Wednesday, November 30, 2005

As Expected, MA Reverses and Joins Up with Microsoft

As Expected, MA Reverses and Joins Up with Microsoft: "Late last week, the state announced that Microsoft's standards body submission had satisfied its demands. '[Massachusetts] is very pleased with Microsoft's progress in creating an open document format,' Massachusetts Administration and Finance Secretary Tom Trimarco wrote in a statement issued last week. 'If Microsoft follows through as planned, we are optimistic that Office Open XML will meet our new standards for acceptable open formats.' Trimarco succeeded open source champion Eric Kriss, who spearheaded the Massachusetts drive towards open source solutions.'"

This shouldn't surprise anyone.

The Mossberg Solution -- A New Gold Standard for PCs

The Mossberg Solution -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.: "The combination of the new, improved hardware, plus Front Row, makes the iMac G5 the best consumer desktop you can buy this holiday season, period. For mainstream consumers doing typical tasks -- Web surfing, email, office productivity, photos, music, home videos, etc. -- it's the finest desktop PC on the market, at any price. Hard-core game players, stock-market day traders, serious video producers and some other niche users should look for other computers. But, for most people, the new iMac G5 is the best choice." - Microsoft to Offer Free Trial Of Computer-Security Service - Microsoft to Offer Free Trial Of Computer-Security Service: "The Redmond, Wash., company today made its Windows OneCare Live 'computer-health' service available free in a test designed to see how well it works for potentially millions of consumers. Microsoft plans to charge a monthly subscription fee once the service is formally launched next year. (Visit the Windows OneCare site.)
The Internet service brings together antivirus, firewall, backup-and-recovery and PC-maintenance software under an umbrella service. Microsoft sees OneCare as a way to assuage frustrated customers, who have been overrun with viruses and other malicious programs, and to enter the fast-growing security-software market against rivals Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc."

Will Sleepycat Save MySQL?

Will Sleepycat Save MySQL? "What MySQL is likely up to should be fairly obvious to anybody with knowledge of database history, however. To wit: It's extremely likely that they're hard at work with Sleepycat to cook up a storage engine to replace InnoDB. Unless technical or business issues arise, there's a good chance we'll see an announcement early next year.
"If I were the MySQL guys, I would be terrified that that engine was owned by somebody like Oracle," said Mike Stonebraker, father of Ingres and PostgreSQL and, more recently, founder and chief technology officer of newly launched StreamBase.
"My terror would be that they would ignore it and simply put it on the shelf, or, worse yet, start charging high license fees for it. It seems like there's only downside," Stonebraker said. "If I were the MySQL guys I would want to get off that storage engine as quickly as possible.""

Interesting conjecture.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wall Street agog over Google | CNET

Wall Street agog over Google | CNET "Though no analysts will go quite that far, more than a few think Google still has plenty of room to grow. A week ago, for example, UBS Securities analyst Benjamin Schachter raised the firm's price target on Google from $430 to $500, saying in a research report that Google "is a paradigm-changing company, and we believe in its long-term ability to leverage its infrastructure and talent in innovative ways.""

Deja vu...

Music Players and Game Consoles Are Topping Lists - New York Times

Music Players and Game Consoles Are Topping Lists - New York Times "Two of the most-coveted consumer electronics items this holiday season are the Apple iPod music player and the Xbox 360 game console from Microsoft, according to retailers and industry analysts.
That represents a major shift in buying intentions this year.
In 2004, portable MP3 music players did not even make the annual top 10 list of desired gifts compiled by the Consumer Electronics Association. And video game machines were in ninth place.
This year, though, those categories occupy the first and third positions on the list, based on a telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected adults. Digital cameras are second on the most-desired list this season."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Collaboration Loop - Current Causes of Communication & Collaboration Complexity and Chaos

Collaboration Loop - Current Causes of Communication & Collaboration Complexity and Chaos "My previous post included an overview of a new communication/collaboration framework focused on channels for communication, workspaces for collaboration, and contextual communication/collaboration. Today's post summarizes some of the key reasons why the intuitive simplicity of the channels/workspaces/context framework has yet to become mainstream reality (but will soon, as I?ll explain in my next few posts)."

More in my Collaboration Loop series, FYI. - For Some Technology Companies, 'Beta' Becomes a Long-Term Label - For Some Technology Companies, 'Beta' Becomes a Long-Term Label: "King of Beta
Google releases many of its applications to the public with the beta label, and also keeps many of them in beta for a long time. Critics say the format gives Google an excuse to avoid responsibility for any flaws.
Google keeps a product in beta if it has not implemented all the features it wants to add, and 'as long as there are some quality improvements we want to make,' said Marissa Mayer, vice president of product development. Beta also allows Google 'to launch products sooner,' she said.
Google News has been in beta since 2002 because 'there are issues around quality and the ability to find' particular content, said Ms. Mayer. The site, which features headlines and summaries of articles from scores of news organizations, may be revised to include information published on blogs, she said." - TiVo Users Soon Can Search for Ads - TiVo Users Soon Can Search for Ads "The same device that helps TV viewers skip commercials will now be prodding them to search for ads.
TiVo Inc. is partnering with several big ad firms to offer its users a system that lets them search for commercials centered around a specific topic. Expected to launch next spring, the feature comes as Madison Avenue is contemplating a number of ways to reach consumers who use technology to avoid traditional advertising."

The advertiser appeasement act?...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Designer of Supercomputers Leaves Cray to Join Microsoft - New York Times

Designer of Supercomputers Leaves Cray to Join Microsoft - New York Times "Burton Smith, a longtime supercomputer designer and chief scientist at Cray, has resigned to take a position at Microsoft.
Mr. Smith was a founder of Tera Computer, which in 2000 acquired Cray Research from Silicon Graphics. The company, which was based in Seattle, was renamed Cray.
A Microsoft spokesman said Friday that Mr. Smith would work for Craig Mundie, one of Microsoft's chief technology officers and formerly chief executive of Alliant Computer Systems, a maker of an early minisupercomputer."

Friday, November 25, 2005 | Microsoft: Way beyond the PC | Microsoft: Way beyond the PC "Moving into non-PC markets also provides a hedge against any future decline in Microsoft's core Windows and Office franchises?though, despite years of speculation, neither seems to be in any danger of being undermined by open-source alternatives. And in the case of gaming in particular, notes Paul Jackson of Forrester, a consultancy, Microsoft has a chance to rebrand itself as a younger, cooler company. ?It's hedging, it's diversification, it's branding, it's getting off the desktop and into pockets and on to TVs,? he says. (Mr Bach denies that rebranding is part of the rationale for Microsoft's push into gaming, but concedes that ?the effect is absolutely real and is a nice benefit?.)" - Cray Co-Founder Joins Microsoft - Cray Co-Founder Joins Microsoft "Burton Smith, co-founder and chief scientist at supercomputer maker Cray Inc., is leaving the company to join Microsoft Corp.
Mr. Smith, who is also a member of Cray's board, will resign from both the positions Dec. 7, according to a filing by Cray with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In an attachment to the filing, Mr. Smith said he was leaving Cray for "a new and very different opportunity at Microsoft," but didn't say what role he would play there."

Required reading:
The Supermen : The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer

Microsoft Ups the Console Ante - New York Times

Microsoft Ups the Console Ante - New York Times "But lush visuals were expected. There are two surprises that really make the Xbox 360 exciting, and that should deeply trouble Nintendo and Sony, the once-dominant game companies that Microsoft wants to take out like Netscape.
First, the system does a great job of elegantly harnessing the Internet to create what will soon be a global gaming community. Microsoft clearly hopes that the Xbox 360 can become the Friendster or MySpace of gaming, and it has a good chance to succeed. Connected to a cable modem or DSL line, the system even allows users to make free unlimited phone calls to other Xbox owners.
Second, and forgetting about games entirely, the Xbox 360 is the first product to truly deliver on the concept of the easy-to-use living room home-media hub."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of November 28: Windows Leads Server Market

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of November 28: Windows Leads Server Market: "And finally, Microsoft for the first time saw Windows Server lead the new server market, thanks to strong server growth and healthy sales of Windows Server 2003. The worldwide server market grew 8.1 percent in the third quarter of 2005, according to IDC, while server revenues grew 5.6 percent. Sales of servers based on Windows Server accounted for 36.9 percent of all server revenue in the quarter, compared to 31.7 percent for UNIX and 11.5 percent for Linux. According to IDC, Windows Server growth was fueled in part by NT migrations, which are finally starting to happen in volume." - Google's Growth Helps Ignite Silicon Valley Hiring Frenzy - Google's Growth Helps Ignite Silicon Valley Hiring Frenzy "To accomplish its current pace of hiring about 10 new employees a day, Google has assembled a formidable hiring machine. Its recruitment department includes as many as 300 free-lance recruiters who are helping it to identify who's who in software engineering, according to three people involved in the effort.
To locate new talent, Google has held software-code-writing contests. It has plastered billboards with math problems, such as one on U.S. 101 in Silicon Valley that asked drivers to identify "the first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e." It has paid to insert an "aptitude test" into tech magazines, encouraging engineers to submit their answers to 21 questions, along with their r?sum?s. And it has upped the stakes in competing with other companies to draw attention from engineering students, handing out free pizza and raffling off gadgets to boost university recruitment."

