Thursday, July 31, 2003
CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft Releases Beta Code For Whidbey Visual Studio .Net, Indigo Web Services : 12:12 PM EST Tues., July 29, 2003
Sources said the Indigo distributed application layer for Web services and network-based computing, along with the Visual Studio product beyond Whidbey known as Orcas, is due in the Longhorn time frame in 2005.
In a brief interview with CRN, Rudder said Microsoft is enhancing Visual Studio to simplify development for small and midsize businesses.
Rudder also confirmed an earlier CRN report about new technology being integrated into Whidbey, code-named Whitehorse. He said the new modeling paradigm that will simplify 'how corporate developers and business decision makers' work together on applications. "
On Wednesday, Groove Networks, the Beverly, Mass., collaboration software company founded by Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, announced a Web-based collaborative sales system called Virtual Sales Office (VSO)."
This was on the list of proposed features in 1996; I referred to it as "DB2NSF" at that time. It is indeed a very cool+powerful option, but its utility will in part be a function of the DB2 schema approach -- if it all dumps to a db with form, view, and document tables, for instance, it won't be all that useful.
1) The user can quickly and easily navigate through information in ways that the site providing the information didn't expect
2) The user can run offline as well as online
3) If information changes and the user is connected, then the changes can be "pushed" into the UI if so desired
When I talk to customers about why on earth they are still using Java Applets or VB to build user interface, frequently the reasons are because they can't do these three things otherwise.
Similarly, when I say "Web Services" I don't mean that all of the SOAP crap is required. I mean that a service exposes some way to send/receive XML messages to/from it. REST is fine if it works (more on REST in another entry).
So, to summarize, a Web Services Browser is a browser that can access information published as XML messages by services, let the user interact in a rich and graceful way with this information or these services, but can run well in terms of interaction whether the user is online or offline.
Let me give an example. Suppose I'm managing a project and I want to be able to review the project status while I'm on the road. I want to be able to sort by task priority, or employee or amount the task is late. I want to be able to update priorities, add comments, add tasks, and so on. If I am online, say at Starbucks or the airport or Hotel, then I want to be as up to date as possible and I want all the changes I've made offline to percolate back to the project. If i'm online and information changes in the service, I want to see the changes immediately flow into the page I'm viewing if they're relevant to it so that if, for example, I've viewing a summary dashboard style page and some tasks get updated I can see at a glance that the have changed. If I switch machines to my mobile PDA or just connect in through someone else's computer or an Internet kiosk, I still want to see/update the information of course."
Taylor, a 10-plus-year Microsoft veteran, has held a variety of posts at Microsoft. He started his career working on programs for resellers and integrators in Microsoft's Washington, D.C., office. He also worked in the company's New York office for a couple of years, managing Microsoft's organizational customer unit team. For another two years, he served as the general manager of Microsoft Caribbean, which is based in Puerto Rico.
Taylor rose through the ranks, and for the past 18 months was director of business strategy for CEO Steve Ballmer. His latest mission was helping Microsoft develop a way to measure customer satisfaction with Microsoft partners.
Microsoft also is dissecting what makes Linux tick in its own Enterprise Engineering Center (EEC). The EEC is focused primarily on helping Microsoft customers with deployments of new Microsoft software. But Microsoft also has built a simulated Linux environment at the EEC, Taylor says, where Microsoft developers can experiment with open-source operating systems, firewalls, scripting environments and the like.
"It was a great learning experience for us," Taylor says. And the lab is helping Microsoft analyze areas where open source is weak and where Microsoft should redouble its efforts—such as in single-sign-on technology, Taylor says."
But there's a positive trend hiding behind this gloomy picture. Inside the service's Virginia headquarters, AOL's software designers seem to have snapped out of the coma they were in during the years when their bosses were focused on swallowing media giant Time Warner. The place is bubbling with ideas again, and some key executives from the old glory days are back and leading the charge.
The result is AOL 9.0 for Windows, the most sweeping upgrade to the AOL software and service in years. This new version of AOL, being released Friday, isn't a dramatic breakthrough. Many of its best features are long overdue and represent a catch-up effort. But it puts AOL on a par with MSN in most key areas, and pushes ahead in a few others. On balance, it gives AOL a slight lead again.
Friday's release is for broadband subscribers using Windows XP or Windows 2000. Dial-up subscribers, and those with earlier Windows versions, will get AOL 9.0 next week. Macintosh subscribers won't get a new version until next year."
Nice of Walt Mossberg to take the long view on AOL, especially since it'll be 2004 before the majority of AOL users (non Windows 2000/XP) will benefit...
"Whidbey will enable existing .NET Framework 1.1 customers to take advantage of support for 64-bit CPUs without changing source code, Rudder said. It will also allow customers to leverage advances in security and administration and improvements in performance and scalability without any source code changes."
I wonder if Google is doing anything that MSR isn't also exploring...
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
For Lowe, software called Groove from Groove Networks Inc. in Beverly, Mass., is facilitating a swarming approach that enables quick collaboration among internal and external talent.
Groove gets around connectivity problems in Asia by chopping files into small pieces and sending them one at a time as the connection allows. That means high-bandwidth messages and even video files, which previously often crashed in midtransmission, can be safely shared, Schoonover says."
