Monday, May 31, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Hewlett to Support Software of 2 Open Source Companies

The New York Times > Technology > Hewlett to Support Software of 2 Open Source Companies "But I.B.M.'s database and applications server products could themselves be undermined someday by open source offerings like MySQL and JBoss. "I.B.M. fears open source as it moves up above the operating system," Mr. Fink of Hewlett-Packard said.
Hewlett-Packard has few such fears. Al Gillen, an analyst at IDC, a research firm, said, "H-P doesn't have much of a software business, so it sees open source software as a clear-cut opportunity to sell more hardware."
Hewlett-Packard is the leader in server computers running Linux, but its market share is slipping, according to an IDC report on Friday. In the first quarter, Hewlett-Packard had 28.8 percent of revenue in the market for Linux-based server computers, followed by Dell Computer with 18.2 percent and I.B.M. with 17.5 percent. The market shares for Hewlett-Packard and Dell declined from the year-earlier quarter, while I.B.M.'s share in Linux-based servers increased." - H-P to Increase Support Of Open-Source Software - H-P to Increase Support Of Open-Source Software "Hewlett-Packard Co., one of the biggest backers of the Linux operating system, said it will increase its backing of "open-source" software by being the first large technology company to certify and support programs made by MySQL AB and JBoss Inc.
The move by H-P, Palo Alto, Calif., is intended as a competitive strike against rival International Business Machines Corp., which sells its own stack of proprietary "middleware" software. By adding open-source programs from MySQL and JBoss to its offerings, which also include middleware programs from Oracle Corp. and BEA Systems Inc., H-P says it is giving customers more software choices."

Sunday, May 30, 2004 / Business / Technology / Sony struggles to adapt in digital age / Business / Technology / Sony struggles to adapt in digital age "Since Idei became chief executive in 1999, Sony's shares have lost almost three-quarters of their value. During that time, Sony's market value plunged to $33 billion from $138 billion.
The "Sony shock" accelerated the decline. On April 24, 2003, Sony reported a fourth-quarter loss of $970 million, triple what most analysts had expected. Sony's trouble is that it's too big and too unfocused, says Al Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategist. The electronics unit makes everything from image sensors for digital cameras to CD players, personal computers, and headphones. The entertainment side creates movies, music, and video games. The financial arm houses two insurance companies and an Internet bank.
"It becomes virtually unmanageable once you go into so many categories," says Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries, which advised Apple on marketing its Apple IIe computer."

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Yusuf Mehdi Address to Institutional Investors at Goldman Sachs 5th Annual Internet Conference

Yusuf Mehdi Address to Institutional Investors at Goldman Sachs 5th Annual Internet Conference: " couple words about those businesses: On the communications side we have a lot of assets that we've built around, but in general I would say all of our aspirations about what we want to do as a business and for consumers pivot on Hotmail and Messenger. Hotmail is upwards now of 190 million people that use the service on a monthly basis and I guess just a fun fact there that 35 million more mails are sent every day than the UPS delivers physically in terms of the amount of mail that goes through that system. In fact, our total number of users would rank Hotmail as the sixth largest country just to give you a sense of the size of the thing.
And Messenger, four years ago we didn't have MSN Messenger. Today we have 120 million users. And at any given time there are probably 12 million people talking one-to-one on the service. It's really become a pretty amazing set of services.
On the information side for our business a couple of different things there. It continues to be the most popular destination on the Web with 350 million people that come once a month to someplace on the network somewhere in the world. We're in more countries than any other provide, Yahoo, Google, AOL included. We're in more languages and that worldwide growth and globalization has helped us get this success."

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'The Creation of the Media': The American Information Revolution

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'The Creation of the Media': The American Information Revolution "Although Starr doesn't put it quite this way, the heart of his argument is that Americans fundamentally misunderstand what is unusual about their communications media, and why. ''The media,'' for Starr's purposes, include not just the print press but also books, broadcasts (radio and television), the movies and other innovations, notably including telephones, that allow people to share information. Conventionally, Americans think that the most important fact about their news media is that, thanks to the First Amendment, they are ''free.'' The absence of governmental controls over parts of the media -- though not all, as witness broadcasters' wrangles with the Federal Communications Commission -- has indeed made America's communications system distinctive. But the emphasis on the First Amendment implies that the media's evolution has been automatic and unplanned."

The start of the book's first chapter is on-line.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Spending: The Express Lane to the Internet, Now With Fewer Bumps

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Spending: The Express Lane to the Internet, Now With Fewer Bumps "After years of hiccups, broadband providers have also streamlined the application and installation processes and, crucially, expanded the coverage areas. As of the end of last year, 23 percent of households nationwide had signed up for a broadband plan, according to the Yankee Group, a market research firm."

InfoWorld: Open source software merits debated

InfoWorld: Open source software merits debated "At MySQL, the company’s dual licensing model allows for users to get the database free if they are not deploying it in a commercial application, noted Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing at MySQL. Customers who will be using the database in a commercial environment and do not want to publish any additions they make to the source code to pay for a license, he said.
“We actually make our money very [similarly] to a traditional company,” with 65 percent of revenues coming from license fees, Urlocker said. Customers pay for licenses and support like a traditional software model, he said.
“We’re not a religion, we’re not a cult, we’re not a charity. We’re a business,” Urlocker said. MySQL experiences 35,000 downloads of its software daily, but only has 5,000 paying customers, according to Urlocker.
Urlocker stressed that the software market has in fact changed. “The old model, which many of us lived through in the enterprise software industry, is high prices for software that doesn’t really work and that’s really not acceptable anymore,” said Urlocker.
Microsoft's Fitzgerald said users will no longer accept the high failure rates that have historically predominated software projects. “That model is never, never coming back,” he said."

Friday, May 28, 2004

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 31: Rumor Alert: Microsoft Isn't Going to Sell a $50 iPod Competitor

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 31: Rumor Alert: Microsoft Isn't Going to Sell a $50 iPod Competitor "And speaking of Mehdi, during his speech Mehdi also discussed Microsoft's plans for digital music, which set the rumor mills churning. According to reports posted all over the Internet, Microsoft will soon release a $50 digital-music player that will "look and feel as good as the [Apple] iPod." Actually, that's not what Mehdi said. Microsoft isn't releasing such a player--its hardware partners are, along with a slew of other devices that will attack the portable-audio-player market from every conceivable angle. "I've spent time with a bunch of hardware manufacturers who will launch hardware products when we ship our [online music] service that will look and feel as good as the iPod product," Mehdi said. "And they will undoubtedly be a little bit less expensive, and so head-to-head against Apple we'll have a device that will be available to the consumer. We won't produce it, but ... we gave a lot of input. [Portable Media Centers] are for people who want to look at music videos and not just [listen to] music, which is very powerful; we'll have that offering. And then [our partners will release] a bunch of devices in between--little ones that cost 50 bucks and that and that you can go running with." End of story."

I don't think it matters that much if the devices are made by Microsoft; the point is that a reference platform that's supported by multiple hardware vendors tends to be more diverse (in terms of features, price range, etc.) than a platform that's only produced by one vendor. Kinda like the PC/Mac story...

Office Developer Center: Building User Interfaces with the Information Bridge Framework

Office Developer Center: Building User Interfaces with the Information Bridge Framework: "The Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework makes programming the Office task pane not only easy but also very powerful. The Information Bridge Framework task pane provides a rich user interface that you can extend by creating your own custom regions. Information Bridge Framework Regions, which are.NET-based user controls that implement the Information Bridge Framework IRegion interface, can contain common controls of many types, execute actions within or outside the context of an Information Bridge Framework solution, and enable solution developers to program the Office task pane through the familiar Windows form-based programming model. With Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework, you can program the Office task pane with your data."

"Smart documents" are getting smarter...

TechEd 2004: A whiteboard with Anders (DEVC11)

TechEd 2004: A whiteboard with Anders (DEVC11) "What are your thoughts on AOP?
Anders is in a "wait and see" mode. He sees a little wary of the fact that "If I look at my code I don't know exactly what is happening", as someone may be weaving in. This sounds a little bit like the people that were wary of polymorphism at first, as they didn't know what was really called. I think it would be good to show some code with and without AOP, and how you get MORE clarity in your code with it (in my opinion). I do think it is wise for Anders to be wary though, but it is good to hear that he is paying attention. He did say that he thought that Attributes were doing part of the job. I worry about people confusing Attributes and AOP.
What are some interesting things that you are thinking about?
The biggest thing that Anders mentioned was the fact that he sees a huge impedence mismatch between the DB world, and the rest of the programming world. This is why there are now the nullable types, and the team is going to do a lot more in this area... allowing us to work together better."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Former Informix CEO sentenced to two months | CNET

Former Informix CEO sentenced to two months | CNET "Phillip White, the former chief executive of Informix, a database software company, was sentenced Wednesday to two months in federal prison for securities fraud by a federal judge in San Francisco, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said."

White was way ahead of today's Enron times...

CRN : Breaking News : BEA Visionary Bosworth Details Mobile Browser Concept : 3:14 PM EST Wed., May 26, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : BEA Visionary Bosworth Details Mobile Browser Concept : 3:14 PM EST Wed., May 26, 2004: "BEA Systems is developing new browser technology designed to deliver a rich user experience, even if users are only occasionally connected to the Web.
BEA Chief Architect Adam Bosworth demonstrated the technology, dubbed the Alchemy Universal Client Platform, during at keynote address Wednesday at BEA eWorld in San Francisco. With Alchemy, BEA aims to solve the problem of Web browser use on mobile devices, which currently is a cumbersome experience for users, he said.
Bosworth stressed in his keynote that Alchemy remains a concept, not a product. He said BEA plans to deliver the technology only with the help of partners such as Nokia and Intel, which could mean the technology won't be ready for a year or two."

