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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Open Source biggest problem ?

There has been so much talk about open source. It is a big fight between Linux and Microsoft. But people tend to forget that Apple computer is also proprietary.

Recently I started to give more thoughts to it and realized that the biggest problem with open source is the lacking of comprehensive documentation. I like to share with you some of my findings..

1. More time and effort.

First of all, open source projects are usually rojak (haywired)

For example, you can have an open source project written in PHP, Apache and MySQL. But then, these three technologies doesn't stop there (to wait for you). Means you gotta keep chasing the trend.

Imagine you created an open source in PHP 4 and now you have to somehow port all the codes to PHP 5 and so on and so forth. This is not a joke. I like call this time bomb.

Recently, I discovered a time bomb when I was trying out an open source called issue tracker 4.0.4. It is a well develoed project written in PHP and based on smarty. Smarty is a template engine, remember web software framework ? Best practices.

issue tracker 4.0.4 has a time bomb which comes from the date_format function. When you setup everything... the first thing you will notice is an error thrown from PHP compiler saying

PHP Fatal error: Cannot redeclare date_format() in C:\Inetpub\webpub\issue-tracker\includes\functions\time.func.php on line 43

This error simply says, there is already a date_format function built-in, why you create again ?

Based on my research (and actual trials), I noticed that date_format function is only available starting PHP 5.1.0

Therefore, I assume issue tracker 4.0.4 is based on older PHP version, and developers had to resort to custom date_format function to format dates.

And even more interesting.. it is affecting many live sites.... If you search Google, you can see which sites had been affected by it. For instance, check out the following site.

http://www.perehid.kiev.ua/forum/down.php

The workaround is to port some codes to the new version of PHP.

So, the good thing of using proprietary technology like Microsoft is that everything takes care of each other; complementing each other. Which means that everything comes in package and they work well together.

2. Free codes

The codes of open source projects are free.

3. No comprehensive documentation.

If you look at Microsoft technology, documentations for users are really comprehensive. And it is improving.

But if you look at all the open source project like hipergate, compiere and etc

Documentations are not comprehensive. Fair enough, open source projects require developers to crack more heads to figure out the way.

However, as soon as I put more thoughts into this. I realized that it has to be this way because if everything is done properly for open source projects, then developers would have no job.

End-users would just take an open source project, refer to the comprehensive documentations and configure it themselves.

4. Free codes.

The codes of open source projects are free.

Conclusion (for now)...

Open source projects provides free codes, but non comprehensive documentations. Thus, there should be revenue making for providing open source documentations.

For instance, technical diagrams such as class diagram and other UML diagrams must NOT be provided for free with respect to open source projects. However, we may consider providing installation manual for free for the marketing effort. And therefore, I offer a free documentation for installing issue tracker 4.0.4 , where installing PHP on IIS 6 (Windows Server 2003) with MySQL.

And if you check out the installation manual, under the optimization part, information are not provided for free. Interested party please contact TMCS.

On the other hand, proprietary software provides comprehensive documentations, but non free codes.

This is where equilibrium is defined.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bloggers not merely liars

Bloggers could tell lie.

Yes, but not merely that. Bloggers create blogs and make Google richer and also help to break monotony. Not only that... many more.

Issues Manager...

Blogs are issue trackers or managers. It tracks specific issues restlessly and with strong determination. For some reasons, bloggers are psycho-being who regards what they write for (the contents) as a religion for them.

If you are not familiar with the term issues manager, let me try to enlighten you. Fundamentally,an issue manager or tracker is meant to monitor something. It keeps track of changes and etc, it keeps log files. Therefore, it is very much time-date oriented.

Blogs are the same, it is based on time-date dimension versus topics (blog entries). Dropping this basic architecture, a blog wouldn't be a blog but another web site.

And if you want to try out an issue tracker for managing software projects, check this out.

