Extigy external Soundblaster card (with remote) and 5.1 CMSS digital speakers seems like the only way to go right now but, man, that's a bit of overkill don't you think?
As most search marketers know, you can do some very useful things with a good scraping script - from simple stuff to check out your competitors in bulk without alerting the search engines to well, just about anything.
Mostly scrapers are used for decidedly dark seo tactics, and thanks to Daniel Brandt who is currently in bed with Andrew Orlowski in a parnoid frenzy over at the Register you can be a search spammer too!
Way to go daniel, that's a really bright idea mate....
The Steve Jobs Experience
Om Malik has some great commentary on Steve Jobs' performance at the MacWorld Expo:
A very gaunt looking Steve Jobs, in his classic Levi’s-black turtle neck outfit walks on to the stage, with a purpose and a tentative smile. The hair is a little more gray, but it is still the same old Steve. A master salesman selling to the faithful. I shudder when he could do had he focused on religion instead of computers. He works the room with ease of a comedian on a good night.
There is no one in Silicon Valley who can match the intimacy Jobs has with the products he demos. He knows the intimate details, that little trick which is going to catch the fancy of the audience, prompting them to break into an involuntary applause. He cares… enough to make you buy his products. It is a masterful performance. Balanced, scripted perhaps, but nevertheless enjoyable.
Maybe Jobs' is the only CEO that could pull that off in light of all the recent contraversy, it remains to be seen i guess..
Apple's bite out of free speech
News comes in that Steve Safran at lost remote is calling for a blogging boycott on this weeks MacWorld expo over the recent law suits filed by apple against bloggers.
Well, bloggers may like to think special rights and privileges but here's the crux - they're just as human as the rest of us!
Bloggers forget all about law suits and wet pants over cool tech...
It just ain't gonna happen steve - everyone is going mad over the Mac Mini already and i cant see bloggers or anyone else being able to put the terrifying thought that their rival tech blogs may get the story first, or at all... heh..
Threadwatch member cornwall points out the the new M$ Explorer patch that fixes the astonishing vulnerability reported recently will block Adsense!
Jenifer Slegg of Jensense had this to say on the new patch, which sets the security level to HIGH:
But setting the security level to high for internet zone does more than protect the surfer from this browser exploit... it also blocks all Google AdSense ads from displaying within the browser. So anyone who follows their instructions will no longer be able to view and click on AdSense. The entire ad space usually occupied by AdSense will disappear.
This is actually very similar to the problem publishers have with Norton's Internet Security, which comes free on many new computers, with the "ad blocking" feature turned on my default. Most users have no idea they even have this option turned on.
If this fix becomes widespread - and depending on how long it takes Microsoft to issue a patch for this exploit - this could impact publisher earnings. And coming right on the heels of the upcoming Adwords affiliate changes, some publishers may be set up for a double hit to their earnings.
Damned if you do, damned if you dont. Interesting times for publishers ahead...
The Mac Mini
It's finally here, after weeks of Speculation, law suits, condemnation, analysis and user backlash....
The Mac Mini is Finally Here!
From the Mac Mini hompage:
Live the digital life in stylish simplicity. Just 6.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall, Mac mini provides what you need to have more fun with your music, photos and movies — right out of the box. And it boasts a miniscule price to match: Mac mini starts at $499.
and from the technical specs:
Introducing the Mac mini. Everything you need — and not an ounce more — to enjoy digital photos, music and movies. Get a fast G4 processor, slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive and a reliable operating system in a body just 6.5-inches square and 2-inches tall. Simply add monitor, keyboard and mouse. You’ll be organizing music and photos, composing tunes and editing movies with iLife ’05 in no time. Surf the Internet with the peace of mind of the secure and stable UNIX-based Mac OS X operating system. And since Mac mini can do wireless, you don’t even have to put it near a phone jack. Configure your Mac mini with an AirPort Extreme Card, hook up an AirPort Express to your DSL connection or cable modem, and start surfing and printing wirelessly. Using AirPort Express and AirTunes, you can even listen to tunes from your Mac mini on speakers in a different room. Starting at just $499.
I.B.M. to Give Free Access to 500 Patents
As techdirt points out, the number of patents IBM are realeasing to Open Source is rather small, but may signify a shift in thinking regarding Intellectual Property. There has been much dirersion over Bill Gates' CNet interview where he essentially labeled free software advocates as "modern day communists". In light of that, and much more to be found all over the web it's refreshing to see a company like IBM make even a small step in, what I beleive, is the right direction.
From the NYT article threadlinked above:
The new model for I.B.M., analysts say, represents a shift away from the traditional corporate approach to protecting ownership of ideas through patents, copyrights, trademark and trade-secret laws. The conventional practice is to amass as many patents as possible and then charge anyone who wants access to them. I.B.M. has long been the champion of that formula. The company, analysts estimate, collected $1 billion or more last year from licensing its inventions.
The move comes after a lengthy internal review by I.B.M., the world's largest patent holder, of its strategy toward intellectual property. I.B.M. executives said the patent donation today would be the first of several such steps.
and further on..
"This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is I.B.M. making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."
An open source Google - without the ads
Not entirely unsurprising that the Registers resident paranoic fruitcake Andrew Orlowski (see threadlink above) should hook up with notorious embittered SEO Daniel Brandt of Brandt Rant™ fame.
Check out the opening paragraph of Orlowski's piece:
With the hope of returning at least one corner of the web to its non-commercial roots, Google watcher Daniel Brandt, who curates the NameBase archive, has released the source code to a Google scraper. Brandt has been making an ad-free proxy available for two years using Google's little known minimal "ie" interface. By using this proxy, users bypass both Google's notorious "2038" cookie (that's when it expires) and the text ads.