ObjectSpaces Functionality to be Delivered with Longhorn

ObjectSpaces Functionality to be Delivered with Longhorn "Developers who have been following the evolution of "ObjectSpaces" – a technology effort building services supporting object representations of data in relational databases – will be interested to know that these efforts are being merged with the Windows code-named “Longhorn” object/data technology “WinFS”. This decision was made after evaluating the overlapping scenarios that each of these technologies delivered and firm feedback that developers and architects need a consistent, long-lived API delivering this functionality. More information will become available through MSDN for developers and architects to plan and build solutions today using the .NET Framework while planning for the exciting features of Windows code-named "Longhorn"."

That's a big cut from Whidbey. Lots of interesting speculation about the reason for the change in plans.

Wired 12.06: Welcome to Planet Pixar

Wired 12.06: Welcome to Planet Pixar "By any standards, Pixar Animation Studios has reached infinity and beyond. From 1995's Toy Story - the world's first all-CG feature - to last year's Finding Nemo, Pixar's five hermetically crafted movies have grossed a staggering $2.5 billion at the box office, making it the most successful film studio, picture for picture, of all time. "You have to take your hat off to them," says Neil Braun, head of CG-animation company Vanguard and former president of the NBC Television Network. In the history of film, there's just one precedent for this level of economic triumph, this ability to add to the American childhood's beloved cast of characters: Disney Animation Studios.
Pixar hasn't just turned into the new Disney. It has out-Disneyed Disney, becoming the apprentice that schooled the sorcerer. Pixar's most talented animators grew up admiring Disney, worked at the sketching tables in Burbank, and went on to crib the company's DNA. Pixar's story development process as well as its internal lexicon - including sweatbox, when the director critiques individual animations, and plus-ing, heaping more and more good ideas on a structure that's already working - come directly from the House That Mickey Built. Both companies are technical pioneers: Disney imbued 2-D cel animation with comedy and heartbreak; Pixar coaxed empathy from digital effects. Now the flipbook animation style that made the Magic Kingdom a powerhouse is fading to black: Disney's Home on the Range, released in April, is the last fully 2-D production for the studio, and competitors like DreamWorks are retraining illustrators to be 3-D mouse jockeys. Pixar's digital animation is the wave of the future."

Very interesting overview of Pixar's history and likely future.

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > For Some, the Blogging Never Stops

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > For Some, the Blogging Never Stops "To celebrate four years of marriage, Richard Wiggins and his wife, Judy Matthews, recently spent a week in Key West, Fla. Early on the morning of their anniversary, Ms. Matthews heard her husband get up and go into the bathroom. He stayed there for a long time.
"I didn't hear any water running, so I wondered what was going on," Ms. Matthews said. When she knocked on the door, she found him seated with his laptop balanced on his knees, typing into his Web log, a collection of observations about the technical world, over a wireless link.
Blogging is a pastime for many, even a livelihood for a few. For some, it becomes an obsession. Such bloggers often feel compelled to write several times daily and feel anxious if they don't keep up. As they spend more time hunkered over their computers, they neglect family, friends and jobs. They blog at home, at work and on the road. They blog openly or sometimes, like Mr. Wiggins, quietly so as not to call attention to their habit."

Includes picture of Mr. Wiggins sitting poolside with his mini-laptop... Whitehorse Rides to Modeling's Rescue Whitehorse Rides to Modeling's Rescue "The biggest problems occur once the code described by the model is created. You must reflect the changes you make in the code back into the model, so they remain in sync. This is critical because if you ever want to overhaul or make changes to the application, it would be ideal to do so from the model level, not the code level. This means the model needs to be in sync with the code level, or you're going to be creating a great deal of extra work for your programming teams. However, the effort required to keep the application and model in sync can quickly spiral out of control, to the point where it's not worth the effort.
Few companies even try. FTP's own research indicates that fewer than 5 percent of developers take advantage of modeling tools. Industry analysts cite a similar number, leading to an inescapable conclusion: The promise of modeling tools is not being fulfilled. It takes too much effort to use them, and they are too complex for everyday developers to take the time to learn their intricacies and their idiosyncrasies.
Microsoft aims to change this in the next version of Visual Studio .NET, code-named Whidbey. Whidbey will ship with Whitehorse, which includes three separate modeling tools intended to simplify modeling in general and create service-oriented applications in particular. The three modeling tools are a class designer, a distributed service designer, and a logical data center designer."

Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft to sell portable music players

Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft to sell portable music players "Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, will begin selling portable music players for as much as 80 percent less than Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod. The Microsoft-branded devices will ''look and feel" as good as the iPod for as little as $50, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN at Microsoft, at the Goldman Sachs 5th Annual Internet Conference in Las Vegas. The iPod sells for $249 to $499. Microsoft will release a number of music players when it launches its online music service this year, giving customers more choices than Apple, Mehdi said. Apple's second-quarter shipments of iPods rose more than eightfold from a year earlier, helping to triple its profit. (Bloomberg)"

(Full article)

Microsoft Kills Kodiak Exchange Server

Microsoft Kills Kodiak Exchange Server "In a surprise move, Microsoft revealed yesterday that the company plans to kill the next major version of Microsoft Exchange Server, code-named Kodiak, and will instead plot a future course of smaller upgrades to Exchange Server 2003. These upgrades will, over time, comprise what would have made up the feature set for Kodiak, which Microsoft originally planned to release in 2005.
"We're actually going to stop using the Kodiak name," Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Thompson said. "But there is a set of things that we're still working on and that we will announce in steps. The next major technology, Exchange Server Edge Services, will come next year." Another Kodiak technology, the Microsoft SQL Server-based data store, will probably be postponed until the next major Exchange Server version, now due in the 2006 to 2007 time frame."

That's a misleading headline -- Microsoft killed the code-name, since it had managed to totally confuse the market about plans for the next major release of Exchange, but it hasn't changed the overall product strategy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Blogger Knowledge: Hello, Photoblogging

Blogger Knowledge: Hello, Photoblogging "The fine folks at Picasa have worked with us to create the quickest, easiest way for Windows users to send photos to a blog—via IM. That's right, Instant Messaging has gone to the blogs. The IM client they built is called Hello. It's a peer-to-peer networking application that enables users to share photos and text-chat about them live. It's a snazzy little app but it's even more impressive when it's engineered to work seamlessly with Blogger.
BloggerBot waits patiently in the Hello client along with the names of your buddies. When you have a photo you want to post, just drag it to BloggerBot, add an optional caption, and it is inst-o-matically published to your blog. Now you're sharing your photos within seconds to the entire wired world. And get this: we host your photos for free. How do you like them apples, Mr. Land?"

Guess I need a new camera now. I continue to be very impressed with Nat Friedman's blog -- great blend of images and text -- and plan to eventually start posting more multimedia stuff...

CRN : Breaking News : Reporter's Notebook: Big Hack Attack On Tech Ed

CRN : Breaking News : Reporter's Notebook: Big Hack Attack On Tech Ed: "The real story out of Microsoft Tech Ed wasn't highlighted on stage but wreaked havoc on attendees nonetheless.
Reporters first noted an inability to link into VPNs from the show's press room on Monday, opening day of Tech Ed 2004 in San Diego. They were able to connect over wire connections to the 'Net, but access to VPNs was precluded and many could not access instant messaging either. Microsoft network support technicians eventually admitted that relevant ports were shut down to prevent hackers who were targeting the show.
A Microsoft executive later said that hackers had put out bounties--she mentioned $50,000--to disrupt the show network. She did not specify further."

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft Fortifies Next-Gen SQL Server

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft Fortifies Next-Gen SQL Server "The next beta release of SQL Server will add what Microsoft calls native support for encryption, decryption and key management.
"It'll be up to you which algorithms you use [Triple DES or AES], but we can support cell-level encryption, so credit-card numbers can be encrypted but other cells not," said Tom Rizzo, director of product management for SQL Server."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Technology News Article | Intel Plans Unprecedented Push for New Chip Set

Technology News Article | Intel Plans Unprecedented Push for New Chip Set: "Intel's newest chip set, code-named Grantsdale, will be pitched as one of the stars of the show as the importance of PC speed gives way to multimedia and communications features.
To be released by the end of June, Grantsdale has been upgraded with more powerful sound and graphics, an ability to turn a PC into a wireless access point, and a speedier link for peripherals and memory."

Scientific American: Talking to Bill Gates

Scientific American: Talking to Bill Gates "SA: Some critics have said that there is an unbelievable collection of talent here but that there have not been achievements on the order of things like the transistor. Do you see any validity in that?
BG: Well, we do software. And if you look at the papers at Siggraph [a computer graphics conference] and the proportion coming out of our one lab, you see us in many different areas. We wish there were other labs doing more. We are a very high percentage of the nonuniversity work being done in many of these fields. Typically in the computer field, most of the companies don't have long-term research. They just don't.
Take what we've done in machine translation--no, that's not as good as the transistor, but it's pretty phenomenal. The stuff we're doing with speech, pretty phenomenal. Electronic ink. Software reliability. If we weren't able to prove [test and validate] programs, we wouldn't be able to get the Internet to achieve its potential. An investment of the size we're making will only be judged 20 years from now."