* Visual Studio .NET "Whidbey" will provide enhanced debugging, no-touch deployment and other features such as Edit and Continue, maintaining Microsoft's long-established tradition of placing a premium on developer productivity.
* The .NET Framework "Whidbey" will enable existing .NET Framework 1.1 customers to immediately take advantage of support for 64-bit CPUs, advances in security and administration, and improvements in performance and scalability -- without any source code changes.
* Windows® client application development capabilities will be enhanced in the "Whidbey" version of the .NET Framework. Developers will be able to develop more-sophisticated solutions using a broad palette of new data and user interface controls and take advantage of deployment enhancements that will make it simpler for applications to be installed and versioned.
* Web application development with ASP.NET will be improved with new controls for data access and visual appearance that reduce code in common scenarios by up to 70 percent, significantly improving performance of even the most demanding Web sites, and that provide enhancements for more-robust and secure Web services.
* Mobile application development for the .NET Compact Framework will be extended in Visual Studio .NET "Whidbey," enabling the creation of applications that run on the latest devices, including the Smartphone, Windows CE .NET 4.2-based devices and the newest versions of the Pocket PC.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
The number one browser overall, Internet Explorer 6.0, controls 66.3 percent of the market, compared to 14.5 percent for IE 5.5 and 12.7 for IE 5.0. Mozilla is in fourth place with 1.6 percent of the market, but the total market share for browsers based on Mozilla technology is about 4.1 percent. Alternative browsers such as Opera and Safari barely register on the chart, with 0.6 and 0.25 percent of the market, respectively; both are used less frequently than the legacy Netscape Navigator 4.x browser, which also hails from the late 1990's.
In recent months, Microsoft has sharply altered its Web browser strategy, largely because IE is so dominate and there is little pressure to provide users with constant updates. The next major IE revision will come with IE 7.0, part of the Windows Longhorn release, now due in 2005. However, Microsoft will release a pop-up ad blocking feature as part of its upcoming MSN 9 software, a subscriber-fee browser product that is based on IE technology. MSN users today are enjoying the sort of rapid product updates that IE users once enjoyed; Microsoft released MSN 8 in October 2002 and followed that up with a version 8.5 release last month. MSN 9 will ship by the end of the year, Microsoft says."
Yes, I think they should build a new operating system, as much from scratch as necessary to solve Windows's most intractable problem: It's not all that easy to use and really isn't getting any easier. It's also bloated with features and controls that most people never need, further weakening its ease of use.
In short, we need a new Microsoft OS that's actually easy to use, runs easy-to-use applications, and adapts itself to each user's specific digital environment--the other computers, phones, music devices, video gear, still cameras, etc., with which most of us surround our PCs."
So much fun to be provocatively opinionated, and to set the stage for a fictitious "I told them so!" when Longhorn details are unveiled... Such a fine line between journalism and entertainment, these days.
Timely and useful essay. Sad that the author had resort to "I've included commentary from my fictional friend, Outraged Reader, henceforth known as OR. So please, if OR's sentiments match yours, do me, and yourself, a favor and save your e-mail" to reduce the fanatical flaming...
Though discontinued two years ago, Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube commands a strong -- almost fanatical -- following. Used Cubes fetch premium prices on eBay, there's a thriving trade in aftermarket upgrades, and dedicated owners are going to extreme lengths to keep their much-loved machines current."
Monday, July 28, 2003
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Of course this would have been the headline, if it were MS instead of Sony showing a 42% drop in game console sales...
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Of this figure, Blogcount attributes more than 1.6 million active users to the top three centrally hosted services [LiveJournal, Blogger, and DiaryLand].
Roughly 2 percent of the online community has created a blog, according to Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's corporate parent). Interestingly, the majority (60 percent) of bloggers are dialing up to access their online journals, and more than half (57 percent) have a household income below $60,000 per year. Jupiter also found that blogging is split evenly among the genders, with most (70 percent) bloggers having an online tenure of more than 5 years."
I wonder how many had higher incomes before they started blogging....
Friday, July 25, 2003
"My latest column "When change is wrong" details my odyssey with Lotus Notes -- how I inherited it, decided to migrate from it, and ultimately decided not to go through with it for sound business reasons. Just a few minutes ago, I read a post in our forums from Ken Yee (maintainer of the Lotus Notes FAQ) that said I should be shot for using Lotus Notes for only e-mail because it offers so much more. In my column, I had complained about how tightly-coupled all the parts of Notes are, and Ken sees that as an advantage:
This tight integration is precisely why Notes does what it does so well. It was the first widely available PKI infrastructure, so your users can sign and encrypt documents. Security is an inherent part of the infrastructure, down to the document level, and even field level if you use encryption. You have applications (and their constant improvements) that replicate out with your data, so you don't have to have a separate infrastructure to push out new applications to users. Your users can run Notes apps remotely. All of this packaged in a RAD (Rapid Application Development) environment that lets developers (and even power users!) automate a company's unique workflows. Your developers don't have to waste time building their own pipes and infrastructure and can concentrate on making your company more efficient.
