Twitter and Values of n come together to make…?


Image by Tim in Sydney via Flickr

The founder of a small, but interesting, little company called Values of n recently announced that Twitter had purchased the web productivity company, and that he – Rael Dornfest – would be joining Twitter.  Most people I know haven’t heard of Values of n, but some may know  two of their products, I Want Sandy and Stikkit.  Both products will soon be shut down, with the IP inherited by Twitter.  Both products were pretty interesting, albeit incomplete, productivity offerings.  I used both for a while, but had a hard time integrating them into my workflow.  Under the Twitter umbrella, however, both have the potential to expand and improve, assuming that the acquisition of Values of n wasn’t merely a way to bring a gifted technologist on board.  There is some speculation that Twitter could be putting together a suite of productivity offerings to it’s product set:

Will Twitter Become Your Personal Assistant? – GigaOM

The fit between both of these services and Twitter seems fairly obvious. In the same way that Twitter “bots” can be set up to send specific messages at certain times or when users type certain keywords (try sending a message that contains the word “pony” in order to see the Wheee! Pony bot in action), it’s easy to see how a user might set up something like I Want Sandy and Stikkit combined —

As stated later in that post on GigaOm, with some help, Twitter, Sandy, and Stikkit, could be combined to make a nice personal assistant application that many power users would be eager to pay for. With all the activity in and around Twitter, and no clear revenue path to date, you can add this combination to the speculation of where Twitter will find it’s business model.

Update: Looks like there is a movement on to resurrect Sandy as an open source application.

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James and Kevin join Om

Image representing Giga Omni Media as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Wow, this is big. Small, but big. Last night Om Malik‘s GigaOmni Media announced the acquisition of jkOnTheRun, which I believe is the premier gadget blog with an end user’s perspective. James Kendrick founded jkOnTheRun, and Kevin Tofel joined him over a year ago. This is really cool news for everybody involved:

jkOnTheRun: Giga Omni Media acquires jkOnTheRun!

What does this mean for jkOnTheRun?

First and foremost you can rest assured that the coverage you have come to expect from us will continue. jkOnTheRun will continue to bring you all the information about the gadgets and technologies that make your jobs easier and your lives a little bit better. That we can promise you will not change. We will continue to show you not only the technology of the day but how you can leverage it to your best advantage. We will also continue to detail for you what technology we are using and what we do with it.

I know in recent days there has been a lot of soul searching on the blogosphere about where blogging is headed. Anyone who is interested in seeing what it takes to be a passionate blogger just needs to read some of James’ and Kevin’s posts to understand how to do it right. I’m glad that these guys are being rewarded for their hard work, and also glad that Om is going to allow them to develop a wider audience through this acquisition. Congratulations all around!

What to watch for on the Cloud

King Cloud

Image by akakumo via Flickr

I’ve been catching up this morning with some weekend posts, and came across (another) excellent post at GigaOM. We all know that cloud computing is developing into the hottest non-iPhone topic of 2008, so here’s an excellent post from GigaOM on where the development is taking place:

Inside the Cloud: 9 Sectors to Watch – GigaOM

…there are distinct sectors of the IT industry that are particularly well suited to the on-demand, pay-as-you-go economics of cloud computing. Here are eight segments — and one company that’s a segment all its own — that we’re tracking closely.

Amazon’s S3 was down for a long stretch yesterday

Image representing as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

In recent months I’ve written more and more about Cloud Computing, and have been a fan of it’s most prominent tool Amazon’s S3. Well, it looks like S3 had another major failure yesterday. I didn’t notice because I spent the day away from the internet, but according to many blog posts, the service was down for several hours. That’s not good, Amazon. Here’s a link to Om Malik’s post regarding the failure:

S3 Outage Highlights Fragility of Web Services – GigaOM

That said, the outage shows that cloud computing still has a long road ahead when it comes to reliability. NASDAQ, Activision, Business Objects and Hasbro are some of the large companies using Amazon’s S3 Web Services. But even as cloud computing starts to gain traction with companies like these and most of our business and communication activities are shifting online, web services are still fragile, in part because we are still using technologies built for a much less strenuous web.

Amazon’s push onto the cloud explained by Bezos

Jeff BezosImage via Wikipedia

Om Malik managed to catch Jeff Bezos offstage at Walt Mossberg’s D6 conference last week, and the resulting video provides great insight into Amazon’s cloud computing efforts. If you haven’t been following the build out of cloud computing as closely as I have, let me provide some context. Amazon introduced several computing solutions that act like infrastructure utilities. They are priced by a usage model and are highly scalable. The resulting effect has been to provide a very powerful infrastructure to both individuals and startups to build robust computing solutions on. These solutions range from simple file storage, at a very affordable 15 cents per gigabyte per month, to complex computing and database applications. What makes Amazon’s efforts so significant is that the services allow everyone to harness storage and scalability in a leasing model whereby you only pay for the ‘amount’ – of storage, database and computing power – that you use, nothing more and nothing less.

HP-EDS is the most interesting story of the last month

In a month when all the buzz about the on again, off again (and apparently on again) Ballmer-Yang waltz dominated the news, the HP-EDS deal may quietly emerge as the most significant technology consolidation we’ve seen in quite a while. Om Malik postulates that the real play here is not aimed at IBM, rather it is about establishing a dominant position on the cloud, just as utility computing reemerges as the ‘next big thing’. While I haven’t looked at the details of this proposed merger, I think the ‘cloud’ angle – as presented by Om – makes a lot of sense. I’ve link to Om’s post above; it is worth reading.