Monday, November 02, 2009

Use Tactical Urgency to Introduce New Technologies

Recently Kelly Emo, SOA Product Marketing Manager at HP Software wrote in her post "Is your SOA in Action? Four ways to keep it that way.." One element she offers in her Obvious Insite # 3 is to use your SOA governance to drive adoption of new technologies such as RIA and Cloud Computing.

Much of my work over the last decade in getting new technologies adopted by enterprise IT has been under the proverbial banner of "Herding Cats". I have learned is that it is very hard to introduce new technology as part of the strategic plan and that SOA governance is often more of a roadblock than a driver.

Technologies that help integrate data between silos require the endorsement of too many chiefs and even with executive stakeholder support strategic efforts can fail under the urgency of immediate problems. In my experience with technology adoption of RIAs and EBSs from both the vendor and purchaser point of view I have found that even with a strong business imperative the inevitable urgency of tactical requirements derails the best strategic plans.

A better approach is to use a tactical urgency to demonstrate a real benefit. In this way it is possible to establish a beach head through a small project that demonstrates a believable ROI. From there you can position the technology successfully in the broader strategy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Visualize Facebook Relationships

Facebook has seen tremendous growth over the year. The Mary Meeker: Facebook Is Eating Your Lunch And Dinner post at All Facebook singles out the statistic from her presentation at Web2.0 that Facebook is the largest share gainer of online usage over the past 3 years. Indeed at over 300M users, if Facebook were a country it would be the forth largest behind only China, India and the US.

With all the hype on social networking I thought it would be interesting to highlight again a dynamic application called the CurlGraph. The CurlGraph shows how your Facebook friends are related to each other and is especially fun when you see how your circles of friends are interrelated.

If you are on Facebook I urge you to give it a try and to suggest it to your friends.

I made a brief demo video you can post to Facebook and you'll find the Curl website has instructions on installation.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Risks In The Cloud

The Internet is buzzing today with the news that Microsoft subsidiary Danger has lost the server stored data on T-Mobile's Sidekick phones. See Did Microsoft Just Kill the Cloud? and Sidekick outage says more about the future of 'Pink' than Microsoft's cloud and The cloud: no place for amateurs

While there are not a lot of Sidekick users out there this incident has once a gain forced the question: How safe is your data in the cloud?

Have we developed a false sense of security as we depend more and more on data out of our immediate control on servers managed by Google, Salesforce, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter? I dare say not many of us has thought through a disaster recovery plan if all our emails, contacts, photos and documents were to disappear overnight.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Power Law of Social Networks

Yesterday Dion Hinchcliffe lists 22 Power Laws of the Emerging Economy. It's an interesting post worth a read but I think he omitted one of the most important "The Power Law of Social Networks" Social Networks themselves are defined by a power curve. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi illustrates this in his book "Linked, The New Science of Networks." This interconnectivity drives the information age where popular nodes can rise up quickly. Like all social networks the Internet has a few nodes with millions of connections and millions of nodes with very few connections. Increasingly 6 degrees of separation is becoming 3 degrees of separation.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

iPhone 3G Network Slow?

Has your iPhone 3G been going slower and slower? Mine has. Now this from Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDnet - iPhone users strangling the AT&T network.

What is dawning on AT&T is that the iPhone changes the way people use phones.
"Up until the iPhone, smartphones were cellphones with a browser clumsily attached. The iPhone is basically a pipe to the internet with a phone attached."
This is exactly what I experienced when I wrote "Goodbye Laptop - Hello iPhone"

It is precisely whythe 9 million iPhone users are using more of the network than AT&T's 20 million other cell phone users.

Hopefully AT&T can continue to build out the plumping or Apple can sign another provider that can keep up.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can Social Media Sell Wine?

Steve Heimhoff asks the question "Has social media ever sold anything, besides itself?" It's a great question and has prompted a good discussion on his blog.

There is a lot of evidence that making social media a strategic part of a winery's overall marketing mix makes good business sense. I've been working to create a concrete ROI for social media's use in wineries and in my research thus far I've have found a lot of evidence that a dollar spent on social media can be much more effective than a dollar spent on traditional media.

