Michael Herman (Parallelspace) BLOG

I'm the founder and CTO at Parallelspace Corporation, a leading developer of Truly Collaborative peer-to-peer and decentralized business solutions. Parallelspace Corporation is a founding Groove Networks business partner.

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Friday, August 30, 2002
Re: Volker Weber's comments: "[Groove's] building architecture. But they're positioning it like an application and I don't think Groove will be successful if they do that."

Checkout Crossing the Chasm (or was it Information Rules). One of the very best ways to sneak in a new platform into an Enterprise customer is in fact to have it masquarade as an application and have it "come in through the front". This is something Groove Networks is starting to do well (as long as they don't try trample over their Business Partners).

Will Groove become the universal desktop?
We think so.

Groove Networks's shared space analysis also suggests 25% of Groove users are using Groove shared spaces to organize their personal information (aka Personal Spaces) in addition to using Shared Spaces for multi-person group collaboration:

The analysis does indeed validate that the 2-25 design center of the product is precisely the sweet spot of where it's being used in practice: approximately 35% of shared spaces are between a single pair of individuals, 60% of shared spaces are between 3 and 25 individuals, and 5% of shared spaces have more than 25 individuals. Amazingly to me - given the design center of the UI - I found that within this 5% there are actually hundreds of spaces with 100-250 members each; I'd surely never have expected this.

One other incredibly fascinating tidbit: 25% apparently use shared spaces with only themselves as a member, using Groove as a "briefcase" to transparently and securely synchronize files across multiple computers that they own - e.g. Office documents being synchronized between home and office PCs.

What's next? Personal Spaces <-> Shared Group Spaces <-> Shared Corporate Knowledge Spaces

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
I've just figured out not to type a BR tag and then press Enter to start a new line (at least where I edit my blog on http://www.blogger.com). This was the cause of all those double blank lines I have in my blog.

Quote of the Day

"It may well be that Groove is going to force me off my brand new G4 Powerbook."
Prospective Parallelspace Customer

Monday, August 26, 2002
Re: Do Groove shared spaces paces ever get smaller?

It's more of a patch than a fix but one solution you can use in a jam is to use Duplicate Space in My Spaces.
...unfortunately, you have to re-invite everyone to the new copy of the space.

Sunday, August 25, 2002
I use it but I don't really "get it"

What the difference between a weblog and an ordinary web page I that use MS FrontPage to add these types of diary entries to?

For example, here's a FrontPage version of this blog page: http://www.parallelspace.net/bloggraphics/blogbackup.htm

Saturday, August 24, 2002
Parallelspace Layered Collaboration presentation on Blogger TV

Blogger TV ON

Blogger TV OFF

9:04 AM

Friday, August 23, 2002
A great tag line:





...except it was shoe ad on the side of a Toronto Transit bus for http://www.aldoshoes.com/main.htm.

Check it out on Blogger TV (see below). Note: The Flash component causes an HTTP request to be made to a web statistics service and as a result and when run in an IFRAME causes a dummy screen to appear ...another feature of Blogger TV.

Blogger TV ON

Blogger TV OFF

8:49 PM

Some cool server-less distributed file system work going on at Microsoft Research:

Better Security Through Logic Puzzles

Article Source:PC Magazine

By Cade Metz

The PC down the hall may be on the verge of breakdown or may belong to someone you can't trust, but it can still store your most important files securely. Microsoft Research has developed a way to store communal data across a network of PCs, even when many of them are faulty or untrustworthy. This distributed file system, Farsite, is so reliable and inexpensive it could herald the end of the old centralized model. "We've proven that you can build a file system without setting up a server," says Rick Rashid, director of Microsoft Research.

Currently if you build a multiuser file system to give several thousand PCs access to the same collection of files, you have to set up a server. The server holds all the files and retains complete control over them. To create new files, access old ones, or change the directory structure, a client must get permission from the server.

With Farsite, you can create a file system by spreading files across the client PCs. This eliminates the need for a server, which obviously saves money. And, remarkably, you don't have to give up security or reliability in exchange.

To set up a Farsite system, you install a software client on each PC. The clients maintain a single directory structure by keeping in constant communication, sending messages back and forth every time someone changes the directory. The files are safe from snoops and system crashes, because Farsite encrypts each file and sends copies to several different machines.

"By making enough replicas, you can make the probability of losing files smaller than the probability of a central file server having a hardware or software fault," says Bill Bolosky, a Microsoft researcher who oversees the project.

Inspired by a classic math puzzle called the Byzantine Generals Problem, Bolosky and his team have ensured the data is safe even when a third of the systems conspire to bring down the file directory. The puzzle asks whether a group of generals can conspire to attack a given city at a specific time by sending messages to each other via horseback riders. The rub is that a third of the generals are turncoats bent on foiling the plans, sending messages that aren't true.

