Internet Computing

Newsweek has an interview with Larry Ellison. Says Ellison: “I think were seeing a gradual shift away from the desktop and toward Internet computing. Theres been three eras of computing. The first era, dominated by IBMmainframe computingthe second era, personal computing, dominated by Microsoft. I think someone will emerge in enterprise or Internet computing as the dominant supplier of software technology.”

Compuer Science Grand Challenges

Roland Piquepaille points to vnunet.com article: “A Grand Challenge must be a 15-year project with international participation. There should be a clear evaluation of success or failure, and it should offer fundamental and radical advances in basic science or engineering. The UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC), a joint expert panel of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and the British Computer Society is working with the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing to start seven new projects. The hope is that some, or at least one, of the initiatives will be taken forward to become a Grand Challenge – a major, long term project that will create great advances in computer science.”

The 7 projects short-listed are:

In Vivo <-> In Silico (IVIS): This project is focused on modeling real-life events in silicon to experiment with virtual organisms.

Science for Global Ubiquitous Computing: In 20 years, computers will be everywhere and globally interconnected. Researchers think that this worldwide network will be seen as a single Global Universal Computer (GUC). The goal is to define the theories behind this future GUC.

Memories for Life: The amount of data that we collect, pictures, films, e-mails, is growing at a growing rate every day. This project wants to find ways to securely store and search all of these data.

Scalable Ubiquitous Computing Systems: This is an approach to solve future problems coming from growing computing complexity created by increasingly networked computers and Internet’s proliferation, leading to the integration of organic models.

Architecture of Brain and Mind: This project wants to know how our brains are working. But even the proponents of this plan are not sure it can be done in 15 years.

Dependable Systems Evolution: With computer viruses and worms causing increasingly severe threats to everybody, this project wants to build “dependable, secure and trustworthy computer systems.”

Journeys in Non-Classical Computing: This is an attempt to build complex computer systems by using nature and biology as sources of inspiration

Web Apps Usabaility

Viswanath Gondi writes os usable Rich Internet Architecture applications, with the central philosophy: “focus on the user and all else will follow”. The article starts with the ten things that users hate, and then offers a design pattern for software developers. Writes Viswanath: “how do we split a rich Internet application so that designing under the above usability constraints becomes simpler? Dividing the application into pages and navigation will help. Each page is composed of data, components, logic, and presentation. The pages are encapsulated in the navigation shell, which again has data, components, logic and presentation.”

Patents

NYTimes writes:

Petra Moser, now an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, has come up with some surprising conclusions [in her Ph. D thesis] that are attracting the attention of fellow scholars.

One of Professor Moser’s conclusions is that developing countries like India, which is scheduled to come into full compliance with an international patent treaty in 2005, may be better off without strong patent laws.

The conventional wisdom among economists has been that a robust patent system helped transform the United States into an economic powerhouse. And this may be true. But, Professor Moser concludes, what was good for America and Britain in the 19th century is not necessarily good for emerging, largely rural economies in countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

“In economics, we are taught that patent laws are what create incentives for innovation,” she said. “But many of the best innovators in what was the high technology of the day came from some of the smallest countries in Europe, and these nations did not have patent laws.”

The purpose of patents is twofold: to protect the inventor and to speed technological progress. Thus, patent laws require that an inventor, in a quid pro quo exchange for the limited monopoly that a patent provides, disclose his methods to others. “Countries without patent laws have much larger shares of their innovations where patenting would have been a bad idea,” Professor Moser said.

So what is the lesson for Brazil, China, India and other countries that are being pressed by industrialized nations to create strong patent systems?

“We try to force patent laws on developing countries and say, This is best for you,” she said. “Then we are surprised when they say they don’t want patent laws. But they have a point. Such laws could actually hinder innovation in those countries.”

Anyone listening in India?

Online News Evolution

OJR (Mark Glaser) asked a select panel of longtime Netizens to share their thoughts on where Web journalism has been, and where it’s likely to go. Responses when asked about the most important new development in online journalism:

Winer: RSS. Because it levels the field. On the same page I read reports from BBC, The New York Times and my favorite Weblogs. I’m not more impressed by Glenn Fleishman, for example, when he writes for his Weblog, or when he writes for The New York Times. It makes online journalism more competitive and it desperately needs more competition.

Gwertzman: The ease of browsers receiving news, and the smooth insert of multimedia into the news coverage. The advent of broadband everywhere means that it is so easy to receive news that it is revolutionizing the news business.

Newmark: Some of the group blogging and discussion mechanisms, like MetaFilter and Slashdot, but they’re all in their infancy. I do agree that image-enabled mobile phones will become important, but filtering is the biggest deal in this area.

Battelle: The resurgence of advertising revenue to the Internet content model. It will allow journalists to once again innovate online.

Web Services Browser

Adam Bosworth continues the discussion on “various ways in which a client can browse information gleaned from web services on the net”. The options to turn information can turn into User Interface:

  • Attach a lot of metadata to elements. Then have a general meta-data driven rendering engine that displays information using the metadata to do so.
  • Build a picture of the desired layout and “bind” elements and properties within it to elements of data. This is the model that, for example, VB and Powerbuilder and Access use, and it is increasingly used in the JSP community by using expressions to bind to data. This essentially makes the layout a template.
  • Run code that dynamically emits user interface elements in whatever order it wants based on complex procedural logic. The old dBase product used to do this for example. ASP’s and JSP’s do this.
  • Continue reading

    TECH TALK: An Entrepreneurs Early Days (Part 3)

    Life and Entrepreneurship are very similar full of unknowns and the unexpected. This is what one must be prepared to expect as part of the normal, standard operating procedure. Each step that one will make will educate. Even though one may be the master of the field in which one wants to start a business, as an entrepreneur, one will start as a baby.

    Baby

    There comes a moment in the life of a person when a decision has to be made does one go ahead with the entrepreneurial venture or not. If the decision is a Yes, then a new baby is born. However good the entrepreneur is in his field, in the area of running his own business, he is a baby.

    A world without the support system of a corporation is very different. In fact, the first day as an entrepreneur can be quite unnerving. No secretary, no support staff (initially), no safety net, no answers, only questions and things to do. One has to set ones own agenda driven not by the goals of the corporation, but by ones own gut and instinct. This extreme freedom too needs to be managed well.

    The early days in the world of entrepreneurship are one of discovery. There will be plenty of moments of self-doubt: should one have done this. Life was so much nicer earlier. This is what the entrepreneur must battle through.

    The life of an entrepreneur is not one of fixed hours just like a baby. Many a night will be a sleepless one either because of a deadline, or because of things which need to be considered, or problems which need to be pondered upon.

    The entrepreneur brings to bear his experiences in the world of the past that once was his and the new world that he intends to make his very own. There are memories of what once was and there are dreams of what will be. It is these dreams that keep the entrepreneur charged up. When the dreams and hopes die, so does the entrepreneur. Life may go on, but as a living dead. That is why it is so important to have a deep passion about what one wants to do during the self-doubt and loneliness of the early days, it is this passion and those dreams that keep the fire going and give the entrepreneur the courage to face any odds. This is the crucible.

    For me, the early days of being an entrepreneur in India were full of opportunity, excitement and failure. Whatever was tried did not work. That was the time when ones resolve was severely tested. Either one can give up then or deepen the resolve to make things happen. Being a baby, I did a lot of things wrong. There was a lot of stumbling and falling. At that time, it was hard to see what was the good that would come out of all this. But, that is how we learn. The second stint at being an entrepreneur was where all this learning came in useful.

    Tomorrow: An Entrepreneurs Early Days (continued)

    Continue reading