Amazon’s cloud platform still the largest, but others are closing the gap

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Tim’s recent tweet on the growing demand for Google App Engine skills inspired me to measure the popularity of the major cloud computing platforms. Elance is one of many job boards in our data warehouse of U.S. job postings1 , and I wanted to measure demand across many more job sites.

Measured in terms of (U.S.) job postings, Amazon’s Cloud Computing platform is still larger than Google’s App Engine. What’s interesting is that the gap has closed over the past year2:


Over the past two months, the other cloud platforms were roughly one-third (Google), one-fourth (Microsoft), and one-sixth (Rackspace) the size of Amazon. During the same period last year, these platforms were much smaller: Google was one-fifth, Microsoft was one-seventh, and Rackspace one-tenth the size of Amazon.

(1) Data for this post is for U.S. online job postings through 8/21/2010 and is maintained in partnership with We use algorithms to dedup job posts: a single job posting can contain multiple jobs and appear on multiple job sites.

(2) I counted the number of unique job posts that mention each of the cloud computing platforms.

Radar is getting a redesign

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Radar will get a new look and more functionality when we roll out a redesign later today.

Here’s a screenshot of the new edition. We’re still putting pieces together so the final version may be slightly different from what you see here:

Radar redesign screenshot

(Click to see a larger version)

We’re also rolling out a mobile edition:

Radar redesign screenshot
(Click to see a larger screen)

The biggest change involves Radar’s sections. Currently, sections are auto-generated based on our internal categorization. That will no longer be the case. Each section will, in essence, become its own publication. We’re treating Radar as the umbrella publication — the mothership — and each section will be related, but independent.

Here’s an example: We’re adding a Data section with the redesign. What this means is that we’ll soon have a significant Data site within Radar that will have its own publishing schedule, will feature its own guest bloggers and regulars, and will focus on the needs of the Data community. It’s quite possible that a segment of the future Radar audience will only visit the Data area because that’s the only area they’re interested in. That’s fine. In fact, that’s a good thing because it allows us to use the power of Radar’s platform to increase visibility for topics — like Data — that we want to get out there.

In addition to the Data section, we’ll also have areas for Web 2.0, Publishing, Edu 2.0, Gov 2.0, Mobile, and Programming. Some material will cross sections. Posts focusing on ideas/developments outside these areas will also pop up as well.

More sections means more content, and we’ll be ramping up our editorial efforts to make sure each section is robust and valuable. As you can see in the screenshot, we’re also incorporating video from our well-stocked YouTube channel and blending a variety of sharing/social functions into the site. We realize a lot of engagement happens beyond the boundaries of a website, and we want to use Facebook, Twitter, RSS and other tools to make that engagement as seamless as possible.

There’s a number of things that won’t change: Content will continue to focus on the themes, trends and technologies on the horizon; we’ll continue to showcase unique writers with unique perspectives; and advocacy for “stuff that matters” will remain front and center.

The redesign will roll out in the next few hours. If you have any questions, please weigh in through the comments or contact me directly: mac at oreilly dot com.

XBMC Dharma Beta Brings New Add-on Framework, Blu-ray Support, and More [Beta Beat]

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Windows/Mac/Linux/Apple TV: The popular XBMC media center application just released the first beta of its next big update, codenamed Dharma. The biggest feature improvement in the update: The XBMC crew have developed a robust add-on system that makes it easy to install new add-ons and automatically updates plugins and skins so you’re always running the latest and greatest version of your add-ons. The update also features hardware acceleration for supported graphics cards, unencrypted Blu-ray playback (meaning you still may want to use this method to play your encrypted Blu-ray discs), and more (which you can check out on the release milestone page). Thanks sneakily1! [XBMC Blog] More »

Points of Control: The Web 2.0 Summit Map

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In my blog post State of the Internet Operating System a few months ago (and the followup Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars), I used the analogy of “the Great Game” played out between England and Russia in the late Victorian era for control of access to India through what is now Afghanistan. In our planning for this year’s Web 2.0 Summit, John Battelle and I have expanded on this metaphor, exploring the many ways that Internet companies at all levels of the stack are looking for points of control that will give them competitive advantage in the years to come.

