Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere 2007 Impressions: IBM Lotus Notes/Domino and WebSphere Portal

Part 2 of my Lotusphere impressions; see the post for more details

Lotusphere 2007 was probably the most upbeat and exciting event for Notes/Domino loyalists since the first two Lotusphere sessions (during December, 1993 and January, 1995).  While the pressure is still on IBM Lotus to deliver a timely and robust release of Notes/Domino 8.0 during the first half of 2007, the Notes/Domino-focused sessions at Lotusphere 2007 made it very clear that Notes/Domino is central to IBM’s enterprise communication/collaboration strategy, and that IBM Lotus has made very significant investments in and improvements to the product over the last several years. 

Link to Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere 2007 Impressions: IBM Lotus Notes/Domino and WebSphere Portal

Blogger: [My RSS feed is still unreliable]

 Apologies to any readers who have found their way to the HTML version of my blog, wondering if I've been kidnapped by aliens, due to the lack of updates on my RSS feed.  The Atom feed seems to be updating more regularly (but it still doesn't work, at least for me, in a synchronized FeedDemon folder...). 

I think Google is going to have to do a bit more QA on these tools, if it ever wants to make serious progress beyond consumer-centric contexts.

Link to Blogger: Create your Blog Now -- FREE

You Want Innovation? Offer a Prize - New York Times

Read the full article for another timely invisible hand snapshot. 

So on the Ides of March last year, Reed Hastings, the company’s chief executive, and three other executives were meeting at their Silicon Valley headquarters to talk about making the system better. They had just finished discussing one failed effort — a promising algorithm designed by a hotshot computer scientist from Stanford (since lured to Google) — when Mr. Hastings threw out an idea.

“We should run a prize,” he said, an open competition challenging people to come up with a better version of Cinematch.

One of the other executives asked how much the company should offer, recalled James Bennett, the vice president who oversees Cinematch.

“A million dollars,” Mr. Hastings said.

With that, Netflix unwittingly started down the path of proving that today’s economy doesn’t have nearly enough prizes.

Source: You Want Innovation? Offer a Prize - New York Times

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Caption contest [final entry]

I knew it was too good to last forever (indeed, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did), but I'm still sorry to see the end of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. 

Well my friggin lawyers are advising me that I will have to shut down this scandalous old blog. Details not worth going into here. Someday I'll be able to explain. Maybe I'll write a book or something. Maybe a really beautiful e-Book that you can carry in your pocket and which will be sleek and elegant and shiny, with rounded corners and an extremely hi-res touch screen and only one button. Anyhoo, I've really enjoyed having this naked conversation with you, and I hope I've managed to restore a sense of childlike wonder to your life.

Source: The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Caption contest

How Boss's Deeds Buff A Firm's Reputation -

Interesting reality check... 

Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates proved even more appealing than cuddly babies in the eighth-annual Harris Interactive/The Wall Street Journal ranking of the world's best and worst corporate reputations.

Top-ranked Microsoft managed to beat Johnson & Johnson, whose emotionally appealing baby-products business had kept it in first place for a remarkable seven consecutive years. In the Reputation Quotient survey conducted by market-research firm Harris Interactive Inc., respondents gave Microsoft very high marks for leadership and financial results. But Mr. Gates's personal philanthropy also boosted the public's opinion of Microsoft.

Source: How Boss's Deeds Buff A Firm's Reputation -

Games That Sell While Others Languish - New York Times

More on Sony's limited PS3 progress 

Both consoles were hard to come by during the holiday shopping season. This week, visits to stores in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Austin, Tex., turned up several with PlayStation 3’s in stock, while the Wii was sold out.

The PlayStation, reflecting Sony’s longstanding dominance, seemed destined to be the one that gamers would snap up. But the Wii is winning many converts who are playing games by moving not just their thumbs but the whole complement of limbs.

Source: Games That Sell While Others Languish - New York Times

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Startups to make big pitch at Demo

Another subtle tip of the hat to Vanevar Bush 

At Demo, Trailfire plans to announce a new service that allows people to create and share a path on the Web by using annotations, or marks, that make up a "trail."

