Monday, April 27, 2009

The Whuffie Factor

I just ran across this great talk at last year's Web 2.0 conference by Tara Hunt on a knowledge management blog that I frequently visit.

She talks about how the leveraging of the feeling of reciprocity and social capital and the nurturing of a gift economy in the design of your product or web site's user experience is the most efficacious way to promote your message. She calls it The Whuffie Factor which is a term inspired from a book written by Cory Doctorow called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

She also contrasts this approach to traditional PR and shows how The Whuffie Factor is a logical extension to the prosumer approach of establishing authentic conversations.

The Whuffie Factor: The 5 Keys for Maxing Social Capital and Winning with Online Communities (Tara Hunt) from Steffan Antonas on Vimeo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle to Acquire Sun

Sun Microsystems has been on the ropes since the first decade of this millennium when some of the largest Internet properties (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Ebay, Amazon) switched from Sun's Solaris to GNU Linux. That, and the two most recent stock market crashes, have really beaten this server hardware vendor and inventor of the Java programming language and platform down from a share price of $233 to $3.

A few weeks ago, it looked like IBM would be the one to purchase Sun. Now, it looks like database vendor and services company Oracle is stepping up to make the purchase.

This could be of particular concern to the large number of web companies who use MySql as their database. MySql is owned by Sun and will fall under Oracle's control once the acquisition is complete. Will Oracle poison or sunset MySql in order to make their own database product more compelling? Oracle has tried to acquire MySql before and has acquired one of MySql's back-end storage systems so you can't tell me that they aren't thinking about it.

That's the big news. Oracle makes a few other tools that compete with Sun tools too. Will Sun's NetBeans take a back seat to Oracle's JDeveloper?

May Update: Sun shareholders sue to block Oracle Acquisition.

June Update: Oracle fails to get regulatory clearance by the deadline.

September Update: DOJ gives Oracle approval to proceed with acquisition. Only barrier now is EU Commission approval.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IBM Virtual Worlds Conference

I just got back from a two day conference that IBM hosted on Second Life called Beyond Blogging which is a conference billed as by IBMers primarily for IBMers but also open to the public. I believe that this conference was organized by IBM's Seeking Business Value from Investment in Virtual Worlds on the 3D Internet group.

The first day of the conference was more about how cool Second Life is for consumers. My own interests in Second Life are more towards how the enterprise can use virtual worlds as an affordable way to telepresence for remote teams to web seminar with a back channel, all in an easy to use HUD. That is why the second day of the conference held more interest to me. They billed this as "virtual worlds behind the firewall."

The first speaker of the second day was Neas Bade (Sean Daque) who is a developer for OpenSim which is a 3D Application Server that can be used to create a virtual world which can be accessed through a variety of clients and on multiple protocols.

He talked about the Open Source Metaverse where you can create your own simulator and connect it to a public grid for free. He talked about some EAI for OpenSim such as LDAP and web integration. When asked about integrating virtual worlds with cloud computing, he referred to a small group of analysts called RedMonk.

The second speaker for the second day was Rufus TT Horsefly (Neil Cats) who talked about how IBM asked Linden Labs to bring up an instance of Second Life within the IBM firewall on their blade center hardware (they had 250 users per session) in order to host their AOT Conference. Some of the lessons learned here was the importance of identity for attendees including the use of realistic avatars and the need for helpers and for training including help with installation of the HUD and with getting voice chat to work. He also talked about integration with their Domino product and an offering of theirs called Sametime 3D.

From this conference, I definitely get the sense that IBM is anticipating increasing corporate interest in virtual worlds as a way of mitigating travel expenses for remote teams to work together and as a way to reach out to customers in a way that is more affordable than the traditional conference model.

June Update: Now it's official. IBM's New Meeting Platform is Based on Open Sim.