Thursday, December 31, 2009

Less lean and mean, but more green!

Today, last day of the decade, I decided to clean up the garage: a set of boxes conspicuously occupy the center of the third garage (that's for the Tesla when I can afford one) - so they get my attention - boxes with stuff from my earlier jobs, and books, papers, patents and presentations from my research days.

I decided I could no longer decipher the papers and made the hard call to recycle them - cache coherence is no longer coherent, and snooping on the bus seems to be just wrong! Papers on fancy machines, like the BBN Butterfly, Sequent and the Connection Machine (Jurassic Park) went the way of the dinosaur - right into the recycle box! Systems, such as Willow and Dash, V and Presto, passed messages to each other right into the shared memory of the Friday truck. Venerable names, such as Hennessy, Agarwal, Levy, Archibald, Gupta and Goodman, printed on many papers in black and white, had to be bid adieu. Gray and Kennedy caused a moment of darkness ... a moment to ponder the meaning of life...

Fond memories of graduate school - soccer in the rain at Rice with the Calzones (remembering Zefarino, the Mexican math-student-soccer-Jedi-master), parties at the Graduate House, Valhalla, beer-bike, walking with my colleagues to Pike Place in Seattle during a conference, the depressing moments thinking I'd never finish my Ph.D. ...a little smile broke when I saw the graduation documents. Was the degree worth it? That's when my hair began graying!

Projects and presentations went right (recycle), expense reports and old perf evals went left (shred) - a couple of decades left to waste! Oooh - there was a photo of a chip I'd designed! My Chip - with my name etched in the silicon! I have it somewhere - it looks good as a paperweight in the clear MOSIS plastic container.

We spend so much of our lives studying, working and achieving something that's as intangible and transient as ... a network packet! Dunno about you, but it leaves me with a sense of loss. Some gained, so much lost!

Decades pass ... I know less and less ... but now, with so much recycled, it's a greener me!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Auto-navigating the dashboard!

Everyone wants to differentiate and do things their own way! Yes - we do need mobility in a car! Literally! So car manufacturers are doing fancy things with the dashboard.

One thing I can't do today in my "luxury car" is plug in an auxiliary audio input!! Okay - it's about 5 years old ... but I'd  expect them to have seen that coming? It's quite mainstream today ...

Now, they're going all over(dash)board to connect up music systems (like Pandora), maps (Google maps and Google Earth), search and calendars (like Google search and Google Calendar), etc., to the car! That's all very important and very nice - but why replicate the entire stack?

Audi is apparently bringing a bunch of these features to the dashboard - as quoted:
The MMI navigation plus system has an integrated GPRS/EDGE modem that will be updated into a 3G modem mid 2010, to allow Google Earth. To use the new online services the customer needs to insert a SIM card in the MMI Navigation plus or pair their mobile phone with the MMI over the Bluetooth SIM-Access-Profile. Aside from the Customer’s existing mobile phone data plan, no additional contracts are required.
It seems the functionality that is already available in the mobile phone is being replicated into this dashboard device. GPRS/EDGE/SIM card ... do you see where this is headed?

There's no need for this, people!! The mobile phone already doubles as a navigation system (separate navigation systems are so....last decade!). You obviously need a phone to talk to someone...and you can even talk to the phone today (voice control, voice search). I get my email and calendar on my phone already. Where's my music? On the phone! 5 years back, my Sony Eriksson phone had a built-in FM radio, as do many new phones and music players - so stop wasting time, and just provide a dashboard dock for my phone that can then use the dashboard screen as a display. With Bluetooth or simple protocol to communicate with the device, e.g., via it's earphone connector, you should be able to  screen the next YouTube HD movie for the kids at the back, or get a map and directions to the theater. Yes - it would be nice to have the controls on the steering wheel.  Give me that - but I don't need another SIM card! My phone already has one!!

And my wife's contacts are different from mine - she doesn't need to see the numbers I call :-). All she needs to do is get in the car, adjust the seat (my car does provide a button for that, thank God!), adjust the mirror, and slide her phone into the dashboard dock.

I've already told you - it is just a matter of time that the phone OS is the only thing we'll really need...get with the program!

Tick Tock - it's time to DOCK!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

JooJoo karma - or African magic?

