Category: zamrhzbgdral

Haas unveils new car for its 2nd season in F1

first_imgHass had a decent debut season in F1, scoring 29 points to finish eighth in the constructors’ standings.Romain Grosjean is back in the driver’s seat for Haas in 2017, while Kevin Magnussen will replace Esteban Gutierrez.Teams will test until Thursday. Another four-day session takes place from March 7-10 in Barcelona.The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is on March 26.ADVERTISEMENT It will take to the track for the first time on Monday in the season’s first test session in Barcelona.The new Haas car has maintained the original colors from last year but dark gray dominates. The new livery still has tones of red, white, black and light gray.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnNew aerodynamic and tire regulations were introduced for 2017 to try to bring more excitement to the series, and cars will be wider and significantly faster than last season.“Aesthetically, the car has a more aggressive look. It’s lighter and more aerodynamically efficient,” team principal Guenther Steiner said. “Everything we learned from our first car has been applied to our new car.” Taal Volcano continues to emit steam, ash from weak explosions Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tough as nails Filipinos wanted China counts sharp rise in coronavirus cases, 2 in Beijing MOST READ In this picture, taken on Feb. 25 2017, the new Haas VF-17 is being test driven at the Montmelo racetrack in Barcelona, Spain. American team Haas has introduced its new car for its second season in Formula One. The VF-17 car was unveiled on the team’s website and social media platforms on Sunday Feb 26. 2017 (Photo by ZAK MAUGER/Haas via AP)BARCELONA, Spain — American team Haas has introduced its new car for its second season in Formula One.The VF-17 car was unveiled on the team’s website and social media platforms on Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos 2 ‘bookies’ bet collectors held in Quezon Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties Beggar dead in Quezon hit-and-run incident Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town LATEST STORIES Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely View commentslast_img read more

Insulting people’s intelligence…

first_img…on AmailaEither David Patterson’s suffering from incipient senility or he thinks Guyanese are stupid and don’t remember the facts of the Norconsult Report on Amaila Falls. With the crux of the statement being: “It is the view of the Government that the Norconsult … provides supporting evidence that the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would not be optimal in its current model and presents an unbalanced risk to the Government and People of Guyana,” even the Govt-friendly Muckraker summarised it thusly: “Norway team shoots down Amaila Falls hydro project”.But as Guyanese could read for themselves – since the report was posted on the Internet by Norconsult – it said noting of the sort, and in fact, asserted the opposite. It succinctly noted: “The only realistic path for Guyana towards an emission-free electricity sector is by developing its hydropower potential. The fastest way forward is to maintain AFHP as the first major step for substituting its current oil fired generation. AFHP … has a higher plant load factor than the alternatives, a smaller reservoir and a levelised unit cost in the same range as the most attractive alternatives.”!!!How would Patterson get his size 12 foot out of his mouth? Well, he just attempted to do so, but only pushed it further in!! Patterson had the temerity to now say, “no one is questioning the viability of the project at Amaila”!!! Can you believe this drivel?? So exactly why reject the Norconsult Report? Here we go again: “The question of Norconsult was a question of what happens to the US$80M which the people of Guyana would’ve earned (from the forest protection deal with Norway) and which is still in an account from the IDB”!!!Doesn’t this fella Patterson realise there’s always a paper trail on these matters? Earlier this year, Raphael Trotman had explicitly given the reason for the Norconsult investigation: “…the Ministry of Finance and Cabinet considered it the best option for an objective re-assessment (of AFHEP). This decision follows up on one taken by the country in Paris, France, in December 2015 to conduct a review of the project’s current financial model, which the Government believes could shackle many generations of Guyanese to debt.”In case, Patterson had forgotten Trotman’s statement, on pg 10 of its Report, Norconsult had reminded him: “With the aim of possibly bringing the situation out of the current deadlock, GoG, represented by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Natural Resources, and the Government of Norway, represented by the Minister of Climate and Environment, decided at a meeting in Paris in December 2015 to perform “an objective and facts-based” assessment of Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.”What to do with Patterson’s size 12?…on silkOh, what a tangled web we weave…Or if you prefer the local idiom to the Bard’s – all smart flies do end in the bovine’s posterior orifice! (OK that’s NOT exactly the way it’s said…but your Eyewitness was reminded this is a family newspaper!) Claiming he wanted to rectify the long gap since the last appointments into the ranks of Senior Counsels, Prezzie just picked nine. And what a firestorm he’s unleashed!One pointed question was why 92-year-old Llewelyn John ? He was passed over by Forbes Burnham, Desmond Hoyte and Cheddi Jagan. Another even more pointed question was why a sitting Judge Roxane George, when that goes against the tradition of the Bar. Prezzie insisted he wanted to elevate women to Senior Counsel. But wouldn’t the two others – not on the bench – suffice? And was the set procedure that Judges – who should know the rule – send nominations to the Chancellor who collates them and passes them on to Prezzie followed?“And why not Nigel Hughes?” others have asked. Surely goat didn’t bite him?…on Moses and Red HouseSome say the decision to summarily throw Cheddi Jagan’s papers into the street was also approved by Moses Nagamootoo.Say it ain’t so, Moses; you Jaganite, you!last_img read more

