Archives for October 2007


"Dirty" Cookies and Facebook Insanity

First of all, the basics: the absolutely best cookies on the face of Earth are Coach’s Oats Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.   Shame on you, Costco, for not carrying it anymore… now that you got me hooked, I have to mail order it at double cost.smile_baringteeth

But today we’re talking about different kind of cookies – those that websites place on your computer to track your browsing habits and to report back to the “mother site”.  The obvious Privacy 101 principle for years has been to control cookies.  We’ve seen an army of cookie-washer products, the popular browsers all offer their own privacy/cookie settings. Not being satisfied by any of the “smart options” , i.e. differentiate between third-party and on-site cookies, session-only cookies..etc, I’ve long settled on a manual solution of getting prompted every time I new cookie comes up.

In theory, this is an inconvenience only for a few days/ weeks, but after a while when you’ve seen most of your regular destinations, the defaults work quite well, the cookie-prompts fade away.   Except … my old trusted system works less and less. 

Quite a few sites – including blogs – will fail to load properly when seemingly unrelated, third-party cookies are blocked.  Sometimes they work, but next time you come back to the site, there’s just a white, blank screen.  This is ugly.  Since I can’t easily figure out what blocked the site, I typically end up deleting all browser cookies as well as all cookie-rules.  Then it all starts again – some of the sites / blogs take minutes to rotate through dozens of cookie-requests, literally making it impossible to read their own content.  I’m about to give up: might as well just enable cookies – privacy is long gone, anyway.  Besides, if I am getting ads served up, they might as well be better targeted.

How do you deal with cookies? (If you’re reading the feed, pls. click through to the poll)



As for the Insanity part, it’s all over TechMeme today:  FaceBook worth $100 billion, because of those cookies?  I don’t want to be an alarmist, but this is indeed bubble-talk.


Read also:  Digital Daily, Adonomics Blog, PC4Media, Bubblegeneration Strategy Lab, Silicon Alley Insider, Don Dodge on The Next …, A VC,, Read/WriteWeb, Silicon Valley Watcher, SmoothSpan Blog, WeBreakStuff (the guy who designed TechCrunch 1.0SYNTAGMA, WinExtra, Wikinomics.

Update (10/31): Little did I know that a day after writing the above cookies become the topic du jour.  Did we not have this discussion 8-9 years ago?  The difference: while back then the consensus was pro-privacy, anti-cookie, today it’s obvious that privacy is a myth, and the convenience of having personalized content (including ads) outweighs the remaining privacy concerns.  At least that appears to be the majority opinion:

DSLreports,, Insider Chatter, Wikinomics, O’Reilly Radar, This is going to be BIG., Screenwerk, MarketingVOX, ReveNews Online Revenue …, Investor Relations Blog, Between the Lines , Web Analysis …



TheLobby: What’s Wrong?

More specifically, what’s wrong with this picture shot at David Hornik’s super-secret, super-elite TheLobby conference? ( I mean other than dressing like this in Hawaii)

Hm… OK, let me give you a hint:

Aaron, will you now give me a break about my shoes?smile_wink


The Irony of Contextual Advertising

I fully agree with Ionut: Gmail’s spam filtering is amazingly effective. I don’t really care about how they do it, as long as it works this well.thumbs_up

But there’s a bit of irony in his post on Google Operating System, and it comes from none other than Google: just as soon as he’s done praising Gmail, Adsense serves up ad ad from a competing service:

Funny thing is, competitor or not, Adsense is correct: the ad is as contextual as it can get, since the article was about spam filtering.smile_tongue

Of course it could have been a lot worse

(P.S. the pic is only for illustration of what I found on Ionut’s blog; I am not running ads here)

Update: Donna Bogatin found another Web Blooper.


Former SAP Exec Emerges to Deploy Grid for Electric Cars

When Shai Agassi, President of the Product- Technology Group in SAP left the software giant this March, his parting line “to pursue interests in alternative energy and climate change” could very well be viewed as a fashionable update to the old cliche of “leaving to pursue other interests and to spend more time with family”.

But in hindsight it’s obvious Shai knew exactly what he wanted to do next, as laid out in his blog post on Alternative Transportation within days after his departure:

…electric vehicles will become a reality within a short time frame, and will be cheaper to operate within a short time…

The consumer needs to feel comfortable driving an electric car with a ubiquitous charging infrastructure…

The grid needs to support the new load from this moving electrical appliance…

He then goes on defining his future role:

If you followed the history of the introduction of electricity through the first appliance – the electric light bulb – you know that there were three main players in the story: Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse…

…Tesla invented most of the essentials for the common grid we know and love today. The guy who deployed it in mass scale though was Westinghouse, which is the role we need in this new electric revolution – the business guy who deploys with the highest efficiency and best business approach. If Tesla Motors are the modern day Tesla, my hope is to play the role of Westinghouse, or some small part of that role.

Half a year later Shai re-emerged, launching Project Better Place, a company funded to the tune of $200M, which intends to deploy the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.