Also worth skimming the full interview (14-page pdf)

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check -- updated...

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check -- updated... I decided to try a Blogger template that was created during this century (I started using Blogger during late 1999), in order to turn on the comments capability etc. Note that I reserve the right to delete comments I find objectionable. I also won't be checking for comments more than once a day.

InfoWorld: TechEd: Microsoft to kill 'Kodiak' code name

InfoWorld: TechEd: Microsoft to kill 'Kodiak' code name: "Microsoft will dump its 'Kodiak' code-name that had been tagged to the next generation release of Exchange Server, instead shifting strategy to release individual improvements as they are ready, according to company executives here at TechEd 2004. "

Can't wait to see what Ed Brill has to say about this...

Visual Studio 2005 Team System

Visual Studio 2005 Team System "Satisfying the application development needs of today's large-scale enterprises frequently requires complex, highly specialized sets of tools, technologies, and design methods. With Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft is addressing the growing complexities of applications and the life cycle required to design, develop, and deploy them by providing the tools and guidance needed to enable predictable, repeatable results without trading off productivity and innovation."

Just realized one of my quasi-predictions from one of my recent articles just came true -- "Visual Studio .NET isn't yet described as a system (as Windows and Office are), but it certainly is one, as a broad, deep, and extensible IDE." Now Microsoft offers three systems -- Windows Server System, Office System, and Visual Studio Team System.

Whitehorse is Part of the Newly Announced Visual 2005 Studio Team System!

Whitehorse is Part of the Newly Announced Visual 2005 Studio Team System! "Today was a great day for us in the Whitehorse project, as in many ways it was our real “coming out” party. Whitehorse was revealed to the world officially at last year’s PDC, but today Steve Ballmer, in his opening keynote, announced to a huge crowd the Visual Studio 2005 Team System product line. A closely guarded secret for many months, we are now able to talk about this exciting group of features that’ll ship in Visual Studio 2005 (formerly known as Whidbey). The Whitehorse modeling tools are officially now known as Visual Studio 2005 Team Architect to emphasize the integration with the other capabilities of the Team System. Anyone interested in these tools should check out the Visual Studio 2005 Team System link."

IBM, Dell rise in servers while Sun, HP shrink | CNET

IBM, Dell rise in servers while Sun, HP shrink | CNET "IBM and Dell each saw server revenue grow by more than 20 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago, according to researcher Gartner.
The "other" category, made up of second-tier manufacturers, also did well, experiencing year-over-year revenue growth of 25.3 percent for the overall market and 71.9 percent for the Linux market--faster than the market as a whole. In most categories, the "other" group generally saw faster growth than nearly all the brand-name manufacturers.
Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, experienced annual revenue declines of, respectively, 16.7 percent and 13.2 percent. Overall, U.S. server revenue grew by 7 percent during the quarter, according to Gartner." - CA to Release Open-Source Software - CA to Release Open-Source Software " Computer Associates International Inc. will release its Ingres database software under an open-source license, the company said at its user conference here today.
Ingres began its life as a public-domain database project at the University of California at Berkeley, but was later commercialized and developed as a proprietary product. CA acquired it in the 1990s."

Quoting Jim Gray, from a mid-1990s interview: “Students trained on Ingres went on to start or staff all the major database companies (AT&T, Britton Lee, HP, Informix, IBM, Oracle, Tandem, [and] Sybase).” It's nice that Ingres is getting a bit more press, but since PostgreSQL, Mike Stonebraker's post-Ingres project at UC Berkeley, is already a leading open source DBMS, this move by CA is unlikely to do anything but please existing Ingres customers.

Monday, May 24, 2004 - Toys 'R' Us Unit Files Suit Against Amazon - Toys 'R' Us Unit Files Suit Against Amazon "Toys "R" Us Inc.'s unit has filed a lawsuit against Inc. charging the Web retailer with violating's rights to be the only seller of toys, games and baby products on
Toys "R" Us said that its position as the only authorized seller of toys, games and baby products on extends to 2010. However, as of May 17, "there were more than 4,000 products in exclusive categories being offered through competitive retailers on the platform," the company said."

Lawyers R such dorks sometimes... | Articles by Subject | Oracle v Peoplesoft | Articles by Subject | Oracle v Peoplesoft "Presiding over the trial of the DOJ suit is Vaughn Walker, a judge who is unusually expert in antitrust law, and who has previously tangled with the DOJ's antitrust arm over a newspaper sale in 2000. Many of the DOJ's published witnesses are Peoplesoft customers, who from the beginning have felt threatened by Oracle's bid. Oracle has gathered what looks to be a broader mix, including rival software firms, customers and economists. Both Mr Ellison and Craig Conway, Peoplesoft's boss, have been called to testify.
Perhaps Justice Walker will discover reason and evidence in the government's case. Then Oracle would need to find new sources of growth in a maturing market. But Peoplesoft would then face the challenge of repairing a business that has weakened significantly during the lengthy bidding war. And if the DOJ should lose? Peoplesoft would be left with a damaged boss (and board), a falling share price and, perhaps, a full-scale shareholder revolt. Whether or not Mr Ellison would then choose to continue to pursue his bid (perhaps with an even lower offer), Oracle would probably emerge the winner. As the title of a recent book about Larry's art of war puts it, everyone else must fail."

The New York Times > Technology > Lift and Reach and Hold That Pose, and Advance to the Next Level

The New York Times > Technology > Lift and Reach and Hold That Pose, and Advance to the Next Level "Ever greater weight loss - rather than a chance to battle bigger monsters - is one goal for players of Yourself!Fitness, a video game under development for Microsoft's Xbox. The new title, aimed at women, features a computer-generated personal trainer who guides users through a customized set of exercises and diets.
Players must reach certain goals to advance to the next level. The program creates a fitness plan for each person based on height, weight and other characteristics. The game's virtual coach, Maya, then guides users through a subset of 600 possible exercises, congratulating and encouraging them when they achieve their goals.
After the game's release this fall, the company expects to make a Sony Playstation version available at the end of the year, and to sell an Xbox Live version in 2005 that will let participants use a wireless headset to talk to each other during the game.
"Users will be able to create an online community to discuss each other's accomplishments and chat while working out," Mr. Spooner said. "This will be a virtual gym." / Business / As many of its peers failed, ATG weathered a wild ride / Business / As many of its peers failed, ATG weathered a wild ride "For Art Technology Group Inc. of Cambridge, 2003 was nothing to write home about. The company posted a $4.2 million profit that was due to a restructuring of its real estate leases; factor that out and ATG would have suffered a $6.1 million loss.
Still, you won't hear anybody at ATG complain. The company, which went public in 1999, is lucky to be alive."

Interesting bubble survivors' club series in The Boston Globe today.

The New York Times > Business > The Distributor vs. the Innovator

The New York Times > Business > The Distributor vs. the Innovator ""Somebody doesn't just come along, particularly a company that is not an innovator, and say, 'We're going to do it better,' " Ms. Fiorina said. "Dell isn't doing anything. It's just distributing other people's products."
Things are just beginning, Mr. Dell replies. "Stay tuned; there's a lot we can and will do," he said. A better business model, he explains, will beat a better technology, and he insists the odds are on his side in the printing business over the long run.
"The days of engineering-led technology companies are coming to an end," Mr. Dell declared."

Given the experience I've had with my last few HP printers (except for a very useful LaserJet, all but one of the HP inkjets I've purchased during the last several years were junk), I think there is ample room for competition.

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > A Demure Pixar Takes No Notice of Eager Suitors

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > A Demure Pixar Takes No Notice of Eager Suitors "Nonetheless, the frost between Disney and Pixar seems to be thawing. Mr. Jobs went out of his way to praise Disney executives two weeks ago in Pixar's earnings call. "Although 'The Incredibles' and 'Cars' will likely be the last two Pixar films marketed and distributed by Disney," he said, "I want to stress that the working relationship between the two companies remains really positive and professional."
Those comments are a stark contrast to his blistering attack on Disney in February, when he called movies like "Treasure Planet" bombs and said sequels to "The Lion King" and "Peter Pan" were "embarrassing."

Great Pixar article in the latest issue of Wired, but the dummies won't post it on their Web site for a week or two. - Cisco's Fastest Web Router Is Set to Debut - Cisco's Fastest Web Router Is Set to Debut "The HFR is Cisco's latest entry in what has become a seesaw battle with Juniper, of Sunnyvale, Calif. Juniper, which builds routers aimed primarily at telecom carriers, briefly surpassed Cisco in market share of the fastest routers in 2001. Cisco Systems regained its dominance with a new product, before Juniper leapfrogged Cisco again in 2002.
Since then, Juniper has made steady gains, capturing 34% of the market for the fastest routers in the first quarter, up from 30% a year earlier, according to market researcher Dell'Oro Group, of Redwood Shores, Calif. Cisco's share declined to 59%, from 63%. Late last year, Juniper won a contract estimated at $150 million, to supply routers for a new federal-government network."

(BusinessWeek said "HFR" stands for "huge fast router"; I suspect that's not quite right...)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

BW Online | May 31, 2004 | Teaching Microsoft To Make Nice?

