Monday, September 30, 2002

Blog tool analysis update: read in Essential Blogging that I won't be able to use RSS with Blogger until/unless I move my blog off Blogspot...
O'Reilly Network: [Tim O'Reilly:] Secrets of Successful Free Software Businesses "Free software and open source tend to:
1. Fill niches where commercial vendors haven't yet identified a market. (This is my alpha-geek argument). Hackers build tools that vendors don't yet supply. When the market gets big enough, vendors go after it with tools that make it accessible to a wider audience. If the vendors were blind long enough, then the free software may have become too widespread to displace, in which case the dynamic below kicks in.
2. Commoditize markets. (The open design of the IBM PC is an even better example than Linux, which hasn't yet succeeded to the same level.) In commodity markets, brand, being the lowest cost provider, and supply chain management become more important advantages than controlling IP.
3. Allow people versed in computers to share information more easily, lowering the barriers to entry and advancing innovation. This is open source as the late 20th century equivalent to the long tradition of scientific publishing."
ViewSonic joins Pocket PC ranks - Tech News - CNET.com "Microsoft will announce on Monday that Walnut, Calif.-based ViewSonic will become the 29th licensee of its handheld operating system. ViewSonic will offer a $299 device, the V35 Pocket PC, starting Nov. 1. ... The 4.9-ounce device will come with a 300MHz Intel XScale PXA250 processor, 32MB of memory, a 3.5-inch transflective color screen and a Secure Digital expansion slot. The V35 will also come with Microsoft PowerPoint file viewer and digital imager viewer applications."

Not a happy occasion for Palm/Handspring; price competition was a critical element in the Palm OS/Pocket PC decision criteria...

War of the Browsers Resumes With More Players This Autumn "But what is different about this war is that these new enhanced browsers are not being given away free — they are included as part of the Internet service provided by America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN."

I suspect MSFT and AOL are going to have to get into anti-features in their attempts to make this strategy work, e.g., removing/downgrading features in free IE and Netscape to make the paid offerings look better. Of course, that approach probably won't work as long as Mozilla remains free (and superior to AOL/Netscape's version) and continues to evolve.
The Register: Excite@Home exhumed to sue cable firms for $600m Easily the leading contender for this year's legal hypocrisy hall of shame entry
Years After Being Bought by I.B.M., Lotus Links Its Products "Lotus develops products that help people work in teams, including e-mail and instant messaging, software for setting up online meetings and sharing documents, and online education packages. The upgrades make it possible to link Lotus software more tightly with I.B.M.'s software platform for e-commerce, known as Websphere, its Tivoli systems management software and its DB2 database."

You have been assimilated...
An Online Success for Lands' End "More than 40 percent of the chinos and jeans sold on the Lands' End Web site are custom made. The company initially predicted that the service would represent 10 percent of sales." Took a bit longer than most expected, but still a very positive trend.
PC Makers Hit Speed Bumps; Being Faster May Not Matter "... an unpleasant new reality for the personal computer industry. For decades it has relied on the certainty that customers have an unquenchable desire for speedier new machines. But computers have reached a point where for the most common home purposes — Web surfing, e-mail and word processing — they are already more than fast enough to suit a typical home user's needs."

Considering you can now get a reasonable laptop with built-in 802.11, Windows XP Pro, 256 meg RAM, 20 gig hard disk, etc. for ~$1,300 (e.g., Toshiba Satellite 1300), I tend to agree. This is a broader theme: what is the IT industry going to do now that many categories have hit "good enough" feature/function levels?

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Working the web: Newsreaders More blog tool-related commentary: I've been exploring RSS newsreaders other than Radio UserLand; this is a review of a couple leading examples (found the review via Amphetadesk's RSS feed...).
Boston Globe Online / Business / Mac poses as much of challenge to Linux as to Windows "Apple Computer's snarky ad campaign urging people to switch from Microsoft Windows machines to Apple's Macintosh computers probably won't put a dent in Windows sales. But it could mean serious trouble for the effort to put the Linux operating systems on home and corporate desktops."

