Posts filed under ‘wikipedia’

Wikipedia could shut within 3-4 months

wikipedia.jpg In a rather extraordinary example of begging for money, Florence Devouard, Chairwoman of the Wikimedia foundation has told an audience at the Lift07 conference that Wikipedia has the financial resources to run its servers for another 3-4 months, and that without further funding Wikipedia “might disappear”.Could Wikipedia shut it’s doors? Tthe site alone would be worth at least $xxx million, if not a billion, after all, there’s literally no better property out there when it comes to traffic and authority than Wikipedia. And whoever bought it would not only have an amazing marketing tool, they could even control the truth, at least as most of us know it. Indeed, the likes of Microsoft wouldn’t need to hire people to edit entries, they could simply pay the new owner. Text Link sales alone across the site would more than pay for the servers the site uses, tens of thousands of times over. I smell a begging bluff on this one, but Devouard did make the claim.

(via Via Digitalis/ SEO Black Hat)

February 10, 2007 at 11:33 am 2 comments

Corporate Profile – AdventNet, Inc. (creator of Zoho)

Company: AdventNet, Inc.

Company logo:
https://i0.wp.com/www.zoho.com/images/adventnet_logo.gifhttps://i2.wp.com/www.zoho.com/images/zoho_logo_new.gif

Location: Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA

Launch Date: Founded in 1996

In the company’s own words, what is it? Zoho is one of the brands from AdventNet, a software company started in 1996 focusing on building affordable software for businesses.

AdventNet has served a diverse range of enterprise IT, networking and telecom customers. We know our customers have a choice of many vendors, and we want to earn their business and their trust by working hard for it. And having earned their business, we want to keep them happy so they will choose to do business with us again. These simple ideas have served us well, during good times and bad. AdventNet has achieved impressive growth, and has emerged as a rock-solid supplier and partner, with sound financials.

Outside quote about company: Chris Harris of the School Library Journal said, “I have become hooked on Zoho Writer, a Web-based word processor. Similar tools include Writely and ThinkFree. Featuring many of the standard functions you would expect from a desktop-installed software suite, these Web applications enable you to select fonts, colors, and text styles or insert bullets, tables, and images. Users can auto-save their work, find and replace content, and even spell-check. You can also save documents as templates—for example, a lesson plan template that is preformatted with your basic information.

So how does a tool like Zoho Writer differ from OpenOffice? For one, it’s free. The real distinctions start to show up, however, after you have finished typing. Save a document with your desktop word processor and there it sits. Sure, you can move it around using the Sneaker-Net on a USB flash drive or e-mail the document, but there are serious limitations. Save a document using Zoho Writer and it is available wherever you can access the Web. You can share the document with read-only or read/write permissions with a simple e-mail invitation. Or you can make the document public and allow anyone to read what you have written. The options don’t stop there; you can also automatically post it to a blog, export it to a PDF file, or even save it in the standard DOC format for use in Microsoft Word.”

Features: Zoho Office Suite:
* Online word processor
* Online alternative to traditional spreadsheet applications
* Online presentation tool
* A web-based collaboration groupware that includes Email
Client, Documents, Calendar and more
* Zoho Wiki

Screen Shots:

adventnet-zoho-site.JPG

adventnet-profile.JPG

Management/Directors:
Sridhar Vembu, CEO
Dr. Tony Thomas, CTO
Jai Anand, Controller

Relevant Links:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061204.gtingramtwooh04/BNStory/PersonalTech/home
http://news.com.com/2061-12572_3-6123987.html
http://www.tmcnet.com/news/2006/09/26/1928455.htm
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=18053&hed=17+MS+Office+Killers

January 5, 2007 at 4:32 pm 4 comments

Interview with Bryan Menell, CEO of NanoLearning

nanolearning-interview1.JPG

Below is an interview with Bryan Menell, CEO and Founder of NanoLearning. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://www.nanolearning.com/. You can also view their demo at http://www.demo.com/demonstrators/demo2006fall/79901.php.

TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?

NanoLearning: NanoLearning is a marketplace for learning created by everyday people. With basic computer skills anyone can create rich, interactive flash-based learning with no programming required. Everybody has unique expertise to share, but not all subject matter experts are computer experts. Some people call us the eBay of learning, or the Wikipedia of learning.

TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?

NanoLearning: We have no competitors. There is no other easy way to create rich learning experiences without buying software or learning complex programming languages.

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

NanoLearning: Creating NanoLearning is like creating a Powerpoint document, only our templates are for interactive learning activities or assessments (like multiple choice questions). Once created, they have a URL so you can link to them from anywhere on the web. When people see your NanoLearning they can recommend it and leave feedback on it. It’s so easy to update your NanoLearning based upon the feedback of the community that NanoLearning will actually get better the more people use it. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed to tell you when people leave feedback for you, or when an author has updated their NanoLearning.

TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?

NanoLearning: Anybody and everybody who has some unique expertise that they would like to share with the world. We have found that in business things move very quickly, and there is no time to engage the training organization for 6-8 weeks. With NanoLearning they can get learning and certification of knowledge out to the worldwide workforce in a matter of minutes, rather than weeks.

TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?

NanoLearning: Soon you will be able to embed NanoLearning into your MySpace page, pull in videos from the web, and images from websites like Flickr.

TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?

NanoLearning: We’re striving to release new features and functions every week in response to the needs of our user community. We also have many organizations that want an internal version of NanoLearning so that their information stays private.

TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?

NanoLearning: We’re probably our own harshest critics. We think we can make the user experience simpler, more robust, and more fun and flexible.

TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?

NanoLearning: Listening to our users. We think that the great web services have been responsive to their users, and quick to roll out new features frequently.

TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?

NanoLearning: Our users have told us that we are the most innovative new learning application to come along in ten years. Right now online learning costs $40,000 per learning hour to create, and it’s done by the experts with costly tools. We’re trying to lower the costs by two orders or magnitude because that’s what ignites revolutions, like what we’re seeing in online video right now.

TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?

NanoLearning: We’ve bootstrapped this company from the start, but we’re now being approached by venture and institutional investors. If we want to reach out to the world more rapidly, it will probably take some outside financing to do it.

TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?

NanoLearning: We launched in late September 2006 at DEMOfall. The response from the press, the venture community, and the other companies presenting was tremendous. We made some lifelong friends there.

nanolearning-interview2.JPG

October 27, 2006 at 3:25 pm 7 comments

Technology Review Names Joshua Schachter of Del.icio.us (Yahoo) Innovator of The Year

Report by James Surowiecki of Technology Review:

Joshua Schachter, 32

Del.icio.us (Yahoo)

How tags exploit the self-interest of individuals to organize the Web for everyone.

In 2001, a wonky Wall Street quantitative analyst named Joshua Schachter had a problem. In the late 1990s, he’d started a website called Memepool, which was a simple collection of Web links that he had found interesting, useful, or both. Over time, as Memepool’s users began sending in links they thought the site should feature, Schachter’s personal list of bookmarked Web pages grew to more than 20,000 entries, far more than any folder system could handle. To bring some order to the chaos, Schachter wrote an application called Muxway, which allowed him to manage his links by giving each a short label, or tag–enabling him to call up all the pages that were tagged, say, “Wi-Fi” or “math.”

People continued to view Schachter’s list of interesting links; but now, because of Muxway, those links were organized around tags. Pretty soon, about ten thousand people every day were stopping by. Schachter realized that even with (or perhaps because of) the deluge of information available on the Web, people were still hungry for good links, and they were interested in finding out what others thought was interesting. He also figured that if tagging was helpful to him, it could make storing and finding bookmarks easier for everyone else. So with that in mind, he rewrote Muxway, and in 2003 he launched it as a website called del.icio.us. Within a couple of years, hundreds of thousands of people were using del.icio.us, and it had metamorphosed into a system for organizing not just individuals information but the whole Web. Today it exemplifies the promise of what’s often called Web 2.0–websites and online applications that rely on user participation to achieve their greatest value.

