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Open Frameworks

Quick download the Internet! – Quantum Encryption to be unleashed…

July 8th, 2010 by Kai

Chances of breaking Quantum Encryption?

Source: ACM June 2010 Vol.53.

Researchers at Toshiba Research Europe, in Cambridge, U.K., have attained a major breakthrough in quantum encryption, with their recent continuous operation of quantum key distribution (QKD) with a secure bit rate of more than 1 megabit per second over 50km of fiber optic cable.  The researchers’ feat, averaged over a 24-hour period, is 100-1,000 times higher than any previous QKD for a 50km link.  The breakthrough could enable the widespread usage of one-time pad encryption, a method that is theoretically 100% secure.

First reported in Applied Physics Letters, the QKD milestone was achieved with a pair of innovations: a unique light detector for high bit rates and a feedback system that maintains a high bit rate and, unlike previous systems, does not depend on manual set-up or adjustments.

“Although the feasibility of QKD with megabits per second has been shown in the lab, these experiments lasted only minutes or even seconds at at time and required manual adjustments,” says Andrew Shields, assistant managing director at the Cambridge lab.  ”To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that continuous operation has been demonstrated at high bit rates.  Although much development work remains, this advance could allow unconditionally secure communication with significant bandwidths.”

The QKD breakthrough will allow the real-time encryption of video with a one-time pad.  Previously, researchers could encrypt continuous voice data, but not video.

Toshiba plans to install a QKD demonstrator at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo.  ”the next challenge would be to put this level of technology into the metropolitan network operation,” says Masahide Sasaki, co-ordinator of the Tokyo QKD network.  ”Our Japan-Eu collaboration is going to do this within the next few years”.

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Go with the flow, and flow with the go…

June 25th, 2010 by Kai

I have to be honest here, when Google came out with “Google Wave” I didn’t get it.  I thought it was just another collaboration tool much like Backpack or Basecamp from 37Signals.  And, since I’ve been using 37Signals for over a year now I didn’t think much of Wave…   But now I get it and I get why Google called it “Wave”.

About 8 years ago, Howard Smith and Peter Fingar wrote a book called “Business Process Management:  The Third Wave”, regarded as a manifesto for radical business change based on business process management (BPM) technology.  Queue SOA – Service Oriented Architecture and it’s big brother the Enterprise Service Bus, which combines SOA with MOM Message Oriented Middleware.  Now ESB is pretty much an industry standard and it’s had some success, and some very expensive failures, but now though, says Fingar:

“the time is already right to prepare for a new, and potentially even more radical wave of business automation – human interaction management systems (HIMS)”.

Enter – Google Wave.  What Fingar goes on to say is:

“The real future, if you look at business process management – the key part of it that has not been fully addressed – is human to human interaction”.

Okay, so what does this mean?  And, how does Google Wave represent the Fourth Wave in collaborative information management tools?  Let’s take email a form of communication, albeit very old and archaic in technology years, and its distant cousin the forums, which provide collaboration.  Lets add the latest in Web2.0 such as Facebook, Twiki, Blogs…  and a whole host of other one to one, one to many and many to many mediums and before you know it, half your time is spent reading, organising and shifting through vast amounts of information.

Not very productive are we?

What Google has realised is that how we work and how we become productive requires a fundamental shift in the way we deal with other humans.  And, whilst ESB’s and other business process management and automation solution take care of routine tasks and reduce operational overhead they don’t directly support the way people actually accomplish their work.   Some may argue however, that you can implement human tasks in a BPM or workflow solution, but here we’re retrofitting humans to systems, treating people as cogs in an assembly line.

Reality is, we don’t work that way and our most creative endeavours need to be a little more free flowing and dynamic.  So we can’t flowchart in advance how, for example, we’ll come up with an innovation or a new product line, or how we can reduce unemployment or address climate change.  In the real world of business, people communicate, research, think, consult, negotiate, argue, cry, okay, maybe not cry, but get excited and get passionate, which are all in themselves very organic processes.

