Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bluetooth social networking

From, this description of a social networking service that runs on your Bluetooth-enabled phone:
Flobbi is a Bluetooth based social network. To get it to work, you’ll first have to download Flobbi to your cell phone. Once downloaded, whenever someone in the Flobbi network is in your proximity (within 20 meters), that person’s profile will flash on your screen. You’ll have the option to chat, and get to know each other as fellow Flobbers. Installing Flobbi can be done in one of three ways: register and download it over Bluetooth, have the software sent over to your mobile, or via a friend who has Flobbi and Bluetooth. The software and portal is cost free.
The notion of casually meeting people this way? Ugh. But I can think of some useful applications:
  • Meeting a blind date
  • Networking at a conference
  • Coordinating flash mobs and street protests
  • Finding your companions in a crowded environment (which, coincidentally, is what I was about to do when I read this story on my mobile phone) - Bluetooth Social Networking -™

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Open source warfare

Just bookmarking this article for a closer look. On the surface, this looks complementary to the"netwar" line of thinking that Arquilla and Ronfeldt have been talking about for lo these many years.

Slashdot | Technology Leveling The Playing Field In Modern War

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They don't draw interest, but they're more widely accepted than debit cards

I refer to mobile banking systems in Kenya.
Last week's Economist had a major story - and one of its Leaders (Editorials) about mobile banking. The best example in the story was from Kenya in Africa. Banking is very poorly developed in all African countries compared to the industrialized world. There are very big barriers to getting banking services ranging from anything like high costs of opening an account, very limited bank branches and services, remarkably bureaucratic needs to verify identity for banking - on a continent where identity documents are not always well available, etc.

So in Kenya, a country of about 37 Million in population, there are only 3 million bank accounts. But then consider this, their local mobile banking system, M-Pesa, is used by 1 million Kenyans ! So even if none of the people with a "real" bank account use M-Pesa, the mobile banking system has already cannibalized 25% of the total banking customer base in Kenya (and those whose math is not that strong, yes, the more there is ovelap, the greater is the cannibalization; if all who use M-Pesa had also a bank account, then the cannibalization would already be 33%)
Communities Dominate Brands: Still doubting that m-Banking has potential? In Kenya 25% of all bank accounts are mobile

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Google + Skype?

That's the most recent rumor. It's getting hard to keep track of all these rumors, and this one seems particularly vaporous. But it's fun to try to connect them, just like it's fun to build grand conspiracy theories.

Let's see ... Google buys dark fiber, Google unveils Android, Google plans to bid for wireless spectrum, Google plans to buy Sprint, Google plans to buy Skype. How about: Google puts together an IP-based telecommunications infrastructure that skirts existing telecomm regulation and is funded primarily through contextual ads? I have low confidence that this would actually occur, but it's fun to speculate.

'Google To Purchase Skype?' Chatter Lights Up The Blogosphere -- Google -- InformationWeek

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How long before they integrate into our society?!?

Slashdot | Robots Assimilate Into Cockroach Society

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The one thing I thought was really interesting about Kindle is that it comes with a free Sprint EVDO subscription. That's a really big deal, and I can imagine picking up one of these things solely to surf and check email. But it sounds like internet connectivity will be a lot more restricted than that, piped through Amazon's services. Ugh. I'd rather check blogs the way I do now -- on my phone.

Kindle: First Impressions

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GMail designed by Microsoft

Yes, I know -- it would look a lot like Hotmail. But this blog post is still wickedly funny.

What If Gmail Had Been Designed by Microsoft?

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We're number one!

Austinist: Break Out the Snot Rags, Austin Ranked Number 1 in Fall Allergies

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Monday, November 19, 2007

TeamWork Live

A comment on a recent post led me to TeamWork Live, a web-based project management system that competes with Basecamp and others. TWL has the basic sorts of things you would expect, including milestones, tasks, notes, and dashboard. But it provides a project space that can be shared across entities: if you have a TWL account, apparently you can share projects with other entities rather than asking "your Basecamp or mine?"

But it has several other interesting features:
  • A full-fledged team calendar that allows you to view milestones, tasks, and events.
  • An RTF editor that allows formatted text without learning wiki commands.
  • A variety of ways to provide alerts for project changes or comments, including RSS, email, and SMS.
  • Separation between personal and team workspaces.
  • Reports (!), including team status, open items, weekly status, and time tracking. The team status report gives you an idea of how much milestone and task process has been made, with green for completed, red for overdue, and gray for upcoming.
  • Estimate of hours to put into the project and billable rate.
  • Daily status emails, if desired.
TWL is team-focused, so rather than setting up "projects," you set up "teams." That terminology might cause some confusion, since organizations often have stable teams (e.g., marketing) that work on several overlapping projects with different timeframes and goals. But TWL appears to be thinking in terms of closed-ended projects -- at least, the focus on milestones and completion implies that understanding.

Overall, this thing looks pretty good. Like Basecamp, it's set up on a subscription model, and costs scale rapidly. The free plan appears to be more restrictive based on the pricing sheet, but I'm not positive of that -- the use model is different enough that it's hard to compare the two at a glance. If you're in the market for a PM system, it's definitely a contender.

TeamWork Live - Dashboard

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