Emergic Update

Thin Client-Thick Server: We have deployed the TC-TS at one of our other offices, which has 6 users. The usage pattern is quite different, it being an administrative office- there is more use of OpenOffice and Tally (a popular Indian accounting package). We did manage to get Tally returning on Linux using Wine, but are having problems with printing. We did have a few teething problems needed to upgrade the LAN to 100 Mbps and the server. Within our office, we are moving users to a dual CPU system. There is still the occasional crash, and we need to get to the bottom of why it happens. Have also done a few demos, but still no definitive beta customer. Need to make the TC-TS into a CD-installable product. Also, need to try out different Windows applications on Wine (especially Foxpro, VB-apps, Microsoft SQL). In our R&D effort, need to do (a) a graphical booting process for the TC (b) Local Apps on the TC to reduce the bandwidth (c) understand the X protocols better to see where we can optimise network traffic (d) Wireless LAN support.

Digital Dashboard: We deployed the weblogs platform internally for about 15 people in the company. People have begun blogging, but most posts are either to the private or the group blog. There is something missing in the flow here, and we need to make it easier for people to do it, and create the collaborative space. Weve also studied Traction and Scopeware. Traction has some interesting concepts. Our next step here is put together a DD in a browser which encompasses an aggregation for much of the users personal information (links to recent mails, IM buddies, frequently accessed files, bookmarks, calendar, contacts, etc.) the idea being that the respective application would be launched from the DD. The user gets a snapshot of his home directory and personal information in one page. This becomes the first layer, adding to the other layer of enterprise blogs which weve already done. The part which needs thinking is how to fit this together into a scalable architecture, like that of the Information Refinery. Weve also spent some time studying XSLT and the XML format of OpenOffice Calc. The idea of the latter work is to see if we can use OO Calc as a computation engine without actually invoking OO.

Enterprise Software: Weve been working to put together a model and a plan (and a team). The Digital Dashboard (personal and executive, which would comprise enterprise events) is the first step. Next is to put together a business process model for the basic applications. EAI and B2BAI come in later. More practically, we need to continue to work on building the Client Information System which integrates information from accounting (Tally), marketing (spreadsheet) and support (MySQL database). Weve also put together a working platform comprising Rational Rose, ArcStyler, Weblogic and JBoss. It is a mix of commercial and open source tools the former give us an idea of the best tools, while the latter is what we need to actually use. One idea I need to think through is that of an Enterprise Emulator like a SimCity which simulates an enterprise ecosystem. This would be useful for us as a testbed for the software we develop.

MailServ: We have decided to begin work on version 4.0 of MailServ, so as to get it ready by the end of the year. Need to put together the feature list of what we want. They key features our current 3.2 version has are: Mail Server, Proxy Server, IM (through Jabber), basic Firewall, Anti-Virus software, Global Address Book (via LDAP). Some initial ideas: enhance the Proxy Server capabilities, add Collaboration (Calendar, Contacts, Group Scheduling) such that the backend storage is in XML and can later be integrated into the Digital Dashboard, Project Management, stronger Firewall capabilities and perhaps, VPN support.

BlogStreet: We are at about 10,000 blogs. Need to think if we want to deploy additional resources on this. Ideally, Id like to see this work with blogs within the enterprise, but we are not there yet.

My Blog: We need to do some clean-up on some mess-up which we have done with the database (result is that some posts now have incorrect categories and the search results show duplicates). Going ahead, need to get Related Stories for each post that I do, thus creating a chain of thoughts and stories. There are a few other ideas also: for example, it would be nice to add a blog page consisting of the headlines for the major publications; make Search more effective I use it quite a lot when writing my Tech Talks and am unhappy with the limited control htdig gives me (I at least need to get relevant posts in reverse chronological order today, it seems quite random!). More broadly, how can I do value-added aggregation to build up a niche in the blogosphere. There needs to be something innovative which I should think of. Overall, am quite happy with the posts, etc. I have now blogged for pretty much all of the past 100 days with an average of 5-6 posts daily. Now, to think of how we can raise the standard of Emergic.org. Perhaps, we need to add a discussion forum like Slashdot for discussing topics relevant to technology in emerging markets. Theres still too much of just me talking, though of late the comments are increasing.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.