Thursday, October 25, 2007

Did MS help or hurt Facebook?

Microsoft paid $240 million to invest in Facebook. This is a pretty small amount for Microsoft, but since it's for less then a 2% stake in Facebook it puts a perceived value of Facebook at $15 billion. While this might make the people at Facebook feel pretty good about themselves, I wonder if this really helps them as much as it helps Microsoft. Effectively Microsoft was able to pay $240 million to prevent any other company from buying Facebook since very few company will want to spend that much money on a social networking site. This is as good as MS buying Facebook for chump change.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Y! 360 vs Y! Mash

Yahoo! Mash just completed its first month of existence outside of Yahoo! I have to say that one of the most eye-opening experiences for me has been the comments from the Y! 360 community and how passionate and loyal they are to 360.

I'm not exactly sure how the rumor started or why people assume that Mash is a replacement for 360, but the comments on the various boards are filled with how Mash is not 360 and they are absolutely right. Mash is NOT 360. A key feature of 360 is blogging and Mash doesn't currently offer any blogging functionality. I appreciate the comments by the 360 community because as developers we're happy to know that people use and like what we build, but before people get too hung up on whether 360 is being shut down please first just consider how different the two products are.

What the two does share is the idea that users are connected to each other in some way, aka the "social graph", and it's probably this element that causes people to link 360 to Mash. It's probably the same reason that people accuse Mash of trying to copy MySpace and Facebook. In reality, there are hundreds of "social networking" sites out there that it's almost becoming a standard type of application like word processors or audio players. Within this class of applications, there are basic functionalities that is expected such as a friends list. Not having a friends list in any "social network site" is like a word processor that doesn't let you enter text or open a file. At the same time just because two applications can both open files doesn't mean they are trying to copy each other.

In the end, I hope that the 360 community continue to vocal about what they want to see happen with 360 and at the same time let Mash, a different product, develop into something useful.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Is Apress the new O'Reilley?

Today, I fired up the web browser and typed in '' to check out what new computer titles has come out and I realized that I used to go to O'Reilley instead. In fact, it's been awhile since I've gone to O'Reilley other then to read some of their tech articles. O'Reilley used to be THE publisher of practical technical computer books related to development, UNIX and open source. They published the Perl book among other must have references that were on the desks of every programmer I know.

Now, though, their titles seems to cater to a more mass-market crowd and publish a lot of quick-reference guide. If I want to learn about something, I no longer think about O'Reilley. My last few purchases ( Building and Extending GAIM, The Definitive Guide to GCC, Foundations of GTK+ Development, Bginning PHP and PostgreSQL 8 ) have been from Apress who seems to have replaced O'Reilley in the area that O'Reilley used to dominate. I still have my old O'Reilley books which I reference frequently (Programming Perl, Essential System Administration, UNIX Power Tools, etc.), but now I have to do some research on a new O'Reilley title before I purchase one.