Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Don Box's Spoutlet: PDCs Past

Don Box's Spoutlet: PDCs Past "...The .NET PDC - Orlando 2000
The best PDC since 1996. CLR, ASP.NET, XML Web Services, VS.NET, XLang, you name it. Almost too much technology for one PDC. For me, this PDC marked the beginning of the turnaround for Microsoft's relationship with the developer community.
The Hailstorm PDC - Los Angeles 2001
Of all the PDC's I've attended, this one had the best food. The trip to Cielito Linda for taquitos was especially memorable."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Dell signs on to Microsoft goal of PC as media center

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Dell signs on to Microsoft goal of PC as media center "Microsoft is expected to announce today that Dell will start selling Microsoft-designed Media Center PCs that blur the line between TVs and computers.
Also being announced today is a Microsoft partnership with online music service Musicmatch, which built a special version of its Internet radio service that can be controlled with the Media Center remote control."

Put Down that Apple: MusicMatch Music Store Gets It Right

Put Down that Apple: MusicMatch Music Store Gets It Right: "On Monday digital media player maker MusicMatch quietly launched a new digital music download service that rivals Apple's iTunes Music Store but runs on Windows. Like Apple's service, MusicMatch Downloads offers users 99 cent song downloads and full albums for $9.99. The service also offers digital rights management features that are virtually identical to those offered by iTunes, making it much easier on consumers than rival Windows services such as BuyMusic.com. But MusicMatch Downloads has some unique advantages over rival services, such as higher-quality downloadable songs than the competition."

WSJ.com - Microsoft Takes On Consumer Electronics With Its New PC

WSJ.com - Microsoft Takes On Consumer Electronics With Its New PC "For years, executives in the consumer-electronics industry have pigeonholed personal computers as office equipment, rather than entertainment centers for the home. The PC is too complicated and fragile, they think, ever to be as widely used as the TV.
Microsoft Corp. hopes to change that image by launching Tuesday a new breed of living-room PCs developed in a collaboration with hardware makers such as Dell Inc. and Japan's Sony Corp. The new machines will play digital music, videos, games and control personal digital recorders such as the popular TiVo all from one remote control. The goal: to capitalize on the explosion of consumer-electronics and digital entertainment by rolling all those functions into one PC.
"Microsoft also will announce an online guide built specifically for Media Center that can be used to access different kinds of content over the Internet including news, music and karaoke. Napster, CinemaNow Inc., and MovieLink are expected to announce Tuesday that their services will be available through this online guide. Film buffs, for example, will be able to click on the icon for CinemaNow and select from a list of more than 1,200 movies to download. Consumers will be able to pay for the film by punching in a credit-card number -- on the remote."

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Seattle Times: Amazon's influence: Authors, artists court the online-retail giant

The Seattle Times: Amazon's influence: Authors, artists court the online-retail giant "Acerbic commentary aside, Franken and other authors have become a steady presence inside the walls of Amazon .com because of the site's ability to be precisely that: a benchmark by which authors can measure how well they're faring with consumers.
It's why Amazonians have received private book signings, mini-performances and even cooking demonstrations from a host of authors and artists ranging from Franken to famed barbecue author Steven Raichlen to country-music entertainer Roseanne Cash.
"Amazon is an early indicator of consumer enthusiasm," said Laurie Brown, senior vice president of marketing and sales at San Diego-based Harcourt, which enjoyed strong publicity for its book "Life of Pi" on the site."

Exclusive: PDC Attendees to Get Aero Demo Only

Exclusive: PDC Attendees to Get Aero Demo Only "In a bid to maintain its competitive advantage while it preps Windows Longhorn for release over the next two years, Microsoft will not provide attendees at the Professional Developer Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles with the code for Aero, Longhorn's exciting and innovative graphical user interface. Instead, attendees will receive a special Longhorn build with the Aero bits removed, and Microsoft executives will only provide a special demonstration preview of Aero during Chairman Bill Gates' keynote address. I've now verified these plans with several sources at and close to Microsoft."

Bummer, especially if, as the article later suggests, Longhorn is now scheduled for late 2005.

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack "New product tags equipped with microchips and tiny antennas could one day make it easy to scan all the groceries in a bag simultaneously, allow businesses to locate any item in a warehouse instantly and enable the Defense Department to better manage inventories of mundane necessities like meals and spare boots. Hitachi announced this month that it has developed tags so small that they can be embedded in bank notes to foil money launderers and counterfeiters.
Tags with the technology known as radio frequency identification, or R.F.I.D., transmit a digital response when contacted by radio signals from scanning devices. Older versions of the technology have been around for decades, but now major manufacturers and retailers and the Defense Department are pushing to speed the development of a new version that could be read by scanners anywhere in the world, making it cheaper and more efficient to track the flow of goods from global suppliers to consumers."

The RFID/EPC debate continues; also see a recent USA Today opinion.

Netflix Uses Speed to Fend Off Wal-Mart Challenge

Netflix Uses Speed to Fend Off Wal-Mart Challenge "Wal-Mart has enough money "to send a man to the moon," Mr. Hastings said. "We alternate between stark raving fear and bracing optimism."
So far, Netflix has stayed several steps ahead of Wal-Mart and other threats, like movie services using streaming video technology over the Internet.
Netflix "has taken one step by moving its stores onto the Internet," says Michael Ramsey, chief executive of TiVo, the digital video recorder service, and a Netflix board member. "The next step is moving into electronic distribution."
"I'm worried that we'll be the king of DVD's," Mr. Hastings said, "but then someday that won't matter."

Barron's Online - Plugged In: Andreesen v. Ellison: Marc Tells "Why Larry's Wrong"

Barron's Online - Plugged In: Andreesen v. Ellison: Marc Tells "Why Larry's Wrong" "Andreesen respectfully -- and quite understandably -- disagrees. He contends that we are simply entering another era of computing, and for the first time in his career, Ellison is on the wrong side of the curve. "For 25 years, he has been on the right side of trends," Andreesen says. "Now, he's using consolidation as a self-serving prophecy."
Andreesen argues that Oracle's core database business has matured, and Ellison is desperately groping for growth and using Darwinian takeover tactics as a way to obfuscate his company's potential irrelevance. Ellison built Oracle by emulating once-formidable Digital Equipment's vaunted database during the minicomputer era. Conventional wisdom was that databases needed to be purchased from the same vendor that made the computer. Ellison saw great opportunity in defying that thinking, launched his own best-of-breed database company -- at least from a marketing and sales standpoint if not a technological standpoint -- and the rest is history. Oracle has proven to be the dominant database concern of client-server computing.
"Either Larry is completely wrong or just very good at [rewriting history], otherwise Oracle should not exist today," Andreesen retorts."

WSJ.com - No Late Fees: Disney Will 'Beam' Rental Movies Directly Into Homes

WSJ.com - No Late Fees: Disney Will 'Beam' Rental Movies Directly Into Homes "Disney Monday plans to begin rolling out Moviebeam, a low-cost effort to deliver movies from most of the Hollywood studios directly into homes, where they can be watched on demand. The service -- which will be launched initially in Salt Lake City; Spokane, Wash; and Jacksonville, Fla. -- works like this: Consumers pay a monthly fee of $6.99 to use a device containing a 160-gigabyte hard drive that holds 100 movies, which is plugged into the back of a TV set. A charge also is assessed for each movie that is watched. A phone line must be plugged in to the box for billing purposes. In one market Disney will experiment with a $29.99 activation fee as well.
The Moviebeam box will be regularly refreshed with new digital movies that are delivered to it not via digital cable, satellite or the Internet but through the old-fashioned pipeline of broadcast airwaves. Manufactured by Samsung Electronics, the receiver has a small but powerful antenna that resembles a tiny propeller. Through a process known as datacasting, Moviebeam perpetually transmits movies to the device's hard drive in tiny bits of data that travel alongside the normal broadcast stream of a local ABC or PBS station, without interfering with regular TV broadcasts. While the service currently uses the analog broadcast spectrum, it is equipped to take advantage of digital broadcasts when they become more common."

I've read that disk cost ~$1/gig these days, so I suppose this is practical...

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide "Critics have complained about the computerized slide shows, produced with the ubiquitous software from Microsoft, since the technology was first introduced 10 years ago. Last week, The New Yorker magazine included a cartoon showing a job interview in hell: "I need someone well versed in the art of torture," the interviewer says. "Do you know PowerPoint?"

This just in: Microsoft PowerPoint indirectly responsible for the Columbia disaster...

Boston.com / Business / Myhrvold aims to reinvent the spirit of inventing

Boston.com / Business / Myhrvold aims to reinvent the spirit of inventing Nathan P. Myhrvold, the frenetic and intellectually versatile founder of Microsoft Research, may turn out to be the Thomas Edison or Edwin Land of his generation.
...Myhrvold, who was in town last week to keynote the Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT, thinks the culture of invention has frayed in recent decades, partly because the Pentagon and other government agencies have backed away from longer-term projects. Most invention today emanates from a constellation of laboratories at universities like MIT or Stanford, where the primary mission is research and innovation, and at corporations like Microsoft or IBM, where the primary mission is improving software or computer design. Too often, he believes, today's research labs avoid big ideas and are confined by the commercial or academic interests of their sponsors."

Philip Greenspun's Weblog: the things that I hate about Microsoft

Philip Greenspun's Weblog: the things that I hate about Microsoft Interesting list; also check the comments/debate, in which Microsoft's prolific Robert Scoble appears to be intent on personally responding to every complaint.

