Technology Battles

[via Sadagopan] InfoWorld writes about seven tech battles:

Windows vs. Linux: Is this battle really the fight of the new century? Or should these old warhorses shake hands and just get along?

Behemoth vs. blade: A farm of blades seems like the best way to scale to meet application demands, but only when the software will cooperate

Conventional software vs. software as a service: Hosted apps may hold a tiny slice of the market right now, but over the long haul, does conventional software stand a chance?

Consolidation vs. federation: Should you standardize on one database platform or connect existing databases together where they reside?

NAC vs. NAP: Network access management locks out untrusted end points; Cisco and Microsoft are duking it out over who gets the keys

Vista vs. Tiger: Finally, now that OS X is in its fourth version, the beta release of Vista shows that Microsoft realizes it needs to catch up

Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI: The price and performance of these two rivals may be closer than you think. Much depends on what — and who — is already in place

Mobile TV

The Economist writes:

Even sceptics such as Ms de Lussanet concede that mobile TV might prove populareventually. The problem is that, as usual, the industry is being far too optimistic about how quickly it can launch the service. Several operators will probably try to launch mobile-TV services next year, she says, but as with web-browsing, picture-messaging and video-telephony, the initial service will be far from perfect. Operators and broadcasters must strike deals, regulators must allocate spectrum, and national mobile-TV broadcasting networks will have to be built. Users will also have to upgrade to new handsets with built-in TV receivers, which will have to be easy to use and not too bulky, expensive or power-hungry. Those things take years to come together, says Ms de Lussanet. Then, and only then, will it be possible to tell whether mobile TV is something that people really want.

Search Frontiers

TIME Magazine writes about what to expect in the future:

You land late in the evening in a city where you know nobody. You did not have time to book a hotel, your luggage has not turned up on the carousel–and the plane’s air conditioning gave you a sore throat. What to do?

With your cell phone, you first Google your suitcase–it has a small implanted chip that responds to radio waves with a GPS locator–and it turns out that your luggage has been deposited 200 yds. away in the next terminal. As you walk over, you search for a hotel room; the screen of your cell shows you pictures of several hotels in your price bracket, with views from individual room windows. Your search engine gives you a list of pharmacies that are still open at this hour, and tells you that your favorite blues band will be playing at a festival in the city’s park over the weekend. The engine can search your desktop back home, and it reminds you that a college friend e-mailed you a year ago to say he and his wife were moving to this city (you had forgotten). You decide to invite them to the festival.

What you have just tasted is the future of search. It will change the way humans interface with computers and make today’s methods seem as outmoded as telex machines and brick-size mobile phones.

Microsoft Office – Another View

Olivier Travers writes about the Microsoft Office he really wants:

What I really want is seamless integration between Excel on the frontend and an online relational database on the backend. No, I DON’T want some intranet Office Server crap or Groove client overload that I have to install and maintain myself, because that’s just not going to happen. And I’m not talking about just connecting Excel to some SQL source and browse it remotely (a feature I’ve been using once in a while), because this starts from the assumption someone created a SQL database in the first place. Nice but not nearly enough.

What I want is an internet application with a desktop frontend, with a choice of providers you can plug into, just like you can source other hosting services. The whole “internet Excel stack” should automagically normalize and synchronize the pseudo database work that most people do with it. And if it looks and tastes like a bunch of names and addresses, I should likewise be able to read/write/synch them through Outlook contacts. Wikify/blogify Outlook Today to have a mini-portal to point people to stuff and keep them on the same page (putthat stuff on the private web too), and we’re all set.

TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: The New Internet

I wrote an article recently for Business Today (reproduced below; actual print article may differ) for its issue celebrating 10 years of the Internet in India. In fact, August 1995 saw not just the launch of the Internet but also mobile telephony in India. Going ahead, the next versions of both will redefine the way we live and work.

As the Indian Internet celebrates its tenth anniversary, one can look back at the past decade as a tale of missed opportunities. We should have had 100 million users (we have about a quarter of that), we should have had real high-speed broadband available cost-effectively and on-demand across the country (we are just about starting on this), and we should have had a wide variety of innovative services to make the Internet a utility in our lives (we are still far away from that).

The Internet could have been the transformative force in its wired and wireless forms for both consumers and enterprises but it hasn’t. A lack of vision from policymakers, the high cost of bandwidth, a paucity of venture capital, the relatively high cost of computers, and perhaps most importantly, a dearth of compelling content and innovative services have limited the growth of Internet 1.0 in India.

Going ahead, though, the story can and will be very different. The second decade of the Indian Internet will go a long way in fulfilling the promise of the first. Converged next-generation networks will make the Evernet – a ubiquitous, always-available, high-speed network envelope a reality, limiting the impact of flawed policies. Bandwidth prices are falling rapidly due to competition and a realisation that the more one gives, the more people will want. Venture capital will be increasingly available as India’s user base rises and investors see another China-like story in the making. Cheaper computers along with alternative platforms like network computers and mobiles will make access available to much larger numbers. Content and services, too, will become more relevant completing a positive feedback loop to accelerate reach and usage.

There are two key drivers which will define tomorrow’s Internet: broadband networks and mobile phones.

With an always-on, flat-priced broadband connection, there is no worry about running up big bills. The usage of the Internet changes and it starts to become more of a utility in peoples lives. The proliferation of these networks will create demand for zero-management network computers, making the computer almost as easy to use as a TV. Broadband will also spur the creation and dissemination of multimedia content, which will drive the twin consumer application areas of education and entertainment. User-generated content in the form of weblogs and podcasts will add a richer tapestry to the Internet. For enterprises, broadband will enable software-as-a-service, as application service providers make available integrated stacks of encoded business processes to power the real-time flow of information.

Internet-enabled mobile phones will make all the new services available to people wherever they are. In emerging markets like India, more people will access the Internet from their mobile phone than the computer. The mobile Internet will bring connectivity to swathes of India untouched by the data revolution. Mobile phones are also two-way devices besides displaying received content, they also enable their owners to create content and share it with others almost instantaneously. Thus, photos and videos now don’t just get consigned to archives but can spur conversation now between people separated by distanced but linked with their mobiles. The mobile phone will be the social computer for India’s next generation of Internet users.

Tomorrow: The New Internet (continued)

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