BW Online | May 31, 2004 | Teaching Microsoft To Make Nice? "In late 2001, when Bradford L. Smith was bidding to become Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT ) general counsel, he put together a PowerPoint presentation for senior execs that consisted of a single slide. The message was simple and potent: It's time to make peace. Microsoft's longtime legal deputy argued that the software giant should alter its legal tactics -- and business practices -- to improve its relationships with regulators and tech companies. Smith found a receptive audience in Chairman William H. Gates III and Chief Executive Steven A. Ballmer. The company was just then putting the finishing touches on a tentative settlement with the Justice Dept. that would finally end a bitter four-year antitrust battle, and they were willing to try something new. "I felt like I not only got the job, I got something of a mandate," Smith recalls.
In fact, Smith's appointment signaled a major shift for the tech industry's schoolyard bully. For most of its 29 years, Microsoft rarely shied away from a court fight. But in the past two years, the company has aggressively resolved litigation with governments and companies, settling nearly two dozen cases and shelling out $5 billion to plaintiffs in the process. In addition to the deal with the Justice Dept., Microsoft settled disputes with AOL Time Warner, Sun Microsystems (SUNW ), and smaller companies such as Be Inc. Outsiders say the mild-mannered, 45-year-old Midwesterner has been a key part of the change. "A big reason we were able to reach a settlement was because of the trust I had in Brad," says Paul T. Cappuccio, general counsel for Time Warner Inc. (TWX ), which received $750 million when it settled its antitrust suit against Microsoft in May, 2003.
Smith is hardly cutting these deals on his own. Without the support of Gates and Ballmer, Smith would be writing combative briefs, not colossal checks. While Gates and Ballmer were open to a more conciliatory legal approach, it was Smith who designed the strategy to make it happen. His predecessor, William H. Neukom, who retired in 2002, treated legal challenges like death matches during his 22 years as general counsel. Smith, in contrast, is a natural diplomat. "The company has made it a priority to do all we can to end these legal issues," Ballmer says. "What Brad has brought is a tremendous amount of energy, talent, and creativity to help us in this effort and to do so in a way that increases collaboration with other companies."

Friday, May 21, 2004

PBS | I, Cringely: Divide and Conquer: Why Apple Has an iPod Division

PBS | I, Cringely: Divide and Conquer: Why Apple Has an iPod Division "Apple is being ravaged from both ends of the market. The U.S. Government has told them they can't claim to be the fastest PC because they aren't. So Intel and AMD are nibbling away. Even Pixar uses Intel-based hardware in its rendering farm. Now imagine IBM and Sony attacking from the other end with inexpensive Cell hardware that beats the heck out of Pentium AND PowerPC. Well, the best reaction to that is to follow the Microsoft model, and target a high-margin OS and applications at the low-margin hardware platform built by a third party. Voila, Apple becomes a software company that also sells little hardware devices, again following the Microsoft model.
I'm not saying this is going to happen, but I think it will happen if Apple has any trouble at all maintaining its margins under the current strategy. Absolutely look for the rape of the resellers, and then MAYBE look for the end of Macintosh hardware. But iPods and iTunes will be everywhere, even here in Charleston, which has a Target store, but is more than 100 miles from the nearest Macintosh dealer."

Read the entire essay if you care about Apple's future

Micro Persuasion: Pearl Harbor II: Is Bill Gates on the Blogging Warpath?

Micro Persuasion: Pearl Harbor II: Is Bill Gates on the Blogging Warpath?: "Reading through the news coverage and transcript of Bill Gates' ode to blogging, I cannot help but feel that the blogosphere changed today. It feels very much like 1995 all over again.
Gates' remarks were reminiscent of the infamous Pearl Harbor Day email he sent to his troops nearly a decade ago, in which he 'declared war' on the then nascent World Wide Web. At that time, few of us were on the Web. It was still the realm of techies, much like Weblogs and RSS today.
The potential murkier side of the story is that underneath the softer bloggier side that Bill Gates showed today was an veiled declaration of war on Six Apart, Userland, Google and anyone else who makes blogging and wiki publishing tools. Did Bill Gates throw a pebble in the blogosphere pond today? Time will tell. It will be interesting to hear others' perspectives in the blogosphere on the day's events."

Okay, so not everyone in the blogosphere is sanguine... Via Scobleizer, fittingly.

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Blogging at Microsoft Backgrounder

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Blogging at Microsoft Backgrounder Interesting history of blogging at MS, via a Channel9 post, naturally...

Dreams of Longhorn | Newsmakers | CNET

Dreams of Longhorn | Newsmakers | CNET "Q: What's Microsoft's latest thinking on Linux? The market has changed a bit in the past few years, with some consolidation. But companies continue to install Linux on servers. How does Microsoft approach that problem?
[Bob Muglia:] The world has changed a bit. If you went back 18 to 24 months ago, it was unclear what Linux would look like and how it would evolve. It was thought of as free. And there was a whole series of attributes that were attributed to Linux that in retrospect were inaccurate. As time has gone on, it's apparent that Linux is becoming a set of offerings from commercial vendors. When I think of Linux, I don't think about it as our competitor. I think about Linux as a technology that is used by our competitors to build competitive offerings.
Sometimes, those products are solutions or pieces of solutions that need to be integrated together. One of the differentiations that Microsoft has with Linux is that we are a software company first and foremost, and we think about software-based solutions to information technology problems and how our software can drive down cost. That's pretty distinct from, say, an IBM that is first and foremost a consulting company. Our focus is how to provide more out-of-the-box solutions that don't require those consulting services."

Gates courts CEO crowd | CNET

Gates courts CEO crowd | CNET "Among the advances Gates promised was easier development of business applications. He demonstrated tools for building programs via diagrams and models, without complex coding, skirting the 'structured-unstructured boundary' that limits software development today. Microsoft has said it plans to begin testing new modeling tools, code-named Whitehorse, this year.
'Historically, that would have been a lot of code,' Gates said as he built a sample business application. 'Now that's visual...You can do analysis and change and improvements right at this level.' "

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Bezos got in on Google for six cents a share

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Bezos got in on Google for six cents a share " Chairman Jeff Bezos, ranked by Forbes magazine in February as the world's 82nd-richest person, stands to move up a notch or two when Google holds its initial public offering later this year.
Google, operator of the most widely used search engine on the Internet, disclosed in a securities filing that Bezos was one of the company's first five outside investors. The group, which also includes former executive Ram Shriram, paid 6 cents a share for Google stock in late 1998, according to the documents."

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage "Gates' comments on blogging technology were the most extensive thus far from Microsoft's chief software architect, signaling that the world's largest software company is waking up to the potential of blogging as a potential threat and also as a new business opportunity."

I find it fascinating to see all of the usual suspects in the "blogosphere" making triumphant posts about Microsoft's growing blog enthusiasm, when the implications are pretty clear -- Microsoft will take control of its own destiny in this context instead of implicitly deferring to third-parties, as it has until now. - Oracle, Microsoft Join on Software - Oracle, Microsoft Join on Software "Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. announced a technology partnership that could signal a thaw in the combative relationship between two of the software industry's fiercest rivals.
Under the arrangement, software developers will be able to use Microsoft's tools to write programs for Oracle's database systems. It is the first formal agreement between the two companies, according to executives on both sides.
Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison said his company and Microsoft are discussing additional efforts, including joint advertising to promote the use of Oracle's database software on top of Microsoft's Windows operating system. That would be notable because Microsoft's own database software, SQL Server, competes directly with Oracle's offerings.
Before the announcement, Mr. Ellison said the advertising effort "was proposed by Microsoft, and I was surprised by that." He said the campaign would highlight capabilities of Oracle's software based on "grids" or "clusters" of multiple computers, features that aren't yet available from Microsoft. Chuck Phillips, Oracle co-president, has discussed the possible advertising initiative with Microsoft executives, Mr. Ellison said.
Analysts said the closer ties between Oracle and Microsoft reflect demands from corporate customers, who are increasingly impatient with industry feuds that hinder integration of technology from multiple vendors. Such customer demands were cited in last month's $1.95 billion settlement deal between Microsoft and longtime rival Sun Microsystems Inc. and in last week's technology partnership between Microsoft and SAP AG of Germany."

I imagine this move by Oracle may also have been driven by IBM's plans to support .NET (Visual Studio integration as well as .NET Framework support for stored procedures and user-defined data types) in the "Stinger" release of DB2 that's now in beta. - Comcast Will Use Microsoft System For Digital TV - Comcast Will Use Microsoft System For Digital TV: " Microsoft Corp., which has been struggling to break into the television business for over a decade, took a big step in that direction by announcing a deal to license its software to Comcast Corp., the country's largest cable-TV company.
Comcast said it would deploy software developed by Microsoft TV in up to five million of its digital set-top boxes over the next 2 years.
Foundation Edition was developed to work on the millions of set-top boxes already deployed. While the boxes have less processing ability than was originally anticipated, the Microsoft software gives cable-TV operators the ability to add richer graphics, interactive games and other features -- including ads -- to existing program guides.
Comcast committed itself to helping Microsoft break into the cable-software business when it acquired AT&T Broadband in late 2002. At that time, Microsoft agreed to convert $5 billion in AT&T debt into Comcast equity. In exchange, Comcast agreed to launch Microsoft software in 25% of its systems, if certain conditions were met."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Is Torvalds really the father of Linux? | CNET

Is Torvalds really the father of Linux? | CNET "It's hard to imagine that Linus Torvalds could have launched Linux without directly using earlier operating system work, according to a report that has become controversial even before its scheduled publication Thursday.
If Linux is a derivative work of Minix, that makes Linux vulnerable to charges of intellectual property infringement by Prentice Hall, which published books and the Minix source code but restricted its use until 2000, the study said. "Arguably, Prentice Hall has lost out on tens of millions of dollars" because of lost book sales, the study said."

