This guy is supposed to become the next Secretary of State at the French Government, in charge of Broadband, Internet, and all that stupid stuff that makes our daily lives, us of the "bottom layer". See by yourself what we, entrepreneurs and developers of all kind, will face. Scary, huh ?...
Folks at french consulting firm FaberNovel have released a pretty extensive study on Google' s key success factors.
For all of us who use Google' s stuff all day long at the office, at home, or on the road (iPhone 3G' Maps, anyone ?), this is a must read. As TechCrunch' Ouriel Ohayon stated : "It is hard to realize the real nature of this just 10 years old giant given the number of services it has continuously released, updated (and sometimes shut down) or acquired."
Like millions of others on the Planet, I'm using lots of the products that come out Mountain View. Search, GMail, Docs, Maps, YouTube, Picasa, you name it : all apps everybody working in a pure paperless/collaborative/open environment can't miss.
Like a bit less of other 'Telecoms' folks down there, I'm also convinced that Google is the only company able to massively invest into the Ultra-Broadband industry in order to build the open neutral access networks that are the true foundation of the Information Age. FaberNovel's white paper gives an accurate perspective on that :
"Internet infrastructures are a free provider for Google: the search engine indirectly benefits from Wifi providers, cable and satellite operators or backbone manufacturers who all subsidy the access of users to the Internet. On a macroeconomic scale, Google is becoming dependent on this value chain and must secure its providers.
Google is consequently driving towards infrastructure investing. This trend is aiming
at a multiple goal:
-Ensuring long-lasting existing infrastructures
-Giving access to the Internet for non-connected populations and countries
-Offering high-speed and permanent access to the World Wide Web."
Why ? Simply because the more people on Earth will be connected to the Internet spending their whole life online, the more revenues will flow to Google. That's why we see all those lobbying efforts by the G'Mens on Broadband matters. IMHO, the R&D spendings on new optical communication gear, such as new fibers, new systems, new install methods, etc, are worth the money: as far as the unique rule at Google: "change the rules" is concerned, the ROI return on investment promise to be quite fast anyway.
Is this a good or bad thing, for having such a giant involved in almost every aspect of our online activities ? Maybe Google is the true Evil of the James Bond' franchise. Maybe not. Let's give it a try anyway...
Download the white-paper and/or the slides set here.
Contact FaberNovel here (link in french).
Thanks to Orange Labs's ePassport tool, everybody with a presence on the Web can get her e-passport. Here's mine. Well, not exactly, as there seem to be quite a handful of "Marc Duchesne" out there in the CyberSpace.
Anyway, once such minor glitch will be fixed (maybe I should find a unique cyber identity ?), I hope someday such an electronic ID will be enough to travel to the US - hey, imagine your e-Passport on the iPhone : seamless/painless security checks, thanks to RFID, voice/eye/fingerprint recognition, etc. Maybe Administration Obama will go for it...
Of course, I'm talking about sex here. Weird : this blog got a hit from a search result made from a website that is definitely not about Fiber Optics, iPhone, Broadband, or whatever Vilnius thing.
The query ? "Wild Wide". It appears that the tags my friend Andrew uses for his posts are "Wild Wide West" and "Wild Wild West".
Now I see which kind of application would become the famous long-expected "Killer App" on FTTH networks ;-)
Earlier this week, YouTube added Close Caption to its features set. As lots of people around the planet, I've been waiting for it since months- not that I'm deaf myself (at least not according to my last check-up last June), but I like to think from the end-user side.
According to TechCrunch, "[this] will not only allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them."
Go to the YouTube to read the whole announcement :
Here at YouTube, we're always trying to find new ways to enrich your
viewing experience and to help video creators reach a wider audience.
As part of this goal, we've added a new captioning feature which allows
you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Captions can
help people who would not otherwise understand the audio track to
follow along, especially those who speak other languages or who are
deaf and hard of hearing.
You can add captions to one of your videos by uploading a closed caption file using the "Captions and Subtitles" menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, simply upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption. If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player. Clicking this button will also allow viewers to choose which captions they want to see.
Some of our partners have already started using captions to offer you a better understanding of their videos (even with the audio turned off):
- BBC Worldwide: captions are provided in five different languages on this clip from Top Gear.
