Category: Tech

How dependent is your organization on one datacenter? That’s a good question to ask before a disaster strikes. It amazes me how many organizations do not take site redundancy seriously. Last week, several unrelated high profile datacenter incidents brought many organizations to their knees.

Several marquee names had issues. Many organizations assume that because they are with a well known provider, that they wont have issues. Its like buying a BMW and thinking there is no chance you will have a car accident. I’ve also witnessed organizations who think they are immune because they have their own datacenter. That’s about as logical as building your own car and thinking there is no chance of an accident.

If your organization’s primary datacenter burned down tomorrow, how would business be affected? How long would it take restore the same level of service? Are your critical services site redundant? These are the kinds of questions that should be addressed before disaster strikes.

Disaster recovery was a hot topic after 9-11, but its faded away over the past few years. Its much sexier to talk about virtualization and cloud computing, both of which are not immune from non-redundant datacenters.

Having hosted and developed websites for over a decade now, it was always funny sifting through the logs in the early days. When the Internet first became popular to consumers, pornography accounted a for a huge portion of search engine traffic. 90% of my search engine hits in the mid-90’s were people looking for porn (must be my last name). In fact, it was so bad back in the day, that the number one SEO move was to put porn keywords in your META tags.

A few years ago, I heard about a pornographic Youtube clone called “Youporn” in a Techcrunch article. Out of curiosity, I looked up Youporn on Google trends and compared it to Web 2.0 darlings Twitter, Flickr, Yelp, and Digg. Here are the shocking results:
Youporn Google Trends

While there is a ton of buzz about Twitter, Youporn is insanely popular, yet its barley mentioned in the press. There are 37 news articles that mention “Youporn,” compared to 75,000 for Twitter. Yet, if you look at the trend results, the Youporn keyword is TWO TIMES more popular than Twitter.

While the results are shocking, Youtube is still far and away the king.

Since Lance Armstrong’s comeback started earlier this year, he has embraced Twitter, blogging, and video blogging as means to communicate and interact with fans. A few weeks in to the Giro, Lance Armstrong stopped speaking with media, after the Italian press tried to vilify him because riders staged a protest on really dangerous course. This protest happened a day after a rider nearly died in a horrific crash.

Lance decided to cut out the middleman, and embrace new media as a means to disseminate information. Naturally, the mainstream media was not happy with the embargo. The major mainstream media outlets have a centuries old tradition of getting their asses kissed by those being covered. A New York Times writer published a snarky rebuke of Lance’s boycott yesterday. Quite ironically, it was in a New York Times “blog.”

Cycling is a sport that is poorly covered in the United States, so its easy to see why Lance would consider the press to be unnecessary. The New York Times sent Juliet Macur to cover the Giro. While Macur might be a gifted writer, she knows very little about cycling. Is it necessary for sports figures to embrace the media anymore?

Personally, I find Lance’s twitter feed and video blogs to be really interesting. Much more interesting than a lengthy media profile done by a journalist. There is certainly a need for good journalism, especially when it comes to controversial issues like performance enhancers. However; journalists need to accept twitter, and the fact that direct communication via the Internet is here to stay. Long gone are the days where major media outlets were the only method of disseminating information to the public.

So I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about Windows 7. Apparently, its the first Microsoft client OS release since XP (2002) that will actually improve with a new release. It also happens to be first “pre-release” Microsoft OS I’ve tried since 2001, which was when the release candidates of XP started to pop up on the Internet.

I was shocked to hear that Microsoft released a freely downloadable beta, so I decided to give it a shot. I googled “Windows 7 release candidate,” and the first result was this link . As soon as I get to the page, a pop-up comes up asking to install “Silverlight,” which is Microsoft’s lame attempt at creating a flash clone. Typical for MS, they clone something that is cross platform (.NET=Java, Silverlight=Flash), and make sure it only works well on Microsoft operating systems. Needless to say, I didn’t bother installing “Silverlight.”

So the next step was for me to click the download link. I assumed that would take me to a page where I pick my appropriate download, and away we go.. Nope, I was then prompted for a Microsoft “Windows Live” id. The windows live id is a relic of Microsoft’s failed “Passport” initiative to monopolize federated web authentication. It took me 10 tries, but I finally found an old account that worked.

So now can I download Windows 7? Nope, Microsoft wants me to fill out a survey. The best part of the survey is when they ask what my primary client operating system is, the only products they list are Windows! Naturally I picked “other,” but its just another shining example of Microsoft’s hubris.


So I avoided Silverlight, dug up an old passport account, and filled out a survey, can I download Windows 7 now? Nope, Microsoft wants to verify my e-mail account. Sadly, I never received a verification e-mail, so I guess I wont bother trying Windows 7 today.

e-mail verify

Is pretty sad, that Microsoft can’t even get a simple beta download right. Its probably easier for someone to download a pirated copy of any Microsoft product, than it is to participate in a legitimate beta test.

By now, everybody is aware that newspapers are dying a slow death. Last week, the cover of Time Magazine was “How to Save Your Newspaper.”

Now, its ironic that a news weekly would be discussing the death of newspapers, since news weeklies are equally if not more obsolete. In the article, Walter Issacson, the former Time chief talks about how newspapers need to get away from free online access, and move towards a micropayment model. He cites online music and movie stores as examples for the newspaper industry.

I wish micropayments were the easy answer, but its not. Unlike music and movies, news reporting is a commodity. Even if all the big national papers went to a micropayment format, people would flock to other media sources very quickly. Micropayments might be part of some solution, but they will not be the total solution, especially when you consider the huge first mover disadvantage.

Advertisers would strongly discourage micropayments because it would significantly reduce readership. There is always the question of how micropayments would work with blogs and referral sites. If you went to micropayment format, your content would not get linked on most blogs and content aggregators.

There is no easy answer for newspapers and magazines. They are both dying, and there is no clear light at the end of the tunnel, but there are a few rays of hope. E-readers like the Kindle are a new revenue source. Sure its small now, but if the devices get down to the $50 price point, it might be a good revenue source.

The key would be to not follow the music industry, where one company, Apple, has them by the balls. There needs to be a few strong e-reader options centered around open standards. Tie in the e-reader accounts to the web with micropayments, and you might have something worth paying for..

One thing is for sure, subsidizing your web presence with print revenues is not an option anymore. Newspapers and magazines need to monetize online or die.