Thursday, November 27, 2003

PBS | I, Cringely Digital Hubris: Apple's Tablet Computer Might Finally Be That Link Between Your PC and TV

PBS | I, Cringely Digital Hubris: Apple's Tablet Computer Might Finally Be That Link Between Your PC and TV: "Apple Computer has been decidedly absent from the tablet game. In part, this has to do with the failure of the Newton, which will always be associated in the mind of Steve Jobs with his former friend and nemesis John Sculley. 'Real computers have keyboards,' Steve has said a zillion times, and he'll mean it right up to the moment he changes his mind.
That moment appears to be coming soon.
For Apple, doing a tablet really isn't much of a gamble. Macs still dominate the graphic design market despite Adobe's recent switching of allegiances to the Windows camp. The graphics market, which already absorbs a lot of Wacom tablets for drawing on Macs and PCs, can easily support Apple-sized volumes of high-end tablet computers. Give artists a big tablet screen to draw on, add wireless networking and good battery life, then throw this all on top of a powerful and easy-to-use OS, and Apple can be assured of at least breaking-even. They will become must-have gizmos in graphics departments everywhere. It's Apple's BMW strategy all over again, and virtually guarantees at least modest success.
The tablet PC killer app for the mass market is functioning as a digital hub, a general concept both Apple and Microsoft have been pushing for a couple years. It's the idea that your computer ought to control your TV and your stereo and your VCR. The only problem has been that there isn't a good way to link these things all together, and even if we do, that digital hub isn't anywhere near your TV, at least not yet."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Cover Pages: BEA and IBM Publish Service Data Objects (SDO) Specifications.

Cover Pages: BEA and IBM Publish Service Data Objects (SDO) Specifications.: "Three specifications describing Service Data Objects (SDO) have been published jointly by BEA and IBM, and will be implemented in upcoming releases of the BEA WebLogic Platform and IBM WebSphere Application Server. The documents 'provide programmers with simpler and more powerful ways of building portable server applications.' Java Specification Requests (JSRs) are also being filed in the areas of these specifications for formal consideration under the Java Community Process (JCP)."

The Seattle Times: Head of Microsoft services group quits

The Seattle Times: Head of Microsoft services group quits: "Microsoft lost its third vice president in three weeks yesterday, when services head Mike Sinneck resigned to 'pursue other opportunities outside of Microsoft,' the company said.
All three executives were hired away from leading companies in markets Microsoft is trying to crack. Their short stays could reinforce Microsoft's reputation for resisting leaders brought in from other companies.
The resignations also come after the disclosure that the company stumbled in the past quarter, blaming lost corporate sales on distractions created by software-security problems and reorganizations of the company's business-customer sales force."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

InfoWorld: Microsoft retires NetMeeting: November 24, 2003: By : Applications

InfoWorld: Microsoft retires NetMeeting: November 24, 2003: By : Applications: "NetMeeting helped pioneer online conferencing when it was released in May 1996, before the advent of instant messaging (IM) and other services for real-time online communication. The software still ships as part of Windows and some of its features, such as whiteboarding and application-sharing, are used by the MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger IM applications."

Actually the intent was to retire NetMeeting a couple years ago, when Windows Messenger was released.

Monday, November 24, 2003

News: Michael Dell looks beyond the PC

News: Michael Dell looks beyond the PC: "HP, Sun, IBM have embraced utility computing. What does utility computing mean to Dell?
At a primary level we're committed to what saves customers lots of money. If we felt utility computing would save customers lots of money, we'd immediately have utility computing. But we don't believe that's the case. There are a lot of schemes that companies come up with to lock the customer in to a proprietary mechanism. This is one of them. I'm hard-pressed to see customers say we save a whole bunch of money by doing it. We just haven't seen it.
Will Dell need to come up with a brand strategy competing with HP's Adaptive Enterprise, IBM's On-Demand and Sun's N1?
It's so complicated even they don't understand it. As we sit down with customers, they want practical solutions."

Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003

Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003 PDC ppt and streaming sessions. Note that you'll need to use IE. Via

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Gillmor Takes On Dvorak's Anti-Blog Stance

Gillmor Takes On Dvorak's Anti-Blog Stance: "'Perseus thinks that most blogs have an audience of about 12 readers,' Dvorak argues. Yes, John, but who are those 12? If one of them is Bill Gates, and another is Tony Scott, CTO of General Motors, and another is John Cleese, well you get the idea. Sometimes it's who you know as much as what. RSS only amplifies this, allowing a Ray Ozzie to post only when it's valuable to him and his readers. It's 'You've got blog.'"

Berkeley Breathed - Opus Returns

Berkeley Breathed - Opus Returns "On November 23rd, after an absence of almost ten years, Opus returns to the nation's Sunday comic pages.
We can't, at this time, go into detail as to what he's been doing during his mysterious missing decade, although Opus is deeply embarrassed about the rumors, especially the one naming him as the catalyst behind the unfortunate break-up of J Lo and Ben. It will all become clear soon."

He's back! I can't find today's strip on-line yet, but it's in today's Boston Globe...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Adobe drops animation software | CNET

Adobe drops animation software | CNET "Software publisher Adobe Systems has announced that it will halt sales of LiveMotion, the company's application for creating animation content in formats such as Macromedia's Flash and Apple's QuickTime. According to a notice posted on Adobe's LiveMotion site, the company stopped selling the product last week and will halt technical support after March 31, 2004.
Adobe launched the current version of LiveMotion last year, positioning the product as an adjunct to rather than a replacement for Macromedia's vastly more popular Flash development application."

InfoWorld: A tale of two Cairos: November 21, 2003: By Jon Udell: Platforms

InfoWorld: A tale of two Cairos: November 21, 2003: By Jon Udell: Platforms: "The browser, to be sure, is not a sacred relic to be preserved at all costs. But the Web is much more than the browser. It's an ecosystem whose social and information structures co-evolve. Innovation bubbles up from the grassroots; integration can happen spontaneously; relationships cross borders. Cairo Version 1 wasn't designed to nourish that ecosystem or to flourish in it. Let's hope Microsoft remembers the past and avoids being condemned to repeat it with Cairo Version 2."

NYT: Love in the Time of No Time

NYT: Love in the Time of No Time: "In a sense, the explosion of online personals speaks to the fervency of that wish. In the first half of 2003, Americans spent $214.3 million on personals and dating sites -- almost triple what they spent in all of 2001. Online dating is the most lucrative form of legal paid online content. According to comScore Networks, which monitors consumer behavior on the Internet, 40 million Americans visited at least one online dating site in August -- 27 percent of all Internet users for that month. The sites they visited range from behemoths like Yahoo! Personals and, which boasts 12 million users worldwide, to smaller niche sites catering to ethnic and religious groups and to devotees of such things as pets, horoscopes and fitness. In between are midsize companies like Spring Street Networks, which pools the personals ads for some 200 publications nationwide, including, the Onion and Boston Magazine, and sites like Emode and eHarmony, which specialize in personality tests and algorithms for matching people. A recent entrant, Friendster, conceived of as a site for dating and meeting new people through mutual friends, has become a raging fad among the younger set and now claims more than three million members."

Friday, November 21, 2003

CRN : Breaking News : Key Sun Sales Executive Defects To Microsoft

CRN : Breaking News : Key Sun Sales Executive Defects To Microsoft: "Sun Microsystems' top software sales executive has left the company to join Microsoft, CRN learned Thursday.
Barbara Gordon, who until about a month ago led Sun's software sales efforts as vice president of worldwide software sales under Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software, now is running the top 50 accounts for Microsoft, according to several sources."

Better Living Through Software: Is InfoPath the Next Excel?

Better Living Through Software: Is InfoPath the Next Excel?
Larry O'Brien at SD Times asks "Is InfoPath the Next Excel"? He raises a number of interesting points,
some of which I'll try to respond to; First, he says:
"It would be easier to say if InfoPath were programmable
from .NET languages. Not so. For some reason, InfoPath's programming model uses Microsoft
Script Editor, which supports only JScript and VBScript."

It's true that InfoPath uses JavaScript right now, but this
is primarily an issue of timing.  InfoPath was actually conceived long before
.NET was around, implemented years ago, and much of the recent couple of years has
actually been spent polishing the product to be a nice Office citizen rather than
doing any drastic new feature work.  And now that InfoPath is shipping, it is
part of Office 11, which still relies on script code.  So InfoPath is a very
nice complement to the rest of the Office suite, and that's how things get done inside
Microsoft.  Now, it is disappointing to people like me who have been doing .NET
development for a few years, but there are still many Office customers who are more
conservative and would probably be spooked if we required them to take dependencies
on .NET to use Office.  And finally, the next version of InfoPath is planning
to support .NET much more fully, just as the rest of the Office suite will.

Next, he says:
"So the output of this new tool is available for programmatic
manipulation, but far from the way that formulas and macros make the power of spreadsheets
casually available, spelunking inside InfoPath form files is only for the stout of
heart. No revolutionary power-user capabilities here."

In fact, one key appeal of the InfoPath format is that everything
is done using completely non-proprietary formats.  The UI of the form designer
is saved as XSLT, the code is all standard JavaScript, and the object model is primarily
accessed using XML DOM.  What this means is that I can design a form in InfoPath,
crack the XSN, and copy the XSLT directly to an Apache server to use in generating
HTML output (for example).  Or I can borrow JavaScript that I wrote for my Netscape
and IE web pages and use directly in InfoPath.  And simple things are fairly
straightforward, with no need to delve into code.  I'll grant that advanced work requires
a stout heart -- there are not many people who have expertise in the trifecta of DOM,
JavaScript, and XSLT -- but for those who do, the sky is the limit.