While Florida basks in the controversy of "transgressions" of feline proportions, Silicon Valley, not to be outdone, has launched an infidelity of its own: TechCrunch (TC) and Fusion Garage (FG) are no longer BFF - the much-heralded CrunchPad went poof before CrunchTime, and emerged as the magical JooJoo.

"And I’ve also lost a friend – Chandra spent months in our office this year and, until a week and a half ago, was the kind of young, determined entrepreneur that I admire. I thought we’d be friends for the rest of our lives."
Losing a "friend" over a startup in Silicon Valley?! Been there....done that! (story worth 2 margaritas :-))... but back to the JooJoo ...

TechCrunchies who drooled when they first heard about the CrunchPad, and many of the tech-blogger friends of TechCrunch, are now shunning it! Many are taking sides in the dispute, and while that's anyone's prerogative, it's really for the legal system to determine the outcome - as "litigation is imminent". FG's position - that there was no IP contribution from the TC team - is a reversal of the TC story. Was there an agreement in place? Birthday cake loosey-goosey? A contract in writing? If not, why not? Unknown but critical. TC is a popular tech blog, wields enormous influence, and can easily use their brand to skew perception (as we've seen with the about-turn-Crunchfans). While TC was easy with exposing unethically obtained Twitter documents, they seem quite selective in what they publish in this case.

Anyway, this last minute change in "ownership" does not magically make the product bad! Overnight!!

Expensive? Maybe! - it will cost $500 instead of $300. Did folks really believe that something that's as "slick" and possibly more powerful and general purpose than an iPhone, with a huge touch screen, would really be priced at $300? Seems like the only way that would happen is if heavily subsidized (2 year wireless contract with free TC subscription? :-)). Just blogging that something's going to cost X does not make it happen. Maybe the $300 price was a promise that could not be kept.

Assuming TC wasn't jilted at the altar by FG, let's talk about the possible runaway success of the CrunchPad - would TC really be able to compete with an Apple tablet, even if it did turn out to be more expensive, as reported? Writing tech blogs and competing with Apple are very different things...

Some folks think TC is lucky since it got out of a bad situation with FG. TC may indeed be lucky, not because of the rift with FG, but possibly that they don't have look embarrassed by Apple in 4 months by an $800 or $1000 iPad. That's not considering the Nook, Android Netbooks, ChromeOS, Sony Readers, etc.

And ... irony of ironies ... the head of the TechCrunch Crunchpad team is Brian Kindle!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

May the iForce be with you!

The lightsaber is a versatile weapon of destruction! While the adversary is mesmerized with its neon glow as it cycles phychedelically, you can calmly sever his arms! If you lose it during a battle, use the force (you just have to set your mind to it) and it flies back into your hands, confusing your adversary for that fleeting second while you turn it back on and plunge it forward ... with guts. If the battery fear - you can chuck it at the forehead of your enemy, and the heavy handle knocks her out!

Well - the mobile phone just became your 21st century lightsaber - it's WIFI beam just turned your TV on! RedEye just turned your vanilla iPhone into a bona-fide universal remote. So when DarthVader comes huffing into your family room when you're watching the exciting last 2 minutes of Monday Night Football (and you're not in the mood to duel) just whip out your phone, surreptitiously turn on the surround speakers (behind him) at high volume, and, before he can turn back, hit him on the helmet with aforementioned phone! It can even make authentic lightsaber sounds while flying through the air.

Oh - and while he's down, pull out his intergalactic credit card and swipe it on the Square credit card reader that you just plugged into the phone. This Square technology is disruptive, and you can make Vader pay, as you can now accept credit cards on the go!

After the transaction has been consummated, and he's still on the floor, lie down next to him, connect your phone-saber into the Cinemin Swivel and watch King Kong on the ceiling! You might just become friends!

Reasons why the phone is actually more powerful than a lightsaber?
  • you can get maps and directions to Tatooine
  • you can read your email from Jabba between fights
  • you can play Pod-racer on the flight to Naboo
  • you can Tweet Yoda to get tips for the next duel (he can DM instructions to you ;-) )
  • read Hitchhiker's Guide on it at Courisant
  • if Vader isn't looking (doing his Job), you can get a cool Droid eye on the phone too...
May the iForce be with you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A braver new world!

I've been busy last month planning an important third birthday! In the month that I did not write a blog post, the world changed!

