About web

Thoughts about the platform of choice.

Articles in this category:

  1. On the shoulders of...

    Here's to the giants of the digital age we lost this year - the inventors, scientists, & entrepreneurs. The list is by no means exclusive; it's just off the top of my head.

    Paul Baran (1926-2011), one of the architects of the Internet.

    John McCarthy (1927-2011), inventor of Lisp, one of the key figures of Artificial Intelligence research.

    Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011), creator of the C programming language, co-creator of Unix.

    Steven Paul Jobs (1955-2011), founder of Apple, inventor of the Macintosh, the iPhone, and the iPad.

    They helped define the sandbox in which we get to play. And they thought thoughts that have a gotten a life of their own - powerful ideas that we find ourselves re-thinking, validating, and building on.

  2. Why you don't need a Social Media Strategy

    I am ever fascinated by the amount of new business books whose mission it is to convey to The Enterprise the benefits and finer details of having a "Social Media Strategy". It reminds me of the time every such business was searching for ways to profit from "this Internet thing".

    I'd like to help. If you find yourself asking "How can I use social media to my company's advantage", your problem is likely not the lack of strategy; you might benefit from developing some social intelligence instead.

    After all, we don't want to complicate things further do we. Using social media is totally self-explanatory!

    Here's how (you can call it strategy of you will):

    • Share what you like. Share what you find interesting & valuable.
    • Like what others share. Comment, share, propagate, & like what others share and you like.
    • Be somebody. Do something. Create value. Then, share that value and give people a way to like it and to find you.
    • Do this on a continuous basis and make sure you're not pestering people.

    Is that all? Where is the "strategy" part? Well, do you need a "party strategy" or a "socializing strategy" or a "how to get friends strategy"? What about a "how to be liked by other people strategy"? If you do, chances are no amount of "strategy" will help you. Good luck with the Interwebs.

  3. Let us kill SOPA before damage is made

    Imagine there was a part of the world where speech was truly free, information was readily available, and the whole of humanity's intellectual capital could be accessed in a few seconds. A place where everyone with a solution could reach everyone else who needed that solution instantly and at (almost) no cost. Where knowledge was shared freely, contributed by everyone who had something to contribute, and thus amplified far beyond the capability of any one individual or group of people. A world where the cost of starting a business is often zero and where the best always rises to the top. A place to meet new people, learn things you didn't know you didn't know, and find opportunities that could turn your life in fresh, unknown directions.

    Sounds familiar? We are all living in this reality right now - it's called the Internet. Chances are, if you have ever used a computer you have derived value from the Internet in some way and degree. The dream is here; the opportunity is now.

    What about "sounds to good to be true"? Well, this might in fact become just a fantasy. If you and I don't take action, that is. Apparently, some people in the entertainment industry are not very happy with this Internet situation. They say it is used to steal the artists' work from them. To prevent this thievery, these people are lobbying the US government to pass some laws that will change how we use the web.

    But this is a cover-up. The reality is, those entertainment industry people are middlemen, not artists. And the Internet is making their business model obsolete. Examples of artists who are using the Internet to find an audience are left, right and center. Ask Justin Bieber how he got to be so famous as to reportedly sell 50% of all music sold in the 2010.

    We knew this all along: for every business model the Internet destroys, it creates ten new ones. But those people don't see it that way. They don't want to evolve with the time and adapt to the new reality. Instead of looking for ways to make the Internet work for them, they want to control how you and I use it. And in that process, they want to damage it.

    This is ironic. The Internet is the closest the humanity has come to a free market economy in its entire existence. And now some business is lobbying the politicians to make it less free.

    Listen, this thing called the Internet is not just a bunch of machines connected by a bunch of wires. It is a value system and a system for self-governance. EVERYTHING valuable about it comes from the fact that it's free. We have all grown accustomed to it; turn on your computer, and it's there. Herein lies the danger: if we take it for granted we could wake up one day and discover we cannot recognize it anymore. The forces that want to pass this bill like speed and stealth; and bribes - generous amounts of bribes. They want to achieve their objective under our collective radar.

    I'm not too worried about Hollywood's capacity to get this legislation adopted. The Internet economy is massively bigger than them. It generates more revenue, creates more jobs, and produces more value. As one reader remarked, if only Google and Facebook blocked their US users for one day to give everyone a taste of an Internet-crippled future, the lawmakers would change their minds rather quickly.

    But they don't have to - if we the users make our voice heard. Whether you tell your friends, tweet, blog like I just did, or find other ways to say no to SOPA, we're making sure we send a clear signal and those who need to receive it, do. In due time.

  4. Why I support Wikipedia

    I just donated to Wikipedia. Here's why:

    • When my schoolbook on Algorithms & Data Structures wasn't enough, Wikipedia articles on dynamic programming helped me make the exam.

    • Technical articles on Wikipedia are of outstanding quality. Articles on data structures, programming paradigms, and math topics are lucid, detailed, and full of working examples. It's not just the ADT, it's the pseudocode and very often real code to illustrate.

    • Information wants to be free. Knowledge is amplified when shared.

    • It doesn't have ads flying in me face.

    • I like the formatting and the visual style.

    • It's a big part of the Internet culture.

    • I use it ALL THE TIME.