E-Government and Open Government: The Path toward E-Democracy

first_imgver the years, Liberia has made strides in every sector especially in ICT sector. As a result these strides, we have adopted comprehensive e-government and open government programs that involve the use of the internet and its technologies to enable traditional government processes and practices for enhancement of democracy. Many people argue that both e-government and open government are the same. But this is not entirely so. There is a fundamental difference between both of them: e-government gravitates toward service delivery while open government gravitates toward information sharing in a more participative and collaborative way. In this article I discuss e-government and open government. I provide some insight on their origin in the USA and then on move on to discuss Liberia’s involvement with both initiatives. First, let’s provide a definition of both e-government and open government. Electronic Government or E-Government is defined by the World Bank as “the use by government agencies of information technologies that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. These technologies can serve a variety of different ends: better delivery of government services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, or more efficient government management. The resulting benefits can be less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth, and/or cost reductions.E-Government offers the potential of increased convenience to the public by making such services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, coupled with the advantages of improved accuracy and also reduced cost to the government, deriving from its requiring little or no direct interaction with a government employee.Open Government is defined by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as “the transparency of government actions, the accessibility of government services and information, and the responsiveness of government to new ideas, demands and needs.” Open Government is a result of President Barack Obama’s use of the Internet and Social Media technologies during his 2008 Presidential bid. Referred to as the first Internet Presidency, Obama and his transition team immediately sought to translate the features of the “Internet Campaign” to the day-to-day administration of the executive branch. Thus on January 21, 2009 President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government giving directive to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to promulgate an Open Government Directive within 120 days. The Open Government Initiative strives to create an unprecedented level of openness in U.S. Government. The Open Government memorandum, released in 2009, mandated that Federal Agencies will “be transparent in their work, will be participatory in seeking the ideas and expertise of citizens, and will be collaborative in how they use new technology and processes for developing Government policies. The Open Government Initiatives required Agencies to change the processes, mechanisms, and the underlying technology that were used to communicate with the public, and opened up decision-making processes that had previously been internal to public participation and collaboration.Open Government can be seen as an evolution of E-government because it (open government) would not be possible without the outcomes created by E-government and the advances made in technology, policies and cultures over the last decade.The idea of e-government began years ago. In the United States, it began with Senator Joseph Lieberman and then ended up with the e-Government Act of 2002. E-government initiatives began over a decade ago while the new Open Government began after the Obama elections. Both initiatives share many similar goals and characteristics, the largest being that they both strive to make the government more transparent. Yet, they are not synonymous. They are different efforts that are overlapping phases in an incremental growth towards E-democracy. A significant difference between the United States e-Government and Open Government initiatives are the “tools” that strengthen them. E-government efforts in the United States and many other countries are directly enabled by law (United States E-Government Act of 2002). The United States Open Government initiative is not enabled by law although supported by the Freedom of Information Act. Another difference between e-Government and Open Government is that e-Government places focus mostly on the use of technology within the routine activities undertaken by public organizations. This includes the provision of public services, the quality and cost-effectiveness of basic government operations, citizens’ engagement and consultation, the statutes and legislative mandates required to effect these processes, and the administrative and institutional reforms undertaken in pursuit of innovation. Open Government has a goal of making information and decision making processes in government accessible to citizen examination and input, and in so doing, create democratic structures that facilitate citizens’ social and political judgement about the outcomes of government work.Prior to E-Government and Open Government in the United States, other programs were instituted by President Bill Clinton. The National Performance Review and The Partnership for Re-inventing Government existed before e-Government and Open Government Programs. Figure 1Liberia’s e-Government initiative is being championed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications through the Chief Information Office and Project Management Office, while its Open Government initiative (Open Government Partnership) is being championed by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. Both initiatives have achieved a lot since their conception although there are several other aspects as far as maturity levels are concerned that remain to be completed. Unlike the United States and other countries e-government programs, Liberia’s e-government program is not supported by any law even though it is enshrined in the National ICT and Telecommunications Policy 2010-2015. In addition, the e-government initiative has been facing several challenges in achieving a “Whole of Government” approach to using ICT for the delivery of services to the public. As a result, each Ministry, Agency, and Commission (MAC) operate “siloed” ICT platforms that is very costly for the Liberian Government. As far as where Liberia is in terms of e-Government implementation, using the E-Government Maturity Model from the Gartner Group 2002 research, it is safe to say that Liberia is between stages 1 and 2. Figure 2 illustrates Liberia’s current position in e-Government.Figure 2The Open Government Partnership on the other hand, has made substantial progress in a very short time, through the leadership of Hon. Andrew Temeh, Deputy Minister of Information for Administration. Hon. Temeh’s good leadership and organizational skills have gotten the Open Government Partnership endorsed by the Liberian Government. What is lacking in the Open Government Partnership initiative is a national portal that allows citizens to play a more participate, collaborative role. In every democratic nation, engaged citizens often seek clear and credible information from the government about how it carries on its business. They want government information, services, and communication to be forthcoming and swift. The E-Government and Open Government initiatives fill the need of connecting citizens with their governments and each other to foster a more open, collaborative, and efficient public sector through the use of new technology and public data.The idea of using new technologies to support and enhance, expand or re-invigorate democratic practices is not novel. What new technologies have done in this regard is to amplify the political voice of the ordinary citizen. E-government was a first and crucial step towards E-democracy. However, the Open Government initiative is not the end-state solution. It is the most recent maturation of the governments’ growth towards E-democracy. There will likely be an initiative that follows Open Government as a new future administrations enter the political spectrum. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LISTEN: England legend calls on FIFA to back down over poppy ban