Via Dave Winer, who's having lots of hateful thoughts lately.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

The Sharer: Questions for Linus Torvalds

The Sharer: Questions for Linus Torvalds "The thing is, at least to me personally, Microsoft just isn't relevant to what I do. That might sound strange, since they are clearly the dominant player in the market that Linux is in, but the thing is: I'm not in the ''market.'' I'm interested in Linux because of the technology, and Linux wasn't started as any kind of rebellion against the ''evil Microsoft empire.'' Quite the reverse, in fact: from a technology angle, Microsoft really has been one of the least interesting companies. So I've never seen it as a ''Linus versus Bill'' thing. I just can't see myself in the position of the nemesis, since I just don't care enough. To be a nemesis, you have to actively try to destroy something, don't you? Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect."

Via Mitch Kapor

Friday, September 26, 2003

Microsoft Is Ready to Supply a Phone in Every Computer

Microsoft Is Ready to Supply a Phone in Every Computer: "'Microsoft is going to suck the value out of the telecommunications companies,' said David Isenberg, a former Bell Laboratories researcher who has written about the impact of the Internet on traditional communications networks. 'Microsoft is going to do end-to-end Internet telephony, and they're going to do it right.'"

I was reminded of this 2001/06 NYT article recently by all of the Skype-related threads. While Windows Messenger certainly hasn't "sucked the value out of telecommunications companies" yet, given firewall and NAT traversal challenges, I think the integrated PC telephony scenarios are still going to come to fruition much faster than most people expect.

Taking XML's measure |CNET.com

Taking XML's measure |CNET.com Tim Bray: "The basic algorithms by which search is done have not improved much since about 1975. The only way to improve the situation is by enhancing search engines with more deterministic metadata, essentially adding knowledge management techniques that give you more information from which to draw connections. If you look at the victory of Google in the search engine business, it wasn't because they had better search techniques. It's because they deployed one key metadata value--how many pages are linked to this one--to enhance the relevancy of their results. The same concepts need to be applied to the enterprise.
There are really two ways to get information: search and browse. And browse has a lot of potential. But to work, the drill down has to be intuitive. It cannot be stupid. You have to be really aggressive about bringing the relevant stuff to the top. You can't force the person to go through multiple levels to get to what they want."

Thursday, September 25, 2003

InfoWorld: Microsoft prevails in Office Smart Tag patent suit: September 25, 2003: By : Applications

InfoWorld: Microsoft prevails in Office Smart Tag patent suit: September 25, 2003: By : Applications: "Microsoft Corp. has won a patent lawsuit brought against it by Hyperphrase Technologies LLC and Hyperphrase Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin. The case, due to go to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Oct. 6, was decided by summary judgment Wednesday. "

I was deposed for this suit, since I've written a couple reports on smart tag technology. It was a fascinating experience, and reminded me I am very glad I didn't go to law school...

Line56.com: Collaboration: Oracle Sounds Off

Line56.com: Collaboration: Oracle Sounds Off "Collaboration is in the limelight these days, and Oracle wants to make sure that its Collaboration Suite gets a share of attention. That isn't necessarily an easy goal, given that Lotus, Microsoft, and Sun have released, or are about to release, the next generations of their own collaboration products. Because of the flurry of activity, Oracle considers this an opportune time to express its vision and draw attention to its differentiators."

NYT: Microsoft Office 2003 Reviewed

Microsoft Office 2003 Reviewed "In Office 2003, Microsoft has made shockingly few changes to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The message seems to be: "You people didn't like it when we piled on features? O.K., fine. Let's see how you like it when we add none at all."
In a way, the company is conducting a fascinating experiment in human psychology: will the masses reflexively buy the upgrade just for the sake of owning the latest?
Speaking of payment, by the way, Office 2003 requires a PC running Windows 2000 or Windows XP. If you're among the millions of people with an earlier version of Windows, you had better factor a Windows upgrade into the price - and therefore maybe a new computer. Monopolies have their privileges."

Despite the negative tone in the intro and concluding sections, the rest of the review is fairly balanced and useful.

WSJ.com - Amazon Plans Search Service To Drive Sales

WSJ.com - Amazon Plans Search Service To Drive Sales "Amazon.com Inc. has quietly established a beachhead in Silicon Valley to develop its own Web-search technology, a plan that could pit it more directly against Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. in an emerging battle over who controls the major paths to online merchants.
Amazon's new foray is called A9, a subsidiary it has set up in Northern California to tap into Silicon Valley's large pool of software engineers. The region is home to Yahoo, Google and lesser search companies and is the de facto world center of Web-search technology.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has charged the new unit with developing software that will help keep the company competitive as online shopping habits evolve. Increasingly, Web shoppers buy products through retailers they found by conducting Web searches, rather than by going directly to retailers' sites.
In recent weeks, Amazon has been interviewing candidates for about 30 positions at A9 and has made a number of hires. Udi Manber, a computer scientist and former Yahoo executive whom Amazon hired last year, is the president of A9 and is overseeing the recruitment efforts.
A9 is wholly owned by Seattle-based Amazon but will operate as a separate company, says Alison Diboll, an A9 spokeswoman. Amazon plans to market the A9 technology to other Web sites as well as use it itself. "The whole business objective is to create the best e-commerce search technology out there," says Ms. Diboll. "We will start up in October with about 30 people and expect to grow significantly over time."
A9 says its software will be aimed specifically at online shoppers, not users who want to perform general search requests for things such as sports statistics or news. A9 declined to provide many details on how its technology will work, but said it will present products found on Amazon in an "egalitarian" fashion with products found on other Web sites."

WSJ.com - Tech Bodies Argue Whether Microsoft Is Security Threat

WSJ.com - Tech Bodies Argue Whether Microsoft Is Security Threat "Computer-security experts and a high-tech trade group traded barbs over whether Microsoft Corp.'s dominance in personal-computer software is a threat to national security, fueling a broader debate over the relative merits of Microsoft's products and so-called open-source software.
In a statement Wednesday, seven computer-security experts said Microsoft's products are "riddled with flaws" and "inherently dangerous" for software users and society at large. The experts released the report at a meeting in Washington, D.C., of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which is backed by Microsoft rivals Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp.
In response, Americans for Technology Leadership, a trade group that counts Microsoft as a member, denounced the report as a "shameless" effort to "advance the interests of a few" companies by exploiting broader fears over national security."

Perhaps Sun and Oracle should increase investment in their own products and reduce spending on political action committees.

WSJ.com - Kodak Shifts Focus From Film, Betting Future on Digital Lines

WSJ.com - Kodak Shifts Focus From Film, Betting Future on Digital Lines "Finally yielding to technology changes that have made its signature product outdated, Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing a big strategic move away from traditional film and plans to bet its future on new digital markets.
In a risky move that the company characterizes as a historic shift, Kodak is expected to announce Thursday that it will boost investment in nonphotographic areas and make new forays into digital territory dominated by big, entrenched competitors. It intends to compete head-on with Hewlett-Packard Co., Canon Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp. by launching a line of ink-jet printers for consumers, an effort that could be several years away. Kodak, leveraging an existing joint venture, also plans to expand its product line in the high-end digital-printing market, in a challenge to leaders Xerox Corp. and H-P.
At the same time, the company says it will make no more significant long-term investments in traditional consumer film -- nothing, it says, as ambitious as its move to develop the alternative-format Advanced Photo System in 1996.
Today, traditional film and photography account for 70% of Kodak's revenue and all of the company's earnings from operations. By 2006, the company says, its traditional business will shrink to 40% of revenue and half of all earnings. Currently losing money, the digital business, meanwhile, will grow to 60% of revenue from its current 30% over the same time frame, and will account for half of earnings from operations, the company predicts."

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Economist.com | Sun Microsystems: The Dell of software?

Economist.com | Sun Microsystems: The Dell of software?
"Sun now sees Java, a software brand, as a prime asset to be exploited. So its new server software is called Java Enterprise System, its desktop products Java Desktop System, and so on. “This will turn us into the Dell of the software industry,” says Mr Schwartz, by which he means a low-cost disrupter of the status quo. It is another precarious analogy, given that Sun still has to demonstrate that it can hold its own against Dell in hardware."

Xbox broadens appeal with karaoke

Xbox broadens appeal with karaoke "As Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox enters its third holiday season, the company is hoping to broaden the appeal of its video-game console and online game service to customers by offering extras that have nothing to do with video gaming at all.
In addition to scores of new video game titles, Microsoft this fall will be selling "Music Mixer" -- a package of software and a microphone that turns the Xbox console into a karaoke machine spouting the music of Gloria Gaynor and others.
The software also lets customers transfer their music files and digital photos to their Xbox consoles, which can play music and display photos on the TV screen."

Xbox Sales Surge Entering Crucial Holiday Season

Xbox Sales Surge Entering Crucial Holiday Season "On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that its Xbox video game console was gaining significant market share growth as its competitors falter entering the crucial holiday selling season. According to a report by NPD group, sales of the Xbox rose 6 percent year over year (measured from August 2002 to August 2003), while sales of the Sony PlayStation plunged 36 percent and sales of the Nintendo GameCube fell 22 percent. According to the group, the Xbox now accounts for 27 percent of video game console sales in the US."

Scott Durgin in RSS mode

Scott Durgin in RSS: Blogspot

Always insightful on real-time communication/collaboration and other topics

.NET Magazine - Assess RFID's Transformational Potential

.NET Magazine - Assess RFID's Transformational Potential "Get an introduction to Radio Frequency Identification's (RFID) compelling—but controversial—capabilities, and its role in Microsoft's product plans."

