The Age of Stream

Nova Spivak (the father of Twine) has an excellent post on how the Web, or rather it's use by the consumers of the Web, has morphed. I've had many of the the same thoughts about the way in which Web usage (and the value of the web) has changed to be more than a hyperlinked collection of information nodes that the end user 'navigates' in a form of active, directed exploration. The earliest Web explorers set out to traverse the linkages, which remained fairly static. Now, with the rate of new linkages, new sources and the rapid revision of existing structures, the Web is so immense and so plastic that our efforts are focused on the nature of the new, the rates of change and managing both the volume and complexity.

From the very early days of the Web, we've seen attempts to create the means by which information "comes to you." I think of the excitement I felt when using some of the earliest publish-subscribe services that delivered content by email, the streaming "tickers", and eventually the RSS feed and the feed reader. The Stream, however, is a different beast. Consider Twitter and other micro-blog offerings that seem most popularly associated with "social media." In some sense, the microblog is the analog of the "dumb network", where the application of filters and searches and selective attention is made NOT at the source (the publisher) and NOT only at the sink, but in combination (i.e., a easily modified subscription to multiple sources, plus the late-binding application of filters by the recipient and consumer).

Nova poses a few excellent questions in this post, and it's kicked off a number of worthwhile, Sunday-morning reflections and ideas. Welcome to the Age of Stream.

Is the Stream What Comes After the Web

... One of the most difficult challenges will be how to know what to pay attention to in the Stream: Information and conversation flow by so quickly that we can barely keep up with the present, let alone the past. How will know what to focus on, what we just have to read, and what to ignore or perhaps read later?

Recently many sites have emerged that attempt to show what is trending up in real-time, for example by measuring how many retweets various URLs are getting in Twitter. But these services only show the huge and most popular trends. What about all the important stuff that's not trending up massively? Will people even notice things that are not widely RT'd or "liked"? Does popularity equal importance of content? ...


Enterprise has talent. Unleashing it is the problem.

John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison on why you need to reconfigure the company around your people.

Talent is Everything

But how, exactly, does talent get better faster? Workers develop not through formal training programs but by trying new things, by experimenting with what they do in their jobs and how they do it , and by tackling real problems with other talented people with different backgrounds and skills—people who are just as likely to work for other companies, in other locales, as they are to be working in the same company. Talented employees develop best by participating in talent networks—the largely invisible matrix structures, made up of knowledge flows, that run within firms and, with increasing frequency, between and across them.


Extruding the cloud into the enterprise

Recently, Phil Wainewrite took Microsoft to task with respect to their advocacy of hybrid clouds ... meaning that he thought they were being self-serving by maintaining that the enterprise required on-premise software as well as infrastructure, platform and applications "in the cloud." In this piece, however, he modifies the definitions so as to recognize a hybrid solution that makes sense.

Hybrid cloud or half-hearted kludge


What we’re looking at here, then, is a local unit that supplements a cloud service in the interests of a better user experience and more economic resource usage. It’s a pragmatic response to the reality of having a large number of users at a single site, in which case you may as well extend the cloud to the site. It’s the same principle as implementing Gears to offload part of an application’s processing load to local clients (or, more ambitiously, Google’s experiments with its Native Client). Why not move that part of the cloud service closer to the client if it makes the service faster and more scalable? So long as it’s an optional feature rather than a requirement, it’s fully consistent with a cloud philosophy. ...


Attention Span 2009.05.06

Virtualization continues to pose management challenges


A majority of IT departments are deploying virtualization, but still most don't feel comfortable with the tools and technologies they have in place to manage application performance or troubleshoot problems in the virtual environment, according to recent survey results. ...

The vendor, which asked about virtualization in its State of the Network Global Study 2009, discovered that respondents might not be able to invest in tools to manage these advanced environments, considering 73% were being asked to do more with fewer resources. More than half of those polled that are tightening budgets said such actions can lead to IT degradation and failures, and 65% haven’t experienced layoffs in this economic climate. ...

Digging deeper, when asked what the primary troubleshooting problem was, 78% said identifying the problem source. A distant second (37%) identified monitoring bandwidth consumption as a problem area, while 36% pointed to measuring latency on applications as a concern. About one-fourth reported that handling user complaints challenged them most when managing application performance and 16% cited managing application patches as their primary problem. ...

Citrix Expands C3 Cloud Computing Platform and Program

Following up to the initial debut of Citrix C3 last Fall, the company states that it is now enhancing the C3 platform with the addition of Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop, enabling service providers to deliver Windows applications and desktops as a service. Central to this added functionality is the new Citrix Service Provider (CSP) program which is designed specifically for service providers who provide hosted software services to end users. In addition, the company avers that Citrix C3 has been updated to include new scalable, secure, multi-tenant virtual switch and application delivery controller capabilities. ...


Attention Span 2009.05.05 (Evening Edition)

Exploring cloud interoperability, part 1

But what exactly is cloud interoperability, and what exactly are each of these efforts addressing? Where are the standards going to be created, or (perhaps more importantly) where is the technology going to come from?

I thought it would be useful to give my current understanding of the space, and to give you my 100,000-foot view of the cloud interoperability landscape today.

Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle

Some newspaper and magazine companies, feeling let down by the Kindle electronic reader from Inc., are pushing for alternatives.

A few publishers are forging alliances with consumer-electronics firms to support e-readers that meet their needs. Chief among their complaints about the Amazon portable reading gadget is the way Amazon acts as a middleman with subscribers and controls pricing. In addition, the layout isn't conducive to advertising.

Is OCCI the HTTP of Cloud Computing?

The Web is built on the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), a client-server protocol that simply allows client user agents to retrieve and manipulate resources stored on a server. It follows that a single protocol could prove similarly critical for Cloud Computing, but what would that protocol look like?

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