Going forward, the trails will be found not only on TrailFire's Web site, but also through other resources, such as a search engine or through ranking tools, such as Digg or To do so, the trails will have a unique Web address, or URL.

Source: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Startups to make big pitch at Demo

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates savors what could be his last big launch

Read the full interview for additional timely observations. 

Q: How has the competitive landscape for Microsoft changed since the last Windows release?

Gates: Five years is a long time in this industry, and I guess five years ago, you know, Sun and Netscape were perfect companies that understood everything and Windows was nothing. And you know in that same extreme way of looking at things, people say, what about Google or what about the latest great work that Apple has done?

So [it's] always very competitive, always someone who's kind of new and done something right and that's great.

Source: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates savors what could be his last big launch

Profit Slips at Sony on Losses for PlayStation 3 - New York Times

 More trying times for Sony

Sony and its chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, had hoped the PlayStation 3 would become the company’s latest “champion product,” much like the console’s predecessor, which has topped 106 million in sales since 2000.

But so far, response has been mixed since PlayStation 3. While Sony says that it has met its targets of shipping one million units in each of the two markets, analysts have pointed to signs of disappointing sales.

And no other products with superstar potential are visible in the Sony pipeline.

Source: Profit Slips at Sony on Losses for PlayStation 3 - New York Times

A Lively Market, Legal and Not, for Software Bugs - New York Times

Read the article for more context -- the invisible hand at work in a weird way... 

Vista, which will be installed on millions of new PCs starting today, provides the latest target.

This month, iDefense Labs, a subsidiary of the technology company VeriSign, said it was offering $8,000 for the first six researchers to find holes in Vista, and $4,000 more for the so-called exploit, the program needed to take advantage of the weakness.

IDefense sells such information to corporations and government agencies, which have already begun using Vista, so they can protect their own systems.

Source: A Lively Market, Legal and Not, for Software Bugs - New York Times

A Researcher for Microsoft Is Reported Missing at Sea - New York Times

Very sorry to see this 

The Coast Guard is searching for a computer scientist from Microsoft who left for a daylong sailing trip off the coast of San Francisco on Sunday and did not return.

The man, James Gray, 63, who works in Microsoft’s Silicon Valley research lab, set out alone Sunday morning for the Farallon Islands on his 40-foot boat, Tenacious, and was expected back that afternoon, Lt. Amy Marrs, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said Monday.

Source: A Researcher for Microsoft Is Reported Missing at Sea - New York Times

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fortune: Why tech leaders think Second Life could be a gold mine. - Jan. 22, 2007

 Interesting Second Life factoids (although perhaps needing confirmation, since they, e.g., got Ray Ozzie's title wrong).

The company's backers include some of the world's smartest, richest, and most successful tech entrepreneurs. The chairman and first big outside investor is Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet application that helped begin the PC software revolution. Other investors include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Amazon (Charts) CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft chief technology architect (and inventor of Lotus Notes) Ray Ozzie - each credited with a seminal networked product of our age.

Source: Why tech leaders think Second Life could be a gold mine. - Jan. 22, 2007

Hundreds turn out to buy Windows Vista in Tokyo

Go figure.  Hopefully they weren't hired, as was reportedly the case for the PS3 launch (and discovered since they didn't speak Japanese; oops)... 

Hundreds of people braved chilly weather in Tokyo on Monday night and into the early hours of Tuesday to be among the first in the world to buy a retail copy of the Windows Vista operating system.

Major electronics retailers across the city and specialist PC retailers in the electronics mecca of Akihabara were open at midnight to sell the first copies.

Source: Hundreds turn out to buy Windows Vista in Tokyo

Adobe - Release PDF for Industry Standardization FAQ

Useful FAQ on the Adobe/PDF news; excerpt: 

Why is Adobe taking this step with PDF?
PDF has become a de facto global standard for more secure and dependable information exchange since Adobe published the complete PDF specification in 1993. Both government and private industry have come to rely on PDF for the volumes of electronic records that need to be more securely and reliably shared, managed, and in some cases preserved for generations. Adobe expects this release to ISO to drive even broader adoption of PDF, accelerate innovation around PDF and ensure that PDF will continue to meet the unique needs of government and private industry alike.