Project Better Place wants to create the grid of recharge and battery exchange stations, and here comes the interesting part: they want to follow the mobile phone industry’s business model, offering subscribers to the grid subsidized cars that are “cheaper to buy and operate than today’s fuel-based cars”.

I’m sooo ready for a subsidized Tesla smile_regular

Update: Now that there’s a conversation going on about HaaS (Hardware as a Service), I’m going to declare the Shai-mobile CaaS: Car as a Service. smile_wink

Update: Watch Shai on CNBC, first live in the studio, then I believe remotely. Wonder why he put on a tie for the second round…perhaps Thomas knows(?)

Gotta love this quote:

This is not a science project. This in an integration project.

Related posts: WSJ ($), Green Car Congress, New York Times, Green Wombat, Crunchgear (calling Shai “some guy”), isRealli, Earth2Tech, Business Week, alarm:clock, Between the Lines, Techdirt, Babbling VC, VentureBeat, All Tesla Motors Blogs , The Energy Blog,


SVASE Event: How To Build A Lean, Mean, Global Operation From The Get Go

(reposted from SVASE)

The traditional model for startups of gaining traction in your home market and then expanding internationally is under extreme pressure. Some VCs say they only look at deals that come to them with well defined global strategies, and it’s no longer unusual for a startup to develop its technology in Israel, Finland or the UK, secure its funding in the U.S. and have its founders to be first generation immigrants from China, Europe or India.

Offshore? Onshore? Nearshore? Noshore?

VCs who once bragged about never driving more than half an hour to visit a portfolio company are jetting to Australia for optical engineers, Israel for security whizzes, India and Kazakhstan for brute software coding, South Korea for online gaming and Japan for graphics chips. And many say a global view is required just to keep pace with foreign firms quick to copy an idea.
• When does having a global strategy become a strategic imperative?
• How can cash strapped startups realistically address global markets without blowing up their limited resources?
• Is offshore product development really effective for a startup? Or is it just an endless wait for S/W that never quite works as you’d like?
• Do you really need to create different products for each international market?
• If you’re planning on operating on 4 continents, where does your management team reside?
• How important are international patents? Are they worth the time & cost?
• How do you gain traction in an unknown geography?
• What added value can the right investor bring to the party?

The Panel:
• Andrew Filev, CEO, Wrike
• Girish Gaitonde, Founder & CEO, Xoriant Corporation
• Faraz Hoodbhoy, Founder, EVP & CTO, PixSense, Inc.
• Peter Rip, General Partner, Crosslink Capital
• Sridhar Vembu, Founder and CEO, Zoho
Moderator: Peter Laanen, International Trade Director, Netherlands Business Support Office

Thursday, November 1
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Networking and hors d’oeuvres
7:00 – 8:15 pm: Panel discussion and Q/A
8:15 – 8:30 pm: Additional networking

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR Campus), 950 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304

Register here.


2.0 in Argentina

Vinnie talks about The Web 2.0 Confusion Cycle. There’s a 2.0 of everything.. we’re used to Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Office 2.0… next week there’s a Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. But if you think that’s stretching it, wait … here’s the Sex 2.0 Conference.

So, in the spirit of “everything 2.0”, I claim Evita 2.0, before someone else does:smile_wink

First lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner swept to victory in Argentina’s presidential vote on Sunday to become the first woman elected to lead the country, television exit polls showed. (Reuters)


Naughty "Business" on FaceBook

Wired Reports:

Naughty Gifts, one of the most used Facebook applications, is throwing a series of adult parties in the real world this week.

Some 2.6 million Facebook users have sent 33 million naughty gifts — including thongs, whips and condoms — to their friends since the app joined the social network’s platform in August.

Hey, it could be fun, just not in business.smile_party  I rest my case.


Related posts: broadstuffMashable! 


Desktopized Web-Applications are a Great Convenience

Mozilla Lab’s Prism, which allows you to ‘desktopize’ your web applications – i.e. represent them by a desktop icon and run them in their own window – is generally well received, so I’m really surprised at Josh Catone’s assessment on Read/WriteWeb (one of my favorite sites):

Except for the minor convenience of running oft-used web apps in their own dedicated window and making them accessible via a desktop icon, Prism isn’t really all that exciting in its current form. It doesn’t offer much of a benefit over bookmarks and your current browser window.

Sure, offline access will be great, when it’s here… but don’t underestimate the importance of users’ convenience, Josh!

I love the fact that about the only program need to launch is FireFox – but I often find the browser too restricting. Now that large LCD’s are getting less expensive, more and more of us find ourselves working on 24″, 32″ ..etc screens – the browser does not allow smart use of all that real-estate. For example I like to use different window sizes for different (web) apps, and often want side-by-side windows, which I could not get using FireFox tabs. Launching another browser session was a rather resource-wasting workaround.