Windows Server System Magazine (aka .NET Magazine) article I recently co-authored with Lynne Harvey Zawada

Fighting the Fevers

Fighting the Fevers: "Here's a titillating scoop: Bill Gates has an assignation planned today with Botswana prostitutes, not just one of them but a whole team!
Wait, it gets kinkier: He's bringing his wife, Melinda.
This encounter between the world's richest man and some of the world's poorest prostitutes is part of Mr. Gates's new passion: doing to AIDS and malaria what he did to Netscape. He's going to talk to the prostitutes about male and female condoms, the sex trade and safe sex options as part of his campaign to understand and ultimately defeat AIDS in Africa."

The Register: Skype: putting the hype in VoIP

The Register: Skype: putting the hype in VoIP "Reading interviews with the KaZaA founders and looking at their new web site, Skype we think that their second revolution has a chance of being even bigger than their first. Perhaps it's called Skype to rhyme with Hype.
The idea is to use peer-to-peer networks to give free voice over IP telephone calls to the masses, and not just calls to a special instant messenger-like registry of friends, but to virtually anyone.
The KaZaA founders, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, are the people working on the project.
If you go to their Skype web site you are greeted with the expression "525,000 downloads and counting." In all the articles about Skype this number has mostly been cited as 60,000
The Web never stands still, although Skype has some way to go to reach the 250 million KaZaA downloads. Does this mean that half a million kids have started their own telephone network without asking anyone?
Sounds like it. What if everyone using a P2P network could talk to everyone else on such a network for free? The revenue reduction that has hit music labels will begin to have the same annually deterioratingeffect on telcos."

The World Outside the Web - Neal Stephenson's new book upends geek chic. By Paul Boutin

The World Outside the Web - Neal Stephenson's new book upends geek chic. By Paul Boutin "Having made it through what is essentially a full-sized novel, it takes more than a deep breath to dive back in for Quicksilver's two remaining 300-page sections. Will readers hang in there, and then return for two more 1,000-page tomes next year (The Confusion and The System of the World) to learn how it all fits together? More likely, the Baroque Cycle will join Gödel, Escher, Bach—which prompted several college friends to name their computers "Escher" and then get sucked into programming instead of finishing the book—in inspiring a generation of propellerheads who will often quote it but never finish it. It's impossible to say what fields of study they'll apply themselves to, but Stephenson's core message is what matters in these post-bubble days: You haven't missed your chance. Budding geniuses who can no longer feign interest in what happens to Neo and Trinity will gladly immerse themselves in Quicksilver's mercurial amalgam of science, fiction, and history, at least for the first installment. But jeez, Neal, 3,000 pages? Newton invented calculus in less time than it'll take to read about it."

Fascinating to see so much blog buzz on the book -- Stephenson's influence clearly runs deep.

We're in quite a Newtonian book cycle; also check out James Gleick's Isaac Newton.

I wonder what Harold Bloom, who crucified both Harry Potter and Stephen King in an article in today's Boston Globe, would have to say about the Stephenson and Gleick books...

Microsoft's Windows dominates the OS market on the web according to OneStat.com (OneStat.com) - Pressi.com

Microsoft's Windows dominates the OS market on the web according to OneStat.com (OneStat.com) "OneStat.com ( http://www.onestat.com ), the number one provider of real-time web analytics, today reported that Microsoft's Windows dominates the operating system market with a global usage share of more than 97 percent. The leading operating system on the web is Microsoft's Windows XP with a global usage share of 38.48 percent. Microsoft's Windows 98 has a global usage share of 22.56 percent and is the second most popular OS on the web.
The global usage share of Apple's Macintosh operating system is 1.49 percent and the global usage share of Linux is 0.51 percent on the web."

Via WatchingMicrosoftLikeAHawk.com

Sun and Adobe to Advance Document Workflows on Sun's New Java™ Desktop System

Sun and Adobe to Advance Document Workflows on Sun's New Java™ Desktop System "Furthering wide-ranging industry support from independent software vendors (ISVs) for Sun's new Java™ Desktop System, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE), today announced the two companies are working together to enable users to leverage Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) documents in their business-critical processes. Adobe and Sun announced the completion of an agreement granting Sun the right to redistribute Adobe's award-winning Adobe® Reader® software with Sun's Java Desktop System."

WSJ.com - H-P Moves to Protect Clients Against Potential Linux Suits

WSJ.com - H-P Moves to Protect Clients Against Potential Linux Suits "Martin Fink, H-P's vice president for Linux, said the company considered a countersuit against SCO, but ultimately decided to guarantee indemnification for its customers against any SCO legal action instead. "Countersuits just raise more of a legal cloud," said Mr. Fink, though he declined to rule out filing a countersuit in the future.
By indemnifying its Linux customers, of which H-P has "tens of thousands," Mr. Fink said H-P will take over any litigation and defend against any claims on behalf of its clients. He added that this will apply to any customer that has acquired Linux on an H-P server or workstation as of Oct. 1.
If SCO proceeds with legal actions against H-P's Linux customers, that could potentially run up a hefty legal bill for H-P. Mr. Fink said H-P "is in a position to take that risk." He declined to comment on the costs H-P might incur in the process."

Microsoft Office 2003: A New Strategy

Microsoft Office 2003: A New Strategy "Office 2003 is about collaboration. It's about efficiency and a streamlined workflow. To start, the new Office integrates well with an improved Microsoft SharePoint service, allowing workers throughout a company to collaborate and work on documents. A central SharePoint portal lets team members post files, participate in threaded discussions, link to dynamic Web content, generate tables based on information in corporate databases, and so on. More important, however, is that the Office 2003 applications tie directly into the corporate system. You can, for example, share Word documents without ever leaving Microsoft Word and chat with coworkers from within applications."

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Philip Greenspun's Weblog: Java is the SUV of programming tools

Philip Greenspun's Weblog: Java is the SUV of programming tools "A project done in Java will cost 5 times as much, take twice as long, and be harder to maintain than a project done in a scripting language such as PHP or Perl. People who are serious about getting the job done on time and under budget will use tools such as Visual Basic (controlled all the machines that decoded the human genome). But the programmers and managers using Java will feel good about themselves because they are using a tool that, in theory, has a lot of power for handling problems of tremendous complexity. Just like the suburbanite who drives his SUV to the 7-11 on a paved road but feels good because in theory he could climb a 45-degree dirt slope. If a programmer is attacking a truly difficult problem he or she will generally have to use a language with systems programming and dynamic type extension capability, such as Lisp. This corresponds to the situation in which my friend, the proud owner of an original-style Hummer, got stuck in the sand on his first off-road excursion; an SUV can't handle a true off-road adventure for which a tracked vehicle is required."

Via Don Box

O'Reilly Network: Distributed Computing Economics and the Semantic Web [Jim Gray ppt]

O'Reilly Network: Distributed Computing Economics and the Semantic Web [Sep. 22, 2003] "I went to see Jim Gray speak the other night. He was the first speaker in this fall's Distinguished Speaker series at SDForum. I liked the talk a lot. In particular, I very much enjoyed the part of his talk dealing with Distributed Computing Economics.
The argument itself is basic economic analysis, and can be boiled down to the notion that since everything costs money, you should consider the costs of everything when building applications. In particular, Gray focuses on the costs of cpu time (small, and dropping all the time) and the cost of network bandwidth (not so small, and decreasing at a slower rate). By putting actual dollar values on things, Gray is able to draw some startling conclusions about when it makes sense to use grid-computing techniques, and when it makes sense to either use a LAN-based system or a single machine (as opposed to distributing the computation over a WAN, or using "on-demand" computing).
In particular, he says the following: the break-even point is 10,000 instructions per byte of network traffic, or about a minute of computation per MB of network traffic. That is, unless the cpu time at the other end of the pipe is free, and you get a minute of computation for every MB of data you send to it, you're better off doing the computation locally.
Now along comes Gray, making an argument that, when you think about it, implies that the semantic web, as currently conceived, might just be all wrong. His basic point is that it's far cheaper to vend high-level apis than give access to the data (because the cost of shipping large amounts of data around is prohibitive). Since the semantic web is basically a data web, one wonders: why doesn't Gray's argument apply?"

(Jim Gray's ppt)

Wired News: Putting Your Calls Into Context

Wired News: Putting Your Calls Into Context "In Pittsburgh, a research team at Carnegie Mellon University's Institute of Technology, or CIT, has developed a new context-aware mobile-phone technology called the SenSay. The SenSay cellular phone, still in prototype stage, keeps tabs on e-mails sent, phone calls made and the user's location. The phone also adapts to the user's environment.
To provide data about the user, SenSay uses motion sensors (accelerometers), a microphone, a heat-flux sensor (to measure the heat coming from the user's body) and galvanic skin-response sensors. These sensors are housed in a light, stretchy wireless armband. A GPS device helps to determine the user's position, both outdoors and inside a building."

They should try this at Dartmouth (see below)

A New Kind of Revolution in the Dorms of Dartmouth

A New Kind of Revolution in the Dorms of Dartmouth "This week, as classes begin, the 1,000 students entering the class of 2007 will be given the option of downloading software, generically known as softphones, onto Windows-based computers.
Using the software together with a headset, which can be plugged into a computer's U.S.B. port, the students can make local or long-distance telephone calls free. Each student is assigned a traditional seven-digit phone number.
The software, supplied by a variety of companies, works on laptops and desktop computers alike. Over the next six months, the softphone platforms will expand to include Apple computers, as well as Palm and Pocket PC hand-held devices."