At its core, del.icio.us is a bookmarking system: a place to store all those links that don’t fit in a “Favorites” folder. But it took off because it offers everyone what Muxway had offered Schachter: a way not just to collect links in one place but also to organize them. As people trawled the Web, they could tag interesting pages using whatever words they wanted, and del.icio.us would keep track of them all. “You bookmark for one of two reasons: either you think you’re going to need that page again somewhere down the road, or you don’t have time to read it now, but you want to read it later,” Schachter says. “The challenge is, once you’ve got all these bookmarks, how do you manage them? The problem were really dealing with is memory and recall, and using technology to make your memory more scalable.”

Schachter deliberately avoided imposing any rules about how people could use tags. He knew it wouldn’t work: “If I went in there and said, Hey, you’re using that tag wrong, people would just tell me to fuck off,” he says. He also knew that letting people use their own tags–instead of choosing them from a menu he provided–would make del.icio.us more likely to be genuinely useful. Each person who uses del.icio.us is effectively coming up with an idiosyncratic system for classifying the Web: an article about, say, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban might be tagged “Mavericks” by one person, “crazy” by another, and “Mavericks” and “crazy” by a third. (Del.icio.us allows users to pin as many tags on a page as they want.) “If you’re trying to tag a page in a way that’ll get you back there someday, you want to use your vocabulary, not someone else’s,” he says.

Though del.icio.us has become a way for users to collectively organize information across the Web, it did not begin as anything so grand. Rather, it emerged as a way to help individuals manage their own information. “For a system to be successful, the users of the system have to perceive that it’s directly valuable to them,” Schachter says. “If you need scale in order to create value, it’s hard to get scale, because there’s little incentive for the first people to use the product. Ideally, the system should be useful for user number one.” This makes del.icio.us different from systems that rely on what economists call “network externalities”–meaning they’re valuable only if lots of people use them. It was hard to get the first person to buy a fax machine, because a fax machine is useless if you’re the only one who has one. But even for the first person to use del.icio.us–Schachter–it worked.

As it happens, lots of people found del.icio.us valuable right from the start, making it a proverbial grassroots hit. Schachter did no advertising, no marketing. But the site was so successful that in 2005 he quit his day job at Morgan Stanley, raised some money from outside investors, and launched del.icio.us as a regular business. Less than a year later, Schachter sold del.icio.us to Yahoo, where he now works in the Groups business, running the site full time.

Schachter’s original focus on the individual user has never wavered, and it remains essential to the way del.icio.us works. But as more and more people started to use the site, something interesting happened: when aggregated, all those individual tags created a useful system for categorizing Web pages. On the surface, del.icio.us doesn’t seem designed to do this, since each person makes his or her own tags, and there’s no overarching authority to maintain order. But even with no one in charge, the product of all the individual decisions of del.icio.us’s users is surprisingly well organized–and surprisingly intelligent. That is, if you do a search on del.icio.us for all the pages that are tagged with a particular word, you’re likely to come up with a remarkably good–and well-rounded–selection of related Web sources. In other words, although del.icio.us didn’t need lots of users to be useful, once it had lots of users, it became valuable in an entirely new way. Almost accidentally, it became an excellent tool for making sense of the Web.