Issue tracker is important because it provides users with convenience. Users are monitors, they want to monitor the progress (updates, rumours, scandals, news and etc) of something. It is more effective than forum because the latter is usually having no tied-up to a single person for obligatory responses. Means that if today you posted an issue on a forum, nobody might reply because nobody is responsible for that. But if there is a blog, you will get daily updates of the issues-domain because someone is obligated to do so, otherwise the blog is pretty dead.

Let me give you an example...

Let's say you are trying to install Wireless USB adapter from Aztech into Fedora Core 6.

The following errors were recorded:

Make –c /lib/modules/2.6.18-1.2798.fc6xen/build SUBDIRS=/root/WL230USBLnxDrv_2_12_0_0 modules
*** /lib/modules/2.6.18-1.2798.fc6xen/build: No such file or directory. Stop
*** [all] Error 2

If you search uncle Google, you will find a few links, and one of such is from FedoraForum.

There is only one reply posted, but does that reply guaranty the solution ?

oh.... blogs are everything

Bloggers could lie... but not merely that. It could write good English (so that people can learn English from them). Otherwise, it may not have good English but dedicated to certain contents.

Let's analyse this further...

oh.. he is sucker for politics
oh...he is sucker for Macs & Internet
oh...she is sucker for local interest
oh...she is sucker for mobile lifestyle and technologies
0h..etc is sucker for etc

Bloggers could lie but not merely that..

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Business strategies on Malaysia IT companies

There was an article by Bentley Williams (Principal consultant of Bentley Williams Consulting) published at The Straits Times, under CATS recruit section ...

It preaches about going extra mile for customers and they will help you to grow your business. Highlighted points are:

  • Respect them
  • Focus on customers - knows what they really want
  • Go the extra mile - value add
  • Give a special touch - Surprise
  • Follow up action
So these are strategies to nurture your business to the next level or to maintain a healthy business.

Recent Business Strategies of Malaysian IT companies ...

CybertowersStepping up its after-sales services and expanding its offices
Intelligent Edge Technologies Bhd (IE)Piggy-back on a recent acquisition and future strategic partnerships to venture into niche ICT applications and mobile telecommunications value-added services
ViztelTo get more contracts from the government and public sector.
Efficient E-Solutions“Firstly,actively evaluating and exploring possible joint ventures or acquisitions to establish similar operations regionally, particularly in China and Indonesia, primarily because of the huge potential for its service offerings in these countries

Secondly, we want to leverage on our existing base of clients and be able to provide further value-added services
Scan AssociatesMesdaq-listed SCAN Associates Bhd has teamed up with Saudi Arabian IT company VERSOS to provide IT security solutions there besides tapping into new market segments, particularly the telecommunications and oil and gas industries.
KarensoftTo be taken over by a private company under its proposed restructuring scheme.

Conclusion:

1. Acquisitions
2. Expansion
3. Focus on key accounts (after sales, value add)
4. Tap into public sectors
5. Tap into new markets (middle east)
6. Joint ventures & partnerships

Not so distinctively leaning on the Blue Ocean Strategy yet..

Friday, March 09, 2007

Best Free Software by PC Magazine

The PC magazine published something about best free software available for download.

I thought that the best way to capitalize on the information, as such to optimize the spread in order to maximize the benefits to others, is to copy all the text into a blog entry and give all credit back to the source. This is because search engines will crawl on this page and start making indexes out of it.

However, this is not too right when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) of PC Magazine. Because had I done that, then the end results (of SEO) belonging to PC Magazine on that particular information will be hijacked by this blog. So, it is not right to copy and paste everything.

Ok, first of all, let's create a cache of the page in case the source goes missing in the future.

These softwares are classified into

  • Security
  • Productivity
  • Utilities and PC management
  • Music & Audio
  • Video and Graphics
  • Firefox extensions
  • Networking & Mobility
  • Fun and Games
so, what is next ? Go check out this link.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

SKYPE : The setup files are corrupted.

Have you ever encountered this situation where after downloaded the installation file for SKYPE (under Windows 2000), and having run it gives the following error message.

"The setup files are corrupted. Please obtain a new copy of the program."

