Thursday, July 27, 2006

The new generation of sellers

Until recently to sell a product implied that you have a certain stock available and each time you make a delivery you decrease that stock. Complex software was invented to keep track of stock quantities, customers, providers, etc.
Nowadays a few interesting websites makes the selling process ridiculous simple, especially due to the fact that they produce the merchandise on demand (when a customer place an order). In this way the startup costs are virtually zero.

Photo prints

Each time a customer order a print, the site will make an on demand print of your photo, package it and sell it to the customer. You get your money for the photo and the site gets their money everything else and everybody is happy.

T-Shirts and Gifts

You upload a digital photo and the site puts it on lots of different merchandise: t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. Most of these sites allow sellers to create shops for exposing their creations.

If you are disparate to test their services, but you are not such a good designer, you may try outsourcing the design job using sites such as: ELance or T-Shirt Logos.


This is by far my favorite. It is a self publishing service that prints your uploaded PDF as a book in the moment a customer orders. Niche or beginner authors may find the service very useful for their career.

For Romanian speaking people there is also:

Monday, July 17, 2006


Virtualization is a hot topic these days when processors and computers are too powerful for a single user or server needs. Virtualization has a big range of usage scenarios ranging from server consolidation to testing and development environments. Although majority of users think VMWare when they talk about virtualization the truth is that the market is far more rich offering products with totally different approaches.

Hardware level virtualization (VMs)

VMware (an EMC company) is offering one of the oldest and most appreciated hardware level virtualization products. This is coming in both workstation and server flavors. Due to recent competition in virtualization market, the company extended its offer with 2 free products: VMware Server (the old VMware GSX) and VMware Player (a stripped down version of VMware Workstation)

To catch-up with the virtualization industry, Microsoft bought Connectix for its Virtual PC software. After acquisition, Microsoft lowered the price of Virtual PC and recently they announce they are giving for free Virtual PC 2004.

Parallels Workstation is a product from a new comer to virtualization scene. It is similar to VMware Workstation and Microsoft VirtualPC and until the former two producers reduce the prices, Parallels had also one of the cheapest solutions. Still they have the only solution that gives Apple users (on Intel processors) the ability to run Windows alongside Mac OS X.

Operating system level virtualization (VEs)

Virtualization at the OS level has been designed to provide isolation and security to run multiple applications or copies of the same OS on the same server. This requirement was determined by the fact that different operating systems are not required on the same server but only multiple instances of a single operation system. This kind of virtualization is performing better than previous one. SWsoft Virtuozzo is such a product for which proponents occasionally claim "thousands of virtual instances per server" in test situations to determine the upper limits of the technology (see Wikipedia).

Paravirtualization (VMMs)

The paravirtualization technique enables running different OSs on a single server, but requires them to be ported (compiled against a certain hypervisor layer). Xen is the most notable product of this type of virtualization.

Application level virtualization (VSPs)

This is the simplest form of virtualization, at application level. Altiris Software Virtualization Solution is placing applications and data into managed units called Virtual Software Packages allowing you to instantly activate, deactivate or reset applications and to completely avoid conflicts between applications, without altering the base Windows installation. A free version of this product can be downloaded from this site.

Note: A similar product called ( SoftGrid ) was developed by Softricity, now acquired by Microsoft.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Amazon S3 – Affordable online storage

No matter what you are doing you probably need storage space. This issue is even more important if you are a small business that tries to store and deliver huge digital content and remain competitive in the same time.

In the same way in which Net Neutrality helps small business with affordable data transfer infrastructure, a new web service from Amazon, called Amazon S3, helps with very affordable content storage and delivery. At $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used and $0.20 per GB of data transferred you have now no excuse that you business cannot compete with the big companies who were able to support till now the enormous costs of online storage and delivery of digital content.

The Amazon service is appealing to big business as well. For instance Microsoft is using it to distribute its MSDN Direct Student Download, while the well know photo sharing service Smugmug is using to store its huge image database who continue to grow with more than 10TBytes of images each month.

Event companies that offer online backup started to back-end their storage support on Amazon S3. In the near future I expect more and more online backup companies to appear following the success of sites such as Altexa, ElephantDrive or MediaSilo. If you want to experience yourself (as home user) the power of Amazon S3, look no further than Jungle Disk.

For more information:

Amazon S3 homepage:
Amazon first S3 news release

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Best VoIP Printed Articles

If you are interested in VoIP and your have several IT magazine subscriptions (US and UK), then is time to dig those old magazines because these post lists the best VoIP articles published over the last 2 years. For convenience I added the Zinio direct links from where you can purchase that individual magazine issue.

PC Magazine - March 7, 2006
Ditch Your Phone Company

PC Magazine - November 8, 2005
VoIP gets down to small business

PC World - September 2005
Net Phones Grow up

PC Answers - March 2005
VoIP is really worth using now

Personal Computer World - July 2005
More choices for your voice

Personal Computer World - June 2006
Talk more, pay less

Computer Shopper - August 2005
The Broadband Bells

Web User - March 2, 2006
Slash your phone bill

PC Today - September 2005
Digital Dialing

PC Today - December 2005
VoIP On The Go. SoftPhones bring the power of VoIP to Mobile Users

PC Today - February 2006
IM Meets VoIP. Know your Communication Options

PC Today - July 2006
Skype in your pocket. VoIP for your Pocket PC

Computer Power User - August 2004
Broadband Phone Services. The Telephone Meets The Internet

Computer Power User - February 2006
VoIP Gear Is Finally Here. Eight Ways To Keep Talk Cheap

ce Lifestyles - April 2005
Talk is Cheap. VoIP: A New Era In Telephone Communication

Homeland Defense - January 2006
New IP Telephony. Solutions for the Government Enterprise

Circuit Cellar - Jully 2005
Connect with eZ80F91-Based VoIP
A Fresh Look at VoIP

Circuit Cellar - October 2005
Send and Receive VoIP

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Five Things You Must Know About VoIP

InformationWeek published an article with Five Things You Must Know About VoIP

  • VoIP is inevitable
  • It costs more than you think
  • Deployment can be tricky
  • VoIP security is dodgy
  • Cheap calls are just the start

The article is a must reading for all who intend to make the switch to VoIP. Some of these issues were also presented (in an easier format) in my first post VoIP Demystified.