Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Crossing the Chasm – from desktop to the web using ‘program icons’

March 19, 2007 Leave a comment

We know we will get there eventually. The desktop will be a webtop and everything will be connected to the ‘net. As we move to that day were software becomes webware, and all applications are running from other servers, there needs to be a tunnel to cross that chasm. For that, there are obvious things to be in place like a permanent connection to the Internet, web programming evolution to the tune of more AJAX simulating desktop applications, and tons of server power to allow for more elaborate applications to run web based. Yet, there’s one thing that might be almost innocuous but I believe will help reach and invade the desktop space – Program Icons.

We have Google Docs, photo editing tools, journals, etc. Now, all these Internet applications have to disguise themselves as desktop programs. You have to invade the desktop space to the point where using Internet applications will slip inside unnoticeable in their daily use. This strategy can work well now that most users have a permanent connection to the Internet. Users are used to going into Start -> Programs. Use that to your power and install a program icon into their Programs folder;  this way you will not disrupt their behavior.

Categories: Business, English, Internet

Amtrak Surcharge Ripoff

March 19, 2007 1 comment

Can a lawyer please submit a class action lawsuit against Amtrak?

Last Thursday I had to take the Amtrak on my way to Davis, CA. At the information booth, I was told that the ticket could be purchased inside the train, so I did and everything was fine. However, on my way back from Davis I boarded the train once again and this time was penalized a 55% surcharge for purchasing the ticket in the train. They informed me that I was supposed to buy the ticket at the booth after boarding the train.

First, there aren’t any signs warning about this. Second, the rules are inconsistent and contradictory. Third, I was allowed in the train without being advised on this “policy”.

What impressed me the most was they were aggressive about enforcing this surcharge but failed to check my ID. They never bothered to check my ID, yet a black man was thrown out of the train for not having any ID.

Shame on you Amtrak

Categories: Business, English, General, Travel

The Fight for Data Rights

March 13, 2007 Leave a comment

Information, intellectual property, are all simply data in the ‘net. Today, Viacom (owner of MTV and Comedy Central) has sued YouTube with $1 billion in damages over repeated copyright infringements of their videos. So, they didn’t agree to some favorable deal and now they must go to courts. YouTube became who they are by allowing copyrighted videos to be placed in their sites. As I spoke a few days about freebase, there is currently the biggest fight for data in our history. This is an inevitable fight worth billions of dollars that will define our future Intellectual Property rights.

This fight strives in two main points. First, people want access to information for free. There is enormous intellect into this movement, and far more machine power behind it to make it happen. The use of automated systems in combination with an army of Internet surfers uploading copyrighted materials will drive the value of such materials down, while increasing the cost of such materials. Then, this becomes a matter of business basics. When the value of the copyrighted material is below its cost, there is no incentive in reproducing it. This can be the debacle of most forms of Intellectual Property.

Second, the current Intellectual Property law demands defensive action from copyright owners in order to protect their legal rights to such works. This forms the inevitable war between  copyright owners and illegal users of such material. Unless copyright owners want to donate their works to humanity, they must defend it. Businesses have built billionaire empires off of copyrights and will fight with their teeth to the end for those materials. When organizations like the RIAA take this fight to individuals, the outcome is easily predicted. However, in this case Viacom, market cap $27 billion, is taking the fight to a $140 billion gorilla called Google. In this case, the outcome might not be so predictable.

Categories: Business, English, Internet