So naturally, the tools that carry out knowledge work, decision making and collaboration need to shift with the times.  To achieve this shift, a new kind of software system is required, one based on how we work as individuals and as teams.  This new shift has to be more then just Social Networking it must embrace a truly collaborative environment – in real time – enabling us to perform a number of creative tasks in a loose but structure manner.  Stuff like:

  • Special Events
  • Research
  • New Marketing Campaigns
  • Customer Self-Service
  • Case Management
  • Opening New Global Markets
  • Planning a Massive Rave
  • Refurbishing a House
  • Designing an Online Game
  • Dealing with a Crisis

So anyway, check out this pdf. Fingar calls it “Work2.0″.  He goes into a lot more in his doco then I do here and given that Google is taking a leaf out of his book, it might be worthwhile checking out, especially if your work and play involves collaborating with people, local and far away.

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Shhh… hey fatso over here!

May 24th, 2010 by Kai

There’s something going on…  I know about it first hand, because today while using my iPhone I willingly accepted Digg’s suggestion to download their mobile application.  When I saw this, I actually thought cool, I’ll get a much better  user experience then the standard browser.  But then it dawned on me.  I’m actually happy to download an application – a fat client – albeit a little slimmer because it’s for the iPhone, but nevertheless a fat client!  A little over five years ago desktop applications were dead or dying.  Firstly, nobody wanted the maintenance overhead of application roll-outs, versions, etc, plus everybody was going Cloud.  Even Google started offering their OpenOffice stuff on the Internet so you didn’t need any desktop application.

But somehow, desktop and iPhone, or iPad for that matter, don’t mean the same thing.  Somehow through a slight wave of the hand Apple have convinced us that “Yes, this is the application you want to download”, and in some cases, “Yes, this is the small fee you want to pay”.  Nobody has really cottoned onto the fact that we’re happily downloading little Fatty clients and blissfully don’t care because the local apps provide a much richer and exciting user experience.  So what’s going on here?  And, why have we suddenly gone full circle?

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons has to do with software distribution.  Not so long ago, everybody, namely the I.T. operations staff would groan and moan if there was another desk-top application to roll-out, especially if it involved thousands, and often tens of thousands of desktops globally, which in turn would require installation scripts that wouldn’t always work, users complaining that something was broken, and so on and so forth.  And, the operations staff were not alone.  Developers too would try and avoid desktop applications all together.  Webapps were the rage.  Of course you had and still have browser compatibility issues, but it’s a lot easier to maintain then desktop apps.

Things are different now.  Those installation and maintenance problems are replaced by a simple button that says “Download”.  The filesystem and all those low level complexities are shielded from the user (so they can’t mess up the install).  All one has to do is go to the iTunes Store, select the application they want, pay or get it free and within a minute or two, viola.  No problemo.  If the iPhone or iPad application needs an upgrade, then a simple notification appears and again with a simple press of the button the app is upgraded.

So Apple are ushering in a new era of thick-clients, it’s a comeback of Travolta proportions, and with hundreds of thousands of online applications out there already, it’s serious business.   Now the point to all this isn’t a celebration of Apple awesomeness, it’s about recognising a shift in the I.T. industry from pure Webapps to Thick-clients.  Now some of you purists out there may argue that the iPhone and iPad apps aren’t really thick-clients but so what.  The point is that whether you like Apple or not, or believe the iTunes Store is the best thing ever, or a unfair monopoly – the point of the matter is that the future of the Web is changing.  And, it’s happening right before our eyes, and if you’re in the business of online business or Webapps, then you better start rethinking your strategy.

