Let the games begin ..

Let the games begin! Welcome to our city for the greatest show on earth

See here for good virtual tour(via the Guardian)

We welcome everyone – including Mitt Romney :)  Certainly making an impression here – for all the wrong reasons ..

In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10, he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games. One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”

David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Boris Johnson, the London mayor, joined in the jibes at a celebration to greet the Olympic torch in Hyde Park. “I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready,” Johnson yelled from the stage to a cheering crowd.

“He wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are.”

I think we will have a great show in a great city!

Policy news update – June 2012



Original source: Policy Bloggers Network

As usual, we start this month’s coverage of policy developments with Innovation and disruption – of which there is always plenty in the Digital Policy space.


Disruption and Innovation


It has been a great month for women in top positions in the Tech space – starting with Marissa Mayer, 37, the new CEO of Yahoo – who is also pregnant ( What Marissa Mayer Means for Silicon Valley Women) but also to the appointment of Dr Anita Prabhakar to the head of DARPA(

DARPA Gets a New Top Geek) and also Ellen Siminoff as Zynga’s first female board member (

Zynga Appoints First Female Board Member Ellen Siminoff).

Another demographic is in the USA  For the first time, half of adults ages 65 and older are online.

Businesses continue to be disrupted by the Internet. For instance the Printer business ( What’s Killing the Printer Business?) and also earlier era thought leaders such as Sony ( ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Sony). But innovation continues to sprout in unexpected places. For example – in prisons ( From Inmates to Entrepreneurs: The San Quentin Startup Accelerator) and also Africa gets its first and long overdue accelerator(Heart of Smartness: A Tech Accelerator for Africa)

Media and content also sees some major disruption.  Mass digitization of libraries (Southampton University library: the resource revolution will be digitised) – Kickstarter becomes fourth biggest publisher of graphic novels and European Commission backs calls for open access to scientific research with the assertion from Neelie Kroes that “Taxpayers should not have to pay twice for scientific research and they need seamless access to raw data”

One of the most important developments I am tracking is the proposed Amazon phone. There is some talk of the Amazon phone with What Amazon Brings to the Smartphone Market and The Amazon phone: What could it mean for app development?

Finally two very significant developments which could have sweeping impacts: How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry and also In Age of Twitter, NBC Rewrites Olympic Playbook i.e. NBC has now replaced the old formula of keeping big events under wraps until its prime-time evening broadcast. Instead, every Olympic event will be available live online for cable and satellite subscribers. This is significant because the sponsors have paid billions of dollars for the ‘prime time slots’.  NBC has called the Olympics its “billion-dollar lab

Internet governance

Internet Governance starts on a concerning note from Russia ‘not with love’ i.e. the Kremlin internet bill ‘signals growing repression of critics by Putin’. The FCC Chief Criticizes Russia for Passing Internet Censorship Bill. Meanwhile, the Anti-SOPA veterans issue declaration of Internet freedom and we see The Rise of the Internet Defense League



There are some interesting claims on the ‘value’ of personal data such as each user is worth $4 to Facebook and $24 to Google (Personal Data – Is It Truly An Asset?). A Truste survey finds predictably that [Infographic] Survey: Consumers Are Concerned About Privacy, Tracking, Advertising

Even as youTube offers one-click anonymity (One-Click Anonymity: YouTube Offers Automatic Face-Blurring) – Google’s Safari cookie evasion may cost it $22.5M, the FTC’s largest fine ever

Finally, Cisco’s backdown from the Linksys – Cloud connect saga offers many lessons – i.e. people read the small print! Cisco backs down from Connect Cloud after Linksys router complaints – Cisco Systems has taken a step back from its Cisco Connect Cloud service, removing it as the default setting for management of its Linksys EA Series Wi-Fi routers after a firestorm of complaints from customers about automatic firmware updates and the service’s terms of service.. The language included implications that Cisco wanted to monitor many application level elements at a network level such as Internet history(Cisco Backpedals From Creepy Privacy Position on Linksys Upgrade)

Telecoms and Mobile


Fears of mobile phone meltdown during Olympics starts our coverage of mobility and telecoms. Mobile continues to grow – (On the move: Mobile gamers now outnumber PC players in China) and the feature phones are not dead with both Twitter and Google going after that market (Twitter goes after feature phone market with native Nokia app and Google Launches Free SMS Service for Gmail Users in Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa) .