Anyway, Larry makes a number of other good observations which
InfoPath-watchers may not have seen remarked elsewhere, so it's good to read the whole

I agree Larry O'Brien's article is good reading. FYI my take on InfoPath (pdf article)

Over 40% of New Development Activity Is Now Outsourced, Says META Group

Over 40% of New Development Activity Is Now Outsourced, Says META Group: "An average of 41% of new development activity is now outsourced, according to META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: METG). Last year, the average percentage of new development from outsourcing providers and external contractors was 35.9% worldwide. Despite political instabilities in India and other parts of the world, more and more companies realize the strategic and financial advantages to using offshore resources for both programming and business processes, according to new findings from META Group's upcoming 2004 Worldwide IT Benchmark Report, which looks at IT trends in various industries across the globe."

Via Analyst Views

Paul Thurrott: Tablet PC seen as future of the notebook computer

Paul Thurrott: Tablet PC seen as future of the notebook computer "Despite slow sales for the first generation of Tablet PCs--Microsoft says just 500,000 of the devices have been sold since November 2002--the software giant is upbeat about the future of what is perhaps its most innovative product. And the company has a right to be excited: Thanks to an improved mobile platform, daring new designs by hardware makers, and a revamped version of the OS that drives Tablet PCs, enterprise customers who avoided the first generation are finally starting to take notice.
In meetings with Microsoft and several of its Tablet PC-making hardware partners at the COMDEX 2003 trade show this week in Las Vegas, I was able to evaluate the second generation Tablet PC, and the outlook is strong. First, second generation devices are based on Intel's powerful and mobile-friendly Centrino platform, which features the Pentium-M microprocessor and about twice as much battery life as the previous generation machines, which were saddled with the lowly Pentium III-M or, worse, Transmeta's anemic Crusoe chip. For customers, this means that new Tablet PCs will achieve the holy grail of better performance and battery life, whereas you can normally achieve one only at the expense of the other.
Second, the new Tablet PCs are benefiting from a year of customer experiences, and hardware makers have responded with innovative new designs, most of which are based on the convertible notebook form factor instead of the nichy slate designs that predominated with the first generation. Microsoft sees the convertible notebook Tablet PC as the future of notebook computers, and the OEMs I spoke with at COMDEX agree. Gateway is even offering a Tablet PC version of its mainstream notebook line that costs just a $100 more than the normal notebook version; at those prices, the Tablet PC is no longer an expensive proposition but rather an economical value-add. And in the coming months, it will be possible to buy a variety of hardware devices, including those with screens that range from 7 inches to 15 inches, satisfying virtually any need.
Third, Microsoft will ship a minor update to the OS that ships with Tablet PCs, dubbed Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004, early next year. The software giant demonstrated to me new features of this OS version, including an improved Input Panel that makes it easier to input text into forms using Digital Ink and the Tablet PC's stylus. In a bold move, Microsoft will offer this OS update for free to all Tablet PC customers, and I'll be reviewing it soon on the SuperSite for Windows, so stay tuned for more information.
Finally, the Tablet PC platform is finally seeing a groundswell of software support, led by the integrated Digital Ink capabilities of Office 2003, which shipped in October. In the Tablet PC's first generation, most of the software titles developed for the platform were created in-house by companies with special requirements. But as the Tablet PC matures, and Microsoft makes it easier for developers to add Digital Inking features to applications automatically, more and more mainstream applications are coming on board. By the time Longhorn ships in late 2005, the company tells me, Digital Ink capabilities will just be a core feature of the base OS as well."

I think Paul Thurrott's analysis is on target, and expect to see many more Tablet PCs in the future, as prices come down and capabilities, battery life, etc. expand.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sarah Allen's Weblog: declarative web GUI

Sarah Allen's Weblog: declarative web GUI: "It is neat to see a plethora of emerging technologies using this kind of approach. At the PDC, Microsoft unveiled XAML (to be released with Longhorn in 2006) and this week Macromedia formalized its Flex stratgey (the previously code-named Royale product to be released mid-2004). In addition to XUL from Mozilla and LZX from Laszlo that are already released, there's XWT and similar tech. One can only hope that the innovations of language and platform will drive a the development of a better human experience of the world wide web."

Steve Gillmor: Sun's Jonathan Schwartz takes on Longhorn

Steve Gillmor: Sun's Jonathan Schwartz takes on Longhorn: "SG: What are the desktop killer apps, not in 5, but 2 years, that will seed that market, and force a migration off Office?
Schwartz: The killer app for this desktop is price, because China and India and El Salvador and Brazil can't afford a hundred dollars per desktop from Microsoft.
SG: For developers?
Schwartz: The killer app for developers is called volume. The fact of a hundred fifty million of these [phones] going up by leaps and bounds means that's where they can make money. Developers don't hunt for brilliant technology -- their instincts tell them to go to where the volume is, because that's where they can monetize part of that $80 billion."

Kent Sharkey's blog

Kent Sharkey's blog: "Using ASP.NET Web Services from DreamWeaver: What can I say, almost as easy as using them from VS"

Some interesting Macromedia perspectives from a Microsoft employee, via (Macromedia evangelist/blogger) John Dowdell.

Christophe Coenraets Weblog: Flex at Max

Christophe Coenraets Weblog: Flex at Max: "Norm Meyrowitz (Macromedia's president of products) then introduced Rod Smith, VP of Emerging Technologies at IBM. Rod started by sharing the feedback he gets when talking to Enterprise customers: they want a richer user experience and very good enterprise integration. Rod talked about Flex as the presentation-tier technology that can meet these requirements. The IBM emerging technology group has been working with Flex for a while. Rod introduced one of his developers who demonstrated a financial application they are building with Flex. In their configuration, the Flex presentation server is running on top of Websphere, and the rich client application delivered by Flex is communicating back with Websphere, MQ, DB2, and web services."

Open source's threat to Microsoft is growing

Open source's threat to Microsoft is growing: "Computer enthusiasts at a conference here this week are learning about the latest technologies and attending sessions about a software program that dominates an important segment of the market.
But contrary to what you might be thinking, the conference is not Comdex. And the software is not Microsoft Windows.
The event, ApacheCon, is a gathering of people involved in open-source software -- computer programs produced by international communities of volunteers. The conference is being staged down the road from Comdex by the Apache Software Foundation, a group best known for an open-source program used on nearly 70 percent of the computers that store and serve up Web pages."

Includes useful chart of desktop/server/Web server market share

Co-opting the Future: John C. Dvorak on blogs

Co-opting the Future: John C. Dvorak on blogs: "Blogs, or Web logs, are all the rage in some quarters. We're told that blogs will evolve into a unique source of information and are sure to become the future of journalism. Well, hardly. Two things are happening to prevent such a future: The first is wholesale abandonment of blog sites, and the second is the casual co-opting of the blog universe by Big Media.
The most obvious reason for abandonment is simple boredom. Writing is tiresome. Why anyone would do it voluntarily on a blog mystifies a lot of professional writers. This is compounded by a lack of feedback, positive or otherwise. Perseus thinks that most blogs have an audience of about 12 readers. Leaflets posted on the corkboard at Albertsons attract a larger readership than many blogs. Some people must feel the futility.
The problem is further compounded by professional writers who promote blogging, with the thought that they are increasing their own readership. It's no coincidence that the most-read blogs are created by professional writers. They have essentially suckered thousands of newbies, mavens, and just plain folk into blogging, solely to get return links in the form of the blogrolls and citations. This is, in fact, a remarkably slick grassroots marketing scheme that is in many ways awesome, albeit insincere."

Wired 11.12: "Hope Is a Lousy Defense." (Bill Joy interview)

Wired 11.12: "Hope Is a Lousy Defense." (Bill Joy interview): "And yet you've been famously cool about Linux.
Re-implementing what I designed in 1979 is not interesting to me personally. For kids who are 20 years younger than me, Linux is a great way to cut your teeth. It's a cultural phenomenon and a business phenomenon. Mac OS X is a rock-solid system that's beautifully designed. I much prefer it to Linux.
What about the open source idea in general?
Open source is fine, but it doesn't take a worldwide community to create a great operating system. Look at Ken Thompson creating Unix, Stephen Wolfram writing Mathematica in a summer, James Gosling in his office making Java. Now, there's nothing wrong with letting other people help, but open source doesn't assist the initial creative act. What we need now are great things. I don't need to see the source code. I just want a system that works.
And that beats Windows.
My goal is to do great things. If I do something great, maybe it'll beat Microsoft. But that's not my goal. I find Windows of absolutely no technical interest. They took systems designed for isolated desktop systems and put them on the Net without thinking about evildoers, as our president would say."

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Bill Gates: Unplugged |

Bill Gates: Unplugged | "So at the end of the day it's the Unix guys who are feeling the greater impact of Linux's adoption?
Remember, there are hundreds of incompatible versions of Linux. The fact that we call it Linux hides the fact that this driver works on this version, and this app works on that version. But there is a world where you don't test for binary compatibility because you don't have testers. It's just a different world than ours. That approach has certain benefits and advantages in terms of the way things get put together and ours has certain benefits and advantages. It's the primary operating system we'll be competing against.
Five years ago it would have been Windows versus OS/2. A few years before, it would have been Windows versus Macintosh. Before, maybe it would have been C/PM 86, and before that, maybe CP/M 80. There's always been some challenger to the operating system. Linux--which is only a kernel--is not where the interesting stuff is going on nowadays."

