INB 347 Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 by connorfranzoni

Do you want to own a web 2.0 application but are poor because you are an undergraduate still living in your parents basement with superman covers and an unhealthy love for Anime? Well fear not because you still can have that image board or web forum you have always wanted by using the Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability pattern. One such company that has made full use of this is Reddit.com.

Reddit on not being perfect

Reddit is a user content based news site in which the main purpose is to upload links to various corners of the internet to expose perhaps not so mainstream news to the masses. In addition to this users can comment and discuss the article on topic started by the original poster (OP to his/her friends).  It was started by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005 and was funded by y contributors who (due to only the two graduates starting the project) only supplied the pair with $17,000 to begin the venture.  Over the next year the team expanded to include Christopher Slowe and Aaron Swartz.

These four took the meager 17 grand and create what reddit is today. They have become so successful by having user generated content which keeps users coming back and brings new users in. It survives by using non intrusive ads and keeping server and employee costs low.

That alternative is to generate your own content, put your own money up front to buy the server space and keep users coming back by being witty and generally “Trolling” the internet, recording it and uploading it for everyone to read (as well as a bit of Eric Cartmens “You cannot come into my Amusement park” Advertisement strategy). This is how websites such as 27/6 (www.27bslash6.com/) stay alive and profitable However though David Thorne (creator) can boast a high user base for a basic text based site; it pales in comparison to reddit.

In the end the simple option is almost always the better one, and as long as you can keep up with your expanding user base, almost anyone can create a great web 2.0 app.

Note:

I was going to do this particular entry one 4chan.org but I assumed (though with innocent intentions) it would turn out very unsafe for work.

Trolling: method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolling_(angling))

Trolling: A troll, most commonly encountered on the internet, is any person who purposely causes controversy in a web community (by posting offensive and crude comments or provides advice) and disrupts shit for his own amusement to prove how extremely corrupt our society is. (http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Trolling)

Useful links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reddit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_Combinator

http://www.reddit.com/

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INB347 The Looooooong Tail

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2010 by connorfranzoni

This is one for the non conformists among you that are still conformist enough to have an iPod. This week’s blog is about ITunes and long tail marketing allowing for everyone to access music that is not in the mainstream. This marketing strategy differs greatly from the most marketing strategies as it does not rely on what is popular among most people to gain sales as most physical stores have a limited amount of shelf space in which to store stock. Rather than traditional marketing of selling what popular has meant that iTunes has made millions of dollar selling products that many physical could not make a profit on selling.

For those who are unfamiliar with iTunes they are a web based store that sells songs and albums in mp3 format to the general public and from each sale make about 35% from every song and album sold on i tunes and the rest goes to the record company to distribute to the artists. This means that they only then have to pay for the sever space and their employees to keep the site up and running seamlessly ( i assume also they make money from the advertisement on the site “CHA CHING”).  Through this method it is estimated that they turned over about five hundred million dollars profit last year.

The alternative to long tail is to sell what is popular in bulk, it could be tv shows, shoes ( do you know I found about 50 different types of converse chucks but could not find a pair of Doctor Martians what the hell?!), movies, or cds this style of marketing works for many thousands of physical stores around the world. However how long will these stores last if many millions of dollars can be made going online? What do you think?

Some useful links:

http://www.apple.com/itunes/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbltg8QOpjI

INB347 Applications beyond the desktop

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 by connorfranzoni

This particular entry, (as you may recognise the title) is a rewrite of the one uploaded last week, as I have deemed it necessary to rewrite it on a new web application. I have removed the previous one on facebook as I have already covered Facebook once on this blog and I thought it was a bit of a copout to do to entries on the same 2.0 technology. So instead of a list of interesting facts about Facebook seen over multiple devices (which you may feel free to look into as I will post the links at the end) I have decided instead to look at how dig has burst through the shackles of the desktop and now can be accessed where ever you bring your phon.

No longer do we live in a world where the internet can only be accessed by desktops and laptops, in the 2000s we can now access the internet from phones, mp3 players and even fridges (because the internet needs to know when you run out of milk). This new trend to access the internet through devices rather then desktops has had web developer’s scrambling to make their sites accessible through a smaller screen without being cumbersome in size or time consuming in loading. ‘Digg’ is one company that has hoped on the bandwagon.

