Social Networking Reality

Nicholas Carr writes:

Everyone has – and always has had – interests and hobbies and opinions. Everyone has always been a “producer” as well as a “consumer” of culture, and the Internet offers new (if not necessarily better) opportunities for self-expression. And that’s good. But it doesn’t amount to a reinvention of media. Today’s new media, as Steven Johnson writes, “are not historically unique; they draw upon and resemble a number of past traditions and forms, depending on their focus.”

What we are learning, day by day, is there is no such thing as “many-to-many” when it comes to media. Or, as one blogger recently put it, in a different context, “community doesn’t scale.” The Internet is a party line and a broadcasting medium and a mall. Sure, it puts a different spin on each of those things, but it’s fundamentally the same, not fundamentally different. If you want social networking, go to a cocktail party. Or a church supper.

Pay-Per-View Internet?

Knowledge@Emory writes:

Now more and more people access the Internet not through telephone lines but larger pipes, almost all of them specially adapted telephone lines or high-capacity television cable. For many Americans, the question of who provides Internet service is no longer a choice of dozens of ISPs but at most two their cable company or their telephone company.

Today, some broadband executives would like to change the rules of the game. They say that in order to recoup development costs and to provide more levels and varieties of service for their customers, they want more control over those packets.

At stake for broadband providers is the chance to provide more differentiated levels of service. They also want to be able to charge users for particular levels of service as well as for the services they use, and charge some content providers for the bandwidth they fill. In short, broadband providers would prefer a business model that looks a whole lot more like cable TV service.

SAP for SMEs

Business Week writes:

SAP is moving down the food chain. Its entry-level Business One software can be had for well under $10,000, installedthough more sophisticated packages may run to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Along with a host of competitors including Microsoft and Britain’s Sage Group, SAP is making it possible for smaller businesses to enjoy some of the same efficiencies previously available only to the big guys. Soy Basics sales have grown to $20 million from $1 million in just four years, says Nicolaisen, adding, “We don’t think we’d have been able to do this without SAP.”

SAP says it already has 19,000 customers with sales of less than $1 billion. That’s nothing compared with the estimated 56 million companies that could conceivably become customers someday.

Practical Business Uses of RSS

WebProNews offers some ideas:

Use Your Own Content

Almost ANY web based content can be transformed into an RSS feed. The only real requirement is that the information changes regularly.

News Headlines

Typically, the main use of RSS is to present headlines and a short introduction to “newsy” stories. Create an RSS feed on your site featuring your company press releases, site updates, etc.

Upcoming Events

RSS is a great way to let people know of events and activities that may be happening soon. It’s easy to turn an “events” page into an RSS feed.

Opera Mini and Mobile Browsing

Wap Review writes:

How is it possible that a 100KB Java application running on the low-end processors of mainstream phones can rival the performance of native code applications running on the fastest mobile processors available? Two words, proxy server. Mini talks to the Internet through a very sophisticated proxy provided by Opera. The proxy does all the heavy lifting – parsing tag soup, re-flowing pages, resizing images and interpreting Javascript. What gets sent to Mini after the proxy has done it’s magic is a compressed binary that requires relatively little processing power to render on the handset. This means that web pages, especially large complex pages with many images, load and render much faster than they would using the phone’s built-in browser. Actually, built-in phone browsers can’t even display pages above a certain size. typically between 30 and 100 KB of combined markup and images. Mini, thanks to the proxy, which splits large pages up into multiple smaller pages, can display virtually any web page regardless of size.

TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: Mobiles First

Given this background, the mobile internet seems like something which should have taken off a long time ago. In fact, the idea has been around for long since 2000, when the world of WAP first come to life and subsequently with the 3G spectrum auctions in Europe. The vision of the mobile as a networked device opens up huge possibilities. Yet, over the past few years, the mobile internet offtake has been very limited. Operator walled gardens are only partially responsible for this. The bigger issue, according to me, is that, like the network computer, the mobile internet has been targeted in the past at the wrong markets. The real opportunity lies in the emerging markets where there is no alternative rather than the developed markets where a broadband connection and a computer is never too far away.

Emerging markets like India are the blue oceans, the uncontested marketspaces. They are tomorrows big markets. But they require very different thinking. It is not going to be easy for companies in the developed markets to create solutions for the users in the middle and bottom of the pyramid in developing markets. I believe that the solution providers will be home-grown companies who understand the realities of these markets and actually live the life. Companies which can address the challenge of bringing the Internets benefits to users in these markets will be the next giants in the technology world. I have strongly believed that the next Cisco or Microsoft or Google will come from the worlds emerging markets specifically, China or India.

To understand the mobile internet opportunity, it is necessary to take a wider perspective. In tomorrows world, all info and services will reside in the cloud. Users will connect to this cloud via two possible devices a mobile phone [or laptop computer] which they carry with them all the time, and a desktop computer with a bigger screen and better input capabilities. Both will be connected devices and in that sense, thin clients to the thick servers that reside in the cloud with near-infinite computing and storage capabilities. Connectivity can be via DSL or cable in the wired world, or via WiFi, WiMax or mobile operator data networks (2.5G and higher).

The essential difference from the PC-centric developed world users is that this user base assumes the presence of the network and is therefore comfortable with keeping the information in the cloud, knowing that access to it will be available anytime and from anywhere. In the PC-centric world, there is still a legacy of local applications and storage which fragment a users information and life. This lack of legacy is what can be used to advantage by service providers in the emerging markets. The goal should be to create network-centric services which are accessible from both the mobile and the PC but primarily focused around the mobile. The mantra needs to be Mobiles First.

Tomorrow: The Incremental Web

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