Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vista DRM and Performance

Six months ago there was a fuss when Peter Guttman published his article on the Microsoft's new operating system Vista and how its DRM implementation could disrupt computer system performance when DRMed media is being played. Now the crows are coming home to roost.

In the last week there have been reports that Vista networking performance drops to 5% of maximum when the music player is active and 10% of maximum when any visual media player is active. This appears to happen even although the media player is paused, and even on multi-core systems where you might expect other cores to pick up the load. For example:
I have a Q6600, and while experiencing this crappy network performance, all 4 cores are practically idle.
So what will be the conclusion of all this? Microsoft has had many products that have knocked it out of the ball park, but every company produces a duff product now and again. It looks like Windows Vista could become the Windows ME of the 21st century.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Search and Analytics

"Search and Analytics" was the topic at the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG yesterday evening where Sajjad Jaffer, co-founder of Mercatrix spoke. The presentation covered the search space describing the latest trends in search with the intent of convincing us that Search is not over. Although one company dominates internet search now this was not always the case and it need not be the case in the future.

There are hundreds of startups with available products that are working on improving search. Sajjad talked us through the usual suspects like media search, semantic search and the use of crowdsourcing to improve relevancy. He also pointed out some interesting analytic resources on the web like Google Trends and Yahoo! Buzz.

The meat of the talk came a the end where Sajjad argued that traditional Business Intelligence spends too much time looking inwards to operational data from the business. For example, if the analytics looked out to what others are saying about their products, the business may be able to react more quickly than wait until product returns and slow sales told them they had a problem with the product.

While I agree that the web can be used for analytics, I am skeptical because there are also some huge hurdles. One problem is that large search companies can show off aggregated results of their most popular queries as in Yahoo! Buzz but any attempt to provide more narrow results that would be of use to a particular business will run into privacy and other problems.

I may be proved wrong. From what I can can make out of Mercatrix, its business is to provide internet search based analytics to companies.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Disruptive Technology?

The SDForum Emerging Tech SIG meeting last night on "eBay on Disruptive Technologies" did not turn our to be quite what what I expected, however it did contain a couple of interesting insights. Firstly Adam Trachtenberg, senior manager of Platform Evangelism, gave an overview of some of the things that eBay is doing to explore and protect itself from disruptive innovation. He described what they were doing with the wonderful word: "explorimenting".

An enthusiastic audience asked Adam about various of the companies like Skype, StubHub and that eBay had recently bought and what their plans for them were. Unfortunately these groups are not in Adams bag and he could not say anything about them. However he did talk about a couple of initiatives that were in his bailiwick.

One of them is a social commerce effort that will allow people to share their eBay watch lists with their friends. The most interesting thing about this project is that it is built on Facebook. Last year Facebook turned their social networking site into a platform that allowed third party applications. As Adam explained, the Facebook platform makes it possible, even easy, for eBay to create social networking experiments like this. Recently there has been a lot of noise about the Facebook platform, and this experiment is another signpost as to how important it will become. The eBay Facebook application will launch in a couple of weeks.

Alan Lewis, a Technical Evangelist with the eBay Developers Program showed us the other eBay initiative a rich internet client application for eBay buyers called San Dimas. The idea is to explore giving eBay buyers a better user experience and also showcase the eBay API. The most interesting thing about this application is that it is written using the new Adobe Apollo/AIR/Flex platform. Adobe AIR is the next generation of Flash player, acquired when Adobe bought Macromedia in 2005. While AIR is still in beta, we have been hearing a lot about it recently, and I expect it to have a big impact when it launches. San Dimas has been in a private beta. We were the first people to see a public demonstration of it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

So Busted

In May I wrote about Fake Steve Jobs and the Vallywag campaign to unmask him. Then I remarked that given the Vallywag reputation for Bulldog journalism they would not get very far. Now I stand corrected.

On Sunday August 5th at 5:56 PST, Vallywag broke the news about how Forbes Editor Daniel Lyons is the Fake Steve Jobs, having read about it in the New York Times, like all the rest of us. Since then they have published 10 further posts on the subject in 24 hours as if quantity could make up for quality. In the mean time FSJ's put down of Vwag as Dr. Evil and Bigglesworth is much funnier than anything they have published in the last 6 months.