Cringely hits a bunch of my hot buttons in his latest musing.
The obvious answer is for regular folks like you and me to own our own last mile Internet connection. … The idea is simple: run Fiber To The Home (FTTH) and pay for it as a community of customers — a cooperative. The cost per fiber drop, according to Bill’s estimate, is $1,000-$1,500 if 40 percent of homes participate. Using the higher $1,500 figure, the cost to finance the system over 10 years at today’s prime rate would be $17.42 per month.
What we’d get for our $17.42 per month is a gigabit-capable circuit with no bits inside - just a really fast connection to some local point of presence where you could connect to ANY ISP wanting to operate in your city.
Sign me up.IE7 beta 3 is out. &^%$@&!!
When I tried to install I had the message that IE7 was already installed. Go to Add Remove Programs to Uninstall.
Did that, finally found IE7 Beta2 it under Windows XP, after clicking show updates.
But beta 2 is still installed.
On Google, found that others have the problem.
To uninstall Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview and return to Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP
Click â€œStart,â€ and then click â€œControl Panel.â€
Click â€œAdd or Remove Programs.â€
Check â€œShow Updatesâ€ at the top of the dialog box.
Scroll down the list to â€œWindows XP â€“ Software Updates,â€ select â€œInternet Explorer 7 Beta 2Preview,â€ and then click “Change/Remove.”
If “Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview” does not exist, run %windir%\$NtUninstallie7bet2p$\spuninst\spuninst.exe. You need to have “view hidden folders” enabled. %windir% is your Windows installation directory, which is normally ‘C:\Windows’ on most systems.
But that directory does not exist. Arrrgh!
I’m trapped on Beta2 with no way out. I can feel a rebuild coming on. &^%$@&!!
Comment: Ian add’s some insightful analysis …
You say that Xtra should be sweating, but they operate more in the space
occupied by AOL in America. Their customers typically are not techies and
are not interested in moving. I tried to tell my father he would save
money, but that wasn’t enough incentive.
The ISP that should be sweating is Paradise. A lot of techie customers went
there because they had true broadband if you are on their cable network and
good game servers before being bought by TelstraClear.
I haven’t seen a lot new and innovative from them in a long time and their
stickiness relies on that they can deliver a triple play, cable access,
digital TV and phone.
Vodaphone are looking to bring in 3G broadband, and you can buy the router
at Disk Smiths now. Change flats and you don’t loose your connectivity
IPTV is just around the corner and Skype is here now.On Gmail for Domains
Chatting with Phil this morning we noted that a few people in the office have already moved their email from ISP’s to Google.
When you think about what an ISP provides you, the two things that 99% of people use are
- An on ramp to the Internet
ISP email has minimal differentiation. They pretty much all do spam reduction and have a web client. They often don’t allow SMTP relay or an authenticated SMTP service so you often have to change the SMTP server when you change networks when travelling.
The fact that an ISP provides service in your area and has your email is their only stickiness.
GMail’s vastly improved email service (including an authenticated SMTP server so you don’t have to change your settings), with free storage and rich search and now domain hosting will take email off ISP’s. Google can continue to add value by integrating in other services (they already have) like Calendar, Chat, Checkout etc.
This creates a much more fluid relationship with ISP’s. All we need is access. I can readily move to the cheaper service because my email is no longer with the ISP. Xtra should be sweating. This is a threat that erodes value and hard, if not impossible, to arrest.
This strategy is not unlike what MS tried to do with Passport. Google seem to be doing it more incrementally and without fanfare. The release of checkout today is another big step.
Anyhoo, two wishes for GMail so far …
- That I could copy all my email from one account to another
- HTML signatures
I’m on the GMail hosted domains beta and have set my MX records to point to GMail. Working great.
So I’ve moved me (and the family) off Paradise.Net. This would work great for SME’s.
GMail is the first significant upgrade to mail since WebMail (how many years ago?). No reason at all to have a standard pop account.
It’s free, it’s better, you can keep everything.
