Sunday, November 06, 2005

guardian: the microsoft elephant dancing

nov 6th

the spectacle of microsoft attempting to adjust. a good analysis.

i liked the reference to clayton christensen. most interesting person. a mormon, and a pioneering intellect.

the christensen paper that i have found most interesting is the one in which he analyzes the disk drive industry. it is not a sample, but a survey, in which he looks at all 132 players in that industry. he finds that time after time, innovation comes not from the leader of the current generation product, but from an upstart which brings in a low-end product which soon enough displaces the current product.

there are some conditions: the new product must have a sharp growth curve so that it is rapidly able to substitute for the current product. at introduction, it may not be able to substitute, but it does so soon.

christensen has a relatively new (2004) book out: 'seeing what's next: using theories of innovation to predict industry change'. i am planning to get hold of it. has anyone read it? any comments?

btw, i just got hold of an extremely interesting book from the world bank institute. haven't read it fully yet, just a few chapters:

india and the knowledge economy: leveraging strenths and opportunities, by carl dahlman and anuja utz, 2005

it has tons of good data, and you'll see me quoting it widely in my future columns.


san said...

Rajeev & Co,

You better all do a Google search on the companies InPhase and Optware. They have plans to introduce Holographic Video Disc (HVD) technology in the coming year:,10801,105682,00.html

I have never seen storage specs like this -- they're claiming upto 1 Terabyte storage capacity on a single disc! The read/write data transfer rates quoted are also impressive.

Just imagine how many Indian movies you could pirate on a single disc. Each disc could store an entire season's worth of TV shows, in HDTV format.

As usual, at first they will be catering to the data storage market, with high-end prices. But as this stuff hits the consumer market, then the media industry can kiss their aftermarket sales goodbye, because with this kind of storage density, nothing will be safe from piracy and re-distribution.

san said...

Oh, just to mention for comparison, a regular DVD stores 5 Gb, so the HVD may be having upto 200 times that storage capacity.

Kaunteya said...

Nizhal Yoddha,
I have been hitting consistently on the google ads on your blog. Any special rewards :-) ?

BTW, Long back you had posted some mail-exchange between you and Naom Chomsky. That time i did not know who this guy was, honestly. But of late i came across his name being mentioned as a messiah of the Left in the USA quit a lot. I was reading a book by a conservative writer who has take all these left wingers to task. And the author makes an interesting allusion to Chomsky's wealth accumulation in that book. Also yesterday i saw an "award winning" documentary called "The Corporation" where he was one of the "intellectual panelist". (BTW, most of these award winning docs are almost always left-liberal-elitist centric).
Please, if possible, post that mail-exchange between you and Chomsky again on your blog.


DarkStorm said...

I still am sceptical about the AJAX "hype".
No doubt gmail and google maps are wonderful applications. Gmail is really fast, and it seems like it uses AJAX to synchronize your inbox listing from the server, when requested. But is gmail really as fast as the Outlook/thunderbird/exchange combination. I do not think so. Even for non-local mails, email clients and servers like exchange (there is one from GNU Linux people too) are way too much faster. I do not think a corporate version of Gmail can beat MS here.

Why I am still not convinced about the potential of Google is this. There have been many such attempts earlier. There was this concept of NetPC from Oracle( who predicted the end :) of MS), a very thin client. Sunk without a trace.
Sun had come up with their Java technology, which was hyped to kill desktop apps as we see them. All services would be delivered by applets, even office apps, mail clients, customized apps, text editors, etc. In fact most common apps we see today can be made using applets, even audio/video players. It did not work out. In fact, IMHO, the JEE saved Sun from setting. J2EE( or recent JEE5) is almost the same model as AJAX/Webservices. JEE needs no thick client on the desktop, just a browser, like AJAX. Most CGI applications in use today can very well use JEE. Gmail and google maps can run on JEE (or .Net).

Webservice involves calling a remote method (on a server) via protocols like HTTP (SOAP over HTTP) or JAX-RPC. They are not very important from user point of view, but very useful in integrating different applications, on different servers, using different technologies. While such technologies existed (EJB from Sun, DCOM from MS), they were not interoperable. Webservice written in Java can be called by a .Net system, which in turn was invoked by a browser.

AJAX just makes the client server model a *bit* faster. It does not solve any problem, AFAIK. It is not something new or pathbreaking like Java or XML/Webservices.

AFAICS, the AJAX/webservices model will *co-exist*, gain a small foothold, but not be something which will make a dent in MS in the applications area. The software scene is expanding rapidly and there is space for everyone, not for replacing anyone.

Please post your ideas.

DarkStorm said...

Hey San, thats great. The HVD thing. Good to see it. All in all, an extension of the DVD.

I am not being sceptical just for the sake of it, but it seems like it is going to be like CDs and DVDs. What is going to be the data throughput, seek times and bandwidth of these drives. I did not find any links for that. I cannot think they are any faster than SATA 2 magnetic HDDs in the market today. If you get to know the numbers, please post the link. I could not find it.
Reading from optical drives is still a slow affair, and writing slower, and rewriting slower still. If data transfer rates using Holographic memory can cross SATA levels of minimum 150Mbps (SATA2 at 300, and growing...), then it is worth it. A search on HVD gave me 40Mbps per sec.

I think crystal memory for "HDD-like storage"(master disk of the computer) shows more promise. HVDs would be more like CDs and DVDs. For backup, data transfer, etc. I cannot find links for crystal memory, but the basic idea is this. There will be three lasers, one along each axis, pointing on the crystal. Rather than disk spinning, the lasers can point anywhere on the crystal. The lasers will play around with molecular bonds, to indicate the data. I dont know about the speeds, it is still in experimental stage, AFAIK. I read in a tech mag about it, and seems to be the replacement of HDD.

Also, I hope reliability increases, but HDD is much more reliable than optical drives. Optical drives are much more prone to faults/ misreads than HDDs, *as of now*. It is going to take time, atleast 3 years IMHO, for these to become mainstream.

DarkStorm said...

>> What is going to be the data throughput, seek times and bandwidth of these drives. I did not find any links for that.

>> A search on HVD gave me 40Mbps per sec. <<


I was searching while typing in this, so the confusing statements from me. I had hit a few sites and I did not find anything, so my earlier statement.