Jargon Watch X-Internet

– The executable internet according to Forrester Research CEO George Colony. Why call a hyped-up trend by its existing name when you can call it something different?Roughly speaking X-Internet is Web 2.0; George is particularly interested in the way that it can be applied to enterprise applications and hypothesises in his think piece

My view: the Google future that AJAX and Google services will herald an age of enterprise applications funded by advertising.


The what it means section had some interesting takeouts:

  • Large corporations should take advantage of web 2.0 technologies including: Google Desktop Search, Google Toolbar, and Google Maps to help drive productivity
  • IT staff will learn to incorporate web 2.0 services and APIs into the corporate web. Bottom line upgrade your JavaScript skills to become an AJAX maven – VB programming skills and MSDN won’t cut it
  • Microsoft will lose roughly half its profit margins as it tries to compete with advertising-funded software (web 2.0) from 25 per cent net to 13 per cent net margins
  • George writes off Yahoo!, eBay, AOL and Amazon as being stuck with old web 1.0 experiences
  • Enterprise software vendors will have to duke it out with AJAX enhanced web-based service providers like Salesforce.com over the next five years


George’s points though interesting make a number of assumptions that may not be correct: Google is unchallengable

  • There was no mention of the contribution by the open source community
  • The article did not reconcile how the lower barriers to entry for start-ups afforded by web 2.0 would cope with a corporate enterprise environment that looks for eight-year support contracts and purchasing decisions that would take a year
  • He assumed that despite the low barriers to entry, other Internet players would not adopt web 2.0 technologies
  • There was no consideration of how web 2.0 would affect security and the complexity of some of the issues involved. Remember online marketplaces and how internet exchanges were going to affect the world – many of them were abandoned or had their goals severely trimmed in order to meet a revised definition of success

Halloween at DPMHI

The DPMHI shop in Great Pultney Street had a violence strewn mural on the back wall for Halloween. In stark black and white like Pacino’s Scarface meets Raymond Chandler, it featured suited assassins descending from the skylights and gun club targets at eye-level.

Crossing Swords

I’ve contributed an article about Palm’s investment in Europe over at Palm Addicts. In the news this week Palm announced that it was opening a new development centre in Swords County Dublin (you can read about it here at the Palm Addicts blog), what does it mean for European Palm users?What is surprising is that Palm has not made this move sooner, given the focus on the Treo range as the primary play for the future. With the exception of some notable exceptions like Italy the market for mobile phones is dominated by subsidised handsets provided by the carriers. Given that the carriers invest 100USD or more per user, they need to guarantee their return somehow by trying to improve the average revenue per user (ARPU). This means locking consumers in with tightly integrated services. Part of the reason why Nokia’s crown slipped was because the company would not bend to the carriers will.

In the UK, five years ago the Nokia brand got bigger than the mobile phone company because of its legendary ease-of-use and iconic chocolate bar format. Club Nokia was the straw that broke the camels back threatening carriers ability to earn money from ringtones and wallpapers.

Vodafone suddenly dropped Nokia from its roster of handsets and took up with Japanese handsets by Sharp and Panasonic; the carriers learned their inherent power. The market has become more competitive for mobile phone devices. Most technology companies that we know are really marketing organisations. Their logistics are outsourced, their products are based on reference designs and sometimes the only cosmetic change is the badge on the front of the device. OEMs like HTC are no longer happy making for other manufacturers, but with Microsoft’s assistance have started selling direct to the carriers. Mobile phone companies had the marketing savvy, they had a brand and they had distribution. T-Mobile and Orange pioneered this approach carrier-side.

Palm entered a market where it has had to dance with the carriers and the first few times it has got it wrong. The Orange implementation of the Treo 600 allegedly had some of its functionality curtailed to help sell ‘push-to-talk’ services. The implementation meant that Orange had lots of dissatisfied users and people like me went out and bought the carrier neutral version of the device instead, so Orange probably sold less services, not more like they would have expected.

Palm can’t let this happen in the future. Europe has a level of mobile phone penetration is higher than the US, Europeans change their phones every 12 – 18 months rather than the 2 years or so for a Verizon customer in the US. Europe is rolling out UMTS / 3G services, but despite the hype there are no killer apps, partly because the handsets aren’t great: so for Palm there is a real market opportunity. Even though Palm is a Microsoft licensee it will still be competing against established handset manufacturers like Motorola, HTC and Sagem. Microsoft’s motives are further complicated because the company wants an end-to-end play. Telecoms back-end systems, transactions, service provision, media creation and playback, instant messaging, user experience, enterprise applications and information security all running on Microsoft platforms. Would they burn Palm to improve their overall interest? No question about it.

Look to the PC marketplace, Steve Jobs has said on numerous occasions there are two PC manufacturers making a profit – Dell and Apple. Other players stay in the marketplace for strategic reasons, but Microsoft makes money on each Windows box, whatever happens to the manufacturer.

