Friday, December 31, 2004 Why There's No Escaping the Blog Why There's No Escaping the Blog : "The blog—short for weblog—can indeed be, as Scoble and Gates say, fabulous for relationships. But it can also be much more: a company's worst PR nightmare, its best chance to talk with new and old customers, an ideal way to send out information, and the hardest way to control it. Blogs are challenging the media and changing how people in advertising, marketing, and public relations do their jobs. A few companies like Microsoft are finding ways to work with the blogging world—even as they're getting hammered by it. So far, most others are simply ignoring it.
That will get harder: According to blog search-engine and measurement firm Technorati, 23,000 new weblogs are created every day—or about one every three seconds. Each blog adds to an inescapable trend fueled by the Internet: the democratization of power and opinion. Blogs are just the latest tool that makes it harder for corporations and other institutions to control and dictate their message. An amateur media is springing up, and the smart are adapting.
The newest kid on the blog block, Microsoft, has already seen what the sites can do for it. Now it thinks it has a chance to grab the youth market. Blake Irving, the VP who oversees Hotmail, the e-mail service, with 187 million users, and MSN Messenger, with 145 million IM accounts, views MSN Spaces as "the third leg of the communications stool," one that Microsoft hopes to turn into an advertising-fueled business. MSN is already selling ads on some Spaces for things like Lacoste shirts at Neiman Marcus online. E-mail is for old people, says Irving; kids prefer to communicate by phone and IM, and, now, by keeping blogs. So Spaces is tightly integrated with the latest version of MSN Messenger. Says Bill Gates, who claims he'd like to start a blog but doesn't have the time: "As blogging software gets easier to use, the boundaries between, say, writing e-mail and writing a blog will start to blur. This will fundamentally change how we document our lives."
Google, the company that Microsoft is playing catchup with (its division is the largest blogging service right now), also expects blogs to become as important as e-mail and IM. Right now, it's working on ways to better help people find content they want in blogs, says Jason Goldman, Blogger's product manager. But if Google's internal use of Blogger is any indication, it also sees it as an essential business tool. Since 2003, when it bought Pyra Labs, the company that launched, Google's employees have created several hundred internal blogs. They are used for collaborating on projects as well as selling extra concert tickets and finding Rollerblading partners. Google's public relations, quality control, and advertising departments all have blogs, some of them public. When Google redesigned its search home page, a staffer blogged notes from every brainstorm session. "With a company like Google that's growing this fast, the verbal history can't be passed along fast enough," says Marissa Mayer, who oversees the search site and all of Google's consumer web products. "Our legal department loves the blogs, because it basically is a written-down, backed-up, permanent time-stamped version of the scientist's notebook. When you want to file a patent, you can now show in blogs where this idea happened."

Mentioned as part of the cover story in the latest issue of Fortune -- more blog mainstreaming...

Adam Bosworth's Weblog: Where have all the good databases gone

Adam Bosworth's Weblog: Where have all the good databases gone: "If the database vendors ARE solving these problems, then they aren't doing a good job of telling the rest of us. The customers I talk to who are using the traditional databases are esentially using them as very dumb row stores and trying very hard to move all the logic and searching out into arrays of machines with in memory caches. Oracle is doing some very clever high end things with streaming queries and the ability to see data as of some point in recent history (and even which updates affected the query within some date range) and with integrated pub/sub and queueing, but even Oracle seems to make systems too static and too ponderous to really meet the needs about and, oh yes, they seem to charge about ten times as much as one would expect for them."

Looks like Adam Bosworth hasn't visited the sites for IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle Database recently. His first "very simple thing," dynamic schema, is very far from simple, although IBM is doing some very creative things with XML in DB2. Dynamic partioning -- "very simple thing" #2 -- is certainly addressed by all 3 DBMS leaders. "Modern indexing" -- VST #3 -- is also being addressed by the DBMS leaders.

I wouldn't bet on open source initiatives addressing leading-edge DBMS challenges anytime soon. I have great respect for MySQL AB and PostgreSQL, for instance, but the "very simple things" on Adam's wishlist require some very special -- and rare -- skills and experience. Also a lot of really tedious testing and exceptional product support, things for which the open source community doesn't have a great track record.

Welcome to Technology Review: What’s Next for Google

Welcome to Technology Review: What’s Next for Google "Google seeks to become the gatekeeper for not only the public Web but also the “dark” or hidden Web of private databases, dynamically generated pages, controlled-access sites, and Web servers within organizations (estimated to be tens or even hundreds of times larger than the public Web); the data on personal computer hard drives; and the data on consumer devices ranging from PDAs to cell phones to iPods to digital cameras to TiVo players. Google’s founders understand the scale of the opportunity. Larry Page recently said, “Only a fraction of the world’s information is indexed on our computers. We are continually working on new ways to index more.... Thirty percent [of our engineers] are devoted to emerging businesses.” And Sergey Brin once told Technology Review’s editor in chief, “The perfect search engine would be like the mind of God.”

This is an outstanding article on Google and Microsoft. Charles H. Ferguson's 1999 book, High Stakes, No Prisoners : A Winner's Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars, along with this article, should be required reading for anyone seeking to compete with Microsoft.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Blogs take on the mainstream

BBC NEWS | Technology | Blogs take on the mainstream: "Blog analysis firm Technorati estimates the number of blogs in existence, the so-called blogosphere, has already exceeded five million, and is growing at exponential levels.
Tools such as Google's Blogger, MovableType and the recently launched beta version of MSN Spaces are making it easier to run a blog.
US research think-tank Pew Internet & American Life says a blog is created every 5.8 seconds, although less than 40% of the total are updated at least once every two months."

Google Press Center: Zeitgeist

Google Press Center: Zeitgeist: "Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends. We hope you enjoy this aggregate look at what people wanted to know more about this year."

Kind of a scary snapshot of global search patterns...

Microsoft Commits $3.5 Million to Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Efforts

Microsoft Commits $3.5 Million to Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Efforts: "The employees of Microsoft Corp. express their deepest sympathy to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami. In response to this tragic event, the company is announcing a commitment of $3.5 million (U.S.) in financial support for relief and recovery efforts."

That's in addition to $3M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the linked WSJ article also notes has raised more than $3.5M in on-line donations so far).

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Division Headed to China Has Made No Profit in 3 1/2 Years

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Division Headed to China Has Made No Profit in 3 1/2 Years: "I.B.M. said yesterday that the personal computer business it was selling to the Lenovo Group of China had not made a profit for three and a half years.
I.B.M.'s personal computing division had a loss of $139 million in the six months ended June 30. It had losses of $258 million in 2003, $171 million in 2002 and $397 million in 2001, I.B.M. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. During that period, the PC division had sales of $34.1 billion."

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of January 3: Microsoft Cancels Itanium Version of Windows XP

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of January 3: Microsoft Cancels Itanium Version of Windows XP: "Neowin ( [sic] that Microsoft is canceling its plans for the Itanium version of Windows XP (the last time I spoke with Microsoft about this, the company was still planning to release a service pack for the existing version). 'Because Windows on x64 systems delivers excellent flexibility and choice, while also enabling a smooth migration from 32-bit to 64-bit applications, Microsoft believes Windows for Itanium-based systems is a stronger offering in the high-end server market. As such, Microsoft has made the decision to focus its investments in research and development on this new x64 (64-bit extended) architecture and discontinue further investments in the Itanium architecture for workstations,' the software giant told Neowin. I'm sure the 6 guys running the Itanium version of Windows XP are going to be really upset about this."

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of January 3: Microsoft Continues to Lose Passport Partners

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of January 3: Microsoft Continues to Lose Passport Partners: "Contrary to some reports I've read, competition from Sun's Liberty Alliance--which proposes a Passport alternative--had absolutely nothing to do with Passport's demise. Instead it was customer apathy and a general distrust of using a Microsoft service to contain private information that doomed the service. In typical Microsoft fashion, the company tried to drive Passport use by bundling the service with a popular product--in this case, MSN Hotmail--but few customers actually used Passport for anything valuable and the service languished. I don't think I'm alone is bidding Passport adieu without any sense of regret whatsoever. It was a solution in search of a problem."

The Liberty Alliance reference is an important consideration -- this was a class-level failure to gain momentum, i.e., no other instance (broad-based alternative to Passport) won. In any case, I suspect the people gleefully dismissing this as yet another massive Microsoft misfire will eventually be surprised when they realize Passport is the biggest instance around, when the class of service it represents starts to gain traction.

First look: Thunderbird 1.0 a winner - Computerworld

First look: Thunderbird 1.0 a winner - Computerworld: "If you find yourself spending more time sorting your e-mail than reading it, consider the Mozilla Foundation's new Thunderbird e-mail client. The free program, which complements the group's Firefox browser, combines advanced e-mail sorting functions, first-rate spam filters and lightning-fast performance to help you cut through your in-box like a hot knife through butter.
I tested Version 1.0 of Thunderbird (a 5.8MB download). After years of using Microsoft Outlook, the switch was like trading in a big, lumbering Buick for a Mustang GT. A mere second after you launch the program, it's ready to retrieve your mail or compose a message. With Outlook, you launch the app and then go get a cup of coffee while it loads its numerous modules and applets."

No calendar (but the article also notes "although Mozilla offers a free calendar extension") but strong RSS channel support -- likely to grab major market share from Outlook Express.