(I thought it was already common knowledge that Minix played a pivotal role...)

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft cuts some perks with an eye on bottom line

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft cuts some perks with an eye on bottom line "Microsoft has lured many a tech worker to its ranks by offering perks that few other companies could match, but the company said this week it would scale back some of those employee benefits in a cost-cutting move.
Coming less than a year after the company yanked its stock-option plan, the changes appear to be bringing Microsoft's vaunted worker benefits more in line with those of other companies."

Dell First to Offer Windows Mobile 2003 SE Handhelds

Dell First to Offer Windows Mobile 2003 SE Handhelds: "The base Axim X30 starts at just $199 and features a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, 32MB of RAM, and 32MB of ROM. But for just $50 more you can get an Axim X30 model with integrated 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless capabilities, 64MB of RAM, and 64MB of ROM. The high-end Axim X30 model features a market-leading 624MHz XScale processor, plus the midrange model's wireless capabilities, and retails for $349--a far cry from the $600 to $700 most PDA makers' high-end machines cost. All Axim X30 devices include 3.5' TFT color displays, Secure Digital (SD) expansion capabilities, navigation button and scroll wheel inputs, and removable batteries with optional high-capacity replacement batteries.
Dell's pricing strategy, which is adapted from its successful run in the PC world, is a phenomenal boon to customers who are used to paying much higher prices for PDAs with comparable features. For example, palmOne doesn't offer a truly competitive product, and its $399 Tungsten T3 has integrated Bluetooth but not Wi-Fi. And HP's least-expensive device with integrated Wi-Fi/Bluetooth costs $449."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Softricity delivers the virtual application

The virtual application - TechUpdate - ZDNet "The company's SoftGrid platform transforms Windows applications into virtual services that can be centrally managed and deployed on desktops, laptops and terminal servers. "Without rewriting, applications are delivered in real time over the network and run locally," said David Greschler, vice president of marketing at Softricity.
Applications execute locally with full functionality and performance, without being installed or configured on the target machine's resident operating system, according to Greschler. "It's not like a screen scraper or emulator. The applications don't install to the local operating system, so you don't have to worry about conflicts. SoftGrid keeps the operating system protected because it carries its own parts of the OS--such as system files, registry, fonts and COM objects--but can get data from the local machine."

Tim Bray ongoing: Gunfight at the WS Corral

Tim Bray ongoing: Gunfight at the WS Corral "As a student of WS-Geography and WS-Politics (and there’s a lot to learn), my eyebrows were first raised by a pointer to a warmish protest (I quote: “... the draft Oasis Web Services Reliability specification was savaged in a most unfortunate manner... We are also informed that the IBM assassination attempt will be posted on the Oasis web site which further adds insult to injury...”) concerning a presentation entitled Critical Comparison of WS-RM and WS-R, which is indeed posted on the Oasis site. However, to keep things fair, the site also has a pointer to the response from the WSRM TC. I totally have no opinion as to who’s right, or if the problem is a fruitful area for standardization work. But I wonder why, if there are differing ideas on how to solve this problem, and there is a standards organization at work, the differing ideas aren’t being hashed out in the standards organization. Clues may be found in the email thread beginning here. It’s tough for strangers to learn a new landscape when it’s ravaged by warring tribes."

(See original for links to referenced posts etc.)

Technology News Article | Lycos Europe Beats Google to Market with 1GB Email

Technology News Article | Lycos Europe Beats Google to Market with 1GB Email "Web portal Lycos Europe (LCYE.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) beat its larger rival Google to market with an e-mail service featuring one gigabyte of storage space, the company announced on Tuesday.
Lycos Europe will charge British users 3.49 pounds ($6.15) per month for an ad-free e-mail service. The soon-to-be-public Google will offer a free service supported by advertisers who will be able to target users with promotional messages based on their e-mail conversations."

AT&T Back in Wireless Business (

AT&T Back in Wireless Business ( "It wants to reenter the cellular business in order to offer its 30 million business and residential customers bundles of telephone and Internet services. With cable companies coming out with local telephone service this year, and with regional Bell companies like Verizon Communications Inc. and SBC Communications Inc. offering package deals with their affiliated wireless companies, AT&T must have wireless service to be competitive, said Blair Levin, an analyst with Legg Mason Wood Walker.
Customers who subscribe to bundles are less likely to cancel service than those who subscribe to any single telecommunications service, and a bigger bundle means bigger money for the telecommunications providers. "It's the battle of the bundles, and you can't compete without a bundle of service," Levin said."

Oh, sort of like when I was getting local phone, Internet, cable TV, and wireless from AT&T, before they sold the cable business to Comcast and the wireless business to Cingular... Something in this equation doesn't solve for me.

The New York Times > Business > Is Said to Delay Its Public Offering

The New York Times > Business > Is Said to Delay Its Public Offering "The Securities and Exchange Commission requested that the company delay its public offering after commissioners decided that Marc Benioff, Salesforce's chief executive, violated the S.E.C.-imposed "quiet" period, when company executives are required to keep a low profile before selling stock to the public, the executive said."


The New York Times > Technology > Google Moves Toward a Direct Confrontation With Microsoft

The New York Times > Technology > Google Moves Toward a Direct Confrontation With Microsoft: "Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google, the Web search engine, is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.
Google's software, which is expected to be introduced soon, according to several people with knowledge of the company's plans, is the clearest indication to date that the company, based in Mountain View, Calif., hopes to extend its search business to compete directly with Microsoft's control of desktop computing."

p.s. X1 == Lotus Magellan++ -- from the company overview:
"X1 is being developed by a team based in Pasadena, but it includes bright programmers and business people throughout North America (yes, yes, including Canada). The program is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bill Gross, who conceived and developed a similar product, called Lotus Magellan, that was published in 1989. Several members of the original Magellan team have joined Bill to bring out X1." - Cometa Shutters Wi-Fi Operations After Failing to Raise More Funds - Cometa Shutters Wi-Fi Operations After Failing to Raise More Funds "The wireless "hot spot" market got a little cooler, as Cometa Networks Inc., a high-profile start-up that once planned to deploy a nationwide wireless Internet network based on Wi-Fi technology, declared plans to shut down.
Closely held Cometa of Schaumburg, Ill., which had attracted the backing of Intel Corp., AT&T Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and other investors, said it decided to suspend operations after failing to raise "substantial" additional capital from its investors to expand its wireless network beyond the locations, dubbed hot spots, that it currently operates in the Seattle area. Cometa had offered high-speed wireless inside Barnes & Noble Bookstores, Tully's Coffee Shopps and other public locations around Seattle.
Adding to the pressure on commercial wireless networks is the decision by some public venues to offer Wi-Fi service as a free amenity, like air-conditioning."

Windows Server System Magazine - Microsoft's Platform Strategies Today

Windows Server System Magazine - Microsoft's Platform Strategies Today "This is the second Trends & Analysis column in a series focused on the past, present, and future of Microsoft's platform strategies. The first column, "Understanding Microsoft's Platform Strategies," established a framework for evaluating Microsoft's product line in terms of platforms, tools, applications, and services. This column focuses on Microsoft's progress with .NET thus far relative to the framework, and includes an assessment of the extent to which Microsoft's 2003-2004 product line is fully .NET-ified."

Second in my series of 4 columns in Windows Server System Magazine. BTW I'd welcome topic suggestions for future columns.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Apple Seeks Patent for Translucent Windows

Apple Seeks Patent for Translucent Windows: "Apple is seeking a patent on a method for rendering translucent-appearing windows, technology that appears similar to features Microsoft has been previewing for its next major Windows release."

I will be stunned if there's not ample prior art in this context.

CRN : Breaking News : Gartner: Poor Data Quality Dooms Many IT Projects

CRN : Breaking News : Gartner: Poor Data Quality Dooms Many IT Projects "Corporations routinely make decisions based on remarkably inaccurate or incomplete data, a bad habit that's a leading cause of the failure of high-profile and high-cost IT projects such as business intelligence and customer relationship management deployments, a research firm says.
"Most enterprises don't fathom the magnitude of the impact that data quality problems can have," said Ted Friedman, principal analyst with Gartner. According to his research, a quarter of the Fortune 1000 companies are working with poor-quality data."