The Skype is Calling

The Skype is Calling: "Skype began with a walk in the park. In June 2002, Friis and Zennström found themselves in a park in Copenhagen, Denmark, contemplating what to do next. Kazaa had been sold to Sharman Networks. But "we weren't going to retire," says 27-year-old Friis. So he and his partner (who is 37) began to hunt for a new project. They were looking specifically for industries ripe for a disruptive technology. “We wondered what we could do now, what would be big. We wanted to do something that could reach millions of people,” says Friis in a telephone interview from Stockholm. “During our discussions," he adds, "we determined that telephony was extremely well suited for a peer-to-peer disruption.” The key metrics? “It was centralized and expensive,” says Friis, referring to the fact that the telecommunications industry is controlled by large, profit-seeking companies. Skype bypasses those companies entirely.
Friis and Zennström researched and found that a technology for routing phone calls over data networks—called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)—was, after years of very limited use, finally taking hold. The surge in VoIP's popularity stemmed chiefly from a rapid increase in the number of homes installing broadband, always-on Internet connections. The two programmers realized that the peer-to-peer infrastructure they used with Kazaa was well-suited to VoIP because it could scale cheaply (no central servers to purchase and maintain) and redundancies were built in: multiple users routed calls, so a conversation wouldn’t be interrupted if a user logged off when a call was being routed through his system. What’s more, because the routing would be done by users, Friis and Zennström wouldn’t have to purchase expensive infrastructure. They could therefore offer the basic service for free.
Skype has the potential to be bigger than Kazaa,” Friis insists. “But the great thing is it doesn’t come with the legal issues around it.”

Silicon Valley | 11/18/2003 | Bill Gates Comdex keynote doubles as handy sleep aid

Silicon Valley | 11/18/2003 | Bill Gates Comdex keynote doubles as handy sleep aid: "Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates kicked off the much diminished Comdex technology convention in Las Vegas on Sunday with an overview of product advances in security, spam, and search and Microsoft's latest catch phrase -- seamless computing. Speaking to a packed house at the Alladin, Gates described seamless computing as technology that will enable software, services, and smart devices to work together as a coordinated whole. 'What is limiting us, the seams that hold us back ... are much more about pure software challenges,' Gates said. 'Seamless computing is about the idea that we, through advanced software, will be able to eliminate these seams. By getting rid of these seams -- the seams between the systems and the software, between the software and the software, and between the software and the devices -- we can deliver on all of the scenarios we've dreamed about since this industry got started. In this decade we are engaged in delivering the final level of infrastructure, which is a software connecting infrastructure.' And that was the gist of a keynote that would have lulled many a Comdex attendee to sleep where it not for a fairly humorous spoof of the Matrix featuring Gates as Morpheus and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as Neo."

This is the third sleep-related nastygram I've read about the keynote; e.g., also see Paul Thurrott

Jesse Ezell Blog: David Mendels replies

Jesse Ezell Blog: David Mendels replies: "David Mendels, who is with the Flex team posted some comments on Flex. I thought they were really good, so here they are:
'Jesse, your final point is right where we are. We are not trying to position Flex as a head-to-head competitor or substitute good for XAML/Longhorn by any means. We think the design centers of the two products, target use cases, target users today are sufficiently differentiated that both can thrive. Both are very cool products.
At a high level, both technologies are trying to enable what Macromedia has been calling Rich Internet Application--apps that combine the responsiveness/interactivity of desktop apps with the ease of distribution of Web apps. But (simplifying) we are extending from Web apps up; and I see MSFT focused on desktop apps back. Further, our focus is the 'reach web' where one can not ensure what platform (or what version of what platform) one's app will run on--Windows XP, 98, Longhorn--or Linux, Mac, PocketPC, Nokia. MSFT is driving to upgrade the worlds desktop Operating Systems and they are focused on Longhorn. That is valid, but it will take a long time and not meet everyone's needs.'"

Sifry's Alerts: Technorati Growing Pains

Sifry's Alerts: Technorati Growing Pains: "Allow me to give you some growth statistics: One year ago, when I started Technorati on a single server in my basement, we were adding between 2,000-3,000 new weblogs each day, not counting the people who were updating sites we were already tracking. In March of this year, when we switched over to a 5 server cluster, we were keeping up with about 4,000-5,000 new weblogs each day. Right now, we're adding 8,000-9,000 new weblogs every day, not counting the 1.2 Million weblogs we already are tracking. That means that on average, a brand new weblog is created every 11 seconds. We're also seeing about 100,000 weblogs update every day as well, which means that on average, a weblog is updated every 0.86 seconds."

Via Jeremy Allaire

BLOGGER - Knowledge Base - How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog

BLOGGER - Knowledge Base - How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog: "Do you blog at work? Do you check your referrer logs and surf the blogosphere all day from your office? Do you think it might be funny to mock your co-workers publicly, or that it could be a good idea to post photos of sensitive corporate information on your blog? If only Blogger Support could have reached this unfortunate Blogger sooner. Folks, this doesn't have to happen to you."

Useful advice.

Microsoft Preps Online Music Store

Microsoft Preps Online Music Store "Currently, the market is divided into three types of digital-music services: digital-music download services such as Apple's iTunes Music Store, which loses money on every song sold; digital-music streaming services such as RealNetworks' RHAPSODY service, which makes a healthy per-subscriber profit; and services that offer both features, such as Napster, which subsidizes the downloads with profits from streaming subscribers. Currently, which tactic Microsoft plans to use is unclear.
One fact is clear, however: Microsoft's entry into the digital-music market will further strengthen the Windows Media Audio (WMA) 9 format, which is used by all music services except the iTunes Music Store, which uses the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format. Microsoft already operates a music service in the UK called MSN Music Club, which offers digital downloads of songs that users can burn to CD; this service might be the impetus for a wider US-based service."

AT&T Wireless Jumps Into Data Arms Race

AT&T Wireless Jumps Into Data Arms Race: "Gearing up for the industry slugfest expected to break out next week, when cell phone users can begin switching wireless carriers without giving up their phone numbers, AT&T Wireless boasted Tuesday that it now offers the fastest national data service.
The first phase of next-generation cellular technologies, rolled out to customers last year, disappointed many users in terms of speed, offering downloads that rarely surpassed a telephone dial-up connection, which has a maximum capacity of 56 kbps.
As a result, many cell phone companies have embraced Wi-Fi to deliver faster wireless connections in at least some locations, such as cafes and airport terminals, that high-paying business customers frequent."

Disappointment is right -- both for performance (horrible) and cost (outrageously expensive data rates). - Macromedia and AOL Join on Message Project - Macromedia and AOL Join on Message Project: "Macromedia Inc. and Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit plan to collaborate on a technology for programmers to develop and distribute software that works with instant-messaging.
The partnership is based on a previously announced effort, called Macromedia Central, that lets users interact with information and software delivered over the Internet. Macromedia, a San Francisco company known for an Internet animation technology called Flash, developed software that works separately from a Web browser to display data and run applications programs, which can be stored for use even when computers aren't connected to the Internet.
Macromedia, which in the past has collected its revenue mainly from selling software-development tools, plans to help developers create and distribute programs based on Macromedia Central, while taking 20% to 25% of the revenue they earn from selling those programs, said Kevin Lynch, Macromedia's chief software architect.
Under the relationship with AOL, the companies plan to work together to let developers create programs that combine Macromedia Central with AOL's instant-messaging technology. During an online auction, for example, a user viewing objects for sale might begin an instant-messaging conversation with the seller, said Ed Fish, an America Online senior vice president.
The partnership is the first time the Internet service has let other companies create programs based on its instant-messaging infrastructure, Mr. Fish said. When they do, America Online will also share in the revenue they get, he said."

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Brian Madden: Softricity announces SoftGrid 3.0: Is this the future of server-based computing?

Brian Madden: Softricity announces SoftGrid 3.0: Is this the future of server-based computing?: "Softgrid's core philosophy can be summed up like this: What's the best way to use this application at this moment? The company recognizes the fact that while centralized control is good, centralized processing is not always needed. To that end, SoftGrid 3.0 supports offline streaming which allows laptop users to continue to use SoftGrid applications even when they're offline. This fits into many other vendors' utility computing messages and allows companies to have one application management solution. Use SoftGrid for end-to-end management of applications—whether users are connected to Terminal Servers or using disconnected laptops.
Virtual servers, virtual storage, and virtual networks have been around for a few years. Softricity's SoftGrid 3.0 adds virtual applications."

Congrats to Bill Corrigan and the rest of the Softricity team on a major milestone.

Nick Bradbury: Kudos to VMware

Nick Bradbury: Kudos to VMware: "A few months ago I bought a copy of VMware, and now I can't imagine how I tested my software without it. Previously, I'd create separate partitions for each version of Windows, which required rebooting into the desired OS in order to test - a tedious way to do things.
As this screenshot illustrates, testing is a breeze now. I can quickly start up Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, 2003 and even Longhorn without ever rebooting."

I'm seeing VMWare everywhere this week -- blogs, Fortune magazine CEO interview, IBM ads mentioning VMWare in the small print for running multiple OSes, etc.

TheFeature :: The Triumph of Good Enough (Kevin Werbach)

TheFeature :: The Triumph of Good Enough (Kevin Werbach): "In the new world, the money will be in applications on the edge devices, hardware sales, and of all things, dumb connectivity. The first wireless operator to execute the Dell/Wal-Mart model -- being the efficient commodity provider, with a great brand -- will make a killing. (Partly because they will kill their competitors.) Not that this is an easy task. Legacy billing systems and legacy culture are huge hurdles to overcome, and the ideas of 'owning the customer' and 'delivering value-added services' are deeply embedded in operator DNA.
The hard truth is that devices are evolving faster than networks. Wide-area wireless connectivity will be just another function that a 'good enough' converged mobile device provides, albeit an important one. Put together a series of little things, and that's the inevitable result."

