Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A question ...

In between working on my talk for Web 2.0 Berlin and writing a number of articles, I've been looking at the issue of distributing the social graph, P2P infrastructure and some of the fundamentals underlying the phenomena of "web 2.0".

This led me to ask a question on Facebook:

"Are there 100,000 people who believe Facebook should open source?"

I was surprised by some of the comments, and as a result I asked another question:

"Are there 100,000 people who believe that Facebook should provide our data in an extensible open data format?".

I'm more than a little curious as to which way this goes, if it does at all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

FOWA - Video

Mel and Ryan from Future of Web Apps have sorted me out the audio, so I've uploaded the video below.

I'm going to be giving a re-run of the talk at a small event called TEN (a mix of Cambridge and London based geeks) organised by Rufus Evison and John Woods. It's in London on Wednesday 31st at 6pm at the Pitcher and Piano, 42 Kingsway, just near Holborn Tube. It's fairly informal and limited in size, but you're welcome to turn up - just ping us an email and I'll ask them to add you to the invite list.

I'll also cover some of themes which I'm going to explore at Web 2.0 Berlin.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where's the future bud?

I talk a lot about commoditisation of IT, the application of utility like concepts to computer resource provision, the XaaS stack, the need for competitive utility markets, open standards, open sourced implementations of those standards, the reduction of the barriers of entry (or participation) in marketplaces through commoditisation, the consequences of this (such as news 2.0), the growing phenomenon of 3D printing (the commoditisation of the manufacturing process), the participative manufacturing based upon draw rather than push or pull (see and the importance of conversation over product.

These things are all starting to happen whether its SaaS vendors like salesforce or HaaS vendors like xCalibre or higher orders of the stack already well populated with a growing fight to become the canoncial source for particular types of information.

So what is the next next big thing?

Well, in my view the next progression of web 2.0 (and NO, that isn't web 3.0 or 4.0 etc - it's still web 2.0) is all about the attention economy, reputation and the distribution of the social graph. The following gives you a hint of where we will be going, it maybe for video but in my view the key concepts are all there ....

Hidden in this are the ideas to create reputation networks and a solution to Brad's noble desire to make the social graph a community asset.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's time we said enough is enough.

After a decade of spin and short-term headline grabbing actions, we currently have a proposal for something of political significance - a bill on the misrepresentation of the truth.

It's being proposed as an early day motion. What's interesting for me, is who has signed up to the EDM?.

Liberal Democrats - 8 MPs

Plaid Cymru - 2 MPs

Labour - 3 MPs.

So how many Conservative MPs? None, zilch, a big fat zero. The only whiff of a Conservative opinion is given on the Ministry of Truth site, and yes it's an objection in principle to an act requiring that elected representatives don't lie.

Cameron recently spoke at the Google Zeitgeist conference and spoke of "In the post-bureaucratic era, you shouldn't just be telling government what you want. You should be choosing what you want, and acting to get what you want" - well we are trying.

He quoted Edmund Burke, so I'll use two more of his quotes to explain the problem.

First, "Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises; for never intending to go beyond promises; it costs nothing."

Cameron quotes the wisdom of the crowd, however this idea is based upon the Marquis de Condorcet's work. The crowd can be either completely right or completely wrong, and the factor controlling this is access to correct information.

Unless we have the correct information, the crowd is unlikely to make the right choices - we need the truth.

So what to do about it? Well back to Edmund: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

This is exactly what the Conservative party is doing on this matter - nothing; hollow words and no action. To think, I was even starting to consider voting for them.

If you believe in a post-bureaucratic era and the wisdom of the crowd.

If you trust the people.

If you believe in social responsibility rather than central control.

Then give us the right to be told the truth. Cameron, don't just talk but do something and lead.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Think faster, dammit ...

I've talked in the past about the use open source in both standards and the engines for virtual worlds and the possible new business models that can be created.

So IMHO the move towards open standards by SL & IBM is smart.

However ... a brain computer interface for SL is even smarter.

Ah, yes, future PvP combat dependent upon the power of thought.

Ah, the joys of research ...

I'm doing some research at the moment and preparation for my web 2.0 talk. As a result, I keep finding all these little gems of videos, slides and so forth.