The mobile devices version is allot simpler then it’s desktop counterpart, however still produces the fundamental essence of what the site the ability to for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on them which dictates how high the story appears on the site. The mobile version only displays the main stories, the ability to go forward and back through the pages and the ability to sign in.

Digg Mobile

Digg

Digg has taken the approach of many newsfeed websites have done when creating a web application by removing the options of their site and simple showing the user the stories they wish to look at rather than flooding the screen with useless options. This is because the application will almost always be used while commuting or to kill time rather than purposefully going on to the website to find something in particular. Many newspapers and online news sites have followed suit, by only giving the reading materials rather than giving the users options.

However the other option some more less known news web services have taken is an sms service which is not nearly as popular. Aljazeera claims you can;

“ now accessible anytime anywhere through SMS.

The SMS service launched by Aljazeera Mobile project will allow subscribers to receive news services, including breaking news, through their mobile phones.

Subscribers may choose to receive Arabic or English SMS messages on the following topics:

  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Economy

It will take only one call to your local service provider to get Aljazeera SMS service.”

Some useful links on the topic;

http://english.aljazeera.net/aboutus/2006/11/200852517383151207.html

http://digg.com/

http://m.digg.com/

If you would like to read a bit about facebook mobile;

http://www.facebook.com/mobile/?ref=mf

http://blog.facebook.com/

INB347 Perpetual Beta

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 by connorfranzoni

Gmail in BETA

Though I am sure many of my fellow students will have noticed as I have that Gmail is the perfect example for this week’s topic of perpetual beta (I will attempt to show the facts in the most witty and interesting way I can). Gmail was released on the first of April in 2004 as an invitation based free webmail service (A tactic they again used when Buzz was released in order to generate interest for the site).  For five years Gmail sat in beta and all it did was integrated chat, developed new anti-spam technology, expanded to 53 languages, created a mobile app, added group chat, launched an iPhone UI, added a vacation autoresponder and launched Gmail Labs. Subsequent to these successes Gmail modified the vacation auto responder with a Gmail Lab, launched 48 other Labs, launched video chat, enabled open protocols and APIs, added a delete button (not sure why this was not there when it was first released), rewrote and redesigned their entire JavaScript code base, and added key functionality to get large companies, start-ups, universities, and many other organizations (in addition to Google itself) running on Gmail.

Jokes aside from Google’s example we can see the advantage of leaving a product in beta instead of releasing it out right and then updating or patching it ever so often.  When a program is left in beta all its user’s becomes the programs testers, and have the opportunity to report bugs and suggest updates, then as these updates and fixes are implemented, they can then be tested by the same users.

However there is the argument that this form of long beta’s is an excuse for a company to release a product without spending the time or money to test it and make sure that it is a functioning product. As well as this fact in as a general rule users do not make the best testers as they are not attempting to find bugs so there is always the potential risk of having a major flaw that has sat unnoticed until the program is released. Onto of that the simple idea that it is in beta and not fully tested and deemed to be functional may turn users of the program altogether if there are rivals who provide the same service who have released a product. Though for Google this was not a problem as they already had a reputation for excellence a smaller product may not be able to generate enough of a user base to use perpetual beta rather than testing the product. However in the case of Gmail and I think for many other web based programs that perpetual beta will become more and more of the norm in coming years.

Some other useful and intresting links for more information;

http://mail.google.com/mail/help/about_whatsnew.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBbmiQhuAhU

Inb 327 enhancing the user’s experience

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 by connorfranzoni

This week I am writing about web 2.0 enhancing the user’s experience on the web. The first thing that came to mind while thinking about what I would post was along the lines of an application with lots of pretty animations and something interesting to the eye and use full in practise. Since I found a site that fits this description I will link it and briefly talk about it then go one with the actual blog.

The site is called liveplasma and is an online database and is self described as a way to broaden your cultural horizons giving you suggestions of music and films the user might like, as well as providing an incredibly innovative visual environment.