Source: Adobe - Release PDF for Industry Standardization FAQ

WIRED Blogs: Running Vista on a Mac

 Interesting times...

Microsoft’s Vista hits store shelves on Tuesday and although it's got a kicking in the press, there's one group that actually seems quite excited about it -- Mac users.

At Macworld, the most crowded booths belonged to Parallels Inc. and VMWare, two software companies that help run Windows a Mac. It was quite remarkable: both were mobbed.


Hopefully Vista is spurring Apple to reinvigorate the interface of OS X in Leopard. According to reports, Leopard is already resolution independent. Let’s hope the rumored interface overhaul, Illuminous, does for Vista what Vista’s done for OS X: make it look dated.

Source: WIRED Blogs: Cult of Mac

Adobe to send PDF to standards group | CNET

A significant strategy shift for Adobe 

Adobe will give the specification that forms the basis for its PDF Reader and Acrobat products to the industry group Enterprise Content Management Association (formerly the Association for Information and Image Management and still referred to as AIIM).

AIIM will host a working group and release the specification to ISO. ISO is expected to form a PDF standardization technical committee with representatives from businesses and customers, including governments.

The process is expected to take one to three years, Lynch said.

Source: Adobe to send PDF to standards group | CNET

Google moves to shake up software, take on Microsoft - The Boston Globe

Perhaps it'll be a bit more successful than, e.g., 

The company is bundling the Web-based software programs it offers free to consumers into a premium package and, in a challenge to Microsoft Corp., it will be selling a paid version to businesses.

Google's enterprise product, which will include e-mail, calendar, word processing, spreadsheet, instant messaging, and voice-over-Internet programs, is expected soon, said Dave Girouard , vice president and general manager for enterprise at the Mountain View, Calif., company.

Source: Google moves to shake up software, take on Microsoft - The Boston Globe

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Business 2.0 Beta: Launches Its Own Wikipedia

 The wiki way to improved sales?... (AMZN) has, without much fanfare, launched Amapedia, a "wiki" site that lets users collaboratively edit its pages like Wikipedia. They key difference is that Amapedia is all about products, and its users have to be registered shoppers.

Source: Business 2.0 Beta: Launches Its Own Wikipedia

Awaiting the Day When Everyone Writes Software - New York Times

Another Simonyi snapshot. 

Charles Simonyi, the chief executive of Intentional Software, a start-up in Bellevue, Wash., believes that there is another way. He wants to overthrow conventional coding for something he calls “intentional programming,” in which programmers would talk to machines as little as possible. Instead, they would concentrate on capturing the intentions of computer users.

Mr. Simonyi, the former chief architect of Microsoft, is arguably the most successful pure programmer in the world, with a personal fortune that Forbes magazine estimates at $1 billion. There may be richer programmer-billionaires — Bill Gates of Microsoft and Larry Page of Google come to mind — but they became rich by founding and managing technology ventures; Mr. Simonyi rose mainly by writing code.

There's an interesting and tangentially related article about Numenta in the latest issue of Business 2.0, but, annoyingly, it's not on the publication's web site yet. 

Source: Awaiting the Day When Everyone Writes Software - New York Times

Preaching From the Ballmer Pulpit - New York Times

Timely and long NYT Microsoft reality check  

Competitors once feared and respected Microsoft. Now they simply respect it. And as Microsoft prepares to unveil new versions of its desktop operating system and office programs on Tuesday it finds itself facing emboldened competition, even uncertainty. With the Internet revolution upending business models across a broad swath of industries, Microsoft itself is feeling the heat. The challenges that the company confronts today are different from those of the past, and its market power in the personal computer business matters less than before.

Source: Preaching From the Ballmer Pulpit - New York Times

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Rivals Voice Complaints About Microsoft’s New System - New York Times

It will be interesting to see how "the group" responds when WPF/E, which will take a subset of XAML cross-platform, is released. 

The group said Microsoft’s XAML markup language — which it said was positioned to replace the current Web page language HTML — was designed “from the ground up to be dependent on Windows.”