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale – the Nexus range continues to make inroads (Why Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet Is Hotter Than Apple’s iPad). And the carriers continue to do well with new data plans in the USA (Shared Mobile Data Plans: Who Benefits?) with even a change in heart (How AT&T & Verizon Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Data Hogs). As an exception, there appears to be a carrier who thinks that International roaming rates are too high (Here’s Something Novel: A Carrier That Thinks International Roaming Fees Are Too High)

Finally, I loved this blog post(RWW Recommends: The Best Mobile Payments App) – more for the analysis i.e. to identify the major mobile payment apps-  the various tiers of mobile payments can be broken into two high-level groups: 1. The ability to buy digital goods with your mobile device. Fundamentally no different than buying  2. The ability to buy physical goods with your mobile device. Then there are the different ways to perform mobile transactions: Carrier Billing,  Near Field Communications (NFC)QR Codes/Code ScannersMobile Card Readers, Stored Payment InformationMobile Wallets . Followed by : Given all of the above, we applied the following criteria to determine our recommendation for the Best Mobile Payments App:Must be able to purchase physical goods – Must have a mobile wallet component Must be as ubiquitous as possible – supporting, at the very least, Android and Apple’s iOS – Must have the potential to fundamentally change how payments are made. 

Not surprisingly, Square leads the pack.


Media and Content

After being initially slow, like the rest of the world, Japan finally embraces e-reader revolution. Meanwhile in Poland, following the Slovenian and Slovakian example – Forty-two Polish news sites push Piano’s ‘pay’ switch as paidContent speculated last month. Spotify completes a momentous new year – Spotify 1 Year Later: Music Distribution Gropes Toward the Digital Future

There is an interesting analysis about Instagram and the future of media – What the Instagram backlash says about the future of media and Europe sues to continue taxing digital content higher than physical

Finally, far from being ‘Open’, APIs are now seen as a double edged sword when building on another company’s API (Don’t use that open API — it could be a trap!) – something which Zynga found out with a $22.8M Q2 loss which it blames on Facebook API changes(  Zynga blames $22.8M Q2 losses on Facebook, pins rebound hopes on mobile)


Copyrights, Standards, Patents and IPR

FRAND is making some interesting headlines. Expect more of this. (FRAND hallucination? HTC raises FRAND defense against non-FRAND Nokia patents).

An EU wide patent system seems to be near (Agreement on Central Court Paves Way for Unitary EU Patent System)

MIT Economist: Here’s How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia: Using a little-known copyright rule and a trove of baseball-related trivia, an MIT economist figured out how current copyright laws specifically affect one online community.  His report is clear: Copyright law affects to some degree what information makes its way onto Wikipedia, but what it more strongly affects is how we use that information once it’s there. In other words, digitizing any knowledge increases an article’s text, but only digitizing public domain images makes articles more frequently updated and visited.

Finally,  Pink Floyd and Radiohead blast new copyright collection plan – partly their accusations relate to rules that allow the societies to hold on to royalties for years at a time.




Big Data and healthcare provide big opportunities for better medicine – Better medicine, brought to you by big data

India refuses to hike cancer drug price – Stands up to White House’s strong-arm tactics against manufacturers of generic equivalent


The Web


Why HTML5 will succeed for gaming –  Most people in the tech space already believe that HTML5 will replace flash when it comes to online video and UI. What’s more of a toss-up is whether it will replace Flash when it comes to online gaming …


Noteworthy ..


Is the problem that there are no qualified people? Or is the problem with the qualifications themselves? -  Overfocus on tech skills could exclude the best candidates for jobs


Kaspersky Lab Celebrates 15 Years With Win Against Patent Troll

Many thanks

Kind rgds


Image source BBC/London Olympics

My start-up – Concepts of programming languages for kids – 10000 LIKEs in one month

My start-up venture -  Concepts of programming languages for kids – 10000 LIKEs in one month!

Thanks for your support!

Please see http://www.facebook.com/ConceptsOfProgrammingLanguagesForKids and LIKE our page to stay in touch. 



CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES for kids is the first attempt to teach kids the concepts of programming languages – (as opposed to a single programming language) ..


to make a difference ..

-- Para português ver abaixo
– Malugod naming binabati ang mga bisita mula sa Pilipinas! (Thanks to our friend Maria Viado for the Tagalog translation)
– Ein herzliches Willkommen an Besucher aus Deutschland. Deutscher Text siehe unten


CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES for kids is the first attempt to teach kids the concepts of programming languages – (as opposed to a single programming language) ..

It started off as a hobby with me teaching programming languages to my son Aditya (now 8 years old) – until the techniques we were using were accepted as a paper by a major educational journal.

Khan Academy was always an inspiration for us and Aditya wanted to build ‘our own version of Khan academy for JavaScript’ (in his words!)

So, this page, book and videos are an attempt to create a discussion around these ideas and we value your feedback

Some say that “Programming is the new latin ..” – But we risk making the same mistakes ..

We risk teaching children merely ‘how to program’ instead of teaching kids how to think. And the two are not the same. To paraphrase Richard Feynman: we risk knowing the ‘name of the bird’ in many languages but risk understanding the bird itself ..