Add a Bluetooth headset and software to auto-switch my calls to a device based on my location/preference profile, and I'm ready to sign up...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Microsoft Makes Friends, Influences ISVs

Microsoft Makes Friends, Influences ISVs "Microsoft's campaign to convince third-party independent software vendors (ISVs) to embed Microsoft-developed components into their own products seems to be meeting with some success – at least in Europe. Microsoft announced this week that 14 software vendors have signed up to become early adopters of the Microsoft Business Framework, a layer of software that builds on top of the .Net Framework."

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Bill Gates, Joel Klein on Same Team

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Bill Gates, Joel Klein on Same Team "It was nice to see two old adversaries, Bill Gates and Joel Klein, sharing a stage last week. In the Clinton era Klein headed the Justice Department’s fruitless antitrust suit. Klein is now in charge of the New York City public schools to which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made a $51 million grant to establish 67 small, themed high schools. According to the New York Times: “Asked about their previous dealings, Mr. Gates nodded and barely cracked a smile. "I'm glad to be working on the same team," he said. Behind him, Mr. Klein flashed a sheepish grin."
Such philanthropy (the latest in a series of high-profile initiatives) doesn't lessen Bill's responsibility for visiting the indignities of Windows and Office on computer users the world over, but it is to his considerable credit nonetheless, and it does balance a bit better the scales which weigh his overall impact."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: How a patent suit by a technological David brought a Goliath judgment

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: How a patent suit by a technological David brought a Goliath judgment "Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said the changes the company is considering are minor and will have minimal impact on the industry and customers.
"We often license technology when it makes sense and brings value to our products," Desler said. "In this particular case we believe the patent is invalid. There was no infringement. We like our prospects on appeal and will not pay for technology at the rate (Eolas) is seeking."

New Sun Microsystems Chip May Unseat the Circuit Board

New Sun Microsystems Chip May Unseat the Circuit Board "Written off lately by the computer industry as a has-been, Sun Microsystems may still have a few tricks up its engineers' shirt sleeves.
On Tuesday, Sun researchers plan to report that they have discovered a way to transmit data inside a computer much more quickly than current techniques allow. By placing the edge of one chip directly in contact with its neighbor, it may be possible to move data 60 to 100 times as fast as the present top speeds.
The new breakthrough is based on an insight by Ivan E. Sutherland, a Sun vice president and research fellow who is a pioneer of modern computing. Dr. Sutherland, 65, was a co-founder of Evans & Sutherland, an early maker of high-performance computers. He is also the inventor of interactive computer graphics."

WSJ.com - Camera Phones Pass Milestone In Photo Market

WSJ.com - Camera Phones Pass Milestone In Photo Market "For the first time, global sales of cellphones with built-in cameras surpassed sales of conventional digital cameras in the first half of 2003, a milestone in the mobile-phone industry's drive to capture a chunk of the photography market, new research shows.
Driven by surging demand in Japan and South Korea, mobile-phone makers shipped 25 million handsets with built-in cameras world-wide in the first half of the year, compared with four million in the year-earlier period, according to Anglo-U.S. research firm Strategy Analytics. In the same time frame, shipments of conventional digital cameras, the fastest-growing segment of the traditional camera market, doubled to 20 million in the first half, the firm said."

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Boston.com / Business / Sifting rubble of AOL Time Warner for breaths of life

Boston.com / Business / Sifting rubble of AOL Time Warner for breaths of life "Following Washington Post reporter Alec Klein's "Stealing Time," Wall Street Journal "Boomtown" columnist Kara Swisher and contributor Lisa Dickey have put together the summer's second book on this $115 billion "deal of the new century" turned fiasco. Swisher and Klein recount many of the same themes and suggest that AOL's Steve Case must rank as one of history's shrewdest deal-makers, trading in bubble-inflated AOL stock for an iconic, cash-cow media giant just before the bubble burst.
Swisher's book, however, has far more empathy for the key people involved, making it ultimately more readable and insightful, if perhaps too kind. Klein cobbles together episode after episode of AOL venality and perfidy in the manner of a prosecutor's multicount indictment. Swisher narrates human foible and brilliance, a train-wreck tale brightened by plenty of personality -- including her own, sparkling through in laugh-out-loud observations on almost every page."

Competitor comes to aid of Microsoft in royalty case

Competitor comes to aid of Microsoft in royalty case "Ray Ozzie, the software designer who wrote the Lotus Notes program, may try to derail a $521 million verdict against Microsoft Corp. to help save the company from having to make changes to its Internet Explorer browser.
Microsoft last month was found to have violated a patent held by Eolas Technologies Inc. and the University of California. Lotus Notes used similar technology before Eolas applied for its patent, and that may clear Microsoft, Ozzie wrote on his Web site last Saturday. He called on software writers to check their products for similar innovations, called prior art."

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Pursuing the 17th-Century Origins of the Hacker's Grail

Pursuing the 17th-Century Origins of the Hacker's Grail "The hacker's dream is also Mr. Stephenson's novelistic terrain, and it has helped make him a cult figure among the digerati. In his 1992 cyberpunk novel, "Snow Crash," Mr. Stephenson imagined an ancient Sumerian "virus" composed of sound and image that, once resurrected, could disrupt not just computers, but also the workings of the human brain. Ideas of code and encryption were at the core of his best-selling 1999 book, "Cryptonomicon," which playfully leaped between World War II code breaking and contemporary code making.
Now, in "Quicksilver," (William Morrow) the first volume of a projected three-volume, 3,000-page historical epic — which is already among the top 30 best-selling books on amazon.com even though it is still unavailable — Mr. Stephenson is seeking the origins of the hacker grail, the moments when the world first seemed an incarnation of number and information. In a narrative as crammed with detail as Waterhouse's stacks of cards, Mr. Stephenson's characters romp through the late 17th and early 18th centuries."

Friday, September 19, 2003

Advanced Web Services: Secure, Reliable, Transacted Web Services: Architecture and Composition (Web Services Technical Articles)

Advanced Web Services: Secure, Reliable, Transacted Web Services: Architecture and Composition (Web Services Technical Articles) "IBM, Microsoft, and others in the industry are often asked to make Web services more secure, more reliable, and better able to support transactions. In addition we are asked to provide these capabilities while retaining the essential simplicity and interoperability found in Web services today.
This paper provides a succinct overview for the set of Web service specifications that address these needs. For the details of the specifications we provide references to the actual documents. The main purpose of this paper is to briefly define the value these specifications provide to our customers. We also describe how these specifications complement each other to compose robust environments for distributed applications."

Barry Talks! : Terabytes, Petabytes and Metadata

Barry Talks! : Terabytes, Petabytes and Metadata: "Disk capacities double every year, and thus within a decade or so we will be seeing commodity 200 terabyte disks in home PC's. That is an enormous amount of data: by comparison, the entire contents of the United States Library of Congress requires something around a tenth of that, around 20 terabytes, give or take a few hundred gigs. (It's somewhat humbling to think that a person's lifework, say, the collected works of Shakespeare, can easily fit on a floppy disk.)
Put a different way, in 200 terabytes one can store the entire accumulated knowledge of the human race with much more than half the disk to spare.
All this capacity raises two fundamental questions: if we can put all this knowledge on a single commodity disk, how will we ever find anything? And if all that only requires a fraction of the available space, what will we use the rest for?
The answers, it turns out, are related; and, I think, as we outline them we will also begin to see the shape of the next great revolution in computing."

Very thought-provoking and timely essay from Barry Briggs, although I disagree with his dismissal of SQL; while SQL is far from perfect, the underlying relational calculus will be more rather than less relevant over time, with the increasing metadata:data ratio. An excellent reference in this context: Berthold Daum's
Modeling Business Objects With XML Schema

Adobe e-doc format under siege | CNET News.com

Adobe e-doc format under siege | CNET News.com This is a perplexing article. Despite the provocative headline, it concludes:
"The Yankee Group's Lancaster said that while the Autodesk and Macromedia efforts may nibble away at the fringes of Adobe's Acrobat business, along with low-end PDF publishing tools from third-party software makers, there's no reason for alarm at Adobe.
"They're focused on moving ahead with the technology, not on the folks who are chasing them," Lancaster said. "There's so much potential for using PDF functionality in the enterprise...that's where they're focusing."

In other words, as Rosanne Rosanadana might have said, "Nevermind..."

How CM acquisitions are set to change

How CM acquisitions are set to change "The top end of the content management market has had a very turbulent summer with repeated acquisitions all aimed at expanding product range. Interwoven is acquiring iManage to add document management and collaboration, Open Text has announced its intentions to acquire Gauss to add document management and web content management, and in the latest move this week Vignette announced the acquisition of Intraspect to add collaboration.
The one thing that all these developments have in common is that they are primarily technology acquisitions intended to broaden the offering from the acquiring organisation. This is still a domain where the vendors are fighting for the ultimate goal of a fully comprehensive Enterprise Content Management suite. It is also one where the big vendors are getting bigger and squeezing out the smaller organisations.
However, acquisitions of software technology often fail to deliver because of the difficulties of effective integration. The increasing use of Java platforms certainly makes the technical problems easier but the cultural issues remain. Major mergers like that of Interwoven and iManage make sense at a high level, but both organisations will have to change significantly to create an organisation that can successfully operate over the whole technology spectrum that they now offer.
While the components of the expanded technology are all logically related, they require significantly different mindsets to be implemented effectively since they address different sections of an organisation. This is not a challenge that is easy to meet."