According to Nielson online we trust the recommendations of friends (90%) and online reviews (70%) a lot more than traditional media (62% and lower). A good wine review from a friend is going to influence me more than a good review by a known wine critic. Forrester's recent Social Technology report found that the prime wine buying demographic of 35+ year olds grew their online participation by 60% last year prompting them to conclude:
"... marketers can now safely create social media marketing for people ages 35 and older."
In a recent survey by on Twitter use in wineries, in answer to the question "How has your presence on Twitter helped your business? 96.4% responded that "It has helped us engage more with our customers"

Furthermore the conversation about a winery's brand is happening even if a winery chooses to ignore it and that carries a real risk of negative effects. According to Nielsen BuzzMetrics 25% of search results for the worlds largest brands are links to user generated content. This extends to niche brands as well and a bad review without the appropriate response can have long lasting effects.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Forrester's Social Media Profile Tool

Last week Forrester released this fun social media Consumer Profile Tool.

The tools lets you query their 2009 data by age, county and gender and shows the percentages of participants in each of their defined participation categories: creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives.

This reinforces the point that any social media strategy should start with a good understanding of your customers and how they communicate.

See Social Technologies Ladder for an explanation of the categories.

Thanks to Forrester for providing this fun way to access their data.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

50% of US Online Adults Use Social Media Networks

According to a new research report on "The Broad Reach Of Social Technologies" by Sean Corcoran at Forrester 1 in 2 US online adults are in a social network and 4 in 5 use social media at least once a month.

Interestingly the 35 and older group saw the most growth at 60% over last year with 38% visit social media sites regularly. In the 35+ somethings group with 1 in 5 are creators and 70% spectators. The conclusion:
"... marketers can now safely create social media marketing for people ages 35 and older."
This should be another signal to brands whose primary segment is the 35+ that the time is now to invest in social media marketing.

Are You Ready For Socialnomics?

Some very enlightening statistics on social media in this video from Socialnomics-Social Media Blog posted by While social media is possibly at the top of the hype curve there is no denying that it is driving a fundamental change in how corporations sell and how people make buying decisions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New San Jose Airport

After bad mouthing San Jose airport for years, the new terminal is pretty nice.


Posted via email from Richard Treadway's Live Stream

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Importance of the Long Tail

Nielson recently posted data on how engaging brand in the "long tail" are fairing. The data shows that we spend less time at long tail sites and more time at the top sites.

The conclusion is that long tail isn't where the future business is at least not just yet.
"What does this amount to? As much as anyone thinks the future is in the long tail, it’s just not the case-at least not yet. In fact, consumers feel more comfortable on large, mass media sites. We know the Internet is changing. We know there are more blogs, boards, tweets and social networks than ever before. But what’s also clear is that while the Internet itself is fragmenting (like all other media), people continue to spend their time on the sites that offer them the most options and functionality."
But the numbers don't support that conclusion. The numbers are simply a reflection of the fact the long tail is a power curve.

Chris Anderson’s theory of the long tail states that as the cost of distribution approaches zero the demand is infinitely eclectic. The long tail is a special power curve that stretches out forever. With a power curve you would expect people to spend the most time at the top sites and the least time in the less popular sites. Most people have more than one specialized interest and will spend a little time at each long tail site. The entry point to the long tail is usually the top sites explaining why there is more time spent there.

A more interesting measure would be total time in the long tail not the average time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When Will Internet Access Be Like Electricity

My recent stay at the Westin Kierland reminded me we are still a long way from Internet access being treated like a service utility. The Internet service at the Westin was particularly expensive and very SLOOW. Additionally the business center charged for use of their computers by the minute requiring you to submit a credit card to a reader that held it for the duration of your session. It cost me $5 to login and print my boarding pass.

Additionally there was no free WIFI access in the lobby. When I complained to the concierge I was told the reason... to discourage Internet use. Well it worked, I barely used it. But that attitude is bucking what is surely the trend to a more readily accessible Internet. Think of it; Charging for Internet access in a hotel is like charging for use of the electricity. Think how many complaints there would if a hotel required you to swipe your credit card to turn on the lights? Why should Internet access be any different?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coming Soon: Access Your Data and Applications Anywhere

I’ve often thought the time will come when you will carry all your data and applications in your pocket to be accessed whenever you need on what every computer and connection is available. This makes sense when you think about it. You don’t carry a TV around with you; you expect one to be in your hotel room. So why should you carry a heavy laptop around when you only need the power and the screen real estate on occasion. On my recent trip to Italy I lugged my lap top along and ended up never using it. My iPhone was all I needed. But I didn’t need to create any graphic designs or write any code.

