Category Archives: Technology

Strategy for Google

Back in April, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz wrote an article on his blog entitled Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO. He concludes that Google is transitioning from a period where it was a dominant, unchallenged player, to a period of intense competition. This is unique during the existence of the company; Google has famously declared in the past that they have no competitors, and that they seek a collaborative role with other companies. Continue reading

TweetMUD Beta is Live

TweetMUD is a silly little project that I threw together, just to see if I could.

Its a MUD (multi-user dungeon) game that runs in Twitter. It still runs very slowly, and is missing some functionality, but it appears to be working.

There’s a quick and dirty website here with instructions on how to play.

The way it works is that you post messages to the “bot” (or using its name as a hashtag). The bot listens for mentions, picks up your username, processes the game commands, and sends back a response. I still need to implement inventory and armor.

Twitter’s “you already tweeted this” functionality is getting in the way a bit. I find that it is necessary to put a random number at the end of commands in order to make it work properly.

The game is built using Zend Framework, and particularly Zend’s OAuth module, which makes it fairly simple to integrate into Twitter.

Total development time was about 3 days (with lots of breaks to work in customer’s projects). If nice people sponsor me, I’ll put in more effort to add functionality, make it run faster, and add levels. A polished game of this nature is probably a few week’s worth of work, particularly if it integrates picture posting (i.e. images of the room you are in).

Oh and please excuse the silly humor. I tried to make everything as ridiculous as possible, in order to demonstrate that this is just a feasibility test for building Twitter games.

Why Facebook probably shouldn’t pick a fight with Google

I know its old news, but I’ve still been thinking about the Facebook PR misfire from a few weeks back. A few people I’ve spoken to lately have asked me to write some more strategic material, so I’ll take one more hack at it here before writing about something else (I don’t want to bore people!). I can’t take credit for the central idea below though; a fellow by the name of Jay Gould used to do this a lot back in the 1800s, and it probably predates him too.

Continue reading

The three phases of the internet

Forget what some people are calling Web3.0.

The first phase of the internet involved taking real world information, and moving it into a digital, connected format – i.e. making web pages.

The second phase of the internet involved taking that newly minted digital stuff, and bringing humanity into the picture (i.e. web pages that are “social”).

The third phase of the internet will involve taking “stuff” that was originally digital, and making it “live” in the real world. All that mobile phone geo-location stuff is just a tiny (and honestly, not very interesting) part of that.


The fourth phase of the internet is already upon us as well, and interestingly enough its as much about hardware as software. This phase involves breaking the physical constraints of the internet and allowing it to work seamlessly through ad-hoc, peer-to-peer, wireless networks (i.e. there’s no ISP and no phone company involved, except maybe for the long lines). This also involves replacing TCP/IP with DTN – especially if humanity is going to do anything useful in the rest of the solar system.

Interesting developments in addressability

I just spotted the following article via slashdot that discusses manufacturers starting to give each and every lightbulb that they produce an IPv6 address.

Its an interesting development in something that I talked about a few years back (see here).

I think eventually virtually everything will have an IP address. Whether that is a good or bad thing is an entirely different question.

What’s next for Cisco?

While I’m on the topic of tech stocks, I was reading the comments on the following story earlier today (article). The general gist seems to be that Cisco has lost its way, and that its low valuation of late is part of an overall downward trend.

My immediate thought is that at its current valuation, and with its huge cash reserves (never mind market share, product lineup, patents etc), Cisco is actually a potential target for a takeover. The first candidate that came to mind was HP, but they’re unlikely to risk antitrust action (they bought 3Com a while back). A more likely candidate would be Oracle, who appear to be positioning themselves as HP’s most immediate competitor. I’m not sure I’m happy about the thought from a consumer’s perspective, but an Oracle-Cisco merger might make good business sense.