Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

. . . the end of week wrapper

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 12, 2005

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

It was a very good week for stories again. Whenever I hear other journalists complain that there are no stories around, I shake my head (slowly and sadly). I keep finding so many that I never have the time to write them all.

Here are some of the week's highlights:

NASDAQ-SF.jpgI'm on Cisco's first podcast, a historic occasion, a media roundtable discussion about education and healthcare with John Chambers and the heads of VeriSign, NASDAQ and HealthRay.
Cisco opens NASDAQ virtually. . .

Cisco panel on virtuality...


The panel inspired me to get something going, a Doc Searls snowball type of thing. It was when the moderator Jim Goldman, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, CNBC, said, "Well, what's the next step, what do we do this afternoon?"

It reminded me of the recent "Die, Hippie, Die" episode of South Park.

I realized that this was the most important question. The entire panel agreed that public education in Silicon Valley was terrible and had to be improved. So now what? What do we do this afternoon?

I spent part of my afternoon writing this post about a new rules approach to helping our schools. Maybe you, wise SVW reader, could add a few ideas to this new rules community idea. Maybe we can open-source it somehow - let me know what you think. Also, we need somebody to coordinate things...to help aggregate the thoughtleaders on this topic.

A call for a New Rules community platform centered on education and public schools


Scoop: Friendster-the enterprise business platform

friendster_logo.gifI ran into Dave Kochbeck, Director of Operations at Friendster, at a Novell/Horn group media roundtable earlier in the week. He's a very interesting guy and he completely remade my impression of Friendster.

The original social media network is growing up; and its going to be making its platform available to other businesses. In other words, as Dave said, "It has to be about more than just getting teenagers laid." That's a killer quote - Dave knows the value of a soundbite.

Dave worked on the Howard Dean presidential campaign and he admits that the lure of the political world still tugs at him. He's got some interesting ideas about tying together political and social media networks.

Friendster as an enterprise platform makes perfect sense. After all, business relationships are all about personal relationships. And Friendster has been developing some algorithms that map relationships between people in interesting ways - though that work is still in the lab.

Oh, BTW, if you aren't a user, don't apply for any jobs at Friendster. They'll check, and a low membership number helps too.

. . .

My Microsoft AntiSpyware has never found any spyware on my computer. It must be very good. I guess when PestPatrol finds 80 pests, and then erases them, it just likes to look like it's busy.

. . .

What's GoingOn? It's AlwaysOn-the platform

AlwaysOn_logo.gifJoining the enterprise platform market is the media technology developed by AlwaysOn, the visionary online magazine/blog/wiki/social network/insider network/forum/print publication media company. Founder Tony Perkins tells me that anybody can license and use the platform. Marc Cantor is handling the sales/infrastructure side of things.

Tony says that SiliconValleyWatcher could use the AlwaysOn platform. Interesting offer, I might try that out.

I asked Tony if possibly some of his enterprise software advertisers and sponsors of AlwaysOn might feel that he is now in competition with them to some degree. They might be asking themselves what's going on?

Tony said he didn't see a problem at all; they are two seperate ventures, AlwaysOn is the media company and GoingOn is the software company.

I admire Tony's bravado. It's a bold move. Media markets are tough, and enterprise software markets are even tougher. And it is even harder to do it this way. I think if GoingOn created AlwaysOn, that would be the killer strategy. I'm sure it's still a killer strategy.

SiliconBeat.jpgBTW, If you want all the details, funding, etc, here's Matt Marshall at the always excellent Silicon Beat. (This is one reason I love blogging, you can point to excellent work by other journalists and save yourself from writing a lot of boring bits.)


RackSpace keeps scaling

RackSpace.bmpJohn Engates CTO of RackSpace, the fast growing web hosting company, was in town this week for LinuxWorld and we caught up for a few minutes. He's become one of my favorite sources for reporting from the front lines of the future data center.

With more than 13,000 servers and a 50/50 mix of Linux and Microsoft, John has a view like few others into the top issues facing large computer centers.

In addition, he has thousands of customers, and each needs its servers set up in specific ways. Try managing that environment and sleeping at night.

I have an interview with John from a couple of weeks ago, I've been waiting for the right time to publish it. It'll be in a Thoughtleader Thursday coming up soon.

Real tales of legacy systems...

wIring_Detective.jpgOne large financial services company, I was told, has so many legacy computer systems that they don't know which applications run on which computers. The way they find out is by unplugging them one by one, and seeing which department starts calling tech support.

Another financial services company somehow walled-in a bank of four servers. The company IT staff could not find out where the "ghost" servers were located. They finally had to follow the wiring and discovered them behind a brick wall. [I wonder if it was cheaper to leave them there and depreciate them than tear down the wall?]

Fencing the commons -- the plot to shut down the open source movement

I wrote a piece this week about my concerns that open source tech development could be stopped by wrapping it in proprietary intellectual property. I see this "fencing of the commons" happening everywhere, such as Verizon trying to stop municipalities from offering public wi-fi networks, so that you always have to go through a commercial choke-point to reach the Internet.


I think the open source movement will one day be seen as one of the most significant contributions to humanity. So I hope it continues to prosper.

But I ran into Gary Edwards, of OpenStack Business Systems; and what he told me was very worrysome.

He's been involved in the OASIS and prior standards groups for nearly two decades, and he says there is a concerted effort to try to shut down the open spource movement. I'll tell you more about it over the next few weeks, and why the GPL licence is open source's most sacred document, and its only protector.

Fencing the commons...

. . .

Do you think there might be interest in a weekly [T+OM] podcast? The Watcher plus the Universal Sound of all that is Broadband...what do you think? A kind of Friday Wrap with special guests even, maybe?

. . .

Look out for more Friday Watch items...

And also, please subscribe to our email newsletter, we're still pulling the format together (it's always in beta) but we have some interesting ideas for it.


impact-logo-nyc.gifAnd don't forget to come out for a trip to NYC in mid-September to see Joe Trippi, IBM's Jim Finn, and Google's top advertising strategist at Impact'05. I'll be on a panel with Mr Trippi. Just mention SVW and you've saved $100.
Details here.

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The Holmes Report names Tom Foremski one of the top 25 Innovators of 2013.




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