- CNET: tech product reviews from CNET's Crave blog.
- UC Berkeley: footage from the Opencast Project Open House.
- MIT: full lectures on subjects like Physics.
- Gonzodoga: English subtitles on this awesome Japanese animation.
We hope captions will serve to tighten the YouTube community by bringing together international users from different cultures.
We're excited to see what kinds of fun and creative uses for captions you'll be coming up with for your videos!
I read the TechCrunch article and the YouTube post twice : I haven't seen any mention of hearing impairment, whilst this Close Captioning system is the perfect tool to give access to videos to the deaf people, right ?
Then I googled "YouTube closed caption" (btw : I used Ubiquity for this : fast & easy): only three out of the ten sites on the first page are citing disabled people as the target users of this new feature. That's Media Bullseyes, CNet' Webware, and - no surprise, provided the name of the site : 4HearingLoss.
IMHO, that's really not much. Lucky Web 2.0 key players : they suffer no disease...
Firefox is therefore my default browser on my Macs and the PC. Each of them with the same setup, thanks to the Web 2.0. My favorites extensions : Feedly for reading my RSS feeds, Yoono for sharing stuff for myself between my computers, and to share things with the World too, and Piclens for pics & vids browsing and viewing.
Yesterday, the Mozilla Labs introduced a new add-on : Ubiquity. Read the description, watch the video, and install the first release. You'll discover a brand new way to deal with the Web. Absolutely stunning. Ubiquity might be the Web 3.0 (no typo ;-) for the rest of us.
We Mac users recently became used to hit the Space bar quite often - not to create a space between two words, but to read a document w/o opening the corresponding app. With Ubiquity, we're going to hit this Space bar even more often.
Ah, I forgot : for those of you who are still on IE, Mozilla Firefox is there.
I just received my iPhone 3G this morning. Setting up the whole thing was a matter of minutes, thanks to iTunes and... MobileMe, which worked quite well for once.
Now, the question is : what am I going to do with the "old" one ? Simple : I will use my 1st gen. iPhone as a portable device, for presentation and training events. Actually, it turns out that an iPhone without its SIM card is... an iPod Touch (with a camera ;-).
You can then use this 1st gen. iPhone to display photos and videos, listen to podcasts, etc. Connect it to a TV or a video projector, and boom, you get the ultimate presentation gear. Which you can even leave to your customer after the show *. Bonus : if you come close enough to a WiFi hotspot, you gain access to the Internet and all your favorite Web 2.0 apps...
That is the beauty with everything Infinite Loop : you never throw an Apple-branded device away. You can always recycle it for a different usage. I mean, not as Michael Arrington does with his Mac Mini...
* This is a wonderful sales trick I've learned at Agilent Technologies. Each time we were demoing our flagship product - the Mini-OTDR - to a new prospect, we were offering a free loan right on the spot : "we can leave it to you right now, so you can test it by yourself", and that was it. We knew this "try & buy" proposal was a killer.
Dear FiberGeneration Readers : this blog seems to be facing a couple of issues with the commenting and sharing features since several days. Please be sure that I'm working on it. I'll call on the kind & efficient TypePad support team to help me fix those annoying bugs.
Until then, you may leave your comments on my FriendFeed page here (which is still under some tweaking)
French entrepreneur Jean-Michel Planche recently launched internetforeveryone.fr, a new initiative aimed at promoting an open, neutral and free Internet for everyone (french-speaking volunteers : feel free to join here). Of course, this initiative is the french equivalent of the well-known and pro-active internetforeveryone.org which focus on the US.
Beside all the sociological and ethical aspects, which are fundamentaly the most important ones, hence our priority number one, there's all the technological stuff to be adressed. From the very roots of the Internet (i.e. the IP protocol, Ethernet, etc.) to the less high-level kind of matters such as fiber networks installation and maintenance, we must to re-invent the whole thing.
With for some, like network construction, a pretty deep impact on Social : building Fiber-To-Every-Home networks will require tens of thousands of workers - meaning will create tens of thousands of jobs (100,000 in France alone for the next 5 years, shall the telcos push the ignition button). Just like the construction of railroads in the 19th Century gave jobs to thousands of emigrants and locals in North America ***.
That's what makes Jean-Michel' s initiative so exciting - and challenging. For once, we can be part of a World-Changing project.
Now, why now ? Why is it mandatory to * re-invent * the Internet, as opposed to enhance/upgrade/patch the existing infrastructures, protocols, topologies, etc. ?
Then, read this interesting news by VentureBeat, dated July 23d and titled "Hackers begin to exploit a critical Internet flaw". I'm no Networking (the technical sense ;-) specialist, but I know what a DNS server is (thanks to my early days with HP). So, if this news is true, I understand the potential danger of such flaw. Here's the extract of the article that will help you novices to understand too :
The bug is in the Domain Name System, or DNS, which is the system for translating the locations of network computers into Internet addresses. The flaw is in the design of the DNS protocol itself and is thus not limited to any single product that uses it. If someone hijacks a DNS server, they can redirect an unsuspecting Internet surfer to a malicious web site. A hacker targeting an Internet Service Provider, or ISP, could replace the entire Web (as accessible through that ISP) — search engines, social networks, banks — with their own malicious content. DNS is used by every computer on the Internet to know where to find other computers. Those attacking corporations could reroute network traffic and capture emails and other sensitive business data.
Don't you think it's time to think again ?
*** you may call me an utopist or a fool. Then, ask yourself the question : what is the REAL reason for all those FTTH nets' construction delays ? Answer is simple : lack of (skilled) resources.
Since last week and the latest Firefox 3 update (3.0.1), I can't get Feedly running any longer. That's a real pitty for me, as I consider Feedly as the best RSS feed reader so far - for once, you can design your own online newspaper at a fingersnap.
Unfortunately, the automatic FX update stopped the service. No chance to re-install the add-on : "The feedly 1.0b3 could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox 3.0.1."
So after several attempts, I decided to call on Feedly' support. I discovered the Get Satisfaction service : technical support the Web 2.0 way. Absolutely stunning, for it is the one place you as an end-user can go and call for help on most of your favorite tools and apps. The list of companies currently being supported by Get Satisfaction is definitely impressive, from the smallest newest startup (say... Feedly for instance) to the biggest largest company (say Apple). Twitter seems to be the number one in terms of questions and support team.
Among a few other Web 2.0 apps, Get Satisfaction is typically the sort of tool which every single Enterprise 1.0 should adopt and integrate immediately. It's a fantastic way to keep in touch with your end-users, by proving them how much you care about their satisfaction.
Actually, this type of service is based on an old concept made modern. In this case, it's Usenet and its numerous FAQs and discussion boards at the Web 2.0 sauce. Nothing new ("the people-powered customer service for absolutely everything") but all new (the ease of use and the flexibility).
As soon as I get my own startup up and running, Get Satisfaction will be part of the toolkit.
ps : my own dashboard is here.
Le Tour de France will make its annual stop here in Pau next week. The city is readying for the big show, with signs, ads, and welcome events popping up everywhere. In the meantime, the new release of the blockbuster "Pro Cycling Manager" game is on the shelves.
Among the key features of this 2008 version, there's one which rings a bell to me :
" Play in single and/or multi-player mode (allows up to 20 players over the Internet or via LAN). "
Imagine the benefits of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home for such a game : no more players number' s limitation, so that you could be part of a *real* 200+ racers' peloton, even better graphics, and a faster speed of reaction for you to counterattack your rivals...
FTTH does offer many other possibilities to practice sports like Cycling or Skiing. For instance, imagine home-trainers connected to the Internet, simulating a real competition between cyclists for their indoor training during winter...
Shall you be a game developer loving Sports (e.g. Cycling, Tennis, Ski, Rafting, etc.), please feel free to drop me a line : Pau is the place you should be.
At NXTcomm'08 yesterday, Verizon Communications Inc. announced its plan to offer 50-Mbit/s
FiOS service to its FTTH Fiber To The Home customers (approx. 10
Read LightReading article by Raymond McConville for more details.
According to LightReading, " the 50-Mbit/s FiOS package will be offered for $90 per month in New York and Virginia, and at $140 per month in all other markets. The 50-Mbit/s downstream speeds will be coupled with the 20-Mbit/s upstream speeds Verizon began offering in October 2007."
Writes McConville, " Verizon’s ultimate goal is to enable 100-Mbit/s downstream to each FiOS subscriber. The carrier says it has successfully conducted 100-Mbit/s field trials with employees, but hasn't yet set a timetable for a commercial launch.".