BW Online: What Will Drive 2005

BW Online: What Will Drive 2005: Excerpts:
"11. Apple (AAPL ) will come out with an iPod cell phone.
12. President Bush will be photographed carrying an iPod.
13. Flat-panel TVs will start to become affordable to most Americans. Prices will drop under $800 on some big-screen models.
14. Media-center PCs will become the rage, as computer companies and Intel (INTC ) push into digital video on demand. Watch out TiVo (TIVO )."

11. I suspect it'll be an Apple partner, not Apple, that introduces an iPod cell phone. I also suspect 2005 will be the year iPod is eclipsed by other non-PC device alternatives.
12. Already happened -- I recently saw a picture (in Time or Newsweek) of W riding a Trek with a big Yahoo! bike helmet sticker and iPod earpieces.
13. Makes sense to me, if even ~$500 PCs now come with 17" CRT monitors (see, e.g., this post).
14. No doubt it will also be the year when Steve Jobs decides PCs and TVs do have some synergy after all, despite dismissing the possibility for years.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: 2004 in Review, Dec 24

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: 2004 in Review, Dec 24 Excellent "top 10 events of the year" summary in the communication/collaboration context from Michael Sampson. Also see his “top 5” list for things to watch out for in 2005.

The New York Times > Technology > Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing

The New York Times > Technology > Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing: "The average Internet user in the United States spends three hours a day online, with much of that time devoted to work and more than half of it to communications, according to a survey conducted by a group of political scientists.
The survey found that use of the Internet has displaced television watching and a range of other activities. Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day, compared with the national average of two hours, said Norman H. Nie, director of the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, a research group that has been exploring the social consequences of the Internet.
Over all, 57 percent of Internet use was devoted to communications like e-mail, instant messaging and chat rooms, and 43 percent for other activities including Web browsing, shopping and game playing. Users reported that they spent 8.7 percent of their Internet time playing online games.
The researchers found that the amount of Internet use does not differ by gender. But women on average use e-mail, instant messaging and social networking more than men, while men spend more time browsing, reading discussion groups and participating in chat rooms.
Younger people in the sample tended to favor immediate forms of online communication, while older people used e-mail more frequently."

The New York Times > Technology > Coming in '05: AT&T Mobile (Via Sprint)

The New York Times > Technology > Coming in '05: AT&T Mobile (Via Sprint): "AT&T plans to start marketing Sprint's cellphone service as its own in the first half of 2005, after it wins back the rights to use the AT&T Wireless brand from Cingular Wireless, which acquired AT&T Wireless in October. Some of the particulars of how it will handle billing and operations for the new mobile service will be spelled out next week, the executives said. AT&T is not expected to announce pricing for its plans yet."

I still don't understand this -- certainly the long-suffering AT&T Wireless customers who are now Cingular customers aren't going to be eager to sign up for an AT&T Wireless-branded version of Sprint. Meanwhile, according to yesterday's WSJ:

"Time Warner Cable and Sprint are nearing a deal to let Time Warner offer cellphone service on a trial basis, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such an alliance would make Time Warner the only major cable company to offer cellular service, and the partners would be able to offer all major telecom services: television, high-speed Internet access, and wired and wireless phone service."

And there's the pending Sprint/Nextel merger to consider...

Microsoft reportedly to stop marketing Passport service - Computer Software - Electronic commerce - Software - Internet - General

Microsoft reportedly to stop marketing Passport service - Computer Software - Electronic commerce - Software - Internet - General: "The newspaper said the software giant had confirmed the step down after one of the service's biggest backers, eBay Inc., said Wednesday it would stop using Passport next month in favor of its own product. It said few customers had taken up the Microsoft service.
Passport keeps track of online consumers' credit card and password information as they move from site to site. It has drawn the ire of privacy advocates, industry regulators and technology security experts, who in 2003 found a security glitch that could have led to massive identity theft, the paper said.
Passport was seen as potentially putting Microsoft at the center of many consumer e-commerce transactions."

An important milestone, if accurate, but in the meantime ~190M Hotmail users have Passport accounts, as do all MSN Messenger and other MSN (dial-up and Premium -- BYOB) users -- Passport may not be promoted for non-Microsoft services in the future, but it's still a huge identity/authentication offering. Microsoft also continues to invest in related areas; most recently, Microsoft consolidated the contacts services shared among Hotmail, MSN, and MSN Messenger, and added new blog (MSN Spaces) features. - Personal Technology: Security, Cool Features Of Firefox Web Browser Beat Microsoft's IE - Personal Technology: Security, Cool Features Of Firefox Web Browser Beat Microsoft's IE: "Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser is one of the most important, and most often used, programs on the world's personal computers, relied upon by more than 90% of Windows users. But Microsoft hasn't made any important functional improvements in Internet Explorer for years.
The software giant has folded IE into the Windows operating system, and the browser only receives updates as part of the 'Windows update' process. In recent years, most upgrades to IE have been under-the-hood patches to plug the many security holes that have made IE a major conduit for hackers, virus writers and spyware purveyors. The only visible feature added to IE recently: a pop-up ad blocker, which arrived long after other browsers had one.
Luckily, even if you switch to Firefox, you can still keep IE around to view just these incompatible sites. (In fact, Microsoft makes it impossible to fully uninstall IE.) There's even an extension for Firefox that adds an option called "View This Page in IE."
So Firefox is my current choice of a Windows Web browser. It is to IE in 2004 what IE was to Netscape in 1996 -- the upstart that does a better job."

Generous of Walt Mossberg to also give honorable mention to Safari, Opera, and Netscape, but many software vendors I've spoken with recently have suggested the non-IE/non-Firefox browsers are being eliminated by Firefox (and of course Netscape is based on Firefox).

Apple preps sub-$500 iMac - report | The Register

Apple preps sub-$500 iMac - report | The Register: "Apple is said to be preparing a return to the 'pizza box' casings last seen in its classic LC and Performa Macs in the mid-1990s, but at this stage it's not entirely clear who the machine will be aimed at.
According to Think Secret's scoop, which cites 'highly reliable sources', Apple will use Macworld Expo to launch the box, based on a 1.25GHz G4-class processor. The unit will retail for $499, the site claims."

Hey, maybe Dvorak was prescient... Check out the Dell Dimension 3000 for a PC comparison; at the moment, it's $499 with 2.4 GHz Celeron, Windows XP Home, 256 meg RAM, 40 gig hard disk, 17" CRT monitor, CD and CD-RW drives.

2004/12/31 correction: oops, the $499 Dell comes with a CRT, not a flat-panel monitor; sorry about that... It's currently $143 to upgrade to a 15" flat panel, $215 for 17"

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Steve Gillmor: Times they are not a’changing

Steve Gillmor: Times they are not a’changing Clarification from Steve Gillmor about what's up with the NYT and a couple content aggregators that have been busticated in this context. Apparently there is no recent change to the NYT policy after all.

BTW Steve: Blogger's BlogThis! tool picks up only URLs on your page -- it ignores page title and content selections.

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Grim Macintosh Market Share Forebodes Crisis

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Grim Macintosh Market Share Forebodes Crisis Paul Thurrott comments on John Dvorak's latest provocative rant -- quoting Dvorak:
"The Mac platform is essentially stagnant. That becomes obvious when you look at the declining market share numbers—not from research firms, but from the W3C, which monitors online activity. As of December 2004, the Mac share as measured by online activity is 2.7 percent (Linux is 3.1), with all the rest going to various flavors of Windows. I'm now convinced that this stems mostly from Apple's inability to make the Mac a commodity computer by pricing it to compete with PCs made inexpensively in China and selling with razor-thin margins."

Thurrott adds:
"What's really happening here, and this is the point that Dvorak is alluding to, is that Apple (Jobs, really) is choosing form over function. No bit of functionality will marr the PowerBook's smooth case, no matter how useful it would be. Hard drive light? Never! SD slot? Heresy! Switches to turn off the trackpad and wireless? No way!"

Opinion: 2004 Was the Year Everything Changed for Microsoft

Opinion: 2004 Was the Year Everything Changed for Microsoft: "Remember that software colossus called Microsoft? It was known as the 800-pound gorilla of the PC industry, a recalcitrant monopolist that could send competitors careening out of business simply by announcing that it was entering a particular market. Well, that Microsoft is dead. And its death has little to do with the company changing its ways to become a better corporate citizen and partner. Instead, Microsoft has grown lazy, complacent, and fat--arguably another IBM, a company Microsoft never intended to emulate. And rather than exit markets when Microsoft jumps in, the company's competitors are now watching Microsoft to see where it's heading, then jumping in with both feet. More often than not, Microsoft's tiny competitors get to market first and reap the rewards.
Is Microsoft, like IBM before it, suddenly so large that it can no longer move quickly and deliver on new product opportunities? I think that's fairly obvious. What's less obvious is the way that Microsoft's competitors have started cherry-picking from Microsoft's product plans. Having a grand vision is one thing. But delivering on that vision is another thing entirely."

Surprisingly harsh, for Paul Thurrott - The Mossberg Solution: A Primer on Fighting Spyware - The Mossberg Solution: A Primer on Fighting Spyware: "The absolute best way to avoid spyware is to stop using Windows, and switch to an Apple Macintosh, which gets little or no spyware and adware. Almost all spyware is written to run on Windows, and it won't work on a Mac.
It's possible to write spyware for a Mac, but it's much harder, because any time a program that might affect system files tries to install itself on a Mac, the operating system requires you to enter a user ID and password. That means it's very hard to install anything surreptitiously or deceptively. Also, spyware authors gain little from invading Macs, because of Apple's tiny market share. (These are also the reasons there haven't been any recorded successful viruses on the current Mac operating system.)"

This conventional wisdom is getting very tiring...

