# Wednesday, January 30, 2008

After watching Facebook's popularity jump with the release of its applications and API, MySpace is releasing its own API for developers on February 5th. Developers can sign up here.The platform will be interoperable with Google’s OpenSocial platform, so applications written for OpenSocial will work on MySpace.

This is a smart move for MySpace. The next version of the Web, Web 2.5, is all about making your site/network as a platform. Think of MySpace and Facebook as MSDOS back in the day. Now that data interoperability is starting to happen (Microsoft is the latest to join the Data Portability Group), sites will compete on the quality of their APIs and ability to attract developers to their platform, not how many users data they keep locked up.

I can see in the future more data/infrastructure sites providing backend social networking services (profile and login via OpenID, storage, social networking software, etc)via web services for front-end sites that focus on the user experience, API and attracting developers. One day Facebook and MySpace may even outsource their storage, profile, and social networking pieces and focus on their API.

posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:33:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 24, 2008

Here is my letter to the State of New York on document formats and interoperability, my home state now wants to ban saving documents in any format but ODF:

Darlene Van Sickle
Principal Attorney
New York State Office for Technology
State Capitol, ESP - PO Box 2062
Albany, NY 12220-0062

Email: erecords-study AT oft.state.ny.us

Dear Ms. Van Sickle:

I am writing in response to the Request for Public Comments regarding document formats and interoperability. I am a technology professional who has spent many years envisioning, implementing and maintaining solutions for companies both large and small. Given the enormous diversity of needs most companies and governments have internally, I am concerned that your office is heading down a path of mandating a solution that will limit choice and increase costs for our State agencies.

Companies I have worked with over the years, such as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and the National Football League, often have the same concerns that the State does: accessibility to documents, interoperability, and longevity. But each company and each department may have different needs. So solutions are created with goals in mind, rather than to a specific, locked-in solution. Your study suggests the opposite approach, forcing every department and office to build strategies around a locked-in, one-size-fits-all technology.

If your agency decided to prevent any text document from being stored under existing methods - requiring even the simplest text note to be stored in a new, untested format called ODF- it would force the state to undertake a massive conversion of all existing documents for data retention and indexing. Even if the tools to do this significant transition were free, the testing, rollout, and support costs would be enormous.

Finally, locking every state agency and department into today's technology could be the equivalent of mandating 8 track tapes in the era of CDs. While XML is hot technology right now, it's important to note that just a few years ago, the HTML standard used for the web was a wild new idea. Archie, FTP and Gopher were to tools of the day - now they are almost unheard of. If we have learned one thing in the past decade, it's that technology changes quickly.

I would urge the State to allow Agencies and departments to choose the format and technology that best serves their needs, rather than a locked in solution that may fit no one's.


Stephen Forte

Senior Partner, Accord Advisory Group



posted on Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:01:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I am traveling this week in Vilnius, Lithuania. I am visiting my friends at DocLogix, a .NET based document management software development firm in Vilnius, helping them scope out their next version.

While here I realize how small the world has become. Lithuania is a country not many people have heard of, which is too bad since its culture and history goes back over 1,000 years. There are city walls that date back to the 1400s and most castles and churches date back to the 1500s and were rebuilt in the 1700s.

 IMG_0680 - Copy

What I find amazing is that just 17 years ago Lithuania was not an independent country, it was part of the Soviet Union. There are signs of it in some places (like this workers unite photo below), but now Lithuania is a full member of the EU and the NATO alliance. DocLogix's office is in a technology park, once a tank storage and troops barracks for the Soviet Russian Army.

IMG_0678 - Copy

Besides blogging and emailing (Eastern Europe is very wired, there is free wifi everywhere in Vilnius) I have been keeping in touch with Skype and uploading my photos on flickr. Just 5 years ago it was not this easy to be connected to the rest of the world when traveling. The world has changed and getting smaller.


I ate Pig's Ear. I found it surprisingly good (like smoked bacon) and had 3 ears, but the locals eat it all up.

IMG_0704 - Copy

posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 1:35:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Sunday, January 20, 2008

Microsoft will be hosting a Silverlight 1.0 Firestarter event in New York City this month on Saturday, January 26th!   If you missed the Firestarter event Microsoft hosted in the Philly area last month, this is your chance to make up for it.  This day long event is free to anyone who wants to learn about designing and developing with Microsoft Silverlight 1.0.

clip_image002[6]Microsoft Silverlight 1.0 is a cross platform browser plug-in that enables for easy development of media rich web sites.  For more information, visit http://silverlight.net.