Don't believe that change is irrelevant, since we'll all be gone by 2012 ... I'm talking about significant advances, some of which will change the way we do things before 2012!

First, as a firm believer in gadget convergence, it's good to see it happening! The iPhone already made it unnecessary to carry a camera - my Rio trip last year was without camera, and I iSnapped a healthy Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado! Now, with the release of the Droid, Google has effectively tech-crunched 2 devices into 1 - the GPS and the cell phone! This places standalone dash navigators (Garmin, Tomtom) on notice. In announcing the acquisition of AdMob, Google implies stronger mobile advertising for this converged mobile marketplace, (better ads to look at as you drive) and the Gizmo acquisition promises new forms of phone communications down the road - maybe no land lines any more (better phone calls from your car)!

More convergence came from Netflix and Sony. With Netflix streaming available on PS3 (and net-connected Bravia TVs), I no longer have to get DVDs mailed - no streaming player required - another box bites the dust! Oh! Google jostled its way in here as well - with the launch of HD video on YouTube! Now, browsing on the PS3 goes beyond the PlayStation store to your movie list and high quality user-generated content! Today, I still need the TV set top box for live TV and other channels, but that's not a technology issue - just a matter of who creates, owns and distributes quality content.

Speaking of media creation, citizen journalism is now the in-thing! While the Huffington post is offering to take a citizen journalist to Copenhagen, Rupert Murdoch, with his claim to create a paid walled garden for content - blocking out specific search engines - sounds like the last bastion of defense for paid-journalism as we know it. Who knows? If N key publishers decide to take sides in barricading content to specific robots, could it make a difference?

Speaking of newspapers and media - newspapers have the lowest circulation (12.9%) since pre-World War II. it looks like the most lucrative form of entertainment is not reading (Harry Potter with the Kindle, Nook "endless shelf space", or an iPhone book application), or even movies (Batman the Dark Knight), but ... good ol' war games! War still rules the world, with the largest ever media release in history - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2! More than $300 million in sales in 1 day in just North America and the UK (vs. Batman $160M, 2012 $70M in a 3 days)!! I think Murdoch should buy Activision! Now, even the pacifist in me is curious enough to play this game! It's a Call of Duty!

Might as well experience the buzz before 2012!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What goes around comes around bigger!

Check out Photosketch, a new way of finding images - you draw and annotate objects, and algorithms, combined with image search, can compose the perfect photograph for you! Cool! Google image search can show you just line art, or images by color tone. Reminds me of a pioneering project called QBIC (from IBM Almaden) that saw little widespread use. Full circle, I say!

At IBM, where I started my career, I'd heard people say "We did this ten years back ('twas called something else)". This was actually true! Technology cycles! There is, however, a reason why cynicism around having tried something before (and failed) in technology is misplaced - the environment has changed. The second time is not just luckier - it is often bigger and better (and sunnier :-))

So, when the Network Computer was introduced in the 90's and it did not fly, it was not because it was a bad idea - in fact, it was brilliant - it was because of other conditions, e.g., the networks were not fast enough. Sun employees run the Network computer as an X display over DSL, and that's exactly the issue. ("Credit" to Sun for sticking with it, killing productivity in the process). Today, the network computer (Net-scape?) is now viable as Cloud computing, and Google's the dot in, the big honking mainframe!

When we built a scalable video server at IBM in 1995, with real-time support, striped file systems, high-bandwidth networks, and a million dollar SP2 m/c, the initial pilots worked great, but the business model floundered - karaoke-on-demand wasn't an established market, and the cost per video stream was too high :-). Today, multiple streams can be served by a Linux desktop, and the idea is viable - it's called YouTube! (Note the fact that today's user does not pay for the stream - the environment has changed! Free works quite well!)

Heard the same thing when trying to push forward on a project at Yahoo! - "We tried this back at Altavista and it did not work!" Famous last words...(actually he's still going strong... :-))

Memory-based computers were prototyped many years earlier, and are only now becoming viable with Flash memory getting to the right price point. Paper-like displays, seen in the 90's, are still not in vogue, but HD televisions are everywhere, and paper-like displays will come (Kindle 4?). Tablets failed, but tablets will come (Courier? iPad?) ! Windows Vista ebbed, Windows 7 may flow...

