Skype as the Future of the Connectivity

Bob Frankston writes:

The more important result is to understand Skype’s Edge-connectivity. It’s an example of how communities can stay connected independent on the accidental properties of the Internet and the gatekeepers. Because the relationships are maintained at the edge mobility is fundamental. You don’t need the network to do meshing when the applications maintain their own relationships. Meshing then becomes a low level technique for pooling routers rather than a way to make applications mobile.

This edge approach can also allow the Internet itself to be simplified since the IP address can be used to facilitate routing rather than being overly constrained by having to also serve the role of stable (and dynamic) identifier. Since the identifiers are stable you don’t need a mechanism like the DNS to provide stability. Unlike the DNS, the Skype directory is a directory though it also maps identifiers into handles to facilitate rendezvous.

A more general implementation would distribute this mapping. If the applications themselves are able to participate in finding dynamic paths we can start to move beyond the current Internet’s single omniscient backbone that interconnects local LANs. The applications would find a path through a network consisting of way stations. Unlike a router a way station can be a visible transit point or an invisible. We see this kind of choice in airline flights. A flight might have a single identifier that allows one to be indifferent to the path or the user can choose explicit routing or a combination of the two.

Trends Underlying Enterprise 2.0

[via Ross Mayfield] Andrew McAfee writes:

Why is Enterprise 2.0 is an appealing reality now? Its not because of any recent technology breakthrough. Blogs, wikis, and RSS have been brewing since the 1990s, and folksonomies and AJAX since the early years of this decade. Is it just that technologists and entrepreneurs needed a bit of time to absorb all of elements and combine them into useful tools? Thats certainly part of the story, but focusing only on technology components risks missing the forest for the trees.

In particular, it misses three broad and converging trends, all of them concerning the changing relationship between those who offer technologies and those who use them. The trends are:

– Simple, Free Platforms for Self-Expression
– Emergent Structures, Rather than Imposed Ones
– Order from Chaos

Digital Wal-Marts

Tom Foremski writes:

Are Google, Yahoo, Ebay , Amazon (and maybe MSFT and Craig’s List too) becoming the Wal-Marts of the digital age? It’s an important question as they roll out more of their “local” products and fight for the next big market – local advertisers.

But as with Wal-Mart – smaller, local web sites will find it increasingly harder to compete with these giants because of their scale: their e-commerce platform, products, and services.

And as with Wal-Mart, money will be drained from local communities to the coffers of faraway companies rather than circulating in the community. This will become more of an issue as online commerce grows from its still very small share, less than 10 per cent, of overall commerce.

And as with Wal-Mart, these companies are increasing their use of overseas producers (software developers in India and China) which competes with US developers.

Advertising in Context

Fred Wilson writes:

Contextual advertising is when the ads are targeted against specific content.

Behavioral advertising is when the ads are targeted against a specific person who has exhibited a certain behavior.

Contextual advertising is content-based advertising.

Behavioral advertising is people-based advertising.

They are both effective and I believe they result in more relevant advertising which benefits the consumer.

I also believe that we are just seeing the beginning of how powerful these targeting techniques can be.

Mozes and SMS

TechCrunch writes:

Mozes is a Palo Alto based startup founded by Dorrian Porter that is tapping into the U.S. SMS (phone text) market.

It allows you to do all sorts of things via sms. Hear a song on the radio that you like and want to bookmark? Text the radio station (ie, KROQ) to 66937 (which translates to Mozes). Mozes will note the time and station name and bookmark the song title in your Mozes page (and sms you the song information). Meet someone who has a Mozes keyword? SMS their Mozes keyword to 66937 and store whatever personal information theyve elected to share. And online advertisers can use a Mozes keyword to give you more information on the product.

TECH TALK: Revolution on the Roads: Mobile Lifestyle

Stops are inevitable when driving long distances. In the past, the choice was limited to petrol pumps and nondescript restaurants whose toilets one shuddered to visit. All of this changed when we stopped by a Reliance petrol pump en route to Surat. That is the shape of things to come.

Built over a large area, the Reliance petrol and diesel outlets also have what they call an A1 Plaza. These plazas (and I stopped by one in each direction) are inviting and clean. They have a standardised food menu, with plenty of seating space. The food service was quick, and the quality decent. The toilets are absolutely clean. There are signs for the various facilities available. There are even some beds for resting. DishTV plays out in the background. Overall, it has been very well planned and executed. On the return journey, I found myself looking for the Reliance outlet to fill both petrol and the stomach!

The Reliance outlets are not that frequent en route. But what I can already see happening is that competition from them will force the others to upgrade facilities. This will make travelling and stopping a pleasant experience.

The other interesting change has been the availability of the mobile data infrastructure. I have been saying for some time that Indias mobile data infrastructure is amongst the best in the world. Even though the operators are focused on getting new customers for their voice and SMS plans, the reality is that they have built extremely good data networks also. I used my mobile with Hutchs GPRS service en route and got very good response time all along the way in a car moving for the most part at over 100 kmph. It was a reinforcement of what I noticed when I travelled through Rajasthan.

Taken together, the combination of good cars and highways, along with improved stopover points and ubiquitous connectivity, is going to start bringing a change in travel attitudes in India. I think people will be more open to taking weekend outings armed with the Outlook Travel Guides exploring new places in the vicinity. Already, Lonavala and Pune are but short drives from Mumbai. Mahabaleshwar is becoming ever closer with the improving road. A journey which used to take the better part of a day (Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar) can now be done in less than half the time. With increasing air connectivity to a greater number of places, the number of destinations which can be reached in 4-5 hours is increasingly rapidly.

This mobile lifestyle will also enable a discovery of India. There was a time when it used to be so much cheaper and better to travel to destinations outside India. Part of the allure was shopping. Now, with the mall mania reaching epic proportions in India, even that is less of a reason to venture beyond Indian shores. Our own country, which once had become alien to us, is now becoming much more accessible and inviting.

Tomorrow: Random Thoughts

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