“The very same practices the European Commission found to be illegal almost three years ago have now been implemented in Vista,” the group of rivals said.

Source: Rivals Voice Complaints About Microsoft’s New System - New York Times

Intel Says Chips Will Run Faster, Using Less Power - New York Times

Size does matter, at least in some contexts.  Read the full article for more details, including a PR spat between IBM and Intel. 

For several decades there have been repeated warnings about the impending end of the Moore’s Law pace for chip makers. In response the semiconductor industry has repeatedly found its way around fundamental technical obstacles, inventing techniques that at times seem to defy basic laws of physics.

The chip industry measures its progress by manufacturing standards defined by a width of one of the smallest features of a transistor for each generation. Currently much of the industry is building chips in what is known as 90-nanometer technology. At that scale, about 1,000 transistors would fit in the width of a human hair. Intel began making chips at 65 nanometers in 2005, about nine months before its closest competitors.

Now the company is moving on to the next stage of refinement, defined by a minimum feature size of 45 nanometers. Other researchers have recently reported progress on molecular computing technologies that could reduce the scale even further by the end of the decade.

Source: Intel Says Chips Will Run Faster, Using Less Power - New York Times

Buy Desktop PCs available in different series direct from the HP Home & Home Office Store

Looks like the WSJ source on Dell yesterday wasn't entirely accurate; I'm still seeing "free upgrade" scenarios for some PCs (e.g., Inspiron notebooks) at (Dell's XPS line of notebooks is now all Vista, however).  In contrast, HP appears to have already switched to Vista throughout its PC line.  From a quick skim, Toshiba is the only vendor I've found this morning offering a PC built for Vista (rather than just Vista compatible).

Link to Buy Desktop PCs available in different series direct from the HP Home & Home Office Store

Friday, January 26, 2007

Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere 2007 impressions part 1: IBM Versus Microsoft

FYI my overall Lotusphere 2007 impressions -- see the link below for details.

IBM’s 14th annual Lotusphere conference was held in Orlando this week.  This post is the first in a series that provides an overview of key themes from Lotusphere 2007, along with some projections about how IBM’s revised strategy is likely to change the competitive landscape. 

Source: Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere impressions part 1 

Dell to Take Orders for Vista PCs -

And so it begins... 

Dell Inc. plans to start selling personal computers loaded with Microsoft Corp.'s new operating system, Vista, on its Web site and over the phone Friday night, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Web site will begin selling both notebooks and desktops loaded with Vista just before midnight eastern standard time. The earliest customers who order right away could receive their new Vista-loaded computer is Tuesday, the day Vista for consumers officially launches, these people said.

I remember when Windows XP was released to the consumer market in October, 2001; the speed and scope of the switch-over (primarily from Windows 98/Me, since Windows 2000 was never a successful consumer-oriented client OS) on hardware vendor sites were amazing.

Source: Dell to Take Orders for Vista PCs -

IBM Selling Printing Business To Ricoh - Printers, Infoprint Solutions Company - CRN

Interesting times 

IBM's entry into the printer business ended in 1991, when it spun off its printing unit into what is now Lexmark. In 1995, IBM began building its Printing Systems Division, which focused on high-end, production-level printing solutions. Of late, IBM executives decided the industry and technology were moving in a direction that wasn't in step with its core strengths, said Nick Donofrio, IBM's executive vice president of innovation and technology.

"There comes a point in time -- and trust me IBM has been there before -- when you realize you no longer have the capability to move certain technologies in the direction of sustainable, profitable growth," Donofrio said. "At IBM, we constantly look at how fast we are changing, the rate we are changing. ... Sometimes we must learn to let go."

Source: IBM Selling Printing Business To Ricoh - Printers, Infoprint Solutions Company - CRN

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Q&A with Microsoft's Jim Allchin

Some interesting insights on many Vista-related topics. 

In a rare opportunity for readers of The Seattle Times, top Microsoft executive Jim Allchin answered your questions about Windows Vista, the company's new flagship operating system.