Only thing I haven’t yet got working is POP3 access. The examples assume you’re a email@example.com address. Putting in my hosted settings doesn’t work. Any ideas?
Umm, RTFM all the way through and set all the security settings :) Thanks Alex.Telecom Wholesale
New Zealand Telecom has just announced that it will preempt regulation and separate out wholesale from retail. BT did this a few years ago.
Computer World: BREAKING NEWS: Telecom opts for voluntary separation
This is much better management and leadership from Telecom. Big news. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts.C++ skills wanted
We’re still looking for senior and intermediate developers for ArchiveManager.
We’re finding that C++ developers moving into .Net are really good.
So if you’re a C++’er, and want to be part of our Wellington based ArchiveManager team, please make contact.What does Net Profit mean for startup’s?
For most companies Profit, Net Profit or EBITDA is an important measure, but for start up companies, Net Profit is actually something else.
Net Profit is the gap between Income and Expenses. For established companies you want as large a (positive) gap as possible.
In a start up company, you actually want to invest as much as you can. Ideally as money comes in you invest it (in another developer, more testing, marketing), so ideally your net profit is zero.
In fact if you have a Net Profit at all you are under-investing.
But before you can spend you need the cash. In software startup’s the gap between receiving a Purchase Order (which in accrual accounting is immediately Income) and receiving the cash is significant. Normally it is the later of [Implementation Time + Payment Terms] or [the following 20th of the month after Acceptance].
Start up companies soon find that they not only need cash to fund investment, but they need cash to fund working capital. A big part of the working capital is the 2+ months of debtors they may need to carry because of the payment delay.
This cash-flow requirement therefore delays investment. Therefore Net Profit for startup’s is this necessary investment delay while they’re waiting for the cash to arrive.
A large Net Profit in a startup is therefore more cause for concern then glee. Ideally a start up should show strong revenue growth and minimal profit as they maximise investment in the early days.WinFS, gone but not forgotten, yet
Alex sent me the heads up that WinFS was no longer a Vista feature. It was in Longhorn, and then just after Longhorn.
WinFS was one of the most anticipated features of Vista. Simply it was a Relational File System. This was to change the way we access our information.
The WinFS technologies get split into SQL Server and ADO.Net. There is now NO relational file system on the horizon.
Doesn’t this sound exactly like Exchange and Kodiak.
The delivery of the message sparked another thread. We come to bury WinFS.
Update: Jonsie gets the significance.Taking opportunties
Sometimes you just have to take advantage of the benefits of living here …
A week of snow. Monday with a high parked over the Island. No emails today.Web databases
Check out the demo of DabbleDB. Database on the web.
If I had infinite time this was one of the apps I really wanted to write but these guys have done a slick job at it. Especially the dynamic structuring of data.
Awesome!Requests for Proposals
Chris Quin from Gen-I notes one of the frustrations of the RFP Process.
Quin sees a major stumbling block in the request for proposals (RFP) process, which is where a business asks the technology provider to detail its solution to what the company has in mind.
“Companies only ever get answers to the questions that are asked,” he says. The vendor and customer often find themselves on opposite sides of the fence, and the process becomes combative instead of collaborative.
“It’s important that both client and service provider work together on business problems in a way that creates solutions that can only come from joint innovation,” he says.
Another frustration in the Politically Correct - CYA world of RFP’s is that a number of bidders need to consume hours of effort to respond, yet by definition only one can win. In many cases therefore the total amount of bidding effort (non productive time) is more than the job. Often 10 companies lose 10k of productivity responding to a project worth 50k.
Lost Productivity = (NumBids x AvgBidHours) - AvgBidHours
While there may be some cases when a full RFP is required I would like to see more understanding of the lost productivity of vendors and break out of the less than optimal framework that Chris describes.
- Use more of a Request for Partner at the early stages. That is simply credentials and can be reused. This allows the field to be narrowed quickly,
- Once a partner is selected. Use work-shopping to see how the team works and works with your team. Select 3 partners. With minimal preparation this sets a level playing field for talent and some good ideas may come out. Perhaps there is some cost recovery.