Think about it.  Doesn’t user experience and customer satisfaction play a big role in the success of your eBusiness strategy?  Wouldn’t you want to offer an Online UX that takes your eBusiness products and services to your customers front door-step?**

Oh, and one last thing…   given that this is the future of the Web and Apple have taken a big bite out of it, makes a lot more sense why Steve Jobs wouldn’t want Flash crowding their style

** What’s the bet your competitor will be thinking about it…

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Connectivity 2.0

April 14th, 2010 by Kai

It’s all about being connected.  And, as IBM’s Chief Architect for SOA Connectivity has dubbed “Connectivity 2.0″ it’s about “helping enterprises transform departmental ESBs, SOA and Cloud projects into an integrated fabric of intelligence, agility, control and adaptability”

Some cool open source solutions to get you started on your way to C2.0 (without having to spending millions) are:

ws02.org is particularly interesting because they provide a full stack of middleware stuff…   and it’s all open source.

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Give me 5

April 13th, 2010 by Kai

Wondering whether to continue using Flash or switch to HTML5?  Hmm… check this link out:  http://www.themaninblue.com/writing/perspective/2010/03/22/

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Thinking outside the circle…

April 12th, 2010 by Kai

Clever – Follow this link

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RIA

April 11th, 2010 by Kai

Rich Internet Applications, a term coined by Macromedia (now owned by Adobe), is where the whole Web-based user experience is at.  At the forefront of RIA technologies you have Adobe AIR, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight and of course AJAX.   Here is a good site for all you UI specialists out there…   I’m sure there are more, but I particularly liked this one because of this article.

Anyway here is the link:  http://www.uiresourcecenter.com/index.html

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Quantcast

March 21st, 2010 by Kai

Wondering who’s looking at your site?  Well you can dish out thousands for companies that specialise in demographics and collecting audience statistics for millions of websites, or you can check out Quantcast.  Best part of all, yep you guessed it, it’s free.

From Wikipedia:

Quantcast is a media measurement, web analytics service that allows users to view audience statistics for millions of websites. Quantcast Corporation’s prime focus is to analyze the Internet‘s web sites in order to obtain accurate usage statistics by surfers from the USA. Like Alexa, Quantcast rates Web pages by ranks. Quantcast statistics always refer to the usage from the United States, therefore Alexa data and Quantcast data do not always show the same results. Quantcast does not require a toolbar to be installed upon one’s web browser to obtain statistics. Instead participating websites voluntarily insert Quantcast HTML code inside Web pages they wish to have included in statistics. This code allows Quantcast to keep track of the traffic directed towards those Web sites.[4] Using this mechanism Quantcast can provide thorough details about Web pages created by participating publishers. Some of this information includes, for example, whether the Web page viewer is a male or female, whether the average viewer makes $30,000 USD annually or $100,000 USD annually, the age group of the viewer and the amount of U.S. homes the Web site reaches. This information is provided by inference: comparing and correlating the information received from one participating publisher with another. The inferences are possible because the Quantcast code causes the user’s browser to access Quantcast’s servers, at which time they can log the user’s IP address and information Quantcast places in cookies that are stored in the user’s browser. The cookies significantly aid in making inferences. Quantcast also provides affinities revealing other popular sites that the average viewer browses. This is possible by tracking “referrer” information that is normally included as part of every HTTP request made by the user’s browser. For instance a person browsing a page on Quantcast aimed towards music might also browse sites based on music downloads.[5]

And, here is the link:  http://www.quantcast.com

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Malcolm Gladwell on TEDTalks

February 22nd, 2010 by Kai

I do apologise for the momentary lapse in blogs, but I’ve been extremely busy see, and so while I get my affairs in order, here is an oldie but a goodie.  When I first saw Malcolm Gladwell I couldn’t believe my eyes.  What an impressive fro!!

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/20

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Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010 Study

January 6th, 2010 by Kai

Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010, identifies the priorities, capabilities and partnerships required across the marketer – agency – media value chain to optimize now and prepare for the future. The first cross-industry partnership of its kind, MME 2010 is a joint study between the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies), and management consulting firm Booz & Company.

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