What We’re Doing When We Blog

DaveNet : Meg Hourihan: What We’re Doing When We Blog:

When we talk about weblogs, we’re talking about a way of organizing information, independent of its topic. What we write about does not define us as bloggers; it’s how we write about it (frequently, ad nauseam, peppered with links).

Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words. The structure of the documents we’re creating enable us to build our social networks on top of it — the distributed conversations, the blog-rolling lists, and the friendships that begin online and are solidified over a “bloggers dinner” in the real world.

Today, in our company, we are introducing weblogs to about half the company. We’ve created an internal infrastructure for blogging, using MovableType with support for private, public and group posts, and our self-developed RSS Aggregator. It is going to be an interesting experiment to see how how different people react and absorb this new writing and sharing medium.

Auto Makers move to developed markets

Writes WSJ:

In a break from their longstanding practice, car companies are slowly starting to use factories in the developing world to supply the major markets of the U.S., Japan and Europe. It’s a big shift that could have big ripples around the world, creating new industrial bases in Third World countries and threatening the jobs of workers in the higher-cost factories of North America, Japan and Western Europe.

Wages in Africa, Thailand and Latin America often are less than a tenth of what workers earn in developed markets. That more than offsets the added costs of shipping key parts to the remote factories and bringing the completed cars back. Adding plants in developing countries to its global production network “will dramatically increase our competitiveness,” says Honda Chief Executive Hiroyuki Yoshino.

This is an interesting trend. It ensures that the developing markets get access to the best technology and products, and makes them more tightly integrated into the global supply chains.

Web Services Standards

Writes News.com:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Monday released its first working draft of the Web Services Architecture Usage Scenarios, a document that outlines potential uses for Web services to help guide W3C working groups designing Web services recommendations.

Monday’s working draft joins a trio of related documents published by the W3C this summer: Web Service Description Requirements, Web Service Description Usage Scenarios and Web Services Architecture Requirements.

We need to track the web services standards because we have to use them for our enterprise software development.

Next-Generation GUI

Writes Thomas Krul: “Linux desktop interfaces provides little that is new, and are dismissed as copies of Windows by the uneducated consumer who does not realize the value of the Linux underpinnings hidden behind the scenes. Nobody wants a copy, they want something original, and that means a radical departure from the desktop analogy.”

His call for action:

an Open Source GUI Project whose mandate is not just the emulation of Microsoft makes sense: something that not only improves the experience, not only makes processes more efficient, but adds Pleasure to the man-machine interface. The over-capacity of the modern CPU has to be made more aware of the user, and the user should find interaction with the machine to be a relationship, not a chore.

After 20 years of speed and capacity improvements, the computer just doesn’t seem any brighter or smarter than it used to. And that needs to change.

Slashdot thread

This is worth thinking about more. So far, for our Thin Client project, we’ve just looked at making it “Windows-like” with respect to the icons and the applications. But when one considers that the primary target for this solution are the “have-nots” (the ones who so far have not been exposed to computing), maybe we need to think more – there is an opportunity to re-design what the users sees and does with the computer.

One alternative is to make the Digital Dashboard as the front-end – but that is still incremental (it is a browser with three tabbed windows). Two people we should look for more inspiration: David Gelernter through his Scopeware product, and Micheal Dertouzus’ book “The Unfinished Revolution“.

TECH TALK: Tech’s 10X Tsunamis: Open Source (Part 2)

While Linux has been the flag-bearer of Open Source revolution, Open Source is much more than Linux. In the past few years, Open Source has come into its own with many quality software products, all available at zero cost. Desktop environments like KDE and Gnome, Browsers like Mozilla and Galeon, email applications like Evolution, instant messenger applications like Gaim and desktop applications through OpenOffice can now all combine together to provide a viable alternative even on the desktop.

On the server side, Apache as the web server, JBoss as the application server, PostgreSQL as the database and Sendmail as the mailing application offer the building blocks needed to build a robust operating platform.

For many, open source is about freedom from Microsoft. For others, open source is about saving money. Of course, it is also said that, Linux is free only if your time is worthless. But the free formula makes a lot of sense in the developing markets of the world, where the only alternative to an expensive Microsoft Windows-Office combination would have been to use a pirated copy. Now, they can use Linux and OpenOffice, being compatible with the proprietary Windows-world file formats (DOC, XLS and PPT) at the same time.

The real opportunity for Open Source is in countries like India and China. What Open Source can do is to bring down the cost of computing be factor of 10, thus making it accessible to a much larger set of people. So far, much of the Open Source development has been done by software engineers from the developed countries (primarily, US and Europe). This is where Indians need to take the lead and contribute to the movement.

Open Source does not mean free. Free does not benefit anyone. After all, even the developers have to make a living, and their companies have to make profits. Open Source is about an alternative, it is about freedom. A recent report by Gartner estimates that 1 billion more PCs will be sold in the next 6-7 years (the 1 billionth PC was sold in April this year). The next 500 million users who will come from the worlds emerging markets are the opportunity for Open Source software. An integrated collection of software applications needs to be made available at a low, affordable cost to double the base of computer users worldwide.

What Open Source makes achievable is the dream of a USD 100 computer (more about this later in the series), with software and Internet connectivity for no more than USD 10 per month. This computer-Internet combination can be, for the worlds emerging markets, the bridge to a new future. Open Source is, then, the set of pillars and arches that support the bridge.

Mathew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat, the most well-known Linux company, puts it best (as quoted in Forbes): “Linux is open and transparent, which is what software developers have always wanted. I believe that we can change the face of the software industry and deliver social value to the industry Linux can free corporations, third-world nations and poor domestic communities from the tyranny of high prices and badly written software.”

Additional Reading:

Tomorrow: Outsourcing: Partnering for Profit