Yesware has been around for a while, but this free email plugin for businesses seemed to get noticed early in 2013. It provides a few things like templates and Customer Relationship Management integration, but it main attraction seems to be email tracking. A great asset to marketing Yesware can tell you if the email you sent has been opened and where the receiving party was at the time they opened it. You even get to know the links the email’s receiver has clicked on and type of device (mobile, personal computer … etc.) that they used to open it. The interface is about as good as you could hope for, so you just have to click on a tab if you want to tack an email, then a pop up alert notifies you whenever the email is opened. When you want to know where it was read you get a global map view with little icons showing where the recipients opened your message.

Though this last feature may be unreliable. Versions 2.0.90 of Yesware accurately reported if an email was opened, but would sometimes falsely claim the recipient was somewhere in Mountain View California. Additionally it could mistakenly report that the recipient opened the mail when it was actually the sender reopening something already sent. This makes for confusing information, but the issues appear to be abating.
But if the information is accurate the marketer has a great way on knowing what works well and what doesn’t. Some emails are read while the individual is out of the office; some are opened more than once. Are they opened more than once because they are two long? Or the recipient is considering the contents? Do people skim over emails while out of the office only to return to the relevant ones when back behind the desk? Some emails are opened the minute they are sent, so I know when the person is online. Though this is self –evident interpreting some data, like why they open more than once, or why they ignore some data, can be troublesome. And there’s always the question of whether something opened has actually been read.
The downside is that people may not want to be tracked. Or the double standard where we want to track others for business purposes, but don’t like our own email being tracked for other reasons. It seems the recipients won’t know if they are being tracked, but an opt-out-of-tracking option might be a good idea for a mail service. But even this provides information of a sort, knowing how the recipient feels about privacy and marketing.
At least one source points out that this is all older technology. Virus hackers could do this years ago.


Ideas intended for one area often prove useful in another. Modular data centres were originally conceived for remote areas, where they could deal with local problems. However, modular approaches turned out to be a little cheaper and faster to install than traditional platforms.

Think of a modular design as having several parts (the modules) with a great number of interconnections within them, but far fewer connections between them. A module can be set up to look after the local processing requirements, and communicate with other modules as needed. Really, any computer connected to the net is modular; a self-contained processor connected to a series of other processors.

A MarketsandMarkets report stated that more traditional centres lack in capacity planning and scalability, and incur higher construction costs. Whereas modular approaches have the obvious advantages of flexibility and updatability. Individual modules can be replaced as needed and allocated according to the requirements of a specific situation; and they can easily be added to. The same firm also report advantages in the ability to allocate time and manage costs when building a data centre. Once built, there are advantages in power savings, cooling efficiencies and optimizing IT equipment density.

The Global Modular data centre market is expected to increase by almost 20 billion dollars, from its current 6.5 billion, over the next 5 years. Development of modular centres is likely to focus on greener energy requirements and the ability to completely install an operation system with the matter of a few weeks. They look to be about 20% cheaper than more traditional data centres.


As companies inevitably embrace cloud they increasingly choose a private cloud system. Security is probably the main issue, which is a factor for every company, but compatibility is also a concern. You can’t customise public cloud, either with security or anything else. With private cloud you don’t have to own the infrastructure, but you get the advanced and increasingly essential benefits of cloud with the security and compliance that you prefer.

Private cloud adoption has grown faster that public. Where public cloud has grown 20% per year the private cloud is expected to grow between 40 to 50% for the next few years. The trend appears more pronounced with larger companies, partly because they can afford their own system, partly because of the sensitive nature of their transactions, partly because they require a large, integrated cloud system for their company.

Individual consumers and smaller businesses that choose a public cloud use Google or Amazon services to store data and run apps in a shared space. This frees the company from managing the information systems as they can rely on the service providers to do it for them.

Larger companies using a private cloud have more control over the quality and protection of the information and services they use, which is sometime essential as certain industries may require certain protocols and regulations to be observed. But this comes at the expense of providing IT workers capable of maintaining the private clouds, or of hiring an appropriate provider.