This video is apparently from a trade marketing manager at Microsoft and has a "we've treated you bad as the consumer, let's bring back the love" theme.

Hmmm, interesting .... the cynic in me notes :-

Does the "advertiser" ...

1. show the need to control the consumer? Yes.

2. justify statements out of concern or love for the consumer? Yes.

3. exhibit shallow charm? Yes.

4. use language designed to make the target feel small, worthless, stupid or partly responsible? Yes (In the case of "bring back the love" the implication is "Let us")

5. show a tendency to blame others? Yes (In this sense there is distancing itself from its own activities through a mocking video).

6. show cycles of fighting and making up? Yes (For example mistreating consumers and then making a video about it to "make up").

7. show behavior which creates a sense of confusion in the target? Yes (For example "I've changed" - is it my fault?).

Overall, these are signs of an abusive personality ... nice video, not so sure about the overall message.

Duck Vs Duct.

Hey .... Ducks rule ... According to HotForWords.

This is a bizarre concept for a video, it's very silly and I'm afraid I don't understand the beginning of it at all ... however I was fascinated to discover that Duct Tape is actually Duck Tape.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

By the people, for the people ...

I written several times about my disillusionment with our current political system and the lack of accountability.

Today, I listened in horror at the mocking of the electorate by Gordon Brown.

However, today, I also watched a BBC 2 program about an early day motion to introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill, in order to make it an offence for MPs to misrepresent the truth to the public.

Watch the video ...


It is already an offence for business leaders to do so to their shareholders, and many professions are covered by such legislation.


This early day motion is set to be introduced on the 17th Oct 2007 by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price.

If you, like I am, are fed up with not being able to trust what our elected representatives tell us.

If you, like I do, feel that there is lack of accountability in parliament.

If you, like I do, feel that what I'm told is not always the truth.

Then NOW is the time to take action. Ministers and the parliamentary parties are as likely to vote for this as turkeys would for Christmas.

They work for you, despite their mocking of us.

Write to your MP, ask them to support the bill, join the online petition and spread the word to everyone you know.

This is your opportunity to make a difference, and make parliament accountable to the people, to us.

Accept no half measures, no more so called self regulation and make it an offence for MPs and their employees to misrepresent the truth to us, the great British public.

If you want to do one thing right for our society, make sure it's this.

Our democracy and the very basis on which it is built depends upon such truth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ducklet Tones ....

Future of Web Apps was an excellent conference - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I haven't yet received the audio, but that will come.

In the meantime, I was interviewed by Ewan Spence just after my talk - and he's posted it up on Blognation.

Apologies if I sound a bit scatty, the talk was quite exhausting.

Your App, My App .... MySpace

According to Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, MySpace is about to move into the application space - as per Facebook.

Google is hot on the heels of both these moves - with an even more adventurous plan (one which I agree with)

Why do I agree with Google? Well, they are planning to open up the system - push and pull data with Google Apps or other apps.

This move to "open" data or portability of data between apps or even providers - is something which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Now, we just need multiple providers - all singing to the same standard.

Go, Go, Google.

Hopefully, this will also trigger Facebook to go fully open as well.

Amazon's S3 gets an SLA

I picked this up from Brady, that S3 now has an SLA.

It's a good move.

However, there are risks associated with using a utility computing service, though there are risks associated with building a system in-house.

Tim Anderson noted that that the guarantee isn't worth much offering a fairly paltry maximum refund of 25%. That's not unusual for the hosted market, I've seen much worse. The real value in an SLA is to give an indication of what the provider expects the service to run at and a financial incentive to run at that level of service.

Unfortunately, though these are good moves - the greatest risks - that of catastrophic loss or a new guy in charge or a price hike or service closure still remain.

These risks will not be solved until there are alternative providers of the same service and a competitive utility market with freedom to move from one service provider to another (e.g. high levels of patration). For this we are going to need open standards and to avoid issues of loss of strategic control - open source implementations of such standards.

Of course this will led to undifferentiated price competition - something good for consumers but terrible for margins.

Well, I say terrible, but then again with the usefulness of such services being widespread, such a route allows for high levels of adoption and hence volume - as per other "utility services" like power.

