Archive | October 9, 2012

Introducing Web Platform Docs

I just came across this news post and found it to be very interesting.

Besides the fact that the competitors Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia and Opera teamed up with the World Wide Web Consortium I think that their idea is quite intriguing. They aim to found a platform that is able to create documentation on the standards and best practices for developing on the various web platforms.

The news post states further:

“W3C will oversee the site while Apple et al, the Web Platform ‘stewards’ will support the site with content, resources, funding and other contributions. Web Platform Docs won’t be successful without the input of the web development community, which is why the consortium has decided to go with an alpha release and set the ball rolling as soon as possible.

“People in the web community – including browser makers, authoring tool makers, and leading-edge developers and designers – have tremendous experience and practical knowledge about the web,” said W3C director Tim Berners-Lee. “Web Platform Docs is an ambitious project where all of us who are passionate about the web can share knowledge and help one another.””

What do you think about their idea?

 

Source: http://www.siliconrepublic.com/new-media/item/29616-super-friends-google/

 

 

infographic on business models

For entrepreneurs, investors, or people just interested in tech companies: past weeks we have learned a lot about different business models, tech companies who do or dont make any profit and how they do this. unfortunatly most of our work regarding this is done, but you still might be intrested in how your favourite company is doing. luckily, search engine optimization company SEER came up with a handy tool:  infographics on exactly that.

the infographics are clear and consise, but a lot of companies are missing until now. still great source to quickly check on the business models and profitability of the techies.

check here: http://rcs.seerinteractive.com/money/

Predictive Analytics through use of Big Data

Digital information in business contexts is increasing explosively, and this effect will even get stronger in the upcoming years. In business jargon this is referred to as Big Data, as you all probably already know. But instead of analyzing Big Data to recognize patterns in the past, it can also be turned into a prediction tool: Predictive Analytics. The use of this tool is probably even more interesting for business purposes.

Read More…

Layar vs. Tagwhat

In the workshop session of IS last Monday we briefly discussed about Layar and Tagwhat. There seemed to be bit confusion of what Layar exactly was and the difference between both mobile applications. So I sorted some things out.

Both mobile applications are specialized in augmented reality (AR), where virtual and real objects exist in one environment. The confusion comes probably from the fact that the original Layar was very similar to Tagwhat. In 2009 the Dutch company Layar developed a free mobile application that used GPS location to show digital information in the direct environment of the user. It works as follows: when the user started up the application, the camera turned automatically on. Then the user pointed the camera at a street and the software retrieved all kinds of digital information on top of the picture on your mobile camera. The digital information consisted of names of businesses in that street, if houses were for sale and ATM’s to withdrawal some cash (ING). It was also possible to retrieve specific information by selecting a layar, e.g. Eating and Drinking layar, where restaurants and bars in the neighborhood would pop up.

Tagwhat is a free mobile application that functions as tour guide for users. Just like Layar, Tagwhat also makes use of the user’s current location (GPS) to provide the user digital information and real-time feeds. It works as follows: When the user starts up the application (with Internet connection), the software should  retrieve automatically all kinds of information in the direct neighborhood of the user. This digital information consists of hidden stories, photos, videos and feeds from social networking sites around the user. The content is provided by crowdsourcing (Wikipedia), publisher partnership, open sources and a special Tagwhat Team. Aside from retrieving information, the user is also able to share its content with social media and sending postcards to others. Tagwhat allows companies to create special branded channels for marketing purposes. Tagwhat seems so provide much more information than Layar. Unfortunately the provided content in the Netherlands is not yes extensive as in the States.

In 2012 Layar changed its strategy and also its free application. In June 2012 Layar Creator is launched, where printed media pages could be activated with digital content. The focus of Layer lies now on interactive print. The renewed Layar application works as follows: The user starts up the application while reading a magazine. Additional information such as the Facebook page or video of the interviewed person can be retrieved or products could be purchased online, while viewing the advertisement. Magazines that provide digital content with Layar are: VTwonen, NRC.next, Linda and VPRO gids. The new Layar application is based on a freemium business model. Layar hopes now finally to make some profit with their new application and business model.

Both applications can be downloaded in the App Store and Play Store.

Android, open source and free?

Open source software

In the session of last Monday (the first workshop) there was a discussion about whether Android was free for the manufacturers of smartphones. Some were convinced Google was paid a fee for the use of Android, others seemed under the impression that Android was open source.

The interesting response of one of the BIMmers was that open source doesn’t mean it’s free. This was kind of stuck on my mind, because an open source license means the source code of software is available for use, alterations and reproduction. How can this be, when it is not free?

To start off let’s get one thing straight. The source code of Android is publicly available here and licensed under the Apache License.  To quote article 4 of this license:

“Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of  this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual,  worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form.”

So, free of charge.

The interesting thing is, a few applications made by Google are not open source and have to be acquired separately by the manufacturers. Examples are Google Play and Gmail. But without these applications, you can have a fully functional smartphone. The given examples are different in kind. Google Play can be acquired by obtaining Android compatibility for your device and is free after this process (the process itself is also free). For having applications as Youtube, Gmail and Google Maps pre-installed on your device, you are in a need of a partnership with Google and will (probably) cost you some money as manufacturer.

 

The next generation Internet Protocol: IPv6 the enabler of a larger internet

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The last days of IPv4
When the internet was originally designed in 1970, their founders seemed that is would be highly unlikely that the IP address space would become an issue overtime. Because with the current IP address scheme (also known as IPv4) it is possible to allocate almost 4.3 billion IP addresses. Which seemed to be more than enough space at that time. But despite this incredible number they could not have overseen the massive growth of the internet in the late 90s. During the last decade the number of Internet users has grown even more (see image below).