Bokay. That's a truly compelling offer for the lucky FiOS' subscribers. But this is still an annoucement. For people - read Online Gamers, developers, entrepreneurs - looking for ultra-broadband access today, there's a place on Earth where they'll find 50Mbit/s upstream & downstream, immediately : Pau, France.
For less than $53 per month, installation and first month for free*.
Since decades, Australian and Californian surfers move to Biarritz for its beautiful spots. Why wouldn't the young *Net* generation, online gamers first, move to Pau for its blazzingly fast broadband access (and its wonderful landscapes in the meantime) ?
ps : 100Mbit/s is also commercially available, since a couple of years...
* by NeufCegetel, until June 30th.
For those of you who still have some issues dealing with email writing, Marketing guru Seth Godin has recently published a funny piece of advice :a 36-points check-list aimed at helping us think twice before hitting the "send" button. If you're used to put your whole company into the "To:" field or bcc your colleague on the message you send to your boss, then you better learn and apply this list ;-).
So-derle, the Green Fiber Evangelist' video collection got a huge success last week at the training I was delivering to a french telco. For the second time since a quarter of century, I haven't used a single slide as my fiber optics training materials but a web page.
The first time I used a navigator instead of M$ PowerPoint was back in 1996, when my friend Didier Boucher and myself were touring France to evangelize installers and end-users. By then, Netscape Navigator was our best companion, displaying the html pages I created with GoLive and the likes.
Last week, Firefox 3.0 beta and the amazing add-on PicLens were on the party. Thanks to the Internet. Means, thanks to the connection to the Internet. Because, unlike 12 years ago when all the html and jpeg files forming my presentations were on my Mac's hard-disk, today the whole stuff is... on the Cloud. YouTube, Picasaweb, Facebook, etc. : they're all online.
That's the bad thing when you're a connected guy like myself : you do rely a lot on the Internet. It strucked me the hard way this morning, when I was to go on the Green Fiber Evangelist blog to start the training session I'm delivering this week at a large install company : got no LAN connection to start with, hence no Internet connection, hence no online videos, hence no *live* training materials.
Then, the IT guy came to the rescue after lunch, to give me the IP address, DNS servers, proxy settings things to help my Mac go online. It worked, except for one little tiny detail : this company forbids some websites, among which... YouTube. Bye-bye the Green Fiber Evangelist blog (at least for the rest of the week here ;-)
This is kind of weird : a 6,000 employees firm who wants to penetrate the optical networks installation & maintenance business don't authorize ubiquitous access to the Net. By the way, only 600 (six hundred) people out of those 6,000 have an email address. 10%. Who don't even get access to the most popular websites in the world. As my dear former boss Robert is used to say : "there is room for improvement" !
Anyway, Accor hotels do provide free WiFi to their guests. So, thanks to Accor (and Orange), I'm posting this text from my hotel room. After an hour or so spent on downloading all the Green Fiber Evangelist videos on my Mac, with TubeTV.
That's the lesson of the day : never rely too much on the Net. Download vids and pics and copy them on a USB key before going to the customer. And start evangelize people : you need an internet connection to get on the Cloud ;-)
Immediate translation of instant messages. You do nothing differently — IM-Translate™ integrates seamlessly into your existing IM application — just type as usual. Forget copy, pasting or jumping back and forth to a web-based translator. Your buddy receives your message plus a translation — instantly. You see the translation of the text you typed. You also receive your buddy’s messages in both languages. Free! — Downloads in seconds with broadband.
First IM app targeted : Windows Live Messenger, aka MSN.
As I told my friend Georges, CTO of IM-T, they should release a Mac version as quickly as possible, since Mac users are more suited for beta testing campaigns : we love giving feedback, for the developers to enhance their products.
Also in the pipe : the app for Google.
Interesting : IM-T is formed by... US citizens and registered in... France, for some legal and market issues.
IM-T is a typical Web 2.0 start-up : of the six co-founders and team members, nobody knows more than two others face-to-face. They never met altogether so far ! Their collaborative tools : Google, Skype, and email.