Steve Gillmor on NYT link changes

Steve Gillmor on NYT link changes: "The New York Times has broken its permalinks, at least practically if not officially. Permalinks work up to a week back, then poof."

Apparently the NYT has decided to charge for access to articles that are more than a week old. Steve suggested the RSS links may be treated differently, but I'm not eager to manually cross-reference articles I read via the Web with their RSS counterparts. Hopefully the genius MBA at the NYT who implemented this policy will soon realize it entails a very high opportunity cost and will undo it.

Technology Review: Amazon: Giving Away the Store

Technology Review: Amazon: Giving Away the Store "While companies such as Google and Microsoft are also experimenting with the idea of letting outsiders tap into their databases and use their content in unpredictable ways (see “What’s Next for Google?”), none is proceeding more aggressively than Amazon. The company has, in essence, outsourced much of its R&D, and a growing portion of its actual sales, to an army of thousands of software developers, who apparently enjoy nothing more than finding creative new ways to give Web surfers access to Amazon merchandise—and earning a few bucks in the process. The result: a syndicate of mini-Amazons operating at very little cost to Amazon itself and capturing customers who might otherwise have gone elsewhere. It’s as if Starbucks were to recruit 50,000 of its most loyal caffeine addicts to strap urns of coffee to their backs each morning and, for a small commission, spend the day dispensing the elixir to their officemates."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The New Republic Online: Daddy Knows [Dr. Phil == Dr. Evil]

The New Republic Online: Daddy Knows [Dr. Phil == Dr. Evil] "Since launching his daytime talk show two years ago, Phillip C. McGraw--Oklahoma native, Texas transplant, and self-described "country boy"--has taken the American psyche by storm. His syndicated program is watched by an estimated 6.6 million viewers. (Only Queen Oprah, his mentor, ranks higher in the pantheon of talk-show gods.) CBS/LandovIn the past five years, five of his books have hit number one on The New York Times best-seller list. He publishes an online newsletter, writes a monthly column for O magazine, and has done celebrity endorsements for weight-loss products. When he goes on speaking tours, tens of thousands of fans, mostly women, often pay upward of $100 apiece to bear witness. He is greeted like a rock star; gals have been known to mail him their undergarments. In 2001, People magazine named him one of its sexiest people--quite an achievement for a lumbering, middle-aged bald guy with a silly moustache. The following year, he made the magazine's list of "25 Most Intriguing People" as well as Barbara Walters's list of the "Ten Most Fascinating People." In the midst of this year's presidential race, McGraw scored sit-downs with both President Bush and challenger John Kerry (and their wives, of course) to discuss the joys and horrors of modern parenting. Around the same time, in an arguably more impressive display of clout, McGraw made a guest appearance on "Sesame Street" with his puppet alter ego, Dr. Feel. If having a Muppet created in your own image doesn't signal cultural dominance in America, what does?
But, whatever else they achieve, Dr. Phil's grand interventions sell the idea that what we all really need is a rich, well-connected fairy godfather to swoop in, reorder our lives, and keep us in line--perhaps not the best message for most adults to internalize."

Looks like TNR has a new Web site strategy; you can now download entire issues in pdf.

Dial-Up's Downfall (

Dial-Up's Downfall ( "Subscribers to dial-up services have been in decline for several years now, but in 2004 the technology fell way, way out of vogue. Take America Online, the company that once embodied the possibilities of the World Wide Web. That company is losing dial-up subscribers to quicker or cheaper Internet services. In the past 12 months alone, AOL has lost about 2 million subscribers, many of them dial-up customers.
Use of dial-up connections peaked in 2001, with 52 million households, according to Jupiter Research. By the end of this year, that number is expected to drop to 48.5 million, and the exodus will likely continue. Jupiter predicts that by 2009, only 40.7 million homes will have dial-up. And by 2008, more than half of all connections will be broadband."

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > Blame The New Yorker

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > Blame The New Yorker: "Because of what enfeebling bad habit did the proud and potent thinking class that gave us F.D.R. and J.F.K. fade into a cynical, ironic, smirking bunch of spiritual weaklings headed up by Al Franken and Michael Moore? Was the problem attending movies instead of church? Deserting Burger King for Whole Foods Market? No, I've concluded. The blame lies elsewhere. The seduction of America's elites by the vices of humanism and skepticism can only be blamed on the New Yorker cartoon, an agent of corruption more insidious than LSD or the electric guitar.
For proof of this theory, please obtain and study ''The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker,'' a coffee-table book so broad and thick that it doesn't need a table under it because it's its own table -- just bolt on legs."

Windows Server System Magazine: Microsoft's Expanding Collaboration Strategy

Windows Server System Magazine: Microsoft's Expanding Collaboration Strategy: "The enterprise markets for communication and collaboration products and services are in the midst of a major transition. 'The Future of Microsoft Collaboration' [November 2003] provided an overview of Microsoft's collaboration and communication strategies and products at the end of 2003. This column updates you on the market dynamics and Microsoft's progress since then."

FYI my January, 2005 column. Note that Microsoft changed the schedule/strategy for Exchange Edge Services after the article was published; it's now split between 2005 and the next major release of Exchange Server.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: At I.B.M., That Google Thing Is So Yesterday

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: At I.B.M., That Google Thing Is So Yesterday: "Suddenly, the computer world is interesting again. The last three months of 2004 brought more innovation, faster, than users have seen in years. The recent flow of products and services differs from those of previous hotly competitive eras in two ways. The most attractive offerings are free, and they are concentrated in the newly sexy field of 'search.'"

Interesting and timely snapshot of the search segment from James Fallows.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > From Aw-Shucks to Cutthroat: Southwest's Ascent

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > From Aw-Shucks to Cutthroat: Southwest's Ascent: "Still think of Southwest Airlines as a folksy company whose employees dress in golf shirts and tell jokes? Don't tell its competitors.
Southwest's victory last week in the battle for some assets of a bankrupt rival, ATA Airlines, revealed an aggressive new stance at the airline. Already the largest low-fare airline in the United States, Southwest is on a path to becoming the industry's most influential company, something its traditional competitors might never have envisioned."

I had the misfortune of attempting to fly from BWI to Boston last week on AirTran (it was by far the cheapest option when I made the reservations a few weeks ago). The flight was cancelled with no explanation and no useful alternatives for getting back to Boston. I flew Southwest into Manchester, NH instead, and got home a bit earlier than I was scheduled to arrive via AirTran.

The contrast between the airlines was stark -- AirTran was under-staffed, unhelpful (borderline hostile), and clearly used to dealing with entire flights being cancelled. The Southwest employees were helpful, professional, informed, and pleasant to talk with.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Scott McNealy's Xmas dream | The Register

Scott McNealy's Xmas dream | The Register: "Next up on the Big Guy's lap is Paul Otellini of Intel. 'Santa, can't I please, please have a 64-bit processor that works?'
Santa puts on a very stern face. 'Paul, last year you wished for that and I gave you Itanium. Now you can't just throw it in the trash because you're fed up with it. You've got to find a way to make it work.'
'Aw, Santa. You know it'll never work. Our engineers know it'll never work. Only HP believes it'll work - and those guys believe in fairies and elves.' Paul trudges off sullenly.
Matthew Szulik of Red Hat is the next kid to visit with St. Nick.
"Ho, ho, ho," says Santa. "Matthew, you have been such a good boy little boy this year. What would you like to see under your tree?"
Szulik has a big gleam in his eyes. He leans over and whispers into Santa's ear, and Santa looks up in surprise. Szulik says: "Santa, I actually have a gift for you this year. And guess's free!"
"What is it?" asks Santa.
"It's a puppy - a Finnish terrier - for you to bring back to the North Pole. It wears sandals, it likes to take saunas, and, best of all, it won't cost you a penny... right now."
"Right now?" Santa asks. (You don't get to control all the presents in the world if you're not a pretty smart cookie.)
"Er...yes. There's one tiny catch. To pay for the proper care and maintenance of the puppy, every year you have to send me $5000."
As Szulik speaks, Santa's face darkens like one of those storms that blow in from Siberia. "If I have to send you $5000 a year, then the truth is that this is one expensive puppy, isn't it Matthew?"
Matthew is looking down at his shoes and nodding. Santa pushes the naughty boy off his lap. "Go to your room, Matthew. It's coal for you this year.""

Mozilla's Lightning to strike Outlook? | CNET

Mozilla's Lightning to strike Outlook? | CNET "The Mozilla Foundation is hatching yet another software project to challenge a key Microsoft title.
The new project, code-named Lightning, aims to integrate Mozilla's calendar application, Sunbird, with its recently released Thunderbird e-mail application. That integration is aimed right at the heart of Microsoft's widely used Outlook software.
'I think Outlook leaves a lot of room for a fast competitor,' said a Mozilla volunteer involved in the project, who asked not to be named. 'There's a lot of user dissatisfaction out there, and it will be interesting to see what the market looks like once there's a strong open-source alternative.'"

I suspect Thunderbird's RSS client support is a bigger short-term threat.