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Radio update: I'm back to Blogger for my primary blog activity; Radio wasn't a great fit for my blogging style, although I'm going to continue exploring it and may switch again; if I do, I'll be sure to post an update here.
Intel's Huge Bet Turns Iffy "For Intel, Itanium's failure would be a painful black eye, a setback in its heavily financed assault on the corporate computing world beyond the personal computer. For its partner, Hewlett-Packard, the chip venture, if anything, is even more important. Exploiting the Itanium opportunity was crucial to the thinking behind Hewlett-Packard's $19 billion merger this year with Compaq Computer. If Itanium fails, it will be a severe blow."
Economist.com | Computer software: Linux gets a break (RadioExpress! is acting a bit weird, so I'm re-posting here)

Friday, September 27, 2002

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft moves office beyond Office with futuristic work station " Having a window seat won't be as important in the office of the future Microsoft envisions. ... Workers will spend their day facing a bank of flat-panel computer screens, or perhaps a wraparound monitor large enough to run a handful of software programs at once."
Hollywood's Gadget Factories "As recounted by William Shatner in his book, Dr. McCoy's famous hand-held medical scanners were actually stylish Swedish salt shakers provided by the "Star Trek" prop department, but TV shows have gotten far more sophisticated with visuals. In the case of "Alias," a combination of sharp writing, nimble prop design and solid acting can make the fictional gadgets sound real enough to inspire a trip to Radio Shack."
MSN 8 to Arrive in Late October "MSN 8 perks will include an improved email client with better junk-mail filtering and parental controls; improved Web services such as online investing, money management, and photo sharing; and a special version of MSN Messenger 5. A free version of MSN Messenger 5 will be available to non-MSN users, but the version that MSN 8 customers will receive will include enhanced, server-based parental controls; an integrated MSN Today view from the MSN Messenger UI; an improved address book; a Web-sharing feature called "Browse the Web Together"; and contacts searching and sharing. Windows XP users will also get exclusive access to videoconferencing through MSN Messenger and will be able to install MSN Messenger along with Windows Messenger. This new dual-installation feature will let XP users simultaneously log on to two Microsoft .NET Passport accounts, one through MSN Messenger and one through Windows Messenger, which could be important for users who maintain separate home and work personas. Microsoft will also offer MSN customers a steep discount on the company's recently released Microsoft Broadband Networking products, which include wireless and wired network adapters and base stations."

Ahh -- so it's a feature to be able to/have to use multiple clients for multiple simultaneous accounts. This looks more like pragmatic tactical marketing than strategic product alignment.
Microsoft "Center for Information Work" Employs Sony Business Solutions in Office Model of the Future Hmmm -- a somewhat surprising press release, given the mutually-assured destruction nature of the competition between MSFT and Sony in game consoles and other areas; perhaps a hint of d├ętente between the companies?
UserLand.Com: Easy Content Management I seem to have run into what I consider to be a severe limitation in Radio UserLand -- I use several PCs on a regular basis, e.g., my work laptop, a desktop in my home office, and another desktop in my living room (and my sister's desktop, when I'm visiting her, and...). I want to be able to easily add posts to my blog from all locations. Apparently that isn't the model for Radio -- users are expected to maintain their blog via a single copy of Radio running on a single PC (or to synchronize the Radio file tree between multiple machines on their own). I'll explore further, but in the meantime Blogger's server-centricity and simple UI continue to serve me well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Peter O'Kelly's Radio Weblog I've set up a Radio Userland blog, and will be exploring some more advanced weblog tools etc. there. For now, I'll continue to post news filter items here and will use the Radio weblog for sharing less headline-oriented thoughts.
O'Reilly Network: HP -- the Switzerland for Servers? [September 25, 2002] "Of the big three server vendors consisting of IBM, HP, and Sun, HP is poised to be in the best competitive position going forward while IBM and Sun are primarily Java-only shops. IBM, however, does partner with Microsoft on W3C Web services initiatives."

