ARM as the new Spectrum

Back in the 80’s, we had this (actually, I had one of these made in Portugal):

Timex-Computer-2048-ManipulatedThis was a Timex 2048, which was a “clone” of ZX Spectrum. And for those who were born with the internet, the Spectrum was a 8 bit personal home computer invented by Sinclair, an UK Company. It lasted for one decade and was the joy of kids back then and the proud of the British Crown.

Fast forward three decades, we can see some similarities with ARM (which funny enough is here since 85). Ref: one, two, three, four

The only difference from the 80’s Sinclair, which fuelled an entire generation is that ARM is actually positioning themselves as the power of everything: ARM buys Dutch ‘Internet of Things’ software firm Offspark

Now, what history showed us was that Mountain View can produce even better and cheaper tech than the old UK, so maybe, ARM can be the new Sinclair but with a longer lifespan.

 

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comics is the thing that keeps you young

Just found out this new documentary about cartoons and comics, called Stripped, released this year.

As you might figure out by nowvlcsnap-2015-01-03-19h41m01s198, I’m a huge fan of comics and specially Calvin and Hobbes, which in fact were the first comics I remember reading on the newspaper.

So, you can imagine my surprise when in the middle of the documentary, this comes along:

vlcsnap-2015-01-03-19h40m05s126 vlcsnap-2015-01-03-19h40m20s51

Was really amazing to listen to Bill Watterson voice and mostly to his comments on todays comics and syndication. But that was not it, Patrick McDonnell is also featuring on it and he’s has my second ever favourite comic – Mutts.

This documentary is just gold for everyone who likes comics.

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storage over privacy

Storage was that beautiful thing that used to be just yours, to put whatever you want into it and have it for yourself. It was like a no sharing thing. But now that thing is completely commoditised and 2014 was the year when it become entirely free and unlimited – on a cloud platform obviously. The table bellow shows the price for storage along the years:

Year Cost per GB
1981 $300,000.00
1987 $50,000.00
1990 $10,000.00
1994 $10,000.00
1997 $1,000.00
2000 $10.00
2004 $1.00
2012 $0.10
2014 unlimited

On the other hand, we get these prices – or unlimited for nothing – at the real cost of losing privacy over our data – whatever it is. Tradeoffs of the modern age, I assume. Maybe in 2015 we could start thinking more about privacy-as-a-service, right after having security-as-a-service on.

FrCKi

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Cisco predicts that the cloud is going to be the future

CalvinTimeMachineOld habits die hard, they say. Network is one of them. Network in the datacenter is not actually a modern habit. It’s rather vanishing because more people are using cloud computing services to put their datacenter there. But that’s so 2010…. and we’re almost in 2015.

So, Cisco, that network giant did some research into the future of datacenters and computing services and came up with the brilliant conclusion that cloud computing is going to be the future in 2018. That’s sweet and interesting, but we’ve passed that already and I was actually expecting more insights than rather common sense. Nevertheless, the report is here: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/global-cloud-index-gci/Cloud_Index_White_Paper.pdf

Regardless the timing for this report, I must agree that these dumb pipes will actually play a major role in the future for everyone, because we need them pretty dumb, to provide network access to our stuff out there.

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IE for all

Finally Microsoft launched an Internet Explorer for developers and designers to test their own websites. It’s free and it’s not a virtual machine but rather an Azure (free) service. It requires a Live ID and Remote IE subscription, then Remote Desktop to use it. More details here: https://remote.modern.ie/subscribe 

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 23.44.35

Hint: for those in the UK, with Remote IE on Azure you can access blocked content (like torrents).

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apple smartest move ever

Is actually the Apple SIM, that they launched today. Pretty clever move. Have a SIM that could connect to a bunch of mobile carriers, being sold as ‘agnostic’ but with close ties to the partner network (revenue sharing), creating a seamless experience with the consumer. It’s an activated, mobile ready device out of the shelf. Good work Apple!

So, what is now the current status of Apple Pay and Apple Sim ? Well, this one:

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 00.22.10

Pretty looking picture. Nice future for a vendor lock in perspective, rather nasty thing for consumers and probably some problems with European regulation and monopoly (everyone remembers IE on Windows). With a full framework of services Apple tackles banks, sends mobile carriers into the deepest dumb pipes ever, knows consumer data and their buying habits and creates a virtual layer of moving currency on top of credit card companies.

Wow!

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google supply management made easy

Sometimes I get asked if companies should have more than one technology supplier (to have discounts) or a bunch of them (to have choice). It’s indeed a matter of efficiency vs choice, but also cheap vs expensive. Lately I told a company that they first need to have less suppliers to achieve efficiency and reduce costs, in order to have in the future the opportunity to have more suppliers and then more choice. Also told them that they weren’t ready to have that many suppliers now because they weren’t managing the procurement process properly, which needed to be revised.

So, on the news, Google rumours that they’re sourcing HTC for their new Nexus tablet. If we look at it, Google has the choice to have their software in every device, but they choose just one to be their favourite supplier, each year. They’re not going with more than one official supplier at a time, but they have the chance to pick any manufacturer that already produces android phones.