first_imgEngland legend Stuart Pearce hopes ‘common sense prevails’ and FIFA scrap their poppy ban.Football’s governing body has reportedly informed England and Scotland they cannot wear poppies on their shirts in their World Cup qualifier at Wembley, which falls on Armistice Day.The symbol, worn to honour and remember the sacrifices made by those serving in the armed forces, contravenes FIFA rules banning political, religious or commercial messages.But Pearce, who played 78 times for the Three Lions, has urged them to back down and allow the two countries to show their respects.“I find it amazing really,” he said, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “It is a wonderful high profile game and it would be a wonderful mark of respect to remember those that fought and died in the war.“FIFA should back away from this one. Common sense will hopefully prevail.”last_img read more

Housing report cools Wall Street

first_imgLight, sweet crude fell 45 cents, to $55.81 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has fallen sharply in recent days – it settled at a 17-month low Friday – as traders have grown concerned slumping demand would outweigh proposed production cuts.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The Dow rose 36.74, or 0.30 percent, to 12,342.56. That was also the Dow’s new trading high. The index, made up of 30 blue chip stocks, has closed at record levels 18 times since the beginning of October. Broader stock indicators were narrowly mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.44, or 0.10 percent, to 1,401.20, marking the first time the S&P closed above 1,400 in more than six years. The Nasdaq composite index was down 3.20, or 0.13 percent, at 2,445.86. Bonds fell, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.61 percent from 4.67 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose. For the week, the Dow rose 1.93 percent, while the S&P gained 1.47 percent and the Nasdaq added 2.35 percent, as concerns about inflation eased. NEW YORK – Wall Street ended a robust week on a quieter note Friday after the Commerce Department reported that housing construction fell to its lowest level in more than six years. The Dow Jones industrials rose moderately, managing a fourth straight record-high close. The technology-laden Nasdaq composite index pulled back slightly, following a string of five straight advances for the major indexes. For the week, the major indexes rose, though Friday’s move higher was somewhat tepid as declining issues outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by about 6 to 5. Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, contends that much of the week’s optimism came from lower-than-expected inflation readings. Investors sensed that inflation, the overriding concern of the Federal Reserve, could dissipate and perhaps allow the central bank to eventually lower short-term interest rates. “It gives the Fed a lot more flexibility. And elbow room is good when it comes to trying to navigate the economy,” Ablin said. last_img read more