What del.icio.us’s users were creating–without necessarily knowing they were doing so–was what technology blogger Thomas Vander Wal has dubbed a “folksonomy,” a flexible system of organization that emerges organically from the choices users make. We’re all familiar with the alternative, the kind of rule-bound, top-down classification scheme that Internet theorist Clay Shirky calls “ontological” in nature. The Dewey decimal system is an example: every object is assigned its place in a hierarchical system of organization, and every object is defined as, ultimately, one thing: a book goes in one place in the library and nowhere else. In a folksonomy, by contrast, definitions are fuzzier. With del.icio.us, the same Web page has many different tags, which often aren’t even related to one another, and no explicit rules are being followed. Web pages are therefore listed not in one place but in many places, and sometimes pages aren’t quite where you might expect them to be. So folksonomies are messier than “ontologies” are.

What del.icio.us has shown, though, is that folksonomies’ imperfections are outweighed by their benefits. In the first place, folksonomies are dynamic rather than static. A Web folksonomy thus allows us to reclassify content according to our changing interests. An academic paper that’s interesting today might be equally interesting a decade from now–but why it’s interesting, why people care about it, might be very different. A traditional categorization system has a hard time dealing with this: once the essence of an object is defined, it’s supposed to be defined for good. In a folksonomy, the reclassification happens almost automatically–as people start tagging the paper with new, more relevant tags, for example. Web folksonomies are also better at capturing the multiple meanings and uses that a given site has, rather than constraining the possible range of meanings. It’s useful, after all, to learn that many people have tagged stories about Mark Cuban “crazy,” in addition to indicating everything else that’s important about him. Finally, folksonomies are cheap. Imagine the labor and the time it would take to construct a traditional organizing system for all the pages on the Web, and then to maintain and update it. Then recognize that del.icio.us is producing a ceaselessly revised organizing system–at almost no cost.

The real magic of folksonomies–and the reason sites like del.icio.us can create so much value with so little hired labor–is that they require no effort from users beyond their local work of tagging pages for themselves. It just happens that the by-product of that work is a very useful system for organizing information. This distinguishes del.icio.us from other high-profile Web 2.0 sites like Wikipedia and Digg, which people contribute to without reaping any obvious personal benefit.

Schachter thinks the fact that del.icio.us does not rely on the selflessness of its users makes it more robust than it might otherwise be. “Im not a big believer in expecting a large number of people to act in an altruistic fashion,” he says. “You want to rely on people to do what they do.” The echoes of Adam Smith are unmistakable: del.icio.us is a system that, like a healthy market, turns individual self-interest into collective good.

Del.icio.us now has more than 300,000 registered users, and it generates as much traffic in a single day as it did in its entire first year. But even as tagging has become an industry buzzword that businesses are straining to associate themselves with, Schachter is confronting the fact that the vast majority of people on the Web don’t tag at all–and probably have never even heard of tagging. So how does he expand his sites audience? “You have to solve a problem that people actually have,” Schachter says. “But it’s not always a problem that they know they have, so that’s tricky.” He remains more focused on the site’s value to the individual than on its folksonomic aspects, because to him, helping individuals store and recall information is far more important than classifying the Web. And it may well be individual value that’s most likely to keep del.icio.us growing.

Regardless of what happens, Schachter has already shown that out of the seeming chaos of hundreds of thousands of independent and eccentric judgments, order and wisdom can emerge. And if you think about del.icio.us in terms of his idea of making memory scalable, he’s also helped create a rather remarkable social memory system, in which all of us are able to find more and better information than we would on our own. As Schachter puts it, “The one who stashes a page doesn’t have to be the one who ends up recalling it. Del.icio.us is a storer of one’s own attention. But it also means you can share it with others.” And that ability will only become more valuable over time. “The better you understand the world, the better you’ll do,” Schachter says. “I really think that in the end, more understanding wins.”

–James Surowiecki

September 9, 2006 at 12:06 pm 2 comments

What Does Web 2.0 Really Mean?