Concepts of programming languages is a set of techniques that teaches kids how to focus on the thought process behind programming languages .. i.e. to think ..

The cover image is from NASA because I once heard a NASA scientist say that space is one of the few things that unites humanity .. and I thought so does computer programming ..

Hence we chose the image of space for our venture – concepts of programming languages for kids ..

The profile picture is of Richard Feynman – one of the greatest teachers – and we are inspired by Feynman’s quote “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what its doing– that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” — Richard Feynman – same is the case with programming languages ..

The ideas behind concepts of programming languages for kids were published as a paper in the May 2012 edition of one of the worlds leading educational journals Education technology publications  - (Educational Technology Magazine is the world’s leading periodical publication covering the entire field of educational technology, an area pioneered by the magazine’s editors in the early 1960s. Read by leaders in more than one hundred countries, the magazine has been at the forefront of every important new trend in the development of the field throughout the past five decades. Its list of published authors is a virtual “who’s who” of the leading personalities and authorities from all over the world active in educational technology research, development, and application.)

A portion of all income from Concepts of programming languages for kids will go to Autism charities

See the blog link here as we develop the ideas.

We are pleased to get support from many amazing people over the brief time we launched it – Here are a few who have LIKED the page and the ideas

- Peter Vesterbacka – creator of Rovio(Angry birds) aka Mighty Eagle
- Raimo Van der Klein(creator of the world’s first augmented reality application – Layar)
- Prof Dr Walter Hoogland ex Director of research for CERN
- Jose Valles – Telefonica/BlueVia
and we hope many more!

you can also download
a) the presentation which gives the outline and table of contents and other details through this link. we welcome your comments – we will continue to share content as downloads – videos – and I hope to create a downloads section soon to capture all content in one placehttp://www.opengardensblog.futuretext.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/concepts-of-programming-languages-June-7.pdf
b) An introduction to algorithms -http://www.opengardensblog.futuretext.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Concepts-of-programming-languages-for-kids-algorithms.pdf

email to contact ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com (remove the spaces around the ‘at’ and replace the at by ‘@’)

Coming soon in July/Aug – Downloads, Web site, Videos and pilot site for learning. Stay in touch!

Created by Ajit Jaokar and Aditya Jaokar – London UK

— Português – Graças a Priscila Grison para a tradução! —-

CONCEITOS DE PROGRAMAÇÃO PARA CRIANÇAS é uma primeira tentativa de ensinar a crianças linguagens de programação (ao invés de ensinar uma única linguagem).

O projeto começou como um hobby, quando eu tentava ensinar programação ao meu filho Aditya (agora com oito anos) – até que as técnicas que estávamos usando foram aceitas como paper por uma das principais publicações sobre educação.

Khan Academy sempre foi uma inspiração para nós e Aditya queria construir sua própria versão do Khan Academy para JavaScript´ (em suas próprias palavras!)

Então, essa página, livro e vídeos são uma tentativa de criar uma discussão sobre estas idéias e gostaríamos de ter seu feedback.

Alguns podem dizer “Programação é o novo latim”. Possível, mas arriscamos cometer os mesmos erros.

Arriscamos ensinar as crianças simplesmente a programar, ao invés de ensinar as crianças a pensar. E as duas não são iguais. Parafraseando Richard Feynman: podemos saber “o nome do pássaro” em várias línguas, mas arriscamos não entender o pássaro em si.

Conceitos de linguagens de programação é um conjunto de técnicas que ensina crianças a focar no processo de pensamento por trás das linguagens de programação. Ou seja, a pensar.

A capa é uma imagem da NASA pois uma vez ouvi um cientista da NASA dizer que o espaço é uma das poucas coisas que une a humanidade. E pensei: assim é com programação.

Por isso escolhemos a imagem do espaço para este empreendimento: ensinar conceitos de programação para crianças.

A foto do perfil é de Richard Feynman – um dos melhores professores – e fomos inspirados por uma frase dele: “ Você pode saber o nome de um pássaro em todas as línguas do mundo, mas quando terminar, você ainda não saberá nada sobre o pássaro. Por isso, vamos olhar para o pássaro e ver o que ele está fazendo – isso é o que conta. Aprendi muito cedo a diferença entre saber o nome de algo e saber algo”.

As idéias por trás do livro foram primeiro publicadas em um artigo em Maio de 2012, em uma das principais publicações sobre tecnologias e educação: a Educational Technology Magazine

É a principal publicação periódica cobrindo tecnologia educacional, uma área que teve como pioneiros os editores da revista na década de 60. Lida por líderes em mais de 100 países, a revista está na vanguarda de todas as principais tendências no desenvolvimento desta área nas últimas cinco décadas. A lista de autores é um “quem é quem” virtual das principais personalidades e autoridades de todo o mundo ativas no campo de tecnologias educacionais em pesquisa, desenvolvimento e aplicação.

Uma parte da renda de Conceitos de programação para crianças será revertida para organizações relacionadas ao autismo.

Veja o link para o blog aqui conforme desenvolvemos as idéias.

Estamos orgulhosos de receber o suporte de pessoas maravilhosas em um curto período de tempo desde que lançamos o projeto. Aqui estão algumas pessoas que Curtiram nossa página e idéias:

- Peter Vesterbacka – criador da Rovio(Angry birds) aka Mighty Eagle
- Raimo Van der Klein (criador do primeiro aplicativo de realidade aumentada – Layar)
- Prof Dr Walter Hoogland ex Director de Pesquisa do CERN
- Jose Valles – Telefonica/BlueVia
e esperamos vários outros!

Você também pode baixar a apresentação que dá uma visão geral e também o índice e outros detalhes.

Gostaríamos de receber seus comentários – vamos continuar compartilhando conteúdos para download – vídeos – espero criar uma sessão de downloads que capturem todos os conteúdos em apenas um lugar:

An introduction to algorithms:http://www.opengardensblog.futuretext.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Concepts-of-programming-languages-for-kids-algorithms.pdf

— Deutsch Vielen Dank an Sabine Irrgang für die Übersetzung —

Lehrkonzepte für Programmiersprachen für Kinder ist der erste Versuch, Kindern Konzepte der Programmiersprachen beizubringen – (im Gegensatz zu einzelnen Programmiersprachen)

Es begann mit mein Hobby, meinem Sohn Aditya (heute 8 Jahre alt) Programmiersprachen beizubringen. Bis die Methode, die wir nutzten, als Artikel bei einem wichtigen Bildungsmagazin erschien.

Die Khan Academy war immer eine Inspiration für uns und Aditya wollte „unsere eigene Version der Khan Academy für JavaScript“ bauen (seine Worte!)
So sind diese Seite, das Buch und die Videos der Versuch, eine Diskussion rund um diese Themen zu schaffen und wir freuen uns über Ihr Feedback.

Manche sagen, dass Programmieren das neue Latein sein – Aber wir laufen Gefahr, die gleichen Fehler zu machen…

Wir riskieren es, den Kindern nur beizubringen „wie man programmiert“ anstelle ihnen das „Wie“ des Denkens beizubringen. Und dies sind zwei verschiedene Dinge. Um Richard Feynman zu zitieren: wir laufen Gefahr, den Namen des Vogels in vielen Sprachen zu kennen, nicht jedoch den Vogel selbst zu verstehen.

Lehrkonzepte für Programmiersprachen ist ein Methodenkatalog, der Kindern beibringt sich auf den Denkprozess hinter den Programmiersprachen zu fokussieren … d.h. zu denken…

Das Coverbild ist von der NASA, da ich einmal einen NASA Wissenschaftler sagen hörte, dass der Weltraum eines der wenigen Dinge ist, das die Menschheit vereint – und ich dachte mir, dass dies auch für Computerprogrammierung gilt.

So wählten wir das Bild des Weltraums für unser Projekt „Lehrkonzepte für Programmiersprachen für Kinder“

Das Profilbild zeigt Richard Feynman – einen der größten Lehrer überhaupt – und wir wurden inspiriert von Feynmanns Worten „Du kannst den Namen des Vogels in allen Sprachen der Welt kennen, aber letztendlich wirst du absolut nichts über den Vogel wissen… Lass uns deshalb den Vogel anschauen und sehen was er macht… Das ist es was zählt. Ich lernte sehr früh den Unterschied zwischen den Namen einer Sache kennen und die Sache kennen.“ – Richard Feynmann – das Gleiche gilt für Programmiersprachen.

Die Ideen hinter den Lehrkonzepten für Programmiersprachen für Kinder erschien als Artikel im Educational Technology Magazine in der Ausgabe von Mai 2012. Dies ist das führende pädagogische Magazin im Bereich Lehrmethoden und deckt das gesamte Feld der Lehrmethoden ab – der Herausgeber des Magazins war in den frühen 1960er Jahren ein Vorreiter auf diesem Gebiet.
Ein Teil der Einnahmen aus den Lehrkonzepten für Programmiersprachen für Kinder wird an Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen im Bereich Autismus gehen.
Lesen Sie in unserem Blog die Entwicklung der Ideen.

Wir freuen uns sehr, dass wir bereits innerhalb kurzer Zeit nach dem Start der Idee die Unterstützung von vielen fantastischen Menschen bekommen. Hier ein paar Beispiele derer, denen die Idee gefällt:
- Peter Vesterbacka – creator of Rovio(Angry birds) aka Mighty Eagle – Gründer von Rovio (Angry Birds) aka Mighty Eagle
- Raimo Van der Klein(creator of the world’s first augmented reality application – Layar) – der die weltweit erste Augmented Reality Applikation erfunden hat – Layar
- Prof Dr Walter Hoogland ex Director of research for CERN – ehemaliger Direktor bei CERN
- Jose Valles – Telefonica/BlueVia
Und hoffentlich noch viele mehr.

Sie können über diesen Link folgendes herunterladen:
a) Die Präsentation, die einen Überblick, eine Liste der Inhalte und andere Details gibt. Ihre Kommentare sind herzlich willkommen. Wir werden weiterhin Informationen als Download zur Verfügung stellen – auch Videos. Ich möchte bald einen Download-Bereich schaffen, um alle Inhalte an einem Platz zu haben. http://www.opengardensblog.futuretext.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/concepts-of-programming-languages-June-7.pdf

b) An introduction to algorithms – Eine Einführung in Algorithmen
Mehr Downloads in Kürze

email Kontakt ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com (entfernen Sie die Leerzeichen vor und nach dem at und ersetzen Sie das at durch @)

Created by Ajit Jaokar and Aditya Jaokar – London UK

Orange San Diego – If Intel inside really mean ‘fast’ – then you would blame Intel if your PC was slow ..


I saw this advertisement about Orange San Diego in many places – most recently yesterday at the London Underground.

There is a problem in the logic of this ad ..

Intel does not necessarily equate to ‘fast’ in the minds of customers.

The operative phrase being ‘In the minds of customers’

If you doubt this – think about it in another way

If your PC is slow, do you blame Intel? (since in a majority of cases, PCs have ‘Intel inside’)

Most people would not.

If anything, they attribute fast or slow to other factors – (ex Operating system, application, memory etc) but not the processor -the exception being graphics applications and savvy gamers.

But in the minds of the general public Intel and fast are not directly connected ..

If NoSQL databases are for Big Data – can we say SQL databases are for small data?

If NoSQL databases are for Big Data – can we say SQL databases are for small data? :)

Image source: http://www.pentaho.com/images/2011/nosql.png



How about opening up the Page rank algorithm?


Google Says Some Apple Inventions Are So Great They Ought to Be Shared - but How about opening up the Page rank algorithm? :)

One comment in the post says it all: this is soviet-style: what’s mine is mine (Google’s) and what is yours is negotiable. #fail.


In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote:

While collaborative [Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs)] play an important part in the overall standard setting system, and are particularly prominent in industries such as telecommunications, they are not the only source of standards. Indeed, many of the same interoperability benefits that the FTC and others have touted in the SSO context also occur when one firm publishes information about an otherwise proprietary standard and other firms then independently decide (whether by choice or of necessity) to make complementary investments to support that standard in their products. … Because proprietary or de facto standards can have just as important effects on consumer welfare, the Committee’s concern regarding the abuse of SEPs should encompass them as well.

Mr Locale – Cloud based translations


Mr. Locale is a cloud based translation service, created by Lost in Translations Inc.  to solve the problem of localization of content.

Some background:

According to Mr. Locale, it is not a translation service, but a service to manage language versions.   Mr Locale manages and maintains language versions centrally e.g. without the need to distribute files back and forth with translators. The service currently launched its Beta phase with selected customers. Mutual Seed Fund, part of the Grow VC Group and officially published later this year, is a seed investor in Lost in Translations Inc. and the company is also in the Grow VC Group’s global business development program. Recently, Lost in Translations acquired a Chinese online language learning service. Developed over several years, “Teach me Language” is all about learning and maintaining language skills – not just Chinese but English (for Chinese speakers) as well. You can learn by seeing, hearing and doing – and the service will cover other languages as well in future.

On site widget:

A unique on-site widget is one of the most interesting features of the site. The widget allows you to translate or make corrections on top of your web service or app. This means seeing the real context, which helps translators tremendously. It also makes immediate, on-site corrections possible. I asked Mika Jordman – co-founder and CEO – as to what is the significance of the widget and based on the discussion: The widget functionality means that the user logs in to Mr. Locale and goes to her webpage. Then she highlights the text she wants to translate/edit (see image). The Widget will automatically show up and she can do translation/edit on top of her content e.g. she sees the context while translating/editing (he/she has uploaded his data to service). After saving the result, translated/edited text will automatically be saved in database for future use. This will help translators tremendously as they can see the context where the translation will be (this has been one of the biggest problems among our customers – not seeing the context). Widget helps also to do small editing/corrections without going too deep into ones code.

This is indeed interesting. I also see other applications for this functionality (maybe a follow on blog)



The Intersection of APIs and Commerce as we know it – guest post by Drew Bartkiewicz @APInomic

A guest post from Drew Bartkiewicz – about why retailers need to change their thinking and be like Amazon i.e. distribute their ‘buy buttons’

It’s hard to believe, but not too long ago we lived the catalog years. Radio Shack, J.Crew, Avon, and Izod, each crafted their own retail bible, every season, every year, all in an attempt to distribute their products to as many buyers as possible. The Internet exposed flaws in this model: it’s high cost, low impact, and a detriment to the environment. The average catalog was looked at for 11 minutes, left in stacks on the kitchen counter, and dumped into the trash often within the same month. The catalog business is dying a slow death, thanks to email, search and other Internet marketing innovations that we now consider “boring.”

Commerce is about to undergo another upheaval as it moves to a distributed system via mobile phones and social apps, all powered by billions of application programming interfaces (APIs) — the means by which retailers will transformed from commerce web sites of products to dynamic, product data platforms, changing form based on device, context, and purpose. For the consumer, the distributed commerce world of “buying apps” offers unparalleled shopping power: buy it now, later, here, there, anywhere your heart desires, always at a price compared immediately to others. Powered by open data and almost unlimited apps, consumers now get the e-commerce of me.

To benefit from this new era, however, retailers need to change their thinking. They need to open up digital catalogs and distribute their “buy buttons” to as many digital points of sale as possible, to as many partners as possible, at the lowest cost possible, and think like a platform. It’s time retailers emulate Amazon. Amazon is not a commerce powerhouse just because of supply chain mastery (though that is formidable) but because it is a massive data and commerce platform that is agile, partner friendly, and has a technology layer for data that is device proof. What powers these agile commerce possibilities of Amazon is a little known technology called APIs. They are the logic between the many gears of Amazon retail, merchant services, cloud, and even Amazon Video. They don’t think like a platform, they are one. They distribute everything and behind everything is a wide array of APIs to deliver product, price, and Web services to any channel they wish.

This is a shift that has to happen because consumers have already made the shift, and retailers with closed strategies are going to be left in the dust. We now browse for products more on a handheld device than we do on a Web browser, according to research conducted by www.apinomic.com.

Many retailers are already adapting to this changed environment. The API directory ProgrammableWeb cites more than 227 retail and shopping related APIs in its most recent index, up more than double from a year ago. Best Buy, as an example, distributes its commerce via API’s for points redemption, affiliate partnerships, in-store apps, and over 1,000 signed developers continuing to innovate on their behalf. ASOS, the leading fashion retailer in the UK, distributes its commerce by opening its approximately 50,000 item seasonal catalog to the world via their product APIs, supporting localized ASOS apps from Australia to the US to Germany. ASOS plans to distribute its commerce prowess to international developers (and therefore customers) with personalized APIs to maximize in session purchases, empowering customers with ratings, promotions, buying options, and availability. The agile part happens next. That same ASOS API platform can be used for extending the ASOS buy button when the customer is on the move, at a fashion event, on the train, or even at a different branded storefront powered by the ASOS product APIs behind the scene.

The future of e-commerce will be driven by APIs at grand scale. Those retailers that can aggregate, distribute, and sell anything at efficient levels across these multiple digital channels will win. Those that do not think like a platform (and use distributed APIs to do it) may very well be the next Borders, Circuit City, or Bradlees. Distribute or die. Manage commerce. Welcome to the API era.

Drew Bartkiewicz, API Strategy and Design, Apinomic
Follow him on Twitter at @apinomic

Big Data for Smart Cities conference

Earlier this year, we created a conference called Apps for Smart cities under the the World Smart Capital program (I am on the advisory board of the World Smart Capital program along with some very clued on folk)

We have been thinking about how we can evolve the Apps for Smart Cities conference and here is my current thinking – which reflects the direction we will take

We started apps for Smart cities thinking of mobility, Open data and sensors which will increasingly capture much of our data. This data is an enabler to new services. If you combine the data generated from cities and add a social layer on top of it enabled by mobile and sensor networks), the resultant data provides a richer dataset.

This gives an opportunity for Big Data like services (i.e. the analytics on this rich dataset)

Thus, the Big Data for Smart cities conference would focus on the analytics implications for Smart cities especially in the creation of new services based on this data and in empowering citizens

In How data could save cities from outgrowing themselves  Gigaom gives some examples: reducing gridlock to predicting crime to having its Watson system acting as mayor (of sorts) of a city. At our Structure: Data conference this year, we looked at big data applications ranging from monitoring your own emissions to solving cancer via genome analysis to providing loans to individuals with low credit scores.
See also a video below from Richard Florida on the evolution of cities and significance of Data

More on the conference Big Data for Smart cities soon

Digital policy update June 2012


I publish a monthly newsletter on my other site: Policy Bloggers Network. This newsletter is for a Policy audience focusing on Digital Policy. I republish it below since it captures many of the trends I have been tracking

In many parts of the world, we see economic turmoil. This is reflected in the many disruptive announcements we are seeing this month. In addition, some other topics like e-books, Twitter and Internet freedom feature strongly this month

Let us start with disruptive trends



Many companies and domains are seeing major disruption – especially due to Internet and Mobility

Mobile devices: In the wake of RIM and Nokia’s woes, LG says - LG: ‘To not do phones would make us slow’  - Square Hires CFO as It Revs Up for International Expansion

 Education is changing with flip education(http://www.economist.com/node/21529062). 3D printing continues to disrupt ( How 3D printing is revolutionising guitar-making)

Retail: IBM launches augmented reality for grocery stores(IBM launches augmented reality app for grocery stores  -) .  Sainsbury’s mobile website drives 20% growth in online   and Tesco enters the music streaming business  Content with your groceries?: Tesco buys music streamer We7)   and Sainsbury’s enters ebook market

Gaming: Zynga tries to become a platform ( Zynga unleashes API, gaming social network) and EA is seen to be ‘behind the curve’ – (Behind the Curve: EA Finally Making Mobile Games Free This Year ) and Mobile (and not consoles) is seen as the future of gaming ( Move over, consoles — mobile is the future: ) .

Microsoft: Microsoft’s monopoly is questioned – (What Happened to the Microsoft Monopoly? )And at the same time, Microsoft’s business is changing fundamentally with the launch of the Surface – (Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Where Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet Fits in PC Ecosystem )

Garmin failed to see the threat of mobile (How Garmin Failed to See the iPhone Threat ) – Apple may disrupt the credit card businessApple’s Opportunity: Disrupt the Credit Card Business ) -

APIs are changing the face of TV( It is Time to Hack the Future of TV).   How Starbucks is turning itself into a tech company.   How Social Media Will Save – Not Kill – the Television Ad. Can Facebook change the search paradigm?:  How ProPublica changed investigative reporting


The Internet and Internet activism

Internet activism has been in the news in more ways than one:

The founder of Wikipedia has thrown his support behind Richard O’Dwyer,

How technology lowers transaction costs for everyone

The internet’s two-sided freedom | Charles Arthur -  We can no longer ignore the many people who use the anonymity of the web to harass, bully, or insult others

One girl’s school dinners campaign is enough to give us all hope | Rowenna Davis

South Africa’s ‘secrecy bill’ attracts international condemnation

Internet trolls targeted in new bill to tackle defamation online – Websites will get greater protection from being sued if they help identify people posting defamatory messages under new plans

Why London’s Police Just Set a Horrifying Precedent on Mobile Privacy

The United Nations Could Seize the Internet, U.S. Officials Warn

Want Skype on your mobile phone? Swedes will have to pay

Hate SOPA (or love it)? Here’s a chance to have a voice in IP law

UK says three strikes is coming, but not until 2014

Should Google and Amazon be allowed to control domains? : Google wants .blog and Amazon wants .book

Net neutrality could be a victim under an ITU Internet takeover:  The key sentence in that proposal is “Nothing shall preclude commercial agreements with differentiated quality of service delivery to develop.”


Media and content

While Report says movie biz is still growing 3% a year - For media and content – the rejection of ACTA by the EU is the major news(European trade committee votes to reject piracy treaty )

Pirate Bay Founders File Appeals With Human Rights Court

‘Patent trolls’ cost tech companies $29 billion last year, study says

Fastest growing segment of piracy? Live TV

Illegal Downloading – BT finally blocks Pirate Bay from their Customers

Google moves to snuff sites that rip music from YouTube videos


Social media

This month,

Facebook Shifts Its Approach to Payments  and Facebook app store launches

Nike becomes first UK company to have Twitter campaign banned - Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere tweets broke rules for not clearly stating they were adverts

Teaching with Twitter: how the social network can contribute to learning

Measuring An Employee’s Worth? Consider Influence

In Social Networks, Not All Opinion Leaders Are Created Equal: Discussion Leaders and Knowledge Leaders are the new class of social media leaders

How Google+ Has Morphed Over The Past Year & What We Can Expect in 2013

While Circles may not have worked as well, Google+ is developing into a good Interest Graph, a social Glue across Google products including Android  and could be less of a standalone social network and even more about supporting YouTube, Google search et al.

Out Of Nowhere, TripAdvisor Becomes One of Facebook’s Biggest Apps

Why Crowdfunding is Today’s Goldrush

Facebook should be worried about Wooga’s HTML5 exit: The problem is, it’s not really in the interests of either Google or Apple to have mobile HTML5 apps – certainly performance-hungry money factories such as games – work as well as native apps.