The solution to this puzzle can be used to prevent infected computers from bringing down a Farsite system. Like a Byzantine general, each client, after sending a message, waits to receive all the responses before sending out its next message. Although Farsite puts files on not one but thousands of potentially faulty or untrustworthy systems, it's actually more reliable and secure than a file server. Such a paradox could turn the computer industry upside down.

End of Article

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
[BROKEN: MS Producer presentations won't run inside an IFRAME] Another daring Blogger TV advance... a PPT presentation with a real voice-over ...

[Will try this again when I have time]

Another test that I'm calling "Blogger TV" ...almost totally annoying ...click Open when asked and then click cancel a few times. If you're in a rush, click Cancel instead of Open.

Blogger TV ON

Blogger TV OFF

QUESTION: How far does a television signal have to be broadcast before it can be called Broadcast TV?

Radio is good but TV is better! :-)

9:04 PM

IFRAMES work (at least in a majority of browsers they will work).

This is an IFRAME test.

If the above looks like a bunch of HTML, IFRAMEs don't work; else if it looks like a page from http://www.parallelspace.net/knowledge, it did work.

I write to this blog "almost" like I would write to a diary ...except I then go back and edit it to remove the stuff that should only appear in a personal diary. For example, the question: why are the Groove Networkers starting to spell email with a capital "M" as in Parallelspace eMail(tm) ...mmm :-)

I write to this blog "almost" like I would write to a diary ...because I have no idea if anyone besides myself reads this stuff. ...except for today. I received a Groove IM from Carlos, a Groove Business Partner in Brazil, mentioning that a great colleague and a great Dutch Groove Business Partner, Jeroen, had quoted my posting from yesterday. Thanks Jeroen! ...like (or unlike) the Apollo Space Mission, blogs aren't being faked. :-) Groove Workspace is providing the direct and indirect notification service. BTW, for those who have asked about eMail 2.0, it is still being baked, is looking awesome, expect it this fall.

I write to this blog "almost" like I would write to a diary ...except right about now I paste all of this into MS Word to spell check it. Sure wished http://www.blogger.com (and Groove) had a spelling and grammar checker. :-)


Future Topic Ideas: Is Distributed Business Collaboration the Killer Business Application for Microsoft SQL Server?

Tuesday, August 20, 2002
First, let me say I'll try to post to my blog more frequently about Layered Collaboration.

End users today live within layers of collaboration on the Internet as well as within their organizations:

  • Personal collaboration
  • Group or small team collaboration
  • Community or division-level collaboration
  • Anonymous or enterprise-wide collaboration

For about 100 million users, Microsoft Outlook is the personal collaboration tool of choice ...many using Outlook as their only collaboration tool against their Exchange, POP3 and Lotus Notes email servers.

Groove is becoming the de facto standard for distributed collaboration and it is our personal choice and recommendation. The other option is web-based collaboration and conferencing products (like Microsoft SharePoint Team Services, eRoom and WebEx). The primary disadvantages of web-based solutions is that you have to be connected to the server to use them plus they are extremely difficult to use by people in 2 different companies, let alone 3, 4, 5, or 6 companies.

For community-based or division-level collaboration, center-based web solutions like Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server or Team Services begin to make sense. Groove Workspace shared spaces can also support communties of 50 and more. The value proposition increases significantly when these web environments are enabled with a secure, offline experience like those that Groove Partners (and Groove Networks themselves) are building for the Groove platform.

For anonymous Internet or Enterprise-wide collaboration, there is a plethora of solutions ranging from Internet newsgroups, Listserv mailing lists, web-based communities, Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server (stay tuned for V2 of this product which will include awesome scalability and deep personalization).

The problem is that all of this collaboration tends to be focused towards a person's "personal collaboration" email client or you must fetch it yourself with a browser (like this blog for example).
Parallelspace develops Parallelspace eMail(tm), the fully integrated eMail experience for Groove Workspace. The end user value proposition that eMail delivers on is bringing together the best of Outlook's personal collaboration features with the best of Groove's group collaboration features. "Fully integrated" means eMail "runs inside Groove" in any shared space where you want to have secure access to your personal email. Down the road, Parallelspace Librarian will help to seamlessly bring the community and anonymous collaboration worlds into Groove as well.

We're currently hard at work on the "groovy" features in Parallalspace eMail 2.0 that Groove Networks and others has been hounding us about for almost a year. eMail 2.0's personal synchronization features are easy to use (as easy as "File Save As"), extremely fast and can save any type of Outlook item to any Groove tool in any shared space (as long as it makes sense) - right from within Groove Workspace. It's pretty neat to see people's reactions to our early 2.0 builds.

Good software takes time - groovy Parallelspace eMail 2.0 is not too far away.