On its way to 5,000 employees by year-end...

Game On! - Xbox 360

Game On! - Xbox 360 Sold-out packages at Circuit City -- Premium Xbox 360 packages start at $579.95. If you're in a big rush and are willing to pay a few hundred dollars more, you can always pick one up at eBay...

Xbox 360 is a financial loser -- for now

Xbox 360 is a financial loser -- for now: "Microsoft Corp. loses at least $153 on each Xbox video-game console it sells -- and that's just based on the cost of components and assembly, analysts from iSuppli Corp. said.
Parts such as processors and manufacturing cost $552.27 for every machine that retails at $399, El Segundo, Calif.-based iSuppli said in a statement Wednesday.
Marketing and shipping costs aren't included in the estimates."

State, Microsoft may settle document-storage dispute - The Boston Globe

State, Microsoft may settle document-storage dispute - The Boston Globe "Thomas Trimarco, Massachusetts' secretary of administration and finance, said state officials may approve Microsoft Corp.'s new Open XML format as well the OpenDocument format already approved for reading and storing government documents if the company alters a patent license to address Massachusetts' concerns. Trimarco said he was encouraged by a conversation with Alan Yates, general manager of Microsoft Office, who said the company was altering the license to allow its software to be monitored by an international standards body and work in tandem with other software programs. State and Microsoft officials will continue their talks next week. Microsoft's Office software could be removed from state computers by January 2007 if its new format isn't approved."

(Full article)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Mossberg Solution -- Putting the New Xbox Through Its Paces

The Mossberg Solution -- Putting the New Xbox Through Its Paces '"We've been testing the Xbox 360, with the help of a veteran gamer, and our verdict is that its fluid, movielike graphics make it an outstanding game machine. It also performed like a champ as a multimedia hub.
But the Xbox 360 has some significant downsides that may cause casual gamers to hesitate to buy it right out of the chute. Chief among these are price and backward compatibility with games produced for the first Xbox."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

CRN | 64-Bit Exchange Server | Microsoft Making Exchange 12 64-bit Only Sharply Criticized

CRN | 64-Bit Exchange Server | Microsoft Making Exchange 12 64-bit Only Sharply Criticized: "'Sixty-four bit is definitely coming on, and as people move forward to new systems, they'll buy 64-bit servers,' said Pawlack. 'But we're not there yet. I think upgrades and migrations [to Exchange 12] are going to be very slow.'
Last week, Microsoft announced that Exchange 12 -- which should release sometime in the first half of 2007 -- will be exclusively 64-bit. By Microsoft's account, it made the decision because of the performance gains that 64-bit offered over 32-bit. "

I disagree -- I think it was a reasonable and timely move on Microsoft's part, and I also think they thought through the migration issues. Exchange 12 is a 2007 release -- x64 servers will be the norm by then.

CRN | Mangione, Microsoft | Security Exec Leaves Microsoft

CRN | Mangione, Microsoft | Security Exec Leaves Microsoft: "Mangione, who had been vice president of SQL Server, moved into the high-profile security group in April 2004. There he assumed leadership of security products while Rich Kaplan led marketing. Both reported to Mike Nash, the corporate vice president in charge of the overall Security Business Unit. "

Collaboration Loop - Back to Basics for Communication and Collaboration

Collaboration Loop - Back to Basics for Communication and Collaboration: "Fortunately, consensus is emerging on a new, consistent, simpler, and standards-based framework for communication and collaboration. The new framework is composed of channels for communication and workspaces for collaboration. It also includes tools and services designed to maximize the extent to which people can work in their preferred contexts, enabling them to focus on their real-world activities rather than switching among a collection of distinct tools for different facets of communication and collaboration."

Part 2 in my Collaboration Loop series. - Microsoft's Xbox Reflects New Focus on Hardware - Microsoft's Xbox Reflects New Focus on Hardware: "At the least, the foray represents a broadening of Microsoft's three-decades-old business model. The company became an industry giant by supplying its software to computer makers and letting them handle the messy details of manufacturing. But its growing interest in making its own hardware reflects its eagerness to offer consumers new gadgets that smoothly integrate hardware, software and services." - Diller's IAC, AOL to Invest In Web-TV Company - Diller's IAC, AOL to Invest In Web-TV Company "Some of the biggest names in the Internet business, including Time Warner Inc.'s America Online and IAC/InteractiveCorp, are lining up behind Brightcove, a start-up firm that is developing technology that could accelerate the growth of television on the Internet.
Barry Diller, IAC's chairman, is joining the Brightcove board as part of a $16.2 million round of funding that is expected to be announced today. Other participants in the funding group include Hearst Corp. and Allen & Co LLC, an investment-banking firm that specializes in media investments. AOL, which is making Internet TV a priority, is leading the investment group and is the largest investor."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Scripting News: Sharing at so many levels!

Scripting News: Sharing at so many levels!: "Now, in 2005, almost ten years later, we may be grown-up enough to actually work this way. Microsoft's new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie's earlier work, and keeping the 'really simple' approach that's worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use. It's a proud moment for me, I hope for Ray and Jack and the rest of the people at Microsoft, and perhaps for the open development community on the Internet."

Very cool. Read the full post and then check out Microsoft's SSE overview.

Oracle 10g Express-

Oracle 10g Express- "Considering that it's free, Oracle have been remarkably generous with what they're actually giving away. With the free version, your database is limited to 4GB HD, 1GB RAM, and a single CPU. But for the kinds of projects that this version is aimed at, those are ample resources. 4GB in particular is a lot of database for most purposes."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Virtual gamers look to blond-haired, blue-eyed prophet

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Virtual gamers look to blond-haired, blue-eyed prophet: "If you deign to think of video games as simply a childish pastime, consider this professional game player. He collects a six-figure salary, has his own brand of gaming merchandise and travels the world to compete --egarded by those in the know as one of the most gifted players of his kind.
'It's fun to play games for a living,' Wendel said. 'Getting up every day is very easy.'"

New Xbox Goes on Sale at Midnight. Good Luck. - New York Times

New Xbox Goes on Sale at Midnight. Good Luck. - New York Times: "Microsoft is 'trying to turn this into the Cabbage Patch Kids,' said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. He said he expected Microsoft to constantly publicize stories of stores that were sold out to inspire press coverage and water-cooler talk of when the next shipment would arrive. 'It's brilliant marketing.'
Molly O'Donnell, a Microsoft spokeswoman, said the company was not trying to pique demand by holding down supply or withholding inventory from retailers.
'The reality is that our manufacturing facilities are running at full capacity and churning out as many consoles as humanly possible,' Ms. O'Donnell said." - TiVo Plans to Allow Unlimited TV-Show Downloads to iPods - TiVo Plans to Allow Unlimited TV-Show Downloads to iPods "TiVo is expected to announce a plan today to let users of its popular digital video recorders download any TV show stored on their TiVo boxes onto iPods. The move, which TiVo is making without Apple Computer Inc.'s involvement, has the potential to greatly expand the selection of shows iPod users can watch on their devices beyond such fare as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," the two hit series from Disney's ABC network that Apple is selling for $1.99 an episode through its iTunes Music Store. TiVo's plan is rankling some TV executives as the networks seek to habituate users to pay to download shows, beyond what they may already pay for cable or satellite-TV service.
TiVo plans to begin testing software that enables the video downloads to iPods within the next couple of weeks and to make it widely available to TiVo users in the first quarter of next year for a one-time fee, most likely between $15 and $30. An Apple spokesman declined to comment on TiVo's plans."

No doubt Apple will move to block this...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Story of the Search, Applause Included - New York Times

The Story of the Search, Applause Included - New York Times ""Why not improve the brain?" he muses. "Perhaps in the future, we can attach a little version of Google that you just plug into your brain." No offense taken (though I will pass on the implant, thank you). If a 31-year-old tycoon worth $10 billion can't dream a little, who can? Wisdom is often the fruit of failure, and the Google founders have yet to taste any. So we look to the authors to supply a little perspective - a dose of humility, or at least editorial restraint. Alas, their uncritical, even celebratory approach does their subjects a disservice."