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

eWEEK - Father of Java Has His Eye on 'Jackpot' "Gosling: The way that I look at it, people have been building Web services under different names for 20 or 30 years, so there are a lot of protocols that people have used to build communications between components and across networks, and they've been in pretty wide use for quite a long time. The distinction that SOAP brings to the party over CORBA and XML, some of them are interesting, but I wouldn't call any of them life-changing."
Microsoft server share jumps in 2001 - Tech News - CNET.com "The Redmond, Wash.-based company's market share for shipments of new server operating system licenses jumped to 49 percent in 2001 from 42 percent in 2000, according to a research report released by IDC on Monday."
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Software pioneer Bob Wallace dies "It was at Seattle-based Quicksoft that Mr. Wallace coined the term shareware. He felt shareware was a way to both make money and do good for the world by getting software into people's hands, said Jonathan Feil, a Seattle software-business attorney and longtime friend of Mr. Wallace's."
The Register: Microsoft reveals Business Apps roadmap "Three of the five application sets will be available by the end of this year. In addition to the long-trailed CRM application, the company also intends to launch two vertical market applications: Microsoft Business Solutions Professional Services Automation and Microsoft Retail Management System. A portal product is planned for the first half of 2003, while data exchange software is likely to appear after that, which will provide a means for organizations to exchange data over the internet with both partners and customers."
All the News Google Algorithms Say Is Fit to Print "Google, the rapidly growing online search engine, introduced a service yesterday that uses its search algorithms — but no human editors — to create a news page that looks not much different from those of many news Web sites." Start here

Monday, September 23, 2002

PCWorld.com - Win XP Update Crashes Some PCs Got me, for one...
WSJ.com - Microsoft May Mount Challenge To Security Software Makers "Microsoft has created a security business unit to spearhead the expansion of its limited roster of security products, according to a person familiar with the unit and an internal document. New products could encroach on leaders in the field like Symantec Corp. (SYMC), Network Associates Inc. (NET) and Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISSX)." Can this be a surprise to anyone?
Wired 10.09: Start: Andreessen Restarts
"What’s next for the technology industry?
[Andreessen:] It’s rebuilding. You saw a very similar boom-bust-boom in the PC industry, which recovered in the 1990s as the technology hit critical mass. Intel shipped the 386, and Microsoft shipped Windows 3.0. The same thing will happen here. All of the technology underneath the Internet is hitting critical mass, at the exact point when people expect nothing. That’s a prescription for the next boom. But I don’t know when."
I, Cringely | The Pulpit: We Can Run, but We Can't Hide: How BayTSP is Enforcing the Digital Millennium
"We have 100 percent coverage of peer-to-peer file sharing," Ishikawa claims. "If you are illegally sharing copyrighted materials, we know who you are."
Then why aren't there more arrests? In part, this is because the intellectual property holder who is paying BayTSP gets to set its own comfort threshold for exactly how much file sharing is too much, and how BayTSP should deal with offenders. "Adobe only wants to send out cease and desist orders, while some movie studios want to put people in jail," Ishikawa says. "There are people on the Net offering 50,000 to 60,000 files at a time for sharing. These people will get busted for sure."
The Packaging of Video on Demand "In the last year, though, a flourishing digital video-on-demand market has developed, thanks to the least probable of carriers: the United States Postal Service."

Sunday, September 22, 2002

To foil rivals, BEA looks to bundle "HP on Monday will announce plans to bundle a free version of BEA's WebLogic application-server software with its HP-UX 11i operating system. HP will also release a version of its management software, the OpenView Transaction Analyzer, to monitor the status of Web transactions running on BEA technology."
Economist.com: Who's afraid of the new science? (review of The Blank Slate) "At a film your bliss is disturbed by the chatter of small children. What is it, you wonder, about dark rooms and bright screens that loosens little kids' tongues? Then their parents start rabbiting away over the popcorn, and the answer becomes obvious: they taught their spawn to act this way. But hold it, say behavioural geneticists. What if the children inherited a gabby disposition straight from the parents in their cocktail of genes? Learning could well have had nothing to do with it.
Steven Pinker's provocative new book is full of catchy examples like this that he uses to highlight two radically different ways of conceptualising and explaining our behaviour: one with an eye to culture, learning and the social sciences, the other with an eye to nature, genetic inheritance and experiment. He makes no bones about where he stands. Social science and its popularisers have, he thinks, systematically ignored or derided recent strides by neuroscience, artificial intelligence, behavioural genetics and evolutionary psychology. Though he seems to have a point to score or a joke to crack about almost every topic on earth, he makes his main argument persuasively and with great verve."
'Bad Boy Ballmer': The Life of Microsoft's Monkeyboy A few interesting trivial pursuit factoids in this review of an apparently weak book (although the quote was "To heck with Janet Reno," not "To hell...").

