Thursday, 30 June 2005

The nebulous world of consultancy. I'm not usually one to comment (being an ex-consultant myself), but here's an interesting article (Top-Consultant.com) that discusses the 'crucial stage' in its evolution (no mention of 'step-change' or 're-phasing', so stop sniggering at the back).

It's nice to see that consultancies are actually realising that customers rule, and that they actually have to work for their money by doing more than the in-house staff. The physicians are healing themselves at last.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

William Gibson: God's Little Toys (Wired). Thought-provoking stuff from the nominal father of cyberspace, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on peer-to-peer software technologies. It's interesting that he talks about the 'peculiar juncture' we are at with regard to the old, static, obect-based world and the new, dynamic, process-based world. The comment resonates with me at all sorts of levels - technology and business models - pointing to a profound virtualisation of key aspects of humanity from copyright of ideas to de-sensitising violence.

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Beware the Google Threat (Wired) It was only a matter of time before someone would see the next evil empire forming. The nice thing is, this is an insightful, well-balanced, well-written article that muses on the question, rather than implying anything specific.

Monday, 20 June 2005

Honour among Phishers? (link to article WSJ.Com). It seems that, like any clever and successful real-world ventures, phishing is becoming organised, with its own market and ratings, as well as the usual slang terminology. And unlike other tech hooligans, these guys are not doing it for bragging rights, but cold, hard cash.

Even the scams are maturing online, it seems...

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Here are a couple of interesting articles from the Economist that provide two very useful examples of the current state of the Internet as a market:eBay are celebrating their 10th birthday with 150m registered users, and an auction market worth $40bn a year. Meanwhile PartyGaming, at only 2 years old, are looking to float a 23% stake on the London Stock Exchange. My off-the-cuff assessment? It's still a frontier, with high risks and high rewards.
It seems Microsoft are actually competing (CNET News.com) against something specific, rather than just hurling insults about open source and 'viral' Linux. This is something long, long overdue, in my view.

I can remember my first web development project using MS tools being excruciating because of the verbose way ASP interacted with ADO and SQL Server. We actually had tools to automate code writing, such was the cludginess. I remember mentioning to a Linux-fan colleague at the time that the stateless nature of the web meant that the most efficient delivery mechanism was a database and a scripting engine. He said "You mean mysql and PHP - and better yet, they're free. The whole software setup is free if you run it on Linux, too." The prospect of setting up Linux galled me at the time (it involved formatting a special floppy disk, and rather too much fiddling in vi and recompiling), but the principle of a free database-oriented, powerful web deliver mechanism amazed me. It's gratifying to see Microsoft treating it as enough of a threat to address.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Apple and chips (ZDNet UK) After much speculation (years, even) Apple have finally gone & done it: switched hardware to the same stuff as PCs - Intel.

This will really split the cult of Mac. There will be those decrying Apple's decision to go with a 'technically inferior' architecture, selling out to Wintel etc. Then there will be those who have begged all along for an Intel version of OSX. Many of the latter are either mac techies (rather than the traditional mac designer beard types), or mac wannabes who want to break out from Windows, without having to learn Linux. And the latter are who Apple should be targetting, in my view.

It's not an aesthetic or an engineering decision, its a corporate decision. It may tarnish the brand, it may cause unforeseen engineering nightmares (unmanageably large driver support list? new target for viruses? etc.), but at least it will woo the market. Rupert Goodwin sums it up best here.