Then there are aggressive Asian players like Siemens/BenQ, and is likely to be joined by Chinese newcomers like Haier or Ningbo Bird. Chinese manufacturers have a lot of work going into embedded Linux devices that are constantly improving. US manufacturer Danger, who make the Hip-Top devices had both Orange and T-Mobile as investors, the tight integration including storing user data like address books on the network and large screen suitable for multimedia makes it an interesting proposition.

Fellow Palm licensee Qool Labs have a fantastic Palm powered product that has not been distributed in the West. European handset manufacturers with entrenched relationships and brand equity like Sony Ericsson and Nokia are unlikely to lie down either. Indeed Nokia’s 9X00 series and the E61 are exceptionally well-designed competitive devices. Palm needs to have an R&D / localisation facility close to the customer base filled with talented people.

Trying to do the carrier-specific development from Silicon Valley or Asia puts them on a different working day from the clientele, placing a strain on project management and close cooperative client working. It is not conducive to supplying the kind of carrier integration needed to supply large-scale orders that Palm needs in order to achieve critical mass in the market.

Palm’s expansion of its Dublin logistics and operations site to include localisation is a statement of intent that they are now going to get serious about Europe, hopefully ensuring an even better user experience and favourable subsidies for Treo users.

Superstylin’

Burro, the designers famous for the “Non alla violenza’ t-shirts during the 1990 FIFA world cup and customising classic Sergio Tacchini tracksuit tops are closing their store in Covent Garden. According to the shop assistant, they will continue to provide clothes to other outlets like Urban Outfitters but were not going to have their own retail outlet any more. Still, their misfortune can you your gain with mens t-shirts going at 3 for 10GBP.

 

Trick or Treat!

Corporate Halloween shenanigans at Burger King and Wal-Mart. In what can be loosely described as an integrated marketing campaign Burger King is selling masks of two of its spokespeople. The chicken is from the sub man in a chicken suit site that spread virally what seems like a few years ago apparently to promote the Burger King reason d’etre of having it your way.

The bearded chap on the left is based on a character used to wake people up and offer them a non-Maccy D breakfast. BK have got a bit of static for allegedly trying to spoof a journalist with a ‘viral marketing’ campaign. On Slate.com Seth Stevens in his article The Burger King can’t fool me outlines the full story.

It gave me a great idea on how to damage other people’s campaigns – with similar handfisted attempts on their behalf.

Wal-Mart was found to have an unpleasant skeleton in its cupboard with a leaked memo specifying how they can hold down the costs of staff benefits (given that they can’t outsource check-out operation to a third-world country). Of particular interest is that leaked memo does not dismiss indentured slavery or child kidnapping as options. Saying that, the only people who read about it would have the good sense to shop to already be Target shoppers anyway.

Oprah Time: Ireland by Frank Delaney

Frank Delaney’s Ireland was one of the most enjoyable books that I have read in a long time. The book has been comparedto James Michener’s books and Alex Haley’s Roots – fiction based on history with more elemental truths in it than most non-fiction. The book is complex and multi-layered, but easy-to-read. The story focuses on a young boy in a middle class household in rural Ireland during the 1950s and how his imagination and interest in the country’s myth and history is fired by a traditional storyteller. His search for the storyteller unravels some of the elements of his own family story which people have sheltered from him.

The book accurately reflects the social environment of my parents Ireland. A rural-based community bound by morality, coming to terms with its fractured identity post-independence and oppressed by its own family secrets. It highlights the reasons why I used to get chastised as a child when I was willful or bold (and I wasn’t actually that bad) with ‘you’ll disgrace us’ or ‘you’ll disgrace the family name’.

The clash with modernity lives on in the small farms that I grew up on for much of my childhood. Electricity made it to my uncle’s farm when I was a toddler and I can remember helping to foot the turf, drinking stewed tea and red lemonade along with a packed lunch as we worked in the bog, filling the high sided cart with sods of turf to be dragged home by a donkey and stored in a shed down the yard.

I was in primary school before they moved away the traditional cocks of hay to bales and sudden bounty of shiny nylon twine that tied the bales was a wonder material that held fittings, extended electric fences and acted as a temporary way of securing a gate to a post. The excitement of making silage with all the heavy machinery running around the place compensated for the eventual reduction in the nylon twine supply.

My only criticism is that the book portrays this rural life in a rosy way like the Famous Five books of Enid Blyton and her ‘scones and lashings and lashings of ginger beer’. Whilst the upside of a closely knit community would have been more a sociable people that cars, a faster pace of life and commuting no longer facilitate. Life is hard and it requires commitment to get up and ‘fodder’ animals in the early hours of a winters morning, clear out stables, dig out potatoes out of a storage heap that’s frozen over, pull in hay in the baking sun, dig a turf bank or repair ditches.

The Raleigh bicycle with one gear and a heavy frame that you could get in any colour so long as it was black was the standard mode of transport. They lasted forever, it would be common to see these rust covered scrap heaps parked up and then the owners come along jump and go. This was also the only way to get your shopping (or messages as it would be called). It had levers rather than brake cables with thick chromed steel rods and linkages running to both the front and the rear brake pads. That may mean a round trip of 14 – 20 miles with your shopping on a bike.