Mark your calendars now for January 26th.   Registration is now open!


Here is the agenda:

8:30 am – 9:00 am - Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:45 am - Keynote

10:45 am – 11:45 am - Microsoft Expression Design Tools

11:45 am  – 12:45 pm - XAML Essentials for Silverlight

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm  – 2:30 pm - Developer Tools for Silverlight

2:30 pm  – 3:30 pm - Media, Markers and More

3:30 pm – 3:45 pm - Break

3:45 pm  – 4:45 pm - Silverlight and AJAX

4:45 pm  – 5:00 pm - Giveaways

posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 5:17:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 19, 2008

A few weeks ago I read an article in Wired magazine about how a Silicon Valley start-up named 23andme will decode your DNA. Since the Human Genome was mapped a few years ago, this is now possible. So I signed up. Here is how it works.

I went to the 23andme web site and signed up. It cost US $1,000. They sent me via FedEx a kit. Basically a little tube arrived. I spit into the tube and sent it back today. In about 4 weeks I will be able to log into the 23andme web site and see my results.

It will be very cool. First I will see if my parents are really my parents? (Well I have my Dad's nose and my mom's cheekbones, so I guess they are stuck with me.) Which parent gave me the SQL gene? (I am banking on my great-great-great Grandmother.)

Am I prone to have Cancer? (Two of my Grandparents died of Cancer.) Am I prone to Heart Disease? (My Grandfather died from a heart attack at a young age.) Do I have the royal disease?

Did I inherit my grandfather's sense of smell? Why do I climb mountains and run marathons? Why do I travel so much? Maybe I am related to an explorer like Magellan or something.

Am I related to anyone famous like George Washington or King Tut? (Are Warren and Jimmy Buffet related? They went to 23andme to find out.)   23andme has Ancestry tools! 23andme says: "Genetically, humans are overwhelmingly similar to one another. But over the millennia, slight genetic differences between people have emerged and been passed down. 23andMe's Global Similarity tool compares your genome to those of people around the world. The more similar you are to people in a particular region, the more likely your family tree sprang from that place. Once you locate some likely candidates, we bring them all alive with information about their history, favorite foods, music, languages, and even pets. "

My results are due back in about 4 weeks, of course I will share them here.

One again I am always amazed what people can do with technology.

posted on Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:06:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Thursday, January 17, 2008

Data portability took a huge step forward today. Yahoo! just joined the OpenID 2.0 framework.

OpenID is an open framework that eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different web sites and applications. Today there are 120 million members and a lot of sites that support it (including Plaxo and many others you may use today.) But the best part is that your OpenID ID will always stay with you-even if you close your account. So if you are a Plaxo user with OpenID and a Yahoo! user with OpenID, you can close your Yahoo! account and use the same OpenID with Plaxo. If Google joined OpenID, you can leave Yahoo! and join Google easily.

Speaking of which, there are rumors that Google, IBM and Verisign will join OpenID shortly. Yahoo has 250 million users and will build momentum to OpenID, enough momentum that Google, IBM and Verisign will find compelling to join. Maybe Microsoft will then make its Passport interoperable with OpenID?

Now OpenID is a very attractive platform. This is the beginning of a fundamental change in the Internet. Our profiles will now be potable. Soon we will have true data portability (meanign the date in my LinkedIn or Facebook account can travel with me when I leave). It will lead to a change in how the social networking sites operate. As I stated two weeks ago, Data portability will force the social networking sites to differentiate themselves based on features and functionality. It will make the web lots of fun, creating a platform for apps.

MySpace and Facebook can compete not on the data it holds but on its API and how many developers it attracts to create third party apps on their platform. I have always said that Web 2.0 is web sites as a platform (Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook’s APIs) much like MS DOS was a platform. Web 2.5 is the platform with open data portability standards and single sign-on. We have single sign-on in our sights. Next step is full data portability.

