Browsing all articles from May, 2012
May
31

Intel to show third-gen Ultrabooks at Computex, makes USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt a necessity

Author admin    Category Intel, IT News     Tags

Image

When Intel first unveiled its grand plans for Ultrabooks at last year’s Computex, many of the fireworks were consciously reserved for Ivy Bridge-based variants in 2012 — well, they’re here. This year’s show in Taipei will show off the third generation of the skinny, MacBook Air-inspired platform, and Intel is toughening up the design requirements in the process. The thickness requirements are the same as last year, at 18mm for systems with screens under 14 inches and 21mm for bigger machines, but high-speed ports are now mandatory to get that coveted “Ultrabook” label and the full marketing weight of Intel’s $300 million Ultrabook Fund: if a PC doesn’t have either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, it’s out of the running. Intel also wants security built-in, rather than optional, as well as guarantees that a system is quick and responsive when it’s fully awake. Not that this would be terribly hard with the low-voltage Ivy Bridge processors launching at the same time, mind you.

Just to reinforce the importance of it all, Intel is noting that the flood of Ultrabooks is about to pick up in a big way as the category hits the mainstream. We were promised 75 Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks this year in a presentation back at CES; that number’s now up to 110, 30 of which will be Windows 8-friendly touchscreen models and another 10 opting for the convertible tablet route. At least some of those lightweight portables should pop up at Computex next week, and you can be sure we’ll be investigating as many of them as we can to see just how well Intel’s partners have advanced the game.

[engadget]

May
31

Internet Trends report finds online growth driven by China and India, users increasingly mobile

Author admin    Category IT News     Tags

Internet Trends report finds online growth driven by China and India, users increasingly mobile

You probably don’t need a 112 slide PowerPoint presentation from Mary Meeker and the venture capital firm KPCB to tell you this, but the Internet, she’s getting bigger. Every year more and more people sign on and, not surprisingly, many of the 663 million netizens added over the last three years have come from developing nations like China and India. In fact, since 2008, China has accounted for almost a third of new web users, adding 215 million to the connected population. What also shouldn’t come as a shock, is that the boon in connectivity is also being pushed by the broader availability of 3G data connections. Areas like India, China and Vietnam have all seen triple digit percentage growths in 3G penetration since last year. Wireless broadband has really exploded in India, where year over year growth in subscribers was 841 percent, though, that still only equates to a four percent penetration rate. For more info about the state of the internet and the world’s 1.1 billion 3G subscribers hit up the source link.

[engadget]

May
30

Fedora 17 Has Been Released, Download Now

Author admin    Category IT News, Linux     Tags

 

May 29th, that the highly anticipated Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle) Linux operating system has been released on the official torrent channels of the Fedora Project.

Delayed three times, the final and stable release of the Fedora 17 Linux operating system, dubbed Beefy Miracle, was announced a few minutes ago, May 29th.

Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle) is powered by the Linux 3.3 kernel, it features the GNOME 3.4 desktop environment with the GNOME Shell interface, of course, and the KDE Software Compilation 4.8 environment.


Highlights of Fedora 17:

· Linux kernel 3.3.4;
· GNOME 3.4.1 desktop environment (with GNOME Shell);
· KDE Software Compilation 4.8.3;
· Simplified filesystem by moving everything to /usr (see here more details);
· EXT4 as the default filesystem;
· systemd integration;
· Multitouch support;
· Software rendering for GNOME Shell;
· Mozilla Firefox 12;
· GIMP 2.8;
· Boost 1.48;
· Improved NetworkManager;
· DRI2 3D drivers;
· Support for CUPS colord;
· Thin provisioning;
· Updated Eclipse to Juno;
· Added English Typing Booster input method;
· Support for the D2 programming language;
· Support for Automatic Seat and ConsoleKit removal;
· Support for Lohit Unicode 6.0;
· DRI2 3D drivers;
· KDE Plasma dependency generation;
· PackageKit integration;
· New password quality checking mechanism;
· New virtio-scsi storage architecture for KVM, based on SCSI;
· ns-3 discrete-event network simulator;
· Added Wallaby;
· Added Thermostat;
· Updated Cluster Stack to support Enhanced Failover;
· Sugar 0.96;
· SSSD-Sudo integration;
· SSSD AutoFS integration;
· Static analysis of Python reference counts;
· Revamped LiveCD installation;
· Improved and extended Power Management;
· PHP 5.4;
· Added Open vSwitch;
· Updated OpenStack to Essex;
· New mkdumprd for kdump;
· Mingw-w64 cross compiler;
· ibus-pinyin integration;
· JBoss Application Server 7;
· OpenJDK 7 as the default Java Runtime Environment;
· GCC 4.7.x;
· Font configuration utility.