Via Analyst Views

"IBM Lotus software news: Rich, cost-effective collaboration for Linux clients

IBM Lotus software news: Rich, cost-effective collaboration for Linux clients "... Running in Mozilla, Domino Web Access supports the functionality available when running in Internet Explorer — including off-line support delivered through replication, which is a necessity for mobile workers. It also supports fully integrated instant messaging and presence awareness through IBM Lotus Instant Messaging (formerly Sametime). The combination of Domino Web Access and integrated Lotus Instant Messaging lets organizations effectively transform the Mozilla browser into a light-weight collaborative workplace. For example, when a user receives an e-mail message with a budget spreadsheet attached, the recipient can initiate a chat session with the spreadsheet's author or the entire budget team, copied on the email -- all without ever leaving the messaging client -- Domino Web Access."

This is old news already (2003/07/30), with Notes 6.5 scheduled to GA in the next few weeks, but I suspect I wasn't the only person who had previously missed the Linux client story; I heard about it during an IBM webcast yesterday (and found this article via Ed Brill's IBM blog).

Overall: Notes Classic lives, and is now the IBM Workplace rich client for communication and collaboration.

WSJ.com - Kazaa Creators Connect to Phones

WSJ.com - Kazaa Creators Connect to Phones "The creators of popular music file-sharing software Kazaa have launched a Web site offering software that allows users to make free phone calls to each other over the Internet.
Called Skype, the software has been downloaded 520,000 times -- and has 200,000 registered users -- since a test version was made available two weeks ago, according to the Web site, growing faster than Kazaa itself in its early days. Once a user has downloaded the software, it remains on the computer.
Skype works in a similar way to other free Internet voice services run by the likes of Time Warner Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. Skype users can call others who have downloaded the same software and registered for the service. They talk to each other via headsets that are plugged into their computers. Users need a broadband Internet connection to achieve the best sound quality, though it can work on a dial-up connection.
Skype can't be used to call existing landline or wireless numbers. But Janus Friis, one of the founders of Skype and its vice president of strategy, recently said the company plans to launch a service within six months to allow people to make calls over Skype using their traditional phones. Skype intends to make money by selling a package of additional telephone services to users, such as voice mail, Mr. Friis said. Phone calls will remain free.
Behind the scenes, Skype uses so-called peer-to-peer technology, like Kazaa, that relies on user computers, instead of a centralized server, to help route data between users making a call. That means there are no infrastructure costs for Skype."

I started using Skype this week -- it has very good voice quality; it'll be interesting to see how it scales after mainstream press coverage such as this WSJ article. The download page asserts "no spyware/adware"; I wonder if they learned their lesson from the KaZaA adware etc. experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Mass High Tech: Netscape veteran plans for another biggie

Mass High Tech: Netscape veteran plans for another biggie "Larry Geisel is plenty jazzed about his new position as chief executive at Cambridge-based Nexaweb Technologies Inc.
In fact, he says he hasn’t been this excited about a company since he agreed to become the chief information officer at a small but promising California technology company. That company was Netscape, and its subsequent IPO in August 1995 would usher in the technology boom.
“Over the last several years, I’ve been involved with several companies as an advisor or consultant, but this was a compelling reason to get back into an operating role,” Geisel said.
Nexaweb makes server-side software that aims to give its users both the rich functionality of client-based software and the easy availability and installation of web-based applications.
Using distributed computing technology on a Java platform, Nexaweb’s software decides whether computation would be more efficient on the client or the server side. If the client makes more sense, it moves the application from the server to the user’s desktop."

Tech Biz: Microsoft's next target: WebEx - Sep. 17, 2003

Tech Biz: Microsoft's next target: WebEx - Sep. 17, 2003 "With Microsoft's deep pockets and firm commitment to the space, as well as its history of coupling new technologies with its entrenched products and its penchant for dominating markets, how have WebEx and Raindance managed to stay in investors' good graces? In part because of strong products and excellent partnerships, but also because both companies won't see the full specter of Microsoft's threat until subsequent versions of Live Meeting are released.
"It may take a couple years for WebEx to feel Microsoft's entry into the space," says Mahowald. But Web conferencing, with its convergence of telephony, data, and IP, "is a market Microsoft was born to play in."

Via Watching Microsoft Like a Hawk (which now has an RSS feed)

ScottGu's Blog: ASP.NET 2.0 at the PDC

ScottGu's Blog: ASP.NET 2.0 at the PDC: "ASP.NET V2.0 will be a very big release, and will also ship with a major update to the web tool support in Visual Studio. The combination will radically improve web development -- and will really define a new standard in terms of developer productivity and the time-to-market needed to deliver powerful and personalized web applications.
One of the goals we set at the beginning of the project was to cut down the number of lines of code needed by web developers to build real-world web applications by more than 50% between ASP.NET V1.1 and ASP.NET V2.0. We think we've already hit this, and when combined with some of the rich tool advances, will cut down the time needed to build a web solution by more than 75%. We've then coupled these developer productivity advances with major features in the administration, management and caching space that will enable applications to be easily administered and monitored, and scale/perform even better."

WSJ.com - Personal Technology on Handspring Treo 600

WSJ.com - Personal Technology on Handspring Treo 600: "Handspring has done it again. In 2001, the little company introduced the best combination phone, PDA and e-mail device on the market, the Treo. Now, Handspring has topped itself with its all-new version, the Treo 600.
Sprint will start selling the Treo 600 in the U.S. by mid-October for $500 to $550. In Europe, the wireless-phone carrier Orange is also about to start selling it as well. Handspring expects to offer Treo 600s that can be used on the Cingular and T-Mobile networks a few weeks after the Sprint model makes its debut, and may sell it for AT&T customers later in the year.
I've been carrying a Sprint Treo 600 around for a couple of weeks and I love it. It's a great phone, an excellent mobile e-mail terminal and a full-fledged Palm-compatible PDA. I prefer it to any RIM BlackBerry model I have tested, and it blows away any of the PDA/phones based on Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system."

Web Informant #342, 17 September 2003: Desktop Java is a bad idea

Web Informant #342, 17 September 2003: Desktop Java is a bad idea: "Sun once again is trying to convince us that Java belongs on the desktop. At this week's Network Computing conference, we are once again treated to the delightful wit and wisdom of Scott McNealy poking fun at our industry and making a case for getting rid of the rat's nest of code called Windows that most of us continue to use.
I have only one piece of advice for Scott: If you really want an alternative to Windows, buy a Mac. It runs Unix just fine, has a great and stable graphical desktop environment that for the most part is Redmond-free, and isn't infected every 10 minutes when some kid in eastern Europe figures out the latest vulnerability in RPC.
No, we are stuck with Windows for the time being, and Microsoft knows it. Java on the desktop is an idea that has come and gone. Stick to servers, Scott, and move front and center to fight that battle. Better yet, buy Apple."

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Venerable Microsoft Access

Venerable Microsoft Access "Microsoft Access is in many ways the Rodney Dangerfield of the database market: It doesn’t get much respect. So why did I write a column on what conventional wisdom holds is a distinctly trailing-edge product? It turns out there’s a lot to learn in the Access story, and its final chapter is not yet in sight."

My latest Smart Solutions column, FYI (and yeah, I wrote it before I saw the Business 2.0 Rodney Dangerfield reference below)

Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Baby Bills

Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Baby Bills: "A cadre of young, scary-smart executives is coming into power at the world's most important tech company. Someday one of them will be boss."

A handy who's who list...

Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - The Rodney Dangerfield of Technology

Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - The Rodney Dangerfield of Technology "Revenues are down. The stock's in the cellar. Competition is brutal. Yet Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy is developing some impressive technology, and he thinks his company deserves a little more respect."
[McNealy:] "I don't know how long it will take. The good news is, we've got $5.7 billion in the bank. We've gone 35 straight quarters with positive cash flows. We've got a $130 billion installed base out there, and 35 percent of our revenues are recurring. We've got an intellectual property portfolio that will knock your socks off, including the SPARC microprocessor, the Solaris OS, and Java. And we've got a management philosophy that solves our problems with R&D, not headcount. I like our position. We made mistakes and lost our strategic courage. Now we're back to the same old focus on high-quality products, execution, the customer, and open interfaces. Yes, we're going through a rough patch. But we've always been the Rodney Dangerfield of IT."

Setback for Microsoft Ripples Through the World Wide Web

Setback for Microsoft Ripples Through the World Wide Web: "Last month, Microsoft suffered a stinging setback in a patent-infringement case when a federal jury awarded $521 million to a former University of California researcher. But this time, the rest of the industry is not smiling.
To comply with the court ruling, Microsoft has informed a handful of software companies and the World Wide Web Consortium, the leading Web standards organization, that soon it will probably make changes in its Internet browser, the on-ramp to the Web for 90 percent of computer users. The impact, according to industry executives and Web experts, could be disruptive and costly for other Internet software companies and big commercial Web sites.
``The ripple effect of this could be very dramatic,'' said Daniel Weitzner, director of technology and society activities at the Web consortium. ``What you have here is the adjudication of a private lawsuit between two companies, and no one thought about the rest of the Web.'' "

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The New Republic Online: General Election (on General Wesley Clark)

The New Republic Online: General Election (on General Wesley Clark) "Clark seems like the creation of a Democratic strategist's fantasy: an articulate Rhodes scholar who hails from the South (Arkansas, no less). Even better, he has a too-good-to-be-true religious trifecta: He was raised Southern Baptist, converted to his wife's Catholicism, and discovered his father was Jewish. Oh, and he won a Silver Star and a Purple Heart during the Vietnam War."

Okay, I'm violating my own informal policy of sticking mostly to technology-related topics in my blog, but I think this is an exceptionally good and timely essay. Read it and think about the issues...