I look to Steve Rubel as being on the forefront of the traveling user’s work paradigm. He correctly points out we’ll be using more devices not fewer. There won’t be a single device to meet all your needs. Certain applications require large screens and faster, larger computers others don’t. But what ever your computing needs you shouldn’t have to have your data distributed all over the multitude of devices that run the applications.

As Steve points out:

With PCs and desktops everywhere we'll be soon booting more off USB drives. Linux, Google Chrome OS, Mac OS X and Windows, etc. will all run off portable USB drives that we'll tote from PC to PC (or in Apple's case, Macs to Macs). The OS and its entire suite of applications will run off the devices which ensures your data stays yours.”

Steve uses a PC desktop at work, at home a Mac, on the road a netbook, and everywhere else an iPhone. With all his data is in the cloud the majority of the time all he needs is a browser.

The day is coming where all you’ll need is a smart phone and a secure USB drive that will have every OS and application you use available for use on the device they run on.

I’m looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Curl eyeDecide Application

Today Curl made available their newest example of an RIA "fit client" application, called Curl eyeDecide. It was designed by Involution Studios and implemented by on Version 7. The application features complex visual analysis of global data from and demonstrates the value of visualization in the analysis of complex data.

We think you'll have a lot of fun playing with the application performing data analysis to see global trends. As always the application is available in source form here.

Watch a video demonstration of the application here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Social Media Content Creation and Dissemination Work Flow

As social media tools evolve and I become more experienced in what works and doesn’t, the proliferation of social networks has created a need to seriously think through my use of the tools and how they fit into my content creation and dissemination process.

Steve Rubel has recently shared his content creation and dissemination process in this post.

I started using Posterous after Steve explained how it created a hybrid between real-time Tweets and slower cycle analytical blog posts. Adding Posterous to my toolset immediately got me into trouble with multiple posts from duplicate services feeding FB, Twitter, etc. so I had to layout the information flow and decide which service should feed which network just as Steve shows in the graphic above.

All this suggests we are reaching the point in the evolution of the tools and the experience of the users that would enable the creation of a platform to manage content creation and dissemination and make the process much simpler.

Posted via email from Richard Treadway's Live Stream

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On-line Media Report From Nielson - Video Exceeds eMail

From Nielson’s Global On-line Media Report. The Audience for video has increased 339% since 2003 and exceeds the email audience beginning in November 2007.

Social Networking is increasing steadily and now exceeds web-based e-mail usage. Social media is changing the way brands are marketed.

“the world’s leading marketers are realizing that at the heart of the social media movement lies a method to transform the manner in which brands communicate with their consumers.”

Highlights of the report regarding the two fastest growing subcategories -- online video and social networks – include:

  • The number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339 percent since 2003.
  • Time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000 percent over the same period.
  • In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10 percent, the number of streams grew 41 percent, the streams per user grew 27 percent and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71 percent.
  • There are 87 percent more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883 percent more time devoted to those sites.
  • In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73 percent.
  • In February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time.

Posted via email from Richard Treadway's Live Stream

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Posterous - The Hybrid Platform?

I recently found Posterous while reading Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion. In that post he explains how Posterous is changing how he thinks about blogging. Posterous provides a hybrid between the immediacy of Twitter and the longer cycle required to create a well thought out post.

You can easily link it to your other social media networks like Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and Facebook and also have it post to your blog. All this is accomplished through email. You can control which posts are published to which networks by where you send the email.

I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and if I can send a single email that updates my blog, puts my pictures in Flickr, posts to Twitter and Facebook and is this easy to use then that’s a good thing.

Posterous may well become my hybrid platform.

Richard Treadway

Posted via email from Richard Treadway's Live Stream

Friday, June 05, 2009

Goodbye Laptop, Hello iPhone.

Dinning alfresco in Tuscany
Taken with my iPhone

We just got back from 2 weeks vacation in Italy. Being a high tech marketing consultant I've always had my laptop on trips, so this trip to Italy was no exception. I lugged the thing through airports and train stations and I didn't use it once. So finally it's abundantly clear to me that all I need is my iPhone. It fits in my pocket and it does everything.

I used it to read about historical monuments, convert currency, check the weather, locate services, get directions, take and show pictures, play music, tweet, text, read and send e-mail, check news and markets, follow the Giro, translate English to Italian, oh and also make phone calls. It's really is true that whatever life throws at you "there's an app for that."

The one thing that's a painfully missing function is "cut & paste" and now finally the new release of the iPhone will have it.