How Google Tamed Ads on the Wild, Wild Web - New York Times

How Google Tamed Ads on the Wild, Wild Web - New York Times "Is Google holding off on image ads because of inadequate infrastructure? No, responds Ms. Mayer. She says Google uses text for ads because of cognitive science: text has the highest information density and allows users to scan a lot of information at the highest speed, or, as she phrased it, "the bit rate on text is very fast." Anything that gets in the way of speed-reading must go. Google does not permit advertisers to use all-capital letters. (Studies have shown we read those 30 percent slower than properly capitalized words.) Ms. Mayer did allow for one theoretical exception to text ads in the future: when users search for videos. "For a query on videos for baking a cake, then, a video might be best," she said."

Putting the Napster Genie Back in the Bottle - New York Times

Putting the Napster Genie Back in the Bottle - New York Times "By year-end, a new version of Grokster will appear - this one sanctioned by the record industry because it will use technology, built by Mr. Fanning, that requires file-swappers to pay for copyrighted material. In other words, Mr. Fanning, who let the genie out of the bottle when he created the copyright-busting Napster, is now selling a way to put the genie back into the bottle.
His new company, called Snocap, has produced software that can enable music services to fulfill the original promise of Napster - a community of dedicated fans exchanging a wide selection of music - while monitoring the file-trading for copyrighted works. The new Grokster will still use peer-to-peer technology, which lets users download songs directly to one another's computers. But when a user tries to get a copyrighted file, Snocap can block the download or force the user to pay for it, depending on what the artist and label want."

Friday, November 18, 2005

PBS | I, Cringely . November 17, 2005 - Google-Mart

PBS | I, Cringely . November 17, 2005 - Google-Mart "So why buy-up all that fiber, then?
The probable answer lies in one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid."

Read the entire post -- thought-provoking, as always

The Pen Gets a Whole Lot Mightier - New York Times

The Pen Gets a Whole Lot Mightier - New York Times: "STAGGERING possibilities await a pen that can read software right off the page as it moves, and the Fly package comes with a sparkling sampler. For example, as you tap countries on a world map, the pen pronounces their capitals or plays their national anthems. On a glossy, fold-out mini-poster of a disc jockey's setup, you can tap buttons to get music samples, or tap turntables to produce record-scratching sounds; then you can record your own compositions or compete, memory-game style, against other players. There's even a sheet of stickers that, when tapped, produce appropriate sound effects. (For my two elementary-schoolers, the belching mouth alone was good for 20 minutes of hilarity.)"

Microsoft Stakes Claim to x64 Future

Microsoft Stakes Claim to x64 Future: "Still, Microsoft's transition to x64 in the server space will seem aggressive. Windows Compute Cluster Server, due in the first half of 2006, will be available only on the x64 platform. Also, Exchange 12, the next major version of Exchange, which is due in late 2006 or early 2007, will be available only in x64 Editions. For Longhorn Server, due in early 2007, Microsoft will ship both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of most product editions. But Longhorn Small Business Server (SBS) will be x64 only, as will the upcoming medium business server product, codenamed Centro. Finally, the R2 version of Longhorn Server, due in 2009, will be x64 only as well."

Cisco Set to Enter Cable Field - New York Times

Cisco Set to Enter Cable Field - New York Times: "With the deal, Cisco will, for the first time, be able to sell digital television equipment that provides high-definition programming; shows and movies on demand; and an array of interactive services. Scientific-Atlanta, the second-largest provider of these set-top boxes, and Motorola, the largest, have effectively held a duopoly in this market.
Cisco is envisioning a future that includes home entertainment systems built around a set-top box that communicates with not only the television, but also with audio equipment and a range of appliances. Cisco also sees potential growth in services that store television programming on giant servers for delivery to consumers on demand." - Google at $400: Is It on Merit Or Just a Mania? - Google at $400: Is It on Merit Or Just a Mania?: "Google the word 'mania,' and one might almost expect to get a link to, well, Google Inc.
Shares of the Mountain View, Calif., online search company marched past $400 a share yesterday, finishing at $403.45, up $5.30, or 1.3%, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The stock was born, as an initial public offering, in August 2004 at $85 a share. But with the gains since then, the seven-year-old company now has a market value of more than $112 billion, making it larger than Coca-Cola Co., Cisco Systems Inc. and Time Warner Inc. There are many in the marketplace who think the company's shares have room to grow. Several analysts increased their price targets to $450 after Google reported stellar third-quarter results last month."

Is there no long-term memory in investing?... - Cisco Nears Scientific-Atlanta Deal - Cisco Nears Scientific-Atlanta Deal "Cisco Systems Inc. last night was near a $6.6 billion deal to purchase cable-television technology concern Scientific-Atlanta Inc., people familiar with the matter said, as equipment makers respond to evaporating lines between the Internet, television and telephone industries.
Long a cornerstone of big corporate and government data networks, Cisco is now pushing its products directly to consumers. It is doing that just as the nation's big telephone companies begin rolling out fiber-optic systems to send television to homes using Internet technology."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sun Adds Postgres Database to OpenSolaris Package

Sun Adds Postgres Database to OpenSolaris Package "Sun Microsystems Inc. will distribute and support the open-source Postgres database with its Solaris Operating System, company officials said on Thursday, adding that Solaris ZFS, the new 128-bit file system with error detection and correction capabilities, will be integrated into OpenSolaris and Sun's branded Solaris 10 in the May 2006 update."

That wouldn't be much more than shovel-ware if it weren't for:

"With regard to the Postgres open-source database, Sun said it is working with the PostgresSQL community to take advantage of technologies in Solaris 10, such as Predictive Self-Healing, Solaris Containers and Solaris Dynamic Tracing (DTrace)."

IT Conversations: Peter O'Kelly - Microsoft as a Superplatform Contender

IT Conversations: Peter O'Kelly - Microsoft as a Superplatform Contender ""Microsoft in the enterprise" has, for many enterprise IT strategists, been considered an oxymoron since Microsoft first set its sights on the data center market with the initial release of Windows NT in mid-1993. Confusion about the meaning and significance of Microsoft's .NET strategy, unveiled during mid-2000, created additional uncertainty about Microsoft's enterprise potential. This session includes an assessment of Microsoft's strategy and status as an enterprise superplatform contender, including projections of Microsoft's near-term trajectory as it finalizes key initiatives including new model-driven tools, Indigo, Avalon, and Windows Longhorn."

One of my recent Catalyst presentations has been quasi-podcasted. Ping me via email if you want a copy of the presentation file (ppt) that I used for the Catalyst session. - Oracle Acquires Two More Security Software Companies - Oracle Acquires Two More Security Software Companies "Oracle Corp. has snapped up security-software specialists Thor Technologies Inc. and OctetString, continuing an aggressive shopping spree aimed at filling holes in its product lineup
Both Thor Technologies and OctetString focus on "identity management," a niche focused on ensuring that only authorized users are able to read and change the sensitive data stored on computers."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - Nokia to Buy Intellisync To Bolster Mobile Email - Nokia to Buy Intellisync To Bolster Mobile Email "Intellisync, San Jose, Calif., is one of several companies that compete with Research In Motion Inc., the maker of BlackBerry email devices. Carriers like Verizon Wireless use Intellisync's software to provide data services and mobile email to customers' smartphones and PDAs. Its mobile email software is also used by corporations like Pfizer and Domino's Pizza."

Ray Ozzie: Welcome to Ray's Weblog, V3

Ray Ozzie: Welcome to Ray's Weblog, V3 "...Mostly, though, it's my intent to use this as a channel through which to reply and converse with you in a manner that scales. Not on all topics; it's clear that the nature of my role at this large, public company dictates that I should and will stay silent on certain matters. At times there will be controversies I just can't or won't engage in. Many years ago at Groove we developed an early blogging policy. Things may have evolved quite a bit since then, but this policy continues to give reasonable guidance that I'll continue to apply to my own comments here."

Welcome back!

Connexion by Boeing: blogging from 38,000 feet

Connexion by Boeing: blogging from 38,000 feet I'm flying to Boston from Frankfurt at the moment, in steerage (seat 55J, which SeatGuru helpfully pointed out is a seat that's relatively less awful than others in coach) on a Lufthansa 747. I couldn't resist the chance to test Connexion, so I signed up for the $9.95/30 minutes option (the other option was $29.95 for the entire flight).

The performance is okay but not great -- Notes 7.0 is working fine, but I have hunch Outlook 2003 would struggle if I launched VPN tried to check my Exchange email; I've noticed Outlook 2003 is still somewhat bandwidth variability intolerant (although it's much improved from earlier releases of Outlook).

