Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finally, Someone Who Listens to Me

Okay, something that listens to me. There is this really awesome voice service called Jott ( Jott allows me to call into their system and leave a message. The message is then transcribed and sent to whoever you have listed in the system. With Jott, I can be heading down the highway, shooting off e-mails to people and reminders to myself.

Jott really finds its full potential when you combine it with other on-line services. For example, I can use Jott to create a entry in my Google Calendar. I can also use it to send messages to Sandy, the equally cool on-line "assistant". Combining the two gives me the ability to leave a message for my virtual assistant Sandy who thensends me e-mail reminders throughout the day for important events. Jott links to a whole host of other on-line services like Twitter, Blogger (for posting quick blog entries), and the XPenser on-line expense tracking system.

There are two things that Jott still needs to work through. First, is the time it takes to transcribe a voice mail into an e-mail. The delay can be significant. If you are driving around and won't see your calendar or get a reminder for hours, that's no big deal. If you are leaving a quick message while running into the office, it can be a pain.

The other technical problem to work on is the quality of the transcription. Even when you speak slowly and annunciate clearly, it can get things wrong in a spectacular fashion. That creates some really funny sentences that sound like a Mad Libs game. For example, Jott mangled Bruce Springsteen into "blue spring street". Sometimes, it gets so confused it's not even sure what to do so it does it's best and places a question mark next to the entry that caused it problems. I'm not sure why Rite Aid was so confusing that it came out Raidy(?) but it least it knew it was stupid.

Though I'm not sure how Jott will make money, I hope they can figure it out so that the service stays active. Unlike many Internet services out there, it really is useful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa Skips the NeoScale House

It looks like the Grinch came early for the folks at NeoScale. They are gone, finished, kaput! That's not only sad for the people involved (and they were good people) but for the storage security market as well.

Oh wait! That was the problem. There was no storage security market! In the end, that's what killed them. They had a product that quickly became a feature. They had a market that was not really a market unto itself anymore. Somewhere on the Autobahn of technology, they found themselves driving a Model T while everyone else zipped by in a Porsche.

If you are looking for the moment in time when Neoscale jumped the shark, you would have to look to EMC's RSA acquisition. At that point everyone knew (except NeoScale perhaps) that storage security was being folded into the overall security market. Decru clearly saw that train coming down the track. They were smart and sold themselves to NetApp. NetApp got some key competitive features and technology, Decru's investors got out while the getting was good.

But NeoScale. Ah, poor NeoScale. They held onto their dream a little too long. Life just passed them buy. And now they're gone into the dust heap of data storage history.

So this holiday season, let's all remember the poor folks at NeoScale and in the future, remember the lesson that they bring this season. Expand, sell, or you die. A product does not a company make. A feature even less so.