Forbes.com: Desperation Dance

Forbes.com: Desperation Dance "Consolidation is the buzzword in software, but many companies are hearing a more bitter one:liquidation
Roger Siboni, chairman of software maker Epiphany, got an unexpected offer recently. The chief executive of a small rival was willing, even eager, to sell his firm to Epiphany--for a penny. The hurtful part:Siboni declined.
The struggles of the software industry in Silicon Valley have gone from bad to worse. Executives and their backers are taking desperate measures to sell, but often buyers aren't interested, no matter how low the price. "There's this myth that Silicon Valley needs consolidation," Siboni says, "but instead a whole host of companies will just fade away."

(Registration annoyingly required; thanks to Richard Eckel for the reference.)

The Harvard Crimson Online :: Capitalism's Next Revolution

The Harvard Crimson Online :: Capitalism's Next Revolution "Capitalism is a book of many chapters. It has been successful in the past because it is immensely plastic and robust. Capitalism lends itself to reinvention every century or so through realignment with the new demands of new populations. In this way, the unmet needs that mark today’s chasm of rage and frustration can become the next great source of wealth creation. They represent wholly unrealized economic value capable of fueling economic growth for decades to come.
It is time for managerial capitalism to give way to a broader and more powerful new capitalism that leverages the individual uniqueness, social networks and distributed technologies of our times. Can we devise a new commerce whose very purpose is supporting individuals and their communities at a price we can afford—one that recognizes individuals as the source of economic value and puts them at the center of a new commercial solar system? Can we conceive a new economics in which support, advocacy, authenticity, trust, relationships and profit can occupy the same sentence without invoking disbelief and peals of laughter? In fact, these notions are no more radical than the once-revolutionary economics of mass production appeared to be a century ago; no more outlandish than farmers able to buy automobiles, thanks to the innovations of Henry Ford and his generation."

Via Werblog

Shoshana Zuboff is amazingly insightful; if you haven't read her earlier In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power yet, you should add it to your to-read list.

The Seattle Times: Paul Allen creates new brain project with $100 million

The Seattle Times: Paul Allen creates new brain project with $100 million "Billionaire Paul Allen, in his largest upfront charitable commitment ever, today will announce that he is giving $100 million to start a nonprofit research center that will try to create a definitive map of the mouse brain that researchers can use for further discoveries.
The Microsoft co-founder is creating the Allen Institute for Brain Science, in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.
The money will be used to try to build the "Allen Brain Atlas" to show how a list of 30,000 genes can be transformed into a circuit board with a trillion cells.
By mapping cells from the mouse brain and making it publicly available to researchers around the world with "minimum encumbrance," the Allen Institute says it will become a springboard others can use to advance knowledge. Allen says he hopes the center will kick-start more efficient research into how brains develop, learn, form emotions or become damaged by disorders such as Alzheimer's, depression or stroke."

For more on the mysterious Paul Allen, skim The Accidental Zillionaire: Demystifying Paul Allen

Yahoo! News - Sun to Unveil Software Targeting Windows

Yahoo! News - Sun to Unveil Software Targeting Windows "In a move aimed squarely at Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. is unveiling on Tuesday a suite of software for businesses that want to dump — or just can't afford — the Windows operating system on their companies' desktop computers.
The Sun Java Desktop system, which was formerly code-named Mad Hatter, runs on the open-source Linux (news - web sites) operating system and includes a variety of programs that replace Microsoft's Internet browser, productivity suite and other parts of the Windows package.
But Tuesday's announcement also echoes a theme heard throughout Sun's nearly 20-year history: A desire to position itself as an alternative to Microsoft in desktop computing.
In the late 1980s, Sun's 386i PC project flopped as the young company was then ill-prepared for the market. More recently, attempts to get support for its universal programming language Java in desktops have been hindered by Microsoft."

The Register: Motor giant Ford to move to Linux

The Register: Motor giant Ford to move to Linux: "Motor giant Ford is switching to Linux for its sales systems, human resources, customer relations and infrastructure, according to a report in yesterday's Scotland on Sunday. But although the company is undoubtedly a megawin for Linux, Register sources suggest that the real battle was between the Linux vendors, with maybe just a soupcon of Sun."

(GuruNet says: soup·çon (sūp-sôN', sūp'sŏn') n.
A very small amount)

The Register: Microsoft launches new Xbox Live Dashboard

Microsoft launches new Xbox Live Dashboard: "A number of key upgrades to the Xbox Live service have been rolled out in the past few days as part of a low-key automatic update to the Xbox Dashboard system.
Originally promised some months ago, the upgrade - being referred to as Xbox Live 2.0 - offers significant Live functionality right on the Dashboard, with the ability to view your buddy list, see what games people are playing and even launch voice chats without being in a game.
The system is also thought to have plenty of new functionality 'under the bonnet' which will eventually enable tighter integration between Xbox Live services and the web. The 'silent upgrade' system is also interesting in itself - although this isn't the first time that the Xbox has been upgraded online, it's the first really major update to happen over the service, and as a proof of concept for seamless console software updates online, it seems to have worked excellently. "

(entire article)

Due Diligence on VIGN/Intraspect

Due Diligence on VIGN/Intraspect "Enterprise collaboration and groupware company Intraspect Software has been sold to public company Vignette for $20m in cash and stock. Old Friend Tom Gruber has been CTO there for quite a few years, but I doubt he and other officers are going to get rich from this exit: according to Venture Source, Intraspect had raised almost $85m in seven rounds of financing since 1996, and at one time was valued at $135m post-money. The last round was $33m, so even a 1x liquidation preference will account for all of the acquisition price.
This one's a cautionary tale not only on the late-90's investing boom/bust (Intraspect's history covers nearly the whole saga), but on the long selling cycles and difficulty of extracting revenue from businesses for software of this type. Social Software advocates and investors take note."

Pito's Weblog: The problem with free software

Pito's Weblog: The problem with free software "Folks offering free products will not be able to support new standards, but they also will not be able to support their users, document their products, test them and most importantly allow them to evolve and grow and reach their potential just by surviving a few years and innovating. This is a big deal.
If we want good stuff (and we do) we will have to support folks who are building it for us."

Vignette to Acquire Collaboration Leader Intraspect Software, Inc.

Vignette to Acquire Collaboration Leader Intraspect Software, Inc. ""Vignette Corp. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Intraspect Software, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise collaboration solutions. The acquisition will bring together the acknowledged market leader in content management and portal solutions with the award-winning Intraspect technology to deliver the most advanced unified solution to power the enterprise Web. Under the terms of the agreement, Vignette will pay $20 million, comprised of $10 million in cash and approximately 4.2 million shares of Vignette stock, for Intraspect. The transaction is subject to approval from the Intraspect stockholders and customary closing conditions."
"The combination of Vignette's content management and portal products with Intraspect's collaboration offerings will provide organizations worldwide with the industry's most advanced enterprise software foundation to increase the competitive advantage for today's leading enterprises. "More and more organizations are turning to vendors that offer integrated content management, portals and collaboration to fulfill their vision of Smart Enterprise Suite," said Gene Phifer, vice president of research at Gartner Group. "As industry consolidation continues, software vendors that can offer organizations an integrated set of best of breed applications such as content management, portals and collaboration are well positioned to meet and exceed customer demand and capture market share."

Documentum + eRoom, Interwoven + iManage, Vignette + Intraspect -- any major content/doc mgmt vendors yet to acquire a collaboration/workflow partner?

Monday, September 15, 2003

(Microsoft) Tools to Compete with Linux

(Microsoft) Tools to Compete with Linux "CD is available worldwide in English only. Cost of CD is U.S. $3.50, plus shipping and handling. The thorough, easy-to-follow training courses on this CD provide you with tangible information that you can use in the field right away. Step through hypothetical and real life case studies that offer information and talking points that you can use with your customers when the topic of Linux comes up."

This is one offering MS should have perhaps open-sourced...

MSN Money - US:MSFT Recent Stock News: Investing

MSN Money - US:MSFT Recent Stock News: Investing "Building on their strategic alliance, AT&T Wireless AWE and Microsoft Corp. MSFT, together with Motorola Inc. MOT, will offer the first GSM(TM)/GPRS-compatible Windows Mobile(TM)-based Smartphone for the North American market -- the Motorola MPx200. The new Motorola MPx200 is expected to be available from AT&T Wireless in the fourth quarter of this year."

Also see Boston Globe article

Mitch Kapor: Deleting Spam Coments

Mitch Kapor: Deleting Spam Coments
My newest job is routinely checking for and deleting spam comments from the blog. It's a weird kind of spam -- innocuous but off-topic comments with a fake email address and a commercial URL (free trial for DVD rentals, for instance). Gosh, this is annoying. I'm getting two or three a week now.
See also this from Steve Johnson this subject. It appears some of these comments are also unibited attempts to leverage the target blogs PageRank in google."

Apple sued by The Beatles over iPod, ITMS

Apple sued by The Beatles over iPod, ITMS "Apparently when Apple Computer first started, The Beatles sued them for the use of the corporate name. In addition to a hefty cash settlement, Apple agreed to only use the corporate name for computer products and not enter the music markeplace.
Years later, The Beatles sued and won another lawsuit when Apple shipped computers that allowed music to be played through attachable speakers. That lawsuit charged breach of a trademark agreement since Apple had agreed to steer clear of the music business. Fox News estimates Apple has paid US$50 million in the lost suits so far.
The latest round of legal proceedings surround Apple's popular MP3 player, the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, which just sold its 10 millionth song online.
"When it first happened with the iPod, we said, "What could they be thinking?" said a Beatles legal insider, who agreed that posters announcing the iPod from "AppleMusic" were among the most egregious violations. "They knew we had the agreement, and that we'd won a lot of money from them already."