Eric Benderoff of TechNewsWorld.com
Chicago Tribune
09/09/06 4:00 AM PT

If you blog or rant about a lousy meal, rank the performance of a new gadget or post photos somewhere of your trip to Wrigley Field, you’re part of the Web 2.0 revolution. If you surf the Web just to read a news story or browse some photos, though, you’re stuck in Web 1.0 mode. If you don’t like to participate, the Web’s not for you anymore. In its short history of having a huge impact on society, the Internet has leapt from one fad to the next, embracing each new trend as the next killer app while dismissing each old one as if it were an annoying baby dancing across your computer screen. We once wrote endlessly about B2B commerce, or B2C if you sold knickknacks to the masses. Before Y2K, eyeballs were required if you planned on building a sticky Web site. We droned on about how our New Economy was causing a paradigm shift, but then the dot-bomb exploded. And who could ever forget the Hamster Dance?

The Latest Trend

Now we have Web 2.0, and any effort to describe this trend “is like trying to nail gel onto a wall,” said a tech executive. In recent months, I’ve been flooded with pitches from companies that offer Web 2.0 services. These range from travel sites to online ticket brokers, from the next great social networking idea to sellers of women’s shoes. So what does Web 2.0 mean? Looking for clues at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that some say is an apt example of the trend because anyone can revise an entry, I printed out an eight-page definition for Web 2.0. “We think of it more as a philosophy than a set of technologies,” said Kenneth Dotson, chief marketing officer for TicketsNow.com. The Crystal Lake, Ill., reseller of tickets to the theater and ballgames recently added event reviews by customers to its Web site, a very Web 2.0 thing to do. Dotson, who made the “gel” comparison, pointed me to a posting from the company credited with coining the phrase “Web 2.0,” first used in 2004 for a conference on emerging Internet trends. That the term continues to pick up steam nearly three years later seems remarkable. Did I miss the passing of the phrase “Internet time,” which Wikipedia helpfully compares with a New York minute?

No Consensus

In his explainer, Tim O’Reilly, chief executive of O’Reilly Media, credited colleague Dan Dougherty with coming up with Web 2.0 after noting that, post-crash, the Internet again was beginning to purr with new concepts. O’Reilly agrees there is a huge amount of disagreement over the term, and that some people think it’s just another buzzword, before embarking on his own 17-page explanation of Web 2.0. So after reading about platforms versus applications, the Internet’s long tail, the Web’s collective intelligence, “folksonomy” and content syndication, here’s the gist: If you blog or rant about a lousy meal, rank the performance of a new gadget or post photos somewhere of your trip to Wrigley Field, you’re part of the Web 2.0 revolution. However, if you surf the Web just to read a news story or browse some photos, though, you’re stuck in Web 1.0 mode. If you don’t like to participate, the Web’s not for you anymore.

Sam Rogoway, CEO of Tripmates.com, a travel Web site that launched Aug. 1, said his site’s interactive content makes it a “Travel 2.0” destination. “People enjoy the idea of asking someone who was just in Chicago, or lives there, about what the nightlife is like on Thursdays,” he said. If you’re thinking of taking a trip to the south of France, you can read Graham’s Tripmate post from Nice and look at his photos. If you don’t care what Graham has to say, well, that’s not very 2.0 of you. (He’s 24 and from Las Vegas and seems like a nice guy, by the way.)

An E-Commerce Necessity

There’s a tremendous push in the e-commerce world today to incorporate Web 2.0 thinking to sell everything from pots and pans to pens. Thanks to the phenomenal success recently of social networking sites like MySpace  and the popularity of the user-generated videos posted on YouTube, marketers are rushing to carve out their own niche. That’s another Web 2.0 concept, Rogoway points out. Basically, if you let people comment on a movie, restaurant or even an encased meat product, others will take these heartfelt endorsements as a call for action. “We feel we can enhance the business if we give users more control of the content,” said TicketNow’s Dotson.

So, according to Web 2.0 proponents, participation is the future.

Will that ever go out of style? After all, they still do the wave at Wrigley Field.

© 2006 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. All rights reserved.
© 2006 ECT News Network. All rights reserved.

September 9, 2006 at 9:12 am 2 comments


New TechAddress Launched!