Of course, Lufthansa planes don't have in-seat power in coach, so this experiment will be brief, since I have several hours to go and need to get some work done before I deplete my battery collection...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bill Gates' Web Site - Speech Transcript, Supercomputing 05 Conference

Bill Gates' Web Site - Speech Transcript, Supercomputing 05 Conference: "Well, it may seem strange to have somebody that works at the very lowest end of computing here addressing the supercomputing audience. My earliest work was writing the BASIC interpreter that would run in a 4-K-byte machine, and I spend day and night trying to find any little byte that I could save so that the interpreter, the data, everything could run in that small, little kit computer, which was called the Altair.
Well, that very low cost computing led to high volume personal computing, and today we have over 800 million of those machines in use, really moving towards the original vision of a computer on every desk and in every home.
Now, this has meant that software has moved to the center. It's moved to the center for communications, for creativity, for visualization, and it's amazing to see how far software has come and yet how much more we need to do. In terms of security, ease of use, high level descriptions software really is just at the beginning."

Microsoft and Cisco: Ready to Rumble?

Microsoft and Cisco: Ready to Rumble? "What's at the root of the increasingly complex relationship between Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, and Cisco, the No. 1 maker of computer-networking gear? Chalk it up to a megashift in technology's center of gravity -- from the PC, where Microsoft has ruled, to the network, where Cisco is dominant.
As more computing tasks are handled online -- from Web searches and phone calls to software and entertainment downloading -- Cisco wants the network to provide much of the smarts that have typically been handled in Microsoft-style applications."

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Hi, I'm Clippy, your supercomputing assistant; you look like you're trying to model complex atmospheric phenomena

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Hi, I'm Clippy, your supercomputing assistant; you look like you're trying to model complex atmospheric phenomena "But Microsoft seems less interested in the entrenched market and more interested in parlaying low cost (company engineers put together demo clusters for under $4,000 using store-bought hardware) and familiar administrative features to bring serious computing muscle to businesses." - U3: Portable Programs on a USB Drive - U3: Portable Programs on a USB Drive "Petite USB drives, already handy for carrying data, are getting smarter: New technology from a company called U3 allows a drive to store and, when plugged into any PC, securely run applications--without leaving a trace of data on the host computer. The applications (which must be U3-compliant), data, and personal settings all reside on the portable drive, permitting you to temporarily turn any Windows 2000 or XP system into a personal workstation without threat to your privacy."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bricklin's WikiCalc: Much much more than just a mashup of wikis and spreadsheets | Between the Lines |

Bricklin's WikiCalc: Much much more than just a mashup of wikis and spreadsheets | Between the Lines | "Drawing from one of the names ? VisiCalc ? that gave birth to the PC industry, electronic spreadsheet co-inventor Dan Bricklin has gone public with an alpha version and his plans to release WikiCalc ? an open source browser-based solution that takes some of the most powerful features of spreadsheets (eg: the ability to format anything including text and calculated data into a tabular layout), some of the most endearing features of Wikis (ie: their simple markup language and instant ability to collaborate on Web-based documents), and marries them not only to each other, but also in very behind-the-scenes-fashion to advanced Web page formatting techniques that involve tables, HTML templates, and cascading style sheets."

Also see Dan Bricklin's essay About wikiCalc 0.1

Collaboration Loop - Considering Communication/Collaboration/Content Convergence

Collaboration Loop - Considering Communication/Collaboration/Content Convergence "This is the first in a series of blog posts about the past, present, and future of communication, collaboration, and content management. I believe we're on the verge of unprecedented growth in related software domains, in large part because of growing communication- and information-intensity (for both personal and work contexts). Whether for the benefit of improving personal time and attention management or the mandate, within larger organizations, to comply with increasingly stringent regulatory compliance requirements, the demand for effective communication/collaboration/content strategies is poised for explosive growth. In this blog series, I'll share some impressions about how we got here, some current challenges, and what's likely to happen next."

I'm going into multiple personality mode in blogging -- I hope to contribute to Collaboration Loop on a regular basis, but will also try to remember to cross-link here when I do.

InformationWeek > Google > Google Offers Web Analytics for Free > November 13, 2005

InformationWeek > Google > Google Offers Web Analytics for Free > November 13, 2005: "
Disrupting yet another market, Google Inc. is now offering enterprise-class Web analytics for free.
In March, Google acquired San Diego-based Urchin Software Corporation and promptly lowered the monthly cost of the company's hosted Web analytics service, Urchin On Demand, from $495 to $199. Today, the search company is re-branding Urchin under the name Google Analytics and making it available to everyone for nothing. " Windows is Unreliable: Compared to What? Windows is Unreliable: Compared to What?: "Here's my experience, all this week.
A Linux-based DVR crashed. The only way to deal with the problem is to unplug the machine, let it spin down, then replug and wait an extended period while it both reboots and re-downloads scheduling. No error messages, it just starts tuning to the wrong channels.
A Symbian-based cell phone runs out of memory. No warning, it just runs out -- and basically stops working. Deleting files on the phone doesn't help, because it can't function once it runs out of memory. So, you need to delete files on your PC and re-syncrhonze.
A Palm OS-based cell phone locks up. Rebooting requires removing the battery.
A RIM Blackberry, with its Java-based custom OS, reboots when attempting to sync email while changing cell sites.
We attempted to add two accounts to our hosted system, but it's billing system defaulted to a different address than was entered and attempted to cancel our account. "

Surf's Up

Surf's Up: "Pat Sueltz has made a study of the tech industry--from the inside. First she spent 20 years at IBM, where she guided CEO Louis Gerstner to the Internet and then headed up the company's Java push. Then she did more Java at Sun Microsystems. Then she lived several years in one as a co-president at its crazy IPO year. Now she has finally reached the goal she has long aimed for: being a CEO. She's heading up SurfControl, a Web security software outfit with a newly established headquarters in Scotts Valley, Calif., near Santa Cruz, the real Surf City. The company was started in the UK in 1997, so you could say it took 8 years to find the beach."

Internet Service to Put Classic TV on Home Computer - New York Times

Internet Service to Put Classic TV on Home Computer - New York Times: "Looking for 'The Fugitive?' Didn't get enough 'Eight Is Enough?' Would you like to 'Welcome Back, Kotter' one more time?
Warner Brothers is preparing a major new Internet service that will let fans watch full episodes from more than 100 old television series. The service, called In2TV, will be free, supported by advertising, and will start early next year. More than 4,800 episodes will be made available online in the first year.
AOL will offer a version of the service meant to be watched on a television set connected to a Windows Media Center PC, and it is exploring a similar arrangement to link the Internet programming to television through TiVo video recorders.
AOL is using file-sharing technology from Kontiki, a Silicon Valley company providing a similar system to the ambitious Internet video program of the BBC." - The $100 Laptop Moves Closer to Reality - The $100 Laptop Moves Closer to Reality "A novel plan to develop a $100 laptop computer for distribution to millions of schoolchildren in developing countries has caught the interest of governments and the attention of computer-industry heavyweights.
First announced in January by Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, the initiative appears to be gaining steam. Mr. Negroponte is scheduled to demonstrate a working prototype of the device with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday at a U.N. technology conference in Tunisia.
Mr. Negroponte and other backers say they have held discussions with at least two dozen countries about purchasing the laptops and that Brazil and Thailand have expressed the most interest so far. In addition, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently proposed spending $54 million to buy one of the laptops for every student in middle school and high school in his state."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Losing its cool, Apple iPod gets ROI

Losing its cool, Apple iPod gets ROI "In the case of the iPod, I?ve heard doctors at UCLA are using them to transfer digital X-rays because it?s faster and easier than using the hospital?s network. A Microsoft (Profile, Products, Articles) reseller told me he sees small businesses using iPods to serve background music for phone systems and waiting rooms -- again, cheaper and more customizable than the old way. And some marketers are purportedly giving away iPod Shuffles to deliver a one-time audio advertising pitch."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The View From The Bow: Evaluating Superplatforms / The Google Threat

The View From The Bow: Evaluating Superplatforms / The Google Threat: "And now on to Matt's second question:
'The same trends that are propelling Google seem to be working against Microsoft. Do these same trends not affect the longer-term prospects for 'superplatforms'?'
I agree that Google is a tremendous force to be reckoned with, and Google may very well emerge as the first in the next generation of superplatform vendors. But of all the current crop of superplatform vendors, I think Microsoft is best positioned to compete with Google. Microsoft is the only superplatform vendor that has any type of focus on the consumer marketplace. And Microsoft has already proven that it has the ability to make a massive mid-course change (embracing the Internet in the late '90s). I have a lot of confidence that Microsoft will remain in the game.
As for the other superplatform vendors, I don't think they realize yet that Google is a threat to them."