Friday, September 20, 2002

IBM, MS reject MySQL A bit tricky for IBM and other open source advocates to suggest that the OS should be open source but DBMS is still something everyone should pay for
Internet Explorer for UNIX RIP -- via Camworld
The Register: RIM granted handheld email patent - clobbers Handspring "On Tuesday Research in Motion was granted a patent for a "hand-held email device", and waited just 24 hours before clobbering rival Handspring Inc. with a writ."
Sun to integrate more software into Solaris "There are lots of things like mail, calendaring, portals, instant messaging, and Web services that are going to get integrated into the basic operating system environment," McNealy said. "Stay tuned."

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Microsoft Broadband Networking reviewed Useful overview and perspective. Conclusions:
"My initial worries about Microsoft's foray into home networking were quickly forgotten, as the hardware is high quality and the simple software install really sets these products apart from the competition. Other companies, notably Belkin and Actiontec, are working on similar ease-of-use initiatives for home networking hardware, but Microsoft's is the first I've seen, and it seems to be well thought-out. Granted, I'm running XP all around, so my setup was simpler than most, but then I made up for that with the complexities of my pre-existing network. Regardless, it worked well.
If you're in the market for a simple home networking solution, I recommend the Microsoft Broadband Networking products, especially the wireless base station, which is often the weak link in setting up any home network. The company's excellent Setup Wizard and configuration tools will let even network neophytes get a secure home network up and running quickly."
The Register: No escape act for General Magic "General Magic is a comparative veteran, having been formed in the early 1990s by former Apple Computer Inc staff. With funding from Apple, AT&T Corp and Sony Corp, it held a successful IPO in 1995. But it always lacked focus, initially positioning itself as a intelligent agent software and handheld operating system developer. Its financial history suggests that those behind the company found it more exciting to develop technology than to make money. ...
Its technology was certainly appealing and in 1998 Microsoft Corp invested $6m in the company to gain an 11.9% stake and gain access to its technology." (Guess the patents may have a few issues...)
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft's antitrust fix is challenged FYI my HP laptop is also "challenged," after installing WXP SP1; it got stuck in an infinite power-on/reset loop (after an hour+ download/install) and had to be re-imaged. First time Windows Update has hosed one of my PCs since ~1999. Very disappointing. Could be a hardware problem, of course; I haven't read other reports of SP1 lobotomizing PCs.
Microsoft Sets New Standard for Ease in Wireless Broadband Networking Okay, but will Windows Messenger audio and video work with these products?...
General Magic, Inc. to Cease Operations Sorry to see this -- a pioneer with unfortunate timing. "Fundamental" patents at a firesale price...
WSJ.com - Personal Technology: Sprint's Speedy Treo Features Better E-Mailing, Service Area "What if you took the best hand-held communicator on the market -- a device that combines a phone, a PDA, and an e-mail and Web terminal -- and mated it with a new high-speed wireless network?
You'd get the Sprint Treo 300, the first Handspring Treo communicator that fully shows off the gadget's capabilities."
Microsoft Joins Wireless Networking Hardware Game ""Yes, it is the same 'cheap stuff' that you get from Linksys, D-link [Systems Inc.] and the other usual suspects in the marketplace," said one industry analyst familiar with Microsoft's new product line. "This is a move that these players have been waiting for and running from. The obvious connection would be using this to boost their MSN offering, but that has yet to happen. For now they are focusing on the retail space, making Linksys their top target."

