Why SAAS may not be panacea for in-house software ills?

More and more companies are moving towards SAAS based software solutions such as salesforce.com, workday, Google Apps and even MS’s Office 365. Biggest SAAS vendors are making tons money selling their wares as cost effective solutions. But does that automatically translate to cost savings to organizations that deploy the SAAS solutions? The answer is somewhere in between. Companies need to be careful in how they are selecting their services and deploy them inside their organizations. There are plenty of comparison services out there that go into detailed review and comparison of each online services. There are legions of companies that will help you get off the ground with SAAS deployments.

Any typical software role out cannot live on its own. IT systems are so interwined within and outside organizations that they need to share data amongst themselves. CRM systems need to be integrated with email, calendar, inventory, billing, manufacturing and sales data base systems (to say the least). HR systems needs to be integrated legacy systems, packaged software and other SAAS. No single provider gives these solutions out of the box. If you visit salesforce.com’s partner eco-system you’ll realize there are partner’s and solutions for every system out there. They’ll happily help you to integrate and customize these systems for a cost.

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Last Updated on July 12, 2011 by SK

Got a surprise invite to Google Music

I don’t remember asking for Google Music invite. Surprisingly received an invite today and promptly signed up for it. It is obviously a competing service to iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive, no matter how slice and dice it. Difference is, Google Music is free while the others are offered for a nominal price but with unlimited storage.

After sign up, the music service ask you to select your preferred genre of music style. To upload your songs you need need install a small piece of software. You can update up to 20,000 tracks to the service. I suppose that is more than enough to store most people’s collection (I’ve 32k tracks!). Here is a screenshot of the service:

Google Music has free selection of music that is presented to you based on the music genres you like. I’ve some free selections shown (I cannot figure out the total number of tracks in my free music playlist?).

The service is a good add-on for Google’s ChromeBook OS, as a iTunes replacement for ChromeBook. Google’s strategy does seem to evolve towards moving users to Cloud based OS, Storage and Media(refer my previous post on SageTV acquisition). However, I would like to have offline storage as well. ChromeBook’s cloud OS seem to choke my computing senses by offering just a browser. I invariably try to close that damn browser (jail) and feel choked when I cannot access my hard disk!. Why not offer a local caching option so that I don’t need to always look for internet connection to use my Laptop? Have some intelligent caching and offer users a way to access local storage for music, photos and video that they don’t want to upload to cloud?

Last Updated on July 8, 2011 by SK

Google acquires SageTV, Hulu up for sale, very intetesting dynamics emerging in the fight for living room

This acquisition makes sense for a variety of reasons. Personally, I’ve been using SageTV as replacement for Dish network from Nov 2010. I’ve also been watching this company for some two years now. They have nifty little new hardware device (HD 300) that plays almost any multimedia file you throw at it. They also have a very nice DVR and EPG guide for those of us want to use OTA transmission and get rid of Cable/Satellite.

Now that Google has acquired SageTV one wonders what their plan is? Is SageTV going to be the base platform for building Google TV ver 2.0? What SageTV features are going to be integrated in to Google TV? Will Google continue to support DVR functionality in SageTV?

How about hardware HD 300? Is it going to be a reference platform for Google’s partners (Logitech/Sony)? Is there a plan to build DVR-in-the-Cloud?

Two companies that will be watching closely are going to be NetFlix and Apple. SageTV offers a fantastic platform to build advanced multimedia capabilities. Only if Google can get license agreements with Studios and Television Networks they will be in a much better position to compete against Apple and possibly threaten NetFlix.

Should Google get into the bidding game for Hulu with Yahoo? (Does it make sense to Yahoo to acquire Hulu?). Hulu is still trying to prove its business model (free vs paid) to its overlords. It is not hugely successful in raising its advertisement revenue. Google has ambition to extend its search and advertisement beyond YouTube into the living rooms. Google TV is  complicated to setup and expensive to buy for a common person. Combining the Hulu content with YouTube on the content side and simplifying setup and also reducing the cost with SageTV will be a big win for Google. Now Apple should worry about this compelling eco-system from Google.

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Last Updated on June 22, 2011 by SK

Light weight Linux – anything changed?

Once in a while the tinkering engineer inside me wakes up and the urge to see latest light weight Linux distro advancements become unbearable. As it happens with this urge, I downloaded a number of familar distro’s (PuppyLinux, MintLinux) along with some new ones (Lubuntu, TinyCoreLinux, Slitaz). I’ve three testbeds for this experiment. A fairly new Lenovo T60 (Spec…), Dell 700m (Spec) and very old Dell Cpi (Spec)

  • PuppyLinux
  • Lubuntu
  • TinyCoreLinux
  • ChromeOS (bootable from USB)
  • MintLinux
  • Kubuntu

downloaded USB bootable version from

Last Updated on May 12, 2011 by SK

Google Chromebook

Google is planning to release Chromebook laptops with their home grown Linux based Chrome OS. they’ve partnered with Acer and Samsung for manufacturing these Laptops. Does this really make sense for Google to release another “me-too” Laptop OS while there are plenty of Linux based open source alternatives available? For a mobile user the existing ChromeOS I downloaded feels too restricting. As I mentioned in my feedback it is a totally new usage model for a user who is familiar with using a regular laptop or a tablet computer. Chromebook seems to be creating a new device segment that is not a tablet or notebook or netbook.

  • What should Google Do?
    • Ditch concentration on Laptop OS
      • Wireless connectivity is not pervasive
      •  Customers will weigh this laptop against much more flexible tablets
    • Promote this as Desktop OS alternative
      • Work with SAAS vendors to prepopulate the links to their applications
      • Wired networking only option to start with.
      • Target Education, Retail, Call Center market where the mobility of work force is not a concern.

Last Updated on May 11, 2011 by SK