Read the full post for more superplatform insights from my Burton Group colleague Anne Thomas Manes.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Peter F. Drucker was the original management guru

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Peter F. Drucker was the original management guru: "'Drucker said: 'If you weren't already in this business, would you enter it today? And if not, what are you going to do about it?' ' Welch recalled Friday night. 'Simple, right? But incredibly powerful.'
Mr. Drucker's simple question ultimately led to Welch's operating maxim that if a GE unit could not be No. 1 or No. 2 in its field, it should be jettisoned."

US urges keeping BlackBerry service on - The Boston Globe

US urges keeping BlackBerry service on - The Boston Globe: "The US government has inserted itself in a high-stakes patent fight over the popular BlackBerry device, saying it wants to make sure federal workers won't be cut off from mobile access to their e-mail."

File under "Massive conflict of interest" and/or "Inadequate contingency planning"...

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of November 14: Why not Yahoo?

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of November 14: Why not Yahoo? : "A friend of mine had an interesting observation about Microsoft's tunnel vision regarding Google: Why not Yahoo? He noted that Yahoo Mail is vastly superior to that of Google's GMail, so much so that he pays for the more full-featured Plus version (as I do). He recently switched from Napster to Yahoo! Music Unlimited because the price was cheaper and the quality was better, not to mention the fact that the player is about 100 times more refined. So rather than help Google generate billions of dollars a year in a bizarre Web advertising scheme, he's deciding to pay Yahoo himself for services he values. I have to wonder if Google would ever make money if it charged for its sub-standard, ever-in-beta products and services. Aside from the sheer ubiquity of its base search engine, much of what Google does feels exploratory, temporary and primitive. Maybe the future isn't so clear after all."


Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory, Is Dead at 95 - New York Times

Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory, Is Dead at 95 - New York Times "Early last year, in an interview with Forbes magazine, Mr. Drucker was asked if there was anything in his long career that he wished he had done but had not been able to do.
"Yes, quite a few things," he said. "There are many books I could have written that are better than the ones I actually wrote. My best book would have been "Managing Ignorance," and I'm very sorry I didn't write it.""

Peter Drucker was one of the most constructive influences on my world view, over the last 25 years. Read Adventures of a Bystander, his autobiography, for insights into his fascinating life and perspectives.

Friday, November 11, 2005 - Modern Management Expert Peter Drucker Dies at 95 - Modern Management Expert Peter Drucker Dies at 95 "Peter F. Drucker, revered as the father of modern management for his numerous books and articles stressing innovation, entrepreneurship and strategies for dealing with a changing world, died Friday, a spokesman for Claremont Graduate University said.
Mr. Drucker died of natural causes at his home in Claremont, east of Los Angeles, said spokesman Bryan Schneider. Mr. Drucker was 95 years old."

Don't Mention It | Steve Gillmor's InfoRouter |

Don't Mention It | Steve Gillmor's InfoRouter | "Here's my Top Ten Reasons why Dave Winer doesn't pay attention to attention.
10. He didn't invent it.
9. He did invent it but then donated it to Harvard and now is working on reinventing it again."

Read the full list; Steve Gillmor is always worthy of your attention.

PBS | I, Cringely . November 10, 2005 - Paper War

PBS | I, Cringely . November 10, 2005 - Paper War "Microsoft always needs a bogeyman, and in this case, it is Google. There can be only one devil, so Yahoo is dismissed as a "media company" and AOL is ignored completely. This is not a realistic competitive scenario. While AOL's position is uncertain given current ownership discussions with Microsoft and others, in web services, Yahoo represents as big a threat to Microsoft as Google.
But I have to say that Gates or Ozzie or whoever actually wrote these documents has done a very effective job of differentiating the company roles in a way that makes Google appear to be the bad guy, and Microsoft appear to be the good guy. Google is going to develop and deploy Internet services while Microsoft is going to ENABLE the deployment of such services BY ITS DEVELOPER PARTNERS. This makes Google the would-be monopolist.
Looking deeper, though, we see that the only way Microsoft can achieve its vision is by continuing to own the platform. They want us to be GRATEFUL, in fact, that such an enlightened outfit is running the store. And this will work to an extent, but only to an extent. Then what happens? All hell breaks loose as Microsoft again changes the game."

Read the full post...

Gates' services memo draws response | CNET

Gates' services memo draws response | CNET "The next day, Microsoft has a new version called 'Live.' It's the new on demand offering that will not be compatible with the current product line. So, perhaps they should rename their entire Microsoft software product line, Microsoft Dead. It's the analog to Microsoft Live, the new on demand offering that does even exist.
What is going on? This is a time of seismic shifts in our industry. The internet is disintermediating the status quo, and old models of software cost and complexity are being replaced with new models of affordability and ease of use.
Last month, our number one competitor surrendered, and decided to take its place beside several former competitors at software's Shady Pines Rest Home, also known as Oracle. It was a merciful outcome for shareholders, but a time of con'fusion' for customers. "

Exclusive: Microsoft Hits Windows Vista Beta 2 Delays

Exclusive: Microsoft Hits Windows Vista Beta 2 Delays: "Sources at the company told me this week that Microsoft will soon delay the release of Windows Vista Beta 2 from December 7, 2005 to sometime in January or February 2006. However, because the Vista development schedule is extremely time constrained, the company will try and make up lost time by eliminating one of the planned release candidate (RC) milestones that were planned for later in the process."

Flight of Boeing's 777 Breaks Distance Record - New York Times

Flight of Boeing's 777 Breaks Distance Record - New York Times: "In a trip that included two sunrises, a new long-range Boeing 777 flew more than halfway around the world nonstop on Thursday, breaking an aviation distance record set by a B-52 bomber 43 years ago.
The flight, lasting 22 hours and 42 minutes, demonstrated for the first time that a new generation of jetliners would leave no two cities beyond a nonstop flight -- though a handful of flights may need to carry fewer passengers to make the distance.
The plane, the Boeing 777-200LR, departed from Hong Kong at 10:30 p.m. and landed in London at 1:12 p.m., after air traffic controllers at Heathrow Airport kept the airplane briefly in a holding pattern.
The 777-200LR entered the Guinness Book of Records covering 11,664 nautical miles from Hong Kong to London -- or 13,422 statute miles as the earth-bound measure it. A total of eight pilots made the flight, taking turns two at a time across the world."

Yow... - Heard on the Street: Value Investors Flock to Microsoft - Heard on the Street: Value Investors Flock to Microsoft "Since the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately "growth" investors have given up on Microsoft Corp., the bargain-hunting "value" crowd has been gobbling up its shares.
For years, Microsoft was a growth powerhouse as its Windows operating system and Office software suite became ubiquitous, running on about nine of 10 personal computers world-wide. From 1996 through 2002, Microsoft's profits nearly quadrupled, and its shares rose more than 450%.
Since then, the software company's pace has moderated as its Windows and Office updates have grown increasingly time-consuming and complex. In an Oct. 30 memo, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates laid out plans to retool how the mammoth firm develops products -- to fend off competitors, such as Google Inc., that are using the Internet to develop and distribute software.
But growth investors, who focus on shares of companies whose profits are increasing by leaps and bounds, have grown frustrated. Microsoft's widely held shares have lost 13% of their value during the past five years.
As the company's shares have slipped, however, value managers have warmed to them."

Strange days indeed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

ontology: Information From

ontology: Information From "The structure of a system. A system model. The word really means the branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of reality or being. Therefore, it is used as a fancy word for "what exists" in a system."

Lennon's music to hit Net, but not on iTunes | CNET

Lennon's music to hit Net, but not on iTunes | CNET "One music site conspicuously excluded from the digital release is iTunes due to a trademark dispute between its parent company, Apple Computer, and the Beatles' Apple Corps over the competing names of the two entities. "

Think different... I still expect Apple Corps to win an approximately $infinite settlement from Apple Computer one of these days.

Suse co-founder leaves Novell | CNET

Suse co-founder leaves Novell | CNET "'I just decided to leave Suse/Novell. This is not (any) longer the company I founded 13 years ago,' Mantel said in the e-mail. 'I have been the maintainer of the Suse kernel for more than a decade now. I'm very confident the Novell management will find a competent successor very quickly.'
Another person no longer working for Novell is Chris Schlaeger, vice president of research and development at Suse Linux, sources familiar with the situation said. Schlaeger had been a longtime KDE contributor. Novell declined to comment on Schlaeger's status."

Uh oh...