Having someone like Chad as a CTO to guide your company's technology decisions is pretty scary
I guess every day at InfoWorld is Halloween. :) In any case, I would suggest that Ken read Ray Ozzie's essay "Extreme Mobility," which carries some extra weight since Ray drove the original concept and development of Notes. Ray's eloquent and credible critique of Notes and his description of the design decisions behind Groove resulting from his experience in building Notes really resonate with me as a daily Notes and Groove user. Groove has it right because Ray has it right. (So does the CIO of a 100,000+ employee company, whom he quotes anonymously.) It feels good to be on the phone, drop a file into a secure "shared space" and have the person on the other end say almost instantaneously -- "got it!" No dealing with replication, firewalls, or other annoyances. That's the way collaboration needs to work in 2003.
The new environment we're all operating in does create a certain amount of fear, but I'm guessing that the folks at InfoWorld who are being productive with Groove wouldn't see my leadership as "scary" -- they're too busy feeling empowered."
"Our customers told us they could better understand and relate to 'Live' and associated it with the potential to do more things while connecting with other people," said Dustin Grosse, senior director of marketing for the Real-Time Collaboration Business Unit at Microsoft. "The new name reinforces Microsoft's commitment to help businesses realize their potential by achieving optimal efficiency, productivity and agility."
Microsoft® Office Live Meeting 2003, formerly PlaceWare Conference Center, and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, formerly Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003, are distinct yet complementary offerings, so it is fitting that they share a consistent naming convention. Live Meeting also will be part of the Office brand, clearly identifying it as a member of the company's highly anticipated Microsoft Office System of programs, servers and services to be released later this year.
Live Meeting will continue to deliver its current expansive feature set, reliability and scalability. Future versions will offer customers increased functionality and capabilities."
Microsoft's plans in the computer security field have created both fear and skepticism in that industry. Its competitors have said they fear that Microsoft will govern that arena in the same way it attacked Netscape and came to dominate browser software.
But despite a concerted effort to improve the reputation of its products for security and stability, Microsoft has been plagued by a series of embarrassing computer security flaws, including a new security hole in a program used to play video and audio files that it made public on Wednesday.
Mr. Gates acknowledged today that the company's error reporting service indicated that 5 percent of all Windows-based computers now crash more than twice each day.
He said that Microsoft would pursue the computer security market aggressively. "Because it's a growth area, we're not being that coy with them about what we intend to do," he said."
Verizon Wireless, the joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC that is the largest U.S. cellphone carrier, is likely to sell the phone later this year, according to a person familiar with that situation. This person said the phone likely will use a dual-mode chipset developed by Qualcomm Inc. that would operate both on Verizon Wireless's network in the U.S., which uses CDMA technology, and on the networks of operators elsewhere in the world, such as Vodafone's, which use a GSM standard. It is currently impossible for U.S. customers of Verizon Wireless or Sprint Corp.'s PCS unit to use their phones in much of the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Orange SA, a unit of France Telecom SA and one of Europe's leading cellphone carriers, also intends to begin selling the clamshell handset in Europe later this year, according to one of the people familiar with that matter."
Microsoft aims to change all that. Its Microsoft Business Solutions unit provides enterprise applications aimed generally at the low end of the mid-market - that is, companies with 100 employees or less. Over the next three to four years, the vendor will bring out an integrated suite of enterprise applications that will include supply chain and customer relationship management, as well as professional services automation solutions for small firms."
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Political blogging on page 1 of The Boston Globe
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
"You have to care about how people interact with one another and [about] social dynamics in order to be successful in this kind of endeavor. And so, if you find yourself talking about technology a lot, you're probably not thinking about the right thing."
"Hmm, I wonder how long it'll be before Microsoft makes me carry around one of Wozniak's new devices so they'll know where I am? Oh, wait, I already carry around RFID. Heh. Well, we can both play this game. I can see it now: the "where's Bill Gates' car?" Web service.
Hey, Steve, send me one of these, and I'll promise to carry it around everwhere so all my webloggers will be able to see where I am."
After losing billions in cable investments, the software company is no longer trying to buy its way into the business. Instead it will focus on building software that cable companies want to buy, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said yesterday at a cable-industry conference in Seattle.
"While I would never say never, I also don't think you should have any expectation that we think we'll be doing a lot of new investments in cable companies," he said after his keynote speech at the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing event.
Microsoft makes software for cable set-top boxes. It's also trying to extend its home and entertainment business with products such as the Xbox game console and the Media Center PC, a computer that records and plays music and video.
Microsoft invested at least $10 billion in cable companies in the late 1990s, then reported billions in losses during the industry's shakeout over the past two years."
The software company has used Europe as the target of an initial foray in the market for so-called smartphones, which look like conventional cellphones but are able to download and run sophisticated games and other computer-style software. Only 5.9% of the one million smartphones shipped in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the second quarter were controlled by Microsoft software, according to British research firm canalys.com Ltd. About 94% ran software supplied by Symbian Ltd., a London consortium owned by British computer company Psion PLC, Nokia Corp., Motorola Inc. and several other leading phone makers. The vast majority of the smartphones in the survey were shipped to Europe.
Revenue in Microsoft's mobile- and embedded-devices division, which supplies software for smartphones and personal organizers, is small but growing steadily. The division generated revenue of $156 million in the year ended June 30, compared with $112 million a year earlier.
