Monday, October 31, 2011

Links for 10-31-2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Links for 10-28-2011

  • - "A protester comments on the power of greed: “It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed.” – Jeremy, 38"
  • Daring Fireball Linked List: HP to Keep PC Division - "You know what HP should do? They should acquire Netflix. Then a week later back away and say “Never mind.” Then a month later go ahead and buy Netflix. Those two are made for each other."
  • Bloggers Selling Links to Marketers? - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic - "Well, I certainly got a wake-up call this morning.  You can imagine my shock and horror when I learned (via Google Reader and Twitter) that some bloggers may have actually accepted money to mention companies and commercial products such as our fantastic 50-inch Panasonic Viera plasma television." << Good discussion, amusingly written.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Had Klout

I confess to having a few good belly laughs yesterday over the minor tempest that was Klout revising its algorithms. For the 99%+ of the population that has no idea what a "Klout" is, it's a site that purports to measure online influence as calculated by a user's activity on twitter, for example.

Klout recently revised its scoring algorithms. And, apparently, various self-styled social media experts saw their scores drop dramatically. Outrage ensued.

One user (no names used in the interest of protecting the terminally self-important) in a reply to Klout's blog announcing the changes:

Very unhappy with this change. My score went from 73 down to 53. 20 point drop. I've been working for months to increase my Klout score. Please fix this.

Really. Seems like a good use of time. This video captures the concept perfectly.

Another social media "guru" (and I use the term sardonically) is now faced with explaining to clients that he might have been, umm, wrong in getting them to put a lot of faith in this proprietary metric:

Not only have I used Klout to measure my score, but I've instructed my social media beginner consulting clients to use it too- as an easy way to market their progress as they begin Tweeting and using Facebook.  Thank you for making my job harder- now I have to explain why, with all of their hard work, some their scores went DOWN.

Paraphrasing: "I blindly pimped Klout and now they've screwed me":

Unfortunately, I have been promoting Klout to clients as one of the various metrics to use in measuring the impact of social media campaigns. This change has already caused me to lose clients, and I have to start over using PeerIndex instead. Pity they hit us so hard after we helped make KLOUT influential.

I could go on. The whole comment thread to Klout's blog makes for an amusing read.

It's hard to feel much in the way of sympathy for those affected. It would seem that they've been among the most responsible for promoting Klout, a score based on a proprietary algorithm, as something companies ought to weigh heavily. I'm also suspicious that many of these social media "experts" busily working to increase their Klout have probably been engaging in the sort of reciprocal linking and retweeting behavior that Google fights to keep out of its search rankings.

That was fun.

More seriously, though, was this a good or bad move on the part of Klout? I'm just going to throw a few thoughts out there.

Self-styled social media mavens getting their comeuppance is a feature, not a bug.

If a dramatic one-time change was needed to clear a backlog of gaming behaviors, so be it.

Although Klout published a graph showing how users were affected by this change in the aggregate, they haven't said anything--even at a very high level--about the sorts of behaviors that resulted in large swings. Even Google does this to a degree.

Most to the point though, OK maybe Klout needed to make a one-time change. But their business is predicated on the idea that their score means something. That complaints about this change aren't akin to complaining that your horoscope wasn't specific enough, as Jared Sprool remarked on Twitter. And this, in turn, implies continuity of results modulo ongoing changes needed to address specific types of behavior that Klout perceives as gaming their system.

Whether or not you think that there is any connection between a measure of influence derived from social media metrics and objective business results, that is Klout's mission in life. (Personally, I think the connections are tenuous but so are lots of measures that companies around the world make decisions based on every week from pageviews to clickthrough rates.) And therefore, it is also in Klout's interest to avoid making changes that amount to saying that its measurements last week didn't mean anything.

Links for 10-27-2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Links for 10-26-2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Links for 10-25-2011

