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Archive for November, 2007

Finger Food (20)

November 30, 2007 Leave a comment

It is strangely warmish in Milan today, I wanted to have the first glimpse of some Christmas atmosphere, but I guess I may have to postpone … so, instead of pulling out from the wardrobe my snowboarding gear, hit some slopes and look for early reindeers, here we are, Friday Finger Food!!! Gosh, we are turning our Twenties, getting older!!!!!

And also, how hard it is today to be a Chief Marketing Officer??? Tough call, this one… as a sample, check the Zune 2.0 market cycle.. anyone is using that nice player already??

Dell is swinging back, with a nice +27% in profit (34c a share) this third quarter, BUT, since this was one cent shorter that the Street expectations, the stock was smashed…..

And here we are, with the first xMas must-have in tech.. or else the winners and losers in 2007 consumer technology World.. or, even better, a “To Do list for 2008” in personal tech… or, my dear top fliers, these hints may make the very start of your shopping frenzy some sort of a killing for the dollop of credit cards you have! But beware…

The UAE is ready to drop the peg with the Dollar, whilst the Fed is sort of preparing for the xMas rally, cutting down the interest rate of another 25 basis points, an expected event (11th December..) or a rumor but confirmed here.. China is looking at MiddleEast on how to run a fund… I can see a newly born and subtle alliance building, watch out…

Whilst heading for the well-deserved weekend break, fancy a nice book??? Head for the Carnagie Mellon, then, 1.5 million eText already.. I will leave you with this, have to attend a lunch meeting and head off to the coast..badly need some rest, it has been an hectic and long week..

Enjoy the break, catch you on Tuesday, I will be in Turin on Monday to present at the “Scuola di Amministrazione Aziendale” (aka business school) about social networks and impact on business strategies… nice one!!!

Categories: Finger Food

Google..MyStuff, RE<C, maps… the Fantastic Duo wants to save our lives!?!?!

November 28, 2007 Leave a comment

In Mountain View it seems that saving the World is currently taking a whole new meaning and a boost.. Google declares its intention to launch a “green” initiative, called RE<C or “Renewable Energies cheaper than Coal”, which should be supported by spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” to hire engineers and experts to study the issue and find a likely solution, first and foremost to cut down the company internal energy bill and, how kind, to distribute the amassed knowledge to the rest of the “common people”..

Furthermore, it is today’s news that the company is planning to launch a service called My Stuff (courtesy of Corriere della Sera and Wall Street Journal), which basically is a remote archiving capability, pretty much like the Yahoo service, but with easier access dynamics and, arguably, a significant amount of free space. Access to My Stuff should be allowed to any user terminal, from desktop to mobile phones and PDA, provided there is an Internet connection at hand, whether this will be supported by Wi Fi, cellular 3G networks (UMTS or HSDPA) is not further specified. Clearly, the service itself is a nice add, there may be issues on how to handle data privacy and compliance to different country regulations, also the Web connectivity is a plus and a drawback (poor coverage in some areas, connection that may go down, no connection at all – e.g. on airplanes – but I trust those issues have been or will be tackled accordingly. Personally, if I want to have infos always with me, I may want to use a multi gigabyte pen-drive, or a SD card, again it depends on the planned usage of the data…

Are those Google chaps going a bit too far, or really we may end up having a small, real small bunch of ICT players, a sort of super power-houses to serve us all???

I still have a Moleskine in my drawer with the most sensitive infos…

Vista, XP and that Apple over there…

November 27, 2007 Leave a comment

As it seems, there are these days plenty of research, papers, articles and talks, a seamless flow of words about Vista and its inadequacy for the enterprise environment…

ComputerWorld US, leveraging an ad-hoc research (here), suggested that 90% of research participants are sort of worried about migrating to Vista, and 53% has no intention whatsoever to do so in the short time… the interesting bits are about 44% considering an alternative OS to Vista, and 28% quite keen in having an Apple environment around, which is a stunning statement considering Cupertino has never made such a great entry into the corporate environment..

Quite nicely added by someone else, Microsoft is releasing the Service Pack 3 for XP, which is supposed to boost performance for the old and stable (I thought it was already messy, but heck..) OS by a nice 10%. Apart from detailing what is all about this 10%, the argument is: why on Earth I have then to change over to Vista!?!?!? The panel, despite being 900+ strong, may not be significant in statistical terms as to pinpoint a flex in OS adoption trend, nevertheless, it is worthwhile considering it.

As for the home environment… I have searched the Vista-to-XP downgrade guide and it is now in my possession…

Finger Food (19)

November 23, 2007 Leave a comment

Friday, and have to add “finally”…. unfortunately the weather is really awful, it rains in Milan and there is little hope it may stop in the next couple of days, and to add to the disaster my flat is plagued with flu.. bad, too bad… Nevertheless, we do not want to leave our Finger Food on the table, do we?!!?