One of the founders is my old buddy Georges Pantanelli. A french High-Tech industry veteran, who relocated to the US in the 90's. Georges got his american passport two years ago, in San Francisco. The lesson : in California, everything is possible for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit.
IM-Translate site and download here.
Dan Lyons aka Fake Steve Jobs has the point with Bob Metcalfe' s EnerNet idea. His "one pair of glasses" theory is worth reading. Trust me. Because I'm a proponent of this idea that the Internet, Broadband, and Fiber can help solving the Climate Changes issues.
Back from San Diego, I had a meeting yesterday night in Paris with the VP Sales & Marketing of a new startup working on some *fiber network monitoring* stuff. I can't disclose anything of course, just that it's about Fiber-To-The-Home.
Things we've discussed until late in the evening were on the forthcoming changes in the optical comms industry per se and our own lives.
Like this one : thanks to FTTH and 40G/100G/etc. networks, we're going to be "online" everywhere anytime, with our entire "life" relying on *The Net*. Fine.
Now, since we'll do everything - working, watching TV, training, sharing life, etc. - through a single fiber strand, this one better stay up and running 24/7 : we won't accept being cut off for 2 days until the Repair guys come in. Hence the need for monitoring systems, which would look after the faults on the fiber right up to our living room.
A tremendous challenge, provided the numerous FTTx networks topologies and technologies. A challenge which requires to think out of the box. Something the legacy Test & Measurement firms can't do. Something a well funded startup can do. How much do they need ? $5m. Which is not that much for a solution which will help change the World (because it'll guarantee your fiber stays okay).
Ed. note : French world-famous blogger Loic Lemeur got $6m for his Web 2.0 video-sharing platform. Raising $1m less to produce something which really serves the World shouldn't be that much a problem. At least in a perfect World...
CNN Dubai reports :
" High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.
Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.
Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.
Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.
Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure."
As stated by one of the interviewed ISPs, this pretty severe outage is a wake up call for the region. But also for the whole Telecoms industry : it's time to stop lay offs and start lay out new cables. Dear submarine systems makers, you've got a bright future ahead of you !
Just like in the mid-90's, when the big projects such as FLAG and SeaMeWe appeared.
The difference ? Today, there are people at the end of the fiber. Applications. Business. Users.
It's showtime for the real Net Economy, folks !
Buddy Blogger Benoit Felten has published two must-read briefs on two must-read reports : "CES'08", by Olivier Ezratti, and "Free's FTTH services testing", by the french newsletter Journal du Freenaute. Great readings for learnings.
Thanks to The Broadband Hub, this highly interesting presentation by Dr. Robert Atkinson of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Although it's 100% USA-focused, I'm sure most of the ratios apply to the rest of the Western World too (incl. France of course and unfortunately).
Among many key figures which help understanding the real situation in regards of Broadband access & use, the one about the perception of the Internet by Disabled persons (page 39) is quite questioning : the Internet, which normally should be considered as one of the most powerful tool to get Disabled people on board, is not. There is a good news behind the bad one : there is plenty of stuff still to be done for real innovation and entrepreneurship in this domain. "Change the World", right ?...
ps: also found in this presentation, the Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Broadband Access Map, that enables real-time, bottomup broadband mapping. Got to find the same for Europe. Or create it if it doesn't exist yet !...
French ISPs do face some road bumps with their FTTP roll-out plans. It seems that customers are not that much interested going the extra mile on fiber just for HDTV and VOD.
When you see this, you understand why such of reluctance.
Some folk in Turkey recently searched Google for the famous book "iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business''I have no clue how (well, not true : I love playing with hidden keywords for SEO ;-), FiberGeneration appeared on the first page, fourth result. See here by yourself. Amazing, huh ? Çok tesekkur ederim, Buddy.
Nope, I'm not blogging about the forthcoming shake-up the Menlo Park folks are preparing on the entire Telecoms industry.
I'm just amazed by this : someone somewhere on the Planet (well, that is : in Canada) recently searched for "best elevator pitch web 2.0". Guess what : this post went number 4 in the first page (the 1 to 10 results). The power of SEO is just awesome. See the search results here.
post-scriptum : to better understand Google's strategy to reshape the Telecommunications landscape and rule the World, see their fantastic yet sometimes odorant home networking system here. Warning : this offer will last until March 31, 2008, at midnight.