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To anticipate on these space issues of IPv4, the IPv6 scheme was introduced in 1996 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 will be able to hold an impressive amount of: 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique IP addresses. However, IPv4 is still operational and used to facilitate the internet today. Actually the last block of IPv4 addresses space has been allocated in February 2011.

Transition from IPv4 to IPv6
This year an actual transition has been set in motion to migrate the internet protocol from IPv4 to IPv6. But the problem is that over the years the internet has become quite complex, and it is challenging to coordinate such a migration as it involves governments, enterprises, manufacturers, internet service  providers (ISPs) and even individuals. It will require a collaborative effort from many users. To encourage this, an initiative was launched on June 6th which announced the beginning of the official transition of internet to IPv6:  http://www.worldipv6launch.org/. However, the actual transition will probably take several years, because many governments and enterprises are still hesitant to invest in their network infrastructure to make it IPv6 compatible. China and other connected Asian countries, have heavily invested in IPv6 deployment, and European companies transacting with Chinese businesses in that region will probably need to head the line of IPv6 transition in this country.

The future is IPv6
At any rate, the transition from Ipv4 to IPv6 is essential for the growth of the internet. If the transition does not happen in the near future, newly produced internet devices which will not be able to connect to the internet because of the lack of available IPv4 addresses. On the other hand, when this transition has been completed, techniques like NAT (Network Address Translation) would become obsolete. Also, smart phones, digital cameras, cars, refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, and many more devices will be able to seamlessly communicate which each other in the future.

The Lifespan of Storage Media

These days, Cloud Computing is the way to storage your data. Since we, as BIM-students, are very familiar with this new technology, we would almost forgot how media was storaged in the past. ‘Crashplan’ had just made an analysis of all kinds of data storage materials over the past years. The research also included the time how long your media will last on each different type of media.
In their research they used a infographic to clarify their findings. Because of this interesting subject, I’d like to share this infographic with you.

 

The Law-Enforcement App

A while ago, I read an article posted on nu.nl, concerning a mobile phone application where you could assist the Dutch police with detection of criminals. The article wrote that the app was popular under the Dutch citizens and that the user base had grown to 100.000 users. 

However, I was thinking you could do so much more with this application. Imagine every police unit having a tablet which gives them direct access to the main system. When they pull an offender over, they start with entering his license-plate. Since having direct connection with the system, all relevant information pops up: the registered owner of the car, when it had it last check, previous offenses, fines still need to be paid. The car could also be registered as stolen. Nowadays, all this information comes from radio contact with an assistant, who looks up the license-plate in a system and tells the officers at the scene the information. I think the current method is more error sensitive and slower as well, let alone the cost of paying a lot of assistants who need to be present day and night. Since cost-cutting in every governmental department is currently a big political issue, it could be perfect solution.

We should wander of more. Imagine yourself cycling through the rain in a hurry to get to the mandatory lectures on time, so you cross a red-light. A police officer saw this criminal behaviour and pulls you over. He asks for an ID, but you forgot your wallet in the hurry. Nowadays, the officer would ask for your name and address, he would check this via the radio connection, then write you a fine on a piece of paper and give you a lecture about your offense. Speaking out of experience this is a time consuming process, not to mention an error sensitive process, because you could’ve given him your roommates name and address and it would’ve passed as well. 

With this kind of application, it would be a lot faster. The officer asks and enters your name and address on the tablet, other information including your picture pops up, to make sure you are you. Next, he selects the tab ‘minor offenses’, he selects ‘crossing red light’, he selects ‘bicycle’. The suggested fine pops up and he confirms. He asks you if you would like the receipt emailed and tells you that the fine is being processed in the system. It will be on your doormat within 3 weeks.

When considering all the political fuzz about ‘more blue in the streets’ and ‘making the government more efficient’ etc., I think we are ready for what should be called “the Law-Enforcement App”.

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Google credit supplier

We all heard what Google does and how closely this companies is standing next to us in daily life. Google want to support us with searching on the web, navigating, translating, e-mailing, whatching video’s, managing our agenda’s and so on.

However, Google wants to do more. As we all know, Google has a huge amount of cash(34 billion at the end of Q2). What should they do with al this cash? Since we all know that Google only hires the best employees, we assume they will not bring it to the fireplace. How can you easily generate cash with cash? Supply credit! Yes, that is correct. Google is going to supply credit in the UK & VS with a minimum of  €150 up to €75000. This credit can be used to buy credit for Google’s advertising program, Adwords. The interest rates are 8,99% and 11,9% a year respectively in the VS and the UK.

Google is controlling more and more of our lifes. After this, it is waiting what Google’s next step is. It is not unthinkable that Google is going to be a bank as well with al kinds of financial products. Since Google knows very much about us, because of Google’s other activities, Google can customize their financial products for every individual customer.

The combination of all Google’s knowledge and all these different types of activities they perform, might be undesirable in my opinion. Google can for example see when you are looking for a new house and increase the interest rate on a mortgage in this segment instantly. What is your opinion on this process? Is Google becoming to powerfull?

 

http://www.z24.nl/ondernemen/artikel_384688.z24/Ook_Google_gaat_leningen_verstrekken.html (sorry, Dutch article)

Crazy protectionism or founded concern?

The US HPSCI has just released a paper on the potential dangers of the Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE and came to the conclusion that the usage of products and cooperation with these companies pose significant security risks to the US. All these accusations were denied by top management of both companies as stated by a number of sources. The suspicion is partially grounded on the fact that both manufacturers are in close cooperation with the Chinese government and were not willing to provide parts of the information requested by the US government due to secrecy requirements.

This subject is now also made to one of the major points of the US presidential campaigns.

What do you think about these moves of the US government and how do you evaluate the long-term effects of such behavior?