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Fewer bugs in computer code is ex-Microsoft engineer's aim "Billionaire software engineer Charles Simonyi, who left Microsoft Corp. to co-found a company called Intentional Software Corp., says the new firm's software-development tools will reduce annoying or even dangerous programming errors -- "bugs," as they're called -- to one in a million. "That's a metaphor, but it will be incredibly weird to have a bug," said Simonyi, 54, in an interview yesterday."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Sun to sell Linux systems "Michael Goulde, a product manager in Microsoft's Windows program management group, said he has seen no ''significant deployments'' of Linux on desktop PCs. He called Sun's pending announcement a reaction to the threat Linux poses to Solaris, Sun's core operating system for high-performance computers, and the threat Intel Corp.'s microprocessors pose to Sun's Sparc server chips.
''Sun is reacting with a strategy du jour to help give it some sense of direction while trying to lock customers in to a proprietary version of Linux,'' he said in a prepared statement."
Fawcette.com - Why Is JavaScript So Misunderstood? Good background and snapshot of current status.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

ZDNet: Tech Update: Platforms/OS / Assessing the risks of open source "Meta trend: Application server consolidation will continue through 2003, as breadth of functionality expands to include portals (2002), EAI (2002), content management (2002/03), analytic structures (2003), mobile technology (2003), data distribution (2004), and application-specific development frameworks (2004/05)." (found via TheServerSide)
A Microsoft Pioneer Leaves to Strike Out on His Own "Mr. Simonyi's departure, to be announced today, will leave Microsoft with only three senior people from the team that led the company in the early 1980's: Bill Gates, a co-founder and the company's chairman; Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive; and Jeffrey S. Raikes, a group vice president." Author of this article wrote the book referenced below.
WSJ.com - Technology" Simonyi Will Quit Microsoft To Form Software Venture "Charles Simonyi, one of Microsoft Corp.'s legendary programmers, is leaving after 21 years to form a start-up that hopes to change how software is created.
He is teaming up with Gregor Kiczales, a longtime researcher at Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center, a famed Silicon Valley laboratory where Mr. Simonyi also worked before joining Microsoft.
The two men are starting a company called Intentional Software Corp., which will be based in Bellevue, Wash., and will have additional employees in Hungary, Mr. Simonyi's birthplace.
Microsoft has entered into an agreement with Mr. Simonyi and the new company, which includes cross-licenses to patents and gives Microsoft an option to negotiate for rights to the start-up's developments. No money is changing hands as part of the transaction, he said."
Interesting chapter on Simonyi in Go to: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Scientists and Iconoclasts who were the Hero Programmers of the Software Revolution
The Register: The MS Tablet - nice app, but why's it a PC?"It's the Tablet PC that you're supposed to truck around with you, and when it comes down to it we reckon it's all Bill's fault. In his presentations on the subject he's positioned Tablet as a full desktop replacement you take with you everywhere, and pitched it as the product that will likely replace the conventional notebook, and then the desktop PC as well. It, and its successors, probably will, and the addition of writing, then recognition, then maybe voice will be significant benefits for the general-purpose PC platform as it is currently defined.
Who should be doing the defining is a separate argument we won't have here, as is the question of whether PC-centricity is increasingly absurd in an increasingly networked world. Suffice to say, for the moment, that Microsoft's determination to preserve and nurture the PC as the centre of all things is not, in our view, wholly positive. But it is nevertheless what has defined the script for the Tablet PC." The Register: not a fan
The Tablet PC "For now, the bottom line is that the Tablet PC is here, and if I were condemned to never read another book on a paper copy, I'd survive. I wouldn't like that—I like books—but I could live with it. The Tablet PC implementation I have is very nearly good enough even in the beta version, and I can do things with it I can't do with anything else. I really love this thing; and once these get out in widespread use, you can expect the e-book market to boom." Jerry Pournelle is a fan...

Monday, September 16, 2002

The Register: RMS: why open source needs Free Software's ideals Good summary of Stallman perspective on free software, MSFT, etc.
WebServices.Org - The Web Services Community Portal - The 'big boys' unite forces - What does it mean for you? "Understandably, the question arises what has led IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems to virtually ignore existing standards efforts, even those they have helped develop. In the first instance, one would have expected these vendors to work through existing bodies (where they have already membership status) to inject any superior concepts and drive the standards process forward in order to eliminate the need for later convergence." Article includes some useful speculation.
Student Skill Is Expected to Bolster Technology "One fifth of today's college students began using computers from the ages of 5 to 8, the authors state, and an overwhelming 86 percent of them had gone online compared with 59 percent of the general population; 72 percent check e-mail messages at least once a day." Excerpted from this Pew report
Performance Comparison: .NET Remoting vs. ASP.NET Web Services "Though both the .NET Remoting infrastructure and ASP.NET Web services can implement inter-process communication, each is designed with a particular level of expertise and flexibility in mind to benefit a different target audience. If your application needs interoperability with other platforms or operating systems, you would be better off using ASP.NET Web services, as they are more flexible in that they support SOAP section 5 and Document/Literal. On the other hand, use .NET Remoting when you need the richer object-oriented programming model. See ASP.NET Web Services or .NET Remoting: How to Choose for details. In scenarios where performance is the main requirement with security and process lifecycle management is not a major concern, .NET Remoting TCP/Binary is a viable option; however, keep in mind that you can increase the performance of IIS-hosted implementations by adding a few more machines into the system, which may not be possible when using a .NET Remoting TCP/Binary implementation."