No sub keeper for Motherwell due to ‘ridiculous SPFL rule’

first_imgStephen Robinson explained the reason his Motherwell side were unable to name a substitute goalkeeper against Hearts was due to a ‘ridiculous SPFL rule’. Number one keeper Trevor Carson missed out with a shoulder injury meaning Russell Griffiths was named between the sticks at Tynecastle. They had to leave the substitute bench without a stand-in goalie however, after failing to find a last-minute replacement. A SPFL rule prevented under-20 shot stopper Peter Morrison, who is on loan at Clyde until January, from being recalled. “If Malky Mackay has got to develop young players then the SPFL have surely got to support him. In the end we won’t loan players out because we can’t get them back. “We have a 20-man squad yet Peter Morrison can’t come and sit on the bench today and soak up the atmosphere as part of his development. That’s massively needs addressed.”Meanwhile, Chris Cadden who went off injured after 37 minutes will have his hamstring injury assessed ahead of the visit to Firhill on Wednesday. Alex Fisher, who went off at half time with concussion will miss the league clash with Partick Thistle. Robinson urged the league body to address the problem, saying it will stop him loaning players out in the future. “We didn’t have a keeper on the bench because of the ridiculous SPFL rule,” he said after his side’s 1-0 defeat in Edinburgh. “We’ve got a young boy on loan at Clyde who we tried to call back because we have a recall option, but apparently the recall option only works to play in the under-20s. “We’re trying to develop young, Scottish players and put them in to games like Tynecastle – great stand, atmosphere, but we’re not allowed to bring him back. last_img read more

Breaking News: Shock as another person killed on Donegal’s roads overnight

first_imgAnother person has been killed on Donegal’s roads overnight.The accident happened around 1:40am at Cottian near Kilmacrennan in the early hours of this morning.The driver of the van was the only person involved in the single vehicle collision. The 21-year-old was rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.The man is from a well-known family locally but his name has not yet been released.Garda forensics officers have arrived at the scene of the crash to determine the possible cause of the crash.Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact them at Milford Garda Station on 075 9153060. This morning’s tragedy, which happened after 1.30am, comes just days after another horrific accident on the Inishowen Peninsula.Married father-of-two John McLaughlin was killed outside Malin Town following a two car collision.Breaking News: Shock as another person killed on Donegal’s roads overnight was last modified: February 26th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:crashdeathkilmacrennanletterkennylast_img read more

Spurs fan Motlanthe’s ‘gift of a lifetime’

first_img23 May 2011South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is a huge Tottenham Hotspur fan. Last Wednesday, the club presented him with a copy of the Tottenham Hotspur Opus ahead of its participation in the 2011 Vodacom Challenge in July.The presentation took place at the historic Liliesleaf Farm, a hideout of African National Congress (ANC) activists in the 1960s, where many of the organisation’s leaders were arrested in 1963.Bafana Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo, who joined Spurs from SuperSport United in January, took part in the handover, as did Club Ambassador, former England international Gary Mabbutt.Tottenham executive director Donna Cullen presented the Opus to the Deputy President, who has been a fan of the club since it first visited South Africa way back in 1963.‘This is a gift of a lifetime’He told the Tottenham Hotspur website about his love for Spurs and thanked them for their gift. “This is a gift of a lifetime,” said Motlanthe. “I really feel honoured to receive this Spurs Opus on a special day for us in South Africa when we are having local government elections.“When that great Spurs team came to SA, under the captaincy of Danny Blanchflower and managed by Bill Nicholson, it just left a lasting impression on me,” Motlanthe said.“There were great players there like Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones and Dave Mackay, and they are legends, and since then I have always followed Spurs through the different managers and different generations, and I think the current generation come very close to emulating that ’60s generation.”The OpusThe Spurs Opus charts the club’s full history and includes exclusive interviews, photoshoots and features, plus a rich array of rare and previously unpublished archive photos.Only 1 000 copies of the Spurs Opus have been published. Each book measures over half-a-metre square and weighs over 30 kilograms.Spurs has a solid presence in South Africa. It operates a joint academy with SuperSport United and is involved in several charity and community-based initiatives.Since 2007 the club has announced three separate partnerships with SuperSport United, the PSL champions from 2008 to 2010, children’s orphan charity SOS Children’s Villages, and South African specialist bank and asset manager Investec.Tottenham Hotspur HouseThree years ago the club officially opened the doors to the Tottenham Hotspur House in the SOS Children’s Village in Rustenburg. The house, which is funded using money from player fines, is now home to a family of children all in full-time education.Members of the current First Team also sponsor orphans in the village as part of the club’s work with the charity. In July last year Michael Dawson met 12-year-old Aubrey, the orphan he sponsors at the village in Rustenburg, and experienced firsthand the impact of the club’s relationship with SOS Children’s Villages.Spurs’ joint academy with SuperSport United has produced a successful coach and player exchange programme with academy players visiting the UK for training and tournaments.Khumalo to SpursAfter impressing in the Fifa World Cup in South Africa last year, Bongani Khumalo, Supersport United’s captain, joined Tottenham in January.Previously, in July 2010, Investec became Spurs’ first ever cup shirt sponsor. The South African company’s name and logo features on the club’s playing shirts in all cup competition matches including European club competitions, FA Cup and League Cup.South Africa has also become an important destination for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. For the last two years, the Foundation and teachers from Haringey Council’s Children and Young People’s Service have embarked on an educational exchange trip to South Africa working in partnership with both SuperSport United and SOS Children.Tottenham in 2011Heading into the final weekend of the English Premier League, Spurs are in fifth place. Should they beat relegation-threatened Birmingham at White Hart Lane on Sunday, they will secure a place in the Europa League next season.Playing in the Champions League this season, Tottenham topped Group A, ahead of defending champions Inter Milan after qualifying for the group stage by beating Swiss side Youngs Boys in a playoff.In the round of 16, Spurs ousted newly crowned Italian champions AC Milan 1-0 on aggregate after scoring a shock 1-0 victory in Milan.They exited the competition in the quarterfinals at the hands of Real Madrid.Tottenham Hotspur and SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

