Friday, November 23, 2007

Web 2.0 For Dummies - part3: Background

This post is the third post in the "Web 2.0 for dummies" posts, based on my Web 2.0 presentation in a conference.

In year 2000 there were three leading operating systems families:
Mainframe - The most robust and scalable platform, which was able to execute heterogeneous workloads, UNIX and Windows. The third was the least mature and the least scalable and robust platform. As an experienced expert in IBM Mainframe operating system, I was able to identify Windows 2000 Data Center weaknesses and to think of an add-on product for overcoming some of Windows' limitations. The theoretical solution targeted both Data Centers and Web. I applied to a Seed Venture Capital which checked the document describing the problems and the proposed solution.
The Venture Capital rejected my start up proposal. The only reason for immediate rejection was: "It is not pure Internet solution" i.e. the reason for rejection was possible applicability to Enterprises Data Centers.
I am not arguing that the rejection was false (I checked other start ups ideas for Venture Capitals before my start up proposal. The first question I would ask someone applying with similar idea to mine would be: Do you have access to the Windows operating system source code? I probably would reject the startup idea in case of a negative answer), I am just describing the Dotcom over Hype or illusion prevailed in those Web 1.0 or Dotcom days.

Unsurprisingly, the Dotcom failed or collapsed (that was the reason for choosing the YouTube Domino Fall Down clip to be included in my previous post The taste of Web 2.0).
The fall of Web 1.0 enabled the Web 2.0 phenomena as described in the following images and text.

In year 2001 DotCom collapsed. Many DotCom companies disappeared or shrank dramatically. However, not all Dotcom companies were harmed significantly.

The companies appearing in green in the image above were not harmed significantly by the DotCom collapse.
For example, Google was established in 1998 and still succeeding.
The companies appearing in red were harmed significantly by the DotCom collapse.

The silde above hughlights the key questions discussed in that brainstorming.

The last bullet depict an example of historical new generation: Software Centered model instead of Hardware Centered model. Some companies did not survive the model change. The most known example is Digital one of the biggest players in the computers industry.

O’reilly is a company which publishes books and e-books and organizes conferences. The participants in this brainstorm were O’reilly experts (including Dale Dougherty the creator of this term) and MediaLive employees.

Netscape is the representative case of Web 1.0 companies.
Its business model is similar to business models of non-Web infrastructure software companies. The company was acquired by AOL prior to the DotCom collapse of 2001
The following images present the classical representative of Web 2.0: Google. The differences between their model and the classical software vendors model as well as Netscape model can be found easily.

The image above highlights Google model.
The main concept is the Web as a Platform model. No platform control wars as in NetScape model, but adapting to Web infrastructure technologies.
The bullets or parts of bullets marked in red relate to concepts deviating from traditional software vendors' model.
Page Rank is a Recursive Mathematical Algorithm developed by Larry Page as a student in Stanford University. The idea is to assign rank to a page during a search. The rank is based on weighted index. The index takes into account two factors: the number of references to that page and importance.
Open Social API is a new initiative by Google for common Application Programming Interface (API) accessing Social Networks and communities' sites.
MySpace, Linkidn, Bebo, Plaxo and Orkut joined to Google.
Non-pure Web 2.0 vendors Oracle and also joined.
The forth post will describe the ideas, concepts and models of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 For Dummies - Part 2: The taste of Web 2.0

This post is based on my presentation on Web 2.0. It is a continuation to Part 1: WOA, posted few days ago.

For tasting Web 2.0 I am presenting four videos appearing in YouTube a Web 2.0 site for videos
I choose deliberately a video on collapsing (Domino Fall Down) by search engine available in YouTube. The reason for my choice will be discovered in the next post of my Web 2.0 for Dummies posts to be appeared shortly.

The Domino Fall Down Video slide shows a typical YouTube screen including:
• The video was created by FlippyCat, probably an amateur and not a media expert.
• Statistical information about FlippyCat
• Options for the viewer e.g. adding to PlayList, downloading etc.
• Flagging option in case of improper content or a content violating Copyrights. Flag is an alert for YouTube to delete the content.
Flagging option illustrates a problem of partial content control by Web 2.0 projects. The YouTube's community's help is needed for discovering improper content.
A recent example of an improper content is a video posted by a high school student in which he was shooting with a gun and declaring that he is going to kill his school teacher.

The YouTube site could be perceived as a stage for every amateur to create multimedia content. It could be compared to a “Star was Born” style TV programs. The participants in these programs are non professionals performing publicly. The differences: internet communities are larger than TV audience and the content is accessible anytime

The second video (in the left side) does not look like an amateur uploading content for a community.It looks like a political initiative by Obama's headquarters and not an innocent supporter publishing her political view. It is not the only political video. The right side video includes the URL for Hillary Clinton’s response to Obama Girl song. Videos of politician presenting their views are available in YouTube as well. The point is that politicians think that YouTube is a valid channel for persuading voters to support them. For the younger generation the Web may be the most effective channel.

The forth video is neither an amateur post and nor a political post.
This is one of a group of real training films (black and white) during World War II.
The purpose of these films was to explain to people how to protect themselves against the unknown atomic bomb. Ridiculously, the protection method was “duck and cover”. We should remember that no atomic bomb was yet available. This specific film was designed for children.
This is an example of a video post that may have historical value.