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Unauthorized biography of Steve Ballmer turns up little new "I have never come across a less helpful group of public affairs people than Microsoft's propagandists."

Friday, September 13, 2002

Five reasons against migrating Java EJB applications to .NET Via TheServerSide.com. Page had a nice Flash-based VS.NET ad on it, when I read it...
Data Extinction "It's too late for old word-processing files. But new technologies will preserve access to digital photos, music and other electronic records forever." (via Tomalak) Does this mean I should forget about ever retrieving my c1983 Kaypro (CP/M) WordStar files?...
The Register: First ever smiley found, preserved for posterity "The original smiley, or emoticon, invented in 1982 by Scott Fahlman but subsequently lost, has been retrieved through the efforts of Microsoft researcher Mike Jones and facilities staff at Carnegie Mellon University. And isn't it a blessing to find Microsoft Research staff keeping themselves profitably occupied like this, when they could be posing a threat to world freedom instead?"
America Online Is Making More Changes at the Top "In an interview, Mr. Miller said: "This organization wasn't clear about broadband in the recent past. Now we are in it to win it.""

Thursday, September 12, 2002

ZDNet |UK| - News - Story - Oracle appeals to W3C on Web services More fun with politics and standards... but I suspect the BEA/IBM/MSFT train has already left the station
WSJ.com - Amtrak Plans to Test New System For Internet Access on Its Trains "In a test scheduled for next month, riders in a cafe car on an Amtrak line with stops in Harrisburg, Pa., Philadelphia and New York will be able to watch movies and television shows, check e-mail or shop online using interactive touch screens."
The New Arena for Video Games "For example, installing an online game on a PC is, in most cases, only the beginning to actually playing on the Internet. Besides the challenge of configuring the PC and game for online play, the very act of finding someone to play can be an irksome task of wandering virtual lobbies and rooms begging and negotiating by way of keyboard chat.
In contrast, what Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are trying to do is what John O'Rourke, director of worldwide marketing for Xbox, calls making the game experience "console simple," meaning that online games cannot initially demand more than a few button clicks on the control pad."
WSJ.com - Microsoft Faces New Challenge With Linux's Rising Popularity "In the biggest development, Microsoft archrival Sun Microsystems Inc. next week plans to announce its first full-fledged commitment to Linux on desktop PCs. The computer maker, whose server business has been hurt by low-end systems running Microsoft Windows, is determined to counterattack by cutting into Microsoft's cash-cow franchise in desktop-PC software. "We have a chance to be a force for change in the industry," says Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software." ... "IDC estimates that unit sales of desktop versions of Linux grew 49% in 2001, while server shipments of the program were flat. That still leaves Linux with just 2.7% of desktop operating system unit shipments last year, while 94% of those 110 million shipments came from Microsoft. Those figures don't include free copies of Linux; Dan Kusnetzky, another IDC analyst, said some companies distribute 12 to 15 copies of Linux for every one they purchase."

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

XDegrees Home Page Microsoft acquires XDegrees for an undisclosed amount, and the products, solutions, and partners sections of the XDegrees Web site disappear...

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Salon.com Technology | Mozilla rising "All of which is to say: Netscape is doomed. If there are good reasons for Internet Explorer users to switch to Netscape, there are better reasons to switch to Mozilla, which has all the features Netscape offers and none of the downsides -- especially Netscape's AOL Time Warner branding. Indeed, after its very bumpy first few years, during which it was ignored and called a failure, the Mozilla project is now becoming the most interesting thing in browsers. The faithful following of Mozilla developers working on all sorts of side projects -- blogging in the browser, a file manager, a chat client, an emulated Google Toolbar -- may have finally hit critical mass."