- If a vendor has done similar work before, or won RFP’s before and has good references, then the organisation should be able to select that vendor without retribution. This does not necessarily limit competition as new vendors can always make contact and paint the argument for their particular solution and for a broader evaluation process. Perhaps publishing contracts awarded gives a level of control over that.
Another aspect I’ve noticed is that often the preparation of the RFP is outsourced to a consulting firm. In this case that consultant is motivated to make themselves look clever (and therefore orient the RFP around their solution) and benefit from the RFP and responding process being complex, drawn out and multi-party for as long as possible.
The RFP process is inefficient and is an impediment to productivity. Current procurement practices are a barrier for innovation and growth.
Comment: Colin adds
Agree whole heartedly with your comments. It can be, as you know, an extremely frustrating process especially for smaller vendors and vendor partners who have limited resources in which to respond to large RFPâ€™s, normally electing to decline the invitation to bid. Instead the smaller companies will only work on those opportunities where they stand a better than even chance of winning. That means a Purchaser doesnâ€™t always get to see who is in the market and what they have to offer, regardless of our size.5th July
The next Unlimited Potential event is looking like a biggie ….
Gadgets, Games and Geeks
Join us for one whopping great big geeky networking fest. Hear and network with some awesome speakers and exhibitors who are passionate about technology.
When: Wednesday 5th July, 2006
Time: 4.30 for 5.30 start
Where: Renoulf Foyer, Wellington Convention Centre
Speakers, Exhibits, Drinks and Networking
Unlimited Potential has invited inventors, suppliers and commentators to give us the skinny on whatâ€™s up, whatâ€™s breaking internationally and in our own back yard. We also have some local and global vendors to showcase the latest gadgets, games and home media solutions. Youâ€™ll have a great opportunity to view, experience and interact with their latest gadgets.
The Speakers & Exhibitors
Hear media commentator on all things cyber Paul Reynolds, and speakers from The McDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Mabode, Instinct Entertainment. Te Papa, Orb and the GeekzoneÂ®
Exhibitors include Mabode, Microsoft, JonnyNet, Parkside Publishers, Enhance Lighting, Centruflow, Orb, Telecom, NZ Wireless, Instinct Entertainment, Apple Computer Division of Renaissance Ltd, Vodafone and Canon
You could also be a WINNER - Apple is giving away an iPod Nano!
And it’s all for FREE - you just have to RSVP at www.up.org.nz and pick up your name badge at the door. New and existing members welcome!Best in Show
How cool is this!
ArchiveManager (nee AfterMail) won Best Exchange Product at Microsoft TechEd in Boston last week.
This is one of the biggest software events in the world.
I’m really, really excited and proud of our team. This is recognition that we can deliver world class technology from New Zealand.
By being part of Quest Software we have been able to take our product global.
While it takes a while, our market is now understanding how we have revolutionized a product category by doing things differently. In our case, rather than just focusing on email storage management issues, we took a broader view and remodelled email data to Transform Email into Enterprise Information. This award means that our message is getting through.
Here is the release …
Quest Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: QSFT) today announced that Quest Archive Manager has won an â€œAttendeesâ€™ Pickâ€ award, as chosen by attendees at Microsoft TechEd 2006, held in Boston June 12-15. The competition was sponsored by MSD2D.com, and Archive Manager was named â€œBest Exchange Product,â€ one of seven award categories.
Development for the Archive Manager product is led by its New Zealand-based development team, and this award is further recognition for this team.
The Archive Manager technology came to Quest through the acquisition of New Zealand-based AfterMail in January 2006, and the product has since been updated and licensed by customers worldwide. Previously, AfterMail was recognized by the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Awards Program with an award for innovation in ISV/Software Solutions Competency for the Asia Pacific region at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in 2005.