Xbox, Mysteriously, is Sold Out

Xbox, Mysteriously, is Sold Out: "The timing of the Xbox's mysterious disappearance is both puzzling and unexpected. Stacked boxes of rival Nintendo GameCube, a cheaper buy at $99, crowd the aisles at stores like Best Buy. The Xbox's chief competition, the Sony PlayStation 2 (also $150) is almost as hard to find as the Xbox, but consider the chief reason: Sony recently revised its PlayStation 2 as a much smaller player with built-in Ethernet, jumpstarting sales. But unlike the Xbox, it's still possible to order the new PlayStation 2 at many e-tailers, despite the fact that it's also sold out at most brick and mortar stores. Why is the Xbox suddenly so unavailable?
One reason might be that Microsoft prepped the retail channel with a special Xbox holiday 2004 bundle that included two free games, EA NCAA Football 2005 and Top Spin, for the same price that the company normally sells just a bare console. But wouldn't the company keep a number of bare consoles in the channel for when the holiday bundles sold out? Some I spoke with at retail stores this week speculated that Microsoft might be prepping a smaller new Xbox, similar to the recent PlayStation 2 revision, for January. But I've heard nothing about such an update, and Microsoft never responded to my questions about the Xbox shortage yesterday."

The New York Times > Technology > Europe Rejects Microsoft's Bid to Preserve Bundling Plan

The New York Times > Technology > Europe Rejects Microsoft's Bid to Preserve Bundling Plan: "'The decision itself is not that harmful to Microsoft's business,' Richard Sherlund, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a report yesterday, 'but rather sets a precedent where the European Commission could argue that future enhancements such as search or antivirus must similarly be unbundled.'"

Go figure...

Yahoo! News - Netflix Will Not Match Blockbuster Price Cut

Yahoo! News - Netflix Will Not Match Blockbuster Price Cut: "Netflix Inc will not cut its price for online DVD rentals to match lower fees set on Wednesday by rival Blockbuster Inc. in an escalating battle for online subscribers, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said.
Hastings told Reuters Blockbuster's move shows it recognizes online rentals may make its huge network of retail stores obsolete.
"In my view, Blockbuster just killed the video store by offering $15 pricing for online, but maintaining $25 a month for store-based subscriptions," Hastings said. "They are telling their customers to go online."" - High-Speed Access Grows 15% - High-Speed Access Grows 15%: "High-speed Internet access increased 15% during the first half of 2004 to a total of 32.5 million lines, the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday.
That's down from the 20% rise registered during the second half of 2003. Year-over-year, high-speed broadband use rose 38%, the FCC said. The FCC defines high-speed Internet connections as those exceeding 200 kilobits per second.
High-speed connections over digital lines grew 20% in the first six months of 2004 to 11.4 million and 49% in the 12 months ended in June. Cable modem connections, meanwhile, rose 13% in the first half of 2004 to 18.6 million lines. The remaining 2.5 million high-speed connections include wireless, satellite and fiber.
Despite robust broadband growth, the U.S. still appears to lag other countries in broadband penetration rates. According to the International Telecommunications Union, the U.S. ranked 11th in 2002 among major economies in broadband use, trailing Hong Kong, Canada, Belgium and others." - Personal Technology: Entertainment Center Works Well in 1 Room But Not Through House - Personal Technology: Entertainment Center Works Well in 1 Room But Not Through House "Years ago, when computer companies first floated the idea of using a Windows computer as the center of a home-entertainment system, I dismissed the concept, saying it would introduce the pain of computer crashes to the formerly simple act of watching television.
But much has changed over the years. The current version of the Microsoft operating system, Windows XP, is pretty stable. And Microsoft has a slick new version of XP, called the Media Center Edition, that allows a PC to be controlled remotely from across the room. Media Center PCs typically include TV receivers and the ability to record TV programs to a hard disk, as well as to play music and videos and run slide shows of photos, all on a large TV screen.
This year, Microsoft and its partners have built on that concept. The latest Media Center computers can beam TV programming, music, videos and photos to televisions in distant parts of a home, using a home network and an add-on device called a Media Center Extender. And more PC makers are offering Media Center computers that look like home-entertainment-center components rather than traditional PCs.
In general, both worked well. But they also had some drawbacks, and it was impossible to escape two of the worst problems of using a Windows computer -- security issues and networking complexities."

For the first few paragraphs, it actually seemed like Walt Mossberg was going to say something consistently positive about a Microsoft product....

Technology Review: Larry Sanger’s Knowledge Free-for-All

Technology Review: Larry Sanger’s Knowledge Free-for-All "Wikipedia is the world’s newest, largest, most varied, most participatory, and most controversial encyclopedia. It is composed and edited entirely by volunteer netizens; as of November 2004, there were some 29,000 “Wikipedians” writing for it in 109 different languages. The site’s massive archive, including 380,000 articles in English alone, puts even Britannica to shame. If you don’t see an article addressing your passion for miniature-teapot collecting, don’t fret. Just write one."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Switched On: Microsoft refreshes WebTV for a curious comeback - Engadget -

Switched On: Microsoft refreshes WebTV for a curious comeback - Engadget - "After eight years, a forgettable foray into interactive television dubbed WebTV Plus, and a $425 million acquisition, what is now MSN TV has seen many transitions in its time at Microsoft. Its subscription base, however, has languished considerably from its apex of a million scattered subscribers. With AOL having abandoned its TV-based Internet access product AOLTV, it’s a good bet that WebTV would have been put to rest long ago had it not hid among the lint in the ample pockets of Microsoft. MSN TV’s survival is still a longshot, but it is not yet ready to fade to black."

Via new media musings

IBM Workplace application development: IBM Workplace as a collaborative application framework

IBM Workplace application development: IBM Workplace as a collaborative application framework: "The first in a three-part article series about IBM Workplace application development options, this article introduces you to Workplace templates and applications and to Workplace Builder, the Web-based editor for template and application creation."

Useful and timely overview -- via InsideLotus blog

Yahoo! News - Microsoft, Citrix Sign Collaboration Agreement

Yahoo! News - Microsoft, Citrix Sign Collaboration Agreement: "The five-year deal, which extends an earlier agreement between the two companies, ensures that Citrix will be able to roll out software that will run smoothly on Microsoft's next major upgrade to its server software for networked computers.
The agreement also allows for patent cross-licensing, in order to avoid disputes between the two companies." - EU Court Upholds Ruling on Microsoft - EU Court Upholds Ruling on Microsoft: "A European Union court ruled Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. will have to abide immediately by an EU ruling that forces the software giant to change its commercial practices before the appeals procedure runs its full course.
The ruling of the Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance has huge implications for the company, since it forces Microsoft to divulge some trade secrets and produce a version of Windows without its digital Media Player.
The court ruled that delaying the execution of the EU ruling wouldn't cause Microsoft irreparable damage.
'Microsoft's application for interim measures is therefore dismissed in its entirety,' a court statement said."

A happy day for RealNetworks...

Washington Post Buys Microsoft's Webzine (

Washington Post Buys Microsoft's Webzine ( "Asked for reaction, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said by e-mail: 'Mostly I'm really proud of Slate's pioneering role in online journalism, and confident it will continue to lead the way. As one of the early -- albeit minor -- participants in Slate's diary section, I'll always feel incredibly close to it -- and will definitely remain an avid fan and reader.' He added: 'Graduating to media ownership seemed the obvious next step for Slate, and I'm confident it will thrive wonderfully under The Post.'
The Post reported in July that Microsoft was looking for a buyer and that the leading contenders were The Post Co. and the New York Times Co. The Times did pursue a possible deal, according to people familiar with the matter. The Post's Web site already has an alliance with, which is partly owned by Microsoft, and former Microsoft executive Melinda Gates, the wife of the company's founder, was named to the Post Co. board in September."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Where is IBM Lotus going with Workplace?

Where is IBM Lotus going with Workplace?: "You've covered the Notes arena since 1994. Why was Microsoft never able to steamroll over Notes, as they had with Excel and 1-2-3?
Tom Austin: Excel achieved feature parity in some areas and significant improvement beyond 1-2-3 in other areas. The bottom line was that Microsoft trumped Lotus not just in marketing but in building better product. Lotus got suckered into hitching up to OS/2 and Presentation Manager, even though it was clear to everyone in the marketplace back in 1989 that Microsoft's priority with ISVs with first and foremost Windows, and then OS/2. But Lotus followed IBM with OS/2, and OS/2 became part of the dustbin of history.
But with Notes, Microsoft decided -- for better or worse -- to take the fight to Lotus over the bigger marketing opportunity, which was messaging, rather than engage in a battle over the deeper functionality of a groupware package with development capabilities. Not only did Microsoft decide not to compete with Notes on functional breadth, they even publicly admitted, 'We're not as good as Notes, but we're just trying to deliver a better messaging platform.' By that time, IBM had bought Notes and they were able to exploit that.
The thing is, Microsoft still doesn't deliver the kinds of capabilities comparable to Notes/Domino. In 1995-96, when Outlook was still in beta, Microsoft knew that one of its weaknesses was the lack of a powerful search capability. Nine years later, it still doesn't have it. This year, Microsoft had to go out and finally buy the technology from a startup called Lookout."

I don't agree with all of the comments in this interview, but I've always had a lot of respect for Tom Austin (I used to brief him, when I was running Notes product management during the mid-90s...) and appreciate his insights.

BTW, in the "small world" context, Lookout was a project created by Eric Hahn, cc:Mail guru who went on to found Collabra and then to CTO of Netscape when it acquired Collabra. Perhaps Eric still agrees with many people at Microsoft who appear to think collaboration == messaging.

Analysis: Symantec Buys Veritas, Still Has Acquisition Itch (Linux Business Week)

Analysis: Symantec Buys Veritas, Still Has Acquisition Itch (Linux Business Week): "Sources claim that the Symantec-Veritas deal, which oddly mixes enterprise with desktop DNA, is only a first step for Symantec and that the ex-IBMer who runs the place wants to build the next great software company, a giant that would compete with IBM and Microsoft for dominance of the distributed, on-demand, web infrastructure.
To do so they say Symantec CEO John W. Thompson plans to acquire other companies beyond Symantec. Sources name Mercury Interactive, Compuware and Novell in that order."