The only concession to modernity would be a seat protector – there would be a plastic fitted shower cap put on over the leather coil sprung seat so that when the owner came out to ride the bicycle away he would not have the discomfort of a wet bum.

Photograph by Jerry Bauer.

Jargon Watch: Death by blog

Death by blog – According to James Burleigh in The Independent Ad guru blames bloggers for demise (October 22, 2005), this is the phrase that Neil French worldwide creative director of Ogilvy used to describe how outrage at his off-the-cuff remark at an entertainment-orientated speaking event for advertising industry people that all women in the advertising industry were crap came back to haunt him.

Anyone who had read French’s op-ed column in Communications Arts, would have known the kind of boisterous personality to expect.

Nancy Vonk another Ogilvy employee is the woman who started off French’s death by blog with this posting here on ihaveanidea.org. Whilst French may no longer be employed at Ogilvy, the lessons and values learned from his creative work will continue to inspire creatives to go against the grain.

Jargon Watch: Blackberry Thumb

Blackberry Thumb – A swelling of the sheath around tendons in the thumb, road warriors are starting to require professional treatment from an orthopedist according to reports from Associated Press. Similar devices like Palm’s Treo range, the Danger Sidekick and numerous copycat devices running Windows Pocket PC / CE / Mobile give similar injuries.

Gamers using console joypads have had similar injuries for years called ‘Gamers Thumb’. Does this mean that we will see a move back to Palm’s Graffitti pen computing interface? Kudos to Wired News.

 

Playground Return

Much of the music press this week have been praising the return of the Happy Mondays on the soundtrack to the Goal football film. Playground superstar features all the usual Monday’s traits: Shaun Ryder being a working-class Alan Ginsberg on vocals with a shambolic sounding backing just about holding together behind him (with a bit more skill than they used to have).

As with the old Mondays’ material the treat is in the remix. In this case the Redanka 4-4-2 mix is the one worth having.

Now for for the complaint – there is NO 12″ vinyl. Noel Gallagher’s Big Brother records needs to pull their finger out.

Fashion

Criminal Clothing opened a new shop in Covent Garden and I was invited to the opening evening. Some of the stuff reminded me of other skate brands like Gravis and World Industries but they had some really nice stuff. Amongst the natty gear in their collection is the leather track top pictured.The store is nicely laid out with a ‘Criminal’ branded craps table downstairs.

Moving on to the classics; one thing that never goes out of fashion is common sense. Ed Sim warns of the Web 2.0 bubble; as more and more startup presentations have the same bullsh*t bingo like the good old days of dot.coms, Java software companies, alternative telcos and Linux box shifters.

Its all gone horribly Pete Tong

Nokia has gone after mobile phone purchasing women with its Lamour range. They seem to have made a classic mistake. Unlike Samsung and Motorola who have engineered small or slim phones to attract style conscious women,

Nokia has taken its inspiration from Portabello market with a mobile phone range that have received henna tattoos (or so it seems). Gasp in amazement at the chunkiness of the phones such as the 7370 pictured, be amazed by their superficially attractive designs. Hope that Nokia can do much better like it has with the 8800.

Autumn Crawls In


The mild weather has meant that autumn has been slow in arriving. For the first time this morning I noticed that the Tredegar Square park was looking a bit seasonal (which is going to play hell with the continuity of the film or TV programme that they are currently shooting over there).In order to completely shatter the magic of the season I thought I would link to this dry web page on the chemistry of autumn colours.

When Online Marketing Attacks

Parker pens have done an interesting marketing tie-in, sponsoring AvantGo’s Suduko channel. This promotes Parker pens to people with the disposable income on one side, and by all accounts is a bit of of Javascript tour-de-force.On the other hand it encourages consumers to conduct an activity on a PDA or smartphone that they would otherwise be doing with a newspaper and pen.

Having commuted in over long journeys by train, I was aware that many more people read the newspaper than used electronic data devices.

A quick rundown in a carriage where two dozen people would have been visible to me:
The first two groups are work focused so point point in doing outreach

  • 1 or 2 laptop users
  • 1 or 2 Blackberry users

This lot would be leisure orientated

  • 4 people on the phone or playing mobile games
  • 6 people with a paper
  • 4 people with a book

Sponsoring a newspaper Suduko newspaper competition or giving away a free Suduko book with every pen bought would have been a better way to capture eyeballs and users for Parker pens than the AvantGo channel.

Kudos to PalmAddicts for the heads up on the Suduko channel.

Jargon Watch


Boutique Graffitti
Originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

Splog – A spam blog. Blogs offer an easy way to publish content including the creation of a virtual click-farm. I have started to notice some comment postings appearing on my blog linking to this kind of content.More on the subject here.***UPDATE***

I have put word verification on to the comment section of the blog. Whilst I realise that its an inconvenience for people who want to say what they want to say, I am hoping that it will stop the automated spamming that seems to be occurring at the moment. We’ll see…