Don't ever listen to someone who says, "We tried it 10 years back, but it failed!" Remember that technology comes full circle, but the second circle can be brighter, and someone else is usually holding the flashlight!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Privacy? What privacy?

Loc8u has created a watch that tracks kids with GPS - and, of course, the privacy geeks have something to say! This is a violation of privacy, etc. etc.

Tell me that when I am running around the Great Mall in Milpitas for 45 minutes going all crazy that I'll never see my 4-year-old again ... this happened on Memorial Day a few years back, and, believe it or not, happened again (for only 5 minutes tho') with our younger son a few years later at Sears ... he was walking towards the escalator, assuming we'd gone down! As a parent, I have a right and a responsibility for a child, whether he/she likes it or not! If I suspect he's doing drugs at friend A's house, I'd rather he not hang out at A's house. He may find another way, but it is my prerogative to do my best to keep him honest while he's under my roof!

Privacy geeks make noise about every damn thing on the Internet! Leave the choice to the user! If there's value in search history, I'll turn it on - leave the search engine alone! I'd rather have a soccer result show up if I type "football" after reading an article about Maradona, than be told again about Brett Favre! And if I just Tweeted about Romo, I'd rather see a post about his performance for the same query "football" 5 minutes later!

Yeah! I've heard the argument - false positives! Sure - you'll get it wrong twice in 20 tries - egad ... that's 10 percent! Double-whammy digits! So what? You got it right 18 times! And I gave you my permission to do so! And with session-based personalization, you can do it all anonymously!

Opt in! That's the key!

If you want privacy - hey - go for it! Go into incognito mode and make merry. If you want privacy, tell the government to stop putting all your public records online, so that stalker doesn't find your phone number and address in 2 seconds on a search engine! Don't blame the search engine! And, a piece of advice ... stop putting those drunken photos on Facebook! Better yet, create 2 different accounts - for friends and your mom! Or suffer the consequences ... (LOL!)

Like ad networks aren't tracking you! Of course they are - and they should, so I see an ad for Hawaii snorkelling after I just purchased tickets to Maui! I'd rather see that ad than one for a GM car saying "May the best car win!".

Beacon! Why didn't you just do opt in, instead of trying to muscle your way in?

Online privacy is over-rated, and under-understood! Many complain that Internet companies are "watching you" when users are willingly using useful services. Sure, logs data, when used, is useful to the algorithm ... but they also add value to the user! If I had lots of friends, I'd sign up for Latitude. I'm ok with turning on tracking for traffic updates ...

As long as you can turn it off - do so and shut up (or go here) - and that's my "private" opinion! Oops! Did I just say that on the Internet?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A felicitation to The Internet on Labor Day!

As we often take the time on Labor Day to commemorate human endeavo(u)r, I thought it appropriate to give kudos to one of our colleagues-at-work-and-home: The Internet!

Here are some reasons that makes sense:
  • My salary comes from the Internet (I work for an "Internet company"), and I even pay my damn taxes with it!
  • Many other peoples' salaries (or earnings) come from the Internet, via schemes of different flavors (Phishy or Spammy), and the Internet is an equal-opportunity payer, going all the way from Nigeria to the UK.
  • We don't have full time help, but the Internet does help me with my shopping, and many chores, like paying most of my bills and my scheduling.
  • For every interest I have (soccer), and for every one of a million interests I don't have (sailing, curling, etc.), there's a web site about it, and the Internet can take you there!
  • If my time is worth something (ha!), and I spend half of it on the Internet, The Internet must be really working hard for me. Remember CPU cycles = Busy cycles + Idle cycles
  • I send email and photos to my parents and family on the Internet. I think they'd still prefer that I visited more than once every 2 years, but I blame that on ... my job (the Internet).
  • If you want to not-work, you can do that through the Internet too - it's called YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. If you get caught - the Internet is always there to blame it on. It won't answer in its defense! (but be careful ...if you piss it off, you can get a virus! - or - as Obama says, "it can haunt you later")
  • When my kids ask me a question that I don't know/remember the answer to (getting more frequent these days), I delegate freely - "Ask the Internet"
  • The Internet is also a partner in crime. Download music? Internet! (Not that I would ever consider doing this!) Forgot to pay the bill? Blame the Internet (connection). If you can't find it on the Internet, it does not exist!
  • ...and ...the Internet does not have any of these 10 bad office behaviors!
Long live... our-favorite co-worker ... The Internet!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

C'mon! Spit out the truth!