AT&T Wireless Launches High-Speed Wireless Data Service

AT&T Wireless Launches High-Speed Wireless Data Service: "AT&T Wireless Services Inc. on Tuesday launched its next-generation high-speed wireless data service across North America.
The EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution) offers average data rates of 100K to 130K bps, according to company officials in Redmond, Wash...
There are a variety of data plans for the new service, including an unlimited plan for $79.99 per month."

Getting closer...

Q&A: Inside the Next Version of the Tablet PC Operating System

Q&A: Inside the Next Version of the Tablet PC Operating System: "PressPass: From the perspective of an end-user, how is the Tablet PC experience of a year ago different from the experience today?
Mitchell: The first thing that all users will see is the deeper support for pen input across the entire operating system and in all Windows-based applications. Regardless of whether they have a convertible, slate or hybrid Tablet PC, users can now more easily insert text with a pen. If they are on a slate and they tend to spend more time with recognition, we have brought a new level of handwriting-recognition intelligence to the Tablet PC operating system. For instance, we use context to more accurately understand what is being written. It's much like we use context when we're talking to each other to disambiguate what we mean when we use, for instance, acronyms like 'PC.' Does that mean 'personal computer' or 'politically correct?' When a user enters an Internet address via a pen, the software interprets the context and recognizes it as an Internet address. This makes for a more efficient and natural end-user experience.
So the improvements in ink and handwriting recognition are probably the two biggest benefits. If your language is East Asian and you write using characters, we think you'll see dramatic improvements in the user interface as well, mostly again for entering text. It's cumbersome to type many Asian languages, so improving the way those customers can use digital ink is a significant improvement. And across the board, you'll see the benefits poking through to all Windows-based applications where some of the low-level operating system functionality is used."

Monday, November 17, 2003

Royale XML syntax and services for rich apps == Macromedia Flex
We've been working on an XML syntax for generating compositions of rich UI components from web apps, rendering them in the ubiquitous Flash VM, and binding them to remote data and services. Previously code-named Royale, it enters beta with the official product name "Macromedia Flex."

Insights from Sean Neville

Jesse Ezell Blog: Flex vs. Avalon

Jesse Ezell Blog: Flex vs. Avalon: "I've had Flex (Royal) on my machine for quite some time and was able to talk with the product team during the alphas. Now that Macromedia has publically announced a lot of details around MXML and Flex, I can finally say a few things that have been on my mind ever since my sneak peak of Royal."

Macromedia courts Java crowd | CNET

Macromedia courts Java crowd | CNET "Macromedia Flex, formerly code-named Royale, will be a combination of server software, development guidelines and other tools to enable traditional Web application developers to create components in Macromedia's Flash format. As previously reported, the product will focus on giving developers accustomed to working with Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) a framework for building attractive, easy-to-navigate interfaces for the J2EE applications they create."

Microsoft Announces Availability of Open and Royalty-Free License For Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas

Microsoft Announces Availability of Open and Royalty-Free License For Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas: "Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of a royalty-free licensing program for its Microsoft® Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and accompanying documentation. The Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas enable organizations of all sizes to utilize industry-standard Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology in managing spreadsheet, word processing and form documents. Microsoft's new Office 2003 versions of Word, Excel and the InfoPath (TM) information-gathering program utilize schemas that describe how information is stored when documents are saved as XML. By licensing the schemas royalty-free, Microsoft builds on its ongoing commitment to promote the development of XML as the next-generation technology for integrating applications, services and data sources."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates armed with Microsoft arsenal against spam

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates armed with Microsoft arsenal against spam: "A tradition in Gates' Comdex speech is a humorous video. They've satirized pop culture and included cameos from celebrities.
This year, the video spoofed the 'Matrix' movies, featuring Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer as the protagonist Neo, and Gates as the mentor Morpheus.
In the video, Gates asked Ballmer to choose between swallowing a palm-size blue pill with IBM's logo on it, and a tiny red pill with a Microsoft logo on it.
And, perhaps with unintended irony, Gates said to Ballmer: 'You will need to learn a new way of thinking, one that allows you to recognize the rules of the Matrix but bend those rules to your will.'
Some of Microsoft's competitors might argue the company has already learned that lesson."

Vision of Personal Computers as Heart of Home Entertainment

Vision of Personal Computers as Heart of Home Entertainment: "sked at a recent financial analyst conference whether Apple Computer would introduce a Media Center version of its Macintosh computer, Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chief executive, responded sarcastically, saying that it would make no more sense than Apple introducing a computer also capable of making toast.
'We're not going in that direction,' Mr. Jobs said. 'We've always believed that this convergence between the computer and the television wasn't going to work.'" - Microsoft to Wage Attack on Spam With New Filter - Microsoft to Wage Attack on Spam With New Filter: "In his annual opening address at the Comdex computer industry exposition here, Microsoft Chairman and founder Bill Gates was expected to showcase new software that filters out spam -- unsolicited commercial e-mail -- before it can flood corporate networks. Dubbed SmartScreen, the software is designed to more thoroughly block unwanted e-mail messages than technology now in Microsoft products, such as its Outlook e-mail program.
The spam announcement is part of a broader message that Mr. Gates and other company officials are delivering to customers and investors. The theme: that Microsoft can use its huge research and development budget to power through the difficult times that the computer industry faces."

PBS | I, Cringely: The First Time is Free: Microsoft's Peculiar Profit Obsession, .NET, and What It All Really Means

PBS | I, Cringely: The First Time is Free: Microsoft's Peculiar Profit Obsession, .NET, and What It All Really Means: "Remember, IL ultimately makes .NET and Windows hardware independent, decreasing Microsoft's dependence on Intel and increasing its power over Intel -- the power to give and to take away. There are instances where Microsoft might want to move away from Intel. Redmond has not done a very good job of putting its software on large-scale servers, for example, largely because its hardware partner doesn't scale well. We're seeing Intel-based servers now with up to eight CPUs, but that's about it: Above eight the increased overhead means it isn't worthwhile, so we do clustering, instead. But now Microsoft is flirting with IBM precisely because IBM's Power architecture scales beautifully. If Microsoft wants to grab one of the last pools of profit it doesn't currently own -- high end corporate computing -- putting .NET on IBM's Power and PowerPC are a key."

Friday, November 14, 2003 IBM's new workplace strategy revitalises Lotus IBM's new workplace strategy revitalises Lotus "With the release of IBM Lotus Notes Domino 6.5, IBM is fleshing out its IBM Lotus Workplace strategy. Lotus Workplace is IBM's new strategy to reinvigorate Lotus Notes and place it at the centre of a new strategy to support the information worker.
Although Lotus Notes has always been a powerful collaborative tool, the new Lotus Workplace strategy will fix many of the problems have prevented it dominating this sector of the market. The migration of Lotus Domino to Lotus Workplace puts Lotus Notes firmly on a path towards a modular open architecture, it increases the flexibility of the interface with portal capabilities and it reaches new audiences with a cost of ownership two orders of magnitude lower than the current client server system. This announcement, coming hard on the heels of Microsoft's announcement of the collaboration features of Office 2003, shows how serious major software companies are about the importance of the information worker environment for their future growth."

Flash Vs. CSS/HTML: Which Will You Choose?

Flash Vs. CSS/HTML: Which Will You Choose? "Macromedia Flash. It’s one of the most controversial products in the Web development world.
In this article we’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of Flash. We’ll take a close look at what it can do, and what it can’t or shouldn’t do. And, through this process, we’ll compare Flash to its counterparts HTML and CSS."

Via Nick Bradbury

CRN : Breaking News : Sun To Offer Free App Server As Base For J2EE 1.4

CRN : Breaking News : Sun To Offer Free App Server As Base For J2EE 1.4: "Sun Microsystems next week will offer a free version of its application server as the reference architecture for J2EE 1.4, Sun's software chief said Thursday.
The move is one of several upcoming Java releases that Sun is banking on to earn revenue and build out a broad infrastructure for developing, deploying and managing Web services on myriad devices, said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's software executive vice president, at Sun's San Francisco headquarters.
Schwartz said Sun is providing its own application server for free as the J2EE 1.4 reference implementation to enable more widespread adoption of Web services on the J2EE platform. The move in no way will affect the business of J2EE vendors, such as IBM and BEA Systems, which already have their own specialized implementations, he said.
'J2EE is a commodity,' Schwartz said. 'BEA and IBM don't make money [on] J2EE,' they make it on the added functionality and solutions they offer on top of their J2EE-compatible software, he said. "

Ted Leung on the air : So what about Longhorn?