UPDATE (Jan 18, 2008)

Google has been testing OpenID since November in its Blogger product line. As of Friday, Blogger users are able to use their blogs URL as an OpenID login! (Blogger users just have to flip the switch on the admin menu.) This will add approximately 20 million more users to OpenID, on top of the 250 million yesterday. If successful, you can suspect that Google will add OpenID to more of its properties.

posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008 1:04:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008
An introduction to Spring.NET

You must register at https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=122047 in order to be admitted to the building and attend.
Spring.NET is an open source application framework that can help you more easily implement and design loosely coupled application architectures. Loosely coupled architectures bring to the table important advantages such as resiliency to changing requirements, ease in following agile practices such as test driven development, as well as lowering of maintenance costs. The central artifact in Spring.NET that delivers these benefits is the lightweight container – an object factory responsible for the creation, configuration, decoration and assembly of your application components. Building on this base, Spring.NET also provides solutions for other common infrastructure requirements to help increase productivity as well as promote loose coupling. These include support for Aspect Oriented Programming, ASP.NET development, ADO.NET data access, declarative transaction management, portable service abstractions, and integration testing.
The origins of Spring.NET come from the Java world where the Spring Framework has become the de facto standard for enterprise application development. The core concepts in the Spring Framework extend beyond the Java platform and are applicable to .NET. Inasmuch, Spring.NET combines the Spring Framework’s proven arc

Mark Pollack, Interface21
Dr. Mark Pollack has worked extensively in the financial sector as an architect and developer on various front office trading systems that involved a mixture of Microsoft and Java technologies. Prior to joining Interface21, he was a founding partner at CodeStreet, LLC, an independent software vendor in the financial services industry. In 1991, Mark received a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Stony Brook University before continuing on to earn a Ph.D. in Experimental High-Energy Nuclear Physics from the same university in 1997.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reception 6:15 PM , Program 6:30 PM

Microsoft , 1290 Avenue of the Americas (the AXA building - bet. 51st/52nd Sts.) , 6th floor

B/D/F/V to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Ctr
1 to 50th St./Bway
N/R/W to 49th St./7th Ave.

posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 8:27:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 14, 2008

The dot com era was crazy. Companies that had no business plan, no revenue, no customers, but a great team, web site and investors would IPO for $100 million. Everyone had stock options and got rich on paper. Once all of these companies went bankrupt and were delisted in the crash of April 2000, everyone was poor again since their options were underwater and worthless. The common phrase is “I wallpapered my house with my useless stock options.”

I too wallpapered my apartment with Zagat Survey stock options. I was the Chief Technology Officer for two years during the .com era and saw it all. I got there as a consultant in 1998 when the company had just 30 employees and the server for the web site was under Sal’s desk. (Sal being the entire IT department at the time.) When I joined as CTO in late 1999, I helped with my colleagues secure $34 million in Venture funding from General Atlantic and Kleiner Perkins and build a great team.

The place became a true .com with 27 year old Harvard MBAs running around, employees bringing in their dogs to work, an air hockey table, and a web site that had one mission: drive traffic. The company swelled up to 200 people, but I build out an amazing web farm and an .NET application a year before .NET shipped. We filed for an IPO. Then the crash happened. I then had to preside over massive layoffs and the eventual loss of my own motivation and left in January 2002 to start Corzen.

Today it was announced that Zagat is up for sale and at a valuation of at least $200 million. When General Atlantic and KPCB invested in the height of the .com bubble, Zagat was valued at $96 million. That means that all the employees and former employees with vested stock options (including myself) now have .com options that are above water. Well above water. I am going to scrape down the wallpaper and deposit them into my brokerage account (I hope Fidelity Investments does not mind the glue.) I guess the .com era is not over if some companies are still paying out.

Why would Zagat sell? They do a nice little business of book sales (estimated 5.5 million books sold a year) and online paid subscriptions. The problem is that Zagat is so Web 1.0. While it is technically user generated content (the ratings are not by reviews, but surveys), Zagat is still stuck in the Web 1.0 mindset (no-one pays for content anymore! Wait that was Web 1.0 too!) and has to compete with Chowhound, Facebook applications, blogs, and scores of other user generated sites. Its business model is obsolete in a Web 2.0 world. It is adapt or die. Or adapt or sell to the highest bidder and let them figure out how to make Zagat 2.0.

posted on Monday, January 14, 2008 9:49:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback