Archives for July 2007

Communication Overtones: MyDeathSpace: Voyeurism Meets Social Media

Over on Communications Overtones Kami mentions a new site that is creepy (IMHO) – but I’m actually very interested in how we handle “dead data”.  Data either left behind because someone died, or perhaps it’s just an abandoned FaceBook account.  But how do we handle that data?  Do we (as site developers) simply delete it after X number of days? 

My comment there:

Kami – although I agree this is not tasteful, the basic premise is something I talk about almost every day. As a consultant in Social Networking startups I always asked my clients what happens to a customer’s data if the customer “dies”. Dies being in quotes because we may not actually know he/she is dead – we just know they haven’t logged in for X number of days.
But I try to get my customers to offer users the option of “what to do with my data if I don’t login for 180 days and fail to respond to email/SMS?”
It’s not a pleasant topic, and I certainly wouldn’t browse cyber-tombstones” on the web – but the basic question of “What do you want us to do with your data” is a very serious question that is only going to become more and more important (both personally and legally).
How about you? What happens to this data – your blog – if something awful happens? Your email addresses? The other Social Networking sites you have joined?
I would rather be able to choose than to not know. Some accounts I may want deleted (like my XBOX 360 gamer tag, for instance – nobody needs that when I am gone). But my Flickr account? I have unpublished pictured there that I would want family to see…
MyDeathSpace is an unpleasant (and unimportant) site, but maybe they will at least get this conversation about “dead data” out in the open. It’s a problem that needs solved.

It is an interesting question – and there really is no consensus on how to deal with it.

I can make a lot of suggestions – but I think some large site like MSN or Yahoo or Google will eventually solve this – perhaps even as an IEEE standard.  I don’t encourage my clients to dwell on this, or spend huge resources on it, but I do encourage them to at least think about it.  To put together a policy that describes when and what happens to your data if at some point you “appear dead” to them.

For many accounts, simply deleting the data is fine.  For others though, deleting the data may delete a significant work effort, personal memorabilia (Flickr, etc), or thoughts (blogs).

It’s something that deserves more attention than it is getting. is a map-based site that connects you to the MySpace profiles of the deceased. It includes the story about each person and the circumstances of their death.

Communication Overtones: MyDeathSpace: Voyeurism Meets Social Media

Court notice to government on Microsoft event near Taj @ NewKerala.Com News Channel

Gads! This is insane! So what if it DID violate the whatever act – it was in January for crying out loud! January is OVER.

Pay attention next time you do something like this (I am talking to India, not Microsoft) and make sure you keep the boundaries enforced. It’s your job.

Until then, get over this.

Court notice to government on Microsoft event near Taj New Delhi, July 30: The Supreme Court Monday asked the Indian government to explain if global IT major Microsoft’s Windows Vista launch function in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal this year violated norms and laws regarding heritage monuments. A bench headed by Justice S.B. Sinha asked the government and the Archaeological Survey of India to reply within a week, providing details of the event and identifying the government agency that granted the permission for the event.

Court notice to government on Microsoft event near Taj @ NewKerala.Com News Channel

Meebo Grows Faster Than Google Talk

I use GMail, Google Apps, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Adwords, Google Google.. etc, etc

But I have NEVER used Google Chat.  Why?  It’s too hard to change.  I have over 500 contacts in Windows Live Messenger, and that’s where they hang out.

So the only possible way Google could get me to even try Google Chat is if it worked with Live Messenger.


According to a study released by Nielsen/NetRatings [PDF], Meebo is the instant messaging solution with the highest US growth in the last 10 months. Meebo, a web messenger that lets you connect to Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ and Jabber/Google Talk, increased its US user base from 434,000 to almost 2 million. In the same period of time, Google Talk grew from 904,000 to 2,25 million users. It’s unclear whether the study only included Google Talk’s desktop client or it also considered the web interfaces from Gmail and iGoogle. The more powerful Skype has 2,6 million users in the US.

Meebo Grows Faster Than Google Talk

Microsoft "Vista NG"

No, Vista NG (“Next Generation”) doesn’t exist (as far as I know).  But it should.

What is (would be) Vista NG?

An Operating System designed for a hardware platform that does not exist. An Operating System that drives the next generation of hardware design.  An Operating System that Microsoft didn’t expect to profit directly off of – but one that is so innovative that it drives a complete new generation of PC design (something we sorely need).  A complete abandonment of devices and drivers past.  A totally forward-looking Operating System that assumed, “If you code it, they will come”.  Microsoft should challenge hardware designers to develop a consumer device that can run the new Operating System.  Microsoft should offer an “X-Prize” style reward to the first company that builds a $1000 USD (retail) machine that can run the new Vista NG.

Some features of the OS would include:

  • Absolutely ZERO legacy support for anything that can be replaced with a more modern technology.
  • A well-defined hardware/interface architecture that allows for true plug and play components that accept a variety of form factors (video cards that can be swapped out “hot” on laptops, servers, and desktops – all without a screwdriver).  Basically a modular approach to not only upgrading a PC, but changing what it is configured to do – on the fly.  Need more storage space?  Pop in a new storage module – and have it magically accessible to the O/S.  Need more security?  Plug in a module that encrypts decrypt everything on the system – memory, storage, transmitted data, etc.  Need GPS/WiFi/Second Video?  Just plug them in.  No rebooting required.
  • ALL hardware devices include a basic built in driver that is downloaded to the host computer (from the add-on)upon  insertion – more functional drivers can/will be downloaded online.
  • 64 bit only.
  • Fan-less.  Noiseless.
  • “Wireless in the O/S” – the ability to manage and manipulate a PC from any SMS/email capable phone/device.  Basically “Microsoft Sideshow Anywhere”.
  • Extremely low power.  Unbelievably low power. Scary low power.
  • Huge bonus points (dollars) if it has absolutely zero moving parts.  In fact, there is ZERO reason for any moving parts.
  • HDMI out to support large format HDTV screens – scaling back to laptop sized resolutions (all in wide screen).

I wonder – if Microsoft (or someone else) really wrote such an Operating System – and gave a nice little prize for the hardware developer that built the right machine – would it change the world?  Would it make a lot of people a lot of money?

Take everything we currently hate about the PC (legacy EVERYTHING) hard drives, fans, blue screens, trying to find drivers… and throw it all away.

Start over.

Do better.

Innovate, and fear not those who won’t upgrade – where the early adopters go, the rest will follow!

I’m sure many of you have your own PC hardware wish list items.  What are they?

All your data centers are belong to us

To San Antonio, that is.  Microsoft, Christus Santa Rosa Hospital Systems, Lowe’s, and the National Security Agency are also building their data centers here.

Why?  The City of San Antonio owns the local power company City Public Service.  So we all own it.  And we have fairly (comparatively) cheap power.  And lots of room.  And thanks to companies like USAA we have a fine telecommunications infrastructure.

Add in CityNAP and we have the beginnings of something really cool here – driving technology to San Antonio.

Not that we haven’t had our fair share of technology successes.  The first real PC (Datapoint), LAN (ArcNet), widely deployed home LAN (PromiseLAN) and WiFi (802.11 MAC) all have their roots here.  Luckily, I have worked with many of the people that made those strides forward.

“All your data centers are belong to us”! 🙂


Microsoft Corp. has broken ground on its new 447,000-square-foot data center in the Westover Hills area in Northwest San Antonio. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will use the center to house tens of thousands of servers that will provide information and Web-based applications to Internet users worldwide. Click here to find out more! “The community in San Antonio has been very welcoming and has shown a great commitment to growing next-generation businesses,” says Debra Chrapaty, corporate vice president for global foundation services at Microsoft. “The city offered many advantages, one of the most vital being affordable, ample power.” The data center is slated to be completed in July 2008 and will create 75 technology jobs. “The benefits of Microsoft coming to San Antonio begin with the addition of 75 high-paying jobs, but that is just a beginning,” San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger says. “Microsoft’s investment already has raised the profile of San Antonio as a place for technology companies to do business.

Construction begins on Microsoft’s data-center campus – San Antonio Business Journal: