Tag: wikipedia

Do startups use Open Source?

I was very much of the impression that startups these days, because they want to keep spending to a minimum, would be more likely to use Open Source tools to develop their applications. The likes of MySQL instead of Microsoft SQL Server, for instance.

This view was re-inforced by an interview I did with Salim Ismail for the it@cork pre-conference podcast series where he said all his startups used open source software.

However, after a chat with Microsoft’s Rob Burke on his blog, now I’m not so sure!

In my comment, I said Microsoft’s SQL Server should support other platforms and in this way, startups would be more likely to use it (i.e. if they didn’t have to splash out for a Windows license). Rob’s answer surprised me though, he said:

Our group at Microsoft Ireland can, quite literally, not adequately keep up with the demand we get from local startups (and larger ISVs) who see the value of the platform for the data tier and want to find the best on-ramp. You may have noticed – we’re hiring two more evangelists! 🙂

So startups in Ireland are choosing Microsoft SQL Server in droves? Why? The latest version of MySQL has stored procedures, triggers and views. It is platform independent, has a very strong support community and runs some of the better known sites on the web like Craigs List, Del.icio.us, Digg, Flickr, and Wikipedia, to name but a few.

If you chose SQL Server, you are locked into the Windows platform and although there are free versions of SQL Server to start out with, a fully licenced version to run a web site will cost you tens of thousands of Euros/dollars.

Why would any startup choose SQL Server? What am I missing?

Free, clean and constant energy?

I saw a post on Pat Phelan’s blog today about Steorn which sounded a little incredible, so I looked a little deeper into it.

The background is that an Irish company called Steorn put a full-page ad in the Economist saying:

At Steorn we have developed a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy…. We are therefore issuing a challenge to the scientific community: test our
technology and report your findings to the world.

Full page ads in the Economist don’t come cheap so if this is a hoax, it is an elaborate one!

According to Wikipedia’s entry for Steorn, Sean McCarthy, CEO for Steorn said in an interview with RTE:

What we have developed is a way to construct magnetic fields so that when you travel round the magnetic fields, starting and stopping at the same position, you have gained energy, […] The energy isn’t being converted from any other source such as the energy within the magnet. It’s literally created. Once the technology operates it provides a constant stream of clean energy.”

I hope they prove me wrong but personally I don’t believe a word of it – see the promotional video and judge for yourself.

Steve Ruble's latest hacks – a suggestion

Steve Rubel is continuing his list of social media hacks – his latest is a list of 10 Wikipedia hacks. Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia which anyone can edit.

Again, there are some interesting ones there – like the ajax search, the create a user account suggestion and the keyboard shortcuts.

Steve, now that it has been made free, you need to do 10 hacks of Google Analytics – now that could be interesting!

What exactly is RSS?

Have you heard about RSS and wondered what exactly it is? Well in technospeak RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is a family of XML file formats for web syndication. To put it more simply, the technology behind RSS allows internet users to subscribe to websites that have provided RSS feeds so that they are notified when there are updates to the site. RSS feeds are typically used by news websites (RTE, BBC, Reuters, CNN, etc.), weblogs (blogs) and more recently by search engines and other search services to provide a perpetual search.

To Subscribe to an RSS feed from a website you need the site’s RSS feed address (i.e. http://www.tomrafteryit.net/feed/) and an RSS feed reader. You can install a feed reader on your computer so that you have access to it on your desktop, or if you prefer you can use an online feed reader. If you are not comfortable installing software on your computer then an online feed reader might suit you best. Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of commercial and free RSS feed readers. Google has recently launched an online feed reader called Google Reader, Yahoo! has one in its MyYahoo service and Microsoft has one on its Start.com site.

How do I know where a site’s feed is?
A sites RSS feed is typically linked to with a small orange button with white writing on it which might say one of the following: RSS, XML,Webfeed, Feed, or Subscribe.

Why would I want to use RSS?
RSS is a push technology, where the information you want is delivered directly to you – unlike browsing, where you have to go looking for the required data. Search engine RSS feeds are particularly powerful because they allow you to search for a term of interest (your company’s name, your competitor’s name, your market segment) and subscribe to an RSS feed for that search. This RSS feed will now constantly deliver new information on that search term as it arises on the internet. In the field of market intelligence, this is one of the most powerful tools ever seen.

If you’d like to know more about RSS or to see it in action, feel free to come along to the IT@Cork RSS Event on the 25th of October.