When you're driving to work, and see the 23 and Me Blimp in the Silicon Valley sky, you realize how close genetic engineering is to home.

Seems like spit parties are now becoming fashionable, at least among the selective elite - the friends and celebrity associates of the 23&Me founders, and their growing influencial reach. Maybe I'll change my mind when I get more hip - but I'd rather be drinking a margarita than making genetic spittle part of a party conversation.

But hey! - this blimp might just work? Maybe they'll double their flights during Christmas, as quoted:
“People think if you have money to spend on this, why not buy a test instead of a model train for Christmas,” said Dr. Alan Guttmacher, acting director of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Sure, its cute when you claim that this could help with finding a date (matchmaker matchmaker make me a match, make me a perfect match), but it isn't very appealing when your date is tested with a propensity to offspring with a birth defect.

Well, maybe I should restate that. Maybe it is appealing to find out, now that a genetic defect can be directly manipulated out with genetic material from another person. Scientists just created apparently healthy offspring from genetic material from two mothers and one father. (Okay, so they were monkeys, but aren't we all lab rats?) This is one way to have you spit out the size of the parental family - it's all one big happy family.

I have a good business plan - perfect for the valley. VCs - wake up! Expand the consumer base by outsourcing spittoon services to the paanwaalahs in India! 5 rupees per acquisition!

Write the Terms of Service in the silver wrapping around fancy paan!!

Genetic testing for everyone - it's one (billion) big social network!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Games that are larger than life?

Video games are becoming more realistic every day, and that brings a different experience into the living room! Now, the game is moving out of the living room, and the hospital, and, for that matter, the Pentagon!

Just this week, North Korea was taking objection to the commencement of the US - South Korean War games simulation. As quoted:
If the U.S. imperialist and their South Korean marionettes venture a smallest military provocation and make an attempt at the DPRK’s sovereignty, the Revolutionary Army will make an immediate and merciless strike at the aggressors with the use of all the offensive and defensive armaments at its disposal, including the nuclear ones, the KCNA said.
Now ... granted that this "game" involves a little more than a "simulation" - it apparently spans 10 days and involves 56000 S.Korean and 10000 US personnel. I guess N. Korea cannot just assume that the commanders won't just get bored and change their mind, attacking a few Pyongyang nuclear facilities instead!

Another realm where Sim City meets the real world is this interesting game called Pandemic - it allows you to create a pathogen with very powerful and nasty characteristics, and shows how humanity can be brought to a screeching halt! My teenager son seemed at ease selecting the pathogen's potency, infective symptoms and virulent features.

Not to be outdone, a new game - The Great Flu (partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline!), targets the Swine Flu! The good thing about this one - it asks you to battle the outbreak, rather than unleash the wrath of an organism upon the world's peoples!

I guess gameplay becomes more interesting when life and death are brought closer to home!

Prepare to play!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Windows to Mac - an unemotional assessment.

At work, I moved from a Windows XP Thinkpad laptop to a Macbook Pro. Why? Not sure ... have been wanting to experience what folks rave about for a while ... and it's cool, I guess! I do love the iPhone (except the random times when I can't drag the green button to receive a phone call :-)), but it's the first time with Mac since the first year in grad school (those were different! :-))

All the machines at home are Windows, and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Why? Price! The new "you find it you keep it" ads are right on regarding price. No wonder Apple freaked!