Monday, September 09, 2002

Microsoft's Allchin touts future of Windows server platform "Allchin panned Linux, comparing it to a puppy that is cute upon arrival, but then the owner suddenly realizes he must bear the burden of housetraining, feeding, and walking the animal."
ZDNet: Story: The fatal flaw inside MS's new Media Center PCs "If Microsoft's handling of digital-rights management in its new Media Center PCs is any indication, Redmond is perfectly happy to sell out its customers to keep the entertainment industry happy.
What I'm talking about are features built into Windows XP Media Center Edition that let some next-generation PCs act like TiVo-esque personal video recorders (PVRs). The first Media Center machines, due before Christmas from HP, also come with a DVD burner. That combination means you can copy TV programs you've recorded using the PVR features from your hard drive to DVD.
THAT'S WHERE the catch comes in: The DVDs you burn can only be played on the same machine on which they were recorded."
I suspect this won't last long -- e.g., just as Windows Media Player lets you easily turn off copy protection.
Boston Globe Online / Business / Apple's good, but that's no reason to switch "Still, why switch? The newer versions of Windows are themselves mighty fine. In the ads, ex-Windows users gripe that their PCs were flaky and unreliable. It's a fair criticism when aimed at ''Windows 9X'' - the old operating system line that includes Windows 95, 98, and ME. These systems, based on archaic code dating back to the 1980s, were never up to the task of running powerful modern PCs.
But Windows 2000 and XP are another story. After a year's use, my home XP machine has crashed perhaps three times, usually in the middle of some heavy-duty game like Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The Windows 2000 computer at the office has never crashed. Those of us running 2000 or XP listen to the laments of the Mac switchers and wonder what in blazes they're talking about."

Sunday, September 08, 2002

CNN.com - First lady: Turn off TVs on 9/11 - September 8, 2002 "First lady Laura Bush is asking parents to turn off the television on Sept. 11 and instead read to their children and perhaps light a memorial candle." A good plan.
The Onion | Who Will Bring Closure To A Grieving Nation? "One of those average people, Chicago-area homemaker Adrienne Coffey, said she knows exactly where she will be at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11. ... "I want to share the day with others who are feeling what I'm feeling," Coffey said. "I'm going to be right there in front of the TV."
Business Week Online:Microsoft, Beyond the Office "[Raikes] decided to look far beyond his 40 million core customers in America, folks who work overtime on Powerpoint and Excel. His new Office would reach to anyone who used information, even if they didn't create it. This meant new Microsoft products for such workers as pilots and nurses, factory workers and truck drivers. Microsoft figures there are about 117 million people in this country who fit the bill. It's a bold strategy: To reach new customers, Raikes is pushing Office out of the office."

Friday, September 06, 2002

CNN.com - PlayStation 3 thinks outside the box - September 6, 2002 So how come Sony gets positive press when they do vaporstuff (PS 3 in 2005) and MSFT gets bashed?
Are Weblogs Changing Our Culture? By Kurt Andersen and Andrew Sullivan Interesting blog perspectives
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Wake-up call I'm sure Saddam Hussein et al. appreciate this analysis.
WSJ.com - Massachusetts Probe Into CSFB Finds Pressure on Stock Analysts "The analyst noted that another investment banker "informed me of unwritten rule number one: 'If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all.' ... unwritten rule number two: 'Why couldn't you just go with the flow of the other analysts, rather than try to be contrarian.' Rule #n+1: be prepared to go to jail when you break laws...

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Ray Ozzie's Weblog "Servers and browsers are like two peas in a pod, and the Web has largely run its course. In terms of the value that we can get from our own personal computers and the Internet, however, we're still at the dawn of a new era. An era in which software matters, and architecture matters."
Bill Gates Unveils the Next Wave of Digital Media With Windows Media 9 Series A compelling plan to get Real...
An Alternative to Microsoft Gains Support in High Places "Governments around the world, afraid that Microsoft has become too powerful in critical software markets, have begun working to ensure an alternative.
More than two dozen countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including China and Germany, are now encouraging their government agencies to use "open source" software — developed by communities of programmers who distribute the code without charge and donate their labor to cooperatively debug, modify and otherwise improve the software."