If such a competitive market doesn't form, then as these services grow, I suspect as per Jesse's post we will eventually need government intervention.

So which standard will win out? OVF? (see Rich Miller's and William Vambenepe's excellent blogs for more on this subject).

Well it's early days, and the winners will emerge through wide adoption.

So it's a good move, but more is needed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Still no video?


In the meantime, I'll just note that Tim is talking about Atoms, a field which I have taken an interest in for some time.

I've dug up an old presentation from 2003, which I gave a slightly modified version of at Euro Foo in 2004.

It's a bit basic, well it's a bit pants .... but it serves as a very general introduction into the field. So I'll post the slides here.

[Corection - had some problems with slideshare - so I'll just provide a link to download the file or you can go to slideshare directly.]

I should really post up the EurOscon version as a video ... but since I'm going to be combining this with the FOWA stuff - including the different metholodogies needed for CA / CODB, the stack is bigger than just SaaS / FaaS / HaaS and the problem with patents & ROI - all into one monstrous web 2.0 expo talk, I thought I'd wait.

Audio --

Still waiting for the audio, so the video will be a bit later.

In the meantime I've posted the slides with slideshare. For some reason the encoding they use has messed up a few slides and the transcript is just gobbledygook and I can't seem to find a way of removing it.

I note that they use S3 - and for some reason this crashed my preview in blogger - oh well. Still at least it's a fairly easy way of getting slides up, though not quite as easy as video.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

All in a name ....

I've noticed that a lot of energy, effort and debate seems to being going into the "what's in web x.0" question.

I thought Tim had made a mistake in calling the change "web 2.0" rather than a neologism or re-using some archaic word. However, the mistake wasn't his. Tim had created a neologism, "inforware", we just chose to ignore it ... damn that crowd.

Hence we are now stuck with wasteful debates of what is in web x.0.

Why wasteful? Well, we have been entering a new phase of participation, enquiry and expression which is driven by :-

1. The growth of the open meme and its spread from software into other areas (content, hardware, finance etc) increasing participation and enquiry.

2. The effect of the internet, open source and standards in removing barriers to adoption and increasing serendipity, analogy, spread, participation and enquiry.

3. The commoditisation of the communication process and IT through their ubiquity. This increased the ability of the public to express, enquire and participate by removing the barriers to participation (entry) in many information fields.

Web 2.0 is a marker, to signify that this change is occurring. It's not about a particular technology, a rich user interface nor this standard or that standard. It's not even really about web browsing.

What we should be doing is debating, exploring and discussing those driving forces - and adapting to them.

Instead we have a lot of energetic arguments over which things which haven't happened yet belong to which moniker in the future?


Saturday, October 06, 2007

The previous talk ...

Whilst I wait to get my hands on the audio for my FOWA talk, I thought I'd post a video of my slides from OSCON 2007. It's an earlier and shorter version.

I'll be exploring all these themes in more detail at Web 2.0 Expo in November.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

With thanks ...

Just finished my talk at FOWA, I'll upload the presentation tomorrow.

Before I do, I just want to say thanks to two masters of public speaking - Robert 'r0ml' Lefkowitz and Damian Conway.

Any small skill which I have in this field, I have learned from these fine speakers and I would encourage anyone, who has the chance, to listen to them.

I'm a great believer that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery. So when it come to defining a new computing term, rather than using the neologism, fungitility, I took Robert's advice:-

instead of using words which already have common uses, we should dig up archaic words which might or might not have related meaning and just use those, since no one knows what they mean anyway and it makes you sound erudite to use them.

So Patration it is. Obviously, everyone knows that patration means “the freedom and portability to move from one service provider to another without hinderance or boundaries"

Thank you Robert and thank you Damian.

Also thanks to Ryan, Simon, Lisa, Mel and Dan who made my attendance at FOWA such a pleasure.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A wicked question ...

That said, I can't help but point to Jesse Robbins' outstanding post on the O'Reilly radar.

A truly wicked question on the issues around commoditisation of IT ...

Silent running ...

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front, as I'm busy finalising my orgy of images for the Future of Web Apps conference in London.

All those last minute tweaks and changes.