Source: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Q&A with Microsoft's Jim Allchin

New dinosaurs: Spelling, conversation skills | CNET

Some interesting factoids from a Nickelodeon survey (no doubt designed to determine how to maximize advertising effectiveness on the new channels...); see the article for details  

The modern wired family is seeing a few mainstays going the way of the dinosaur: landlines, printed dictionaries, maps, newspapers and, of course, the need to remember phone numbers or learn to spell.

Source: New dinosaurs: Spelling, conversation skills | CNET

Delays Limit Robust Sales at Microsoft - New York Times


Sales rose 6 percent in the quarter ended in December, to $12.5 billion. But the company said that showing would have been much stronger if it had not deferred $1.64 billion in revenue as a result of delays in the latest versions of its mainstay products, Windows Vista and Office 2007. They will be introduced next week.

Without the one-time move, sales would have been 20 percent higher than in the quarter a year earlier, the chief financial officer, Christopher P. Liddell, said.

The quarterly results “exceeded our expectations across the board,” including healthy sales of PC software, Mr. Liddell said.

Source: Delays Limit Robust Sales at Microsoft - New York Times

AT&T's Delivery of TV Hits a Glitch -

Still gaining momentum in a key market segment 

Mr. Lindner chalked up any issues with its TV rollout to "normal new-product development" and said that AT&T plans to offer TV to eight million homes by year end. "We're adding customers slowly, watching the platform and trying to train our technicians and improve installations," Mr. Lindner said.

At least seven major telecom companies world-wide are using Microsoft's system, and others are testing it. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., said the company spent much of the past year fine-tuning its system and that it is helping AT&T to deliver a highly competitive TV service. "We believe the biggest challenges are behind us," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Brady.

Source: AT&T's Delivery of TV Hits a Glitch -

Thursday, January 25, 2007

IBM prepping 64-bit, directory, authentication upgrades for delivery beyond Notes/Domino 8 - Network World

 Useful snapshot of server-side plans -- I attended a Lotusphere session on Domino database directions for 8.0.1 and beyond and was very impressed.

While Notes/Domino 8 is all about the client, the first maintenance release and the next major version beyond that will concentrate on the server as IBM settles into a cycle of 12-to-18 months for major releases.

See the article for more details.

Tangent: I hope to get back into my normal blogging routine next week; the Lotusphere chaos seriously disrupted my schedule this week.  I also plan to share my Lotusphere impressions via some Collaboration Loop blog posts -- I'll link to them here when they're posted.

p.s. Google/Blogger still seems to think the update cycle for my RSS feed should be measured in days instead of minutes; hopefully that will get straightened out soon...

Source: IBM prepping 64-bit, directory, authentication upgrades for delivery beyond Notes/Domino 8 - Network World

The Seattle Times: Brier Dudley's blog: The guy behind Microsoft's Wiki woohoo

The rest of the story -- see the post for details.  Another example of "citizen journalism" gone wrong, apparently. 

That would be Doug Mahugh, a Microsoft technical evangelist who was straightforward about why and how he recruited a blogger to correct a Wikipedia entry about the Open XML technology he works with in Redmond.

I wish I'd read Doug's blog postings before I ranted about Microsoft flubbing this one.

Source: The Seattle Times: Brier Dudley's blog: The guy behind Microsoft's Wiki woohoo

A Stream of Movies, Sort of Free - New York Times

Timely analysis of pros/cons  

Once again, Netflix has rewritten the rules — this time, of the online movie-rental game. The company has done away with expiration dates, copy protection and multi-megabyte downloads. That’s because you don’t actually download any of Netflix’s movies; instead, they “stream” in real time from the Internet to your computer. (This advantage comes with a key disadvantage: you must be connected to the Internet. Wireless hot spots at airports and hotels are fair game, but movies can’t be carried around on a laptop.)

Source: A Stream of Movies, Sort of Free - New York Times

Oracle's 'Web 2.0' interface coming this month | InfoWorld

It'll be interesting to see how this compares with IBM Lotus Connections 

Oracle plans to release WebCenter Suite before the end of the month, a product for building application interfaces that incorporate content from a variety of sources as well as "Web 2.0" tools such as blogs and wikis.

The software aims to make workers more productive by providing access to a variety of content and services from one screen, so they don't have to flip between different applications. Other vendors including IBM  and Microsoft are working on similar functionality.

