Month: September 2008

Cross Platform Cloudware

For a while there has been a flurry of very proprietary application solution development platforms rolled out from salesforce (apex), intuit (quickbase), amazon (a few), google (appengine) and it was only a matter of time before people stopped talking about data portability and though once again about app portability.

It seems dreamfactory have started down that route and their stuff looks really sweet – I bet there are more out there too.

With so many opportunities for app platform providers to get it wrong (over charging, poor service levels, changing APIs, aggressive legal terms just to name a few) this trend is very very welcome.

Next I expect we will once again be talking about language and other standards in the cloud just like we did over the last 20 years with others e.g. C, C+, C++, SQL, Basic (various), Java, Javascript, XML for specific verticals … and so many more.

Everything old is new again.

The Appstore Appstore

With so many application stores popping up from zoho, apple,, valve and more – all with millions of users supposedly – it seemed time to build a definitive list. So here it is the app exchange for appexchanges or appstore for appstores or what ever you want to call it marketplace for marketplaces.

Tweet me at if you have more you would like to see added.

Malicious Markets (and nasty shorts)

It is nice to be able to say I told you so after the predicting the recent crash on Sept 5th.

Probably nicer now though is taking a step back and seeing others do the same – such as Germany’s Merkel who asked the US and UK to pull short selling a while ago – which they have just done. You could say they where quite short with one another

Lots of others have followed this short selling ban with limited impact though, in Australia it is just naked shorts that are banned (like a 70s beach side holiday), you can still work around it with borrowing.

And of course the Swiss have a decidedly unique way of communicating it too. Banning shorting and reminding people to play nice with no malicious rumours in the same announcement.

Had a bit of a chuckle at that one I must say.

Transliteration – the Babel fish is here

One of the more intriguing developments this year to hit the front line is the dynamic conversion of languages.

Imagine your local global mega bank sets up a discussion forum for small businesses (as Bank of America and others have successfully done). No long do they need to work on a long gradual roll out for each country.

Thanks to the new Google ‘Babel Fish’.

It is not actually called that, I suspect because other people hold the rights to that term (all credit to Douglas Adams for popularising it though).

The new Google AJAX APIs allow corporate web deveopers to provide dynamic language conversion in as little as 10 lines of code.

So if you have a blog with comments in a other languages they can be dynamically converted.

More on the Google Code site for the AJAX Language APIs

Club Penguin Day in the market – Had a (really) bad day

Health Warning: Bearish view follows.

Big reshuffle lately in the global power game of market caps. The persistent record volumes on the LSE and others are just the beginning but market value is headed south.

For global banks and tech stocks in particular it is really remarkable (see table). I hope investors can hold on to their smile for the duration of this blog while we look at an emerging group of analysis that looks at banks, financial technology firms and the leading exchanges (the latter are co-dependent on both of the former).

Only a year ago Disney paid something like $700m (snatched from under Sony’s nose) for the online kids massively parallel game called Club Penguin. Going from my kid’s passion for Club Penguin, I think the Daniel Powter song ‘Had a bad day‘ is one of their theme songs and the animated cartoon penguins sometimes dance to in the game. It was a good move in hindsight, they are looking like one of the few left standing making money (with 12m+ users).

Disney is now worth just a tad more than Morgan Stanley and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

Well today was one of those really bad days for the market and it is hard not to argue this week is another turning point to show just how bad things are going to get.

Table courtesy of google finance portfolios…check the % fall just for today (remember this is after an already pretty bad few months) and the latest market caps on the right hand side.

I have been saying for nearly a year now that this is going to get really ugly and we could be in for the same sort of mess our parents and grandparents saw in 1929 and today’s falls add more fuel to the fire. This time I think the slide will be long and slow, call it a boiling frog market, and the investors are the ones who will pay.

We are mainly cash right now and just taking exceptional opportunities, will be interesting to see if that pays or hurts. Meanwhile the pressure keeps building to the downside for example here down under in AU we just managed a huge national deficit after seemingly unending surpluses (digging stuff out of the ground is easy money or so we thought) and have had a complete government change in our biggest state mainly due to power and the economy not to mention 66% of the state in drought.

This is just the beginning, find a safe bank now (if there are any left).