BW Online | May 24, 2004 | Craig McCaw's Secret Plan

BW Online | May 24, 2004 | Craig McCaw's Secret Plan "Ever since he was a boy growing up near Seattle, Craig O. McCaw saw the moneymaking potential of the public airwaves. His father, J. Elroy McCaw, built one of the first rock 'n' roll radio stations in the country, New York's WINS-AM, and netted about $20 million when he sold it in 1962. An inveterate practical joker, Elroy sent his then-12-year-old son into a New York bank to deposit the multimillion-dollar check from the deal. Years later, Craig scooped up licenses for radio spectrum and cobbled together the first nationwide cellular empire, which he sold to AT&T (T ) for a neat $11.5 billion in 1994.
Now, McCaw is trying to get back on the air. After losing billions on several ventures in recent years, the reclusive entrepreneur is quietly making wireless investments that could be the start of a new empire that once again upsets the balance of power in the telecom industry. In March he acquired Clearwire Holdings Inc., a Texas company that provides wireless broadband service in Jacksonville, Fla., and holds the exclusive rights to radio spectrum in about 100 other U.S. cities. In April he snapped up NextNet Wireless Inc., a Minneapolis startup that makes gear for delivering high-speed Internet access through the air. And on May 3, he invested $36 million in Microcell Telecommunications Inc., a Montreal-based cellular provider that plans to introduce wireless broadband throughout Canada."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Paul Allen resurfaces in cable waters

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Paul Allen resurfaces in cable waters: "Billionaire Paul Allen's appearance at the annual cable-industry convention this month had tongues wagging. And not just because the reclusive mogul arrived aboard the world's largest privately owned yacht, Octopus, a 413-foot stunner Allen docked on the Mississippi River.
Allen returned to the convention stage for the first time since 1999 to carry the flag for his new set-top-box technology, which some in the industry say could be a winner.
His unusually high profile here set off speculation that Allen, chairman and controlling shareholder of troubled Charter Communications, the nation's third-largest cable-TV operator, was contemplating another acquisition as the industry undergoes more consolidation." - AT&T May Offer Cellphone Service With Sprint Deal - AT&T May Offer Cellphone Service With Sprint Deal: " AT&T Corp. this week is expected to announce a deal to offer cellphone service using Sprint Corp.'s wireless network, people familiar with the situation said.
The company also is in talks with other cellphone companies to sign additional resale deals, seeking to offer wireless service through whichever carrier has the strongest network in a particular market across the nation.
AT&T, the nation's largest long-distance company in terms of subscribers and revenue, initially will target its existing customer base of roughly 35 million subscribers and about three million business customers. The company also wants to offer consumers new wireless handsets that can serve as home phones that run over a high-speed Internet connection, so that AT&T no longer has to lease phone lines from local phone companies in order to offer local phone service."

So it appears AT&T, after shedding an astonishing amount of shareholder value and market share, has finally internalized the implications of The Dawn of the Stupid Network. Too bad they didn't listen to David Isenberg when he wrote the essay in 1997.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Nick Bradbury: MovableType, HomeSite and satanic cults

Nick Bradbury: MovableType, HomeSite and satanic cults: "Having been where the Six Apart crew are now, can I make a suggestion to those who are flaming them? Even if you live in some bizarro universe that equates earning a living with belonging to a satanic cult, if you're really not willing to pay for MovableType, at least have the courtesy to thank them for the free ride up to this point. "

Freedom 0 [dive into mark]

Freedom 0 [dive into mark] "Movable Type has never been Free Software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation. It has never been open source software, as defined by the Open Source Initiative. Six Apart survived and thrived in the blogging community because Movable Type was free enough.
It’s not about who has a right to make a living (everyone does); it’s not about how nice Ben and Mena are (I’ve met them, they are very nice); and it’s certainly not about eating. I’ve taken the $535 that Movable Type would have cost me, and I’ve donated it to the WordPress developers.
It’s not about money; it’s about freedom."

Interesting essay on the Movable Type license controversy, via Miguel de Icaza

The New York Times > Business > Intel's Big Shift After Hitting Technical Wall

The New York Times > Business > Intel's Big Shift After Hitting Technical Wall "Then two weeks ago, Intel, the world's largest chip maker, publicly acknowledged that it had hit a "thermal wall" on its microprocessor line. As a result, the company is changing its product strategy and disbanding one of its most advanced design groups. Intel also said that it would abandon two advanced chip development projects, code-named Tejas and Jayhawk.
Now, Intel is embarked on a course already adopted by some of its major rivals: obtaining more computing power by stamping multiple processors on a single chip rather than straining to increase the speed of a single processor.
Late last month, Current Analysis, a research firm in La Jolla, Calif., reported that for the week of April 24, the percent of personal computers sold using A.M.D. chips had surpassed those using Intel chips, with Advanced Micro at 52 percent of PC's sold versus Intel at 47 percent. It was the first time in recent history that Intel had lost its lead.
The company's new cooler dual-core approach will offer Intel room for growth, he said, permitting greater advances on energy consumption for future chips. A processor with two 2.5 gigahertz processors can outperform a chip with a single 3.5 gigahertz processor in certain situations, but getting full performance from dual-core processors requires special software that is only now becoming available for desktop PC's.
In fact, software developers may come to Intel's rescue. Future operating systems, like Microsoft's Longhorn version of Windows, due in 2006, are being designed to perform substantially better with multiple processors."

Friday, May 14, 2004

InfoWorld: Update: Yahoo takes on Google with extra mail storage: May 14, 2004: By : APPLICATIONS

InfoWorld: Update: Yahoo takes on Google with extra mail storage: May 14, 2004: By : APPLICATIONS "Responding to the Gmail offer, Yahoo plans to raise the storage limits for its free e-mail users later in the second quarter or third quarter of this year from the current 6MB to 100MB, a U.K. spokeswoman for the company confirmed Friday. Meanwhile, premium subscribers -- who currently pay close to $50 a year for 100MB of storage -- will be given "virtually unlimited" capacity later this year, the spokeswoman said."

Office Developer Center: A Developer's Take on Smart Tags (Microsoft Office 2003 Technical Articles)

Office Developer Center: A Developer's Take on Smart Tags (Microsoft Office 2003 Technical Articles) "Smart tags are one of the coolest, cleverest, and easiest-to-understand pieces of technology to come down the pike in a long time. One of the goals of this article is to give a concise introduction to the technology and it corresponding terminology. By strictly observing the terminology in this article and explaining the technology more fully, I hope to help you see just how cool, clever, and easy-to-understand smart tags can be."

CRN : Breaking News : WinOE Likely To Join Indigo, WinFS In Longhorn : 12:00 AM EST Fri., May 14, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : WinOE Likely To Join Indigo, WinFS In Longhorn : 12:00 AM EST Fri., May 14, 2004 "It's looking more like Longhorn will get key orchestration features derived from BizTalk Server.
Microsoft is working on workflow and orchestration technology, called WinOE, or the Windows Orchestration Engine, for the Longhorn/Orcas timeframe, several sources said. Such technology manages how processes or software services interact in distributed systems."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: A talk with Xbox chief Robbie Bach

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: A talk with Xbox chief Robbie Bach "Q. Sony's PSP game device could compete with the Portable Media Center Microsoft is launching later this year. How do you see it playing out?
A. Well I think the PSP is an interesting product because really what Sony's doing is they've decided to go compete with everybody. It competes with the iPod. It's going to compete with Portable Media Center, which isn't just Microsoft, it's Microsoft plus all the hardware partners who are supporting that. It's going to compete with Game Boy SP, Game Boy DS. They've really taken on Microsoft, Nokia at some level, Apple, it's pretty ambitious.
On the Portable Media Center side we're very focused on the things that we know go together, and that we can create a device that's compelling at the right price point for music and movies, with the right storage media, with the right model for enabling people to get movies to it easily, all those kinds of things.
PSP, they run the risk of trying to be a little bit of all things to all people and then end up being great for a small audience.Movies to get to the PSP are going to have to be in a proprietary format, so how's that going to happen? Am I going to buy my movies a second time? I don't know. People look at durability. It's got a beautiful screen on it, but is that going to survive the rough-and-tumble world of a portable device. So I think they have some real interesting product ideas but some real challenges, and creating an all-in-one device is hard." - BEA Systems CEO Sees 2Q Revenue Of $265M-$275M - BEA Systems CEO Sees 2Q Revenue Of $265M-$275M "After reporting disappointing software sales for the fiscal first quarter, BEA Systems Inc. (BEAS) executives announced changes to sales leadership and tempered analysts' expectations for the current quarter, which ends July 31.
On a teleconference Thursday, Chief Executive Alfred Chuang said business conditions remain challenging. He predicted second-quarter revenue would be between $265 million and $275 million, up from $245 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected total revenue to rise to about $276 million in the second quarter, according to a survey by Thomson First Call."

Wired News: Microsoft to Battle Spyware

Wired News: Microsoft to Battle Spyware "Nearly half the world's computers may soon have built-in protection against debilitating infections of spyware and other unwanted software, thanks to Microsoft's update of the Windows XP operating system.
Expected to be released this summer, the Windows XP Service Pack 2 update will contain no fewer than five new security features designed to ward off the unauthorized installation of software via the Internet, according to Microsoft officials. The company hopes the features will not only quell the growing number of complaints from consumers about Windows XP's susceptibility to spyware, but will also save businesses millions of dollars in tech support calls." Oracle's Web Conferencing Update Oracle's Web Conferencing Update "The Web conferencing component of the Oracle Collaboration Suite has been around for about 10 months. Oracle recently offered Line56 an update on traction. According to Michael Miller, senior director of product management for Oracle Web Conferencing, there are 3,000 companies currently running trial versions of Web conferencing and 2,000 total customers for Oracle Collaboration Suite, which is about two years old. It costs $60 per user per month.
Further leverage comes from Oracle's ability to piggyback contextual collaboration atop the applications it already owns within the installed base. Specifically, Web conferencing can be accessed from within Oracle-owned applications, like calendaring, e-mail, and the portal. However, outside the realm of the installed base, Oracle isn't the first company that comes to mind in this context, Gotta concludes. "Oracle Collaboration Suite is a work in progress."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Microsoft Outlines Windows Server Roadmap

Microsoft Outlines Windows Server Roadmap "This week, Microsoft revealed its plans to update Windows Server over the next several years, and the company unveiled a roadmap that will see major Windows Server releases every four years, interspersed with minor releases every two years. The plan, revealed during a meeting with Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia this week, extends from this year through at least 2008.
"We're going to continue a theme over the next few years of trying to innovate along three major initiatives--Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), Trustworthy Computing, and .NET--all to drive a set of benefits for users that are pretty consistent," Muglia told me during the meeting. Muglia noted that Microsoft hoped this revelation would make the company's plans more predictable to corporate customers, who often need to plan years in advance. "We've moved away from a monolithic release cycle," he said."