Now, John has developed that idea even further, with a super-cool interactive map that shows the Internet platform wars in a kind of fantasy landscape, highlighting each of the players and some of the moves they might make against each other. Click on the link at the top of the image below to get to the full interactive version. You might also want to read John Battelle’s description of the points of control map and how to use it.

Some of the battlegrounds are already clear, as Google has entered the phone hardware market to match Apple’s early lead, while Apple is ramping up its presence in advertising and location-based services to try to catch up to Google. Meanwhile, Facebook adds features to compete with Twitter and Foursquare, Google (and everyone else) keeps trying to find the magic bullet for social networking, and tries to eat Yelp’s lunch with Place Pages, Microsoft gains share in search and tries again to become a player in the phone market. Areas like social gaming, payment, speech and image recognition, location services, advertising, tablets and other new form factors for connected devices, are all rife with new startups, potential acquisition plays, and straight-up competition.

In the map, we’ve tried to highlight some of the possible competitive vectors. I’m sure you’ll have other ideas about companies, possible lines of attack, and possible alliances. We hope to hear your feedback, and we hope to see you at the Web 2.0 Summit, where we’ll be talking with many of the key players, and handicapping the next stage of the Great Game.


Hacking online advertising

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I gloss over the text ads that appear at the top of Gmail, but this one caught my eye:

Mike Arrington ad

I think it’s clear I’m not the founder of TechCrunch. In that sense the ad failed to reach its intended audience. But I did notice the ad. I even clicked through. And in the world of infinite web inventory and diminishing attention, that counts as a win.

Now, will this work again? Probably not. I’m on to it, and “clever” has an expiration date.

Yet, there’s something to be said for of-the-moment creativity: the actions and initiatives that only work once. The best recent example of this is Alec Brownstein’s job search.

As the following video shows, Brownstein spent $6 on ads targeting the names of five creative directors:

It worked. Brownstein landed a job at Y&R New York.

I’ll admit, these examples earn little more than a chuckle and passing admiration when taken on their own. But there’s more going on here. The creativity hints at something much bigger.

These are ad hacks

Web 2.0 Expo New York - 20% off with code RadarOnline advertising has big problems. That’s clear. Audiences are too dispersed and browsing habits are too entrenched for traditional models to take hold. Unfortunately, the knee-jerk response has been a mix of shoe-banging rhetoric and ill-advised projects.

Both of the examples I noted above are relevant because they represent counterpoints to grand and bold declarations of demise.

The people behind these ads took a system many believe is irreparably damaged and calibrated it for their specific needs. They didn’t rail on and on about the need for a new model. They didn’t passively seek salvation in a new device. Instead, they got to work and hacked online advertising.

Will either of these efforts “save” media? No. Absolutely not. And that’s not the point.

It’s the mindset that matters: worming inside a system and moving pieces around to make it do what you want it to. This mindset, which isn’t a hallmark of entrenched media, is why the future will be determined by upstarts who don’t realize — and perhaps don’t care — that they’re reinventing an industry.


The future of online advertising will be discussed at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York, running Sept. 27-30. Save 20% on registration with the discount code “Radar”.

7 Shifts: The Future of Social Media and Internal Communications

This post is by from Trends in the Living Networks

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Melcrum recently released a report on How to use social media to solve critical communication issues, with as usual some great case studies and many practical insights. Go to the report website for a full overview and executive summary.

I was asked to write the closing section in the report, on The Future of Social Media and Internal Communications. Below is my article in full. If you’re interested in the topic also see my recent Thoughts on the future of workplace communications.

The Future of Social Media and Internal Communications

Organisations achieve their objectives by bringing together the talent and energy of many people. As such, the raft of emerging communications platforms today have the potential to literally transform how organizations work. From the 1990s, email fundamentally changed how most jobs were done. Now a wealth of new communication tools are being used to create sometimes dramatically different ways of working.