State of the Nation Address 2015

first_imgWith the theme “Together We Move South Africa Forward”, President Jacob Zuma’s 2015 State of the Nation Address, delivered to Parliament on 12 February, was a celebration of the progress South Africa has made over the past year, and a blueprint of priorities for the next. South Africa’s democracy remains strong25 February 2015 – In a country as diverse as South Africa, it is natural for there to be differing views and vigorous contestation, writes Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. So it would be a mistake to assume the fracas in parliament during the State of the Nation Address on 12 February meant our democracy was on the edge of an abyss. MORE > State of the Nation Address 2015: full speech13 February 2015 – Read the full text of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament on 12 February, 2015. MORE > President welcomes special guests to South Africa’s Sona13 February 2015 – A number of special guests attended the State of the Nation at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma. Among them were three schoolgirls who represented the country at the G20 summit in Australia. Other guests were sports stars and entrepreneurs. MORE > State of the Nation Address 2015: an overview12 February 2015 – President Jacob Zuma will deliver his sixth State of the Nation Address during a joint sitting of Parliament in Cape Town this evening. More than just a speech, Sona sets the agenda for how the country will be governed over the year ahead, making commitments to the nation that Parliament is obliged to ensure the government keeps. MORE > Infographic: The State of the Nation, in numbers11 February 2015 – With the theme “Together We Move South Africa Forward”, the 2015 State of the Nation Address will be an opportunity to celebrate progress South Africa has made over the past year, and an opportunity to highlight priorities for the next. Let’s look at the numbers that make upthe event. MORE > Be active citizens, Radebe urges South Africans3 February 2015 – Next week, the President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation address to the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament. Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe reflects on the importance of the address, and what it means to the people of South Africa. MORE >last_img read more

