Entries tagged with “IT”.


Never underestimate the power of first-mover advantage, especially when being one of the first movers gets you bought by Google. Back in August, 1999, Pyra Labs launched Blogger. LiveJournal had launched six months before and Open Diary in October of the previous year. But it was Pyra Labs which was acquired by Google in February, 2003, and the rest was history. Now, nearly ten years later, Blogger is still the dominant hosted blogging platform. In May, 52 million individual people from the U.S. visited a Blogger blog, almost twice as many as the 28 million who visited a blog hosted by Wordpress.com (comScore). Six Apart properties, including Typepad.com, attracted 14 million.

Millions of bloggers still use Blogger because it is easy. However, Wordpress.com is making steady gains and growing its aggregate audience in the U.S. at more than twice the annual rate of Blogger (40 percent versus 14 percent). These numbers don’t count all the blogs that host Wordpress on their own servers, such as Techcrunch.

The vast majority of Blogger traffic comes from outside the United States, where its annual growth rate is 38 percent compared to Wordpress.com’s 59 percent. On a worldwide basis, Blogger blogs have a readership of 267 million people a month, compared to 143 million a month for Wordpress (comScore, April, 2008). The biggest countries are, in order:

1. U.S.
2. Brazil
3. Turkey
4. Spain
5. Canada
6. U.K.

From a business standpoint, Blogger is good for Google because it creates millions of sites which can show AdSesne ads. It creates more inventory for Google. Only recently has Google bothered to start showing ads to the users of Blogger itself every time they publish a post.

Can Blogger keep its lead indefinitely, or will Wordpress eventually catch up? Or will something else entirely overtake both of them?

Today, two of the people behind the original Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have another little service that is capturing people’s attention. It is called Twitter, you may have heard about it. In May, Twitter.com had 17.6 million unique U.S. visitors to its Website alone, making it bigger already than Six Apart.

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This is a guest post from Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDNet, TechRepublic’s sister site. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines (or subscribe to the RSS feed).

Cisco’s Unified Computing System is garnering interest, but storage appears to be the focus of CIOs as they ponder the next generation data center and that’s good news for EMC and NetApp, according to a Goldman Sachs survey.

Goldman Sachs surveyed 100 IT executives at Fortune 1000 companies to get a read on their data center plans two to three years from now.

Among the takeaways:

Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) has found “a surprisingly receptive ear,” according to Goldman Sachs. Indeed, 18 percent are planning to evaluate Cisco’s UCS in the next 12 months, an impressive figure for a product that was announced a few weeks ago. Another two-thirds of IT execs say that they expect Cisco have a larger server presence over the next 2 to 3 years.

Among those surveyed, 18 percent said they will evaluate UCS in the next 12 months, 44 percent said no and 38 percent were unsure.

Cisco, HP and Dell were vendors expected to increase data center share, according to respondents. Sun and IBM are seen decreasing.

These charts tell the tale:

And.

The next gen data center push is benefiting pure storage players. EMC and NetApp are seen gaining share in the next-gen data center. A key point: As tech giants try to further integrate hardware and software independent storage vendors NetApp and EMC are benefiting. Why? These vendors work with any architecture and they’re ahead on storage virtualization.

VMware is seen as the most strategic software vendor, but Microsoft has a better-than-expected finish. Meanwhile, Oracle got a mention as being strategic on the virtualization front.

The standings:

Cisco and Juniper defend switching turf. Goldman Sachs notes:

Despite the heightened activity in data center networking, including the launch of Juniper’s new high-end switching platform as well as HP’s ProCurve partner ecosystem, Cisco is expected to further extend its already sizable lead in the long-term. This is consistent with our IT Survey’s results pointing to share gains in the near term. Juniper also appears to be gaining traction in switching as our survey points to the company increasing its presence in the data center, with nearly 70% of the respondents citing share gains over next 2-3 years.

More reading:

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Twitter can be an invaluable tool for business networking, but most new users don’t get it at first. Learn why in this look at the four stages that the average Twitter user traverses on the path from newbie to devotee.

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There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.

But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere

You can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonhiner

Because I think Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. I’ve put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the twitter.com homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using twitter.com to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages.

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.”

As I’ve written before, I think Twitter can be an very useful tool for business and technology professionals. For more, see:

And here are a couple external links worth looking at:

If you use Twitter, which of the four stages are you in?


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For sites that use Google Friend Connect and its comment widget, there is now a novel new feature: comment translation. The comment widget plugs into Google Translate to allow readers to translate comments left in foreign languages. This will be a boon to international blogs and sites, such as Go2Web20, which use Google Friend Connect as a login system.

Now you can talk to people half-way around the world, even if they don’t speak the same language. Sort of. The translation is still machine translation, but it is usually good enough to get across the main gist of what people are saying.

The way it works is the comment widget has a “translate” link which then pops up a menu of languages to choose from. The translated comments are then highlighted in yellow. Here is a video showing what it looks like in action.

Google says that this can work for a variety of sites, including international non-profits such as the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Earth Hour website. The Earth Hour campaign is supported by 4,000 cities in 88 different countries to help engage citizens in conserving energy. Visitors to this website can now leave comments in their native language and use Google Friend Connect’s comment translation to engage in discussions with the greater community.

Comment translation is one of several new gadgets that have been rolled out in Google’s Friend Connect gallery, perhaps in an effort to catch up to Facebook Connect. These features include the event gadget, the polls gadget, and the Get Answers gadget.

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German painting, 1457
Image via Wikipedia

The end-of-year holidays might be a time of peace on Earth, but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they’ll still be on call over the holidays. Christmas may be a time of peace on earth but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they’ll still be on call over the holidays.

The latest silicon.com CIO Jury found two-thirds of IT bosses confessing they’ll be available to work should anything go wrong over the Yuletide holiday.

Some on-call CIOs are required to support their company’s operations around the world, which may cover countries that don’t celebrate the holiday.

Jeff Roberts, director of IT at global legal firm Norton Rose, said: “We have offices worldwide and commitments to clients, so there is likely to be some business happening somewhere. I am always available to be called if necessary but I also have a great team made-up of several on-call technical experts and escalation managers. Who gets called on Christmas Day – if anyone – will usually depend upon the severity or urgency of the problem.”

It’s not global companies who need round the clock support over the festive period – some UK-specific businesses also require their IT staff at the highest level to be available throughout the holiday. For CIOs from hospitals and other emergency services, for example, Christmas day can be just another busy working day.

Some media companies too do not grind to a halt – Ian Auger at ITN said: “You never know what will happen in a 24/7 organization and Christmas is no exception. We have staff scheduled to work who can deal with most issues but I, and other senior members of my team, will always be available to back them up if needed. From a news perspective, Christmas is always thought to be a quiet time but there is usually something going on around the world that seems to go against this.”

Not all organizations require their IT head to be on call on Christmas Day and four out of the CIO Jury can rest easy in front of the Queen’s Speech this year.

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