Virtual Worlds: The World Describes, The Web Predicts

Ericadriver_7By Erica Driver

At the MetaverseU conference at Stanford University this weekend, Ginsu Soon, VP of Business Affairs at Linden Lab, shared a framework for thinking about the future of virtual worlds. He said that in some ways it’s appropriate to draw an analogy between virtual worlds and the Web and in other ways it’s appropriate to draw an analogy between virtual worlds and the world in general. His main point — and it’s a good one — is don’t mix the two analogies.

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Social Sigma

Under Six Sigma, companies gradually improve process to enhance the quality of their products. With Social Sigma they use feedback from social networks to improve products.

Two great examples.

1) Credit Mutuel, the second largest retail bank in France, has been drafting its customers into product improvement through a program called, Si j'etais banquier -- "If I was a banker." The bank has recorded more than 50,000 suggestions, e.g., "If I was the banker, I'd explain the fees in clear terms." and recently let customers vote on the top 30.

2) GM's Fast Lane blog carries some amazingly straight-up conversations about GM's cars and trucks. Bob Lutz, the company's chief designer, uses the blog to hear firsthand from customers about design, quality, and product problems.

Product design and R&D will become much more of a continuous conversation -- not a black box, "Here it is!" process. Products will be revised under much tighter schedules, with obvious product errors corrected in new versions.

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Dell Acquires MessageOne And Buys Its Way Into SaaS

Stephanie Balaouras

Stephanie It’s official, the future of information management and infrastructure is software as a service (SaaS). Today, Dell announced its intent to acquire the powerhouse in email continuity and archiving, MessageOne. This acquisition will give Dell the cornerstone that it needs to build out its own suite of SaaS offerings. Dell clearly didn’t want to be left out of race as it watched Iron Mountain successfully building out its SaaS offerings and watched its competitors and partners complete significant acquisitions in the market including Seagate Services’ acquisition of Evault, EMC’s acquisition of Mozy and IBM’s recent acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions. Then there’s Symantec who is building out its Symantec Protection Network.

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SDL Goes Shopping Again

Stephen Powers

Stevepowers_2By Stephen Powers

SDL announced today that it has acquired fellow global information management services vendor Idiom Technologies. Both SDL and Idiom sell software and services to help organizations manage global content. This marks the second significant acquisition for SDL in less than a year; last year SDL got into the Web content management business with its purchase of Tridion.

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Ode to 18-1

The only way I could pull myself out of post Super Bowl depression was through lyric therapy. Here is my inferior attempt at Keatsian tribute.

Ode To 18-1

As the snow settles over,
A wet-eyed New England.
And the Patriots fade,
Like a dying failed friend.

Let us all remember,
An extraordinary season.
Beyond logic, and history,
Beyond NFL reason.

Of the many fall Sundays,
When their game made us sing.
The perfection, great play,
As Tom's passes took wing.

Of all the adjustments,
And all the game plans.
And a ball-hawking defense,
In great red-zone stands.

They beat Big Ben,
Came back against Peyton.
Beat Rivers twice,
And escaped the feared Ravens.

The records they fell,
Without ever a loss.
Stolen away,
By Brady and Moss.

And all the O line,
Kept the offense on bright.
A wall of teamwork,
From Mankins to Light.

As the record it grew,
And the snow replaced rain.
Don Shula and friends,
Didn't drink their champagne.

The media brayed,
"We'll wait and see."
But Bill he steered clear,
Like his father's Navy.

Stop and think for a second,
Of all of the fun.
And how cool that it is,
To be 18-1.

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OpenID family grows – How it can transform Identity Federation between enteprises

Andras Cser

With Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Yahoo! joining the OpenID Foundation, we may actually feel that something in federated access management is going to change. It is finally not the case of a vendor proposing a new standard – and adding to the cacophony of federation standards – but a set of moves towards a simple technology that today can alleviate password management woes at service providers.

Technology aside, OpenID will greatly help with reducing and removing the legal obstacles in the way of  identity federation’s proliferation. When payment-grade, commercial, and trusted identity provider service becomes a reality – VeriSign’s joining the OpenID camp clearly points in that direction – and software-as-a-service companies (like salesforce.com),  accept OpenID authentication from these trusted identity providers, then enterprises can truly start thinking about outsourcing password management identity management processes. When required, strong authentication integration with OpenID can rely on VerSign’s VIP or other vendors’ strong authentication acceptance network.

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Strategies For Interactive Marketing In A Recession

Christine Overby

Christineoverby
[Posted by Christine Spivey Overby]

Whenever the economy takes a down turn, marketers will inevitably ask the question, "How would a recession impact my budget?" This worry is especially true for more experimental forms of marketing, such as certain forms of interactive marketing and social media.

At Forrester in recent weeks, we on the Interactive Marketing team have asked this question too -- of our analysts and a handful of interactive marketers. The results of this analysis -- and our tips for how interactive marketers can protect their budgets and survive (even thrive) in a downturn -- are in a new piece "Strategies For Interactive Marketing In A Recession."

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Why Yahoo+Microsoft will help Google

Three reasons:

1) Google gets the best and the brightest from Yahoo. Why? Compensation. Microsoft, in a titanic mistake, eliminated stock options as an employee incentive early in the decade, replacing them with  much less lucrative and leveraged restricted stock. If you're a hot programmer at Yahoo, you'll get options at Google -- not at Microsoft. Aside from compensation, Google's culture, speed, lack of bureaucracy, location, lack of legacy will be big attractors of talent.

2) The confusion factor. Microsoft has never acquired or absorbed anything as large as Yahoo -- unlike Cisco it has no culture or processes around large-scale integration. Microsoft's tight programming ethic will be naturally suspicious of Yahoo and its culture of media and advertising. When the inevitable integration plans are drafted, MSN and the search gurus at Microsoft will defend turf. In a market defined by a quick pace, Microsoft will take years to get this integration right.

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Virtual Offices For All: Return Of The Serendipitous Interaction

Ericadriver_8By Erica Driver

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How Big Is Your FRU?

James Staten

The Sun Modular Datacenter S20 is the world's first virtualized datacenter built into a shipping container and optimized to deliver extreme energy, space, and performance efficiencies.

Earlier this week, Sun Microsystems announced that its Project Blackbox was now a commercially shipping product. I have to confess that when they first told me about this effort I saw it as a nice showcase innovation — something they could use to demonstrate how densely racks could be configured and how energy efficient their products were. They could drive it from city to city for in-person demonstrations. Nice marketing idea. But I didn’t see the practicality to real enterprise data centers. Who’d be willing to buy a container and park it outside their data center? Yeah, that’s secure.

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