Much of the growth is due to market-share gains in the personal-organizer market, where devices from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp. use Microsoft software. Canalys's figures show 53% of the personal organizers shipped in the second quarter to Europe, the Middle East and Africa use Microsoft's software, while 42% use software developed by hand-held computer maker Palm Inc. of Milpitas, Calif. Symbian's software is barely used in this market.
But analysts say it is more important for Microsoft to make headway in the smartphone market, which is expected to become much bigger than the personal-organizer market."
Monday, July 21, 2003
Although limited in scope, the trials by Comcast Cable and Time Warner Cable could serve as a beachhead for Microsoft TV as it attempts to take on the TV Guide Interactive software that dominates the digital-cable market. Microsoft hopes the trials will lead to broader agreements with the companies and others."
Both sell business-intelligence software, which helps companies analyze information generated by databases and other programs. The market, though relatively small, has been growing quickly.
Business Objects, which was founded in France but has most of its operations in San Jose, Calif., became in 1994 the first European software maker to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Chief Executive Bernard Liautaud and co-founder Denis Payre have near-celebrity status in European business circles and have come to symbolize a new, entrepreneurial generation."
This is a big one, with many implications; Crystal's products are very widely OEM'd, and the list of successful ISVs is getting shorter, though consolidation...
ReplayTV's new 5500 model, which will go on sale next month, will no longer be able to skip entire commercials automatically without recording them or to send recorded programming over the Internet to other ReplayTV users outside a home network. The recorders will, however, still be able to store large libraries of programming indefinitely and allow users to skip manually through recorded commercials in 30-second increments."
Critics see this not as accommodation, but as capitulation.
"Companies are under considerable pressure to bow to the wishes of the entertainment industry. This is unfair and anticompetitive," said Jeff Joseph, vice president and spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association, a manufacturers' trade group. "If advertisers and broadcasters are seeing their traditional business model threatened, then it would behoove them to consider alternative business models."
(There is, after all, a reason why it's called "commercial television.")
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Friday, July 18, 2003
Evans Data Corporation: SQL Query and stored procedures top database operations invoked by Web services
Developers were evenly split between targeting Microsoft's .Net architecture and Sun's J2EE at 54% and 53% respectively. J2EE leads with those developers targeting it more than half the time at 14% compared to .Net's 10% share.
"Clearly, Web services dominates the agendas of database developers. SQL Query is a mainstay for today's databases but it's interesting to see that a majority intend to use XML Query language as well. With so many different applications and data stores across the enterprise, developers that want to use Web services will need multiple approaches to reach their data," said Joe McKendrick, Evans Data's database analyst."
Via Analyst Views
Item: We keep hearing that IE has 95% market share, 99%, is effectively universal, that we’re locked in Bill’s trunk. Except for, the proportion of IE users here at ongoing recently crossed the 60% line, heading down. I don’t want to brag, but I’m historically very mainstream: if you’d made a practice, over the last two or three decades, of betting on the technologies I was mixed up in, you would have made serious money (with the single exception of VRML, sigh)."
Tim Bray is an amazingly accomplished and insightful person, and his blog is thought-provoking. I think a couple other variables need to be factored into this analysis, however:
1. For the vast majority of people, IE is more than good-enough for their browsing needs.
2. Microsoft has many opportunities to advance the client experience with Longhorn. I've seen a lot of speculation about potential downsides or obviously dumb things MS could do (e.g., MSN favoritism etc.), but not a lot of thoughtful and objective analysis of what could happen if MS does a great job and doesn't impose too much of a "strategy tax" on MSN etc. etc.
In many respects the current browser and debates remind me of the MS-DOS-versus-CP/M debates during the days before GUIs mainstreamed. Apple and Microsoft (among others) are optimistically placing huge bets on next-gen stuff, but most of the reviewers and pundits are assessing tomorrow's potential by comparing it with yesterday's reality.
Server Platforms had strong revenue growth of 17 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year, fueled by 24 percent growth in Windows Server (TM) revenue and 34 percent growth in Microsoft® SQL Server (TM) revenue. In addition, the company reported increasing demand for enterprise editions of its core server products, as customers continue to turn to Microsoft for their mission critical workloads. In the fourth quarter, Microsoft launched the Windows Server 2003 family of products, which is already seeing strong customer adoption."
I don't doubt that XQuery is useful, but it's counterproductive to make this kind of assertion about replacing SQL.
"In terms of the grand scheme of content generation and content management and things of that nature, there's a lot of comparison between InfoPath and Adobe," Bobby Moore, product manager with InfoPath at Microsoft, told internetnews.com, based on the limited information Adobe has released to date. More will become apparent when the product, expected to be a stand-alone, goes to beta in the fourth quarter.
But whereas Adobe's plans for a PDF/XML Form designer (the product has yet to be named) are geared toward a broad reach scenario in which an organization publishes a form which could then be downloaded by an end-user anywhere, filled in and submitted back to the publisher, Moore said InfoPath is aimed squarely at the knowledge worker and small group collaboration.
"The broad reach scenario where you're posting a form somewhere and you don't know what type of machine [the end user is] running is not actually a scenario that InfoPath is designed for," Moore said.
