Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

November 18 2013

A reculons

Proche de Jean-Paul Sartre, cofondateur, en 1964, du « Nouvel Observateur », le philosophe André Gorz (1923-2007) s'est converti progressivement à un écosocialisme dont il est devenu l'un des principaux théoriciens. En 1990, dans nos colonnes, sous le titre « Pourquoi la société salariale a besoin de (...) / Économie, Travail, Services - 2013/05

August 26 2013

Le service client à l'heure de l'internet des objets - Harvard Business Review

Le service client à l’heure de l’internet des objets - Harvard Business Review

Aujourd’hui, un service client innovant demande d’être capable de communiquer sur de multiples plateformes... Demain, il nécessitera aussi d’intégrer l’internet des objets. Pour s’y préparer, estime Duke Chung, il faut dès à présent construire des bases de connaissances plus solides, plus contextualisées, et rendre les #services plus faciles d’accès. Demain, les appareils devront être capables de prédire les problèmes liés à l’utilisation qui est faite d’eux, estime Duke Chung, qui est le cofondateur de (...)

#iot #internetofthings #internetdesobjets

March 21 2013

The demise of Google Reader: Stability as a service

Om Malik’s brief post on the demise of Google Reader raises a good point: If we can’t trust Google to keep successful applications around, why should we bother trying to use their new applications, such as Google Keep?

Given the timing, the name is ironic. I’d definitely like an application similar to Evernote, but with search that actually worked well; I trust Google on search. But why should I use Keep if the chances are that Google is going to drop it a year or two from now?

Google Keep screenshotGoogle Keep screenshot

In the larger scheme of things, Keep is small potatoes. Google is injuring themselves in ways that are potentially much more serious than the success or failure of one app. Google is working on the most ambitious re-envisioning of computing since the beginning of the PC era: moving absolutely everything to the cloud. Minimal local storage; local disk drives, whether solid state or rust-based, are the problem, not the solution. Projects like Google Fiber show that they’re interested in seeing that people have enough bandwidth so that they can get at their cloud storage fast enough so that they don’t notice that it isn’t local.

It’s a breath-taking vision, on many levels: I should be able to have access to all of my work, regardless of the device I’m using or where it’s located. A mobile phone shouldn’t be any different from a desktop. I may not want to write software on a mobile phone (I can’t imagine coding on those tiny touch keyboards), but I should be able to if I want to. And I should definitely be able to take a laptop into the hills and work transparently over a 4G network.

Furthermore, why should I worry about local storage? The most common cause for throwing a computer on the bone pile is disk drive failure. Granted, I keep machines around for a long time, so by the time the disk drive fails, it’s more than time for an upgrade. But local disks require backups; backups are a pain; and it’s all too common for something to go wrong when you’re doing a restore. I’d prefer to leave backups to a professional in a data center. For that matter, there are many things I’d rather leave to a data center ops group: malware detection, authentication, software updates, you name it. Most of the things that make computing a pain disappear when you move them to the cloud.

So I’ve written two paragraphs about what’s wonderful about Google’s vision. Here’s what sucks. How can I contemplate moving everything to the cloud, especially Google’s cloud, if services are going to flicker in and out of existence at the whim of Google’s management? That’s a non-starter. Google has scrapped services in the past, and though I’ve been sympathetic with the people who complained about the cancellation, they’ve been services that haven’t reached critical mass. You can’t say that about Google Reader. And if they’re willing to scrap Google Reader, why not Google Docs? I bet more people use Reader than Docs. What if they kill the Prediction API, and you rely on that? There are alternatives to Reader, there may be alternatives to Docs (though most of the ones I knew have died on the vine), but I don’t know of anything remotely like the Prediction API. I could go on with “what ifs” forever (Authentication API? Web Optimizer?), but you get the point.

If Google is serious about providing a platform that lets us move all of our computing to the cloud, they need to provide a stable platform. So far, the tools are great, but Google gets a #fail for stability. Google understands the Internet far better than its competitors, but they’re demonstrating that they don’t understand their users. If you’re a product company, taking out the trash–cancelling the old projects, the non-productive products–is an unpleasant necessity. But Google is trying to be far more than a product company. They’re trying to become a platform company, and they don’t yet understand that’s a different game, with different rules.