Goodbye Laptop, Hello iPhone.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Visualize Your Facebook Friends With CurlGraph

With the release of Curl Version 7 Curl has created a fun RIA Desktop application called the CurlGraph.

One of Curl’s unique features is that it supports web applications that run outside the browser, installed on the desktop as is the case with this application.

Here's a video I made of the CurlGraph to give you an idea of how it works. Download it now and have some fun seeing how your friends are related to each other in Facebook.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jeremiah Owyang on Social Media Strategies

Jeremiah Owyang

Yesterday I attended Jeremiah Owyang's web seminar "Social Media Playtime Is Over: How Brands Must Focus In A Recession." Jeremiah has been covering social media and on-line communities for Forrester for the last year and he offers a unique perspective on the state of the art best practices. In his position as a researcher he gets a first hand view of both corporate practices and vendor product strategies.

Here are some important insights from the seminar.
  • The opportunity to use social media despite the recession is NOW. While the media maybe over hyping services like Twitter (Oprah and CNN vs Ashton Kutcher) with 3/4 of the US based on-line adults using social technologies this is a trend not a fad. We can expect adoption to increase during the recession as more people are between jobs and tapping into free social networking services to create and enhance personal brand.
  • The companies surveyed are increasing their spending on social media programs but as a percentage of their overall marketing spend it remains small as most programs are not strategic.
  • Most corporate use of social media is experimental with no clearly defined best practices and with many efforts underfunded and sporadic. Over 60% of the companies surveyed have budgets under $50,000 that are not dedicated but come from previously allocated marketing and advertising budgets.
  • Jeremiah then offered 7 tactics that can fuel experimentation. These included:
    1. Socialize content - Make your existing connect available to be republished
    2. Word of mouth with Twitter - Establish Twitter accounts as communication channels
    3. Aggregate existing content - Provide a unified view on syndicated content relevant to your audience
    4. Crowdsource your support - Empower your users to provide answers and content for your community
    5. Sponsor bloggers - Give your customers a forum to talk about your brand and products
    6. Sponsor events - Not only provide venue and cover expense but actively participate
    7. Let go with APIs - Provide APIs into your service to allow others to build Internet properties using it in unique ways.
Bottom line is that we must treat social media as a long term strategy with the appropriate metrics and measurable returns and staff it with resources dedicated to its success that include a constant improvement feedback loop as best practices evolve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Problems with Twitter Search

Last night as I was watching the Sharks game and conversing with the Sharks faithful on Twitter when I noticed Twitter search didn't provide any updates on the #Sharks hashtag for over two hours between 19:48 and 22:51. When it did start updating all the tweets that I made in the two hour window that included #Sharks didn't show-up in the results.

Anyone had similar problems? Know what's going on?

Here are screen shots that show the sequence.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ulitzer's Questionable Practices and Curl's Endorsement

Late last year in my role as VP of marketing at Curl we were approached by SYS-CON to provide authors for their new service called Ulitzer. Having worked with Jeremy Gleelan to get Curl's message to the market at AjaxWorld events and in their numerous on-line magazines this appeared to be a good opportunity to continue the dialogue on Enterprise RIA. Jnan Dash, Bert Halstead and I all become contributors. During the period we published numerous articles on Enterprise RIA and saw their distribution in related SYS-CON on-line magazines.

As the beta of Ulitzer ended Jeremy asked if Curl could provide an endorsement. Feeling there was value in the service we did provide our endorsement.

However, given the questionable practices that have come to light over the last week I and Curl no longer feel comfortable with this endorsement and have formally requested Jeremy and SYS-CON to remove it wherever it appears. As of this writing I have been assured by Fuat Kircaali that my endorsement will be removed promptly.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

RIA Fit Client and Cloud Computing

Image by David Simonds

As noted in the Economist a battle is brewing over standards for Cloud Computing as the big players begin to take measure of winning and loosing strategies.

While confusion reigns relative to Cloud Computing's definition there is no denying that a new class of application is emerging. The "Web-enabled, rich client, data-driven from Internet based services" application.

RIA technologies like Adobe AIR, Curl and Microsoft Silverlight are enabling this new class of application known as the "Fit Client" - Not Fat or Thin but Fit, web-enabled desktop applications.

The lower cost of the Fit Client application will help make Cloud computing real. Read more about the Fit Client in my post here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Power of Twitter

In today's Mercury News Larry Magid talked about his use of Twitter and how based on his experience he "didn't get it" but feared he might be missing something. And yes indeed he is.

