Panlibus Blog

Its happening almost without us noticing

Returning to the office for a rest after a relaxing [if you can call negotiating 140 canal locks in a narrow boat in a week relaxing] week away I’m struck by several things that highlight the way that Web 2.0 is weaving its way in to our daily lives.

  • Firstly, my posting from the deck of a canal boat shows that things like 3G enabled laptops, and the whole mobile revolution that is taking place, is getting the network to where we are.
  • Secondly, the entries in to the [now being judged] Mashing up the Library Competition have shown that orchestrating services together has the potential to add massive value to user experiences.
  • Then there is what Amazon is up to with their web services…..

    As a practical solution, to a combination of laziness and a concern about the vulnerability of the data on my home PC, I downloaded the beta [but already excellent] Jungle Disk and signed up to an Amazon S3 account. Now I have a copy of all my files, and more importantly my family’s files!, safely secured on Amazon’s spinning platters.  All for an estimated $2 for the first month (allowing for the 5Gb upload) and about $1/month there after.  – No more ‘why should I ‘ blank looks from the children when I ask them if they have backed up their work – and all at negligible cost.

    Then there is the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. The [very] limited beta hit the streets whilst I was afloat [with 3G card turned off] so I missed my invitation to join before it was full.  This is reminiscent of Sun’s Grid but somehow Amazon seem to have got their approach better, not to mention the price [$0.10 per instance per hour – Sun’s is currently $1.00 per CPU per hour]

    So, as I have mused before …

    The SOA Operating Platform is starting to emerge. Get your CPU cycles from a supplier like Sun [or now Amazon], get your network attached storage and queuing infrastructure from someone like Amazon, get your mapping application services from someone like Google, get your payment services from someone like PayPal, get your Library Domain specific Web Services from someone like Talis. Who, other than the core utility processing, storage, and queuing service providers, needs to invest in infrastructure anymore? 

    it is getting to the stage where it will only be the Sun’s, Google’s and Amazons that will be running data centers.  The rest of us will just use them to run our services.  

  • Also there is Worlcat.org an open site for you to search for items stocked by libraries which have invested in an OCLC subscription.  Complete with it’s downloadable search prompt, to put on your web page, it is yet another very small but significant step to get what people want to where they are when they need it.
  • And finally, there is the tool I’m using to compose this blog entry.  Thanks to Lorcan for giving me the heads up on Windows Live Writer at last a tool that lets me type my blog entry in to a page that looks like my blog.  There be a few wrinkles that need ironing out of this beta tool, but if you had told me only a few moths back that I would be praising a Microsoft tool to edit my Movabletype blog entries I would have said you were winding me up.

Each of these examples, and many more, in their own right are not earth shattering in their impact.  Taken together, and compared with the landscape from this time a year back, shows a massive shift in what is possible, and more important an acceptance by others [not Web 2.0 & Library 2.0 anoraks like myself] that this stuff should be there by default and just should work.

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