Windows 8, Users 0?

Windows 8 is just over a month from hitting the market and my sense is that this initial release, at least, will be at best controversial and at worst a failure. Microsoft is simply trying to change too many things at once.

What we have here is the Microsoft Bob effect, where change runs amuck simply because it can, compounded in this case by a sense of panic in Redmond. Microsoft so desperately need Windows 8 to be a huge success that they’ve fiddled it into a likely failure.

Microsoft Bob, if you don’t remember its fleeting passage in 1995, was a so-called social interface for Windows intended to be used by novices. The idea was that Bob should be so intuitive as to […]

What’s a WeJIT?

This is the third in a series of columns about interesting new technologies.

Every few years something comes along to fundamentally change how we use the World Wide Web, whether it is online video, social networking, dynamic pages, or even search, itself. This week a new technology called WeJIT was announced that looks like something small but is really something big because it extends collaboration from specialized sites like wikis to everywhere HTML is used.  WeJITS are collaboration in a persistent link.

WeJITS come from Democrasoft, a company here in Santa Rosa that is best known for Collaborize Classroom, a cloud-based service used by more than 30,000 teachers to interact with students, deliver lessons from a global peer reviewed library, and even give […]

JavaScript video technology only 17 years in the making

This is the second in a series of columns about interesting new technologies, in this case JavaScript video.

Three quarters of the bits being schlepped over the internet today are video bits, so video standards are more important than ever. To accommodate this huge load of video data we’ve developed compression technologies, special protocols like the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), we’ve pushed data to the edge of the network with Content Distribution Networks (originally Akamai but now many others). All these Internet video technologies are in transition, too, with H.264 and HTML5 video in the ascendence while stalwarts like RealVideo and even Flash Video appear to be in decline. The latter is most significant because Adobe’s Flash has been — thanks to YouTube — […]

Electric flight of fancy

One thing about mature markets is they spawn opportunity through pure complexity. What does the press do but sit around discussing the size and depth and pimples on the bum of mature markets? But we spend so much time discussing the implications of what has already happened that we don’t give much space to what’s coming in the form of new ideas. So for the next week or so I’ll be doing a series of columns about new ideas, especially new technologies, that ought to interest us all.

Toward this end I’d like to invite any mad scientists to share with me what they’d like the world to know.

Leading by example I’ll start with a project […]

Click fraud the old fashioned way

While click fraud and identity theft are probably the most common forms of larceny on the Internet, I just heard of a company that sets a whole new standard of bad, lying to advertisers about, well, everything.

Click fraud is when a web site either clicks on its own ads to increase revenue, gets someone else to click on them with no intention of buying or works with botnets to generate millions of illegal clicks. I wrote a few months ago how longtime YouTubers were suffering income drops as Google algorithmically eliminated their botnet clicks. But click fraud requires a third party ad network to work. What I am writing about here is something […]