Why Platforms Are Letting Us Down – And What They Should Do About It

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Analysis#Features#NYT#web alex iskold 1 Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market In good times everyone wants tobe a platform. But when times are bad and platforms are just an expense, the resources suddenlyshift away. The recent re-design of Facebook, the slow down of Google’sOpen Social, and Flock closingits extension site – these are all part of the same pattern. Platforms that don’thave monetization wired in are only goodfor marketing. This is why the platforms of the futureneed to think about not just short-term marketing and buzz, butlong-term sustainabilityand monetization. Last week Flock’s community manager Evan Hamilton emailedall developers who had submitted extensions to Flock to announce that Flockwill no longersupport most of the extensions hosted on justificationwas that Mozilla was doing a better jobhosting and promoting theadd-ons, and the majority were the same for Flock and Firefox. SinceFlock does not have enough resources to support the extension site,Evan announced the decision to “cut the fat that is our unwieldyextensionssystem”.(Note the keyword ‘fat’, it will be important in the rest of the post).In itself this move was not surprising. Flock’s team has just releasedversion 2.0of its social browser and has other battles to fight. IE8 is coming outsoon with innovative features. Mozilla is racing forward with Ubiquityand the upcoming Geo-awareFirefox 3.1. And Google threw its hat into the browser ring with Chrome,so competition is getting tight. For Flock to be a playerin the browser market, it needs a razor focus on building a base ofdiehardfans. Extensionsare not helping much in that respect, they’re an expense, so it was logical to cutthem.Facebook Platform – The Big Up and The Big Let DownWhen the Facebook platform was unveiled in 2007, it was called genius.Never before had a company in a single stroke enabled others to tap intomillions of its users completely free. The platform was hailed as a game changerunder the famous mantra “we built it and they will come”. Andthey didcome, hundreds ofcompanies rushing to write Facebook applications. Companies and VC fundsfocusedspecifically on Facebook apps.It really did look like a revolution, but it didn’t last. The first reasonwas that Facebook apps quickly arranged themselves on a power law curve.A handful of apps (think Vampires, Byte Me and Sell My Friends) landedmillions ofusers, but those in thepack had hardly any. The second problem was, ironically, the bloat.Userspolluted their profileswith Facebook apps and no one could find anything in their profiles.Facebook used to besimple –pictures, wall, friends. Now each profile features a zoo of heterogenousapps, each one trying to grabthe user’s attentionto take advantage of the network effect. Users are confused.Worst of all, the platform had no infrastructure to monetize theapplications.When Sheryl Sandberg arrived on the scene and looked at the balancesheet, she spottedthe hefty expense that was the Facebook platform. Trying to live up to ahuge valuation isn’t easy,and in the absense of big revenues people rush to cut costs. Since itwas bothan expense and userswere confused less than a year after its glorious launch, Facebook decided to revamp itsplatform.The latest release of Facebook, which was released in July, makes it nearly impossible for newapplications to take advantage ofthe network effect. Now users must first install the application, thenfind it under the application menuor one of the tabs, then check a bunch of boxes to add it to their profile(old applications are grand-daddied in).Facebook has sent a clear message to developers – the platform is no longera priority.Google’s OpenSocial and The Me Too Syndrome Apparently Google was threatened by the Facebook platform. Its quickresponse was OpenSocial,the open platform for social applications. Unlike Facebook, which wasproprietary and closed,Google’s was open to everyone. When OpenSocial was announced, techiesraised their eyebrows –it looked raw and unpolished. Some of the existing iGoogle containerAPIs were mixed in witha new contact sharing library. But, being Google, a lot of peoplesigned up to support it.center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Fast forward one year later and how much has been done? Wellsome companies did implement some elements,but the overall buzz died. Why wouldn’t Google put more resources andmarketing behind it?Because now it doesn’t matter. The Facebook platform play is over and sothe marketingstrategy calledOpensocial is not a top priority for the search giant anymore.Why Apple’s App Store Will Be DifferentNext we turn to the latest platform getting buzz, Apple’s iPhone App Store. At first glanceit’s much like Facebook,but in reality it isn’t. Firstly, the user profiles aren’t visible – youcan’t see applicationsinstalled on your iPhone. Each user can decide which apps to get, based ona simple review-based dashboard.There’s no promise of a massive network effect, although there’s a simpler userexperience. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Importantly, Apple wired the monetization into the App Store rightfrom the start.Sure there arefree applications, but for companies that want to invest resources andplay on the iPhone for a long time,there is an instant, simple opportunity to monetize. Note that paid applications get priority listing in the App Store, which is no accident.Apple took care of the most important part of the equation –the transaction. It was also able to insert itself in the middleand recoup some costs associated with building the App Store. In the future,if it takes off and sustainsthe growth, App Store will ring in significant revenue for Apple. Jobsand his team were smart to wiremonetization into the platform at the outsert.The Future of PlatformsWhere does all this leave us? Certainly it’s absurd to say that havingWeb platforms is abad idea. Yet we’re left with a bitter taste in our mouths after the latestmovesfrom some big platform players. The platforms of the futureneed to think about not just short-term marketing and buzz, butlong-term sustainabilityand monetization. Here are some questions that companies need to ask themselves before delivering a platform:Why are we building a platform?How will we monetize this platform?Will the platform make us money, and how much will it cost?How will applications be able to monetize the platform?Can we support the platform for years to come?Our culture of sensation and free makes it much harder for platformsto think deeply and be disciplined. Google felt they had to come outwith something to stop Facebook’s momentum.Facebook rushed to create a completely open infrastructure; and itbackfired bothfor users and developers. Having been burnt by Facebook, small and large companies alike willnow thinktwice before investing in a presence on platforms. This is a shame, forwe need platformsand we need them to work well.Let us know what you think about the opportunities toplug into major platforms? What are your thoughts on the recent platformdynamics that wehave witnessed?last_img read more