A contract is a contract...

Via JD on MX

Ray Ozzie: Saving the Browser

Ray Ozzie: Saving the Browser "Some months back I became aware of the patent US 5,838,906 and the Eolas lawsuit against Microsoft, and followed a bit of conversation on the Net related to it. As many, I believed the issue would quickly go away because of ample prior art. Regrettably, this seems not to be the case.
It now seems that perhaps the browser itself and the browsing experience may have to be nontrivially modified as a result of the judgment. Although a bit late, if some of us perhaps dust off our old code, is there a chance that we could still save the browser through demonstration of clear prior art?
For my own interest, and for the record, I recently spent a little time pursuing my intuition that Lotus Notes R3 might be viable prior art relative to the patent in question. I am not an attorney, and I am surely not well versed in the nuances of the case, but it seems to me after initial investigation that there is indeed quite a bit of relevance."

Thanks for the memories...

Economist.com: Out of the ether

Economist.com: Out of the ether: "An unfinished doctoral thesis and a chance encounter with an engineering intern gave Ethernet's inventor the inspiration for the popular computer network. But a lot of lobbying, brainstorming and clever marketing were needed to turn it into a global standard"

Friday, September 12, 2003

Apple Computer History Weblog : Who Killed Apple Computer?

Apple Computer History Weblog : Who Killed Apple Computer?: "It's great to see so many people excited about the things they accomplished at Apple. The things we did were wonderful, they improved people's lives, and they are worth celebrating.
But I think we should not lose sight of the fact that Apple Computer as a whole was a massive failure. Our fundamental goal, if you remember, was to transform the world by setting people free from bad computer design and stifling corporate dictates. 'The Computer for the Rest of Us,' we promised.
Today 'the rest of us' are a tiny personal computing clique. The company is the eccentric elderly uncle of the computer industry -- still interesting, still beloved, but no longer truly powerful. No longer dangerous.
Although we successfully forced personal computing to move to the graphical interface, since then fundamental innovation in personal computing has ground to a stop. The operating system most computers users work with every day is stuck in 1993, with very little fundamental improvement in the last decade. The applications on users' desktops, bloated beasts like Word and PowerPoint, haven't substantially improved in years.
Why? Because they don't have to change. Because there's no effective competition. Because Apple failed."

Via Wired

Thursday, September 11, 2003

CRN : Breaking News : Leading The Way (MS/IBM/Groove comparison)

CRN : Breaking News : Leading The Way : 4:02 PM EST Fri., Sept. 05, 2003 "Microsoft and IBM Lotus will turn a new page in their epic battle for corporate software dominance this fall when both launch a new generation of realtime.
Amid these coming changes, the CRN Test Center evaluated the new WSS and compared it with IBM Lotus Team Workplace in combination with Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing, as well as Groove Networks' Groove Workspace... "

This is a good and timely read despite some of the superficial projections etc.

Thanks to Bob Balaban for the pointer

Smart Mobs - P2P Telephony

Smart Mobs -P2P Telephony "Skype is the next phenomenon from the people who brought you KaZaA. Just like KaZaA, Skype uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users – not to share files this time, but to talk for free with your friends."

I wonder if it installs a bunch of adware junk and results in 12-year-olds getting RIAA subpoenas, just like KaZaA.

CRN : Breaking News : Borland Launches Design Tool For .Net

CRN : Breaking News : Borland Launches Design Tool For .Net : 12:46 PM EST Wed., Sept. 10, 2003 "At Microsoft's VSLive show in Orlando, Fla., Borland Software unveiled a modeling and code environment for the .Net platform, according to the company.
Borland Together Edition for Microsoft Visual Studio .Net is an integrated design, modeling and code environment written in C# for developers modeling applications in the .Net environment."

TogetherSoft was a brilliant acquisition; now Borland's business won't be Eclipsed...

Steve Gillmor's Emerging Opps on free BloggerPro features

Steve Gillmor's Emerging Opps: Free Lunch... ...but how much is the fork? "A Google representative said the formerly paid services will be rolled out in the free version in the next few days, but that syndication and posting by e-mail will take longer to offer."

I suspect Blogger users who are going to get an upgrade to the free service can deal with the delay; in the meantime, people who previously paid for BloggerPro can receive a free Blogger sweatshirt (as a gesture of thanks for helping to "keep the lights on" before Blogger was acquired by Google) along with the now-free RSS, email posting, etc. features. I'm a happy customer...

PDF pumps Adobe profits | CNET News.com

PDF pumps Adobe profits | CNET News.com "Shantanu Narayen, executive vice president of worldwide products for Adobe, said sales for the high-end Acrobat Professional have been significantly higher than expected, while the low-end Acrobat Elements is off to a slow start.
"The strategy is still to drive PDF adoption in the enterprise," Narayen said during a conference call on Wednesday with financial analysts. "It will always be one of these things where we continue to educate people on the benefits of PDF."
"Our customers are choosing to spend a little bit more money to go with the product that had more functionality," CEO Bruce Chizen added. "That's something we're not necessarily upset about."

silicon.com - Microsoft really is cheaper than Linux

silicon.com - Microsoft really is cheaper than Linux "Only Microsoft users on older versions of its desktop operating systems are likely to get any benefit from migrating to Linux, according to a new report by Gartner.
The report said the operating system and PC represent less than a third of the total cost of ownership and that migration should only be considered in a few situations. Michael Silver, VP and research director at Gartner, said in a statement that other costs such as labour, training and external services should be taken into account."

This report apparently wasn't sponsored by MS...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The Register: MS' Linux obsession - time to call in the shrinks

The Register: MS' Linux obsession - time to call in the shrinks "This week's 'Windows is cheaper than Linux' story comes to us courtesy of Giga Research, which with the aid of Microsoft funding has produced a study indicating that it is cheaper to create a portal using Windows and Microsoft development tools than using Linux and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) tools. The study is apparently to be used by Microsoft's new kinder, gentler and more fact-based GM for platform strategy Martin Taylor in his campaign to convince customers that nine out of ten cats who expressed a preference reckoned that Linux is pooh. And in this campaign, he has the best facts money can buy.
We accept that was unfair, but submit that it was eminently called for. At time of writing the latest study had not yet graced Microsoft's large and growing pile of proof that Windows is better than Linux (example, sample), and we accept that it's perfectly possible that under some circumstances Windows development might work out cheaper than Linux development, but Microsoft's current obsession with 'proving' its product is better, over and over again, is both futile and unhealthy."

Sun Microsystems' Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Resigns

Sun Microsystems' Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Resigns "Mr. Joy said that he had no immediate plans to return to business, but that he might not stay on the sidelines for long. Over the years, he said, he has often talked with his friend John Doerr, general partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and one of Silicon Valley's leading venture capitalists, about backing his next commercial enthusiasm. "And Scott may well be an investor," Mr. Joy said of Mr. McNealy.
Still, Mr. Joy emphasized that he did not plan to think too seriously about business for another year or so.
In spring 2000, just before the technology bubble on Wall Street burst, Mr. Joy write a lengthy pessimistic essay for Wired magazine, titled "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us." In the article, he wrote, "The 21st century technologies — genetics, nanotechnology and robotics — are so powerful they can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses."
His dark vision of self-replicating nanobots running amok touched off a lively debate in technology circles and Mr. Joy signed up to write a book elaborating his views.
The book project, according to Mr. Joy, is not going well. "It's in remission," he said. "I don't have a manuscript that I'm pleased with."
Mr. Joy's one firm intention seems to be to return to his creative roots. "I'd like to write some software in a team of one, writing code alone," Mr. Joy said. "That's the way it started for me at Berkeley."
It was at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970's and early 1980's that Mr. Joy first demonstrated his prowess with computers. As a graduate student, he was the principal designer of Berkeley Unix, or BSD, and it was distributed freely, much as open-source software like Linux is today.
Mr. Joy was also the programmer who took the nascent Internet communications protocols, TCP/IP, and incorporated them, debugged and honed for performance, into Berkeley Unix, establishing the Internet's open protocols as the networking standard at universities."

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Opus the Penguin Back In the Funny Business (washingtonpost.com)

Opus the Penguin Back In the Funny Business (washingtonpost.com): "After eight years away from newspapers, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is creating a new comic strip called 'Opus,' starring his beloved penguin of the same name. "
"I can't say it wouldn't be appealing to bring back Opus to the Sunday pages," Breathed told those gathered, according to Editor & Publisher. "It was painful to sit through the war without a public voice."

Best news I've read all week. Via Slashdot

"Co-founder Joy to leave Sun | CNET News.com

Co-founder Joy to leave Sun | CNET News.com "Sun Microsystems on Tuesday said that Bill Joy, its co-founder and chief scientist, is leaving the company.
Joy helped develop many Sun technologies, including its Java software, SPARC microprocessor architecture and the Solaris operating system.
Greg Papadopoulos, currently Sun's chief technology officer and executive vice president, will take over Joy's responsibilities. A Sun representative said the 48-year-old Joy is taking time to consider his next move and has no definite plans. "

ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog : ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog

ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog : ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog "The year 2002 marked an historic turning point in the history of telephony, for it was the year when mobile subscribers overtook fixed-line subscribers worldwide (see graph)."

Via Due Diligence

InfoWorld: Microsoft pondering code-checker releases: September 08, 2003: By Paul Krill: Application Development

InfoWorld: Microsoft pondering code-checker releases: September 08, 2003: By Paul Krill: Application Development "Microsoft is considering making commercially available advanced code-checking tools used mostly by in-house developers thus far.
The tools have been under the purview of the Microsoft's Programmer Productivity Research Center. The center has tools for static analysis to examine static source text and patterns that indicate errors. Tools for dynamic analysis, which observe for program errors while the program is running, also have been a focus, said Thomas Ball, senior researcher with Microsoft's research group."