Review image
Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle) GNOME 3.4 Live CD

 

Review image
Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle) KDE SC 4.8.3 Live CD

Download Fedora 17 Install DVD

Download Fedora 17 GNOME Live CD

Download Fedora 17 KDE Live CD

[Softpedia]

May
29

Why Microsoft Killed Windows Live

Author admin    Category IT News, Microsoft, Windows     Tags

 

Microsoft is finally killing off the confusing “Windows Live” brand. It’s being replaced with a renewed focus on Microsoft’s biggest piece of software – the Windows OS – together with a new and all-encompassing identity system named “Microsoft account.”

Windows Live has been Microsoft’s online branding since it was unveiled back in November 2005. But Windows Live never worked, mainly because the brand was applied to Microsoft products inconsistently and seemingly at random.

The change in branding was recently explained by Chris Jones, VP of the Windows Live group. The nutshell is that Microsoft is integrating all of its products into the Windows OS, which will be tied together using an identity system plainly named “Microsoft account.”

Seamless 3.0

The word “seamless” was key to Microsoft’s 2005 announcement of Windows Live. It pops up again in Chris Jones’ 2012 blog post:

“Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices.”
(emphasis ours)

What Microsoft means is that every service you need will be in Windows 8, accessible via the identity system called Microsoft account.

Compare that to 2005, when Microsoft said that Windows Live (and Office Live, the enterprise-focused version of this branding) was “designed to deliver rich and seamless experiences” between the desktop and the Web.

The difference is subtle but significant.

In 2005, Microsoft positioned Windows Live and Office Live as “enhancements” to the Windows OS and the Microsoft Office suite of products. Things you need are out on the Web, but you’ll recognize them (2005-era Microsoft assured us) because they have the word “Windows” in their names. The catchphrase back then was “software plus services.”

In 2012, it’s more like “software plus online identity.” Essentially Microsoft is now saying that the only Web service that matters is identity. To emphasize that point, Microsoft has named its identity service as generically as possible: Microsoft account. With this key account, you can access any online content from within a Windows product – whether it’s a desktop PC, mobile phone, tablet, or any other type of product running on Windows OS. They don’t even need to be Microsoft online services anymore – you’re invited to “mix and match.” Of course, you may also access those services on the Web via the browser, if you must.

Microsoft Has Lost The Battle For Web Services, But…

In some ways, this is a retreat by Microsoft in the area of online services. It’s basically admitting that “Windows Live” branded products cannot compete with Facebook, Twitter and other successful online services. (So why did Microsoft launch a new social network this month, named So.cl? Yes, exactly…)

Even though this is an admission of defeat in the battlefield that is the Web, Microsoft still has some very successful Web properties. Hotmail and Messenger were singled out by Chris Jones as market-leading web products. It makes total sense to remove “Windows Live” from the names of those two products, because it only diluted their existing brand value. Don’t forget also that Microsoft owns Skype, the biggest brand in Internet voice over IP and chat. There’s no need to mess with those brands with an amorphous concept called “Windows Live.” It took Microsoft 7 years to admit that.

Even though the branding “Windows Live” is being trashed, the design of products like Hotmail and Messenger will be integrated more with Windows 8 desktop apps. In other words, Microsoft’s online services will start to look more like Windows desktop apps. Remember the days when Microsoft got sued for integrating Internet Explorer into Windows? Well essentially Microsoft is now integrating ALL of its online products into Windows. But because Microsoft is not the force it used to be, nobody will sue.

So Back to Branding…What is Microsoft Saying To Us Consumers Now

Essentially Microsoft is telling consumers: forget all those online services we used to hawk as Windows services, just get a Windows OS-powered device and please (pretty please) sign up for a Microsoft account.

It’s fairly similar to Apple’s winning strategy, if you equate the “cloud-powered” Windows 8 with Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft account with Apple ID. The only problem is, with the exception of Xbox, Microsoft doesn’t have cool hardware. It’s banking on the continuing large market share of Windows OS, together with still popular online services like Hotmail, to pull it through. It may be 5 years too late, but I think it’s the right move by Microsoft to simplify its strategy this way.