" Everyone's constantly on Twitter and Facebook and sending IMs and making videos of themselves talking while driving and having meetings and figuring out who's hot and who's not and who's raising money and who's flaming out and what's Google going to do next and has anyone know if MySpace is going to get on OpenSocial and some guy from Yelp just went to Digg or is it MetaCafe and I just heard Owen wrote something about Brian Lam and supposedly they're totally not talking now and Megan threw water at Ryan Block because Veronica didn't like something Valleywag wrote about her and did you see what Kara wrote about Arrington and then Arrington wrote something back and then Om weighed in and he said blah blah mwah mwah twitter twitter twitter ..."
An hilarious post from the marvelous yet fake Fake Steve Jobs about the so-stylish Robert Scoble (who, among other things, kept the whole Blogosphere up-to-date with his son' s birth a couple of months ago)
Apparently, FiberGeneration has been spotted by a new web crawler.
Here's what SiteMeter saw as web browser : "Generic crawler 1.0
disco/Nutch-1.0-dev (experimental crawler; www.discoveryengine.com; email@example.com)"
The Discovery Engine home page is pretty sexy, although it doesn't say much about the real stuff behind the logo... Just wait & see, as usual with the startups working in stealth mode.
A new type of virus, aka 'Storm', is infecting Windows machines all over the Planet since beginning of this year. Unfortunately, Storm is much more than a good old virus : it's a worm, a Trojan Horse, and a bot, all in one single piece of malicious software. In between 1 million and 50 million PCs are infected, as per the actual estimations. The bad news : Storm has been written by hackers looking for profit. Read the whole story here on Wired, by Bruce Schneier, CTO of BT Counterpane. I'm so happy to run a Mac.
[thanks MDN for the heads up]
Ed. note : unfortunately, I must use a PC at work.
Erick Schonfeld of Techcrunch reports the short speech of Jeff Huber, VP Engineering, Google, at the Web 2.0 Summit yesterday in San Francisco.
Quote Huber : " What we see is applications fundamentally changing. Just like the model for content changed from monolithic sites, now applications are going to be feeds and containers. A lot that you have heard here is about platforms and who is going to win. That is Paleolithic thinking. The Web has already won. The web is the Platform. So let’s go build the programmable Web."
And let's go build the user-programmable test gear : Testing 2.0 !
What a great Monday ! Blue sky, sunny weather, a little bit windy over the water, 70°F, and I'm listening to my favorite Classic hits radio station : KFRC. Am I in San Francisco ? No. Lyon, France.
That's one of the beauty of the Internet : soul teleportation. I even get the traffic updates live from the Bay Area. Which I don't really care for the time being, provided that I won't be driving again on the 280 before next year (well, who knows how business will go the next couple of months...). However, I wish I can get KFRC right in my car, whilst being stuck in some of those awful traffic jams here.
Note : I've searched for traffic webcams along the highway here nearby Lyon. Guess what : no chance. Now you understand why I'm so keenly willing to go to San Fran and the Bay Area ;-)
... For the new Bubble, unfortunately. As Master FSJ writes in his Friday's post : "Bubble 2.0".
Come on, a Social Networking website, featuring a closed ecosystem, with an installed base mainly formed of students, would be valuated ten to fifty billion US dollars ?
This, plus Mr. GreenSpan' s statement : we're heading to the Bubble, guys. And fast. Unfortunately.
During a recent business meeting, I had to explain what's a wiki to novices. I did it in 30 seconds. Here is a more detailled explanation, yet even more entertaining and efficient.
UK-based Telco 2.0 is running a market survey on the future business models in the Broadband arena. To participate, click here.
My take : IP, FTTx, and Web 2.0 are going to change the whole Telecoms landscape, with Telcos and ISPs and others to make money on services rather than on infrastructure.
Thanks Benoit for the heads up.
This mymt2k.com thing was too much of interest from a business intelligence perspective for me not to spend an hour or so today to find out what it could be. Turns out it's a... Wait a second, you'll get the answer at the end of this post.
Before that, let's start with the begining : Google. A quick search on "mymt2k" gives a 6-pages results, with FiberGeneration on the first one and lots of... porn-related stuff on the 5th and 6th pages.
On the first page too, a handful of other blogs also displayed on mymt2k. See for instance Euan Semple' s The Obvious, or Blucat and A Reality Of My Own. According to the respective posts, the thing started back in March this year...