Based on the rapid emergence of social media and other new communication platforms, there are seven key aspects to how organisational communication will change.

1. Organisations will diverge widely in how they communicate.
The most important implication of the rise of social media is that companies will increasingly diverge in how they communicate internally. Many companies will continue for years to come to work very similarly to how they have in the past, relying on intranet-style document repositories and email. Others will rapidly adopt a wide array of social media tools, and in the process create substantially different work processes and environments. There will be no unity in communication trends; organisations will increasingly differ in how they work.

2. Email use will be eroded by social media.
Those companies that use social media the most effectively will substantially reduce email communication. Projects will shift into dedicated online spaces with alerts for relevant updates. Google Wave or its successors will create new formats for interaction that transcend email. A key question will be whether email and other communications forms will reside in the same or separate interfaces.

3. Conversational channels will flourish.
A smaller proportion of companies will find that micro-blogging and status updates provide a very effective way of communicating on some tasks, given that many of their staff are familiar with tools such as Twitter and Facebook. The uptake of conversational channels will be mainly in smaller groups driven by function, location or team membership, rather than uniformly across organisations.

4. Social search will drive value.
The promise of social search will finally bear fruit, with for once enterprise technology moving ahead of consumer tech. Rich profiling of users, what they are working on, what they are searching for, and what they are finding useful in their tasks will drive highly contextual and relevant results, including selective context-based push of information.

5. Network analysis will drive performance.
For sophisticated organisations, social network analysis is the tool that offers the greatest insights into which interventions will best drive increased performance. As an increasing proportion of communication shifts to digital channels, the availability of data will enable these approaches to be applied far more broadly than in the past.

6. Virtual meetings will become immersive.
As virtual work rises, the demands on teleconferencing and virtual meetings will rise. Multiple formats including video, screen sharing, voting, gesture recognition and quasi-3D will generate richer interaction. There will be a rapid increase in avatar based worlds and meetings as these provide a more immersive experience, though for some time yet only by a minority of organisations.

7. Work will transcend organisational boundaries.
As companies virtualise, using workers and contractors around the world, work processes will be designed to be used equally well by people both inside and outside the organisation. Sophisticated permissioning templates and security measures will make it easy to invite business partners and suppliers to participate in business processes and communication platforms.

As a result of these trends, organisations’ divergence in their pace of uptake of new communication tools will also reflect a divergence in performance. Those companies that effectively tap the potential of social media will move far ahead of those that are slower adopters.

Ross Dawson is Chairman of international consulting firm Advanced Human Technologies and author of books including Implementing Enterprise 2.0. His blog Trends in the Living Networks is ranked as on the top business blogs in the world.

Four short links: 31 August 2010

This post is by from O'Reilly Radar - Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies.

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

  1. Rules for Revolutionaries — Carl Malamud’s talk to the WWW2010 Conference. Video, slides, and text available.
  2. Self-Improving Bayesian Sentiment Analysis for Twitter — a how-I-did-it for a homegrown project to do sentiment analysis on Twitter.
  3. LUXR — the Lean User Experience Residency program. LUXr brings user experience and design services to early stage teams in a lower cost, more efficient way than traditional project-based consulting. The latest from Adaptive Path’s Janice Fraser.
  4. My Top Ten Assertions About Data Warehouses (CACM) — Michael Stonebraker’s take on the data warehouse world, and his predictions cut across a lot of our O’Reilly trends. Assertion 5: “No knobs” is the only thing that makes any sense. It is pretty clear that human operational costs dominate the cost of running a data warehouse. […] Almost all DBMSs have 100 or more complicated tuning “knobs.” This requires DBAs to be “4-star wizards” and drives up operating costs. Obviously, the only thing that makes sense is to have a program that adjusts these knobs automatically. In other words, look for “no knobs” as the only way to cut down DBA costs. (via mikeolson on Twitter)