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

IBM continues gains in server software | CNET

IBM continues gains in server software | CNET "No. 1 IBM's license and services revenue from application servers went up 6 percent in 2003 to give the company 29 percent market share, IDC said, as No. 2 BEA's dropped 4 percent to give it 26 percent market share. No. 3 Oracle, meanwhile, saw its revenue increase 15 percent, leading to 19 percent market share. And No. 4 Sun's application server revenue slipped 15 percent, giving it 3.5 percent share.
Total corporate spending on commercial Java application servers declined 8 percent last year to $1 billion, according to Gartner Dataquest, in part due to the rise of free, open-source Java application servers. For example, JBoss, which sells consulting services around a free Java application server, is targeting corporate customers looking for an alternative to commercial application servers. Sun Microsystems also makes the low-end version of its application server available for free--cutting into the money spent on application servers."

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Now I'm Mad

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Now I'm Mad "Some idiot Atkins Diet spammer just posted 53 bogus comments in this blog. I'm disabling comments (globally) shortly and figuring out if there's any recourse.
They don't know it yet, but they picked the wrong person to do this to." - MDA: Nice idea, shame about the ... - MDA: Nice idea, shame about the ... "Let me recap on the objectives of MDA as I see them. The primary objective is to separate business requirements and analysis from technology. A secondary objectives is to provide rapid development; a third is to put a focus back on modelling.
If your business doesn't care about models, and/or you adopt a Java or .Net platform using open source technologies, and/or your business changes as rapidly as the technologies, then that first objective would seem to be moot.
Let's look at the second point: rapid development. Clearly code generation can produce benefits and productivity gains. However, the initial cost of creating the model transformers/code generators will always outweigh the cost of just writing an application. The transformers provided out of the box by the vendor mitigates this cost, but if the business wants a highly custom application (and they probably do, otherwise they would have bought a 3rd party COTS product), then those transformers provided will act only as a starter for ten.
The third objective I listed for MDA was its emphasis on modelling. However, that emphasis is at best superficial at least for the elaborationists, mostly because of the problem I identified of expressing behaviour of objects, and hence their responsibilities. If a designer cannot easily experiment with assigning different responsibilities to objects; that is, it's hard for them to create a decent design. Putting all the above together, I really can't see MDA working as the OMG defined it."

Very timely essay -- read the whole post if you care about MDA

Sony makes over Vaio line | CNET

Sony makes over Vaio line | CNET Sony on Monday revamped and expanded the scope of its Vaio computer line.
Additions to the line include a new portable music player built around a hard drive, a diminutive Windows XP PC and new PCs with enhanced audiovisual functions. Also, the company revealed that it is working on a hard-disk recorder with more than a terabyte of storage capacity."

See the article for details and pictures. Should be strong competition for, e.g., Apple iPod and... Sony's own PSP device

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gamers, start your handhelds

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gamers, start your handhelds "The PSP displays games and video on a 4.3-inch color screen and will be able to connect to wireless networks. It will not play games made for PlayStation systems because it works with a new storage format, Universal Media Disc.
The 2-inch discs can store up to 1.8 gigabytes of data; Sony hopes the PSP popularizes their use for storing music and movies.
The PSP plays movies, music videos and sports programs stored on the discs. It could compete with the growing number of handheld audio and video players.
Sony aims the PSP at video gaming's prime demographic: men, 18 to 34, who have money and will spend it on games.
"Ultimately, it's going to be an iPod, a Walkman, a Watchman and a portable DVD player," said Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter. "It'll have everything. I think that's brilliant."

nat friedman" "... we open sourced our Exchange connector."

nat friedman" "... we open sourced our Exchange connector." "The past couple of months were pretty busy, scrubbing code and going through legal and security approvals, but this morning we open sourced our Exchange connector. We also announced that the upcoming version of Evolution will support both Exchange and Novell GroupWise servers out of the box. You can get source code for both backends in GNOME CVS today.
This is an important step. Desktops need a standard set of core APIs for personal addressbook information, to allow things like unified presence information, identity-based data association, and to build a richly integrated environment for collaboration. Our intent is to establish Evolution as the standard client for addressbook, mail and calendaring to make these things possible. And now that Evolution is 100% open source, it is not only a true competitor for Outlook, it also has a real shot at being the hub of your personal information/collaboration environment."

Novell press release - The Mossberg Solution: A Killer Amp -- for Your Desk Chair - The Mossberg Solution: A Killer Amp -- for Your Desk Chair "Is this a great country, or what? Thanks to technology, you soon will be able to not only hear your favorite music and the sound effects of videogames, but to actually feel these sounds, and not just in your heart and soul.
An outfit called Guitammer Co., from Westerville, Ohio, has developed a $150 home gadget that actually transmits sounds as vibrations through your body, starting from the bottom up. The product's name says it all: the ButtKicker Gamer. This gizmo attaches to the bottom of your chair and sends low-frequency sound waves from music or games through the chair's back and, especially, its seat -- hence the name."

(I didn't make this up, honest) - Microsoft, SAP Form Alliance on Web Software - Microsoft, SAP Form Alliance on Web Software "Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG, longtime partners and increasingly competitors as well, agreed to integrate their high-profile efforts in Web software.
The deal, which is to be announced at an SAP conference in New Orleans, is another indication of the success corporate customers are having in forcing software companies to eliminate technology roadblocks that have often served to entrench particular providers.
The agreement includes provisions to link SAP's software, which is typically used for managing business functions such as manufacturing, supplies and financial reporting, with Microsoft's Office suite of desktop applications. SAP and Microsoft created a joint marketing fund and a technology support center in Germany and cross-licensed their patent portfolios.
SAP's NetWeaver also is partly based on Java. But Mr. Kagermann and Mr. Gates both said SAP's customers wanted NetWeaver to work with Microsoft's .NET technology. Mr. Gates said the ability to exchange information between applications has become more important than the choice of programming languages. "You could say, 'It's the data, stupid,' " he said."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 Wearable Wireless Displays Are In Sight Wearable Wireless Displays Are In Sight "Imagine having a 17-inch screen constantly at your disposal that lets you look up information online, check your e-mail or watch a movie--and that isn't attached to a laptop.
Soon, thanks to the burgeoning microdisplay industry, you probably will.
Small liquid crystal displays are already ever-present on our cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players and PDAs. But scientists and startups alike have figured out how to make tiny wearable screens--with diagonals of less than half an inch--project what looks like a lifesize screen floating in space just a couple of feet from your eyes. These devices permit the wearer to remain totally engaged with their environment, able to see everything around them. The trick is in the magnifying optics on top of the display, which creates the illusion of a large, legible monitor that moves with you when you move your head."

We are Borg... I want one of these devices anyway, especially for working on planes etc.

CRN : Breaking News : IBM Launches Alternative To Microsoft Office : 5:34 PM EST Mon., May 10, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : IBM Launches Alternative To Microsoft Office : 5:34 PM EST Mon., May 10, 2004: "IBM on Monday unveiled a server-based bundle of desktop applications that offer companies an alternative to Microsoft's market-dominating Office suite.
Part of IBM's Lotus Workplace strategy, the software includes email, instant messaging, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Unlike Microsoft's products, however, the applications are not tied to Windows or Mac systems, and can run on Linux, Unix or proprietary operating systems used in handheld computers and cellular phones."

(Lotus eSuite lives...)

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Electronic Arts to play online with Xbox

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Electronic Arts to play online with Xbox "Just a year ago, the biggest video-game developer teamed up exclusively with Sony's best-selling game system to develop online sports titles — dealing Microsoft's Xbox a very public snub.
But now it appears Electronic Arts (EA) has learned a thing or two from Xbox's new marketing slogan: It's good to play together.
The game developer and Microsoft announced yesterday they have made peace and plan to release about 15 titles, including several sports games, that are compatible with the Xbox online gaming service, called Xbox Live.
On the software side, Microsoft said it is working on a program that will allow Xbox Live users to conduct up to four video chat sessions.
The new technology, which requires Web cameras, is expected to be initially rolled out in Japan.
McNealy [no, not that McNealy] said the program is a sign Microsoft wants to innovate and expand the Xbox audience.
Microsoft wants first to put the Xbox in every household with a PlayStation 2, McNealy said. Next it wants to go after those without either system.
The company also announced an arcade for Xbox Live, where customers can pay about $10 to download simpler, more casual games such as "Bejeweled." Game developers Atari and Namco have committed to producing titles for the arcade."

BTW Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) has a mkt cap of ~$15.5B at the moment -- sign of the times relative to, say, (AMZN: ~$17B), Apple (AAPL: ~$10B), Macromedia (MACR: ~$1.5B), or Borland (BORL: ~$0.67B)

Microsoft says bye-bye to Wi-Fi - News - ZDNet

Microsoft says bye-bye to Wi-Fi - News - ZDNet "Despite quickly becoming one of the leading sellers of wireless networking products, Microsoft has decided to discontinue its entire line of Wi-Fi gear, CNET has learned.
A source close to the company said Microsoft entered the Wi-Fi field with hopes of "raising the bar" on security, ease-of-use and performance and now feels it has accomplished those goals.
Microsoft confirmed the move late Monday.
"After careful evaluation, the Microsoft hardware group has decided to scale back its broadband hardware and networking business," a representative said. "Instead, the plan is to apply the knowledge we have gained in that category to future products and services."