Then, let's go on WhoIs to find out who could be behind the mysterious website. Mr Jason Lucas is the happy owner. Congrats, Man ! Such a hype for a domain registered in January, that's quite a success. However, I'm not the only one to think Mr Lucas is a cover...
So, let's dig into the mymt2k website itself. Start with the simple URL 'mymt2k.com' : a nice, white, blank page. Cool, zen, but useless. A quick look at the different URLs mentionned by above bloggers and commenters show that the main content is a dynamic one. See for instance here, and here : same tmp9 directory, yet displaying different content.
Then, how about looking at the 'mymt2k.com/tmp*/' directories themselves ? From 1 to 10 and above, quite interesting outcomes. For instance, in tmp4 there is a link to the old contest at Snap.com.
See the structure of the tmp9 one in the screenshot at the left. Hum... what's that 'mturk' stuff ? Does ring a bell ? Fine, let's go deeper onto the investigation.
Go to the tmp6 directory, and read the bold flashy statement :
" Note: Be patient and check pages carefully! We will invite good mturkers for our next tasks with a much higher payment! "
Okay, finally we got them ! So simple : 'mymt2k' stands for " My mTurk ", easy, right ?
Now, what's an mTurk ? For those of you who are not familiar with the Web 2.0 world, mTurk, or Mechanical Turk, is a new service offered by Amazon since a few months.
You may read the FAQ page on mturk.com here. Pretty exciting yet a bit complex for non-geeks people. In summary, the mTurk service puts Human Intelligence behind the computer (that's a nice one ;-).
Says Amazon :
What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
In 1769, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that defeated nearly every opponent it faced. A life-sized wooden mannequin, adorned with a fur-trimmed robe and a turban, Kempelen's "Turk" was seated behind a cabinet and toured Europe confounding such brilliant challengers as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. To persuade skeptical audiences, Kempelen would slide open the cabinet's doors to reveal the intricate set of gears, cogs and springs that powered his invention. He convinced them that he had built a machine that made decisions using artificial intelligence. What they did not know was the secret behind the Mechanical Turk: a human chess master cleverly concealed inside.
Today, we build complex software applications based on the things computers do well, such as storing and retrieving large amounts of information or rapidly performing calculations. However, humans still significantly outperform the most powerful computers at completing such simple tasks as identifying objects in photographs—something children can do even before they learn to speak.
When we think of interfaces between human beings and computers, we usually assume that the human being is the one requesting that a task be completed, and the computer is completing the task and providing the results. What if this process were reversed and a computer program could ask a human being to perform a task and return the results? What if it could coordinate many human beings to perform a task?
Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a web services API for computers to integrate "artificial artificial intelligence" directly into their processing by making requests of humans. Developers use the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service to submit tasks to the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site, approve completed tasks, and incorporate the answers into their software applications. To the application, the transaction looks very much like any remote procedure call: the application sends the request, and the service returns the results. Behind the scenes, a network of humans fuels this artificial artificial intelligence by coming to the web site, searching for and completing tasks, and receiving payment for their work.
What problem does Amazon Mechanical Turk solve?
For software developers, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service solves the problem of building applications that until now have not worked well because they lack human intelligence. Humans are much more effective than computers at solving some types of problems, like finding specific objects in pictures, evaluating beauty, or translating text. The Amazon Mechanical Turk web service gives developers a programmable interface to a network of humans to solve these kinds of problems and incorporate this human intelligence into their applications.
For businesses and entrepreneurs who want tasks completed, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service solves the problem of getting work done in a cost-effective manner by people who have the skill to do the work. The service provides access to a vast network of human intelligence with the efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of computers. Oftentimes, the cost of establishing a network of skilled people to do the work outweighs the value of completing it. By turning the fixed costs into variable costs that scale with business needs, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service eliminates this barrier and allows work to be completed that before was not economical.
For people who want to earn money in their spare time, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site solves the problem of finding work that they can do wherever and whenever they want.
Interesting concept, huh ?
Now, let's go back to the HITs Human Intelligence Tasks main page. There is a "Web Page Classification" HIT here. Looks familiar, right ?