Two comscore reports talk of the potential of social marketing:  (PDF download available here) and  simply build up a large fan base

The (Not So Sad) Decline of FarmVille & Zynga’s Other Villes : Users are tired of throwing sheep 

Q: Why Does Microsoft Need Yammer? A: To Save SharePoint

Why Crowdfunding is Today’s Goldrush

Telecoms and networks

Verizon Overhauls Its Rate Plans, Focusing on Shared Data : In a major shakeup to how it handles its billing, Verizon Wireless plans to start charging customers almost exclusively based on how much data they are using, rather than on the amount of phone calls or text messages sent.

Vodafone takes controlling stake in mobile commerce firm

Nokia launches Asha series of touchscreen feature phones :  Nokia has launched the Asha series of advanced feature phones with touchscreens offering a “smartphone-like” experience.

T-Mobile may be sunsetting 2G, but its M2M biz keeps growing

Report: Tablets now drive more ecommerce traffic than smartphones

Vodafone sends theft victim an £8,000 mobile bill

Bouygues launches free Wi-Fi to challenge Free Mobile

Wi-Fi Alliance begins certifying Passpoint devices: Passpoint/Hotspot 2.0 is the first step of many that will eventually integrate Wi-Fi hotspots seamlessly into the carrier’s mobile networks.

Net neutrality could be a victim under an ITU Internet takeover:  The key sentence in that proposal is “Nothing shall preclude commercial agreements with differentiated quality of service delivery to develop.”



Twitter is in the news for more than one reasons: firstly due to its expanded tweets but also due to the tightening up of its community which is not seen as favourable by the developer community

One Bird to Rule Them All: Twitter Tweaks Its Branding Strategy

In Closing Its Platform, Twitter Risks Destroying Its Community

Twitter Gets Stricter, Parts Ways With LinkedIn

Twitter Partners With New York Times, WWE, BuzzFeed, And DailyMotion For Expanded Tweets

Careful, Twitter — remember what happened to MySpace and Digg


Ebooks and e-publishing

We are seeing a lot of discussion around E-readers and digital publishing

From Africa:  An E-Reader Revolution for Africa?

Canada: Wattpad Takes Quick $17.3M for Thriving E-Book Community

Flying off the eBook shelf - Readers are voting with their wallets: The eBook is winning.

How to become an ebook superstar – categories with big online communities dominate  – fantasy, erotica, chick-lit, horror and crime thrillers.

Simon & Schuster is adding QR codes to all its print books. Will readers bite?

Why the NYT-Flipboard deal is a smart move:  For the first time, subscribers will be able to access Times content via something other than the NYT’s own site or apps. It may not be a huge revenue generator (at least not in the short term), but it is still an encouraging sign of a traditional media player trying to adapt to a new model.

Ebook Bestsellers Breakdown: Self-published romance climbs the lists

O’Reilly tests ebooks everywhere with Dropbox sync



CERN says EU data protection laws are hindering cloud adoption

How Africa is embracing “the cloud” on its own terms

Broadband and connectivity

Super Wi-Fi goes to college with new government effort

West Africa’s wait for high-speed broadband is almost over -  A cable linking west Africa to Europe will not only make it less frustrating to use the internet but could help achieve millennium development goals on education, health and the environment. The France Telecom-led $700m system will use high-speed fibre optic technology to link Europe with 18 countries along the west coast of Africa, as well as landlocked Mali and Niger.


Open data

The UK government makes a big push for Open data: The government has already made more than 9,000 datasets available via data.gov.uk and is planning to launch a £10m Open Data Institute, headed up by inventor of the internet Tim Berners-Lee, to help businesses maximise the commercial value of open data. The white paper

Who owns patient data?

Better use of public data could save government £33bn

Opening up the voluntary sector: using data to drive innovation



EU regulators side with Microsoft in IE10′s Do Not Track controversy


Newspapers and publishing

The hard truth: Newspaper monopolies are gone forever : Advertisers are a newspaper’s main customers, not readers the jokes from newspaper production departments or ad sales reps about how news articles are “to keep the ads from bumping into each other”

What happens when a newspaper is just another digital voice? : Does being digital rob a newspaper of some of its power?


Mozilla’s HTML5 Phone Project, Now Christened Firefox OS, Signs Sprint and Other Carriers

Facebook should be worried about Wooga’s HTML5 exit: The problem is, it’s not really in the interests of either Google or Apple to have mobile HTML5 apps – certainly performance-hungry money factories such as games – work as well as native apps.   



Without Computer Scientists In Policy Debates, Nations Are Vulnerable to Cyber Attack



Outrage as credit agency plans to mine Facebook data



We’re all trolls now: why the patent ‘rat’s nest’ is worse than you think

Many thanks!

Image: Forbes - http://www.claytonchristensen.com/ - reflecting the many disruptive trends we see this week.