And what’s tcapabilityhe difference then with Google and any other mortal company ? Well, first of all they defined a capability that they need to fulfil: make a phone to put their content on and gather data from consumers. Then they have a tender each year with different manufacturers, which is pretty much like a partner meeting, to align commercial, marketing and sales strategy. Technology aside, we all know that their system works, but announcing a new device is a great deal and a revenue stream for any manufacturer.

If Google can change suppliers every year for their phone, so can your company for the different capabilities that you have.

And how ? Well, Google does it with a common set of interfaces and standards around their platform (Android), so you can do it too with your own capabilities. Let’s pick one; your website. If you define that your content is provided by an API, that UX/UI should be using web standards and all the data gathered goes again to the API, then you can literally pick one different supplier each year to do your website.

With the Google approach you can have choice; it can be going with one supplier or with as many as you want, because you have your capability well defined, set with common interfaces, standards, rules and principles.

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when a dumb pipe controls your data access

dump pipeA few years ago, Telcos ruled the world. They controlled our calls, messages, games, apps, payments, address book, location and even music. Those services were all provided by them. They were THE media company of the 21st century. And it was a big walled garden for all of them.

… then smartphones appeared and they slowly lost everything they owned and controlled.

If we look at it right now, we do messaging outside SMS, we download games and apps from app stores, we don’t pay for services with our phone bill anymore, we use gps and maps for location, our address book and photos are in the cloud, music is free or pretty cheap. Even calls, we do it with apps (skype, foocall, voip) rather than just calling.

So a dump pipe is, as wikipedia explains:

“the term dumb pipe, or dumb network, refers to an operator’s network being used simply to transfer bytes between the customer’s device and the Internet. The use of the term “dumb” refers to the inability of the operator to restrict services and applications to its own portal and primarily just provide simple bandwidth and network speed”

Bottom line, what we actually really need from those big and old telcos is a data connection, because we even don’t do that much calls. Now the thing is that they’ve lost all those services they provided, ending up with just one, and that one is the pipe which against wikipedia definition, they have the ability to restrict or slow services and apps to their own network or – and now’s the beautiful part of it – to their own commercial agreements. Hence everyone shouting for net neutrality on the cable.

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you’re the product

jawbone graph This is a graph that Jawbone released from yesterday earthquake in Napa, Northern California.  Pretty cool, when you have access to data of thousands of users and you can correlate them with external factors. On the other side this is what everyone expects when you deal with customer data. You sell a thing to someone to help them doing something, but in return you get valuable data from them. It’s the Big Data of things, and you’re the product. For good and bad.

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everyone thinks they’re special

you're not specialWhen you work for the public sector, there’s this need to create your own walled garden and make yourself the guardian keeper of something. It might be some sort of technology, system or application. It’s a status that you need and create to keep yourself useful within the system. The more dependent people are of you or of your technology, the best for you, but it’s the worse thing that may happen to the entire organization.

Usually after being the guardian keeper of something, your next step is to create a long tail of people working for you, doing repetitive tasks, not creating value, but working to keep the garden away from other people or even not improving it. The more people the merrier. Your area is then a big blob, sipping resources out of the organization, just to do keep that walled garden alive.

This not only happens with the public sector, but also within the private sector, with some small subtle changes. There everyone thinks they’re special, that have special needs and therefore need special software or solutions.

Lets take invoicing as an example. Everyone needs to invoice customers. It’s a standard, pretty much commoditized function across the company. The department A might want to charge customers in pounds, and department B in dollars, but at the end it’s an invoice, with some changes between departments. Now because everyone’s thinks they’re special, every department picks their own invoicing system, because they have special needs (subtle needs at the end and straightforward customizable into the software).

After a while, you’re going to have two or more different invoice systems across the organization, doing pretty much the same thing, but because everyone’s special, these invoicing systems don’t talk to each other or even sync data. They were not chosen to do that, if they would, then someone will notice that after all it’s not that big deal what people think it’s special. Now you need different teams to support the software or have different suppliers for it. It’s your own walled garden and you’re going to get someone to be the gatekeeper of that thing that you think it makes you special.

But, news flash, you’re not special. Your need is shared across your organization and “your need” is just a custom field into some database. You don’t need different software to do a commoditized function. After a while, instead of doing invoicing for your customers, you’re going to be the invoice of your suppliers.

So, how to overcome this ? 
Well, first of all it’s a mentality thing. You need to explain to people that all commoditized needs should be shared across the organization and instead of asking how people are doing their own tasks, tell them that 90% of what they’re doing is shared and those 10% might be just a custom development, easily achieved with the current solution. Also, soon you’re going to realize that those 10%, might be some change into the process or procedure that you’re doing wrong across different departments.

Another thing that keeps everyone out of walled gardens is having a common set of rules and principles regarding choices. If someone uses a shared invoice system, then its from the organization budget, if they’re using their own, then it comes out of their own budget. Also, having the principle of sharing data across different systems and keeping them synced is usually a turn down to get new special tools. So if someone uses a different invoice system, then they will need to integrate with the shared across the organization, out of their own budget.

At the end is about having tools for capabilities, not capabilities for tools and having common principles and rules across the whole organization.

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