The remaining question is : does mymt2k.com belong to Amazon, or is it a kind of mashup by some research firm - or guy (this Jason Lucas is unknown on mTurk, and Steven Research is unknown on Google) ?...
This week could be the Week Of Broadband here in Europe, with the Apple+O2 deal on the iPhone in the UK, with ECOC'07, the european Fiber Optics conference & tradeshow in Berlin, Germany, and with Odebit'07, the Broadband conference in Paris, France.
Let's take this opportunity to go back to the fundamentals : why fiber is the only medium of choice when it's about delivering multimedia content instantly - Here is an excerpt of the FTTH Council' s Feb.07 report : "Fiber To The Home, Advantages of Optical Access " :
Common sense suggests that communities with plentiful, reliable bandwidth available will do better than those without. FTTH-powered bandwidth is essential for:
• Hometown businesses competing in a global economy.
• Professionals and others who work at home.
• Quality of life provided by online entertainment, education, culture and e-commerce.
• Special services for the elderly and for shut-ins.
FTTH thus helps define successful communities just as good water, power, climate and transportation have defined them for millennia.
That’s obviously so for greenfield developments – the data, in previous sections of this report, show that fiber-equipped homes and offices sell faster, and command a price premium over real estate developments without fiber. But what about existing communities? Direct comparisons are admittedly difficult because FTTH has not been widely available until recently, but virtually all of the real-world economic studies have borne out the predictions; none has suggested otherwise.
By far the most comprehensive look at broadband’s impact is a 2005 study by William H. Lehr, Carlos A. Osorio, and Sharon E. Gillett at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Marvin A. Sirbu, from Carnegie Mellon University. It was funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and by the MIT Program on Internet & Telecoms Convergence (http://itc.mit.edu). The study found that broadband enhances economic activity, helping to promote job creation both in terms of the total number of jobs and the number of establishments. Broadband is associated with growth in rents, total employment, number of business establishments, and share of establishments in IT-intensive sectors.
There are also numerous case studies, comparing specific communities before and after public investment in broadband. A few examples:
• One early study, of a municipal fiber network built in 2001 in South Dundas, Ontario, showed substantial benefits. It was prepared for the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry.
• A 2003 study by D. J. Kelley comparing Cedar Falls, Iowa, which launched a municipal broadband network in 1997, against its otherwise similar neighboring community of Waterloo. Cedar Falls bounded ahead of its neighbor.
• More recently, Ford and Koutsky compared per capita retail sales growth in Lake County, Florida, which invested in a municipal broadband network that became operational in 2001, against ten Florida counties selected as controls based on their similar retail sales levels prior to Lake County’s broadband investment. They found that sales per capita grew almost twice as fast in Lake County compared to the control group.
Similar patterns have emerged for communities using FTTH provided by private enterprise. Fort Wayne, Indiana, has taken good advantage of a Verizon FiOS investment there, for instance. And in February 2007, two big studies of housing sales in Massachusetts – where FiOS is coming on line in numerous communities – show a startling recovery. Sales are up, and prices are down only slightly (after a decade-long rise that makes housing there among the most expensive in the United States).
The data are clear and consistent: FTTH, whether provided by private or municipal organizations, is an economic plus for all communities, and an outright boon for many.
FTTH and Economic Development FTTH helps define successful communities just as good water, power, climate and transportation have defined them for millennia.
Also a must-read, the american online magazine Broadband Properties. Its baseline : "Building The Fiber-Connected Community".
An interesting confrontation of two different perspectives on the very same subject this morning : on the left hand, french buddy Jeremy Fain, who raises his concerns about online privacy; on the right hand, american blogger Robert Scobble, who' s blooging and twittering whilst his wife is in labour delivering their new baby.
Being a user of the Internet since 15 years, I've been experiencing both good and bad moments after publishing private info here and there over the time. To be honest, way more good encounters than bad ones. For instance, without Usenet I would never have met my dear friend Andrew of Belarus. In the meantime, I know I will never post a photo of our kids online, nor twit about my wife being in labour ;-)
There are moments for keeping stuff private, there are moments to tell the World. It's all about your own ethics.
Fibergeneration has been spotted thus listed by this site. Please have a look, and tell me what the heck is this stuff all about. It might be due to my last two weeks out of the Web 2.0 sphere, but I really don't get it !