I’ve been using Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show in a desktopized form for almost a year now (literally, since the tool Zoho uses is called “desktopize”). The pic to the right shows part of my desktop, with 3 Zoho icons. They all pop up in my pre-set window size and position, and disappear to the system tray, even if I close my main browser session.

If this “convenience feature” becomes more mainstream, with Mozilla, Adobe and whoever else backing it, I believe it will lead to increased migration to Web applications, so I’m all for it.

Related posts: Read/WriteWeb, CrunchGear, Download Squad, WebProNews, CyberNet, Digital Trends, TechBlog, Compiler, RIApedia, Google Blogoscoped, Mike Chambers, The Universal Desktop, Jeremy’s Blog, Mashable!


Blinded by Vista Sales Success

It turns out someone does like Windows Vista, along with Office and the other stuff Microsoft sells.

– reports the New York Times, quoting Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson:

Customer demand for Windows Vista this quarter continued to build with double-digit growth in multi-year agreements by businesses and with the vast majority of consumers purchasing premium editions.

(emphasis mine)

…lot of folks spend so much time bitching about Vista and Office that they overlook one key point: Folks are buying this stuff.

– says Between the Lines. Donna Bogatin goes on in her “the-blogosphere-is-all-wrong-except-me” style:

The disconnect between tech blogosphere negative Microsoft hype and positive Microsoft reality continues to astound. Yesterday, Microsoft reported 27% revenue growth, fastest first quarter since 1999

Typical Vista gloom and doom blogger headlines: “No one is lining up for Windows Vista in San Francisco,” “The top five things about Windows Vista that still suck,” “Is Windows XP too good for Microsoft’s own good?”…

If Vista were truly the nightmare it is made out to be in the blogosphere, wouldn’t there be a massive consumer Microsoft revolt?

Time for a reality check. Product quality, customer satisfaction and market success have very little to do with each other when you have a monopoly.

The Vista problems are real, they are not fantasies created by bloggers. But how exactly are consumers supposed to revolt? They still need computers, and despite Apple’s respectable growth, they still represent a fraction of the consumer PC market. Try to buy a PC today, it’s hard to NOT end up with Vista (even I got one)

Customer demand for Vista? No, it’s customer demand for computers, in a market with no choice. I’m not “making this up”, Donna. It’s all in Microsoft’s 10-Q:

…Client revenue growth correlates with the growth of purchases of PCs from OEMs that pre-install versions of Windows operating systems because the OEM channel accounts for approximately 80% of total Client revenue. The differences between unit growth rates and revenue growth rates from year to year are affected by changes in the mix of OEM Windows operating systems licensed with premium edition operating systems as a percentage of total …

The increased “demand” for premium versions comes from another well-documented fact, i.e. Microsoft’s new segmentation, castrating Vista Home Basic and essentially making Home Premium the equivalent of XP Home – a hidden price increase, by any measure.

A true measure of “demand” for Vista would be corporate licenses and retail sales, and both are behind. But not for long: eventually, after the release of SP1 corporate IT will give in, too – who wants to be “left behind”, after all.

This isn’t liking Vista at all – it’s assimilation by the Borg.

Related posts: Between the Lines, Insider Chatter, Seeking Alpha, All about Microsoft, Tom Foremski: IMHO, Silicon Valley Watcher, Mark Evans, Computerworld,, Seeking Alpha Software stocks, Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog, Alice Hill’s Real Tech News, Paul Mooney, Between the Lines , TechCrunch, All about Microsoft and Parislemon (who, like me, did not overdose of $Kool-aid$)

Update (1/11/08): A UK Government report advises school to avoid upgrading to Vista, or deploying Office 2007.

See further update here.


Microsoft: The Live Installer / WDS Invasion was Just the Rehearsal

Here’s a quick chronology:

  • Under the auspices of installing Live Photo Gallery, Microsoft installs their Desktop Search product on XP systems, without asking for user permission or even bothering to notify users. (for details, see previous posts listed below)
  • User uproar follows
  • Microsoft updates their Photo Live Gallery, and it no longer requires Windows Desktop Search.

Naive me, I welcome this as proof that Microsoft Listens, after all.

No, they don’t. All the above was just the rehearsal. The Real Invasion is happening now, under the disguise of Window Server Update Services, as reported by the Register:

“The admins at my place were in a flap this morning because Windows Desktop Search 3.01 had suddenly started installing itself on desktops throughout the company,” a Reg reader by the name of Rob informs us. “The trouble is that once installed, the indexer kicks in and slows the machines down.”

“I’m slightly pissed of [sic] at M$ right now,” an admin in charge of 3,000 PCs wrote in a comment to the first aforementioned link. “All the clients have slowed to a crawl, and the file servers are having problems with the load.”

Mea Culpa for my naivety. The Borg does not change.smile_zipit

My previous stories on the invasion (and more):

Other Related posts: Sadjad’s space, David and David Arno’s Blog. Of course these are hard to find, TechMeme is full of reporting how the Borg kissed the Berg.