Ted Leung on the air : So what about Longhorn? "I have to say that I am impressed by the vision for Longhorn. It's not going to get us the Knowledge Navigator (sorry Scoble). I'm impressed with Microsoft's willingness to make such a risky play. Rewriting a huge amount of system functionality with new APIs in managed code is fairly risky. But if they succeed, they are going to end up with an environment that will be pretty nice to program in, and there'll be some cool features in there. Once they get everything into managed code, people working in predominantly unmanaged environments are going to be hard pressed to keep up.
To me the real question isn't about Microsoft and Longhorn, it's about the alternative platforms, Linux and the Macintosh. The Macintosh is tough because Apple is basically saying "hey, just trust us to keep doing cool stuff". And they are doing cool stuff, there's a lot of nice stuff in Mac OS X. But let's be honest, most of this stuff is just NextStep dressed up a little bit nicer. We still have C/Objective-C/C++ at the core. We need more than that.
Linux is even worse off. Now I love Linux, but when I compare the Longhorn story with the Linux story, I get scared. Look at things like this. Operating system kernels are commodity software. The interesting stuff is moving up the food chain. I've written about this before, and Ray Ozzie discusses this in his eWeek interview. At least the Mac has NextStep/Cocoa sitting on top of FreeBSD. On Linux there's still a vacuum as far as I'm concerned. I'm not the only one who's concerned about this. Seth Nickell has expressed the concern well. And he's doing something about it. I hear Miguel talking about these issues all the time. Now I disagree with some of the things that are being done in Mono -- sticking to following Microsoft's lead, but overall, I think that what the Mono team is doing is one of the most important open source projects in the long term. But we need to do better here. We need to find a way to lead, not just follow. We're running out of things to copy."

(See post for links to references)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ed Brill: SearchDomino: Lotus GM addresses WebSphere worries

Ed Brill: SearchDomino: Lotus GM addresses WebSphere worries: "So whom do you blame for all this fear about WebSphere? Is it Microsoft?
Goyal: It is to Microsoft's advantage to say Notes/Domino is dead. We would need to have an intelligence test if we were going to take a 110 million-user base and screw that up. Microsoft's own marketing gets in the way of their products. I would rather we focus on delivering real value to real customers with a better total cost of ownership. Ask Microsoft where they got this [concept that Domino is dead], because I didn't say it. Then again, I could just announce that Office is dead. (laughs)"

Web Informant #350, 12 November 2003: Amazon opens up

Web Informant #350, 12 November 2003: Amazon opens up: "Contrast what Amazon is doing with what the music recording industry is doing. It is the difference between writing code and writing legal briefs, or launching programmers vs. deploying lawyers. Rather than encourage people to use their backend systems and search their catalogs, the music business is doing everything they can to keep their customers away with lawsuits, tough talk and heavy-handed tactics to encrypt new music CDs and other instruments of technological torture. According to Amazon, sales of books with the 'search inside' feature have been stronger than books that don't have the feature, showing you that the more information you give shoppers and the more control over their content in the context of a purchase/decision stream, the more your sales will increase. And the combination of new support for Web services and the search features are two powerful reasons that Amazon will continue to lead by example in this area."

I.B.M. Says It Benefits 2 Ways From On-Demand Computing

I.B.M. Says It Benefits 2 Ways From On-Demand Computing: "I.B.M.'s chief executive, Samuel J. Palmisano, said Wednesday that his company had generated $7 billion in orders in the last year for its the 'on demand' computing services.
At the same time, Mr. Palmisano said, I.B.M. had applied its on-demand computing techniques to its own operations for a saving of an additional $7 billion."

Earnings on demand?... - Personal Technology: Mossberg on StarOffice - Personal Technology: Mossberg on StarOffice: "The key virtue of StarOffice is that it's cheap. Sun sells it for $80, compared with the hundreds of dollars Microsoft charges, especially for versions of Office that include the Access database program.
In fact, StarOffice can be had free. Users can download a free open-source version of the program, called OpenOffice 1.1, at OpenOffice is essentially identical to StarOffice, except Sun provides a better spell checker, more fonts and more database capabilities.
But these price advantages aren't as great as they once would have been, because Microsoft has been stealthily cutting the price of Office for consumers. A version of Microsoft Office called the Student and Teacher edition costs only $149, and can legally be installed on up to three PCs in a household. It is supposed to be sold only to students and teachers, but Microsoft also says it can be purchased by anyone living in a household with pretty much anyone who attends, or teaches at, any kind of educational institution. And, in fact, most stores ask no questions at all when you buy it.
But as I said last year, this program is mainly for light users preparing basic documents who either can't afford Office, or hate Microsoft so much they'll live with some complexity and limitations."

Onyx Software offers to buy Pivotal

Onyx Software offers to buy Pivotal: "Onyx Software Corp. made an unsolicited bid yesterday to buy rival Pivotal Corp. for $59 million in stock, a move that could eclipse a cash offer presented last month by venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners and Kirkland software company Talisma.
Bellevue-based Onyx, whose customer-relationship management software is used by Microsoft Corp., Suncorp and the Seattle Seahawks, is trying to buy Vancouver, B.C.-based Pivotal for $2.25 per share. That compares with a $1.78 cash offer -- or $44 million bid -- made by Oak and Talisma on Oct. 8."

Merger-mania continues...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - Cisco to Purchase Software Maker For $80 Million - Cisco to Purchase Software Maker For $80 Million "Cisco Systems Inc. agreed to acquire Latitude Communications Inc., a maker of software for Internet-based conferencing, for $80 million.
Don Proctor, general manager of Cisco's voice-technology group, said Latitude's technology allows users to conduct an audio and video conference, and simultaneously exchange instant messages. Mr. Proctor said Cisco plans to integrate Latitude's technology with other programs that move video and voice traffic over computer networks."

InfoWorld: Borland updates Janeva: November 11, 2003: By Tom Sullivan: Application Development

InfoWorld: Borland updates Janeva: November 11, 2003: By Tom Sullivan: Application Development "Borland on Tuesday released Janeva 6.0 software for connecting .Net applications to J2EE and CORBA on the back-end.
The latest version includes support for Microsoft Office applications, transactional services, and improved security.
Janeva now can serve as a bridge between Office applications, namely Excel and Word, and the data in J2EE or CORBA systems.
The new transactional capabilities improve the delivery of services and give J2EE or CORBA services the ability to call back .Net applications.
On the security front, Janeva 6.0 provides encryption via SSL and can leverage authentication and single sign-on.
Janeva 6.0 is certified for BEA's WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and Oracle9i application servers, and Borland's own Enterprise Server."

(entire article)

Wired News: Yet Another Rendition of Linux

Wired News: Yet Another Rendition of Linux: "One of the founders of the open-source software initiative is planning to release a new version of Linux to challenge Red Hat's enterprise version of the operating system, and fill the hole left in the consumer market since Red Hat announced last week it would no longer sell a consumer version in retail stores.
The new version of Linux, called UserLinux, is being proposed by open-source sage Bruce Perens, who claims to have the backing of some of the world's largest companies, across a number of business sectors. UserLinux, which will be paid for with multimillion-dollar donations from Perens' corporate backers, will be free for unlimited use, and will be certified by large computer makers."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Q&A: Business Value of Windows Server System, Dynamic Systems Initiative, Outlined

Q&A: Business Value of Windows Server System, Dynamic Systems Initiative, Outlined "PressPass: What's ahead for DSI ?
Tatarinov: We have a well-defined roadmap for DSI. The initiative covers the operating system, server applications and tools and management products. We'll continue to evolve Windows Server with innovations such as Software Update Services 2.0. On the development side, we'll introduce the next version of Visual Studio .NET, codenamed "Whidbey," in 2004. As part of "Whidbey," the recently announced Web services design tools enable infrastructure and application architects to "design for operations," which means that developers can build manageability into an application at its inception.
On the management side, look for Microsoft Operations Manager 2004 and Microsoft System Center, our solution for providing customers with complete application and system management for enterprises of all sizes. Microsoft System Center will provide a comprehensive solution for proactively managing enterprises and driving down the total cost of ownership of the Windows platform. It will provide solutions for enterprise management scenarios, including desktops, laptops, personal digital assistants, applications and servers."

Microsoft: Virtual PC 2004 Available Now Cheaply, Will Run Linux

Microsoft: Virtual PC 2004 Available Now Cheaply, Will Run Linux "As expected, Microsoft announced today that it has completed the development of Virtual PC 2004, the latest version of the virtual machine environment software based on technology the company purchased from Connectix earlier this year. Though the software can still be used effectively in a variety of scenarios, Microsoft is targeting businesses that need a "safety net" while they migrate to newer Windows versions such as Windows XP; Virtual PC allows you to run older applications in older Windows versions inside of a dedicated virtual host. And because you can effectively run several of these environments concurrently on a single PC, enterprise customers can more effectively manage software migrations.
Previous Virtual PC versions were quite popular with programmers and Web developers that needed to test their creations on slightly different Windows or IE versions, help desk workers and support staff, IT administrators, and even enthusiasts interested in testing new versions of Linux or Free BSD. But when Microsoft quietly cancelled support for non-Microsoft operating systems, users complained that the software giant was unfairly targeting the competition. However, Virtual PC 2004, like its predecessors, will continue to run virtually (ahem) any Intel x86-based operating system, including Linux. The difference is that Microsoft won't support such an install, or provide help to users having problems with Linux running on Virtual PC. Microsoft says the product is designed specifically for running older operating systems that users are migrating from, not current OS versions.
From a price standpoint, Virtual PC 2004 is a bargain compared to previous versions. First, Microsoft is dropping the retail price to $129 (down from $229 with Connectix Virtual PC), and the company will make the product available to its MSDN customers later this year. Existing Connectix Virtual PC users will be able to upgrade to the new version for free as well."

Market Analysis: Microsoft: if you can't buy them, beat them

Market Analysis: Microsoft: if you can't buy them, beat them "Microsoft is developing a new graphics toolset.
According to reports, Microsoft [MSFT] is developing a new graphics and animation toolset for its next operating system. The tool is already being referred to internally as a Flash-killer - but such claims should be taken with a pinch of salt, as much could change in the next three years.
If you can't buy them, beat them seems to be the message coming out of Microsoft. Microsoft is working on a graphics and animation toolset codenamed Sparkle, for its next operating system that integrates with the .NET runtime environment, according to reports.
Sparkle has given rise to talk inside Microsoft that it is a Flash or Director-killer, Macromedia's [MACR] popular environments for creating and running rich multimedia content on PCs, devices and the web."

Via Analyst Views

I.B.M. Helps Promote Linux

I.B.M. Helps Promote Linux "Linux is a rising star in the geeky back office of computing. Its gains have come as an operating system for the data-serving computers that run corporate networks and serve up Web pages. On the desktop, Microsoft's Windows still reigns supreme.
One indication of their more aggressive approach came yesterday when an I.B.M. executive, Samuel J. Docknevich, delivered a speech at a technology conference outside Boston titled "The Time Is Now for Linux on the Desktop."

Monday, November 10, 2003 - Portals:Technology Has Us So Plugged Into Data, We Have Turned Off - Portals:Technology Has Us So Plugged Into Data, We Have Turned Off "A new plague of inattention is spreading. It's called "surfer's voice" -- a habit of half-heartedly talking to someone on the telephone while simultaneously surfing the Web, reading e-mails, or trading instant messages.
On one end of the phone is an annoyed colleague or family member discussing an important topic. On the other end, a party puts on a meager soundtrack of knowing participation: "OK ... uh-hum ... right ... OK." It is punctuated with surreptitious tapping of a keyboard.
The brainy people who study these things call this phenomenon "absent presence." For years, researchers have discussed how cellphones have trampled over the once communal public space of sidewalks and restaurants. The idea is that we may be physically on a street corner, but our distracted minds are not. We do little bits of everything, and none well.
A convergence of technologies is making the distractions still worse. A new kind of personal computer called the Media Center allows users to easily watch TV on the same screen where they swap instant messages and burn music DVDs. And Asian cellphone companies have begun building television tuners into their most advanced models.
How we manage these relationships between technology and people is a growing source of anxiety. It's depressing, but somehow fitting, that convergence now allows us to be distracted from our distractions.
Prof. Levy, however, sees surfer's voice as more than a technology issue. He says the distraction is the result of the failing of a culture that rewards mindless information saturation. He engages in daily meditation sessions to help clear out the cobwebs, but admits he, too, is addicted to the information that floods onto his PC and on his Web browser."

Fortified by Linux, Novell Hopes to Regain Strength

Fortified by Linux, Novell Hopes to Regain Strength: "Novell, which is based in Provo, Utah, expects the Linux operation to bring about $35 million to $40 million in revenue annually, growing at about 30 percent a year, consistent with the rest of the Linux industry.
The deal to acquire SuSE started as a development discussion between the two companies, led by Chris Stone, the vice chairman in the chief executive's office at Novell. Mr. Stone rejoined the company in early 2002 after leaving for three years to run a technology start-up, and he now serves as Mr. Messman's right-hand man.
Mr. Messman is also in his second tour at Novell. A former venture capitalist, he was an original investor in what was then called Novell Beta Systems, founded in 1981, the same year that I.B.M. released its first personal computer.
Two years later, Novell brought in Ray Noorda to run the company, while Mr. Messman stayed on the board. Within a few years, Novell was making a healthy profit selling software that connected clusters of PC's that could share files and printers. "

Saturday, November 08, 2003

IBM Lotus white paper (pdf)

IBM Lotus white paper (pdf) "Protect and enrich your Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino investments within a collaborative platform to drive productivity."

Via Ed Brill

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft mobile-technology expert leaving

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft mobile-technology expert leaving: "Juha Christensen, a Microsoft executive who helped turn the company into a contender in the mobile arena, will leave by Dec. 1 to start his own business in the Bay Area.
Christensen, 38, joined Microsoft in September 2000 as corporate vice president of the company's mobile-devices marketing group. He was a co-founder of Symbian, a mobile software company backed by some of the biggest players in the industry." - Wonder Boy (Larry Ellison book reviews) - Wonder Boy (Larry Ellison book reviews) "The denizens of Silicon Valley, joined by a peanut gallery from Wall Street and elsewhere, have long held two divergent views of the man who runs Oracle Corp. Call them Larry the Bad and Larry the Good.
For anyone who enjoys playing "Who's Larry?" two books have arrived to help answer the question -- or confirm familiar prejudices. The slimmer of the two, Karen Southwick's "Everyone Else Must Fail," is a determined case for the prosecution, a jumble of sour grapes and horror stories starring Ellison's embittered former number two, Ray Lane. She goes looking for Genghis Khan and, although finding him some of the time, is honest enough to admit when she comes up short. Matthew Symonds's brick of a book is more elegant and overtly admiring. It is dominated -- surprise -- by the endlessly talkative Mr. Ellison himself, who cooperated right down to providing running footnotes to the narrative. So together we get yin and yang, which may be about right for one of the high-tech world's true samurai."

The Secret Life of XForms

The Secret Life of XForms: "XForms recently reached the W3C's Candidate Recommendation status—and you need to know about it—because XForms isn't a form description language, it's a language for describing applications in a platform-independent way. Best of all, it integrates easily with technologies you already know, such as XHTML, XPath, SVG, and CSS."

Thursday, November 06, 2003

CRN: Microsoft To Release Virtual PC 2004 To Manufacturing Next Week

CRN: Microsoft To Release Virtual PC 2004 To Manufacturing Next Week "Running multiple operating systems in virtual machines on the same PC is ideal for corporations that want to test out and ensure quality of applications on newer versions of Windows before they go through an upgrade cycle, or for developers who wish to run both Unix/Linux and Windows applications on the same box, observers note."

Blog: Serge van den Oever: Longhorn: WinFS looks cool!

Blog: Serge van den Oever: Longhorn: WinFS looks cool!: "
The WinFS data storage system used in Longhorn seems cool... A short list of some powerful features:
* There is a concept of Items and relations between Items
* An Item is something like a file, a folder, a contact, or a user defined type
* There are two types of relations: holding relationships and reference relationships
* With holding relationship you can model the well known folder hierarchy, but also much more because an item can be 'hold' in more than one relationship (although cycles in the 'hold' graph are not permitted)
* An item has a reference count of its holding relationships. When it has no more references it is removed from the store.
* Security is on Item level (which could indicate that Yukon, presumably the storage engine in a slimmed down version, has row level security)
* Every store Item has an unique ID that identifies the Item in the store (although not guaranteed over multiple stores)
* WinFS supports: Asynchrony (multiple queries and data retrieval at the same time), Transactions, Notifications (on Item changes, relation changes, and many more subtile things going on), Blob/stream support, Cursoring and paging (a query can result into many Items!)
* A powerful API is available to interogate the store
* Within the API powerful querying and filtering functionality is available
* Also direct SQL queries can be executed on the store for really powerful aggregation and grouping"

Via Chris Sells

Apple says could move to Intel, but happy with IBM | CNET

Apple says could move to Intel, but happy with IBM | CNET "The latest version of the Mac OS X operating system could easily run on Intel chips, but Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs said on Wednesday that the company has little interest in changing processors."

Must be contract renewal discussion time in Cupertino...

A Mac OS X screen shot in eWeek this week gave me a very strong sense of deja vu; it was almost 1:1 with a circa 1989 NeXT screen shot; I guess the reverse take-over is complete.

IBM's Lotus targets e-mail holdouts | CNET

IBM's Lotus targets e-mail holdouts | CNET ""What we found as we talked to companies is that most of them had a significant population of workers who didn't have e-mail," mainly because of the complexity and expense of setting up an e-mail client such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft's Outlook, Bisconti said. "Even if we gave it away for free, Lotus Notes wouldn't be right for that population, because it's just too complicated."
With Web access becoming more common in the home and elsewhere, "it's getting more feasible to serve that end-user population," Bisconti said." - Boies's Firm Could See $49.4 Million From SCO - Boies's Firm Could See $49.4 Million From SCO: "The law firm of litigator David Boies could get $49.4 million or more for representing SCO Group Inc. in its lawsuit over Linux software -- even without winning in court.
Documents SCO recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission say the Lindon, Utah, software firm 'is in the process of finalizing' a deal with its counsel. Under the agreement, SCO would pay the lawyers 20% of the proceeds of 'a sale of SCO during the pendancy of litigation.' SCO is suing International Business Machines Corp." Cisco profit up 76% to record Cisco profit up 76% to record: "Chambers, who received a $1 annual salary and declined a bonus for the second straight year, has boosted per-share profit by cutting costs and using part of Cisco's $20.7 billion in cash and investments to repurchase shares.The company, which sells 68 percent of all switches and 81 percent of routers that direct data traffic, tends to charge higher prices than competitors, including Brampton, Ontario-based Nortel Networks Corp., the number two equipment company, and number three 3Com Corp. of Marlborough, Mass."

(emphasis mine) Lotus launches Web-based software for corporate systems Lotus launches Web-based software for corporate systems: "IBM Corp.'s Lotus software unit yesterday rolled out a quartet of new Web-based products that offer a simpler, lower-cost alternative to the company's flagship Notes and Domino groupware products."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The History of Notes and Domino

The History of Notes and Domino Cool -- updated for R6

Web Informant #349, 5 November 2003: Novell and Unix

Web Informant #349, 5 November 2003: Novell and Unix: "I find the whole situation very ironic. The main thorn in the side of Linux these days is SCO, which has its roots in the Canopy Group, a private venture capital firm that grew from the house that Ray Noorda built. If you recall, Noorda was the long-time CEO and chairman of Novell in the 1980s and early 1990s. Noorda was behind the first effort to buy USL from AT&T back in 1993. SCO's lawsuits on intellectual property theft stem back to the early years when Novell owned USL and are based on documents from the Noorda archives."

