The Yahoo! stand Yahoo! had a really big stand this year at 3GSM where they were showcasing their wizzy new version of Yahoo! Go (more coherent thoughts on that later). They were giving away dishes of yummy ice-cream as well, but by the time I got to their stand to get some they had run out of spoons so I had to go source my own by raiding the adjacent cafeteria (who actually had also run out of spoons leaving me in the position of having to eat my Yahoo! ice-cream with a stolen fork). In retrospect, I wonder: is this a metaphor for what Yahoo! is doing in the mobile space right now? I think it’s possible, but then again they may have just run out of spoons.

Well … we are living in interesting times. Apple’s Steve Jobs has released an Open Letter (published on effectively championing the idea of a DRM-free world. Why? Because DRM systems “haven’t worked.” I completely agree. In fact, DRM is a dangerous delusion. Jobs may see the writing on the wall with the release of Microsoft Zune. Who knows why he has chosen this moment in time to express these thoughts. Meanwhile, here in the UK, the BBC are doing their own soul searching around DRM. The BBC Trust, which is a kind of watch-dog organization that sits on top of BBC, has launched an online “consultation” regarding its use of DRM in the on-demand services it plans to launch shortly over the Internet (branded iPlayer). They want to know how long users of this server should be able to save content on their PCs for later playback. They also want to know how important it is to be able to support multiple OSs. The current plan is for the player to support only … you guessed it … Windows DRM format (currently not available on Macs let alone Linux). As a Mac user (despite what the Guardian says, they just work better) I was appalled when I heard this, but even if you’re a PC user, think about this: I can go buy a Tivo or get a Sky+ box and download shows and save them for as long as I want. Furthermore, I can download most television shows without DRM protection over the Internet …

Jobs Denounces DRM while BBC Embraces it? Read more »

Today we launched something that we’ve been working on for a while here at Vodafone. It’s a developer community portal called “Vodafone Betavine.” The idea of the site is to be a resource to the developer community, especially individual or small company developers working on mobile and communication-oriented applications across a range of platforms. There are other developer portals out there, but they tend to be either platform specific or otherwise tied into a commercial process. Vodafone Betavine is an R&D effort and as such is pre-commercial in nature. It’s aim is to stimulate the developer community and thereby encourage growth of the whole ecosystem. Stuff that gets uploaded to Betavine remains the property of the contributor. It’s a place to get people to download your applications, test them, comment on them, etc… Likewise, we hope it will become a place to go to find great, innovative apps that you’ll want to download and test. The site itself is still in the Beta phase, but will continue to improve over time as we keep rolling more featutes into it. This project is being run like a Web 2.0 startup within a big corporate. As such, continual releases and improvements as well as direct feedback from and communication with the site development team will be a key aspect. This is something new for Vodafone and we’d all appreciate your support with making it a success. If you’re a developer and you have an app that’s in some way related to mobile or communications, go to the site, …

Vodafone Betavine Launches! Read more »

On paper, this looks like a fabulous device. It’s got a high-res screen. It’s faster than its predecessor, the 770. It has a great browser, Opera. It’s got audio, video, the promise of Skype calling… It’s got a web cam for Internet-based video calling. Linux based, it’s open to third party developers. It’s also pretty cheap for what it does. On the minus side, do I really need another device to lug around with me? I actually already have an iPod, a Blackberry and an N73 and I don’t realistically see the N800 replacing any of those. And you can’t drive presentations off of it so it can’t replace the laptop either, except in very specific situations. I suppose it could theoretically replace the iPod, but what about all that Fairplay-DRM’d music (doh!). No. I’m fairly sure that if I did buy this, it would sit around in my living room gathering dust, only occasionally picked up to look up some obscure trivia on IMDB or Wikipedia. I dunno — am I wrong? Am I missing something here? I’m happy to be convinced.

It sure looks like it. High-res screen. Built-in cellular and WIFI radios. Built on top of MacOS (open operating system). Touch-screen. Safari browser. Video. Music. It’s got it all! Analysis: Apple has done it again. Just watching the coverage on (on my Nokia N70, by the way, utilizing Mobile Ajax in the Series-60 browser). One thing comes to mind though: how do you keep the thing clean? Also, it doesn’t have 3g, just GSM and EDGE? Hello, Apple! I want my 3G iPhone! I still want one, though.

Don’t worry, I am not trying to define another “2.0ism.” However, I attended an event earlier in the week at which the term Enterprise 2.0 was defined by a speaker, but the definition he gave stuck me as more like “Intranets 1.0” — that is, knowledge management tools applied to the enterprise space. Yes — corporates have been trying to get better about knowledge management for years — why is Enterprise 2.0 any different?  It strikes me that Enterprise 2.0 will actually be tools and applications that run on the Web and are made available to knowledge workers through the browser. These applications will enable all kinds of knowledge sharing and office automation but totally free to the corporate and funded by ads. This model totally undercuts the traditional IT software / services providers and empowers the workforce to self-organize and use the tools that best fit their unit / group / activity. Of course, savvy knowledge workers are already doing this — using IM to conduct business against corporate IT policies, or using Google docs & spreadsheets to collaborate between different office locations. When these applications really do become as powerful as their desktop and enterprise-network-bound equivalents and when CIOs and CFOs wake up to this fact that and realize the whole corporate IT and enterprise applications ecosystem has suddenly become irrelevant, that will be Enterprise 2.0. Just my €.02.

I actually do my own version of PC Recycling — it’s called the laptop graveyard under my desk. I now have three laptops there from previous generations of technology: First there’s a Powerbook Duo 210. This was my first laptop — absolutely cutting edge for its time — it featured a gray-scale passive matrix screen and clocked in at an unbelievable 25 MHz. It was and still is the lightest Apple laptop — weighing in at 4.2 lbs. Then there was the IBM 386 piece-of-sh*t Thinkpad that I inherited from an ex-boss. 640×480 screen. It was awful. Finally, my beloved Sony VAIO laptop that only recently gave up the ghost — well 3 years ago anyway — the only non-Apple PC I ever really bonded with. That one I got as “severance” from a former employer – no I did not steal it. I got them to agree to make it part of my severance package when they downsized me. Good thing too, since it was the only part of my severance package I actually received. I’m over it though. Not bitter. Really. Anyway, they each have a story to tell and some measure of sentimental value — Ok maybe not the Thinkpad. The Duo is perfectly functional as well — there’s just currently no way to get data in or out of it because it only has one port (serial/Appletalk). I figure they’ll stay in the laptop graveyard under my desk for now.

So I got a reconditioned iMac G5 from the Apple store. It may be last year’s technology, but it’s still rocks. Especially when compared to our previous home computer – a “grape” iMac DV from 2000. Actually the iMac DV had slightly more personality — being grape and all — but the new iMac G5 at 1.9 GHz (compared to a 400 MHz G3) really screams. Gotta love the integrated iSight camera too.

So I actually think Microsoft might be doing the right thing by pushing people to deploy SPF records. (See this article.) SPF records aren’t going to eliminate Spam, but they could be an important tool in verifying email origin. I deployed SPF on my domain earlier this year — it was pretty easy and I think it’s been effective judging from the drastic reduction in the number of bounced-back messages caught in my spam filter presumably from spam senders spoofing a address. Microsoft shouldn’t claim that SPF is going to end spam — it isn’t — but it’s a good step forward. Interesting to note that W3C is also endorsing SPF, albeit with some caveats.