my recent reads..

Launched: CloudJetty - a community guide to the latest "cloud" services and applications on the web

Time to drop the cloak of stealth from a new web application I've had in production for the past month or two..

CloudJetty is a site born from my own frustration in trying to find out what was really available in terms of business applications and services delivered "in the cloud". How do you find what is available, and how do you know what is trustworthy? That's what CloudJetty is for.

..a community-maintained buyers' guide to the latest "cloud" services and applications on the web, many for free or a nominal monthly subscription.

This is my open invitation for all to check out the site and help it grow..

  • It is still early days, but the first step is just to take it for a test drive! Looking for an invoicing solution for your business? Take your pick. CRM? Of course. Personal backup solutions? Yep. Did you know you can even do BI in the Cloud? You bet.

  • I'm looking for your help to grow the service listings. Got a favourite cloud/web app you are already using? If it's already in CloudJetty, add you rating and recommendation. If it's not there, then please feel free to go ahead and add it

  • If you are a provider of cloud services and applications, I'm especially keen to get your products listed. Vendors are welcome to add their own listings, provided they go along with the community-wiki rules: no sales hype; and accept that your listings can be edited by others.

  • I have no misconception that CloudJetty is perfect. I'd really like to hear about any problems, comments or suggestions you may have (there is a CloudJetty Google Group for feedback and discussion, or you can follow CloudJetty on twitter)

Looking forward to seeing you on CloudJetty!

Do we really need another "Cloud" site?

Honestly, that was the first thing I thought when contemplating CloudJetty. There are lots of sites with news and opinion about Cloud. Twitter is full of cloud !spam! Most vendors worth their salt have got a "cloud" section on their sites. But seriously, I've failed to find much in the way of information for people who don't really want to talk about cloud, they just want to use what works, and avoid what doesn't.

The good news is that there's already an incredible range of services available - think of any personal productivity tool, business application, or infrastructure service, and chances are there's already a cloud service for it (but whether its any good is another question!)

And this is only the beginning. may have fired the first shots in the SaaS war and has forever shaken up the CRM space. And an array of "infrastructure" services (like Amazon EC2) have radically change the economics of a technology startup. But personally I expect in time we'll see these initial waves dwarfed by the mass migration of (especially) small business to cloud/web applications that is only now starting to gain momentum.

Just as this is only the beginning for cloud in general, it's also just the beginning for CloudJetty. Hopefully much more in store for this site .. but let's not run before we can walk, eh?


It wouldn't be my tardate blog if I didn't geek out a little and share some of the behind the scenes details. CloudJetty is written in Ruby on Rails (2.3.4) and of course uses a good handful of gems (like vestal_versions, will_paginate, and my own Authlogic_RPX).

Best of all, I can get nice and self-referential. CloudJetty, being a application about the cloud, was built using cloud services, and to find out what cloud services it uses, you can look them up on ... CloudJetty;-)
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Customer Satisfaction Poll

Strangely enough, 100% of respondents to this poll reported 0% satifaction..

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Captain's Share

Last year, I wrote about Ishmael Wang's blossoming career on the ships within Nathan Lowell's wonderfully realised future universe of inter-galactic trading.

We last heard of Ishmael when he'd made it to full share and there's been an excrutiatingly long silence as we wait to hear more of his story. But Nathan was on a promise - it was coming!

I must admit I was wondering whether the latest installment would keep up the high standards that Mr Lowell has set for realistic, humanist, hard sci-fi. But now that I've started reading ("listening") to Captain's Share, I know my worries are for naught.

If you think it is remotely possible, I'd say that Nathan Lowell has met and exceeded the standards of story-telling that he set with the earlier books in the saga.

If you are not familiar with the Age of the Solar Clipper, I heartily recommend you start way back at the beginning and work through the series - you won't be disappointed! Not only does Nathan deliver intriguing hard science, but the situations into which he places his characters are model studies of human behaviour (and even management science)... not to mention the few culinary tips I've picked up along the way!

Here's the series (so far) in it's entirety:

All of these stories are wonderfully available for free download in audio format from read by the author in an utterly engaging way that only the creator could muster.

When I say "so far" I really mean it: Nathan Lowell has created an alternate universe/future so compelling and detailed that I can imagine (and eagerly await) many more stories drawing from the rich canvas he has created. So many more possibilities than even the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises ... and probably more in the league of the Dune and Foundation sagas ...
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Project Nimbus: 2.0 gaining momentum!

I was excited to hear about the Project Nimbus initiative at last night's SRB meetup (Jason's the great Gladwellian connector)

When I wrote my opinion piece "Could Open Government initiatives help drive innovation in Singapore?", I had in mind a key proposition that it would be really smart for Government to push open data initiatives, as any costs or concerns associated would be repaid many times over by the resulting stimulus to local innovation and economic development.

With that in mind, it's really heartening to see that some cool cookies have gone beyond just talk, and established Project Nimbus with the goals:

  • To unite the voices of Singapore Innovators and identify data sets and services we as Innovators want

  • To work with content owner and government entities for the appropriate release of these data sets and services to Singapore Innovators

The main engagement point is the UserVoice page they have setup to collect and filter ideas (through the voting process). This is a great way of first making sure you are dealing with ideas that have real support and interest.

Once you have qualified ideas, the next steps are where Project Nimbus could make the difference from every other idea that ever got sent up only to have its wings fold on launch: make sure you have the idea packaged in a Government/agency-friendly way, and then ensure the message gets through to the right people (who care, and have appropriate authority).

As we were discussing yesterday, good ideas without execution are .. nothing but wishful thinking really. It seems like Project Nimbus has all the right bases covered. It will be really exciting to see the first successes start to come through (they already have two ideas progressed to the stage of taking to the agency concerned).

This could be a really interesting year;-)
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