  • IPads Change Economics, and Speed, of Hotel Wi-Fi-On the Road - - "The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said. Amy Cravens, a market analyst with the mobile Internet group of In-Stat, a technology research and consulting company, agreed that tablets “have had a huge influence on bandwidth consumption.”"
  • Lead Bullets | TechCrunch - "As I excitedly reviewed the plan with my engineering counterpart, Bill Turpin, he looked at me as though I was a little kid who had much to learn. Bill was a long-time veteran of battling Microsoft from his time at Borland and understood what I was trying to do, but remained unconvinced. He said: “Ben, those silver bullets that you and Mike are looking for are fine and good, but our web server is five times slower. There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix that. No, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets.”"
  • Brave New Thermostat: How the iPod’s Creator Is Making Home Heating Sexy | Gadget Lab |
  • NSM: Often the Weakest Link in Business Availability - "Gartner research shows that an average of 80 percent of mission-critical application service downtime is directly caused by people or process failures. The other 20 percent is caused by technology failure, environmental failure or a disaster. The complexity of today's IT infrastructure and applications makes high-availability systems management enormously difficult (see "Making Smart Investments to Reduce Unplanned Downtime," TG-07-4033)."
  • (503) - Not sure how many of these still manufactured but (a few) ppl seem to still buy PDAs as if it's 1999
  • Microsoft to bump Apple into sync-hole? - ZDNet Asia News - ""Certainly by...2005, possibly by the end of 2003, Linux will pass Mac OS as the No. 2 operating environment," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky."
  • The Jobs backlash begins | Real Dan Lyons Web Site - "I’ve always felt that people did Steve a disservice by portraying him as a holy man, some kind of silicon saint leading us into the promised land. It seemed to me that Steve had a deep reservoir of darkness inside him, and that this dark energy was what fueled his genius. WIthout it, he would have been just another Silicon Valley marketing guy in a pair of khakis and an Oxford shirt. His challenge was to harness that dark energy and use it without being consumed or destroyed by it."

Video: Red Hat OpenShift's Under-the-Covers Secret Sauce

A couple of days ago, Matt Hicks sat down with me to talk about some of the cool ways that Red Hat's OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service offering is making seriously heavy-duty use of features like SELinux, cgroups, and AMQP messaging in underlying Red Hat products. It makes you appreciate just how much rocket science goes into running the infrastructure for Platform-as-a-Service. Matt's the Managing Principal Architect for Red Hat who is responsible for much of what goes into keeping OpenShift running. Have a look!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Links for 10-24-2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nevada Desert (near Lake Mead)

Nevada Desert (near Lake Mead)
Originally uploaded by ghaff

It hit 111 degrees in Nevada on the August day I headed towards Las Vegas from Zion National Park.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Links for 10-20-2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

General social media and contacting me update

I've been making some tweaks to where and how I publish and how I use various social networking and communications services over the past few months. Here's the current status:


I have two primary blogs.

Connections is my "personal" blog. It's personal in the sense that no one else has any control over what I publish here. That said, it's mostly (75%+) devoted to topics that fall generally under the umbrella of "tech." I generally keep the blog going with short link-comments when I'm not pushing out anything longer. In a new development, I expect to be publishing more posts that directly pertain to my activities at Red Hat here.

The Pervasive Datacenter is my CNET Blog Network blog. I typically publish once or twice a month on technology topics, nominally with an emphasis on enterprise IT although I do posts on photography and other consumer tech of interest from time to time. I am especially careful about topics that could be perceived as in any way a conflict of interest because of my day job at Red Hat and therefore mostly avoid getting into individual companies, strategies, and products.

Social Networks:

I am active on twitter as @ghaff. As with my blogs, I concentrate on tech topics but no guarantees that I won't get into other topics from time to time.

I mostly view LinkedIn as a sort of professional rolodex. If I've met you and you send me a LinkedIn invite, I'll probably accept though it might help to remind me who you are. I'm most likely to ignore you if you appear to be someone just building up a big network for spammy purposes.

I'm a pretty casual user of Facebook and I limit it to friend friends. That's not to say that some of them aren't professional acquaintances as well. But if you just met me at a conference somewhere and want to friend me, please understand if I ignore you.

I'm not sure where I stand with Google+ at this point. I'm on it, generally like the interface, and some of my friends are active. But I don't feel a great hole in my social media sphere that's calling out for a Google+ to fill. We'll see.

PR pitches, etc:

Lord, do I get a lot of crap sent my way. The redeeming aspect of this is that I periodically get some gem that gives the PR group at Red Hat a chuckle (after any embargo is off of course). If you work for a Red Hat competitor or their agency, you might also want to think twice about offering to pre-brief me on some new announcement.

With that out of the way, I'm interested in a wide variety of tech topics. However, for obvious reasons, I tend to avoid writing about specific companies that closely intersect with my day job whether as competitors or partners. It's also a matter of my bandwidth. I have less time for blogging than when I was an analyst but if I write about one company in a space, it's not really fair to turn down all the inevitable requests that come in from other companies doing something similar.

Links for 10-12-2011