â€œThis award further demonstrates the capacity of New Zealand-based developers to create world-class software,â€ said Bill Stow, worldwide vice president of research and development, Quest Software. “The technology that was originally developed in Wellington has now been successfully integrated with Quest’s portfolio of products. Due to Quest’s investment and commitment, we are now recognised as having a leading e-mail archiving product. We have an exciting roadmap ahead that will further differentiate ourselves in this evolving space.â€
Allow me to get emotional for a second.
It was less than three years ago that Mike, Geoff, Tim, Grant and I were sitting in my home office scratching some ideas down on a whiteboard. Our goal was to develop a world class software product.
So much water has gone under the bridge in that time, but to have received this award I think means we have achieved our goal.
This is very satisfying and I hope motivates others to have a go.Geek Presents
Laptop bags made out of recycled billboards …One for summer
On Gizmodo, USB Air Conditioned Shirt …
“When it comes to USB powered gadgets, this doesnâ€™t just take the cake, it takes the entire bakery and then burns it down for the insurance money. The USB shirt has two fans on the left and right sides of the back, taking in air to cleanse all the sweat off your spare tire. Thereâ€™s an external switch on the USB cable to adjust the fan speed, in case your sweat doesnâ€™t quite go up to eleven.
The shirt is also powered by four AA batteries in case you donâ€™t have a USB slot anywhere nearby. It even plugs into the cigarette lighter in your carâ€”because itâ€™s such a great idea hooking up your body to your carâ€™s electrical system”GMail Client for BlackBerry
Thanks to Tarik and others for the link.
This works pretty well.Real Hardware
With two children weekends aren’t what they were a few years ago.
Sounds like an excuse for A NEW POWER TOOL.
Say hello to my DeWalt 4mm Electric Planer.
- High power motor for effortless cutting, even in hard woods. True!
- Left and right chip ejection for convenience
- Front handle depth control in clearly marked 0.1mm steps for accurate setting with a positive stop position. It does feel positive!
- Rubber coated front and main handles eliminates slipping for greater comfort and control. Didn’t slip once!
- A large planer blade drum rotating at high speed provides an excellent finish. Smooth as an egg!
- 3 chamfering grooves in the front shoe make precision fitting jobs very easy. I chamfered! It was easy.
Job done. If anyone needs any planing done this weekend, give me a call.More on Code Sharing
Flying back from Sydney last night, two things.
- The plane was less than a 1/4 capacity. Qantas must be loosing a tidy sum every week. We’re probably going to loose daily flights from one of the airlines anyway.
- Where were all the people? I flew out on the first flight of the business week, back on the last flight. A few years ago those flights were packed with suits. Aren’t we doing business any more? We have a huge market just a few hours away and I don’t think we’re exploiting it.
It was also clear that while we think a lot about Australia, they don’t spend many cycles on us.
No doubt though that Sydney is a beautiful City. Had breakfast over looking the an inner harbour beach.
Middle of winter, people swimming laps across the bay. Nice.The Bill Story
Actually Microsoft does get the grassroots thing.
I think we’ll see a lot more of the front door/back door blur of traditional media with the new bogging/vblogging media.
The message is so much richer with the informal video clip.
On the announcement. Well all the Ray Ozzie theories were true. I’m not sure its a big deal but there will be commentary ad nauseam I’m sure.Grassroots vs Mainstream + MS strategy
Scoble leaving Microsoft to go to Podtech was an interesting threshold in bloggings relationship with mainstream media.
The articles subject is also interesting for it’s clarity on what are the Microsoft strategies.
- Vista. Which, regular readers will know, I think will happen more slowly than MS would hope and creates other opportunities due to the long tail of XP.
- Server Farms. I completely agree with MS. This is huge. I’m excited they’re betting big here.
- Xbox. I’m no gamer but bringing lifestyle computing into the living room makes sense to me. I think MS is doing a great job in this space.
I own Microsoft shares. They’re down a bit but I’m holding on to them and buying more if they go lower. Microsoft is not perfect, we’re in a transition phase as the promise of the Internet arrives, but they will get there.