December 18 2012

Instagram: On being the product

Let me start by saying that I’m not an Instagram user, and never have been. So I thought I could be somewhat dispassionate. But I’m finding that hard. The latest change to their terms of service is outrageous: their statement that, by signing up, you are allowing them to use your photographs without permission or compensation in any way they choose. This goes beyond some kind of privacy issue. What are they doing, turning the service into some kind of photographic agency with unpaid labor?

I’m also angered by the response that users should be willing to pay. Folks, Instagram doesn’t have a paid option. You can be as willing as you want to be, and you don’t have the opportunity. Saying that users should be willing to pay is both clueless and irrelevant. And even if users did pay, I don’t see any reason to assume that a hypothetical “Instagram Pro” would have terms of service significantly different.

It really doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve used Flickr for a number of years. I’m one of the few who thinks that Flickr is still pretty awesome, even if it isn’t as awesome as it was back in the day. And I’ve had a couple of offers from people who wanted to use my photographs in commercial publications. One I agreed to, one I refused. That’s how things should work.

As far as the general question of paid versus unpaid services: I have no idea how many online services I use. Forty, 50, more? Most of them are free, with pro versions that cost anywhere from $10-$250/year. It’s easy for a journalist writing an article in a business publication or a blogger hoping to make it rich in his startup to suggest that people ought to be willing to pay, but add that all up, and it’s a couple of thousand dollars a year. That’s a pretty big bill. And while I could afford it, there are many people who can’t. In addition, that bill adds up insidiously, $25 or $50 at a time, so once you realize the amount of money leaking out through “pro” Internet services, it’s a lot of work to scale back.

The ball is in Instagram’s court (I see that they’ve announced that they’re going to say something). Yes, they have to monetize, even within the Facebook ecosystem. Yes, they have to contribute to Facebook’s bottom line. But getting customers to use their service and suddenly changing the rules isn’t a decent way to treat people (though it’s a gambit that Facebook has played several times in the past few years). Instagram is certainly not generating more value than they capture; and it might threaten their ability to capture any value at all. I can’t see any good reason to stick with a service that’s planning to sell your photos behind your back. If nothing else, you have to ask “what’s next?”

Update 5:13 pm ET — Instagram has just released a response in which they say, among other things, “Legal documents are easy to misinterpret,” and claim it’s all a misunderstanding.
I call BS. It’s easy to misinterpret a legal document, but the language of Instagram’s TOS was exemplary in its clarity.

If Instagram is backing down, that’s great. They should just say so, rather then blaming their customers for misunderstanding. And they should (quickly) release some equally clear legal language rectifying the situation. They’ve promised to “remove the language that raised the question.” Great, but what they’re doing now is just damage control until they release the new document. Let’s see it.

June 16 2011

Apple and a web-free cloud

iCloudThe nature of Apple's new iCloud service, announced at WWDC, is perhaps more interesting than it seems. It hints very firmly at the company's longer-term strategy; a strategy that doesn't involve the web.

Apple will join Google and Amazon as a major player in cloud computing. The 200 million iTunes users Apple brings with them puts the company on the same level as those other platforms. Despite that, the three companies obviously see the cloud in very different ways, and as a result have very different strategies.

Amazon is the odd man out. Their cloud offering is bare metal, contrasting sharply with Google, and now Apple's, document-based model. To be fair, Amazon's target market is very different, with their focus on service providers. If you're a Valley start-up looking for storage and servers, you need look no further than Amazon's Web Services platform.

Google and Apple's document model contrasts sharply with Amazon's service-stack approach. Both Google and Apple have attempted to abstract away things, like the file system, which stand between the end user and their data. An unsurprising difference perhaps, Google and Apple are consumer-facing companies that are marketing to the final end user rather than the people and companies who aim to provide services for those users.