  • Since it may be the case that, due to some scarcity in oil supply, someone could begin mumbling about exporting a fair bit of democracy in some other sultanate, OPEC decided it is the case to invest in a greener Earth and explore some add-on to the oil… nice move, chaps, nice move, you never know…
  • Meanwhile, the shaky oil market hit also China, whose demand went a bit down the drain recently… but expect some more wavy goings with a spike in demand, since Beijing is forcing the economy year-end rally (typical on stock exchange….check it out..) and boost production..
  • Is free-trade a forbidden topic in Western countries??? Nevermind, then, Asia is free-trading on its own… and since there is something like a 3.5billion people marketplace there, and high growth economies, that sounds like a nice deal, also if considering some of the results NAFTA produced.. on the other hand, a due criticism is pointing out as these sort of agreements are not “free trade” but adding another bureaucratic layer to the lot.. now, it could be the case someone might learn from others’ mistakes…
  • A nice gathering of top companies acquisition frenzy, which could suggest there is already a campaign to set up the openings for the massive chess game called 3.0… or something along the line, you know…
  • In UAE, the more you dig the more you find oil… now it seems you may find used SIMs and mobile phones, since the cell penetration is around 170%… so, more or less two SIMs per inhabitant, all included, elderly people and new born babies… I heard that story already for Italy, some years ago..
  • And more.. I thought, long after coming back from Japan, that I have been quite lucky for such a trip eastward, now Tokyo seems to prop up everywhere, also as the top destination for a decent meal!! Meanwhile, in Rome, a couple of chaps have got something to do with a cyber-graduation on digital puppetry (ok, that’s the fancy part of a more decent graduation in advanced architecture… still it is great!!! Text in Italian…)
  • Nordic counties are generally speaking at the European forefront in using information technology with a significant social flair added to it, so it doesn’t come as a surprise the fact that the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affair is interested in maximising the impact of virtual worlds.. if you consider that seemingly 30% of top 100 Dutch companies are somewhat involved in Second Life, orange may become the next fashion color in metaverse!!!
  • And virtual worlds make the ranking in top 100 disruptive companies on the annual Red Herring contest..nice, considering that, as pointed out, previous winners were the likes of Google, Skype, YouTube…. let’s wait until December 3rd to know better..
  • You never know, the above winners may well be Europeans, since despite the Old Continent has not a Silicon Valley, yet there is a wealth of creativity that foster “Web 2.0” start ups allover the continent!! Nice… may start something myself..
  • About Web 2.0…. as it seems, LinkedIn is in serious conversation with News Corp. for an alleged buyout in early 2008… which would combine under the same umbrella (and owner..) the social network iconic MySpace with the biz-related LinkedIn.. something like “from the craddle to the grave”???!?!?!?!? Horrible thought of mine..apologies…
  • Is life getting expensive??? The subprime crises smashed your finances?? The rising oil prices are hammering your expenses??? Worry not!! The Web is a treasure cave full of freebies
  • Keep an eye at the Gulf Countries meeting in Doha, this December.. plenty of items on the agenda, from finance and the rise of the Gulf exchanges to the recent westward investments opportunities, the oil debate and global cooperation.. the area is no longer a massive oil field, it resembles more of a global rudder..
  • India and China are the two Big Guns fighting in the East, both in economic terms and as country social systems, and India stroke one point with Mittal buying into Chinese steel.. nicely done, really..

Furthermore, Putin seems to start considering infrastructure as a mandatory advance for the Great Mother Russia, Europe may become the emerging markets’ darling as to offset the US decline, Brazil may become the next big oil exporter thanks to a humongous field (will Chinese cash head for some samba shopping??!?!?), UK asks for abolishing the DRM stuff to boost sales before the xMas frenzy. Google seems to back up with some $10m the “genetics” company 23andMe (the wife of Sergey is amongst the founders..), a sort of DNA-based social network (pay $999 and you get the experience)…comments welcome…

Arab comms leader, Etisalat, is going to move some few dollars (about $5.5 billion..) in African investments.. China and UAE looking at Africa together??? We may be witnessing something disruptive here, meanwhile the EU productivity grows some points ahead of US (1.5% vs. 0,9%), with the exceptions of Spain and Italy (is it by chance that the two local airlines are potential acquisition targets!?!?)..gosh..

Sometimes the Web goes back to show you how a powerful tool it could be, if it is used properly and with a well determined scope.. that is why I like to link the new Amnesty International campaign against torture and violation of human rights: Unsubscribe. Viral can be good.

Now is about time to kick off one long and hopefully not so tedious internal company meeting, will cover most of this Friday so.. have a nice week end you all, and back on Monday!!

Categories: Finger Food

Call me six feet under!!!! Milan tube network cellular coverage is starting, just in time for the Expo 2015??