[RWW]

May
28

Sign o’ the Times: IBM, SAP Now Support Microsoft’s Standardization Move

Author admin    Category IBM, IT News, Microsoft, SAP     Tags

 

It’s perhaps the one way that database interaction can work reliably using any format, any server and any client on the Web today. It happens to be a protocol created by Microsoft. But in a symbol of how Microsoft is now perceived today as just another major player instead of a dominant force, the leading platform makers are joining Microsoft in a formal move to standardize OData, the Open Data Protocol. The reason Microsoft and IBM are no longer fighting over this? The real competition is no longer just amongst these old-line technology companies, but largely between them and a new breed of competitors often based around new mobile devices and consumer platforms.

Nearly six years ago one of the most bitter standards battles in all of computing was fought between OASIS, caretaker of the OpenDocument format, and Microsoft. The issue was whether, by making the document formats for Microsoft Office available as open standards, the company was unfairly leveraging Office’s broad base of installation to unseat its only real competitor, the storage format behind OpenOffice.

That year, 2006, marked the turning point in Microsoft’s public stance towards openness and interoperability. This despite bitter opposition led by IBM, which was working to resurrect the Symphony brand it had acquired through Lotus. IBM argued that Microsoft was undermining the standards process to suit its purposes. Just how much the computing environment has changed since then was made evident today as IBM (whose heart grew three sizes this day) joined with SAP and Citrix in backing a move by Microsoft to declare the OData HTTP-based database interaction prototol – also known as Open Data Protocol – an OASIS standard.


 

“OData is an application-level protocol for interacting with data via RESTful Web services,” reads a white paper on an OData extension for XML published by OASIS (PDF available here).  “An OData Service’s contract is defined by simple, well-defined conventions and semantics applied to the data model exposed by the service, providing a high level of semantic interoperability between loosely coupled clients and services.”

Phrasing data in XML, ATOM or JSON format does allow it to be visible to many different database engines. They can see data in these formats, so that’s not the problem. Essentially, how does a Web client (any browser on any device) request data from any server (any database engine or framework), and then initiate a dialog with that server so it can update or change one or more records? Remember, HTTP is a stateless protocol: Clients make GET requests and the occasional POST statement, and servers acknowledge and, when they can, comply.

So OData enables communication using any of these three formats for data expression, setting up the mechanism for clients to authenticate themselves and enter into a secure dialog. It already works. And as IBM discovered two years ago, OData was pretty much the only way of creating a single Web client for WebSphere data that worked with .NET, AJAX and PHP clients.

While an XML document contains the body of data, expressed explicitly within the markup, OData expresses the schema – the arrangement and relations between data in a database. It also allows for vendor-specific properties that enable features that one vendors database might utilize while another’s does not, though these properties are typically flagged within the metadata using obvious vendor-specific tags; for example, sap:filterable.

Writing on behalf of the OData organization today, Microsoft’s senior program manager for OData Alex James said today, “With interoperability front and center in OData we saw more and more technology stacks that started to work with it. Now there are a number of companies that use OData in their products to ensure the data they manage is easily accessible beyond the boundaries of their applications. Many of these companies regularly collaborate on the ongoing design effort for OData. While so far we’ve run the OData design process as transparently as we could (sharing designs, taking feedback through the odata.org blog and distribution list, etc.), we are at a point where the level of adoption and the scale at which organizations are betting on OData require a more formal commitment to shared ownership of the design of this protocol.”

It’s tempting to draw the conclusion that Microsoft and IBM are “joining forces,” in coalition against a common enemy. The facts are more economic than melodramatic: Waging platform wars, especially over something that should be as ubiquitous as data exchange, costs way too much money. While the Open Office XML/OpenDocument fracas generated plenty of headlines and even sparked a few campaign rallies, it was a drain on both sides’ resources at a time when the platforms supporting both standards – client-side applications – were starting to become obsolete anyway. The fact of the matter is, OData works, and creating a competing format just to rally the troops and produce headlines is a waste of time and money.  It’s best that companies pick their battles more wisely. What’s more, IBM, Microsoft, and SAP alike have come to the realization – perhaps a mutual one – that the best platforms are never islands unto themselves.

[RWW]

May
28

6 Time Management Strategies for Startups

Author admin    Category IT News, Tips & Trik     Tags

Many startups seem to be powered solely by excitement over the new business (occasionally mixed with some Red Bull and Starbucks). Startup founders typically devote every waking moment to their companies, and probably even dream about it too. But while pure passion can propel entrepreneurs 24/7 for a while, eventually even the most committed startup teams need to learn to manage their time.