Google and the Right to be Forgotten

In May 2014 a European Union court of justice ruled that individuals can request out-dated or irrelevant information about their past be removed when other people are searching the net.

There are some cross lines about this landmark decision. It’s not about history being re-written or whitewashed; information is not actually being removed from the internet. Instead, under the guidelines set out by the ruling, Information seen as detrimental to an individual will simply not appear in search results. The information will still be online, just not easy to find unless you are dedicated and know what to look for.

Lawyers are still trying to figure out the ramifications of all this, but it appears anybody who doesn’t like an old story about themselves can simply have it removed. There might be complicating issues for public figures: do politicians have the right to remove incriminating issues from their past? Or at least hide them? There must be some debate here about a public right to know. We often Google new employees to see if they have a clean reputation. Then again, I pity someone who has a public accusation listed high on their search engine list, only to have the exonerating comments lost on a latter page.

Problem is, I’m not sure the search engine is the culpable party here. They just report what’s already on the net, and everybody knows the net is full of good, bad, ugly, fictions, misinterpretations, conjectures, advertising and several things that are just plain untrue. The search engine lists what there, but with the odd approach of giving priority to what is already popular, or at least SEO popular. Maybe there is something intrinsically unfair in that. The Controversial and sensational gets ahead, not the accurate or most useful information.

It ties to the old debate about the right to know versus free speech, and if it all seems too familiar and recent it’s because Wiki Leaks was only recently on all our minds. Of course the debate predates that by several generations. But several generations ago it was far more confined to individual countries. Of course as the internet is not confined to a single country the problem becomes more messy. It is a European court making this decision. Do American companies answer to this? The internet is freely accessed across the international borders, so some USA company has to employ staff to block some search engine results for Europeans who don’t want some (possibly false or misleading) information connected to them.
If this was a library it would have to employ more staff to hide the relevant books. Not throw them out, mind you; just not show them on the catalogue. In some cases I can understand that a book might be so discredited or objectionable that we might dispose of it entirely (think Holocaust denial), but there’s a lot of grey area here.

Maybe we could clear this up to some extent by focusing search engines on the information most relevant to the search. Individuals won’t be defined by one overemphasised aspect of their past, unless it was their actual defining moment.


Google Glass


After only being offered by special invitation Google Glass became officially available to the public on May the 15th this year. Costs are expected to be lower than the previous $1500.oo price tag.

Google glass is a head-mounted display that is worn like a regular pair of glasses. This in itself is nothing new. Like other technology circa 1995 the Google Glass displays information to one eye of the user using refracted/reflected spilt polarised light; but the Google Glass is significantly smaller and lighter than previous implementations, and has far more user applications.

Third party applications exist for maps, social media, phone calls and news, as well as video and photo creation on Google Glass. But more recent apps include facial recognition software, photo manipulation and translation applications. In keeping with the more advance technology these are controlled by using the touch control on the side of the glasses, or voice command. The voice command works by sensing the user’s speech through conduction of sound through the users cranial bones, thus making the command sound near inaudible to onlookers. Tilting the head also allows a user to control the device.

Privacy issues surface with these functions. It is very easy to record a private conversation, and even provide a translation. It is also quite possible to use the facial recognition apps to identify strangers and access information to use against them; though facial recognition apps are currently expensive and only used by the police.

Debates over safety of the glass are inevitable. People immediately question whether they are safe for driving. Defenders of the Google Glass point out that they are specifically designed not to obscure vision, and actually provide the user with additional information about their surroundings. The Glass aims to free up the users for human tasks by looking after the more mundane and automatable ones for them.
The legality of the Google Glass is questionable in countries like Russia where spy gadgets are against the law. There are also questions about security if they are stolen; devices can contain personal information. Individual locking systems are under development, preventing use by strangers, but at worst a Google Glass can always be remotely reset.

On the downside the glasses are reported to cause headaches, possibly for the same reason that video glasses cause problems: our brains have trouble with situations where our head moves and our field of visions does not. Perhaps this will disappear as users get use to the devices.