Got 2 Extra Hours for Your E-Mail? - New York Times

Got 2 Extra Hours for Your E-Mail? - New York Times: "In his waking life, at the consulting company where he worked, Mr. Robbins sometimes had to troll through 120 e-mail messages a day, many of them from his boss. 'By the time I got done triaging the e-mail, I didn't have energy to do the rest of the work,' Mr. Robbins said.
So Mr. Robbins sent his boss and colleagues a series of recommendations about changing their e-mail ways. When the suggestions were ignored, Mr. Robbins quit his job and went into business for himself, helping executives improve their job performance. High on his list of priorities was helping them wrestle down their e-mail. "

Setback in Court for BlackBerry Maker - New York Times

Setback in Court for BlackBerry Maker - New York Times: "A federal judge in Virginia said Wednesday that it was 'highly unlikely' he would delay a patent case against the maker of the BlackBerry wireless e-mail device that could result in a ban on its use in the United States."

H Y P E R C A M P :Exclusive: Full text of Gates email, Ozzie memo

H Y P E R C A M P :Exclusive: Full text of Gates email, Ozzie memo "It's always frustrating to read these memos through the filters of mainstream reporters. I wanted to read the memo myself, but more important, I wanted my fellow bloggers to have a chance to read Gates' and Ozzie's words directly, without interpretation, and decide for themselves what they were saying, trying to figure out what they're thinking and form their own opinions on whether it makes sense. In the blogging world we call this "triangulation" -- seeing one event from many different points of view."

See post for links with full memo text. - Linux Backers Form Network To Buy Software Patents - Linux Backers Form Network To Buy Software Patents "Five big backers of Linux are funding an effort to buy up related software patents, the latest in a series of efforts to reduce legal risks that could impede the wider use of the operating system.
A new nonprofit company, called Open Invention Network, is receiving an undisclosed amount of money from International Business Machines Corp., Sony Corp., Philips Electronics NV, Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc. It plans to buy Linux-related patents, offering royalty-free licenses to companies and individuals that pledge not to assert their own patents against the network's other licensees." - Yahoo Quits Race For AOL Stake - Yahoo Quits Race For AOL Stake "Another person familiar with the matter said Time Warner, which is in talks with Yahoo rivals Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. over selling a stake in AOL, signaled that it wasn't interested in the terms Yahoo was willing to offer. A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment.
Google and Microsoft are apparently neck and neck in the discussions, the people familiar with the matter said, and Time Warner is expected as early as next week to select one partner with which it will enter exclusive negotiations."

It's going to be pretty entertaining (except for Time Warner and its shareholders) if AOL tries for double-or-nothing ... and loses -- i.e., if all candidate suitors walk away.

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Analysis: Microsoft Internal Memos Highlight Google Scare, Leadership Gap

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Analysis: Microsoft Internal Memos Highlight Google Scare, Leadership Gap "Microsoft's reaction to the Google threat is both predictable and suspiciously similar to past "turn the ship around" incidents. Gates seems to have latched on to the notion that he must lead his company on a new crusade every five years in order to keep employees motivated. And Microsoft's self-critical stance is as manipulative now as it was ten years ago. Increasingly, companies such as Google, Skype, and Yahoo are determining the direction of communications and computing. That Microsoft needs to move more quickly and begin innovating should be obvious. What I want to know is why there is such a regular failure of leadership and direction at this company. Does Microsoft really need to be rebooted every five years to keep the company competitive?"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A discussion of what's new in Access 12 : Overview of Access 12

A discussion of what's new in Access 12 : Overview of Access 12 "There are 3 key goals for Access 12. First, dramatically expand the number of people who are successful using Access by making it much easier to build databases from scratch and by including a range ready to go solutions in the box that can be used as they are or modified as required. Second, make existing Access developers more efficient by improving the design tools without losing any of the power that Access provides today. Third, enable a whole new class of collaborative database applications around Windows SharePoint Services.
Collaborative Database Apps on SharePoint

Office 12 has continued its strong bet on SharePoint, and Access brings the power of a real database the reach of SharePoint. This enables 2 key things. First SharePoint provides a great place to put Access data ? data can either live in SharePoint lists linked back to the Access UI, or the entire Access file can simply be stored in SharePoint. In either case, IT can find, manage, and back up the data, and so gains a lot more control over corporate data. Second, Access applications can now take advantage of the reach and collaborative workflow provided by SharePoint. SharePoint can even provide a hub to coordinate the power of Access, FrontPage, and InfoPath."

See the full post for more on Access + collab stuff. Microsoft Launch Targets Large Enterprises Microsoft Launch Targets Large Enterprises: "Reverse engineering Ballmer's slide, which shows SAP with SQL Server 2000 could support 26,000 concurrent users, this means that until now SQL Server was shut out from the top tier of SAP's market, so presumably SAP was forced to support its arch rival Oracle for those clients. No longer. A majority of SAP applications already run on Windows and more than 45 percent run on SQL Server. SAP will integrate SQL Server 2005 directly into one of its own ERP offerings, and provide product support."

Google Goes after Verity Customers

Google Goes after Verity Customers: "Internet search giant Google Inc. on Tuesday began aggressively pursuing patrons of Verity Inc., making a play upon possible customer fears about Verity's coming acquisition.
To take advantage of the supposed opportunity, on Tuesday Google began giving away its least expensive Google corporate search product, its Mini, to new Google Enterprise customers through January 2006, the company said."

Google gears up for more competitive multitasking.

Internet Services Crucial, Microsoft Memos Say - New York Times

Internet Services Crucial, Microsoft Memos Say - New York Times: "The document written by Mr. Ozzie, titled 'The Internet Services Disruption,' criticizes Microsoft for moving too slowly to capitalize on technologies it developed and for failing to capitalize on industry trends.
He cites Microsoft's failure to adequately pursue a technology known as Ajax - which makes it possible for Internet-based applications to mimic the appearance and responsiveness of desktop PC programs - as a clear case of company sluggishness.
He also noted that the company was slow to move ahead on Internet searching, even after Mr. Gates gave a speech in 1991 predicting 'information at your fingertips.'" - Microsoft Revamp For Online Push Gains Urgency - Microsoft Revamp For Online Push Gains Urgency "Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates has endorsed a radical reshaping of how his company develops software and services, citing an internal memo that says much about the challenges Microsoft faces, and underscores the rise of an emerging technical leader at the company.
The core of Mr. Gates's email, which was examined by The Wall Street Journal, is a memo from Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief technology officer, who describes some of Microsoft's missed opportunities and also tips a hat to companies such as Google Inc., Inc., Skype Technologies SA and other start-ups that have pioneered Internet services."

Also watch for an excellent Ray Ozzie interview in ACM Queue, which annoyingly publishes in print, sometimes days or weeks, before posting on its web site. Weirdly, both versions are free; you can sign up for the print version at the link above. Note that there are also some outstanding data/DBMS/XML articles in the latest web issue. - Liberty Media Picks as Next CEO A Departing Officer From Oracle - Liberty Media Picks as Next CEO A Departing Officer From Oracle "Liberty Media Corp. has chosen Gregory Maffei, Oracle Corp.'s departing co-president, as its next chief executive.
Liberty is expected to announce today that Mr. Maffei, 45 years old, will join the Englewood, Colo., media company as CEO-elect, according to people familiar with the matter. He will assume Liberty Media's top job next spring, when he also will be named president, those people said."

Perhaps he will have better luck with John Malone than he did with Larry Ellison.

Capitol Records - News: Lennon Catalogue In Digital Format For The First Time Ever

Capitol Records - News: Lennon Catalogue In Digital Format For The First Time Ever : "For the first time ever, the whole of John Lennon's solo catalogue will be available for exclusive digital access, starting with the new definitive greatest hits album "Working Class Hero", which was released on CD in the UK and US in October and which will be available to purchase in download form beginning November 7.
The entire Lennon solo catalogue will then be made available digitally beginning December 5th (December 6th in the US) on a variety of digital music services."

Long overdue, and a major milestone for music rental/download services.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Borland : Leadership Team : Executive Management

Borland : Leadership Team : Executive Management: "Mr. Nielsen most recently served as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Global Sales Support for Oracle Corporation, responsible for the marketing of the Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware product lines. Prior to Oracle, Mr. Nielsen was the Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Engineering of BEA Systems, where he had overall responsibility for BEA's worldwide marketing strategy and operations, as well as all research and development operations. Mr. Nielsen joined BEA after the acquisition of his private company, Crossgain Inc., where he served as its Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Nielsen also spent twelve years with Microsoft Corporation, in various roles, including General Manager Database and Developer Tools, Vice President Developer Tools, and at the time of his departure, Vice President Platform Group. Throughout his tenure with Microsoft, he worked on many parts of the business, with an emphasis on infrastructure and developer oriented technologies. " - Borland Names Nielsen CEO - Borland Names Nielsen CEO "Borland Software Corp. named former Oracle Corp. executive Tod Nielsen as its president and chief executive officer, effective Nov. 9."

Nielsen's career: Microsoft => Crossgain => BEA => Oracle => Borland.