Twitter is huge and here's why. It's Real-time search.

So many times a simple idea turns into something huge. Just as Tim Berners-Lee's simple idea of the URL morphed into the Internet so it will be with Twitter.

So what is Twitter's simple idea and why is it significant?

From a simple technology perspective Twitter is Publish-Subscribe SMS. It combines the publish-subscribe communication paradigm with real-time of instant messaging.

Publish-subscribe is a many to many broadcast protocol. I publish, many people listen. In fact as a publisher I don't need to know who is subscribing. If I have something interesting to say I can publish. If you find what I say interesting you can subscribe. This communication has its roots in the written word from cave dwellers hieroglyphs, to books, to newspapers, to websites to blogs and now to Twitter. Each technology transition from hieroglyphs to twitter has made publishing more immediate. Now by combining Publish-subscribe with SMS it's virtually real-time.

Additionally Twitter has opened up the network of subscriptions so that anyone can see who is subscribing (following) to who. Given the nature of social networks this means that interesting news has the ability to reach virtually everyone in six retweets.

This is significant because I can use Twitter to find what's happening in real-time and be alerted if something I care about happens when it happens. For example, just this morning using Twitscoop I was alerted to Lance Armstong's crash and injury in Spain.

Twitter is born of the same Cluetrain manifesto empowerment that drove blogging to prominent mainstream status. You can think of Twitter as real-time blogging. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder described his creation as

”… an idea to make a more ‘live’ LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it.

Already Tweets have evolved from “I’m having breakfast” and “I’m watching it snow” to a powerful tool for building brand and a great way to keep up with what you’re passionate about. And because Twitter is open there is a whole industry for tools to help make Twitter even more effective. Now media giants like CNN are using such tools as a sort of police scanner to be alerted to the next news story. CNN broke the story of The Turkish airline crash which it was alerted to it by Twitter.

While Google, Yahoo and others tried to perform real-time search through their "Alert" function it does not work adequately. The main reason is their alerting mechanisms are based on repeated search of the database they build through "crawling" the Internet. The delay in that approach means that alerts to matches can be considerably later than real-time as I pointed out in this blog post, Cutting Through The Incessant Barking. Real-time works with Twitter because it limits Tweets to 140 characters which is exactly an SMS message.

As with any simple idea that drives a paradigm shift the number of use cases continues to grow only limited by the imagination of its users. While it took 20 years for Tim Berners-Lee's simple idea of the URL to morph into the Internet I think Twitter will be mainstream in a matter of years.

You can follow me at

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Twitter Search About To Eclipse Google Blog Search

Since my realization that that Twitter could rival Google for real-time search I've been tracking various topics using Twitter search and I must say the results have been impressive. Steve Rubel noted in this post the Twitter is about to pass Google blog search. Using's service I ran my own comparison shown below. Google's blog search is actually trending down at -3.2% compared to Twitter search's growth at 32.8%

When I was helping PubSub in 2005 everyone in the blog search space was waiting for Google's blog search to join us and Technorati. Many predicted Google's entry would mean the end for other competing blog search engines. My own experience with Google's blog search is largely disappointing. Many of the responses to my alerts are days if not weeks and in some cases years old.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

RIA Round Up - March 14th, 2009

Here is this weeks round up. A collection of RIA articles and blog posts relevant to the market and technology trends.

Business Case for RIA

Virtual Panel on "The Current and Future State of RIA"

By Staff Writer, March 04, 2009

Info Q has just conducted a Virtual Panel on “The Current and Future State of RIA” featuring the thoughts of many individuals from well‑known and well‑respected companies in the space such as: Mozilla, Curl, Java, Microsoft and Adobe. Each spokesperson was provided with a series of questions relating to whether RIA technologies have “made it”, what the optimal user experience of the RIA should be, what other applications will be driving RIA technology adoption, as well as an overview of the various RIA frameworks and languages.

It's Time To Update The Enterprise Software Licensee Bill of Rights!