New Longhorn Graphics Tool Called "Flashkiller"

New Longhorn Graphics Tool Called "Flashkiller": "Code-named 'Sparkle,' the tools under development would be integrated with Microsoft's .NET (define) runtime environment. That would ultimately mean developers could have Flash- and Director-like animation and graphics tools ready-built for them soon after Longhorn hits the marketplace."

Quovadx Acquires Rogue Wave Software for $71 Million

Quovadx Acquires Rogue Wave Software for $71 Million: "Business-to-business integration software provider Quovadx Inc. announced Tuesday morning the acquisition of Rogue Wave Software Inc. in a deal valued at $71 million.
Rogue, of Boulder, Colo., makes reusable software components for application development."

Craig Burton weblog: Novell to Acquire SUSE LINUX

Craig Burton weblog: Novell to Acquire SUSE LINUX "Novell is finally attempting to move to the Linux kernal away from the NetWare kernal. Moving to Linux is the only choice Novell has to make. From that perspective, the SUSE LINUX acquisition is a good thing.
Here's the challenge. Novell has never been a good "operating system" company. It doesn't have the mindset or the infrastructure required to support developers. Brainshare, while under the guise of a developer's conference, is really a NetWare system administrator's conference. There is no developer community for NetWare. Novell had fifteen years to create a developer community for NetWare and failed to do so.
To succeed in changing platform kernals, Novell must also succeed in changing its cultural kernal. This is the hardest thing for any company to accomplish. As my good friend Doc Searls says, "A company is where it comes from." Novell "comes from" being a special purpose OS company that doesn't support a developer community. Witness the billion dollar acquistion of Bell Labs. Oil and water mix better than Novell and Unix.
While moving to Linux is the right thing to do, it will be a tough transition both technologically and culturally. Novell now has strategic leadership pockets in Provo, Boston, and Germany. I hope--for the benefit of the Industry--that Novell is successful in finding a new technology kernal in Linux and a new cultural kernal with its acquistion of SUSE Linux and Ximian. No small task. If it succeeds, it may be more like SUSE and Ximian bought Novell rather than the other way around." - Pace of Music-File Erasing Picks Up - Pace of Music-File Erasing Picks Up "In a development that seems to underscore an impact of the music industry's legal assault on digital file-swappers, about 1.4 million U.S. households in August erased all the digital-music files they had saved on their computer hard drives, an online-research firm estimated.
NPD Group Inc., Port Washington, N.Y., based its estimate on an ongoing project that uses special software to monitor the computer activities of 10,000 volunteer households. The number of households that erased the files represent 4% of the 35 million households the firm estimates store digital music on their PCs. In May, well before the music industry began filing hundreds of lawsuits against people alleged to have illegally shared music online, about 600,000 households made similar sweeps of their PCs.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Could It Be Novell Vs. Microsoft All Over Again?

Could It Be Novell Vs. Microsoft All Over Again?: "Novell hasn't given Microsoft a run for its money since Ray Noorda retired in 1995. But maybe that's about to change. On Tuesday, Novell announced intentions to buy SuSE Linux. In August, Novell bought desktop Linux stalwart Ximian. Could Novell be shaping up to take on the Redmondiands yet again "

With this news, the ongoing SCO saga, and Red Hat telling the world to use Windows on the desktop (and moving to a very MS-like business model for enterprise servers), I suspect the "Redmondiands" aren't at red alert just yet.

Wired News: Xbox to Switch to PowerPC

Wired News: Xbox to Switch to PowerPC: "Microsoft will use the Virtual PC technology it acquired from Connectix last year to provide backward-compatibility with the current generation of Xbox games."


Via Jesse Ezell blog - Novell to Acquire SuSE Linux For $210 Million, Sets IBM Deal - Novell to Acquire SuSE Linux For $210 Million, Sets IBM Deal: "Novell Inc. agreed to acquire Germany's SuSE Linux AG for $210 million and began talks with International Business Machines Corp. to extend commercial agreements between IBM and SuSE, a provider of Linux software and services.
In addition, IBM plans to buy $50 million of Novell's convertible preferred stock. Novell, of Provo, Utah, said it is negotiating with IBM to extend agreements for the support of SuSE Linux on IBM's eServer and middleware products.
Shares of Novell surged on news of the deal, rising $2.26, or 37%, to $8.31 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Read Hat Inc., another Linux provider, were down $1.30, or 8.5%, to $14.08 on the Nasdaq Stock Market."

(A rare typo in a WSJ article, unless Red Hat has changed its name...)

Web Services Sky Is 'Indigo'

Web Services Sky Is 'Indigo': "In an exclusive interview with eWEEK here at PDC, Shewchuk said he and a colleague conceived of Indigo while working on the next version of .Net Framework. Shewchuk said his team took its idea to Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer three years ago.
'It's been a pretty exciting project; it's the kind of thing you build a startup around,' Shewchuk said. 'In fact, we asked, 'Should we do this at Microsoft, or should we go do a startup?' And we went to talk to Bill and Steve, and they said, 'Do it here.' And they said they'd make sure we got it done.'
In a sense, 'we did our own startup within Microsoft,' Shewchuk said."

Apple will fix security flaws in Jaguar

Apple will fix security flaws in Jaguar "Apple Computer Inc. said in a statement given to MacCentral on Friday that the company would be fixing security flaws uncovered in Mac OS X Jaguar by Cambridge, MA-based security research firm @Stake earlier this week.
Some have speculated that Apple would not update the older Jaguar operating system since the release of Mac OS X Panther on October 24, 2003, but Apple has put that speculation to rest."

InfoWorld: Commerce One cuts staff, considers selling assets: November 03, 2003: By : Applications

InfoWorld: Commerce One cuts staff, considers selling assets: November 03, 2003: By : Applications: "Struggling software vendor Commerce One Inc. has cut 40 percent of its staff and hired a bank to explore the company's options, including a sale of some or all of its businesses.
The company's grim news came late last week as it announced its third-quarter results, which included a 78 percent decline in revenue, from $23.4 million in last year's third quarter to $5.7 million in this year's. Services revenue contributed most of that total, with software license fees bringing in $906,000."

i2 is undergoing a similiar metamorphosis.

Microsoft to License I.B.M. Chips

Microsoft to License I.B.M. Chips: "I.B.M. may be best known for its big computers that run corporate and government data centers. But with computer games increasingly using the same animating technology as supercomputers, I.B.M. has become more focused on the game console business. Already, I.B.M. supplies the processors for Nintendo GameCube machines, and it has forged a partnership with Sony to design processor technology for the successor to its current PlayStation 2 console.

With the Microsoft deal, I.B.M. appears to have an inside track with the three major console makers. That opens the door, analysts say, to I.B.M., which ruled the mainframe era, in potentially achieving a dominant position as a supplier of technology for computer games.
'By the middle or end of this decade, I.B.M. could have as much influence and market power in the console market as Intel does in the personal computer industry,' said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a technology research firm."

Power-full game consoles... Good thing Windows NT/XP has a processor-independent kernel (e.g., used to compile to MIPS, Alpha, and PowerPC).

Monday, November 03, 2003

Microsoft and IBM Announce Technology Agreement

Microsoft and IBM Announce Technology Agreement: "Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has entered into a semiconductor technology agreement with IBM Corp. Under the agreement, Microsoft has licensed leading-edge semiconductor processor technology from IBM for use in future Xbox® products and services to be announced at a later date.
'Microsoft is already developing the software and services that will drive the Digital Decade,' said Robbie Bach, senior vice president of the Home & Entertainment Division at Microsoft. 'By combining our vision, software experience and R&D resources with IBM's computer and semiconductor technologies, we plan to deliver unprecedented and unparalleled entertainment experiences to consumers while creating new engines of growth for the technology and entertainment industries.'
According to Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and chief technologist for IBM's Technology Group, the new Xbox technologies will be based on the latest in IBM's family of state-of-the-art processors.
'IBM's advanced chip technologies are in demand across a wide range of industries and applications,' Meyerson said. 'We're excited to be working on a project of this magnitude and that Microsoft has chosen IBM to provide technologies that will power future consumer devices and expand the boundaries of what's possible in entertainment.'"

Strange days indeed -- Microsoft licensing IBM hardware...

Groove Networks - Communication, Collaboration and Technology: Back to the Future (Whitepaper)

Groove Networks - Communication, Collaboration and Technology: Back to the Future (Whitepaper) "It's time for a back-to-basics assessment of the goals, challenges and opportunities in the application of technology to communication and collaboration." - Ray Ozzie, CEO of Groove Networks Inc. and creator of Lotus Notes
Read this whitepaper, co-authored by Ray Ozzie and industry analyst Peter O'Kelly, to learn:
* Why even today's state-of-the-art communication/collaboration software doesn't fully address the business challenges of most organizations
* How workspace-centered collaboration can complement existing tools that are focused on documents, messaging, and interaction
* How to "turbo charge" your existing applications with collaboration services while reducing the amount of time and money your IT organization spends supporting point solutions
* How you can effectively address your business customers' evolving needs for solutions that address their mobile, offline and cross-enterprise requirements
* How you can become a more dynamic, adaptive organization that's better positioned to cut costs, boost efficiencies and solve problems
* And more… "

Macromedia Prepares For Battle Royale

Macromedia Prepares For Battle Royale: "Macromedia says Royale will not replace ColdFusion and Jrun, instead for traditional HTML-based applications, the company says both ColdFusion and JRun are complete unto themselves. For rich client applications however, Macromedia says ColdFusion and JRun are great for creating the business-logic tier. Royale in that respect will extend ColdFusion and JRun investments, but does not require them, the company said."