BW: All The News You See Fit To Write

BW: All The News You See Fit To Write: "Don't like what you read in the news? Write it yourself. That's the premise behind Wikinews (, an experimental free news site launched in December. Based on collaborative Web software called wiki, it lets anyone submit original or summarized articles, or chime in on a posted story."

Interesting development -- I suspect the Wikipedia approach may not work for daily news, however.

Clearing the Way for Open Source

Clearing the Way for Open Source: "The open-source buzz has been heard in corporate IT departments for a while now. But lately, Main Street mom-and-pops are listening, too. A recent Jupiter Research survey shows a growing number of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) using open-source alternatives to Microsoft products. About 9% of SMBs are using Red Hat Linux on the desktop, and 7% are using the OpenOffice productivity suite, which contains word processing and spreadsheet programs."

Timely interview with Advent Consulting's David Lee.

Wal-Mart unveils $498 laptop!

Wal-Mart unveils $498 laptop!: "Wal-Mart, the world largest supermarket chain, is offering a laptop for only $498 (about Rs 21,000) during the festive season in the United States! and Linspire Inc. have come together with this stunning offer. The laptop, called Balance, is loaded with the Linspire operating system and the office suite."

Via Google News. I also ran across an ad in this morning's Boston Globe for a Compaq desktop -- AMD, 256 meg RAM, Windows XP Home, modem, network card, etc. (but no monitor) for less than $200 after rebate.

The New York Times > Magazine > Phenomenon: Your Blog or Mine?

The New York Times > Magazine > Phenomenon: Your Blog or Mine?: "As Web logs proliferate -- Technorati, which tracks 5 million blogs, estimates that 15,000 are added each day -- the boundaries between public and private are being transformed. Unconstrained by journalistic conventions, bloggers are blurring the lines between public events and ordinary social interactions and changing the way we date, work, teach and live. And as blogs continue to proliferate, citizens will have to develop new understandings about what parts of our lives are on and off the record."

Some scary etiquette and judgement issues.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Playboy's free come-on turns iPod into iBod | CNET

Playboy's free come-on turns iPod into iBod | CNET "Playboy is offering its own special brand of holiday cheer to iPod Photo owners--free soft porn.
The adult entertainment icon has posted a download called 'iBod' on its Web site that delivers pictures for viewing on Apple Computer's new iPod photo device."

PBS | I, Cringely: Between an xBox and a Hard Place

PBS | I, Cringely: Between an xBox and a Hard Place: "With its continual need for more revenue, Microsoft will by then have already finished its destruction of the world software market, will have sucked all the profit out of the world hardware market, and will discard its hardware OEMs like HP and Dell and compete with them head-to-head. And they'll be doing the same for DVDs, TVs -- even mobile phones. Of course, part of the plan is for all the content coming to those devices to throw off little revenue streams to Microsoft, too. And the software that holds it all together will be rented, rather than owned or even traditionally licensed. This would give Microsoft both the deterministic revenue stream it covets and the leverage of being able to threaten to turn off the tap and thereby maintain control over, well, all of us. It will be an effective five to 10 percent tax on global income that suddenly appears one day, and academics will call it a natural monopoly.
Fortunately -- and I can assure you I never thought I would ever in my life be writing this -- IBM may save the day.
By maintaining independence from Microsoft and actually making Microsoft dependent on it, IBM can have some influence on this diabolical scheme. They could foster alternate standards and, by doing so, make a good living. Let's just hope the two companies don't decide to simply share the booty and jointly enslave us, couches, potatoes, and all." - Real Time: The Second Coming of Apple - Real Time: The Second Coming of Apple: "Apple Computer has been reborn -- and now it's on the verge of a renaissance.
Yes, we know Apple's share of the PC market remains little more than a rounding error: According to market-research company International Data Corp., its share of PC shipments hovers around 2% in both the home and commercial sectors, with more than half the commercial numbers coming from educational sales. But we see a confluence of events that we think will substantially change some of those numbers, ushering in an Apple tidal wave that will remake the home PC landscape.
Still, iPods and wireless networking are on the periphery of digital entertainment, whose center remains the Windows-dominated PC. Apple's operating system and machines are generally hailed as superior to their Windows counterparts, but much as it'll pain the Appletistas to hear it (again), that superiority isn't enough to cause enough people to switch camps. For things to truly change, there has to be a fundamental and widely perceived problem with Windows, one that goes beyond geekspeak about operating systems.
Guess what? There is such a problem. In fact, it's the biggest issue in tech today: the drumbeat of viruses, spyware and other maladies that plague Windows and are practically nonexistent in the Apple world. It's true that this perceived immunity is partially a reflection of Apple's small market share, but that won't matter to consumers tired of computing anxiety and pain." / News / Nation / Computer, microphone, iPod make broadcasting personal / News / Nation / Computer, microphone, iPod make broadcasting personal: "If Internet-based weblogs turned everyone into a potential newspaper columnist, and digital cameras let them become photojournalists, podcasting is promising to let everyone with a microphone and a computer become a radio commentator.
A key factor driving the blossoming trend is the booming sales of Apple's iPod music devices. Financial analysts expect Apple to sell more than 4 million units during the three months ending with Christmas, double the rate of sales just three months earlier."

Page 1 in today's Boston Globe

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Wired News: Inside the Mac Revolution

Wired News: Inside the Mac Revolution: "Now Hertzfeld has turned his tales of how the Mac was made into a gorgeously illustrated and highly readable coffee table book, Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made, published by O'Reilly.
Hertzfeld: I've given the book maybe to nine original Mac team members and it's been generally very positive. The only real negative reaction I've gotten is (from) Jef Raskin. Jef's recollection from what happened is just different from everybody else's and my book doesn't give his version of things. In Jef's version of things, Jef designed everything, but he just didn't. My book confronts that. I think he wishes my book didn't exist."

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: The Fox Is in Microsoft's Henhouse (and Salivating)

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: The Fox Is in Microsoft's Henhouse (and Salivating): "How fitting that Microsoft finds itself in this predicament. In late 1995, at a time when Netscape Navigator was synonymous with the Web and Internet Explorer had yet to attract many adopters, Microsoft made a risky but strategically wise decision to redesign the Internet Explorer code from the bottom up - re-architecting, in industry jargon. As Michael A. Cusumano of M.I.T. and David B. Yoffie of Harvard chronicled in their 1998 book, 'Competing on Internet Time: Lessons From Netscape and Its Battle With Microsoft,' that decision meant delaying the release of Internet Explorer 3.0, but the resulting product was technically far superior to Netscape's Navigator. In Browser Wars I, the better browser won.
Today, it's the Internet Explorer code that is long overdue for a top-to-bottom redesign, one that would treat security as integral, and Firefox is the challenger with new, clean code. Netscape bequeathed its software to the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which used an open-source approach to undertake a complete rewrite that took three years. Firefox is built upon the Mozilla base."

Lots of similar articles these days; nearly all conveniently ignore the fact that Netscape/Mozilla was basically out of the market for most of the last decade.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Who's Afraid of China?

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Who's Afraid of China?: "No other major computer maker produces computers in the United States. Long ago, Dell's top rival, Hewlett-Packard, outsourced assembly of its PC's to third parties, primarily based in Asia, as did I.B.M., the world's third-largest PC maker. And I.B.M., which created the PC market in 1981, is leaving the business, announcing this month that it is selling its PC unit to Lenovo, the Chinese computer giant. 'It's been a long time since one of our competitors actually made a computer,' said Michael S. Dell, the founder and chairman of the company that bears his name.
Dell, by contrast, operates three giant assembly plants in the United States - two in Austin and the third outside Nashville. Each is large enough to house six contiguous football fields. Last month, the company announced that it would build a fourth plant, twice as big as the others, near Winston-Salem, N.C. And, inside the company, executives talk about opening a fifth one, probably in Nevada, where it would build computers according to each customer's specifications. At a White House conference on the economy on Wednesday, Kevin D. Rollins, Dell's chief executive, boasted, not quite accurately, that all the computers the company sells domestically are made right here in the United States. 'None is outsourced; none is made in other countries and shipped in,' he said, though Dell laptops are in fact assembled overseas."

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - Microsoft Buys Antispyware Firm - Microsoft Buys Antispyware Firm: "Microsoft Corp. acquired an antispyware software company in a move that will provide Windows operating-system users new technology to block spyware on their personal computers.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant said Thursday it bought closely held Giant Company Software Inc., a New York-based maker of antispyware and Internet security software. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed."

I'm glad to see Microsoft getting more focused on this problem, as someone who provides support for a lot of friends and family...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Microsoft Office Assistance: InfoPath or Word: Choose the best tool for the job

Microsoft Office Assistance: InfoPath or Word: Choose the best tool for the job: "You know that you can create documents in Word, including simple forms that others can fill out. Now you can also create electronic forms in InfoPath. How do you decide which program to use?
The answer depends on what you're trying to do. Although it's true that you can use Word to create a document that looks and feels like a form, Word works best as a word-processing program, not a form-designing program.
Conversely, InfoPath was created specifically for designing and filling out electronic forms. Moreover, with InfoPath, you can easily reuse the data collected in a form elsewhere within your team, company, or organization."

I'm just guessing this was written by somebody on the InfoPath team (2 paragraphs for Word versus extensive InfoPath detail)...