The web browser used is Firefox.

This is rather weird. It puzzles IT savvy people as in where is the problem originality ?

Solutions ...

Anyway, the solution is this.

Don't delete the corrupted file (installation file). It is indeed corrupted because certain bytes are missing, means that the download didn't complete fully.

Go back to the download page and manually press on the download link again.

You will be surprise to see that Firefox will help you to reestablish the download of files which didn't get to finish earlier. Check out the screen capture below.



Still not working ?

Try again, make sure all the bytes for the installation files are properly transferred to your PC.

I only redownloaded once and it is working.

Friday, March 02, 2007

what people are searching for in Feb 2007 at tech blog malaysia

Following from the spirit of Jan 2007...

We now give you the report on Feb 2007.

IT-Sideways can be consulted to give a more comprehensive reports such as comparisons, consolidations and details.

There will be no highlights provided here because this may confuse the search engines.

Together Gather - Effective

Bloggers Together Gather Party ..

Venue: Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date: 9 March 2007

Time: 6pm till 11pm

Dress Code: Anything

Charge: RM35 (payment made before 18 February 2007), RM40 (payment made after 18 February 2007)

I was first introduced to this party through skthew.

About Marketing..

Such gathering is important because it is related to the very fundamental of blogging. First of all, we all blog for many reasons, but the bottom line is the same, which is to evangelize something. And this may come in different flavours such as sharing, ramblings, giving thanks and appreciations and etc. The business term for all these is marketing, we want to talk about something and hope that someone will eventually read it. Otherwise, better don't blog, just keep an off-line diary.

Optimization ...

So, once you started a blog or a web site, the next thing is to make sure that at least there are some readers. Well, depending on your mode, some blog like this blog which is operating on amateur mode, occasionally we might put in some advertising means to generate some "for fun" incomes.

But the question is that how are we going to do the optimization in the right manner ? Because Google has strict definitions on a few things...

1. Googlebombing
2. Spam blogs and comments

This is further elaborated when it comes to monetary issues.. as such when Google addresses its policy for Adsense where it states that ...

A publisher's site may not have invalid clicks or impressions on any
ad(s), including but not limited to clicks and/or impressions generated
by:

- a publisher on his own web pages
- a publisher encouraging others to click on his ads
- automated clicking programs or any other deceptive software
- a publisher altering any portion of the ad code or changing the
layout, behavior, targeting, or delivery of ads for any reason

The above statement which was quoted from Google Adsense simply means that you need "God's help" and "luck" to do the marketing, and not by yourself.

For instance, if you have just started a blog... You can't encourage people to visit it, but you can only tell them that you have such blog and hope that they will go and read it. Because if you put persistency and high chances is that people will go at least once and eventually they will click on the advertisement (which in this case is illegal by good faith).

Reality ...

The fact that this blog has been experimenting with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for 3 years because it is a good IT research topic. Some may think that it is illegal, unreal and not reflective but the issues are real.

To learn about what we have discovered about SEO throughout the years, check out this link.

Think about this... if you have just started a florist and setup a web site. You want to be searchable through Google and other major search engines. And the fact is that the florist business is not something which you have invented yesterday and many have already done similar things long ago.

And if it is your wish to be listed as the number 1 spot for the keyword "florist"... if you try to Google it now, the top 5 results are:

1. Florist.com
2. ftd.com
3. Decidio
4. blooming.com.my
5. FLORIST (software)

Now, if you think blooming.com.my don't deserve to be there, then there is something wrong with you. Because blooming has been around and is also selling what you are selling. Unless you have real natural roses which can last for 10 years.

But your business strategy requires that your web site must be at least same page as blooming.com.my or best still, on top of it.

And if you just keep it there..., I tell you frankly, it will never going to happen. Because you haven't make a difference.

This is why I used to call it "the case for spam".

The case for spam ...

