June 25, 2010 11:58 PM
Posted by: Mathu Nganga
, Google Apps
Could the cloud have finally caught up with digital piracy? Can the developer finally have what is owed to them? With the advent of software development came a new kind of property rights i.e. the protection of ones intellectual property. Millions of developers punch out gazillion lines of code every year and yet go home without anything due to others picking it up and distributing it all over- you don’t see original Pablo Picasso, Michael Angelo and Leonardo Davinci master pieces being photocopied and everyone hanging them on their walls as originals, development is also Art. The same goes for digital media, if I took time to make it so it can bring some productivity to your life please pay up.
Many software houses have tried to use the key to try and lock up software and many a times crackers have opened more and more sites to try and bit them. The same software companies have even tried using the internet without much success there, ask Digital rights management tools from Microsoft and its gaming software protection software that makes you verify on the internet every couple of days, its sends the legitimate users to the pirates just to help them play without the internet.
Now with a new licensing policy(pay as you go or as you use) and a bit of ingenuity I believe the market leaders in Cloud Computing- SalesForce and Google- have finally bitten the Pirates, or have they? How do you ask might they have done this?
First: By keeping everything on the cloud, all software is developed and stored away safely on their server farms in all their data warehouses spread around the world and hence not giving the pirates a chance too look under the hood to find out what can be ripped off. Hence no code is coming through your processor hence no chance for hackers to reverse engineer the binary code or break-it down as it goes into the processor. As my computer science lecture always remarked ” as long as it is going to the processor it will always be hacked”. So as long as their server act like this large mainframes and everything is processed server end they are safe.
Second: You pay for what you use, this is has always been a selling point for the masses, you buy what you need for yourself its basic as human nature. The problem with many other software licensing model, which I personally think need to change since they are broken is that everyone pays the same price whether your are a large cooperation or a small enterprise or a user seating at home. If they split it into all this categories then you get the short end of the stick, by getting some watered down version of the original software forcing you either to cough up more money or head the software piracy way, its a thin line. What happened to economies of scale the more people using it the cheaper it gets? That I believe is simple logic, if I’m making pizza and it cost me x (a constant) to make I should maybe sell it for 1.5X to break even on 100 pizzas and get something back so I can make more pizza or make better variety, but if my pizza is being bought by all Chinese 1 billion of them then maybe I can do with a bit less, and decide I can sell it for 1.2X since 1.2x by 1 billion far out ways 1.5x by 100, note here my X is not changing no more input is needed to serve 100 or 1billion, I’ll let you be the judge of that. That where the cloud licensing module is selling, economies of scale,
Third: Another area the cloud is getting my vote is license buying, I buy as many as I need to use today and I can keep truck of what I’m using, the old licensing model is too close to call. This is how it works, I get CD I Pay for 100 User licenses, If I install it in 101 User PC, then that’s a serious license violation and I’m pirating, however if my numbers go down to 99 we are cool, so I need to spend more to keep within my limits??? Well for the cloud I can decide early on what I need and I can regulate and reduce the numbers, don’t need to buy some expensive software to tell me what I’m using on my network and the beauty of it I will never be over licensed, reducing my exposure.
Fourth: I don’t have to buy so many peripherals or need anyone that will bump up my expenditure to make it work. With the current traditional software it does not just stop at buying it, I have to budget for buying some expensive hardware to run it on, then I can’t get away with just that I have to have a number of well trained and qualified friends hanging around me to install it and get it working right, and call them in ever so often to show me where what is. Then I will still call in my friends to upgrade it every couple of years or to reinstall it if it doesn’t work like its supposed to, and it this point my friend stops being a friend and I have to cough up some money and call him an Administrator. Well funny enough when I’m upgrading they will tell me I need better and newer hardware which makes me wonder is it a conspiracy?
Fifth: This is my personal best you give your fellow developers the chance to make some money off it simply and create a market and integration where they can also add value to your current software release, where you might have missed out or did not have the time to go into it. If you ask me get the hackers earning money in a different way and keep them of your back end, and the feeling that you are making too much money. By providing them with a PAAS (Plaform AS A service) to keep their heads busy and directing their energies to something more productive than curiosity. You ask why the Iphone is such a hit, it’s because the developers can make money of it, so they will buy a number to test and then make some super apps to work on it and get more people loving it, everybody then loves it, Same concept goes for the cloud.