Ed Brill: This blog now syndicated on ZDNet

Ed Brill: This blog now syndicated on ZDNet: "ZDNet is running content under their 'sponsored blogs' section. I'm planning to write a few lengthier articles in the next couple of weeks given the broader audience... if I can find the time to do so."

Interesting -- I hope this proves to be productive and profitable for Ed.

Get 'Em While They're Hot: Microsoft Offers Visual Studio Express Products Free for One Year

Get 'Em While They're Hot: Microsoft Offers Visual Studio Express Products Free for One Year: "During the launch event for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 yesterday in San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled an unexpected surprise for individual developers: For the next year, its line of Visual Studio Express products will be offered to the public for free. After that, the price reverts to the previously-announced $49 price per product."

Software Notebook: Microsoft targets IBM, Oracle set

Software Notebook: Microsoft targets IBM, Oracle set: "'I know that they think they've done a very good job, and all kudos to them,' said Mark Townsend, Oracle senior product management director. 'But they're still only just starting. Quite literally, there's nothing that they've brought out that we didn't have five to 10 years ago.'"

Classic Oracle marketing machismo; he might want to check the details again, however...

Ingres Corporation - Ingres Divestiture

Ingres Corporation - Ingres Divestiture: "Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE:CA) and Garnett & Helfrich Capital, a private equity firm specializing in Venture Buyouts (VBOs), today announced a partnership to divest CA's Ingres open source database unit into an independent corporate entity, Ingres Corporation.
As a result of the transaction, Garnett & Helfrich Capital is the majority shareholder in Ingres Corporation. CA has acquired an ownership stake in Ingres and will have the right to appoint a member to its Board of Directors. CA also intends to work with Ingres on product development, industry partnerships and marketing activities. "

I don't get it... I have great respect for the Ingres work done at University of California, Berkeley decades ago, but I don't see how this deal will result in a brighter future for the DBMS. - CBS, NBC Deals Accelerate Shift In TV Landscape - CBS, NBC Deals Accelerate Shift In TV Landscape "Two big TV networks, CBS and NBC, struck deals with cable and satellite providers allowing their viewers to watch popular shows anytime they want, the latest sign of how quickly technology is upending viewing habits and reshaping the industry's longtime model.
The distribution deals will allow viewers to order episodes of some prime-time shows -- including hits like "Survivor" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" -- for 99 cents apiece. CBS, a unit of Viacom Inc., made its deal with cable company Comcast Corp., while General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal set its pact with News Corp.'s DirecTV, a satellite TV provider."

All they need now is some worthwhile content...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Get Get Smart Photo Gallery: Cone of Silence and Other Innovations [and jet etiquette...]

Get Smart Photo Gallery: Cone of Silence and Other Innovations: I had a fun discussion thread with my colleague Irwin Lazar this afternoon about wifi on planes extending to the use of Skype etc. He suggested some type of "cones of silence" device would often be preferable to active noise control (as in noise cancellation headphones), and it's an intriguing concept.

Having spent a large amount of time on commuter rail trains and in other places where one might hope etiquette and basic consideration would be helpful for those trying to concentrate/meditate/sleep/whatever, however, I'm not very optimistic about future personal communication tool-augmented crowd contexts.

I'm also regularly annoyed by people who laugh loudly when watching movies or the endless, inane television shows commonly shown on airplanes these days -- especially on night flights, when others are trying to sleep.

As a result, I think the cones-of-silence model will be useful in some contexts, but also believe that what most frequent flyers will need in the future is more likely to be a combination of active noise control and heads-up display units with side-blinders -- for visual field control. The social implications are not encouraging to contemplate, but I'm not sure it'll be that different from a planeload of zombies laughing along to "Everybody Loves Raymond" in infinite syndication, with their headsets and seat-back displays.

Irwin Lazar's "Real-Time" Blog: Blogging at 33,000 Feet

Irwin Lazar's "Real-Time" Blog: Blogging at 33,000 Feet: "A check at reports a MOS score of 1 on the 1-5 range, meaning that I'd have more luck shouting than I would making a Skype call. reports similar bad news, 111 kbps download speed, 29 kbps up-load speed, not nearly enough to support a voice call."

It's only a matter of time -- maybe it's time to consider investing in Bose and other consumer-oriented active noise control equipment manufacturers...

Many Suitors, and Many Pitfalls, as AOL Seeks a Partner - New York Times

Many Suitors, and Many Pitfalls, as AOL Seeks a Partner - New York Times: "Microsoft has emerged as the front-runner in the talks surrounding the potential sale of a stake in America Online, two people involved in the negotiations said. But despite a flurry of interest in AOL from Microsoft, Google and others, finding a deal has been harder than Time Warner may have hoped.
Behind the scenes, a number of questions remain that could hold up or even derail a potential transaction.
AOL, despite its large but declining dial-up Internet access business, has become suddenly coveted because of the expanding market for online advertising and the fact that both its AOL service for subscribers only and its revamped free Web portal attract millions of consumers each day."

Sort of like Netscape before it.

Autonomy acquires Verity for $500M - Computerworld

Autonomy acquires Verity for $500M - Computerworld: "British search software company Autonomy Corp. PLC has agreed to buy fellow search technology developer Verity Inc. in a cash deal totaling around $500 million, the companies announced today."

This is a major milestone in enterprise search -- I'm surprised it didn't get more press coverage. - Yahoo, TiVo to Announce Deal For Remote-Programming Service - Yahoo, TiVo to Announce Deal For Remote-Programming Service "Yahoo Inc. and TiVo Inc. plan to announce Monday an agreement to let users remotely program their TiVo digital video recorders from within Yahoo's Web site.
Down the line, TiVo users will be able to access traffic and weather information and their photos stored on Yahoo from the devices, under the agreement between the companies.
Bringing Internet access to the TV screen is nothing new. Most previous efforts ? notably WebTV ? were failures. Mr. Lichty thinks the Yahoo-TiVo offering will be different. "It's not about having a Web browser on your TV and having a keyboard on your lap. It'll still be focused on the TV experience and navigating with the remote control," Mr. Lichty said. "And this builds on existing use patterns. It doesn't require people to relearn anything."" - Yahoo, Google to Launch Services For Advanced Cellphone Networks - Yahoo, Google to Launch Services For Advanced Cellphone Networks "Internet powerhouses Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. are set to roll out new wireless services, taking advantage of advanced networks and cellphones to provide features similar to those available on computers.
Yahoo, Sunnyvale, Calif., soon will introduce a cellphone that it will sell through a partnership with SBC Communications Inc., according to SBC executives. The cellphone will take a step closer to linking wirelessly such cellphone services as music, photos and email with consumers' existing Yahoo accounts, address books and preferences.
Meantime, Google, Mountain View, Calif., is tailoring some popular Internet services for use on wireless devices. Starting today, for example, consumers using some types of cellphones will be able to access satellite maps wirelessly and scroll through them as they can on the Google Maps service."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Journey to the Center of Yahoo - New York Times

A Journey to the Center of Yahoo - New York Times "After talking with the chief executive, Terry S. Semel, and other officials, I came away with two big impressions. One is that while Yahoo is ever conscious of Google and determined to match it head to head in familiar keyword search, in the long run its plans for search seem quite different from Google's. The other is that Yahoo views the very scale and sprawl of its operations - the seemingly random assemblage of sites and functions, the 200 million active users in more than 20 countries - as a crucial competitive advantage."

Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies - New York Times

Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies - New York Times "Wal-Mart is scarcely alone in its concern. As Google increasingly becomes the starting point for finding information and buying products and services, companies that even a year ago did not see themselves as competing with Google are beginning to view the company with some angst - mixed with admiration.
Google's recent moves have stirred concern in industries from book publishing to telecommunications. Businesses already feeling the Google effect include advertising, software and the news media. Apart from retailing, Google's disruptive presence may soon be felt in real estate and auto sales."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Microsoft acquires online file management provider - Yahoo! News

Microsoft acquires online file management provider - Yahoo! News: "Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) said on Thursday it acquired a provider of an online service that allows users to share documents, pictures and other digital files over the Web across multiple devices.
Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, did not disclose how much it paid for FolderShare, a unit of privately held ByteTaxi Inc. of Austin, Texas."

Want 'War and Peace' Online? How About 20 Pages at a Time? - New York Times

Want 'War and Peace' Online? How About 20 Pages at a Time? - New York Times: "Amazon said yesterday that it was developing two programs that would begin some time next year. The first, Amazon Pages, is intended to work with the company's 'search inside the book' feature to allow users to search its universe of books and then buy and read online whatever pages they need of a given book. The second program, Amazon Upgrade, will allow customers to add online access to their purchase of a physical copy of a book."