Only someone of his towering parnoic calibre could write something like that about Brandt, who in the Search community is regarded as little more than a sad joke. One wonders why the register thinks this does them any good?
Bloglines comes out on top of the newley released stats from Feedburner with a whopping 32.86% of the market share. The poll has many caveats and the figures can only be taken as a rough guide at best but, they're very interesting nonetheless - Particlularly in light of talk about a Bloglines business model rumoured to be put into play later this year.
With an estimated 2 million users, Bloglines looks to have a clear advantage over it's nearest competitor, NetNewsWire who currently corner 16.95% on Feedburners poll of their top 800 feeds.
Here are the figures as they stand...
Firefox Live Bookmarks (7.78%)
(not identified) (4.07%)
My Yahoo (2.58%)
RSS Bandit (1.12%)
Opera RSS Reader (0.45%)
Y! finally weighs in with it's long awaited desktop search product. You can download the beta here. From the Yahoo! blog post threadlinked above:
Speed. YDS is really fast.
Instant Feedback. YDS provides incremental search, much like you find in Firefox. As you type each character of your search, the results are updated instantly. Not only does this mean less typing, but you'll catch spelling mistakes a lot faster too.
Comprehensiveness. YDS indexes a lot of file types. Over 200.
Built in Preview: YDS renders a preview view for most of the 200+ file types and enables you to page through the preview, so you don't need to launch the full-blown application just to see if you've found the right document. You can page through a PowerPoint, Word or PDF doc, examine individual cells in Excel, or even play an mp3 file--right there in YDS.
Actions. If you right click on a result, YDS provides a context-specific menu that allows you to do things with the email or document: reply, forward, print, open, etc.
Cost. YDS is free.
and a note on future direction:
We don't think you should have to think about where your stuff is stored in order to find it. That's where this is all headed. And as YDS evolves, you'll see that becoming more and more clear.
So, has anyone tried it yet? If so, what do you think?
Year of the Time Shift, 2005
Threadwatch member Earle Flynn posts an uncharacteristically prophetic piece at his blog, threadlinked above that explains the concept of time shifting and predicts that 2005 will be it's year.
He's not alone of course, there are some good links in the post to the CES 2005 press and coverage that echo's his statements. Im just glad someone finally put it into words a simple chap like me can understand, thanks Earle :)
This year will be all about time shifting, or for those who find the term time shifting too sci-fi, Multi-task 2.0. Time shifting is the idea that you can be in one location while another process is running on your behalf in another location performing a task that will benefit you, like save time, keep you informed, or both at the same time.
If you have telephone voice mail at your home residence then you have experienced time shifting but may have not realized that you had time shifted. Consider this common scenario, you leave your home. Your home phone receives a phone call. Since you are not home to receive the call your voice mail picks up the call on your behalf. A pre-recorded message is played to the caller and the caller leaves their voice message. When you return home, you are alerted to a waiting voice message by a flashing red light, at which point you listen to your voice message, presto, time shifting.
What it really means to design for mobile
MobileGirl, in the threadlink above has some very good, if rather broad points about designing applications for mobile and why thinking along those lines is crucial at this time:
as I learn more, get deeper into the interaction of the phones, and understand more about how these devices are changing our everyday habits, I am beginning to see that it's not even about making a compliment. It's about making a "mobile system", a "mobile interaction", a "mobile application". It's not about extending the desktop. It's not about interacting with the desktop. It's about making the mobile device a central unit and it's about placing a focus on the whole system... the phone and the desktop (maybe even the TV and radio). It's about figuring out when to push, when to pull, when to alert, notify, sync, and require confirmation. It's mostly about throwing out many of the interaction principles we've learned about and creating ones that make sense for that time and space. It's about giving the user the easiest way to access what they are looking for at any time and making it feel like they are in the application... not on one specific device!
Doesn't she write nicely? heh..
Good stuff, the thing that worries me most about the oncoming mobile shift is that right now, it's about applications - and i didnt even get profficient at Python let alone J2ME hehe...
What i'd like to know is just how much opportunity is there for web devs to get in on this without having to program applications, ie. to continue to build websites and market to a mobile audience....?
Verisign to buy LightSurf, a camera phone software company
Acquisition Will Add Picture Messaging Suite and Enhanced Multimedia Messaging Capabilities to VeriSign’s Digital Content Services
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — January 10, 2005 — VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN), the leading provider of intelligent infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Santa Cruz, California-based LightSurf for $270 million in VeriSign stock.
LightSurf is a global leader in multimedia messaging and interoperability solutions for the wireless market. The company’s industry-leading technology platform enables mobile subscribers to exchange pictures, video, and other forms of multimedia content.
I can see where Verisign is headed with this. Verisign will also provide the registry for domains for RFID tags. Think of the possibilities.. Mobile marketing getting interesting.
Satellite-based mobile television goes live
I vaguely recall reading some argument that satellite broadcast to mobile was not a viable option but for the life of me cant remember where, what or why - these guys seem to be doing it though...
TU Media Corp. will start trial operations of satellite-based mobile television today and attempt to realize the futuristic notion of watching television on mobile phones while traveling in cars or commuter trains.
The company, which hopes to begin commercial services on May 1, will provide three video and six radio channels during the trial period, featuring programs from leading cable television stations such as news network YTN and music channel m-Net.
Customers of SK Telecom Co., the country's largest mobile operator, can access the television services after purchasing Samsung Electronics Co.'s new SCH-B100 mobile phone that features a 2.2-inch liquid-crystal display and a battery capable of providing more than two hours of viewing time. The model is priced at 1 million won.