(link: http://www.liveplasma.com/)

However after re-thinking the concept this week I decided to; instead of pretty and “wiz-bang” sites that 2.0 seems to house the users experience almost always goes hand in hand with community. In my pursuit of such an application I found one that was so simple and genius I couldn’t help but use it. Simply called 43 things, it is a site where you can go and add a goal to the database and it will then become a tag, and the top 43 tags are displayed on the front page of the site. Without being a member of the site you can access any tag you like and read through the discussions on how this goal has been achieved by others and how long it took them. It gives a great opportunity for the community to discus any goal they wish to achieve from loosing weight to traveling over seas.

This is the real power of 2.90 web, the ability for the millions of people no matter where they are geographically to access information and to collaborate over the web. It is this sense of community and general want to communicate wth people that is enhancing the users experience in web 2.0.

INB347 Innovation In assembly

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 by connorfranzoni

This week we are talking about API’s and how people with no programming experience are creating their own applications for the Web 2.0. Ever wondered if you could create an application totally suited to you? Maybe splice a bit of Google maps and Facebook so you can see where your friends are located on the world map. Or maybe be able to update both your twitter and your Facebook at the same time. Well with the use of API’s you can create these mashups with almost no programming experience.

Windows released their very own site which allowed you to do almost do exactly this with an awesome visual gui. This program was called Popfly but unfortunately on August 24, 2009 service and all sites, references, and resources were taken down (for more information there is an article here: http://techcrunch.com/2009/07/17/microsoft-popfly-gets-squashed/).  This a shock to me and a bit of a nuisance as it was this program that I was going to talk about this week, alas i was forced to look for other sites that provided these programs and their APIs for programmers to use. In my search i came across a website which did not have the same visuals and ingenuity as popfly but still provides these web 2.0 API’s.

It is called programmable web (http://blog.programmableweb.com/2010/03/19/infrastructure-apis-new-site-in-a-box/) and provides (minus the strings and boxes of popfly) provides the essential APIs for many popular 2.0 sites and allow users to mash them up and create entirely new programs. These types of programs will completely change web2.0 and the future of the web because it allows everyone to be a programmer and the intellectual information to allow them to create what they want. Some of the more interesting ones i found included, a mash up of GoogleMaps, ebay and Amazon, to create Wii Seeker, A mashup to help consumers locate a Nintendo Wii, providing retail addresses, locations, shipment dates, and local ebay auctions. This is a prime example of an app not created to make money, but to benefit the specific user who made it. Hopefully the web3.0 is filled with amateur programmers making simple apps to help them in their own lives.

INB 347 Data is the next Intel Inside.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2010 by connorfranzoni

The key premise of this title is that a great way to great a popular and profitable website is to have users create the data that your website is popular form. In essence the site is a vessel for users to read rate and appreciate other users content rather than the traditional idea that an internet site will promote its own data, data driven websites are driven by the users themselves.  The most popular of site that does this is Wikipedia which hosts articles that allow the public to go in and edit information at will, and due to this get millions of hits a year. Although a popular site I have chosen to analyse a blogging site rather than a wiki because due to the nature of the websites content there is more of an argument to who owns the data being uploaded.

Once again I spent my time reading the terms and conditions of the site (the little box that has the word “agree” next to it) and found the following choice quote;

“If you operate a blog, comment on a blog, post material to the Website, post links on the Website, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available by means of the Website (any such material, “Content”), You are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content. That is the case regardless of whether the Content in question constitutes text, graphics, an audio file, or computer software.”

This part of the terms and conditions then goes on to discuss the different content which may cause you to come under fire from the law or the website itself. Which included but was not limited to Spam, pornography, viruses and worms, misleading blog names and unlabeled computer code.

In essence the premise of this clause is to say that word press is in no way shape or form legally or otherwise responsible for the content that you as a user upload onto its site.  However it then goes onto say that;

“By submitting Content to Automattic [the good people who own WordPress.com] for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.”

Which for the most part is expected by the user as this is a clause that many sites employ in order to save themselves from legal prosecution if they use your information for advertisement or in-fact any other venture they like (this is why I never started my “rags to riches” inventions blog).

So from what I have seen that in the case of many data driven web applications you as the user do own all content that you upload to the web. However you share almost dual ownership with the site itself but have to bare all responsibility for said material.