But that's where the similarity between Google and Apple breaks down. Google sees the cloud as a way to deprecate general purpose computers in the hands of their users. In the same way that their new Chromium OS is built for the web, their cloud strategy is an attempt to move Google's users away from native applications so that their applications and data live in Google's cloud of services. Perhaps coincidentally, this also gives Google the chance to display and target their advertising even more cleverly.

Apple's approach is almost entirely the opposite. They see the cloud as a way to keep the general purpose computer on life support for a few more years until touch-based hardware is really ready to take over. Apple's new cloud platform is built for native applications, in an attempt to pull users into native apps designed for their platforms. This method also gives Apple the chance to sell hardware, applications, and content that will lock users into their platform even more firmly. This is the basis of the often remarked "halo effect."

At least on the surface things seem to be simple — the "why" of the thing is not in question. However it's what hasn't been said, at least openly, that raises the most interesting questions.

Web 2.0 Summit, being held October 17-19 in San Francisco, will examine "The Data Frame" — focusing on the impact of data in today's networked economy.

Save $300 on registration with the code RADAR

Apple is fundamentally platform orientated. It's deep in their company genetics. The ill-fated official cloning program from the mid-'90s, which was brought to a screeching halt by the return of Steve Jobs, seems to have set a deep fear inside the company about letting someone else control anything that might stand between the company and direct access to their customers.

At least to me, nothing confirms that mindset more than Apple's return to designing their own processors in-house in Cupertino. Apple has a long history of using its own custom silicon, but it's been more than five years since Apple has done so. With the move to Intel, the hope was to delegate nearly all of Apple's custom chip development. Unfortunately, that proved to be a stumbling block when Apple built the first generation iPhone. The Samsung H1 processor in the original model wasn't quite what Apple wanted, even though it was what had been asked for, and I think the return to custom silicon probably brought a sigh of relief in some corners of the company.

The link between custom chips and the cloud may seem tenuous at first glance, but I think Apple's return to designing their own silicon is telling. Almost as telling as spending half a billion dollars on a custom data center to support their new iCloud service. Both moves show the company is now committed more than ever to controlling the verticals. From the chips inside the devices to the data centers their customers' data ultimately resides on, Apple is committed to controlling the user experience, and the web has no place in that.

You might argue that this is because the web is "too open" and that threatens Apple's platform. However, the continuing argument over openness, or lack there of, isn't really relevant. Despite Google's protestations to the contrary, neither of these two companies is particularly open. The very document-based model they're both advocating in their cloud architectures precludes a truly open system. It's such an obvious straw man argument that it's not actually that interesting.

What is interesting is that there was little or no mention of the web, or HTML5, during Apple's WWDC keynote. I think you'll see far less emphasis on HTML5 from Apple in the future, unless someone asks to do something with Apple's platform the company disapproves of, and then the traditional answer of "Well, you can always do that in HTML5" will be rolled out again.

Apple has finally put their cards on the table. They have not yet bet the company on iCloud, but it's telling how deep the integration into both iOS and OS X appears to be. They have for too much invested in iCloud for it to fail, if only in reputation. Whether the first incarnation lives up to its promises out of the box is still to be seen, but success isn't out of the question. Despite MobileMe, Apple does know how to build large-scale reliable backend services. You only have to look at the App Store itself for an example.

So in the future don't be too surprised to see Apple integrate iCloud even more tightly with both iOS and OS X. For the same strategic reasons, don't be shocked to see more custom chips appear — I expect to see the arrival of ARM-based MacBooks and the transition away from Intel for Apple's laptops. That's because for Apple, It's all about the platform.


April 24 2010

Play fullscreen
No Indian miracle
Jayati Ghosh: 110 million living well, hundreds of millions in abject poverty who make growth possible
Views: 4
0 ratings
Time: 08:58 More in News & Politics

March 30 2010

Auf dem Weg zur DienstbotInnengesellschaft?