In this post we tasted part of the variety and richness of content created in YouTube one of the Web 2.0 initiatives. The next post will present the background for Web 2.0 emergence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Web 2.0 For Dummies - part1: WOA

I presented in a conference of mixed audience: IT professionals and non IT professionals. The topic was: Web 2.0: The New Internet generation.

The presentation was an introductory: describing and experiencing by navigating through examples of Web 2.0 services and discussing their attributes and the cultural and technological differences between them and traditional IT companies and products as well as Web 1.0 services and product. As SOA is the major topic of this blog, I am discussing the links between SOA and Web 2.0 before posting the rest of the presentation. The main links between SOA and Web 2.0 are as follows:

  • Mashups and Services share the same vision: non-IT people assembling services for creating an application.
    The results are Reuse of these services, Agility and fewer resources in comparison to previous Application Development methods. It should be remembered that assembling Services in an Enterprise or Virtual Enterprise context requires robustness, control and management. These requirements are not part of the Social Context of Web 2.0.

  • Web 2.0 technologies are used as part of Enterprise SOA architecture
    Technologies like Ajax, REST and Wikis are used in enterprises including enterprises transforming their architecture to SOA. This usage is reflected in the SOA architecture.

  • End Users (Consumers and Service Assemblers) User Interface patterns used in SOA architecture should be the same patterns used in these users Social interactions which are changing gradually towards Web 2.0 Rich Internet Applications (RIA) patterns and User Interface. Therefore the SOA Enterprise includes the robust managed and governed Service side, which should be integrated with the user friendly, easy to build Consumer and Services Assemblers side. The integration is established by using middleware which should link between these two totally conceptually different components. This task is quiet difficult. Leading Integration infrastructure vendors and startup companies are in the beginning of development of these new middleware solutions.

  • Web 2.0 Services and Communities as a Distribution Channel
    SOA includes common Distribution Channel and End User devices architecture, enabling independence between the Consumer end and the Service. However, Web 2.0 communities are conceptually and technologically distinguished from other channels.
    Advertising and presenting SOA vendor technologies in Web 2.0 sites

  • Vendors develop Innovative concept of advertising SOA products and solutions in Web 2.0 communities.

SOA related slides appearing in my presentation are appended to this discussion. Next posts will include the other slides included in the presentation in sequential order. Each group will be appended to a discussion of its subtopic.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Microsoft Data Protection: Home and Mobile users excluded

I read a new Aberdeen Group research titled: "Encryption and Key Management" (August, 2007). The article depict the changes of Data protection architecure and mechanisms and highlights current trends. The basic change is from data protection architecture which centralize all critical data in one place and denies unauthorized access to it to a more distributed data architecture.

Aberdeen conclusion was based on a survey. However, many people can reach the same conclusion in less methodological approach: Data quantities, formats and locations are growing massively. users preserve data on PCs and on removable devices (e.g. Disk On Keys and CDs) as well as on multiple servers placed in multiple locations.

The data protection approach of the DOD's Orange Book of the begining of the 90's is no longer realistic. Aberdeen Group basic findings can be summarized in three bullets:

  • Critical and sensitive data should be indetified and protected. Probably not all other data could be protected.

  • The trend is towards encrypting critical data, wherever it is located including End Users devices and removables.

  • Key Management becomes complex, so organizations are moving gradually from manual management to automatic management such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

The trend of encrypting data is the link between Aberdeen Group research and this psot's title.

Microsoft's environment was known as relatively less secure environment than competing environmnets (mainly due to binding between infrastructure and applications). However, few years ago, the company decided to improve the Security of its infarstructure solutions by building trusted environmnets. The compnay's ability to excute is well known (some of us still remeber MSN as an alternative to the Web and "the internet is a fade" attitude until 1995 and the impressive up side down change towards internet solutions), therefore the missing encryption capabilities in Vista Home editions (including Premium) could hardly be explained. Microsoft already developed an encryption solution, which is part of the enterprise editions, so technical issues are not the obstacle towards build in encryption component. Many neccessry as well as unneccessry Security dialog boxes are part of the Home editions Vista (The High granularity of the Security levels prevents elimination of the unneccessry dialog boxes without exposing your system to additional threats), so it seems that lack of emphasys on Security issues is not the reason for this missing component. To me it looks like an unsuccessful marketing decision.

Third party Omnipass solution (at least in my Lenovo mobile computer) is not fully integrated with the system and problems determination involving both the OEM and the vendor is difficult. As an experienced IT professional I succeeded to circomvent an unsolved problem. could the non-IT professionals home users bypass such problems?

Many Home edition users expose their systems to the Web. Web access may expose them to Security thteats including access of their data on their own PC. As most of these users are less aware to Security threats in comparison to corporate users, so critical data (e.g. passwords, Bank account details, credit card details etc.) may be stolen. These users may blame again Microsoft for its non-secured systems.

Aberdeen group's report points at encryption as a mean for reducig threats.

I do think that Home Vista users should help Microsoft to overcome this erronos decision, by asking the company to include build in encryption support in the next Service Pack home editions Vista.

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