Monday, September 08, 2003

InfoWorld: Eclipse may take new name after reorganization

InfoWorld: Eclipse may take new name after reorganization: September 05, 2003: By : Application Development "The group in charge of the open-source Eclipse project approved a three month long restructuring process this week that should reduce IBM's dominant role in the effort and make the project more attractive to Java vendors such as Sun Microsystems and BEA Systems.
The process will transform Eclipse into an independent corporation and may even see the project assume a new name that is more palatable to Sun, which has long been miffed by IBM's decision to name the effort after a celestial event associated with the obscuring of the Sun."

Yeah, a new name -- that will make all the difference. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to clear statements from Sun, Oracle, and others on what this means to their current Java products.

X1 instantly searches files & email. For Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Netscape Mail.

X1 instantly searches files & email. For Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Netscape Mail. "X1 is free PC software that uses an advanced indexing process that lets you find any word in any email or file on your computer, in under a second."

Lotus Magellan for Windows finally ships...

WSJ.com - Intel Is Adding Low-End Chips To Itanium Line

WSJ.com - Intel Is Adding Low-End Chips To Itanium Line "Intel Corp. is expanding its Itanium chip line, adding two low-end models it hopes will put more pressure on rivals such as Sun Microsystems Inc.
The Itanium technology, introduced in 2001 after a long development effort with Hewlett-Packard Co., is a radical departure from the Intel microprocessors that power personal computers and the simple servers that are stacked in many computer rooms. Partly for that reason, sales have taken off slowly; Itanium-based computers mainly have been purchased for research or other technical applications.
In June, Intel boosted the top end of the product line, with an Itanium 2 model that carries a list price of $4,226 each, operates at a frequency of 1.5 gigahertz and has some six megabytes of built-in data storage, known as cache memory. That chip mainly is designed for running large databases or other heavy-duty chores.
But customers also asked Intel to offer low-end models, said Lisa Graff, the company's director of enterprise processor marketing. Some of them want to handle chores, such as serving up Web pages, using the same technology as larger Itanium 2 systems. Others want to construct massive supercomputers from simpler, cheaper components, she said.
In response, the Santa Clara, Calif., company today plans to introduce an Itanium 2 that operates at 1.4 gigahertz and has 1.5 megabytes of cache memory, priced at $1,172, or less than one-third the price of its fastest model.
Intel also will introduce an even less-expensive chip, at $744 each, that operates at one gigahertz. That model consumes 62 watts, or about half the power of earlier models."

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Girls? Check. Cristal? Check. iPod? Check.

Girls? Check. Cristal? Check. iPod? Check. "The iPod looks like it belongs in the video. As Microsoft has been cast in the role of Goliath in the personal computing wars, Macintosh has been playing David. And right now the stone in its slingshot is music. Not only is the iPod the top digital music player in the field, but earlier this year Apple's iTunes Music Store became the first legitimate music downloading service viewed as a success in the business, with one million songs downloaded (at 99 cents each) in its first week. The figure is impressive considering that less than 1 percent of the country's home computers are Macintoshs that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store."

Friday, September 05, 2003

Silenced by Comcast

Sorry for the sparse posts today; this is the first time I've been able to get on the Web today. Seriously considering DSL...

Thursday, September 04, 2003

InfoWorld: Borland, IBM team for .Net apps: September 04, 2003: By Paul Krill: Application Development

InfoWorld: Borland, IBM team for .Net apps: September 04, 2003: By Paul Krill: Application Development "Through the arrangement, a 60-day trial version of Borland's C#Builder development environment for the framework will ship with IBM's DB2 Universal Database software. Additionally, Borland will ship DB2 Universal Developer's Edition with Borland C#Builder for the .Net Framework. DB2 Universal Developer's Edition is a developer's platform for designing, building, and prototyping applications for deployment on DB2 client or server platforms."

Gotta love the DB2 team -- they have a track record for doing useful things for customers even if doing so occasionally violates "strategy tax" thinking.

SpyBot: Bob Balaban recommendation

From Bob Balaban: "... just browsing your blog, saw your note on AdAware. I use that occasionally,
but even better is SpyBot Search & Destroy

The big difference is that AdAware scours your system of obnoxious spyware,
where SpyBot can actually immunize your system against a few thousand kinds
of same, so that when you visit a site that wants to download the stuff,
you get a popup message asking if you want to block it. AdAware can only
operate after the fact"

Heart of Darkness, on a Desktop

Heart of Darkness, on a Desktop: "The alien programs extend well beyond viruses and worms - so named because of the way they spread, as the most familiar carriers of malicious code - to new categories known as spyware and adware. Indeed, the number of home PC's that are infested with alien software that comes in over the Internet and installs itself without the knowledge or consent of the PC user is increasing at an alarming rate.
Richard M. Smith, a computer security expert in Brookline, Mass., estimates that one in every two Windows computers has unsolicited software lurking within."

Don't run KaZaA; do run Ad-Aware

Q&A: Innovation in a Wireless World from Microsoft Hardware

Q&A: Innovation in a Wireless World from Microsoft Hardware "PressPass: Do any of the new products use Bluetooth technology?
Gibbons: I mentioned Bluetooth technology earlier in reference to the Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth and Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth introduced in 2002. These products are still available at retail and we're very pleased with the response we've received from consumers. Look to Microsoft Hardware to offer additional Bluetooth products in the future as the use of the technology becomes more widespread. Right now, we're focusing on enhancing the user experience of 27MHz technology, since that is the wireless technology that most people use today."

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

A Longhorn Delay? Not Quite

A Longhorn Delay? Not Quite: "News about a potential delay in Windows Longhorn, the next major update to Windows XP, has quickly evolved from mindless analysts predictions to so-called fact, with several major tech news outlets reporting on Microsoft's supposed setbacks. But Microsoft has never really announced a Longhorn release date, opting instead to refer to dates that are usually a few years out, owing to the complexity of what the company hopes to achieve with the Longhorn release. But that doesn't stop half the tech industry from reporting on a delay, and if this is how the next two years are going to go, it's going to feel like an eternity.
In the absence of any real news, and with a two year window in which to manufacture spin, many tech outlets have taken the initiative in an effort to supply eager readers with more Longhorn information. A tech industry analyst recently predicted that Longhorn would slip until 2006, a prediction that's so obvious given the 2005 target date and Microsoft's historical inability to meet time tables for major products, that it shouldn't have even merited discussion. But in the rumor-happy tech industry, that prediction was widely reported and is suddenly a solid piece of evidence that Microsoft is stumbling. It's a sad state of affairs."

WSJ.com - Tech Briefs: BEA Co-Founder to Start New Company

WSJ.com - Tech Briefs: BEA Co-Founder to Start New Company: "William T. Coleman, co-founder and former chief executive officer of BEA Systems Inc., is going to start a new software company. He will give up a salaried staff position at BEA but remain a director as well as a paid consultant to the company, said Kevin McGuirk, BEA's vice president of corporate communication. Mr. Coleman, who goes by Bill, was one of three former Sun Microsystems Inc. executives who co-founded BEA in 1995 and whose first initials form the company's name. He served as the company's CEO from its inception until October 2001, and remained chairman until August 2002. Since then, Mr. Coleman has held the title 'chief customer advocate.' He earned $512,500 in salary and $432,215 in bonus in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, according to BEA's most recent proxy statement. Details about the new venture haven't been disclosed, but Alfred Chuang, another co-founder who succeeded Mr. Coleman as CEO, described the new company in an e-mail to employees as complementary with BEA's business. 'His new company is the culmination of several months of planning and Bill is just the right visionary to turn a new technology into a market reality,' Mr. Chuang wrote."

(full brief)

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Sun Mulls Joining Java Eclipse Effort

Sun Mulls Joining Java Eclipse Effort "Rich Green, vice president of Sun developer tools and Java software, in Santa Clara, Calif., made overtures toward the Eclipse effort in an interview with eWEEK last week, saying he favors a standard that open-source development platform developers can access to build Java applications and Web services.
The Eclipse effort was started in 2001 as an alternative to Sun's Java-based NetBeans open-source tools platform. The name was chosen to signify an effort to overshadow Sun's efforts in the area.
Green, however, said he does not see the two efforts as conflicting and said that with the "hint that Eclipse might be changing their structure and maybe separating from IBM," Sun would be interested in working with the organization.
Eclipse supporters: IBM, Borland, Red Hat Inc., Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., SuSE Inc., SAS Institute Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., SAP AG
NetBeans supporters: Sun, BEA, Compuware Corp., Embarcadero Technologies Inc., Iona Technologies Inc., Novell Inc., Parasoft, Systinet Corp., HP/Compaq"

Is RSS the Answer to the Spam Crisis?

Is RSS the Answer to the Spam Crisis?: "With scam artists, spammers and virus writers all using the e-mail inbox as the main target, it has become a daily nightmare for legitimate online publishers and marketers to cope with mail filters, blacklists and irate subscribers.
Enter RSS (define), the XML syndication format that allows publishers to shuttle content to news aggregators, avoiding the e-mail chaos altogether.
'E-mail is dead, period,' declares Chris Pirillo, the Internet entrepreneur who distributes about 400,000 e-mail newsletters weekly. 'I don't care what kind of legislation goes through, people aren't signing up for newsletters anymore. People are assuming that every e-mail publisher is a spammer.' "

Timely snapshot via Slashdot