A timely reminder: MS is not the only software company seeking to advance the Internet app state of the art...

Ed Brill - CRN: Cracks Appear In Microsoft Kodiak 'Store Story'

Ed Brill Ed Brill - CRN: Cracks Appear In Microsoft Kodiak 'Store Story' : "Wow, this is huge news. Microsoft originally started talking about SQL Server as the basis for a future Exchange release in a leaked December, 2000 Steve Ballmer memo. I wrote about it on in January, 2001, and MS spent most of 2001 in denial mode, even called me a liar on their website. Yet in October, 2001, at the MS Exchange conference, there was Paul Flessner, showing a roadmap slide for Exchange that included 'Kodiak' in 2003. He was, not surprisingly, light on specifics, and continued to defensively say that it wasn't important to speak about it then.
Yet here we are, end of 2003, and no Kodiak in sight. CRN is now reporting, in fact, that MS can't decide whether to wait until the SQL Server team gets their act together and ships 'Yukon', or whether to proceed with the creaky JET database that has been part of the product since its inception."

Interesting debate context -- IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have all suggested the future of email storage is in extended DBMSs, and Oracle is already shipping an instance, albeit apparently not with much success. In the meantime the leading enterprise email products, Notes and Exchange, continue with non-DBMS architectures. Ed's reference to IBM Lotus Workplace Messaging is a consideration for a subset of enterprise email users, but, for the vast majority of users, the shift to a DBMS-based model isn't going to happen "real soon now."

The WinFS question is also worth revisiting now that we know more about WinFS; e.g., while it will certainly be sensible for MS to exploit WinFS for contacts and other PIM-ish data, it's not clear that WinFS will be the best native store for messaging, and, as Tom Rizzo noted in the CRN article, in the meantime MS has a very large enterprise messaging business to run.

In any case, let's all refresh our codename caches and move on to debates about customer-oriented features instead of "truth maintenance" on historical predictions.

Yahoo! News - Internet Littered With Dead Web Sites

Yahoo! News - Internet Littered With Dead Web Sites: "One study of 3,634 blogs found that two-thirds had not been updated for at least two months and a quarter not since Day One.
'Some would say, `I'm going to be too busy but I'll get back to it,' but never did,' said Jeffrey Henning, chief technology officer with Perseus Development Corp., the research company that did the study. 'Most just kind of stopped.'
Other sites die because an event came and went "

Via Dave Winer, who notes: "Sounds terrible, until you realize they are no more or less dead than a magazine article that hasn't been updated since it was written (basically all magazine articles)"...

The Register: SQL Server on a non MS platform? Never!

The Register: SQL Server on a non MS platform? Never! "The analyst community has long been saying that it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft starts porting its applications, especially its server-based business applications, to Linux.
But one Microsoft notable, in the form of Gordon Mangione, corporate vice president, SQL Server Team, made a strong and clear statement that SQL Server would never be ported to other environments, when he addressed developers last week at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: PC sales may be coming out of doldrums

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: PC sales may be coming out of doldrums "Most indicators for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 suggest PC sales are on the upswing. Two research companies, IDC and Gartner, reported double-digit worldwide sales growth year-over-year — 15.7 percent from IDC and 14.1 from Gartner. In the United States, the figures were 16.1 and 19.1 percent.
That equates to 38 million to 42 million computers sold globally during the period, depending on which figures are cited."

Preview: Microsoft's Windows Longhorn

Preview: Microsoft's Windows Longhorn "It's difficult to draw any definitive conclusions at such an early stage. Fooling around with Longhorn was almost like playing with a research project. But Longhorn is shaping up to be a big bet for Microsoft and, from what we've seen, it looks promising. It's also clear, though, that many elements are still in flux. At the very least, there are more ways to do the same thing in Longhorn -- at least, when it comes to files and the file system – than there are in Windows XP. That offers added flexibility, but it could also be confusing.
What we've seen of WinFS also looks very promising. We're looking forward to checking out the progress on this exciting new capability as it evolves.
Unfortunately, the thing that users will see, interact with and benefit from -- the user interface -- was mostly missing. We're particularly intrigued by the compositing engine, as well as the idea of a fully hardware-accelerated, 3D desktop. Alas, that will have to wait for another day."

Via Microsoft Watch

Post-PDC Developer Resources-

Post-PDC Developer Resources- Handy list of links, via

Microsoft Moves Virtual PC from Linux

Microsoft Moves Virtual PC from Linux "Microsoft confirmed to that an upgrade to Virtual PC—software it purchased from Connectix Corp. in February that lets enables users to run multiple PC-based operating systems simultaneously on one workstation—is close to being released to manufacturing. However, the new version will no longer offer official support for BSD Unix, Linux, NetWare or Solaris on Intel.
Carla Huffman, a product manager in the Windows Client Division, explained, "Customers will be able to run most variants of Linux, as well as NetWare and BSD, as guest OSes on Microsoft's version of Virtual PC. However, Virtual PC is optimized for Windows around key customer scenarios."

The Microsoft Product Roadmap, October 2003 Edition

The Microsoft Product Roadmap, October 2003 Edition "As has been the case at every Microsoft event this year, company executives updated Microsoft's product roadmap at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 in Los Angeles. Longhorn beta 1 will ship in late summer 2004, possibly at about the time of next year's PDC (not a given, but that's my guess). No company executives said anything about beta 2 or the final release date, so don't believe any of the 2006 rumors--at least not yet. Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is due to appear in the first half of 2004. Windows Server 2003 SP1 will be delivered sometime after XP SP2, in the second half of 2004; AMD64 versions of Windows 2003 will ship at the same time as SP1. A new version of XP Tablet PC Edition (code-named Lonestar) will ship in the first half of 2004. The next version of Microsoft SQL Server (code-named Yukon) will ship in the second half of 2004, after a widespread beta 2 release in the first half of the year. Somewhat tied to Yukon is Visual Studio .NET (code-named Whidbey), which will follow a similar trajectory."

Sunday, November 02, 2003

The Scobleizer LonghornBlog: What is Longhorn?

The Scobleizer LonghornBlog "What is Longhorn? Really short version before I hop on a plane to go home:
a) a new User Interface. (code-named Aero). Nicer looking, more productive.
b) a new file storage system. (code-named WinFS) Easier to search for files. Allows for new views on files, people, and data. Lets you build “associations” between data and people.
c) A new set of APIs. (code-named Avalon, now called WinFX). Much more productive for programmers. Offers new user interface capabilities.
d) A new way for software/computers to talk to each other (code-named Indigo). The next version of SOAP and Web services.
e) A new way to communicate (code named RTC). The next version of collaboration and IM functionality." XForms and Microsoft InfoPath XForms and Microsoft InfoPath: "The InfoPath application is focused on providing a superb visual environment, of similar quality to the rest of the Microsoft Office System suite, for creating and filling out forms. In contrast, the XForms specification is designed to encourage implementations not to focus exclusively on visual media, but rather to define only the intent behind various data-gathering controls. The XForms specification gives implementations wide latitude in choices relating to how a particular form control can be implemented, though new CSS properties can narrow down the specific appearance of a form control. Additionally, while XForms is designed to be readily produced by automated tools, InfoPath appears to be put together in such a way that only mouse-designed forms are readily possible."
"Both InfoPath and XForms are version 1.0 efforts, and both are likely to improve substantially in future revisions. For organizations that have already licensed Office System 2003, InfoPath will provide an excellent means to automate data collection tasks. For use on systems not running Office System 2003, including Mac and Linux desktops, phones, PDAs, and even some PCs, XForms remains a better path."

Wired News: Bye-Bye Data: Glitch in Panther

Wired News: Bye-Bye Data: Glitch in Panther: "Mac users are roaring in rage because of a nasty installment glitch that erases data on external hard drives.
After upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3, better known as Panther, they are finding external FireWire drives are no longer recognized by the host machine. In many cases, all the data the drives stores are also gone."
"Apple is working with Oxford Semiconductor and affected drive manufacturers to resolve this issue which resides in the Oxford 922 chip-set," Apple said in a statement posted on its site and discussion forums. "In the interim, Apple recommends that you do not use these drives."

Another example of preferential press; this would be a page 1 scandal if it were MS instead of Apple.

It's About Time and Space

It's About Time and Space "Remember the .Net rollout? Hailstorm? .Net Insecurity Day? There's nothing quite like the rush you get from a Microsoft all-hands-on-deck launch. For just a few hours or days, you get to sit in Bill's chair, see what Bill sees, knowing it will all happen eventually -- given enough time and hard work. Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference (PDC) this week was as big, or bigger than those launches."

More deeply-nested insights and humor from Steve Gillmor.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google report surprises Microsoft execs

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google report surprises Microsoft execs "Citing unnamed sources, The New York Times yesterday reported that Microsoft approached Google about a possible takeover. But several Microsoft executives involved with the company's search business were unaware of any such overtures.
"Sorry, I know nothing about this," said Jim Allchin, the group vice president who heads the Windows division and serves on the company's senior management team."

Investment in Technology Is Roaring Softly Back

Investment in Technology Is Roaring Softly Back: "Business investment in technology is finally picking up across much of the American economy. Consumer spending, lifted by tax cuts and a home mortgage refinancing boom, was the primary reason the economy grew at its fastest rate since 1984 during the three months ended in September. Yet business spending on information technology - computer hardware, software and services - increased at an annual rate of more than 15 percent. This, in fact, was the second consecutive quarter of encouraging growth for information technology investment, which also rose more than 15 percent in the three months ended in June."