As with all things economic, where there is always a willing buyer and a willing seller balancing out the demand and supply and there for making a Market, but get rid of one and you reduce the other, however it will always be in the background, kill both and you’ve killed the market hence piracy.
June 20, 2010 11:59 PM
Posted by: Mathu Nganga
, capacity planing
, Credit crunch
, Disaster recovery
, Hardware Scalling
, IT efficiencies
With crazy economic times comes many innovations and new ideas to help save businesses and in this case the world from the dreaded monster it can’t seem to shake credit crunch. First all sorts of business, banks, insurance firms, went down in the great U.S. of A due to a number of young bright financial analysts and charming sales men (zero down), in conjunction with mortgage holders not telling their banks the truth of their incomes. Then the banks had a bright light bulb moments from our young financial analysts to export credit into Europe, where banks then start going down due to bad credit, Governments come in to save the day with all sort of loans and stock option buying, and true to the chain now all sorts of European Governments are going down in budget deficits and bad book balancing.
One such idea that has come up out of this economic crisis is the bundling of all resources to make computing more efficient and to reduce waste, as with the credit crunch came reduced spending power, reduced huge IT budgets and the need for more and greater efficiencies. Hence the Advent of cloud computing in all sort of shapes and sizes first was SAAS( software as a service), second was PAAS (platform as a service) and now IAAS ( Infrastructure as a service) the chain is growing with large ICT organizations and vendors quickly aligning behind and in front of the cloud. It was bound to happen in an industry that changes as rapidly as the information technology and churns out ideas on daily basis, making even the hard nosed consultants and advisers dizzy trying to catch up.
With rapidly growing ideas, first moving developers, charming sales men and bottom line business strategist the advent of the cloud has moved from a toddler overnight to a full grown teenager with no parents to govern it or decide how to operate and give standards. Well I’m not one to stifle progress, and talk like the an auditors or security analyst on slowing down, but a good idea started by some who have though out capacity for a number of years of experience Salesforces, Amazon and Google can quickly turn into a nightmare. If all sorts of large organizations start rushing into it with no sort of standards and governance apart from the push of making a quick buck and reeling in the race leaders and getting a piece of the action (credit crunch scenario) will all be in a crunch.
Well this week I’ve seen a couple of comments on the internet and experienced some, twitter whale occasioned by some upgrade and user capacity handling, this can be irritating for any user, the infamous white screen of death by word press and now this morning Linked in upgrade screen, and finally Facebook security and information leaks. All this kind of left me thinking who is out their looking out for our needs, yes they are public sites, but somebody needs to put in standards and governance in place (consumer rights). Most of this sites started as small ideas, but the reach of the internet is not a simple thing to scale up on and plan for. Now for Corporates and Enterprises who drive business on proper capacity planning, up times and disaster recovery plans, the cloud can be savior and a killer at the same time, they should think twice and carry out serious evaluations before going into new cloud offerings not yet tested by time and experience, lest we all be left looking for help out of a spiraling chain.
June 15, 2010 2:56 AM
Posted by: Mathu Nganga
, Google Apps
Its Official its an all out Cloud War, all the major players are now going for the kill introducing their versions of SAAS (Software as a service) IBM, Google and now Microsoft. Microsoft has finally come out and launched its Microsoft BPOS (Business productivity Online Standard Suite), making it an industry to watch as they expand and start selling it outside the US, soon we hope.
You cannot talk about SAAS and fail to mention where it all started with Salesforce(CRM), a group of former Oracle execs who started a revolution, built an online product and sold it off on the internet. If you have been in the corporate world long enough you will now know that its not a cheap endeavor implementing a Customer Relationship Management system, this is usually occasioned by complexity in setting it up and along with all the integration that needs to be done. For large organizations with serious IT Budgets this is usually the last item they implement due to complexity in different information and data feeds it needs to take up not to mention need to do a SOA (Software Oriented Architecture) – information and data bus.