November 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Mobile comms are such a great stuff, ever-changing, sooooo cooooool.. you can be connected with the rest of the World, either yours or the outer one, anytime, anywhere… hang on a sec… up until today, there was a place where you could have been safe from being pestered, a place that was able to act as the perfect excuse for all your pressing people and their calls: the tube!!! Six feet under got a new, beautiful meaning, an oasis of peace and tranquility..

Today, busy-bee Milan town centre boasts the first cellular coverage of its tube network, albeit between two fairly trafficked station, but a nice starting point for the coverage of the entire system, just in time to boast that achievement as a “must have” looking forward to the Expo 2015 candidature (Smirne won’t have it, I bet!!!!!!!!!!!).

As stated, today it is possible to call, text message and browse the Web using up to UMTS connectivity, whilst HSDPA should be available by the end of December at 1.8Mbps to rise up to 3.6Mbps within the first few months of 2008.

Pretty nice, huh????!??! Now I believe there should be some public courses on “using your mobile in the Tube” etiquette… by the way, in Tokyo it is clearly marked not to bother other passengers with your silly calls..so, most Japanese tube commuters go for mobile Internet at full blast!!! Or, in case of pretty impolite fellow travelers, you may want to use a portable cell jammer (sample here!!!!!)…

You never know..

Definitely, US are a massive shopping centre!!!

November 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Or, at least, that’s what Arab investors currently see when  facing westward…Haven’t we said this already??? Thing is, will the still-virtual money fund an energy flow into US companies, or will that be sort of an unnecessary overtreatment?

Categories: Biz wanderings

Please, would you Kindle drop down that book??

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Technology is, clearly, a never-ending race or, as someone put it nicely, “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born” (yep, Alan Kay, to be precise..), so it seems unavoidable that someone will try (again) to invent, re-invent or envision a bit-and-byte device to substitute all those heavy, environmental unfriendly, space-wasting and, heck, dust collectors called books!!!!! When that innovation-evolution-revolution comes from the very company that made the book itself one of the most rewarding business items on the Planet, an appropriate and bias-free thought is due. Bezos and his Amazon announces the creation and launch of Kindle, the ultimate reading machine..

First, a reading on Newsweek for the “Bezos’ pensiero“, aka his philosophy and the fundamentals behind this tech launch.. I let you go over the detail and the tech specification of the object (notably a sleek, whitish piece of tech… anyone??!?!?), whilst I would like to focus on a couple of remarks.

It has been made a comparison between the digitisation of other media, such as music and video, and for argument’ sake I may question that music went from a vinyl-based experience, enhanced through the years via superior playing and sound amplification capability, to a CD-based reproduction and lately to the full digital mp3 (and Bros..). Vinyl and CD has got roughly the same “playing liturgy”, whilst the mp3 family goes back to replicate and enhance the “walkman” style (a walkable substitute of vinyl via cassettes..), gaining in music storage space / handling and output quality. Bottom line: the acts, the experience of the user was similar to the ol’ days, gains were mainly in space, music library “management”, and quality of output. Then, if in a rainy and cold day you put on a vinyl of Nina Simone or the digitalised version of it, pretty much the same (someone would argue vinyls were more “alive” than the perfection of CDs..). Video goes pretty much along the same lines, better picture, easy storage and management, and the rest.. experience is again fairly similar in its inner procedures, the actual liturgy!

Now, the book… could we say it is an entirely different matter??? You do your thinking, but I believe there are more “senses” involved to make the experience invaluable, the liturgy about reading a book and using an eBook is to me entirely different. One point to the book to this one.

On the other hand, as posted in other occasions, it is not a matter of being a “systematic” user of the new Kindle, but rather finding the own critical way of putting it into our personal technology mix. Do you love to read your Chatwin novels but simply browse and use business books??? Is it great for you to have all those quantum mechanics reference texts in the backpack but you are not the size of a Canadian lumberjack?? There you go.. Kindle does the trick!!

Let me put it in a different way… today Milan has got a wintery set up, sky is grey and kind of rainy, it is cold.. I would love to sit in a comfy armchair, a superb cup of coffee to sip and a nice BOOK to read… now, incidentally I am at work, I have to prepare a presentation to deliver with my speech at the School of Business Administration in Turin, it is about Digital Ecosystems and Professional Networks, I may want to read a few things and would love to go and SEARCH on my Kindle about, say, “metaverse” and “business”… I can browse and access to knowledge, I could potentially link together the power of Internet (reference, information..) with the batch-approach to info-digestion a “kindle” would provide: I find, buy and read when needed, off-line.. cool..

Experience is something complex and multifaceted, we live multi-experience lifestyles, and it would be utterly restrictive to believe there won’t be differences anymore in one’s daily activities… there will be a time for a book, there will be also a time for Kindle, for some those will converge and melt into something new, for others there will always be two separate and rewarding experience nonetheless.

Difference and divergence still make the difference, after all, every innovation stems out from someone diverging from status quo…

UPDATE: you may want to browse through this “live performance”… and do not forget to click and jump to the Amazon site, there is the new born baby in all its glory!!!!