Auf dem Weg zur DienstbotInnengesellschaft? Prekäre Zeiten – prekäre Verhältnisse ist der Titel einer Tagung im Bildunghaus St. Virgil in Salzburg am 28. und 29. April 2010.

Weltweit lässt sich eine zunehmende Auslagerung von haushaltsnahen Dienstleistungen an MigrantInnen, StudentInnen und schlecht ausgebildete Personen erkennen. Einen Großteil dieser Gruppen stellen Frauen dar. Durch diese Auslagerung setzt sich die geschlechtsspezifische Arbeitsteilung im Haushalt fort, und es entstehen neue Ungleichheiten unter Frauen, die entlang von Einkommen, Ausbildung, Ethnizität und Nationalität verlaufen.

Über dieses Thema sprechen u.a. Mascha Mödorin, Mag.ª Bettina Haidinger, Mag. Christian Felber und Ao. Mag.a Luise Gubitzer.

Zum Detailprogramm (PDF)

Eingetragen unter:VeranstaltungsHinweis Tagged: DienstbotInnen
Reposted fromsantaprecaria santaprecaria

March 28 2010


Le Monde exclusivement payant : fin d'un rêve ou erreur stratégique ?


En fait depuis l'appel du puissant Rupert Murdoch, qui a signalé l'an dernier à tous les grands journaux qu'il était temps de mettre fin à la gratuité de l'information sur Internet. Le Monde a ainsi annoncé qu'à partir du 29 mars, "et de façon progressive", tous les articles du quotidien ne seront plus accessibles gratuitement sur le site du journal, mais réservés aux seuls abonnés.


Confrontés à la chute du marché publicitaire, les journaux papiers se replient donc de plus en plus vers leurs stratégies d'antan en réservant la lecture de leurs articles aux seules paires d'yeux dont le propriétaire a payé la dîme. C'est la fin d'une époque commencée au milieu des années 1990, qui a vu les journaux mettre leurs articles en ligne à disposition de tous, avec plus ou moins de liberté. Le Monde, qui avait déjà expérimenté depuis de nombreuses années des formules d'abonnement donnant quelques privilèges (comme la création de blogs, l'accès aux archives ou à des infographies intéractives), devient le premier journal généraliste en France à fermer totalement la porte aux lecteurs occasionnels.

Financièrement, la décision est compréhensible.


Mais sur le long terme, la stratégie sera-t-elle payante ?

Sans être affirmatifs, nous en doutons. Les jeunes internautes ont pris depuis quinze ans l'habitude de consulter gratuitement sur Internet tous les journaux. [...] Aujourd'hui, les internautes consultent indifféremment Le Monde, Libération, Le Figaro, Presse Océan, Le Temps, Les Echos... pour eux, payer pour accéder à l'information est déjà une chose difficilement concevable. Mais en plus, payer pour ne lire qu'un seul et même journal, est totalement inimaginable. Ne parlons même pas de l'idée de s'abonner à plusieurs journaux, économiquement irréaliste. A cet égard, la proposition mutualiste de Libération était d'ailleurs plus pertinente.


Ils le seront d'autant plus que l'information n'est plus uniquement la lecture. C'est aussi le partage. Or qui ira partager sur Facebook et Twitter les articles que seuls les abonnés à la formule payante iront lire ? Qui, surtout, ira "retweeter" une information qu'il n'a pas pu lire ?

Beaucoup d'internautes auront, dès qu'ils verront un article du Monde qu'ils ne peuvent pas lire sans payer, le réflexe de chercher un article sur le même thème dans un autre journal gratuit. Google News, entre autres outils, les y aidera.


Et l'on craint que pour s'en sauver, comme a déjà commencé à le proposer Rupert Murdoch, les journaux ne s'associent dans un lobbyisme d'une ampleur inégalée pour protéger l'exclusivité de leurs scoops. Ils demanderont que le droit d'auteur ne protège plus seulement la matérialisation de l'information, mais l'information elle-même.


cf. @scheiro - permalink
— l'article complet sur le blog - 20100325 - Le Monde exclusivement payant : fin d'un rêve ou erreur stratégique ?
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!