The transition from win to mac was reasonably painless. Here are some reasons why:
  • When most of your crucial work-related applications are web based, with data in the cloud, there's no disruption in email, IM, calendar - they all just work with zero setup!
  • Okay - I like the slickness, fonts, anti-aliasing, etc. Love the zoom back
  • I made sure that all my docs were copied over.
  • I made sure to install Office, so I did not have to scramble to open docs and ppts - yes ... still use those, and pdfs in addition to Google docs
  • Putty to shell (ah - the good ol' days!), downloaded Flash and did not need to download iTunes or Reader (for pdf)
  • Luckily, I did not have to move a development environment over - that would have been Eclipse, so should have been painless?
Were there growing pains? Yup...
  • I am still searching for a save button and not finding it :-)
  • Until I am assimilated one way or another, I remain, yours truly, in - Control vs. Apple key chaos!
  • I hate the touchpad - seems unresponsive ... paging seems line by line ... :-)
  • Trying to edit an HTML file in TextEdit, I had trouble figuring how to open up a text file in text mode by default (it was rendering the HTML), i.e., I couldn't insert javascript into the HTML like I wanted - had to change settings ... :-) Kinda embarrassing when I had to ask for help on this, but hey... I had work to do!
  • Had trouble upgrading to the latest Firefox - would tell me that it was still in use, and took me a while to figure out why (wasn't obvious)
  • Needed to figure out how to find a printer on the network (helps to have colleagues!)
  • Needed to figure out how to get screen capture to work - and then follow up with how to get TIF to convert to jpg/gif. Seemed onerous...but then, I did not have to install a screen capture program.
  • Aah - when I unplug from my monitor, I love that it auto-detects .... but I (just learned, after quite a bit of frustration) have to hit "maximize" to resize the window to fit in the smaller resolution! Bug? I thought Apple was perfect with usability, ...but then, again, I'm not crazy about iTunes. I've seen folks have issues projecting to external projectors, so a little apprehensive about a SNAFU when I get there...
  • I've been hit with browser confusion! Cannot figure out which browser to use any more - this applies to me on my home machines as well - Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE - they all seem sorta similar - visual bookmarks, tabs, slices .... (Do I really need the Facebook browser?) I've been toggling browsers, especially at work. I'm not micro-analyzing speed yet - they all seem reasonably zippy - maybe I'm just more tolerant! Not tethered to a browser means we need browser independent bookmarking - plugged into the browser/toolbar - Google Bookmarks?
  • I exported my bookmarks to HTML on my old machine, and am in 2 minds about importing them, as this is one way to start a new life :-) ... but I guess I'll have to...but which browser? ...
Maybe a contrarian viewpoint: ... a few smiles ... and ... no big Win :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Brief History of Search - A play for 3 ages!

[Any resemblance to real persons entities, living or dead is purely coincidental. Certain events may seem overly dramatized - after all, this is a play...]

A Brief History of Time Search [Abridged version]

Cast: 6 characters - A, I, G, M, O, Y
Guest Appearances: B, V, T
Location: Idyllic Silicon Valley (+ a rainy Seattle)
Time Period: 3 ages - Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Lights: All colors of the rainbow, lots of blue and purple...
Sound effects: [a yodel sound, the ka-ching money sound, a bell-like sound, and a bird tweet...inline]

Curtains: Y enters, adjusting his glasses...

Y : Who'd have imagined - I wrote this directory of a few sites, and thousands of people want to crash my servers. Let's make a company ... we're Stanford!

1996: Circa Web 1.0

Lights fade out and fade back on. A appears, fluffing her hair on her shoulders...

A : Ya know - we're Digital! I'm this really fast engine that gives millions of results for each search really quickly. The more the merrier ... and faster faster faster... my head is spinning...need some cold mountain air...

Y : Crap! This directory is getting larger everyday and I don't have any time for parties! Let's try this search thing that we've heard about. Hmm! It seems to work. Party time!

I enters. He has large sideburns, and powerful glasses ...

I : We're Cal! We're the spider trickster! We have the ability to defeat larger adversaries through wit and cunning! We're a hot Bot too.

Y : Yup! Pretty hot! Look at the funky tri-color logo! I like it!

I : Wow, I've been found(ed) at the right time! This search thing rocks! Let's try to crawl and index more stuff ...

Y : Hey this I search thing works quite well, let's use it ... and slap on some ads while we're at it

I : People click on those ads? That's better than those blinking banners I tried last week

Y : Wow! Lets put more ads on these search pages and make real money ... real fast! Let's put a little knob on how many ads go on top - we can turn that up higher or lower even higher ...we'll try banners on search later :-)

B lumbers in. He's big, and wears blue overalls with suspenders

B : Hey! I'm the big BB gun! I'm not feeling so Blue right now - we make a billion bucks from patents every year, and we have a really cool patent on this really Clever idea! And, BTW, we're BB so we're not really interested in making money of this really really Clever idea, since, you know, we're research and, you know, we luv tech, and, you know, that paper deadline is fast approaching, and we've gotta go...