GaryDev: Notes Smart Tags

GaryDev: Notes Smart Tags: "Finnally I tried the Smart Tags that come with Notes 7 and they are cool. Zero code. Just install Notes 7 and they work. You may need to turn on Smart Tags in the applications that will consume them. In my case I did nothing. In the examle below, I opened Outlook, typed 'Gary' and the Smart Tag icon appeared. 'Gary' is a person in my address book. The icon's pull down menu has many options. When I pick one, Notes is loaded and the operation is performed in Notes."

Very smart move on IBM's part - The Mossberg Solution: Making the Most Of Season's Big Gift: Our iPod User's Guide - The Mossberg Solution: "Can my iPod play songs I buy from other online stores?
Not directly. Most online stores, including Apple's, use special copy-protected variants of standard music formats. The only one of these copy-protected formats the iPod can play is the one used by Apple's iTunes store. Songs that are sold from other music stores, like Musicmatch or Napster, are in a different copy-protected format.
But if you do have some songs from an incompatible store, there is a workaround that can get them onto your iPod. First, using the software that works with the other store -- like Windows Media Player or Musicmatch -- copy, or 'burn,' the songs in question to a standard audio CD. Then, take the CD, re-insert it into your computer, and launch iTunes. Use iTunes to copy, or 'rip,' the songs into MP3 files. These files are then incorporated into the iTunes library."

Walt Mossberg (unusually) uncritically explains how to work around Apple's strong-arm tactics

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: RealNetworks says iPod bars its tunes

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: RealNetworks says iPod bars its tunes: "RealNetworks, which sells songs over the Web, said Apple Computer has altered the software for some of its market-leading iPod digital music players so that songs purchased from RealNetworks won't play.
The changes affect the new iPod Photo, RealNetworks spokesman Matt Graves said in an interview yesterday.
"It is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods" because of software updates, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in a statement. She declined to comment further."

Well, at least Apple isn't (yet) dictating the types of music you're allowed to listen to, as well as insisting on being the sole supplier...

The New York Times > Technology > Software Sector Finally Enters a Merger Phase

The New York Times > Technology > Software Sector Finally Enters a Merger Phase: "The new rules of survival in the corporate software business, according to Lawrence J. Ellison, founder and chief executive of Oracle, mean that companies must be able to steadily improve their products and lower costs.
'The only way to do that is get bigger and sell more software,' Mr. Ellison said in an interview on Monday. 'Size matters in software and so does scale.'
The consolidation trend could well have a ways to run. In a new book, 'The Business of Software,' Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, writes that there are probably 'too many software companies in the world by a factor of three or more.'"

Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE: "WinFS is effectively dead"

Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE: "WinFS is effectively dead" "Now, Microsoft has nixed even that reduced expectation. The company revealed Friday that WinFS wouldn't ship in Longhorn Server either and will likely not appear until 2011 (yes, you read that date right) when the Blackcomb version of Windows Server ships. That means that WinFS
is effectively dead, and the storage status quo will continue for
several more years, with NTFS providing basic file-system needs until Longhorn Server ships--adding transactional capabilities to the file system and registry. Users seeking to gain the benefits of Longhorn's once-touted file-search capabilities should look into the free MSN Toolbar Suite, which Microsoft released in beta form yesterday...; it's surprisingly full-featured and delivers many of the promises of Longhorn search."

I'm not seeing the latest issue of the email newsletter on the Windows IT Pro site yet -- the paragraph above is from the latest email newsletter -- but if this is accurate -- WinFS in 2011 -- I expect we'll soon see news about the Office and SharePoint teams planning to deliver an interim solution for off-line storage/sync.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

BusinessWeekOnline: Larry Ellison Savors His Victory

BusinessWeekOnline: Larry Ellison Savors His Victory: "Q: How do you see Microsoft emerging as a competitor?
A: They're going to come at us from the bottom up. They'll be very aggressive, and they have a lot of endurance. The name of the game when you're entering a software market is endurance. It takes a lot of time to get it right. We're going after their Exchange business with our Collaboration Suite. It takes several releases before you get the product right, and then you have to get your early adopters up and running. It takes a long time to enter a market where there's a strong provider.

We have the financial clout and the technical talent to stick it out. Microsoft clearly does as well. They'll be around. They'll be successful in the applications business. "

Microsoft Notebook: MSN search engine has foot in door

Microsoft Notebook: MSN search engine has foot in door: "A seemingly innocuous box on the screen inside the latest MSN instant-messaging program provides a clue to Microsoft's broader strategy in the search business.
Microsoft announced a preview version of its new MSN Desktop Search program this morning
The rectangular box, embedded in a preview version of the company's MSN Messenger 7.0, is a search field. Users will be able to launch Internet searches directly from that field, automatically opening a Web browser to display the relevant results on an Internet search site.
And as you've probably guessed, the search site it uses is not Google.
MSN Messenger alone boasts 145 million users around the world. But the addition of the search box to the instant-messaging program looks to be only the start."

Microsoft Updates Windows Server Roadmap: No WinFS for You

Microsoft Updates Windows Server Roadmap: No WinFS for You: "At the earliest, WinFS will ship as part of Longhorn Release 2 (R2), the client-side follow-up to Longhorn that Microsoft plans to release in 2008. WinFS is arguably more important to the server than the client, however, and Longhorn Server R2 isn't due until 2009. The next major Windows Server release after that, code-named Blackcomb, is scheduled for a 2011 release.
Bristling at criticism that Longhorn can now more accurately be called Shorthorn because of the many features that Microsoft has culled from the release or has made available to the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP products, Microsoft executives note that they haven't yet discussed many of Longhorn's features. Longhorn, they say, will still be a revolutionary release, with features such as a fresh UI, great roaming support, Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, new browsing capabilities, improved migration and deployment functionality, integrated antimalware technology, and a new digital photo experience."

I'm still waiting for that WinFS "clarification..."

The New York Times > Technology > Oracle to Acquire PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion, Ending Bitter Fight

The New York Times > Technology > Oracle to Acquire PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion, Ending Bitter Fight: "By acquiring PeopleSoft, Oracle hopes to move closer to becoming the Microsoft of corporate data centers.
Just as Microsoft has expanded its dominant position in desktop computing by offering word processing and spreadsheet programs that run on its Windows operating system, so Oracle hopes to add layers of software that are tied to its mainstay product, the Oracle database systems.
'Look at Microsoft's strategy - we're not that different,' Mr. Ellison said in an interview yesterday. 'We're trying to do the same thing in the enterprise market that Microsoft has done on the desktop.'"

Monday, December 13, 2004

MSNBC - The Alpha Bloggers

MSNBC - The Alpha Bloggers "The lesson is that there's a new force—spearheaded by people who work for no bosses and whose prose never sees an editor's pencil—that provides the water-cooler fodder for the larger high-tech community. Its power extends not only to high-tech cool-hunting but also to what's politically correct, geek style. (Open source... gooood. Onerous copy protection... eeeevil.) And the significance of this phenomenon has some important implications for the way opinions will be formed in the decentralized world of Internet media."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft desktop-search announcement due

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft desktop-search announcement due: "Microsoft's MSN division is expected to announce a test version of its long-awaited desktop-search software this morning in a conference call with reporters.
The division has said it will debut the software, designed to quickly search through files in a computer, by the end of 2004."

The New York Times > Business > E-Commerce Report: Some Online Sites Falter During the Holiday Rush

The New York Times > Business > E-Commerce Report: Some Online Sites Falter During the Holiday Rush: "Mr. Anderson clicked to Amazon during the Thanksgiving weekend to buy books, CD's and electronics for family members and friends. But when he tried to use the site's one-click checkout system, which relies on stored information to complete the transaction, the site returned error messages repeatedly, sometimes accompanied by a picture of a Corgi dog.
'That little doggie was basically saying, 'We've completely lost track of what you're doing here, start again,' ' Mr. Anderson said. 'Bad dog.'" - Oracle Signs Definitive Merger Pact To Buy PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion - Oracle Signs Definitive Merger Pact To Buy PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion: "After more than a year of legal wrangling, PeopleSoft Inc. agreed to be acquired by Oracle Corp. for $26.50 a share, or about $10.3 billion.
The agreement, which comes 18 months after Oracle launched its hostile-takeover bid for Pleasanton-based PeopleSoft, represents a $2.50 boost in Oracle's last offering price. The deal has the approval of the boards of both companies and should close by early January."

A very significant event, even if it has been something of a soap opera en route.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

JBoss aims high with Enterprise Middleware System - Computerworld

JBoss aims high with Enterprise Middleware System - Computerworld: "Open-source vendor JBoss Inc. on Monday plans to formally announce a stack of middleware software designed to make it more competitive with the sophisticated products sold by companies like IBM, BEA Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp.
The JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS) includes a number of open-source projects the company plans to integrate into a single software offering. JEMS, which can already be found on the Web site, includes the JBoss application server, development environment, portal software and business process management engine. It also includes the Apache Software Foundation's Tomcat servlet engine."

JBoss is a fascinating company -- it's the disruptor in the J2EE space, and I expect its influence will expand far beyond J2EE over the next few years.