Now all I need is a high-end Tablet PC... - Wide-Flying Moguls: Google Duo's New Jet Is a Boeing 767-200 - Wide-Flying Moguls: Google Duo's New Jet Is a Boeing 767-200: "On the road, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have owned environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. In the air, they apparently prefer something roomier.
Google Inc.'s two billionaire founders, both 32 years old, will soon be cruising the skies in a Boeing 767 wide-body airliner. They bought the used plane earlier this year, Mr. Page says.
Mr. Page acknowledges that the purchase might seem ostentatious. But "we tend to have an engineering approach, to be fact-based," he says. "We looked at this and we just did the economics and we said, 'you know, it makes a lot of sense.' "" - Google This: Amazon Plans To Sell Portions of Books Online - Google This: Amazon Plans To Sell Portions of Books Online: "On the heels of Google Inc.'s controversial move to scan copyrighted books and make them searchable, Internet retailer Inc. is taking a page out of a different digital book.
The Internet retailer said it will introduce two programs next year that allow consumers to buy online access to entire books -- and to individual pages or chapters -- giving publishers and authors another way to generate revenue from their content, much like music labels are selling individual songs through Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes." - Maffei Quits Oracle After 4 Months - Maffei Quits Oracle After 4 Months: "After a little more than four months on the job, Oracle Corp. Co-President and Chief Financial Officer Gregory Maffei is leaving the software company, becoming the second CFO to depart this year.
Since joining Oracle in June, Mr. Maffei, known for his deal-making prowess and aggressive personality, has split his time between Oracle's California headquarters and a small company office outside Seattle, where his family still lives. While working at the company's Redwood Shores, Calif., headquarters, he lived at a nearby hotel and rode an old bicycle to work, parking it between the luxury cars of other executives."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

TechCrunch ? New Yahoo Maps Shows Power of Flash

TechCrunch -- New Yahoo Maps Shows Power of Flash: "Unlike Google and Microsoft maps, Yahoo has chosen to use Flash over AJAX in building its new service, and they’ve added new features that are not found anywhere else. They’ve also done some things to reduce the hassle of creating, sharing and printing maps online."

The Lives of Teenagers Now: Open Blogs, Not Locked Diaries - New York Times

The Lives of Teenagers Now: Open Blogs, Not Locked Diaries - New York Times: "According to the Pew survey, 57 percent of all teenagers between 12 and 17 who are active online - about 12 million - create digital content, from building Web pages to sharing original artwork, photos and stories to remixing content found elsewhere on the Web. Some 20 percent publish their own Web logs.
From school libraries and living rooms, millions of teenagers are staking out cyberterritory in places like, and, where they matter-of-factly construct their individual online presence, often to the chagrin of parents and schoolteachers who have belatedly discovered whole nations of teenagers churning out content under their noses."

Microsoft to Acquire AG

Microsoft to Acquire AG: "Microsoft Corp. today announced it has agreed to acquire AG, a software company based in Zurich, Switzerland, that develops communications applications based on voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology. Microsoft plans to apply's technology, people and intellectual property to accelerate the delivery of its unified communications vision, bringing together various modes of communication (e-mail; instant messaging; short message service; voice/telephony; and audio, video and Web conferencing), breaking down the silos of communication and extending the unified communications experience to information workers."

(Re-posting because the original, posted a couple hours ago, mysteriously disappeared from my blog.)

Startup Wikisphere raises $5.25 million in 1st round

Startup Wikisphere raises $5.25 million in 1st round: "Wikisphere, a new startup founded by former Blue Nile, and Expedia employees, has raised $5.25 million in venture capital financing from Trinity Ventures and Frazier Technology Ventures.
Wikisphere isn't saying much about the service, and the Web site provides little more than an e-mail address. But the Seattle company, which is led by Blue Nile co-founder Ben Elowitz, is looking to make it easier for people to use wikis: collaborative Web sites where individuals add, erase or share information in what is best described as a virtual graffiti wall."

Update: Novell details layoffs, restructuring plans - Computerworld

Update: Novell details layoffs, restructuring plans - Computerworld: "Novell Inc. said today that it plans to lay off 600 employees, or 10% of its global workforce, part of an effort to save more than $110 million annually as the struggling software maker restructures to focus on products such as SUSE Linux. " - Tracking the Numbers: Net-Phone Firm Vonage Gives Mixed Signals - Tracking the Numbers: Net-Phone Firm Vonage Gives Mixed Signals: "Vonage Holdings Corp., a pioneer in selling Internet-based telephone service to consumers, is sending mixed signals to Wall Street.
Vonage is both preparing for an initial public offering of stock that could raise as much as $600 million and exploring selling itself to a larger company at a price that could top $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter."

I'm still a happy Vonage customer, but I also think it's time for the company to either IPO or be acquired, given the dynamic VoIP market environment.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Edge 171: Turing's Cathedral (George Dyson)

Edge 171: Turing's Cathedral (George Dyson): "My visit to Google? Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral -- not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built. Everyone was busy carving one stone here and another stone there, with some invisible architect getting everything to fit. The mood was playful, yet there was a palpable reverence in the air. 'We are not scanning all those books to be read by people,' explained one of my hosts after my talk. 'We are scanning them to be read by an AI.'"

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft makes big push into online services

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft makes big push into online services: "In many cases, Windows Live — available at — will offer souped-up versions of services like online mapping and instant messaging that have long been available on Microsoft's, a heavily trafficked site that will continue to operate. Microsoft also plans to continue to operate, a heavily trafficked Web site that inspired many of the features included in the Windows Live Web site."

Microsoft shifts to ad-backed Web software services - Yahoo! News

Microsoft shifts to ad-backed Web software services - Yahoo! News: "'We currently have about a 10 percent share of the online market. We fully intend to grow this share,' Ozzie said.
'This advertising model has emerged as a very important thing,' Gates said. 'We want all software developers to tap into these models,' he said of how many start-ups now depend on advertising from rival Google to fund their new Web projects. "

Microsoft Introduces Web Services, Competing With Google and Yahoo - New York Times

Microsoft Introduces Web Services, Competing With Google and Yahoo - New York Times: "Until recently Microsoft did not have its own Internet-based advertising technology, but instead relied on Overture, now owned by Yahoo. However, the company, which is based in Redmond, Wash., said that it had made progress in deploying its own search-based advertising engine, which is now being tested in France and Singapore.
'We will be leaders in terms of understanding where ads really serve the user to get their jobs done, not just in a search box on the Web,' said Ray Ozzie, a chief technology officer at Microsoft."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Face-off with Microsoft: Google Pushes to Improve

Face-off with Microsoft: Google Pushes to Improve "When news of a Google and Sun partnership started leaking earlier this month, many assumed the companies were going to make a big announcement about Google working on the Sun-sponsored project and possibly hosting a Web-based version of the office productivity suite. Instead, the eventual partnership announced by the two companies was quite vague, with little reference to, which could emerge as a major competitor to Microsoft's valuable Office suite. Now, Google is hiring developers to help improve So the rumors begin anew: What is Google up to?"

Apple sells a million videos in new service - Yahoo! News

Apple sells a million videos in new service - Yahoo! News: "Apple Computer on Monday said its iTunes online service has sold a million videos in under 20 days, sending shares up almost 5 percent.
iTunes, the most popular online music store, began selling about 2,000 music videos and episodes of ABC's 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost' for $1.99 (1.12 pounds) on October 12."

Wikipedia may go to print, says founder - Yahoo! News

Wikipedia may go to print, says founder - Yahoo! News: "Entries from Wikipedia, the popular free online encyclopedia written and edited by Internet users, may soon be available in print for readers in the developing world, founder Jimmy Wales said on Monday.
"I have always liked the idea of going to print because a big part of what we are about is to disseminate knowledge throughout the world and not just to people who have broadband," Wales said by telephone from St. Petersburg, Florida."

Cingularly unimpressed

I'm in Munich this week, for Burton Group's European customer conference. Imagine my surprise when I arrived yesterday and discovered that my Cingular GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phone couldn't find any GSM networks. One of my colleagues informed me that I had to first call Cingular and select either a pay-as-you-go or monthly (with reduced-rate pay-as-you go) program for international calling. (My previous phone, via AT&T Wireless, automatically worked for international calls.)

So I went back to my hotel room and used SkypeOut to call Cingular's customer support -- it took ~20 minutes, with a few long hold periods, to get my Cingular account updated. That would have been an approximately $25 phone call (not counting assorted taxes/tarrifs/etc.) if I'd used my Cingular phone (which of course I didn't have the option of doing), and I can only imagine what it would have cost if I'd used my hotel room phone.

Via SkypeOut, which worked quite well for several calls to the US yesterday, it cost almost nothing. As such, I plan to use SkypeOut for international calls whenever possible, and to use my Cingular phone only for emergency calls when I'm traveling.