This piece was written for a commentary on the BBC World Service Business Daily about Jerry Yang’s decision to resign as CEO. Back in the early days of the World Wide Web there was really only one name. Yahoo. You could tell it was big because it was what you’d type in your browser to see if your computer was connected to the Internet. Without fail: Yahoo.com. It’s been around since 1994, since Jerry Yang and David Filo, two grad students at Stanford, built a list of interesting websites, a sort of yellow pages for the Internet. They called it, first, Jerry’s Guide to the
The idea that your cellphone may become a beacon of your availability took one small step closer yesterday, although you’d be forgiven for not noticing amid all the post-turkey bloat. The theory is this. Cellphones have gotten smarter, but they still miss one vital ingredient that computer users have had for years: presence. Anyone using an instant messenger, from ICQ to Skype, will know that they can indicate to their buddies, colleagues and family whether they’re at their computer, in a meeting, dead, or whatever. I’m not available. Leave a message This is useful information: It’s a bit like knowing whether someone is at home
Be careful what you wish for. For nearly a decade I, and a lot of people like me, have been dreaming of the day when we could send an instant message to someone who wasn’t on the network as us. An instant messaging program is one that sits on your computer and allows you to send short text messages to other Internet users in real time — if they are online they see the message as soon as you’ve sent it. it’s faster than email because they get it straightaway, and it has the added bonus of letting you know whether the other person is
Here, for those of you still lapping up the whole USB programs off your thumb-drive thing, is FingerGear’s Computer-On-a-Stick: The Computer-On-a-Stick (COS) is a USB Flash Drive featuring its own ultra fast Onboard Operating System with a full suite of Microsoft Office-compatible applications. According to Tom’s Hardware Guide, the drive is 256 MB and has programs taking up 192 MB, and retails for about $150. Software includes “a Debian-based Linux OS, a version of the open-source productivity suite OpenOffice as well as Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, an Instant messenger and a PDF viewer.” (Thanks, TechSpot News.) A 512 MB version is coming soon, as is
Another Skype wannabe: Gizmo: A free phone for your computer: Gizmo is a Free Phone for Your Computer That makes calling as easy as instant messaging An internet telephone. As simple as an instant messenger. Now you’re talking. Make all your calls from the comfort of your desktop. With Gizmo, it’s point, click, talk. For free. Say goodbye to high price calling, and say “hello” to anyone online, anywhere on earth. Works on Macs, Windows and Linux.
Here’s something to separate you from the rest of the boardroom: The Executive Dashboard. As far as I can work out it’s a three-panel board of dials, upon which you hook prepared overlays of, for example, the countdown to your next sales meeting, the number of emails waiting for you, or how the market is doing. Data is fed to the dashboard through a national radio network, prodding the needles up the dial. Not a bad idea. The approach is to have information seamless appear in the environment, rather than thrust at you — ‘push’ — or at the end of a long corridor called
Here’s some more interesting end-of-year stuff from Nielsen//NetRatings: a report issued today (PDF file) says that three out of every four home and work Internet users access the Internet using a non-browser based Internet application, particularly media players, instant messengers and file sharing applications. “With 76 percent of Web surfers using Internet applications, functionality has grown beyond the browser to become a fundamental piece of the overall desktop,” said Abha Bhagat, senior analyst Nielsen//NetRatings. “It’s become harder to distinguish when you’re on the Internet, blurring the lines between what’s sitting on the desktop and what’s coming from the World Wide Web.” According to the report,