New file system has long road to Windows | CNET

New file system has long road to Windows | CNET "Microsoft's long-awaited new Windows file system is still a work in progress.
Although Microsoft hopes to ship a test version of WinFS in late 2006, it could be several more years before the revamped storage mechanism finds its way into Windows Server.
The software maker has already decided that WinFS will ship separately from Longhorn, the new desktop version of Windows that is due in 2006. On Friday, Windows Server Chief Bob Muglia said that WinFS will also not be a part of the server version of Longhorn that ships in 2007.
'WinFS in not in the Longhorn client,' he said in an interview. 'It is also not in Longhorn Server.'
It is not even clear if Microsoft will include it with the Longhorn update that is scheduled to follow a couple of years later.
"We've been working on this for a long time, and this team is going to deliver," he said. "Our mistake, frankly--and it was a mistake--was to go out and talk about it before we really had clarity as to how we would be able to deliver it and all the complexities there."
He stressed that Microsoft is trying to do things with WinFS that no one has ever done before.
"This isn't a relational database," he said. "This is a brand-new data model, and it satisfies a whole class of applications that frankly have been unsatisfied from a data model perspective since the beginning of history. We've been working on things like this for a long time." "

I suspect we'll be seeing a "clarification" on this subject soon... Bob Muglia might also want to check out the Notes Storage Facility (NSF) engine sometime, in terms of relevant advances "... since the beginning of history."

Friday, December 10, 2004 | 12/09/2004 | Dan Gillmor leaving Mercury News | 12/09/2004 | Dan Gillmor leaving Mercury News: "Dan Gillmor, longtime technology columnist for the Mercury News, said Thursday that he will be leaving the paper at the end of this month.
Gillmor, an advocate for grassroots journalism, will be working on a start-up venture that aims to make it easier for the public to report and publish on the Internet.
``Something powerful is happening, it's in the early stages and I have a chance to help figure this out,'' Gillmor said. ``I hate the idea of leaving. But I'd hate not trying this even more.''"

The New York Times > Technology > Cellphones Aloft: The Inevitable Is Closer

The New York Times > Technology > Cellphones Aloft: The Inevitable Is Closer: "Federal regulators plan next week to begin considering rules that would end the official ban on cellphone use on commercial flights. Technical challenges and safety questions remain. But if the ban is lifted, one of the last cocoons of relative social silence would disappear, forcing strangers to work out the rough etiquette of involuntary eavesdropping in a confined space.
'For some people, the idea of being able to pick up their phone is going to be liberating; for some it's going to drive them crazy,' said Addison Schonland, a travel industry consultant at the Innovation Analysis Group in La Jolla, Calif. 'Can you imagine 200 people having a conversation at once? There's going to be a big market for noise-canceling headphones.'" - How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up. [David Gelernter] - How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up. [David Gelernter]: "IBM's move speaks loudly about personal computer technology. So far as IBM can figure, PCs have reached a plateau. IBM can't think of any practical way to sell its PCs for significantly more money than other companies charge. And IBM is no random group of bums off the street. Once upon a time it was the most powerful force in the technology world; it still employs some of the smartest people in the field. If IBM has consigned the personal computer to Commodity Limbo, the prognosis is bad. Which is a shame, even a tragedy -- because the modern PC is in fact a primitive, infuriating nuisance. If the U.S. technology industry actually believes that the PC has grown up and settled down, it is out of touch with reality -- and the consequences could be dangerous to America's economic health.
PCs are roughly a quarter-century old. People who think of them as mature commodities might have thought the same thing about television in the 1970s -- when TV was in fact on the brink of all sorts of revolutions. The airplane was 25 years old in the late 1920s; luckily, airplane companies kept inventing, developing and selling new types. The automobile turned a quarter-century old in the early '20s -- and Henry Ford did consign it to Commodity Limbo. He figured that the Model T was grown-up, settled-down, fully-evolved. He almost wrecked his business, but finally got the message and produced the Model A and a long line of subsequent new designs. Obviously there are big differences between the PC and these other technologies. But there is also a big similarity: all were (or are) destined to take a lot longer than 25 years to reach maturity."

Via Dave Winer - Yahoo to Release Desktop-Search Software - Yahoo to Release Desktop-Search Software: "Yahoo Inc. said it will release software next month for searching the content of computer hard drives using technology licensed from X1 Technologies Inc.
Yahoo's free software will be the latest entrant in the market for so-called desktop-search software, which allows computer users to search for documents and e-mails inside their own machines much as they search the Web. Yahoo rival Google Inc. released its own desktop-search software in October. Microsoft Corp. has said it will have a version available soon. The companies see desktop search as a way to boost their Web search and other online businesses and address common consumer complaints about the difficulty of finding files on PCs."

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Burton Group Careers -- opening for Analyst - APS

Burton Group Careers -- opening for Analyst - APS Burton Group has an opening in its Application Platform Strategies service (the group I work in); if you're interested, please check out the job description.

Wired News: Laptops a Hot Fertility Issue

Wired News: Laptops a Hot Fertility Issue: "Men who regularly balance their laptop computers on their laps when working may be jeopardizing their ability to have children, according to a new study from fertility researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook."

(I'm not making this up...)

InfoWorld: Oracle again delays Collaboration Suite update

InfoWorld: Oracle again delays Collaboration Suite update: "Oracle has postponed delivery of a major update to its Collaboration Suite until mid-2005. The update will add instant messaging and voice-over-IP capabilities, and offer content management features, the company said Wednesday.
"We delayed it a little so we can have a robust content management offering as part of Collaboration Suite 10g," said Rob Koplowitz, a senior director of product marketing at Oracle. "What overwhelmed us was this immense demand for content management functionality."
In Collaboration Suite 10g, Oracle also offers a new Web-based client, improved support for wireless devices and the ability to integrate collaboration into an enterprise portal, among other enhancements, the company said.
Oracle launched its offensive against Microsoft and IBM in September 2002 with the first release of Collaboration Suite. The product was updated in June 2003 to include Web conferencing.
Oracle said last year that it sold Collaboration Suite to 500 customers in the 12-month period until May 31, 2003. In the six months after that it added another 250 customers for a total of 750 as of Nov. 30, 2003. The Redwood Shores, California-based vendor on Wednesday said it now has almost 2,300 Collaboration Suite customers."

CRN | Breaking News | Ellison Stakes Claim To More Of The Software Stack

CRN | Breaking News | Ellison Stakes Claim To More Of The Software Stack: "One reason Oracle is building Automatic Storage Management (ASM) into its upcoming 10g database upgrade is that Veritas storage management is 'very expensive,' he told reporters after his Oracle OpenWorld keynote in San Francisco.
'If people feel they need to use Veritas with Oracle, that raises the price of Oracle and it's not integrated with Oracle ... [ASM] will be a key feature that lets us sell to SMEs,' Ellison said, referring to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
"I don't want to pick on Veritas, but we can't compete with Microsoft [without ASM]," he noted."

Vonage goes to the video | CNET

Vonage goes to the video | CNET "Internet phone service provider Vonage will sell videophones and a videophone service sometime before the end of March, its chief executive said Wednesday, stamping an important imprimatur on a market once derided by comparisons to the futuristic TV cartoon 'The Jetsons.'
Vonage has partnered with broadband video equipment maker Viseon to develop the videophone. Vonage will release a videophone that resembles the VisiFone II, a phone developed by broadband video equipment maker Viseon. The VisiFone II debuts in January."

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Libraries Reach Out, Online

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Libraries Reach Out, Online: "The newest books in the New York Public Library don't take up any shelf space.
They are electronic books - 3,000 titles' worth - and the library's 1.8 million cardholders can point and click through the collection at www, choosing from among best sellers, nonfiction, romance novels and self-help guides. Patrons borrow them for set periods, downloading them for reading on a computer, a hand-held organizer or other device using free reader software. When they are due, the files are automatically locked out - no matter what hardware they are on - and returned to circulation, eliminating late fees."

Redmond | Redmond Report Article: Cut From Longhorn, WinFS Is in Peril

Redmond | Redmond Report Article: Cut From Longhorn, WinFS Is in Peril: "The Windows Future Storage (WinFS) technology that got cut out of Windows 'Longhorn' is in serious trouble, and not just the hot water a feature might encounter for missing its intended production vehicle.
WinFS faces a much greater threat. It's entering that resource allocation limbo that a Microsoft technology encounters when it's no longer on the priority list for the next major rev of Windows."

Somehow I suspect the conventional wisdom doesn't apply in this instance, since WinFS is one of Bill Gates' highest priorities.

New Network Services: Microsoft Xbox Live Traffic Quadruples Following Halo-2 Launch

New Network Services: Microsoft Xbox Live Traffic Quadruples Following Halo-2 Launch : "Microsoft Xbox Live traffic on service provider networks quadrupled following the November 9th launch of Halo-II -- which set entertainment industry records by selling 2.4-million units in the U.S. and Canada on the first day of availability, driving cash register receipts to the $125-million mark. A new study by broadband traffic measurement specialist Sandvine Incorporated shows that these traffic levels are continuing, raising QoS concerns for service providers eager to keep gamers."

Via Watching Microsoft Like a Hawk - Personal Technology: Security Issues Plague Windows-Based PCs, Impairing Ease of Use - Personal Technology: Security Issues Plague Windows-Based PCs, Impairing Ease of Use: "Thirteen years ago, this column was launched with the opening sentence: 'Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it's not your fault.' Since then, I have periodically stepped back to look at the progress of the technology industry in making computers easier to use.
Obviously, we've come a long way since 1991. Personal computers, software and peripherals are much more stable and far simpler to operate. New products, like digital cameras, PDAs and music players, have come along as welcome additions, often integrating with computers.
But for the vast part of the public whose computers aren't bought and deployed by corporate computer departments, things have gotten much worse lately. For these consumers and small businesses, the burden of using personal computers has grown dramatically heavier in the past couple of years because of the plague of viruses, spyware and other security problems that now afflict the dominant Windows platform."