G enters from the other side, sporting blue T-shirt, red shorts and lime green rubber slippers

G : Hey - this Blue algorithm is quite Clever! Hubs and Authorities, huh? Neat! What? Deadline? Gotta write a project paper? Give it a few neat researchy twists and publish or something...

G : What? We have traffic? We're actually better than A? Wow! ..Hmm... Let's make a company - we're Stanford after all...

Lights fade...

2000: DOT COM implosion ... beginning of Circa Web 2.0

A wild fire rages in California (read ... viral adoption)

G : What the ****? Everyone's at our doorstep - they feel lucky to find a useful first result more frequently....we're actually ....useful! Hey....stop knocking at my doors...I didn't even market the damn thing yet!

Y : Hey - let's give this G thing a shot - they're apparently very lucky - so maybe we can make some more money... and don't forget to slap those ads on!

I : Hey! What just happened here? I miss you! Can't I assume you'll go out with me tonight?

Y : Sorry! Shit happens! I've just found this cute new friend, who's trendier! I'm feeling lucky...

G : Hi! Can we please get some recognition here? After all I went to Stanford like you...pretty please!

Y : Sure - slap that colorful ballsy logo on those results - folks seem to like you anyway...kinda cute!

G : Are you sure you want those RPM numbers too - we'll send them over next week?

Y : Yeah! Thanks - they look pretty darn...WTF!? This is a shitload of money... this search thing is actually ... mandatory!! These geeks really built some magic pixie dust here... We've got to build this or something....

Enter O:

O is wearing a suit and tie and is carrying an expensive leather briefcase

O : Hi! I'm O. BTW - I know how to make you more money - more more more! We are bad! Downright evil ... but buy me and we'll make you money... and ...we've got some cool patents too, including a few search ones. Remember A? That really fast chick? She's in my harem now...

Y : Money! Hotel California! I don't want to ever leave! This may just be a gr8 idea!

Meanwhile, I is twiddling his thumbs ...

I : I've nothing to do - taking a bus around town! Wait - let me paint a banner on the bus so when I pass Y's offices, they'll remember I exist. Since Y seems to be in a daze, subliminal may work better ... and then ... they have a ... choice ... (pick me! me ... pick me!)

Y : Hey. What's that flashing banner?...Oh! our old friend's still around. Hmmm! Let's buy them and turn things harder for G, now that they're doing mail and finance and stuff ...

I : The DOT com's imploded, but V's bought our U-seek, and Y has our web search - we're outta here! (our bet of cache-ing out sure paid off in a funny way ...)

A : Hi I! How 'bout we make friends. We do live in the same big house now! I do know a few tricks. Be careful, I used to be really fast! Maybe we can do this together!

Y : What? This patent on making money on search is OURS?? Sue the twits! 300 Million? 300 Million Blue Blistering Barnacles! Take it before they change their mind!

G : Are those bozos not looking at the RPM and growth numbers? Well...they're grown ups and ... we're growing need to point it out to them...

Y : Okay, now! We're now as good as G. Well ... not exactly, but almost there ... and we are #2 and we do have 30% market share.


It's a rainy day. M, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, sleeves folded up to the elbows, i
s looking out the Windows

M : You know...we're all the rage with our software the world over! I'm just about ready to retire, go off and save the world and deal with HIV and malaria and stuff, but I'm surprised with this G phenomenon! Looks like I'll have to deal with a delay in my plans. Put a few billion on researching that, will ya?

G : Let's shore up the core! Let's focus on quality - people should always feel lucky - like we are, for finding this pixie dust. And we're making good money (not evil) - let's go public! We can do a whole lot of things with that money!

M : Money's still pouring in through every window, but we should probably keep an eye on this new advertising-based free-ak-oconomy thingy! It's all the rage!

G : Wow! That IPO was a fun ride! Who'd have thought we'd all be millbillionaires!! Sweet! Silicon Valley rocks!

Audio Effect: The ka-ching sound of money repeats over and over for a while.

M : What? 23B market cap? Who's smoking dope? This fad will surely pass...

G : Let's see now... how do I spend the money? I'll build a few toys ... a couple of apps, a shiny new phone, ... and I'd like a new TV too please - that Tube thing is quite cool...

M : Ok! That's it! We're not missing this boat! Put a few more barnacles on it!