Source: Oracle's 'Web 2.0' interface coming this month | InfoWorld | News | 2007-01-24 | By James Niccolai, IDG News Service

W3C XQuery 1.0 and XSLT 2.0 Become Standards: Tools to Query, Transform, and Access XML and Relational Data

Major milestone.  XQuery is going to be fundamentally important. 

Based on widespread implementation experience and extensive feedback from users and vendors, W3C has published eight new standards in the XML Family to support the ability to query, transform, and access XML data and documents. The primary specifications are XQuery 1.0: An XML Query Language, XSL Transformations (XSLT) 2.0, and XML Path Language (XPath) 2.0; see the full list below.


XML Query (XQuery) describes a database query language for XML data.

"XQuery will serve as a unifying interface for access to XML data, much as SQL has done for relational data," said Don Chamberlin of IBM Almaden Research Center, co-inventor of the original SQL Query language and one of the co-editors of XQuery 1.0. "Since virtually any kind of information can be represented using XML, I expect XQuery to play a central role in unifying information from many different sources. Companies across a wide range of industries can use XQuery to pull together structured and semi-structured information for processing in a unified way."

Source: W3C XQuery 1.0 and XSLT 2.0 Become Standards: Tools to Query, Transform, and Access XML and Relational Data

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jobs quizzed in option inquiry

More interesting times for Apple 

The meeting shows the U.S. government is still seeking information about Jobs' role in the backdating, even after the company's report clearing him and others, said Nell Minow, editor at the Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm in Portland, Maine.

"It is, after all, the SEC's view on his culpability that matters, not the internal investigation at Apple," Minow said.

Source: Jobs quizzed in option inquiry

Microsoft riles Wikipedia

Interesting incident -- read the full article for details. 

Microsoft Corp. landed in the Wikipedia doghouse Tuesday after it offered to pay a blogger to change technical articles on the community-produced Web encyclopedia site.

While Wikipedia is known as the encyclopedia that anyone can tweak, founder Jimmy Wales and his cadre of volunteer editors, writers and moderators have blocked public-relations firms, campaign workers and anyone else perceived as having a conflict of interest from posting fluff or slanting entries. So paying for Wikipedia copy is a definite no-no.

Source: Microsoft riles Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's time to fight back against 'infomania'

See the article for some tips on time & attention management. 

Here's a quick test: Can you make it through this story -- or this sentence -- without being interrupted by e-mail, or feeling the urge to check your in box?

If not, there's a group of technology specialists very interested in your problem. And yes, they say, it's definitely a problem.

A two-day workshop on the Microsoft Corp. campus last week brought together people from a wide variety of companies and institutions to discuss the issue of "infomania" -- the loss of concentration caused by the constant electronic interruptions that plague many office workers.

Source: It's time to fight back against 'infomania'

Group Formed to Support Linux as Rival to Windows - New York Times

 I wonder if this will truly promote open source or if it'll be another indirect subsidy program for Red Hat, Novell, and others.

Linux, the free operating system, has gone from an intriguing experiment to a mainstream technology in corporate data centers, helped by the backing of major technology companies like I.B.M., Intel and Hewlett-Packard, which sponsored industry consortiums to promote its adoption.

Those same companies have decided that the time has come to consolidate their collaborative support into a new group, the Linux Foundation, which is being announced today. And the mission of the new organization is help Linux, the leading example of the open-source model of software development, to compete more effectively against Microsoft, the world’s largest software company.

Source: Group Formed to Support Linux as Rival to Windows - New York Times

Monday, January 22, 2007

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Organizations to Transition to Its Unified Communications and Collaboration Platform: New resources personalize platform and simplify transition from Lotus Notes/Domino.

Lotus-related news from Microsoft... 

Today, Microsoft announced new tools that will help IBM Lotus Notes/Domino customers take advantage of the new unified communication and collaboration innovations that are being delivered as part of the recently released Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007, the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 technologies. These resources include a new suite of tools for managing transitions of IBM’s directory, messaging and application solutions, as well as new templates for SharePoint Products and Technologies, which make it even easier for IT professionals to roll out customized applications for common business scenarios. Together these tools are making it easier for IBM customers to manage transitions to and start experiencing the benefits of Microsoft’s modern, integrated platform, which increases organizational productivity, streamlines business processes, and reduces IT cost and complexity.