To paraphrase the rest of the article:
Microsoft = bad
Apple = good
Walt Mossberg = increasingly predictable...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Michael Dell: IBM deal a dud | CNET

Michael Dell: IBM deal a dud | CNET "'We're not big fans of the idea of taking companies and smashing them together,' Dell said. 'When was the last time you saw a successful acquisition or merger in the computer industry? It hasn't happened in a long, long time...I don't see this one as being all that different.'
Dell also said his company is not interested in buying IBM's PC unit. Dell has only made a few acquisitions in its 20-year history. They have all been relatively small. The company's largest and first acquisition, ConvergeNet, helped get Dell into the storage market, but it didn't work out, and Dell dissolved the unit a few months later.
'We like to acquire our customers one customer at a time. We see organic growth as the more sustainable and healthy way,' he said."

Dell also reduced business PC prices by up to 22% yesterday...

The New York Times > Technology > Sale of I.B.M. PC Unit Is a Bridge Between Companies and Cultures

The New York Times > Technology > Sale of I.B.M. PC Unit Is a Bridge Between Companies and Cultures: "The transaction - The Times reported late last week that I.B.M. had put its PC business up for sale - points to the rising global aspirations of corporate China as it strives to become a trusted supplier to Western companies and consumers. The sale also signals a recognition by I.B.M., the prototypical American multinational, that its own future lies even farther up the economic ladder, in technology services and consulting, in software and in the larger computers that power corporate networks and the Internet. All are businesses far more profitable for I.B.M. than its personal computer unit.
But the move signals an acknowledgment by I.B.M. that its future in China may be best served by a close partnership with a local market leader - particularly one, as in Lenovo's case, that is partly owned by the Chinese government. The chief executive of Lenovo will be Stephen M. Ward Jr., currently an I.B.M. senior vice president in charge of the PC business. Lenovo's current chief and president, Yang Yuanqing, will become Lenovo's chairman." - PeopleSoft Says Oracle Can Pay Above $31/Shr For Co - PeopleSoft Says Oracle Can Pay Above $31/Shr For Co: "PeopleSoft Inc. (PSFT) made the case in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that Oracle Corp. (ORCL) could pay more than $31 a share to acquire PeopleSoft.
Oracle has offered $24 a share for PeopleSoft in a hostile takeover bid. In Tuesday's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, PeopleSoft offered an investor presentation that argued the company is worth substantially more."

The posturing continues... - H-P's CEO Says Directors Rejected Three Breakups - H-P's CEO Says Directors Rejected Three Breakups: "The board of Hewlett-Packard Co. three times has discussed breaking up the company but decided to keep it intact, Chief Executive Carly Fiorina said yesterday -- a strategy that increasingly sets it apart from the rest of the computer industry."

Only a matter of time, at current HP course and speed... - IBM Strikes Deal With Rival Lenovo - IBM Strikes Deal With Rival Lenovo: "In a message to employees, IBM Chairman Samuel Palmisano, who once headed the PC business, said the decision to sell was part of IBM's continuing effort to focus on making products for large government and industry customers. He wrote: 'The PC business is rapidly taking on characteristics of the home and consumer electronics industry, which favors economies of scale, pricing power and a focus on individual users and buyers.'"

With the implication being that these are attributes of markets in which IBM elects to not compete?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ed Brill: It was 20 years ago today...

Ed Brill: It was 20 years ago today...: "The last few years have seen the maturing of that market, though impressively, there are still thousands of companies installing their first Domino servers this year. Ray and the other Iris founders have moved on to other inventions and innovations. Still, despite what seems like almost annual pronouncements of its death, Notes not only lives on -- but with the seventh version now in beta, and concrete evolution plans for the future, it seems certain that Notes will remain a key part of the corporate software landscape -- perhaps for the next 15 or 20 years."

More Lotus Notes anniversary insights. A few minor issues, though, Ed:
1. Lotus 1-2-3 circa 1990 was broken in many ways, but it was reasonable to build for OS/2 before Windows, given the state of the market at that time; the success of Windows 3.0 took the market by surprise, and it's important to remember that Microsoft didn't go from OS/2 co-creator/advocate to OS/2 competitor until rather late in the game. If Lotus had ported the OS/2 version of 1-2-3 to Windows, rather than compromising and doing a Frankenstein-ish hybrid DOS/Windows release for the first release of 1-2-3 for Windows, it could have been a very different story. 1-2-3 for OS/2 was a great product that later served as the engine for Improv as well, but Lotus quite reasonably didn't continue investing in it as OS/2 failed.
2. Lotus can't be faulted for the timing of AT&T Network Notes -- few could have predicted, during the early 1990s, that the commercial market would instead gleefully adopt early Internet-based alternatives that offered relatively limited security and features. Indeed, one could argue that the advent of the read-mostly commercial Web was in many respects a multi-year set-back for collaborative applications.
3. Internet influences appeared in Notes long before R5 -- which wasn't, for the record, a Ray Ozzie-led release. The Dennis Leary ads were pretty cool, however...

Anyways, thanks for sharing your insights and experiences, as always, and best wishes for the next decade or two with Lotus Notes.

Blogger's metamorphosis

Blogger's metamorphosis Argh -- Blogger has destablized a bit lately. I've had trouble posting during the last couple days, for example, and have noticed that the error messages are all now about Apache and Java instead of Microsoft SQL Server, as they were in the good old days when Blogger was running on a server in Evan Williams' kitchen.

I'm hopeful the gang at Google now responsible for Blogger (Evan Williams recently left the company) will eventually stablize and expand Blogger, but for the moment it's one day at a time...

The New York Times > Technology > Clinton Calls Appearance a Speech, Not a Pitch

The New York Times > Technology > Clinton Calls Appearance a Speech, Not a Pitch: "It may not have been the same as Bob Dole pitching Viagra, but Bill Clinton gave a speech yesterday that helped draw attention to a new product.
Mr. Clinton appeared last night at Tavern on the Green in New York as part of the introduction of an Internet search engine called Accoona. He spoke for about 10 minutes about the Internet and public policy.
Perhaps the company's most significant investor is the Chinese government-controlled China Daily Information Company, which will put the Accoona search engine on both its Chinese and English Web sites.
The site's name is derived from the song "Hakuna Matata" from the Walt Disney movie "The Lion King." The song's name is a Swahili phrase that means "no worries.""

Perhaps "no worries" for the Chinese government; I'd like to see Accoona's filtering policy.

IT Conversations: The Gillmor Gang with Ray Ozzie and Peter O'Kelly

IT Conversations: The Gillmor Gang with Ray Ozzie and Peter O'Kelly: "Happy Birthday Lotus Notes! You're twenty years old today. Well, 20 years from announcement and 15 from the launch of Release 1. In any case, Lotus Notes has left a permanent mark on the history of collaboration software. On this special occasion, The Gang is joined by Notes creator Ray Ozzie (who went on to found Groove Networks in October 1997) and a member of the early Notes team, Peter O'Kelly, now an analyst with Burton Group.
Lotus Notes was arguably the first groupware product, and Ray explains why the company had such a difficult time explaining what it was. That tide turned when Notes was adopted by VARs who created the vertical applications that have made the product so successful. To this day Notes is respected for its rapid-application development (RAD) architecture and its ability to just deploy the prototype.
The discussion goes well beyond Lotus Notes, as Ray and Peter give their big-picture perspectives on collaboration, client/server architectures, and the bifurcation of technology adoption: the difference between deployment within and outside the enterprise."

A fun trip down memory lane...

The New York Times > Books > A Library and Cinema in Your Pocket

The New York Times > Books > A Library and Cinema in Your Pocket: "One day before too long, when your mobile telephone sounds, it could be a novel calling to recount how the headstrong heroine dumped the handsome heartbreaker. Or it might be a guidebook surfacing at a critical moment in a crowded bar to provide you with pickup lines in Spanish, French or German.
The increasing power of cellphones is fast shaping innovative forms of compact culture: micro-lit, phone soap operas and made-for-mobile dramas that can be absorbed in less time than it takes to flick through a book introduction.
Almost two-thirds of the 62 million cellphones shipped in Europe in the last quarter were camera phones with color screens, according to Canalys, a technology consulting and research firm based in London. Only 3 percent of phones sold in Europe last year were smart phones, but Canalys expects that number to pick up substantially next quarter." - Political Capital - Political Capital: "Think of it as Washington's version of a fairy tale.
Ed Black, the head of a struggling computer trade group, spent a decade on a quixotic quest to slay mighty Microsoft for its antitrust abuses. 'A rapacious monopoly,' he called it. The company's behavior is 'consistently, constantly illegal.' It 'steamrollers companies' and 'crushes the few who will not bend to their will.' When the government settled its antitrust case against Microsoft in 2001, Mr. Black said it was 'selling out consumers, competition, and all those who want a vibrant, innovative high-tech industry contributing strength to our economy.'
Well ... never mind. Microsoft is still every bit the monopolist it was a decade ago. But Mr. Black is a changed man. He will personally pocket millions of dollars as part of a nearly $25 million settlement he negotiated between Microsoft and his trade group, the Computer and Communications Industry Association. In return, he will abandon his antitrust efforts against the company.
It's as if Ralph Nader had been bought off by General Motors. And everybody ends up happy.
So silence is settling over a technology-age battlefield. Once upon a time, companies' complaints offered assurance Microsoft still faced competition. Today's calm suggests the opposite: Competitors have given up the fight. That means now may be the time to start worrying whether consumers stand to suffer from less competition and less innovation."