Reverberations

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Archive for the ‘Future’ Category

We just talk to each other

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Bret Taylor on his present at Friendfeed and his past at Google :

I had a number of accomplishments that I’m really proud of at Google. But I think for me I really wanted to sort of, you kow, forge my own path, if we can do it on our own. When we make decisions, I get to just look up from my computer and say, “Hey, you think we should do this?” And then people say, yes, we should do it. I haven’t made a single PowerPoint presentation. We don’t even use Microsoft Word documents; we just talk to each other.

It’s a really, really interesting dynamic environment. I think no matter how innovative a culture is at a large company, you can’t really reproduce it. And I think that’s what’s so infectious and wonderful about a startup environment, that I think draws a lot of people to it (…)

With 70 people the odds that two people are working on the same thing are probably pretty low. With 17,000, it’s almost a 100% that two or three people will be working on the same idea, or at least very similar ideas, at different parts of the organization. I think there is a certain amount of cost to just coordinating that activity. I’ve been really impressed with how Google has been able to scale, but inherently it has to change – just because there’s that coordination cost.

I think some bloggers call it “strategy tax.” You know, when you grow, your strategy becomes more and more important, and it taxes sort of everything you do a little bit… because everything you do, it strays from that strategy. You know, there’s a huge cost to that. Whereas I think for smaller companies, the strategy is less well-defined, or certainly the impact of straying from it is much lower.

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Written by Brajesh

March 18, 2008 at 10:32 pm

BitTorrent Protocol and Client Gone Closed

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Latest version of BitTorrent client (v 6.0), which is based on closed-source uTorrent (acquired a while back), has not been released, neither has been the protocol specs. The “official” BitTorrent client has never been very popular compared to other protocol implementations like Azureus and uTorrent.

Protocol specs, although technically closed, are available with very tightly maintained SDK license.  And, all previous version of protocol as well as the client are available openly.

In lifecycle of any technology “The step after ubiquity is invisibility“. I always hoped BitTorrent to follow that curve. Not anymore probably.

Written by Brajesh

August 9, 2007 at 11:54 am

Live Clipboard for the Web

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Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie has come up with the idea of live clipboard for the web. I started watching screencasts skeptically thinking the idea to be another creation of the MS hype machine, but eventually I ended up watching all five of them.

The live clipboard idea looks appealing, implementable and probably the way to go. All it would need is that structured metadata is understood across websites, applications and operating systems. I guess that’s too much to ask, considering the inhibitions against everything Microsoft does with respect to standards. But the idea in itself is compelling, and it’ll be useful even if it can just be implemented across websites (watch #1). And we can expect at least Windows OS support if the idea gains some ground. Dave Winer has a mention of this too.

Standards these days are tricky things. We don’t even have a standard for syndication as yet.

Written by Brajesh

March 7, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Posted in Future, Microsoft, RSS

Edge Content

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There has been plenty of talk about the Rise of Edge Content lately. Edge Content – the content provided by the long tail of [web] community. Blogs are the perfect example of edge content. While I agree with the idea of eventual prominence of edge content over a centralized system, I’ve certain issues with the general understanding of edge content.

Everyone (I’ve read so far), who talks about ‘the edge’, has a basic assumption that the content has to be created on the Web to be available to everyone, and then there would be various services to aggregate and serve that distributed content. Blogging is super-fine as a casual/amateur content creation tool. But then we need to look for more serious aspects of it. The anonymity of web is a huge road block in the availability of more meaningful content. And also, why limit ourselves to the web, what about the huge content available on desktops.

Content creators need to get their due not only in terms of credit, recognition and feedback, but also monetarily. Why take away that choice from the content creator. The proposed/existing aggregator model may do fine on the recognition aspect, but pretty much dilutes the monetary part. Also, we need a way to measure the access and profile of content consumers. Otherwise the whole edge content thing is a setup to lose.

I need to expand a bit more here, which I’ll do in due course of time.

Written by Brajesh

February 19, 2006 at 5:17 pm

Is it the age of Web Applications

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There has been quite a talk of AJAX based thin clients replacing Desktop Application and thus eliminating dependence on Windows or any other OSs.

Now, indeed AJAX is a huge step in the direction of making browser based applications more efficient as in how the data is being handled. Traditional web interface has to reload every time to show any new data and that means redundant traffic over precious bandwidth. AJAX techniques let the client call data as it requires instead of traditional brute force reload. Google’s GMail is one of the first applications to use AJAX in its present avatar and Google Maps perfected the art, though the concept of AJAX itself is not entirely new. Wikipedia has plenty of information on the evolution of AJAX.

It would be a bit too far-fetched to think that AJAX based applications can replace desktop apps altogether. Browser is a great tool to make cross platform apps, but there are certain limitations of Asynchronous JavaScript,CSS,DOM and XMLHttpRequest, and it is very easy to mess up with all of this. Alex Bosworth’s blog has articles on potential AJAX mistakes.

Besides that, there are other unavoidable limitations using browser as a user interface. There are certain quirks of each and every browser, and that won’t be very easy to tame for AJAX developers. Moreover, browser based application will be unreliable as the data has to travel through network and there lies the bottleneck. And I haven’t even said anything about security, and what about offline interactions.

The more plausible scenario would be close interaction of web with OS, something like what KDE trying to do with Wikipedia in their planned collaborative development. And what Microsoft calls Smart Applications – applications which interact closely with the Internet, and utilize local computing hardware. Besides, there are unlimited possibilities to develop a user-friendly interface with desktop apps, which a browser cannot provide. There are simply too many browsers to take care of. So OS is certainly not going to be irrelevant. AJAX is exciting and but there are even more possibilities with desktop apps getting “smart”er.

Written by Brajesh

August 8, 2005 at 3:46 am

Posted in AJAX, Future, Trends, Web 2.0