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January 6, 2005
Search Engine and Advertising for Music Brought to A New Level
Topic: 6) Technology
This was brought to my attention via the blog "A VC". Although words can describe it somewhat, you've got to try it. You can basically search by band, musician, or album and pull up a visual map of music that sounds similar and/or may match your tastes. Includes links to Amazon.com for purchasing. Given music is one of the huge topics on mainstream, personal blogs, I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing this kind of music search engine and advertising technology applied to contextual marketing and widgets on the Internet.

Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 1:30 PM CST
Updated: January 6, 2005 3:04 PM CST
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January 5, 2005
Six Apart to Acquire LiveJournal
Topic: 6) Technology

Big blog news of the day. Six Apart, provider of the MovableType blog platform, will acquire LiveJournal, the largest open-source blog platform provider. If this goes through, Six Apart will be one of the largest providers in the world.

I guess I will have to update my mental map of the space given this big M&A news in the blog community.


Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 11:27 AM CST
Updated: January 5, 2005 7:49 PM CST
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January 3, 2005
Will Be Interesting to Watch the Pluck Corp. Venture (Software Like TiVo for the Web)
Topic: 6) Technology

I was reviewing 3Q'04 Texas venture capital financings in the software space and ran across an Austin-based company called Pluck, a company dedicated to making it easier to find and manage information online. Founded in 2003, Pluck received a recent Series B round of $8.5 million. Investors to-date are well-known VC firms: Austin Ventures and Mayfield.

Pluck markets itself as follows:


"What TiVo did for television, Pluck is doing for the web. Pluck is an Internet command center that takes the web to a whole new level.

No matter how you use the web today, you can do it better with Pluck. Searching? Better. Shopping? Better. Browsing? Better. News? Way better.

Seamlessly integrated with Internet Explorer, Pluck retrieves, organizes, and automatically delivers your favorite web stuff in a single-view. Pluck lets you browse multiple sites at once, share stories and folders with anyone, and it even finds things when you are not online. Pluck also organizes and stores all your Web information so you can access it from anywhere."

Given that 1) further advances of Internet Explorer have seemingly stopped, 2) the Firefox browser is making advances both in reality and in mindshare regarding both security and new features, 3) Pluck's product seems to be offered only on the IE platform to date, and 4) there may only be tens of thousands of users (before opening, note PDF file) right now, it will be interesting to see what plays out product development-wise over the next year. I like Pluck's concept of better organization. Too bad IE advances have for all purposes ceased - I have already said goodbye to IE and hello to Firefox.

For those still using IE, the Pluck software is currently *free*. Go ahead and download it.

Note to self: Revisit Pluck progress over the next 12 to 18 months as it uses Series B monies.


Steve Shu
Managing Director
S4 Management Group
Email: sshu@s4management.com
Web: http://www.s4management.com


Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: January 3, 2005 12:11 AM CST
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December 29, 2004
2005: The Spyware-Spam Wars Continue (Enter Microsoft)
Topic: 6) Technology
Despite CAN-SPAM legislation, I sure got more email spam in 2004 than any other year in my life. Spam got so bad that even some of my spam filters broke.


On the spyware front, it looks like the public has also been losing this war. As summed up in a PC World article, "In April, Internet service provider EarthLink and Webroot Software released the results of a survey of over 1 million Internet-connected computers that found an average of almost 28 spyware programs running on each computer. More serious, Trojan horse or system monitoring programs were found on more than 30 percent of all systems scanned, raising fears of identity theft, according to the companies."


Perhaps a concern in the workplace ... perhaps only a concern at home. Episode 2 (to take place begining in 2005), however, has Microsoft entering the anti-spyware game with recent acquisition of Giant Company Software. Sometime this January, Microsoft is expected to release a free evaluation version of anti-spyware software. I view this move as Christmas in January for PC users. I don't think the average person can tell whether anti-spyware software comes from reputable sources. A spyware offering from Microsoft will be recognized though.


Whether we ultimately win the war ... unfortunately we may have to wait for Episode 3 of the trilogy. Hold on to your hats. Episode 2 may be a dark one a la George Lucas style.


Update (January 1, 2005):
Enter Arnold ... Asta la vista, Baby


Steve Shu
Managing Director
S4 Management Group
Email: sshu@s4management.com
Web: http://www.s4management.com


Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 10:00 PM CST
Updated: January 1, 2005 11:22 AM CST
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December 23, 2004
A Weblog Dress Rehearsal
Topic: 6) Technology
Just like a preview opening of a restaurant where friends and family can come to eat for free, experience all of the glitches, enjoy rough service, etc. ... well if you found this weblog entry, you are hereby invited to a new CIO blog that I will be authoring for on software technologies. The blog is part of the Creative Weblogging network of blogs, a UK-based company. Come on in through the backdoor not available elsewhere! (Note that the permanent CIO Weblog links may change once I get completely rolling in 2005.)


Update:
New link at http://www.cio-weblog.com.


Steve Shu
Managing Director
S4 Management Group
Email: sshu@s4management.com
Web: http://www.s4management.com

Posted by sshu-s4 (c) S4 Management Group LLC at 12:20 AM CST
Updated: December 30, 2004 4:00 PM CST
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