However, while InfoPath is not designed for such a scenario, that doesn't mean that Microsoft doesn't support it. "Visual Studio .NET allows you to design all kinds of Web forms that are schema-compliant," he said."
Thursday, July 17, 2003
I'm sure all of the IBM customers who are under the impression they've already purchased WCM from IBM will be pleased to read this.
"A new feature you may have noticed at Technorati is Member Profiles. They're an easy way to find out more information about the people behind the weblogs. Anyone can become a Technorati member simply by signing up.
Once you're a member, you can choose to give more information about yourself and the weblogs for which you are an author.
You can "claim" your weblogs by submitting the weblog URL and then adding a small HTML snippet to the front page of your weblog. Technorati verifies that you are indeed an author of the weblog by spidering your weblog, looking for the special code you placed on your weblog.
Once you've done this, your picture and profile will be associated with all links to your weblog in any Technorati Link Cosmos. We're also working on a bunch of new features that will make writing (and reading!) weblogs more fun. Watch this space. You can "claim" your weblogs by submitting the weblog URL and then adding a small HTML snippet to the front page of your weblog. One of the first benefits you get as a Technorati member is that your profile information is available whenever your weblog is mentioned in a Technorati Link Cosmos. We're also working on a bunch of new features that make writing (and reading!) weblogs more fun. Watch this space."
"Jonathan Miller (of AOL)nbspis on stage at Stanford's AlwaysOn conference for the first time publicly showing AOL 9.0's roll-your-own personal portal for consumers. ISPs must respond in kind. The days of portals just for businesses have ended. As well as AOL Journals, a blogging service.
AOL will introduce publish-and-subscribe calendars later this year, Miller says. Will they use interoperable Internet calendaring standards, or will AOL users be locked in AOL's calendaring trunk?
Bob Frankston asks what business AOL is in, and whether that's akin to the old monopolistic phone company. With no mention this morning of Internet standards in the areas of presence, video or calendaring, I'm guessing Frankston's mention of the old Ma Bell makes sense. Fortunately, the Internet can route around non-standard presence, video and calendaring. [Scott Mace's Radio Weblog]
These comments by Scott Mace from the Always On conference mean I can finally show some of the work we did for AOL over two years ago.nbsp It seems they're doing a lot of what we told them to do. I just love the idea of 30M end-users creating their own 'personal portals'.nbsp This is great news!
It won't be too hard for us to create complementary products that understand the digital lifestyle scenario.
Here's an interface for young girls (something Mimi will use soon.....)
And here's an interface - based upon a refridgerator.....
I just LOVE the idea of AOL opffering personal portals!"
The point I'm trying to make is that all other things being equal, Google will skew results towards online stores and pages linked to by the blogging community. (And away from books towards articles, though that's a slightly different point.) You can make things less than equal by doing more refined searches, but that doesn't mean the skew isn't important. This reminds me in a way of the old debate about Microsoft controlling the desktop -- the Microsoft folks would always say, "people can install their own application icons on the desktop so what's the big deal if our icons come as part of the default setup?" The point is that default biases in widely used tools have real effects, even if there are relatively easy ways around them.
Here's a more real-world example of the bias at work, which is equally self-reflexive: search on "steven johnson emergence." The top ten results are either from blogs, Amazon product pages, or the O'Reilly Network (very big with the open source and blogging communities.) Now, Emergence was reviewed by the NY Times, the Economist, the Village Voice, the UK Guardian, and dozens of other major publications with huge readerships. But Google doesn't think those results are as relevant as blogger reviews. Now, I'm a blogger, and I love the blogging community, so I think in a way that this is not necessarily bad news. But it's hard not to see it as a kind of bias."
No decision has been made on whether Microsoft actually has infringed on InterTrust's patents. But the so-called Markman hearing was a critical stage, at which definitions of terms and the scope of the patents were decided. Patent attorneys say a decision in favor of a patent holder greatly improves a lawsuit's ultimate chance of success. Armstrong's ruling was issued on July 3."
Later on, though, he says that Flash makes Macromedia more money than anything Microsoft does (Dreamweaver's bigger... see slide 5), so I'm not sure of the entire set of quotes here."
First instance of this type of analysis I've seen from Microsoft; makes me wonder if CF MX is seeing strong momentum. ASP.NET runs on Apache via a Covalent product?
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Microsoft is basing its real-time vision on a combination of clients, tools, services, and application integration. Clients track contact status and initiate real-time communication sessions. Microsoft currently has two primary real-time clients: Windows Messenger, built into and available exclusively on Windows XP, and MSN Messenger, which runs on multiple Windows versions as well as on Mac OS 9 and X. Windows Messenger is focused on businesses; MSN Messenger is a consumer-oriented offering.
Microsoft's real-time tools include text chat, audio, video, application sharing, and Web conferencing/meeting tools. Both of Microsoft's strategic clients can be extended with additional tools and services. For example, I can invite my Windows Messenger contacts to start Groove because I installed Groove on my PC (and it optionally modifies the Windows Messenger action list).
Services supporting real-time communication include:
Identity and authentication using Active Directory for enterprises and Passport for consumers and small businesses.