Burnout is one obvious danger of poor time management. But even more important is the risk that something important will fall through the cracks. If you fail to respond to a potential partner or prospect in a timely fashion because there’s too much on your plate, you could be blowing a make-or-break opportunity.

Time management is one of the top challenges for every entrepreneur I know. After years of experience working with entrepreneurs and business owners, I have learned a few tricks for getting more done in the 24 hours we all have.

1. Know thyself. Everyone has a natural rhythm – some of us are morning people and some don’t become fully awake until after noon. Pinpoint your “up” times and use them for the most crucial business tasks – like meetings with investors, brainstorming sessions or putting together proposals. Feel your energy flagging? Use that time for tasks that don’t require as much brainpower, like checking email, updating your calendar or organizing your files.

2. Prioritize. The first step is to recognize you can’t do everything you want to do. Then you need to figure out what’s most important and work on that first. What’s most important is likely to vary from day to day, but in general, focus on the activities that generate the most money or have the potential to do so. That may mean concentrating on developing game-changing features or product improvements instead of day-to-day tasks. It may also mean responding to leads from bigger prospects or proposals from larger investors before smaller ones – or completing projects for bigger or more established clients before slower-paying or newer ones.

3. Harness technology. Make sure the tech tools in your life work together to simplify and streamline time management. Use cloud solutions to store your data and synchronize files and calendars so you’re not entering appointments in multiple devices or finding yourself without crucial files. Use online project management tools to keep you on top of what your team is doing at a glance. Regularly weed out apps you aren’t using or tools that aren’t working – sometimes, we get so enamored by what technology can do for us that we stop recognizing when it’s getting in our way.

4. Identify time-wasters and find solutions. Keep a log of your activity for a week or so. You may be surprised how much time you’re using inefficiently. Are you typing the same response to emails over and over? Create a template or shortcut to save time. Maybe you spend hours sorting receipts for accounting. Try an app that lets you quickly scan them and trash the paper.

5. Delegate. It’s hard to let go of your “baby,” and even if you’re willing to, at this stage you probably don’t have enough staff to delegate a lot. But if you’re lucky enough to have some employees, independent contractors, or even friends and family who will donate some of their time, sit down and assess what you could possibly offload to others. You’d be surprised how getting some grunt work off your plate can free up your creativity and energy to truly grow your business.

6. Get offline. I’m not advocating abandoning your email or leaving your smartphone at home, but even tech entrepreneurs recognize that the onslaught of input has to be shut off every now and then. Set aside blocks of time to focus on important projects. You’ll be surprised what an hour or two a day can do for your business.

[RWW]

May
25

Hack in the Box 2012 Amsterdam Video Overview

Author admin    Category Hacking, IT News, Security     Tags

We’re in Amsterdam attending the 2012 edition of the Hack in the Box security conference. It’s a great atmosphere down here so we decided to make a video overview of the event to show everyone what’s happening at the Okura hotel.

The day started with Andy Ellis, Akamai’s Chief Security Officer, who held a speech on “Getting ahead of the security poverty line.” He is a great speaker and he has provided some wonderful examples of what companies should and should not do to keep their infrastructure and assets secure.

Ivo Pooters, a senior digital forensics investigator at Fox-IT, had a great presentation on “Turning Android inside out.” It was based on a scenario in which they analyzed a couple of phones involved in a murder. One of them was owned by the victim, “the dead guy,” and the other one by the criminal, “swiftlogic dude.”

There were a lot of other great speakers, including Sebastien Renaud and Kevin Szkudlapski, Itzhak ‘zuk’ Avraham and Nir Goldshlager, Claudio Guarnieri, Didier Stevens, Juan Pablo Echtegoyen, Arnauld Mascret, Gal Diskin, Jurriaan Bremer, and Marinus Kuivenhoven.

The closing keynote was held by Rop Gonggrijp, the well known hacker and activist who’s on a mission to convince information security experts to help people stay secure.

We’ve also had a few interviews today. We’ve had the honor of talking to Adam Gowdiak, the founder and CEO of Security Explorations, Roberto Suggi Liverani, principal security consultant at Security-Assesments.com, and Georgia Weidman, founder of Bulb Security LLC.

As many of you may know, this edition of HITB Amsterdam features a world premiere. For the first time ever, the members of the Chronic Dev Team and the iPhone Dev Team got together to present their work.

We’ve had the chance to speak to three of them: Joshua Hill, aka @p0sixninja, Cyril, aka @pod2g, and Nikias Bassen, or @pimskeks. You’ll have a opportunity to see the complete interview in a few days from now, but in the meantime we’ll try to provide you with the highlights of our discussions.

