Those of you that have been following this blog, and its predecessor ikissnoise for a while, will know that I have been a big fan of LinkedIn as a social network for business people. They do seem to be lagging behind the rest of the social networking crowd in terms of features. A recent announcement that they will be releasing an API within the next 9 months has been met with some criticism that it is too little too late.

So what other strategies are open to someone who has seemingly missed the API bus? Jeremiah Owyang recently posted some interesting thoughts on his blog.

One key feature I see that LinkedIn from benefiting is to become the online source of the resume, not just the networks that are connected to the jobs. Help users to answer; “what skills have I learned, who else has them, where can I find others with these skills”. There’s an opportunity to expand the tool as the online resume.

If LinkedIn is to become the premiere social networking tool for businesses (as stated in this article) then they need to consider joining all the communities that existing in the context of business. If I were working at LinkedIn, I would be pushing an API to Facebook quickly and also universal login that web managers could integrate into their site. This identity systems could feed into recruiting systems, monster.com and even the ‘career’ pages on corporate websites –let me fill out my core information (or different versions of it) once and submit to many. It’s an API really, and would actually be a competitor to some identity management systems, almost like OpenID.

I believe that if LinkedIn doesn’t open an API sooner than 9 months, they may be falling back further than they think. Although the hResume move was interesting strategically as hResume has not been widely adopted yet.

Push vs Pull

June 29, 2007

Yes, I love Ajax, heavy downloads, gimmicky names and sites and all. Yes, the push vs pull debate is so 1999. Not in the Ajax world where heavy loads can bring your server to its knees in a matter of minutes unless your Ajax is properly optimized.

Engin Bozdag, Ali Mesbah, and Arie van Deursen of the Delft University of Technology have compiled a technical report on various push versus pull techniques of building Ajax applications based on an example application that they built.

Their conclusion?

We have compared pull and push solutions for achieving web-based real time event notification. The contributions of this paper include the experimental design, a reusable implementation of a sample application in push and pull style as well as a measurement framework, and the experimental results.

Our experiment shows that if we want high data coherence and high network performance, we should choose the push approach. However, push brings some scalability issues; the server application CPU usage is 7 times higher as in pull. According to our results, the server starts to saturate at 350-500 users. For larger number of users, load balancing and server clustering techniques are unavoidable.

Worth a read if your team is developing an Ajax application.

Its no secret that I felt that Seth Godin’s 59 Smartest Orgs Online was a little biased and lacked a wide enough perspective. One of the things that I remember mentioning at a morning meeting discussing the list was the almost lack of projects using Google Earth and KML, a really amazing tool to give a global context to phenomena. Since Google Earth launched its Google Earth Outreach Program yesterday, I though I’d present my Top 5 Smartest Orgs on Google Earth. In no particular order.

Appalachian Voices Mountaintop Removal in Google Earth

Declan Butler’s Avian Flu Outbreaks in Google Earth

Earthwatch – Sweetwater’s Rhinos in Google Earth

UNEP – Amazon Deforestation in Google Earth

USHMM Crisis in Darfur in Google Earth

The one thing I would like to see is a way to integrate a donation management system into the Google Earth solution which would allow the user to donate to a project, and maybe even specifically to sponsor a particular rhino, just as an example.

UPDATE: The fact that the users as well as the grant program is heavily biased towards US based orgs is a bit annoying, but is something that we have come to expect from Google.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Forgot to add BrightEarth who are doing some pretty cool things with Google Earth, ESRI ArcGIS Explorer and NASA’s World Wind.

Web app without makeup: iterations of TeamSnap – personally I prefer paper prototyping, that way when everything is laid out on the table and the client says how do I get from point G to point H and there isn’t a viable way, you know you’ve made a mistake somewhere. The client also gets a feel for the flow. Each to their own though.

Human-to-Human Design – Normally a design function, but still relevant if you’re putting together software.

How to write a Google Gadget – an excellent introduction. There isn’t an online product that couldn’t use a Google Gadget (or a Facebook one for that matter)

htsh: http shell – kind of geeky, but I love it. An HTTP shell using PHP on the backend and jQuery for the front end.

Firebug for the iPhone – I kid you not. Essential if you’re going to be developing web apps for the iPhone.

Top Spots for Hip Sugar Mommas – and they say that technology hasn’t improved our quality of life!

I am possibly moving to Dallas, Texas, in the next couple of months, and I have been looking around at the real estate market on that side. I’ve been really impressed by quite a few APIs, applications and search engines that have sprung around the real estate market. It seems to be a very exciting area in terms of APIs, visualizations and software, I suspect because the data has always been there and has been captured and analyzed to death, now its time to rework the interface.

Anyway, I came across this very interesting visualization called Hindsite by an real estate search engine called Trulia. It is based on public property assessor records for properties in Trulia’s database and typically includes the date that a house was built. Check out this amazing visualization of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, specifically Plano. It is certainely making searching for a house a whole lot more interesting.

Real Estate information and mapping are ideal partners for a mashup, and besides using Microsoft Virtual Earth for Hindsight, Trulia has a very strong integration with Google Maps for their search engine. All around a very nice application. And they even have an API.

MySQL AB : The 12 Days of Scaleout :: Day 5 – Wikipedia
Scuttle : Social Bookmarking
Social Finance
Case Study: ASW.COM – Monetizing Connectivity?

Poseidongroove

June 13, 2007

I’ve been getting into Poseidongroove‘s posts lately. I think his comment on the Context of Use for Dynamic Languages pretty much sums up how I feel about software.

“… These days it’s not that hard to find something that almost meets your business needs. If you’re coding over 30% of the functionality, I think that’s bad !!! …”