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Netscape 7.0 Shrivels Under Mozilla's Shadow "The fact that Netscape 7.0 arrives hot on the heels of the similar but superior Mozilla 1.1 only serves to illuminate the small but significant differences between the two: Mozilla is highly customizable and offers a number of user options, while Netscape forces users to accept many features and functions they probably don't want while removing some they probably do."
WSJ.com - Tech Q & A: Sun's McNealy Sees IT Slump As an Opportunity to Reintegrate "The market has changed completely. Two years ago, we were focused entirely on Internet providers, dot-coms, telecommunication firms and financial-services companies. Over 60% of our revenues came from those areas. Now those markets are as good as gone. We've reoriented ourselves and we're now focused on retail, health care, education and government agencies."

Monday, September 02, 2002

Linux: The Revolution on Film I'll watch for this one on DVD; I enjoyed reading both Just for Fun (Torvalds autobiography) and Free as in Freedom (Stallman biography)
Automated System to Do Student Laundry "Warents of college students like to think that it is family ties that bring their children home for visits. But deep down, many suspect that the bags of dirty laundry that students tote with them might be a significant motivation. ... Now students might find that doing laundry on campus is slightly less burdensome, thanks to a new Web-based system for college laundry rooms. Developed by I.B.M. and USA Technologies, the system will start appearing on thousands of machines in several states this fall." IBM PR scores same-day NYT and WSJ for silly college laundry system...
U.S. Cellphone Users Don't Seem to Get Message About Messaging "What if they had pounded the golden spike into the continental railroad and nobody noticed? ... That is essentially what happened in the United States cellular telephone world last spring. Since April it has been possible for the customers of any of the major United States cellular carriers to send one another short text messages, but most customers still have no idea the service exists. ... But conditions elsewhere are different. Short message service is popular in other parts of the world partly because sending a text message has been less expensive than making a phone call and also because Europe and Asia have lagged behind the United States in e-mail and instant messaging."
WSJ.com - Technology: IBM's 'Smart' Laundry System Lets College Students Keep Tabs on Wash "College campuses have long since wired their dorms and libraries. Now some are going even further: Cyberlaundry. ... International Business Machines Corp. hopes a new system of smart, wired washers and dryers will instill a little efficiency in the college dormitory laundry room, letting students keep tabs on their laundry from anywhere they can access the Internet -- their dorm rooms, the library, or even a cell phone."
Microsoft 'patches' tear at computer users' good will "The bigger problem for most computer users is the sheer number of flaws coming from Microsoft. Each time one is found, Microsoft issues a software "patch" that it recommends be downloaded and installed. Last year, Microsoft issued 60 patches. On occasion, it has had to issue patches for the patches themselves."

Sunday, September 01, 2002

O'Reilly Network: J2EE Open Source [September 01, 2002] "Fleury points out that JBoss provides an affordable way for developers on a budget to use J2EE, and notes that without this alternative they'll likely switch to .NET. McNeally points out that open source J2EE servers pull the rug out from under Sun's Java revenue model. The fact is that other than licensing revenue Sun has no way to make real money off of Java. That's something Sun doesn't need, and the viability of the Java platform without Sun is a very open question. I don't think it's safe to assume that IBM and BEA and the like would be able or willing to take up the load. For Sun, losing the low end (where they can't sell servers anyway) to .NET would not be the worst thing that could happen. Which theoretically implies that it could lose it to JBoss just as easily, if not for the fact that JBoss will continue creeping up towards the high-end."
O'Reilly Network: "Lessig in Three Seconds or Less" -Update [September 01, 2002] Cute
Telecom Wreck Provides an Opening for AT&T "Although AT&T is not the monopoly it once was, the company may soon find itself at the top of the telecommunications pyramid again. After nearly two decades of deregulation that created new competition in every facet of its business, AT&T is still standing even as several upstart rivals — particularly those in the business of serving businesses — are mired in onerous debt, industry overcapacity or financial scandal."