For tomorrow, the Apple jailbreak Dream Team has a big surprise planned, so stay tuned.

Another thing worth mentioning, which you can see in the video bellow, is that Google has sent its recruiters in search for fresh talent. Considering that there are a lot of great minds present at the event, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve found what they are looking for.

In the meantime, check out the video overview of HITB 2012 Amsterdam and the speaker presentations:

[softpedia]

May
24

Kategori Aplikasi Mobile yang Menjadi Trend Saat ini

Author admin    Category IT News     Tags

Aplikasi mobile terdiri dari berbagai macam kategori, mulai dari aplikasi untuk kesehatan, fotografi, video, produktifitas, bisnis, hiburan musik, permainan dan lain sebagainya. Ribuan aplikasi mobile pun telah banyak mengisi kategori kategori tersebut di masing-masing toko aplikasi. Kadang bagi para pengembang aplikasi memilih kategori yang akan dibuat menjadi sesuatu yang cukup penting sekaligus sulit. Mulai dari menganalisa tren kebutuhan pasar, analisa kompetitor, dan lain sebagainya. Baru-baru ini Flurry mengeluarkan data yang cukup menarik mengenai kategori aplikasi mobile apa yang sedang naik daun di 6 bulan terakhir ini.

Data dari Flurry ini menunjukan bahwa ternyata aplikasi mobile dengan kategori Foto dan Video menjadi kategori yang aplikasi nya paling sering digunakan oleh pengguna smartphone dunia.

Grafik di atas menggambarkan bahwa aplikasi dengan kategori Foto dan Video, selama 6 bulan terakhir ini (Oktober 2011 – Maret 2012) menjadi kategori yang memiliki pertumbuhan pengguna aktif (dalam menit) yang paling pesat. Pertumbuhan selama 6 bulan tersebut berhasil mencapai angka 89%.

Hasil tersebut saya rasa cukup masuk akal jika kita melihat banyaknya aplikasi fotografi di smartphone yang sepertinya mulai menggeser fitur fotografi bawaan dari smartphone itu sendiri. Sebagai contoh adalah Instagram yang penggunanya sangat besar dan paling tidak di Indonesia sudah menjadi gaya hidup tersendiri. Bahkan saya sering menjumpai pengguna smartphone atau tablet yang pada saat akan mulai makan/minum, lebih memilih ritual memfoto makanan/minuman nya dan kemudian diunggah via instagram terlebih dahulu, ketimbang memulai menikmati santapannya dengan berdoa.

Jadi bagi para pengembang aplikasi mobile, data tren aplikasi mobile berdasarkan tingkat pertumbuhan aktivitas pengguna sangat layak di cari tahu dan dijadikan referensi dalam menentukan ide aplikasi mobile apa yang akan difokuskan lebih jauh lagi. Dan, berikut adalah data tambahan lainnya yang menunjukan rata-rata lamanya aktifitas pengguna aplikasi mobile perbulan dalam satuan menit.

[teknojurnal]

May
23

Visual Studio 11 Express Comes to All Microsoft Platforms

Author admin    Category IT News, Microsoft, Programming, Visual Studio     Tags

Microsoft is gearing up for the release of a new version of its Visual Studio tool, one that will include enhancements to make it fit for the development of applications for all Windows platforms.

The upcoming Visual Studio 11 will also include a new version of Visual Studio Express, which arrives with support for Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and for the Web, Microsoft announced.

The tool will offer developers the possibility to easily come up with applications for each of the platforms, courtesy of its included support for multiple languages, specific to them.

“For example, the Express edition for Windows 8 allows developers to use C#, Visual Basic, C++ and JavaScript. It also provides best-in-class tools for creating Metro style apps for Windows 8, including tools such as Blend, app profiling, unit testing and more,” Microsoft explains.

One of the important inclusions in this release is Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone, which will be delivered as soon as the next version of the mobile platform arrives.

Additionally, there will be Windows Azure tooling available when the platform receives the next update. In the meantime, Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone and Windows Azure SDK for .NET should provide devs with the necessary tools to create applications for these OSes.

“Finally, LightSwitch, which launched last year as an out-of-band release, is now officially part of the Visual Studio 11 core product family. LightSwitch features will be available through Visual Studio 11 Professional, Premium, and Ultimate editions,” Microsoft announced.

Visual Studio 11 arrives with important performance enhancements, yet the tool will come with the same hardware requirements as Visual Studio 2010 did before it. Developers will be able to move to it without having to purchase hardware upgrades for their computers.