Via Watching Microsoft Like a Hawk. I guess that explains the fire-sale prices on MS home networking equipment...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Silicon Valley | 05/10/2004 | IBM to Microsoft: Don't take this personally, but we want to make you irrelevant

Silicon Valley | 05/10/2004 | IBM to Microsoft: Don't take this personally, but we want to make you irrelevant: "No matter how loudly IBM proclaims that it's not embarking on an anti-Microsoft strategy, its new pitch for 'client middleware' can hardly be seen as anything else. Today, IBM unveiled upgrades to its client, administration and portal software that will allow everything from PCs to smartphones to access the same data -- including Microsoft Office data -- using standards-based middleware instead of a Microsoft client. IBM said the middleware layer, IBM Workplace Client Technology, makes the choice of underlying operating system largely irrelevant. Its client technology can support Windows, Linux, Unix and, eventually, Mac OS. Motorola, PeopleSoft, Adobe Systems and Siebel Systems will announce plans for products that support the IBM software, providing large corporations with further alternatives to Microsoft business software applications. 'People are going to start accessing applications with more devices, that's the bet IBM is making,' James Governor, principal analyst with RedMonk, told TechWorld. 'The PC is not the most interesting device any more. That's why you need software to be componentized, so that you can mix and mach what components you need for each device. Microsoft always gives you the whole honking thing.'"

Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon: Transactions and SOA

Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon: Transactions and SOA "In our conceptualisation of SOA (asynch. business document messaging + REST) there is no temporal coupling between communicants, no resource locking and no stateful services. That pretty much rules out ACID based transactions:-)
Invariably, we get asked to explain our approach to transactions. Our answer is:
(a) if you really, really need transactions - don't attempt to do it with Web Services. The CORBAs and the TPMs of this work do that stuff bettter than any amout of new fangled lets-do-it-with-angle-brackets ever will."

Read the post for the full answer. Via Tim Bray

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google revamps blogging service

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google revamps blogging service: "One of the leading names in blogging is overhauling its service in an attempt to catch up with the competition.
Blogger, which is owned by Google, has redesigned its site to make it easier to use and added new features, including posting by e-mail."

Via Dave Winer

BW Online | May 10, 2004 | Office, Beware -- Here Comes Workplace

BW Online | May 10, 2004 | Office, Beware -- Here Comes Workplace "If it stood on its own, IBM's $15 billion software group would be the world's second-largest software company, trailing only Microsoft (MSFT ). Yet, most of the software IBM (IBM ) makes runs on powerful server computers, and it figures only minimally in desktop computing. That's about to change.
On Monday, May 10, Big Blue is set to roll out a major new advance in its software strategy -- an integrated group of products called IBM Workplace. The strategy weaves together e-mail, collaboration software, IBM's Web portal, a small database, software for working on Web applications offline, and desktop-productivity applications including word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation manager. It's aimed not at individual consumers but at corporations."

I think IBM is way ahead of Novell/SuSE, Red Hat, and Sun in this context -- the Workplace model is very strong.

Longhorn In-Depth

Longhorn In-Depth: "The latest build of Longhorn seems to offer a more coherent whole than the PDC release last fall. But it's clear that a massive amount of work is still under way. The 3D desktop needs some serious performance tweaks and WinFS is unbearably slow, even on basic functions. It's all well and good to take advantage of new hardware when it comes out, but Microsoft will be facing a hefty installed base of older systems when Longhorn ships.
However, the 3D desktop will be available in tiers, so users who don't have the hardware to handle a system where each window is a 3D surface can revert to a 2D desktop. We're more concerned about WinFS. While it's very innovative, it's still extremely sluggish. It's more stable than last fall's build, but is in dire need of some serious performance improvements. Not everyone will have high speed RAID 0 or 0 1 arrays on their desktops.
This build did feel more solid overall and was a lot of fun to play with. But users will be looking for value beyond fun factor. If Microsoft can address some of the performance issues we've seen, then we'll feel much more bullish about Longhorn. "

WinHEC 2004: Microsoft Merges Tablet PC Future into Wider Mobile Computing Vision

WinHEC 2004: Microsoft Merges Tablet PC Future into Wider Mobile Computing Vision: "Say what you will about the Tablet PC, Microsoft isn't giving up on the concept. The company plans to meld future versions of this often-misunderstood technology with other mobile-computing devices to ultimately produce a mainstream product. Once seen as laptop alternatives, Tablet PCs will soon give way to a range of mobile PCs that meet all customer needs--a sharp departure from the niche products PC makers released until recently.
Microsoft's Longhorn-era plans are far more exciting, however. Although the company hasn't yet determined which of these features it will include in the base Longhorn product line and which will be available only on Tablet PCs and notebook computers, the list is dizzying. Microsoft will beef up fundamental features, such as power management and multimonitor support. The company will also develop a slew of new functionality, including the following:
- Auxiliary displays--Next-generation mobile devices will include small external displays on their covers that will let you view personal information manager (PIM) data at a glance, without having to open or turn on the device.
- Device and file synchronization--You'll be able to use Longhorn's integrated synchronization control panel to synchronize data between your PC and Tablet PC, notebook computer, PDA, portable audio device, and other portable devices.
- Communication and collaboration--Longhorn will make it easy for you to quickly set up ad hoc wireless networks for file sharing and for discovering people who are connected nearby. The OS will also provide a way to connect to wireless projectors by supplying one-to-one and one-to-many support for wireless connections betweem PCs whose users want to collaborate in real time.
- Mobility Center--Microsoft is planning an Activity Center called Mobility Center for Longhorn that will include all the Longhorn mobility-tuning features in a central location.
- Location awareness--Although the details of how the system will work are currently in flux, Microsoft plans to add location awareness to Longhorn PCs; the system will behave and look differently at home, work, school, and other locations.
- Pen/shell integration--Longhorn will natively support ink file names. You'll be able to click on an icon's name with the stylus and write the file name in your own handwriting. A simple wizard will let you supply examples of your handwriting so that the handwriting-recognition engine will compare only created file names against your writing, not the millions of samples the engine currently uses.
- Flick and Snipper utilities--A new pen-gestures feature (code-named Flick) will let you perform certain actions with a Tablet PC stylus that aren't writing or control-selection activities. For example, you'll be able to set up gestures for copy, paste, back, forward, undo, and delete activities. Another pen utility, code-named Snipper, will bring the Snipping Tool for Tablet PC PowerToy into the base OS.
- Pen Optimized Skin--For a new generation of small, 5" to 8" Tablet PC devices that will begin shipping this year, Microsoft is developing a dashboard that will provide access to all user PIM information on one handy page. The Pen Optimized Skin presents time and calendar information, links to recently accessed documents and applications, the seven most recent unread email messages, the most recent uncompleted tasks, and the links to the most often-used applications. This skin is designed to sit on top of--and generally replace--the basic Windows UI on devices with screens that are too small to display a desktop UI."

Corollary: the role for Windows CE is shrinking / Business / Trading places / Business / Trading places "Bob Davis, sporting an open maroon shirt and sipping from a cup of coffee, is in all-business mode. He leans forward at a conference table in the Highland Capital Partners office and gazes poker-faced at a document handed to him by Steve Kropper, senior vice president at a start-up called Equinox that wants to lower the cost of brokering home mortgages by doing much of the work overseas.
Dorchester-bred Davis, now 47, has always been known as a young man in a hurry, unusually driven and competitive even by the high-octane standards of the technology industry. His sale of Lycos for $12.5 billion in stock, at the peak of the technology boom, was heralded as one of the best-timed deals of the Internet era. (Lycos is back on the market, expected to fetch just $200 million to $400 million this time.) And three years ago, when Davis signed on as a Highland venture partner after a brief stint running the merged Terra Lycos, many presumed the job would be a hiatus until he could found another company to run."

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Takes Aim at Microsoft With Server-Based Software

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Takes Aim at Microsoft With Server-Based Software "I.B.M. plans to announce today a software strategy for corporate desktop personal computers and hand-held devices - one that is firmly anchored in the company's strength in data centers.
The I.B.M. offerings include new Lotus Workplace software for PC's and hand-held devices, but most of the critical software resides on server computers in corporate data centers. Workers can tap into their e-mail messages, calendar, work group and other software using a Web browser. The approach harks back to a low-cost model of computing - known as "thin client" computing - promoted in the late 1990's by Sun Microsystems and Oracle as an alternative to Microsoft's hefty desktop programs.
A worker using the Workplace software by I.B.M. can still run Microsoft Office programs. But I.B.M. also offers alternatives, built on free software from the open source project, including a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software.
The Workplace desktop, I.B.M. says, promises to deliver improved security and cost savings of up to 50 percent over the Microsoft desktop suites. Since central control resides in the server software, I.B.M. says, it is easier to manage changes and updates, and eliminates the possibility of a desktop computer user inadvertently spreading a computer virus."

Friday, May 07, 2004

AOL exercises Google warrants | CNET

AOL exercises Google warrants | CNET "In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Time Warner disclosed this week that its America Online unit has purchased 7.4 million preferred shares in the search leader for $22 million, or about $3 a share. The purchase stems from a warrant issued to AOL in 2002 that gave the company the option to buy these shares at that set price.
AOL isn't the only company slated to benefit from Google's IPO. Yahoo also has a minority stake in Google, despite considering it one of its biggest competitors."