By Ray Wang, March 05, 2009

With the market now in favor of the enterprise software licensee, its now time to update the Enterprise Software Licensee's Bill of Rights to include newer topics such as virtualization, SaaS and subscription pricing, newer usage based pricing models, open source, and vendor lock-in avoidance. As mentioned in a call to action in a December 2008 Monday's Musings, this groundbreaking report, originally published in December 2006, will be updated to reflect current market conditions. The goal - improve this reusable contract negotiation model that cuts across the 5 key phases of the software ownership life cycle:

RIA technologies and the downturn
By Ryan Stewart, March 05, 2009

The news is a pretty depressing place right now but there was a small article in the Economist about how the Fashion industry is responding to the downturn that caught my eye. Towards the end of the article the Economist mentioned how designers are looking for ways to leverage digital distribution:

Technology Comparisons

Flash is Dominating the Landscape, but Silverlight is Growing
By Abel Avram, March 10, 2009

A RIA statistics page is publishing the numbers of browsers having RIA plug‑ins installed on a daily basis. The RIA space today is occupied by Flash but Silverlight is catching up.

RIA User Interfaces

The Weekly RIA RoundUp for March 9
By David Tucker, March 09, 2009

This week the Flex SDK gets some bug fixes, iLog releases a new set of visualization components, the new version of jQuery UI was released, Microsoft provides some guidance on Silverlight development, and a talk on the future of Rich Internet Applications. All this and more on the Weekly RIA RoundUp from InsideRIA.

Microsoft heralds Silverlight‑Eclipse link
Info World
By Paul Krill, March 09, 2009

Microsoft is touting support for its Silverlight multimedia application technology in the Eclipse open source tools platform.

Schwartz Explains Sun For You Part 2
SD Times
By Alex Handy, March 06, 2009

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, has been laying out the case for his company's future in his blog recently. Earlier this week, he gave a broad overview of his three‑ or four‑part talk. This is part two of that series. Go watch if you're interested in the company.

Framework for Flex Developers Goes Open Source
Dr. Dobb's Journal
By Staff Writer, March 05, 2009

Farata Systems has open sourced its Clear Toolkit 3.1 framework for developing enterprise Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex and Java. Sun loses Apache and Spring vote on latest Enterprise Java

The Register

By Gavin Clarke, March 05, 2009

Updated: Sun Microsystems' rocky relationship with open source over Java is again in the spotlight, after it lost support of two influential groups for the latest update to enterprise Java.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Twitter The Next Google?

I recently read with interest Chris O'Brien's column, How Twitter could be a threat to Google. At first the headline gave me pause, "yeah right and how's that?" As a novice Twitter user I hadn't seen the connection. Then I got it. Real-time search.

Back in 2005 I spent a year helping a small start-up called PubSub with ambitions to be the next Google. PubSub was the creation of Bob Wyman who had studied the problem of real-time search and realized that in a publish-subscribe model the solution is to store the queries and match them against the published data. He called this "prospective search" because you're essentially saying "Tell me when this happens." Google search is "Retrospective search" as it searches what has already happened. Surely the argument went, the prospective search world must be as big if not bigger than the retrospective world.

But unfortunately in 2005 the Internet had few real-time publish-subscribe data feeds. One such data feed that was experiencing exponential growth was blogs. So PubSub's first popular use was as a real-time search service for blogs. PubSub's many followers used the service to track mentions of anything of interest as it occurred in the blogoshpere - providing immediate notification and the opportunity for immediate response.

While Google, Yahoo and others tried to perform real-time search through their "Alert" function it never worked adequately. The main reason is their alerting mechanisms are based on repeated "retrospective search." The delay in that approach means that alerts to matches can be considerably later than real-time as I pointed out in this blog post, Cutting Through The Incessant Barking

Unfortunately for all of us at PubSub and everyone that had grown to depend on the service our efforts suffered and untimely death.

But now the real-time search concept lives again with the latest publish-subscribe phenomenon Twitter. Twitter is born of the same Cluetrain manifesto empowerment that drove blogging to prominent mainstream status. Twitter is real-time blogging. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder described his creation as

”… an idea to make a more ‘live’ LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it.

Tweets have evolved from “I’m having breakfast” and “I’m watching it snow” to a powerful tool for building brand and a great way to keep up with what you’re passionate about. And because systems like Twitter and Facebook are open there is a whole industry for tools to help make them more effective. Now media giants like CNN are using such tools as a sort of police scanner to be alerted to the next news story. CNN broke the story of The Turkish airline crash which it was alerted to it by Twitter.