“Visual Studio 11 leverages core capabilities that are only present in the latest versions of Windows. For this reason Visual Studio 11 requires Windows 7 or higher to run,” Microsoft states.

Apps built using Visual Studio 11 will target .NET Framework 4.5 and the VC11 toolset, which means that they will work on Windows Vista and higher. Developers will be able to build for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as well, via multi-targeting.

Managed developers can design applications to target .NET Framework 4 or the .NET Framework 4 Client Profile, which will make them compatible with the aforementioned platforms.

“Note that when you update your app to target .NET Framework 4, you can continue using the new Async features by installing the Async Targeting Pack for Visual Studio 11,” Microsoft explains.

C++ developers are also able to take advantage of multi-targeting in Visual Studio 11 to continue using the compilers and libraries that came with Visual Studio 2010 to deliver applications for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

However, they should keep in mind that multi-targeting for C++ applications requires a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010 at the moment.

“Separately, we are evaluating options for C++ that would enable developers to directly target XP without requiring a side-by-side installation of Visual Studio 2010 and intend to deliver this update post-RTM,” Microsoft concluded.

Visual Studio 11 Beta is currently available for MSDN subscribers. You can download Visual Studio 10 from Softpedia via this link.

[softpedia]

May
22

Microsoft’s New Social Network, So.cl: It’s Like Google+ for Wonks

Author admin    Category IT News, Microsoft     Tags

 

File this in the “we-try-it-out-so-you-don’t-have-to” category. So.cl is a derivative social network that may be useful to students, but it won’t fly elsewhere.

Over the weekend, Microsoft opened to the public an experimental social network called So.cl. It’s a mix between Google+ and Storify. Users are encouraged to search for information about a particular topic, then compile the best results – textual content, images and videos – into a single post. So.cl, which launched in beta at the end of last year, is initially targeted to students. It may end up being useful to that market, but it’s unlikely to get traction as a mainstream social network. Here’s why…

Microsoft is calling So.cl “an experiment in open search,” in that anything you search for on the network is viewable by other users and made available to third party developers. That description makes it sound like a direct competitor to Google+, which was Google’s attempt at combining search with social networking. It certainly has similarities, but So.cl is ultimately an academic tool moreso than a social one.

To get started, you can sign up using either your Facebook or Windows Live profile. Microsoft had little choice but to leverage Facebook’s social graph, given that hardly anyone uses Windows Live (Microsoft’s ID platform). Sure enough, Facebook gave me a good leg up into the So.cl network, enabling me to auto-follow over 50 people.

The Features

When it comes to using So.cl and finding value in it, the flaws become obvious. The Storify-like aggregation feature in So.cl is nifty, but everything else has been done before in hundreds of other social networks: posting, commenting, tagging, liking, sharing (two options: to Facebook or email!).

The attempts at innovation in So.cl seem forced. An option labeled “riffing” is supposed to be “a new way to interact and improvise with content” – but in reality, it simply means to re-share a post and optionally add your own comment or content.

It is nice that you can add extra content to a post and I can see this being useful in an educational setting; for example, a student in a science class adding more data to a thread about an astronomy topic. But this isn’t something people need or want in a mainstream social network. When it comes to re-sharing, all most people want to do on a social network is paste that inspirational quote or solar eclipse photo to their profile page – so their friends can see it too.

Another noteworthy feature in So.cl is something called “video parties.” This is basically a video playlist with a chat area – kind of like YouTube’s playlists. It’s probably the most innovative feature in So.cl, but that isn’t saying a lot. The reality is that Facebook or Google+ could easily replicate it, if they wanted to.

The Verdict

So.cl is a largely derivative product and there’s no way this is going to go mainstream. What slim chance it had to capture the imagination of a public that is already using Facebook (and may or may not be playing around with Google+), was dashed with the decision not to have a mobile component. As Robert Scoble rightly pointed out: “We’re in the post-PC world now. Why didn’t you start with just working on mobile? That would have been at least interesting.”

I can see why So.cl is PC focused, with its reliance on aggregation and multimedia elements like “video parties.” But that doesn’t change the fact that any social network launching in 2012 that isn’t mobile-based, is most likely doomed to fail if it wants to reach a mainstream audience.

So.cl comes from Microsoft’s FUSE research group and the resulting product shows its academic roots. It may become a useful tool for students, with its focus on aggregating topical content. But So.cl won’t get any traction outside the education sector. It’s too unoriginal and wonky.

[RWW]

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