Presence awareness and session initiation using the soon-to-be-released Office Real Time Communication Server 2003 (ORTCS 2003, previously code-named "Greenwich") for enterprises, and .NET Messenger Service for consumers and small businesses.
Alert and notification services are required for person-to-person communication, such as notifying someone that you wish to begin an audio chat with them, and for other types of real-time alerts like subscription-based alerts for traffic, news, and stock market headlines. Microsoft currently relies on .NET Messenger Service for notification and offers, along with partners, a wide variety of alert types as well as a software developer kit for developers who wish to use .NET Alerts with Windows Messenger. ORTCS 2003 will play a key role here as well, in business contexts.
Web conferencing and meeting services supplied by PlaceWare, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year.
Application integration is required for real-time contextual collaboration - extending applications and solutions so that people can leverage real-time tools without leaving their current work context. For example, Outlook (XP and later) and MSN e-mail users can see if the person who sent them an e-mail message is currently online and available if the person is also in their Windows Messenger or MSN Messenger contact list. SharePoint, starting in 2003, has similar capabilities.
(See the full article for more.)
Unless I'm missing something, this isn't a case of Adobe playing catch-up with InfoPath; it's Adobe taking the estimated seventy-something percent market share it has in the e-forms market through its Accelio (née Jetform) acquisition and more closely aligning it with Acrobat.
However, the project never has been able to regain the ground it lost to Microsoft during its initial four years of development, partly because the resulting browser always was marketed toward developers.
Currently, Mozilla owns only 1.2 percent of the browser market. Netscape has 2.9 percent, and IE controls 95.3 percent, according to OneStat.com."
Reminds me of a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Come back, you coward, I’ll bite your knees off!"
Via JD on MX
The acquisition will strengthen IBM's Lotus portfolio with new Web content management software that will enable users to contribute and collaborate on assembling, approving and deploying content to a portal or website. It will also help accelerate IBM's plans for the Lotus Workplace Content Development offering. That product will be built based on the Aprtix technology, will accelerate the development and delivery of critical business information and help lower the cost of managing content. The Lotus Workplace Content Development software is available immediately."
This is one of those good news/bad news situations. The bad news is that AOL is laying off about 50 people involved in Netscape and Mozilla, according to a spokesman, and this spinoff is part of the overall changes. At least a few of the folks who'd been working on the Mozilla project, while on AOL's payroll, are gone. These are tough times in which to lose a job."
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Use live XSLT Data Views to bring external data into SharePoint Portal sites. The WYSIWYG XSLT editor in FrontPage makes it easy to create sites that connect to XML files, Web services and OLE DB data sources.
Easily deploy data-driven pages on new Web sites using Web packages and reusable collections of Web pages
Create Web logs, issue-tracking lists, and news and reviews sites with just a few mouse clicks, and post them to the Web using just their browser "
"Web log" -- closest reference to "blog" I've seen in an official MS product announcement.
This isn't a binary equation; blogs are fine for more personal themes when they have sufficient role-based security/privacy/access control/etc., but for unrestricted domains, think scripta manent (writing remains) and occasionally ponder what Google did with Usenet content etc...
+1 on that -- a further pet peeve is when sites launch into PDFs without warning (especially inconvenient when you're running a browser full-screen with auto-hide menu/tool bar)
Monday, July 14, 2003
I'll tell you this: the old IBM/Accenture model of selling young programmers at X amount of dollars per hour is dead. China and India are killing that. So if consultants don't bring new ideas they'll fail, because you can't win by selling kids anymore. That can be done cheaper in China or India, so consultants have to win on new ideas. Accenture's whole advertising campaign is about that now, and I bet IBM bought Pricewaterhouse for that same reason. (Just to pick two firms I'm familiar with.) I mean, that's what I'd do: I'd look for new ideas, new methods, new approaches, new concepts, and new tools that you could bring to clients. Clients really expect that. I remember a senior vice president at General Electric telling some people I was with: 'I expect you people to come in here with new ideas. If you tell me what I already know, I don't need to waste my time with you.' I thought he was exactly right. The people he told that to were annoyed, but I figured: 'Well, why shouldn't he say that?'"
Very timely and insightful interview
Among computer programmers, he has attained near-guru status. Will Wright, the creator of "The Sims," the nation's most popular computer game, routinely cites him as a major influence. And he's an unlikely inspiration behind a powerful movement in software design known as object-oriented programming.
Now Mr. Alexander's iconoclastic reputation is likely to grow some more. This spring, he finally completed his four-volume, 2,150-page magnum opus: "The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe." After laboring over it for 27 years, Mr. Alexander had a falling out with his editors at Oxford University Press and is now publishing the work himself through his Center for Environmental Structure, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley dedicated to promoting his ideas. (Sun Microsystems contributed money to help defray printing costs.)"
Is it politically and socially better? The jury is still out. Radical format changes rarely win converts, and there are many who believe that the window of opportunity for change has already passed."
Via Chris Sells
Friday, July 11, 2003
"This will be a head-on collision with Oracle, you bet," Orlando Ayala, a Microsoft senior vice president who runs sales to small and mid-sized companies, said in an interview. "They are moving down to smaller customers, and we are moving up."
"Ayala acknowledged that the company still isn't aiming to be the main program used by big companies such as Ford, just one application used by a specific division. He wouldn't rule out the possibility of entering that market in the future."