Y is relaxing in a Sunny Vale, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a Panama hat, sipping Margarita

Y : OK! we've figured out this thing! We have all the ingredients! It's all about execution! (Execute or be executed!) There's money to be made and we're a search company now...and a media company...and a portal...yeah! that's it! we're a "media search portal mail social network" - let's spread the love like peanut butter.

Audio Effect: A yodel sound is heard in the background!

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. Put some more money into this! That'll fix it!

G : Man! Am I glad this is lawsuit is behind me now...onward! forward!

Y : Wow! Look at these numbers!! Who was that lawyer who settled for 300M? Fire him! Every damn percentage point of market share is worth a chunk of change!

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. Put some more money into this. That'll fix it!

B is seen in a dark bar, Beer in hand, listening to Blues music

B : M is into search now? Darn! Now I'm Blue! Maybe we should have sued when we had the chance ... Now it'll be sour grapes! Well ... we're research and we make a billion blistering blue barnacles licensing our patent portfolio - so we'll make it up in .... say... a million years! (we'll still be around)

Y : Let's get all of online America ! What?!!! G paid a billion green ones for that traffic? Who else is there besides the Fiery Fox out there, who we can't catch?

M : Shit! This thing is harder than I thought. put some more money into this. That'll fix it! Wait! Let's give our users some money while we're at it - cash back...sounds fun

Y : Okay! we're almost there...almost as good as G.... we'll kinda sorta. That ought to be good enough! You want to do a new feature? Why? We're sitting pretty at 28% market share - and we have half the online world coming to our doorstep every day - no fear... O, A and I are here ... we've been doing this for a long long time...we know...

M : OK! We've done a lot of stuff, but this is not working. Let's buy Y ... and I'm ready to save the world, so you fellas - take care of this - can't be that hard! Should be a done deal in a couple of days ... simple MBA stuff

G : Whoa!

Y : Whoa!

M : OK then - easy fella! time to play nice now...

Y : (kicking and screaming) NO NO NO!

G : Don't worry...I'll help you. Remember we were always friends? We went to Stanford!

Y : I'm good enough! I'm smart enough! And doggone it...people like me...

M : Come now....

Y : I don't like the same beer as you do! We have different weather! This won't work! We're on our own, and we have 20% market there! Take your 33 and shove it... I'd like a 44 at least...

M : (prim and proper) Well then ... be that way! We'll just go back to our labs then...we have live labs, search labs, labs with windows. We'll wait for you to calm down! I cahn wait, you know!

Y : Go! That'll teach you for not coming in at at least 42! You'll come back at 40 - hah! Surely! Surely? ...

Some commotion is heard in the Valley

Y Friends : What - are you crazy?? Unite now...

Y Stockholders : What - are you crazy?? At least go on a damn date, will you?

Wall Street: What - are you ****ing crazy??

News: what the ...

Me: do it do it do it...please! My ESP(P) says that it's the right thing to do!

G : What - are you crazy?? (don't do it tho' ... I'm your friend and I endorse this message!)

M : Yup! You are crazy!!

Y : Surely you're coming back? At 35? Maybe? ...

There is no answer. A door is heard shutting. There's a muffled shout and the sound of a chair being thrown against the floor. Lights fade!

Lights fade in. Some time has passed. A few gray hairs are seen on some of the characters

2009 - Circa Web 3.0

M : Hello all you disgruntled fellas - come join us! We're building a new search thing that rhymes with "sing" - it should make a sweet sound when it lands ...

Y : Stop making any more noise, will you? You're distracting my users! We're at 18%...

Audio Effect: A dulcet bell-like sound is heard in the background!

M : Ding Dong! Here's something new to try out - decide if you like this better! Hmm - people seem to like us now! We've gained some share, it looks like...

Y : Okay then! Where are we? 17% - that's not too bad a drop for monkeying around!

M : That's it - you wanted 44? 33? Here you go! Pull the damn trigger. Hi Y Search! Ding! Decide!

G : Bye! Y Search

Y Friends : Bye! Y Search

M : Bye! Y Search

ENTER T: T enters, happy and skipping like a bird.

T : Tweet tweet! Bye! Y Search. We've just arrived ...just-in-(real)-time!

Audio Effect: A bird tweets in the background!

T freezes in the spotlight in the middle of the stage!