Well the thing about Salesforce software model is it made it easy for organizations to build their CRM data, not caring about the traditional requirements like scaling hardware, database sizes, capacity planing, disaster recovery, all was outsourced. All an organization needs to think off is number of users that are going to utilize this, training and change management- things that really matter in a project. Making the largest corporates to the smallest medium enterprise play in a common ground and the CRM seized to be a strategic business system and moved into a peripheral system that any organization could have.
A couple of years later 10 years to be exact and salesforce had a winner on their hands bringing in 1 billions dollars in sales revenue. This can be a major dent in the industry to all those large CRM players like Oracle and Microsoft and they would need to protect their markets.
Naturally we all adapt or get extinct, so if you can’t beat them join them. With Google going into office productivity with Google Apps and making it a utility item, meaning organizations do not have to spend extra on Hardware, Administration time, Disaster recovery the rest are now towing the line. IBM launched its lotus live in 2009 and Microsoft this year launched its Microsoft BPOS, with the only organization really making any returns worth writing home about being Salesforce we are yet to see how viable this business will get and the future looks promising.
June 14, 2010 11:58 AM
Posted by: Mathu Nganga
, Html 5
, IE 8
, IE 9
I have many at times met various business partners and acquaintances and they’ve asked me a number of questions from what is XML?, What is HTML? to Which browser should we standardize on Chrome, Mozilla 3.5.x, Opera, IE 7, IE8. This has lead to many interesting conversations and many call backs with many of my not so young friends still labouring to understand, all this acronyms and the speed of new developments in the ICT Industry. With some conversations like trying to explain what is web 2.0 ending in total confusion, and all together ending up in lack of interest and moving on to other topics(bad for business if your trying to sell something on the internet).
I have severally found it hard to get started with various concepts and the latest one I’ve decided I have to read wide and understand is the new HTML 5, which even Wikipedia does not do a very good job of explaining- guess the contribution was done by some developer. But you can’t explain HTML 5 without going back to the advent of the internet in the year AD1990 and the invention of HTTP , by one Tim Berners-Lee who developed the concept of machines communicating with each other over the internet and being able to link pages together, by simple clicks. That must have been was the advent of HTML 1, which was a simple markup language that could be transmitted over the internet via a procal HTTP(standard) to various computer and read using the browser and the idea of the Wide World Web was born and the world has never been the same again.
Now 20 years later and true to the ICT tradition of constant evolution, super rate of development and the ever greater push for more to be done on the internet and browsers, have now lead to the growth of the young infant HTML 1 to early adulthood and hence HTML 5. Of course you cannot have such an invention as the internet and browser and through them it into the melting pot that is the world that would definitely have a billion or so different players(e.g. soccer) in the field and not have a governing body(e.g. FIFA) to ensure fair protection of the players, spectators and the game. Hence the creation of a consortium W3C, who would be charged with keeping the standards on the world wide web.
And as a definite you will always find a few hands of god(Maradona’s famous Goal using his hand) on the pitch who will ensure that their products score the winning goal and hence the advent of the browser business and wars to win more players(i.e.developers) and Spectators(i.e. you and I) first was netscape with java scripting, followed by Microsoft with HTTPXML and Google with AJAX, all doing the same thing i.e. reading HTML, but with a special flavor to push their own Agenda.
The upside is innovation and the spectators having rich media i.e, videos and flash images and super developed products such as Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS, the players getting various development platforms and languages to learn and hack, now that’s about as far as the honey moon goes. Now the downside is several Browsers to make a decision on chrome, mozilla, 8 IE flavours, opera, safari, you can call it options but I call it a waste of time as you have to download at least 3 to work on the internet smoothly and switch between them(a headache for corporates with various web apps), keep downloading a never ending barrage of plugins and installations for your to view different websites. I can only imagine the poor players(i.e. developers) who have to constantly redevelop their websites to be viewed on all this different stadiums(i.e. browsers), and pray that their viewers are educated enough to be able to download the plugin and buy what they are selling.
Now this is where HTML 5 comes in its supposed to bring some sanity to the field and ensure that all gets fair treatment as we enjoy the innovative ideas, by way of developing standards and you better believe it W3C is pushing it and the ever growing number of browsers are trying to adhere to this standards with Microsoft Internet Explore 9(next release of IE) being the first to comply and the rest catching up. Lets hope this will come to pass and we will all reap the benefits some day of watching a world cup of the internet without so much suffering to much.