"We'd never disregard entering that part," he said. "But it won't be next year."
So I guess few people took "software scale-out" seriously, if this comes as a surprise...
"DP What do you think is happening with databases in terms of open source? What is the Linux of databases?
JG I think it's exciting. Very small teams built the early database systems. A small team at Oracle built the original Oracle, and there were small teams at Informix, Ingress, Sybase, and IBM.
Twenty-five people can do a pretty full-blown system, and ship it, and support it, and get manuals written, and test it. The Postgress and MySQL teams are on that scale and likely represent the leading open-source DBMSes out there. Maybe the teams are getting larger at this point. A few years ago the DBMSes lacked transactions, optimization, replication, and lots of other cool features, but they are adding these features now.
The lack of a common code base is one of the things that has held back the database community and has been a huge advantage for the operating systems community. The academic world has had a common operating system that everybody can talk about and experiment with.
It has the downside of creating a mob culture. But the positive side is everybody has a common language and a common set of problems they are working on. Having MySQL as a common research vehicle is going to accelerate progress in database research. People can do experiments and compare one optimizer against another optimizer. Right now, it is very difficult for one research group to benefit from the work of others.
The flip side is this: What does this mean for the database industry as a whole? What does this mean for Oracle and Microsoft and DB2 and whoever else wants to make a database system?
So far, MySQL is very primitive and very simple. It will add features, and the real question is, can it evolve to be competitive with Oracle, Microsoft, and DB2?
Those companies spend a huge amount of energy on quality control, support, documentation, and a bunch of things that are thinner in the open-source community. But it could be that some company will step forward and MySQL.com will displace the incumbent database vendors.
The challenge is similar to the challenge we see in the OS space. My buddies are being killed by supporting all the Linux variants. It is hard to build a product on top of Linux because every other user compiles his own kernel and there are many different species. The main hope for Oracle, DB2, and SQLserver is that the open-source community will continue to fragment. Human nature being what it is, I think Oracle is safe.
DP Is MySQL.com trying to be the Red Hat of MySQL?
JG It could be that they will step forward and provide all of those things that IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle provided, and do it for a much lower price. I think the incumbent vendors will have to be innovative to make their products more attractive.
One thing that works in the incumbents' favor is fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). If you base your company on a database, you are risking a lot. You want to buy the best one. People are usually pretty cautious about where they want to put their data. They want to know that it's going to have a disaster recovery plan, replication, good code quality, and in particular, lots and lots and lots of testing.
The thing that slows Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft down is the testing, and making sure they don't break anything—supporting the legacy. I don't know if the MySQL community has the same focus on that.
At some point, somebody will say, "I'm running my company on MySQL." Indeed, I wish I could hear Scott McNealy [CEO of Sun Microsystems] tell that to Larry Ellison [CEO of Oracle].
DP The whole corporation?
JG Right. Larry Ellison announced that Oracle is now running entirely on Linux. But he didn't say, "Incidentally we're going to run all of Oracle on MySQL on Linux." If you just connected the dots, that would be the next sentence in the paragraph. But he didn't say that, so I believe that Larry actually thinks Oracle will have a lot more value than MySQL has. I do not understand why he thinks the Linux problems are fixable and the MySQL problems are not."
Fascinating interview -- read the full transcript; via Tim Bray
Macromedia - Press Room : Macromedia Breeze Live Delivers Online, Real-time Training and Communication
Interesting entry and application of Flash Communication Server
Interesting debate in the responses
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Then Marc talks about the gender of Longhorn. Awesome stuff. Yeah, my wife is different than me. Thankfully!
What does Longhorn need more than anything else? Tools!
Why? Well, as an evangelist, I want tons of great apps for my wife to use on Longhorn (Longhorn is the code name for the next version of Windows). How is she gonna get those great apps? Developers are gonna have to create them. How are devs and artists gonna create apps for the operating system most of us will use in 2005 and beyond? Tools!
Translation: Marc, we gotta get you to sing at the PDC.
Deep translation: Marc, if you can't get funding with such an opportunity ahead of you, the valley must really be messed up. Here's your chance to kick our behinds again!"
That is happening, but not necessarily as Microsoft planned. All sorts of new software is indeed running on Xbox consoles these days, and they are in fact becoming home-entertainment hubs, but it is not Microsoft doing the amazing.
Rather, an online confederacy apparently numbering in the thousands - including accomplished hackers of varied motives and everyday technophiles like the Manhattan financial executive (who shared his experience on the condition of anonymity) - is taking the lead. Those involved often call their efforts "unleashing" or "unshackling" - freeing the Xbox to express its inner PC. Technology industry executives, however, often call such activity a bald attempt to hijack the Xbox illegally."
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
The isolation means that these workers receive critical job information, such as safety notices, customer requests, schedules, and policy guidelines, much later than their wired counterparts. The workers are mainly kept “deskless” by the nature of their jobs, typically in the fields of healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. Not only are companies losing in productivity, they’re also paying through the nose to maintain traditional means such as printing and distribution of paper updates for keeping deskless workers informed."
While I'm sure these vendors would love to open new markets for their prole-mail products, I think this kind of sponsored "research" is both hypocritical and overly simplified.
