Thin Clients

‘WSJ writes:

Since the early 1980s, corporate computing power has shifted away from the big central computers that were hooked to “dumb terminals” on employees’ desks and toward increasingly powerful desktop and laptop computers. Now, there are signs the tide is turning back.

A new generation of simplified devices — most often called “thin clients” or “simple terminals” — is gaining popularity with an increasing number of companies and other computer users in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The stripped-down machines from Wyse Technology Inc., Neoware Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and others let users perform such tasks as word processing or accessing the Internet at their desks just as they did with their personal computers.

Mobiles and Digital Divide

Kevin Maney writes:

Cellphones aren’t at all like mocha lattes. They are miniature self-improvement machines. They can make as much difference in individual lives as literacy, without the steep learning curve.

“In places like India, the impact of cellphones on the gross domestic product is huge,” [Nokia CEO] Kallasvuo tells me.

Stories abound, for instance, of farmers or fishermen who start using cellphones to sell goods to the highest bidder instead of the lone buyer in the village, thereby vastly improving their lot. In one little way after another, cellphones act like extra pushes on the economic flywheels of developing nations — actually improving economies so people can, well, buy more cellphones.

Charles Simonyi and Software

Technology Review has an in-depth article on Charles Simonyi and his intentional programming company:

Whether in his Stanford University doctoral dissertation on a “meta-programming” approach to boosting programmer productivity, his career at Microsoft organizing legions of software developers and teaching them how to structure their code, or his planned voyage into Earth orbit this spring, moving beyond established ways of doing things has always been Simonyi’s method. Now he is plotting what he hopes will be his most vaulting meta-move of all. Simonyi believes he can solve a host of stubborn problems that have always plagued computers by offering everyone who uses them, and the coders who program them, a higher-order view of software.

Mobile Marketing

Rick Mathieson writes:

Mobile is most powerful as a response mechanism by which consumers can interact with, and transact with, integrated promotions they see in other media print, broadcast, online, direct, outdoor, etc. right at the point of impression.

Short codes, and increasingly, QR codes are enabling a whole new way for consumers to interact and transact with brand they know and trust.

Getting it right means the difference between engagement and intrusion for marketers looking for an edge with todays increasingly mobile masses.

Mobile Advertising

The New York Times writes:

Advertising absolutely makes sense to extend expensive multimedia services and mobile TV to the mass market, said Linda Barrabee, an analyst with the Yankee Group, a technology research and consulting firm based in Boston. I think we will see consumers say, You know what, Im only going to spend this much money on my mobile phone.

In Asia, by contrast, multimedia mobile applications are more commonly used, and those services became more affordable there without advertising because of quick adaptation by consumers, analysts said.

The new uses of cellphones present vast opportunities for consumer brand companies, which are finding it difficult to reach customers through traditional media like magazines and television. Mobile phones can handle ads in many forms, including video, text messages, search and banner displays. And cellphone ads can be fine-tuned based on customer data.

TECH TALK: 3GSM Mumbai: Conferences

I like to attend a conference every once in a while. Taking a couple of days off from office and listening to various viewpoints is a good way to get an understanding of what’s happening in an area. Even the not-so-interesting talks are useful; they give one the time to reflect on life and work. Next to long flights, conferences allow me time to think.

I am not much of a networking type of person; meeting others and exchanging business cards does not come naturally to me. That is a side benefit of attending conferences one gets to meet a few people whom ones knows (and some who are known but cannot be immediately identified!)

Over the past 18 months or so, I have attended three conferences. In June 2005, I was at CommunicAsia in Singapore. Then, in March 2006, I attended PC Forum in Carlsbad, though I had to cut short my trip for personal reasons. Later, in June 2006, I went to the Supernova in San Francisco. Most recently, I attended 3GSM in Mumbai.

Conferences are very good for getting an idea of what the key issues and trends are. I like to attend at least one event a year in an area of interest to me. CommunicAsia was mostly around mobiles and broadband, and helped helped me understand what was happening. In PC Forum, I was representing Novatium, which was one of the showcase companies asked to make a presentation.. At Supernova, I was on a panel discussing computing for the next five billion people. At 3GSM, I was a listener.

I like conferences where they have panels which discuss issues in depth. Usually, single speaker presentations end up becoming mostly corporate PR exercises, and have little of substance. However, for panels to work, one needs a very effective moderator one who knows the subject and the participants, and is willing to followup on evasive answers. Most moderators do not tend to do this. As a result, conferences often disappoint from a content perspective. Yet, one does attend conferences because of the opportunity to network.

So it was that I found myself at 3GSM in Mumbai. The focus was on the Indian mobile industry.

Tomorrow: Indian Mobile Industry