What I was trying evaluate and not suggesting is that to become successful, you just got to do the extra work, run the extra mile and some call it, be a bit more tricky. Just like there is an article analyzes how Asia's richest man Li Ka-Shing can become so rich through his companies Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong, the author is calling it "dirty game". It often uses the word "subversion".

The idea is that, you got to find a way to be stand-out. In the conventional method, companies like Google and Microsoft would go around hunting for the best talents around, in order to become more competitive than competitors. And that is legal. However, when it comes to web-aggressiveness, things are often mixed-up with fraud, abuse and spam.

If you have just created a new product, no one will look for it... Unless you decide to use money to pay for the advertising. Yes, I mean you got to pay, otherwise, perhaps you have a case for spam or just stop dreaming!!!!

Google's Solutions ..

Google knows this well. Google needs content to survive while at the same time it has no intention to own all good contents in the world other than a few really great ones like youtube.com

So, they know that all publishers would like to be listed and get indexed and not only that, to be on top. But this is not possible if you have been reading my previous words...

So, the concept of long-tail seems like a good way out of it.

The long-tail concept states that we have now moved away from the culture where monopoly influences dominates. Which means instead of just buying from blooming.com.my, long-tail economy certifies that it is absolutely normal (not insane or socially-correct) to buy from alternatives. This is good for buyers' perspective. For vendors' perspective, it gives assurance that you will get business no matter how small you are.

So, it all seems like Google's technology is well educated with long-tail concept and eventually, whoever is in the business will get a fair share of something. To prove this, it is hard. But you may try.

However, the bottom line of long-tail is that there must be a beginning and the end. Because there must be a provider or gatekeeper who states where the long-tail starts and ends. Otherwise, we have to ask Stephen Hawking. To elaborate, if this world has 100 Google, then Google cannot be Google of today. It will be Goooooooooooooooooooooo1gle, amongst Gooooooooooooo10gle or Gooooooooooooooo100oogle. So, long-tail concept is not applicable to the big boys... like Google, Microsoft, Apple and etc. Theirs are monopoly and to be extremely aggressive and stand-out.

Alternative Solutions ..

Due to the fact that Google determines your web sites' popularity according to how relevant it is to keywords, and they evaluate it through the pageRank technology where it determines how many references have been made to your site.

This is a fair deal, because if today Microsoft invented Windows Vista, buy searching for Window Vista, the first spot should be Microsoft. And this is possible because when you think about Window Vista, you would reference it to Microsoft.

But if you don't have the means to continuously innovate new products... then it is hard for people to make reference to you. Then for the new florist, he or she might as well shut down the newly created web site.

But the hope is that there are alternatives..

1. Get listing to aggregators, such as MyLink and PPS.
2. Attend bloggers function such as Together Gather.
3. Make your contents more relevant to people's interest (entertaintment, gossip and etc)

Conclusion ..

We should borrow the idea from Jeff Ooi that bloggers lend context to issues.

Blogs' contents tend to solve things which conventional media can't do or won't think about. For instance, this blog is a good place for researcher to find out what people are searching for which has relevancy to technology, business and Malaysia. Check out the Jan 2007 searched terms which landed on this blog.

Do attend the party if you have time !! If you need more information, please email to tggenquiry (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How much does your site worth ?

Thanks to Jiboneus blog, I also find dnscoop.com interesting enough.

It offers free web service to evaluate the value of your URLs based on certain factors...

Liewcf.com is already a half a millionaire by Malaysian standard!!

So, this URL is worth $1,815 (not bad actually, thanks for the kind courtesy)

Here are few indicators... quite interesting for web masters, site owners, netpreneurs and etc.

The bad thing about dnscoop is that it should speak for itself only, as a reference point because otherwise your URLs will be subjected to devaluation if not for over-valuation. But if dnscoop is able to maintain its operation for the next 10 years, very likely that marketeers who rely on Internet advertisement would use it to bargain for advertising space pricing. This can be very misleading because dnscoop only speaks for itself. However, this doesn't demerit its contributions towards the web community and Internet age.

Nevertheless, it is also good for end-users as a reference.