But QVC's advantage also lies in the overall shopping experience. In the end, watching QVC is a far richer and more satisfying event than shopping at Amazon.com. Customers can call in and chat with the hosts. Sales operators offer everyone who calls a friendly voice in the night. Purchasers are subject to the warmth of human suasion rather than the cool logic of data and text information. Online shoppers have to seek out Amazon and then search for items on it. By contrast, QVC reaches out to its customers. What's more, QVC offers more instant gratification to impulse buyers and serious shoppers alike. An insomniac with a credit card and a touch-tone telephone can make a purchase from the comfort of her couch. Despite all the hype, t-commerce still beats e-commerce."
Mr. Ellison, chief executive of Oracle Corp., has long led the market for databases -- software that acts as a kind of universal filing cabinet and a foundation for writing other programs. That success gave Oracle the resources to move up market into business applications, and to make its recent $6.3 billion hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc. to try to accelerate that push.
But now, Oracle and other database suppliers face a growing threat from below: 'open source' databases, which give customers a free or low-cost alternative to commercial products. While the impact has been small so far, some analysts expect open-source software to eventually turn databases into a low-cost commodity, just as the open-source Linux operating system is posing a threat to Microsoft Corp.'s Windows franchise."
"Oracle executives will discuss industry trends Wednesday at an annual meeting with financial analysts at the company's headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. Ken Jacobs, Oracle's vice president for product strategy, says MySQL's offering "is certainly interesting, but I don't see it as competition for Oracle. Not now and not for some time to come."
"MySQL's chief executive, Marten Mickos, makes a virtue of his product's stripped-down simplicity. "Software shouldn't be glorified," he says. "We say, 'Let's do this as compactly as possible and then sell it at a price that blows the competition away.' "
WSJ demand generation for MySQL...
Sant, Kinko's, PlaceWare and Encounter Team Up to Deliver New Integrated Sales-Effectiveness Solution
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Good summary of current trends and issues.
Look for draconian laws -- the kind where you potentially go to the slammer for using a hidden camera. Would that be the least bad solution? I'm not sure, but this issue will not go away."
Well, that's changed. Microsoft has retaken the top spot in market cap — stock price times number of outstanding shares — after a rally that has pushed its stock price to a close yesterday of $27.42, almost $4 higher since its low in early June of $23.67."
McDonald's has said it will test Wi-Fi in several hundred restaurants in three major markets by year's end. A spokeswoman for the company declined to discuss its plans for San Francisco ahead of a planned event in that city Tuesday, but she said offering wireless is "all about being the most convenient, relevant choice for our customers."
McDonald's has been experimenting with different pricing schemes for charging its customers for wireless access. In New York, the chain was offering an hour of free wireless access with the purchase of a full meal during its initial promotional period; the service is now completely free in New York until the end of the month, said a spokesman for Cometa Networks Inc., a wireless provider that's working with McDonald's in New York."
Monday, July 07, 2003
Now, that same technology is being tested for use in AOL Time Warner (AOL ) Communicator e-mail software, with familiar features such as a screen saver and a ticker with data ranging from stock quotes to sports scores. "Anyone who remembers PointCast would look at this and say: 'Wow,"' says former Infogate CEO Clifford Boro, whose company once owned PointCast.
It has been quite a ride. In 1997, PointCast boasted 1.5 million users, had raised $48 million, and was sitting on a $450 million buyout offer from News Corp. (NWS ) But PointCast was too early. Broadband connections were rare, and users grumbled that PointCast was too slow. In 1999, Infogate bought PointCast for just $7 million. Infogate fixed PointCast's code, making it faster and leaner, then quietly sold the technology and patents to AOL in March. PointCast's time may finally have come."
When, unexpectedly, Lotus became an instant success (albeit with one of the world's least formally trained or experienced CEO's -- me), it seemed to me a golden opportunity to foster a corporate culture which would be less subject to the failings I found so irksome. I'm as proud of our accomplishments in this realm and as certain of their long-term impact as I am of the company's contributions to application software and its use.
If we can demonstrate that it's possible to create great product under these conditions, and if we can continue to find a balance between the pragmatic necessities required to actually ship code and the idealistic values we profess, if we can find ways to integrate those values into our day-to-day process, then I think that will be a contribution on the order of whatever it is we actually produce as product."
David Trescot, senior director of Adobe's digital video products group, said the new edition of Premiere is a complete rewrite of the application and it didn't make financial sense to support the Mac anymore.
"We were rewriting Premiere from scratch, and it would have taken a lot of work to have cross-platform support," Trescot said.
The Mac already has several competing video-editing applications, including Apple's Final Cut family of products, making for a small and crowded market, he said.
"If Apple's already doing an application, it makes the market for a third-party developer that much smaller," Trescot said. "I think you're going to find that more and more--if Apple's in a software market, third-party vendors are going to skip it."
And if you think digital imaging/video aren't strategic to Adobe, take a look at the revenue sources bar chart in this article.
That's less than half the $750 million Gates agreed to pay AOL this past May to settle a lawsuit over damages to Netscape Communications, which Case bought in 1999. Maybe Gates should have bought AOL after all, before it buried itself in debt."