Hopefully with the $35M in venture capital Twitter can accomplish what PubSub couldn't. I look forward to the day in the meantime I'm becoming a Twitter power user. You can follow me at

Sunday, February 22, 2009

RIA Wars - Game On

"Tech Titans' Web Battle" - The headline of an article by Brandon Bailey in today's Mercury proclaims as news the story I've been telling for 2 years now - The war for dominance of the next desktop is on. The big boys have realized it for a while now and the battle lines have been drawn within the new RIA platform category. The fact that this story has caught the attention of the Merc is further proof the fight is going mainstream.

Gartner's recent Market focus report on RIA and Forrester's planned wave are further evidence the market is heating up and that RIA is a legitimate category.

We are now seeing a class of applications that are going beyond the simple dynamic interactivity possible through Ajax and into complex standalone desktop applications. With the more sophisticated RIA platforms it is now possible to replace client-server applications with much lower cost web applications.

Of course the Mercury article only mentions the titan products: Adobe's Flash/AIR, Microsoft's Silverlight and Sun's JavaFX but notes:
"analysts say it's unlikely that one company will dominate this field — at least not in the near future. But the market is huge"
This leaves plenty of room for lesser known platforms like Curl's Enterprise RIA to position itself as successfully meeting the needs of enterprise class applications.

Indeed many of Curl's over 400 customers found Curl only after trying and failing with Ajax or Flash. While sites such as Google or Yahoo handle very large numbers of users, the interactivity with business-critical databases and existing legacy applications is not a requirement. Enterprise RIA focuses on Fortune 1000 companies who spent a lot of resources during the 1980’s and 1990’s building client-server applications using the rich user interface of desktop clients such as Windows.

2009 should be a defining year for RIA platforms as more and more enterprises look to replace and modernize their old client server applications with web applications.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tour of California - Tracker

I've been watching the Amgen Tour of California on TourTracker. While there have been some bugs with this complex Flash application overall the experience has been great. Yesterday my friends were in Santa Cruz waiting to see the race pass by and I was alerting them with status via SMS. I felt like I was Chloe running "command central" at 24. I even saw my friends in the live video as the race whizzed by them.

Below is a screen shot of the application which features live video and live telemetry including time, distance, speed and grade and well as GPS tracking in map and profile views. Very cool.

Friday, February 13, 2009

RIA Wars: Microsoft vs Adobe

Elizabeth Montalbano at InfoWorld reports on the RIA war going on between Microsoft and Adobe.

Microsoft's Tim Sneath lashed out at Adobe over Silverlight comments made by Mark Garrett at Thomas Weisel Partners Technology & Telecom Conference 2009 in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Garrett claimed that adoption of Microsoft's Silverlight RIA technology has fizzled. But Sneath countered in a recent post.

"Similarly, the idea that Silverlight is in anything other than rude health is more to do with what Adobe would like to be the case, rather than what actually is the case. The suggestion that “Silverlight adoption has fizzled out in the last 6-9 months” is pretty risible, in fact. For starters, Silverlight 2 shipped four months ago, and in just the first month of its availability, we saw over 100 million successful installations just on consumer machines. That doesn’t sound like “fizzling out” to me – in fact, it makes Garrett’s comments seem as if he’s living in a fantasy world."

Yes indeed - Fantasy-World - game on! With this economy we've all been living in a fantasy world.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

2008 RIA Review in eWeek

Jim Rapoza of eWeek summarizes the year for RIA Platforms. The hardcopy eWeek edition of the story featured the results of the RIA Survey conducted at Inside RIA by ORielly. We were interested to note Curl came in second with 16.1% responding that Curl was next on their list to use.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Looking Forward to 2009 with Curl

While 2008 was a break out year for RIA technologies we expect 2009 to be even more exciting. It was good to see the recognition that Ryan Stewart gave Curl in his recent ZDnet post Looking Ahead to 2009. Thanks Ryan.

Over the last year we have considerably raised the visibility of Curl as the Enterprise RIA platform. We have grown our customer base to over 400. In 2009 we plan to continue to document the customer use cases to help highlight the bottom line business benefits of RIA adoption.

Over 2008 we made numerous releases and continued to deliver on our strategy build out our open source offering with
the WSDK (March 2008) and the CDK (July 2009). We also introduced our Version 7 beta release code named Nitro that significantly improves the ease of installation for off-line desktop applications. Finally we added Eclipse support with the release of the CDE. All in all it was a very busy and productive year.

Already 2009 has started with a bang as we released the CDK-DS which have gotten considerable visibility. With the CDK-DS Curl now has and end to end story for data intensive applications. Next up will be the release of version 7.