Source: Microsoft Makes It Easier for Organizations to Transition to Its Unified Communications and Collaboration Platform: New resources personalize platform and simplify transition from Lotus Notes/Domino.

IBM renews Microsoft rivalry with new Web software -

 Great to see renewed competition in the collaboration space.

I'm at Lotusphere this week -- pretty upbeat vibe so far, e.g., at the opening reception last night, despite the Patriots loss :(

My RSS feed seems to be irregularly updating again -- sorry about that.  The Atom feed is current, but it still doesn't work consistently with FeedDemon.

IBM's Lotus unit will introduce on Monday a set of social networking services that functions like a MySpace for office workers and which analysts say marks a renewed challenge to Microsoft Corp.

Lotus is going back to its roots as a pioneer of business collaboration software with a service called Connections that features the latest ways for users to share information via the Web, while giving businesses controls over who sees what data.

Source: IBM renews Microsoft rivalry with new Web software -

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Patriots beat Colts in Xbox 360, lead 6-0 in Tecmo Bowl | Crave : The gadget blog

I guess we'll find out in ~10 hours... 

When the New England Patriots visit the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday in the NFL's AFC Championship game, hopes the result will be a foregone conclusion: the Patriots will win 38-31.

That will be the final score, according to a Madden NFL 2007 simulation of the game performed by on an Xbox 360. This is thanks in part to Colts kicker--and former Patriots hero--Adam Vinatieri missing two field goals. A video of the game's virtual highlights is posted on the site.

Source: Patriots beat Colts in Xbox 360, lead 6-0 in Tecmo Bowl | Crave : The gadget blog / Companies / IT - Google and Microsoft plan data centres

More from the data center wars -- that's >$1B for two of what will eventually be many such data centers.

The internet arms race between Google and Microsoft took a new twist on Friday as the companies announced plans to spend more than $1bn between them on new data centres to handle future rapid growth in online traffic.

Google said it would spend $600m to build a new site to house a server farm in Lenoir, a small town in North Carolina, while Microsoft unveiled plans for a $550m facility in San Antonio, Texas.

Source: / Companies / IT - Google and Microsoft plan data centres

United limits frequent-flier miles

I guess I'll have to fly United one more time -- to deplete my frequent flyer miles... 

UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, the world's second-largest carrier, said Friday that it will cancel frequent-flier miles for customers who go 18 months without using the program.

Travelers can keep their accounts active and retain their miles by flying the airline, using a United-branded credit card or using or donating miles, the Elk Grove Township, Ill.-based airline said.

Source: United limits frequent-flier miles

Microsoft eyed Apple in '03

No major surprises here, but it's interesting that the discovery process for an unrelated legal context is dredging up this stuff. 

Of course, Apple would have refused to support Windows Media Player anyway, so it's moot.

Microsoft, displeased with hardware partners Creative Technology Ltd. and Dell Inc., which made players using Microsoft's Windows Media software, talked about building its own device, according to an e-mail exchange between Windows chief Jim Allchin and media software executive Amir Majidimehr. The correspondence, which was introduced into evidence in a civil antitrust trial against Microsoft in Des Moines, Iowa, was made public Friday.

Allchin, who started the exchange in an e-mail titled "sucking on media players," also suggested that he talk to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs to get the iPod to work with Microsoft's media software for fear the iPod would "drive people away from Windows Media Player." Microsoft introduced its music player, Zune, in November.

Source: Microsoft eyed Apple in '03

Prosecutor in Apple Case Joins Law Firm - New York Times

Strange days indeed 

Christopher J. Steskal, a lead prosecutor of a federal task force investigating the backdating of stock options at Apple Inc. and other companies, is leaving his San Francisco post to join a law firm, the United State Attorney’s office in San Francisco confirmed late Friday.

Mr. Steskal’s decision follows the recent resignation of his boss, United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan.

Source: Prosecutor in Apple Case Joins Law Firm - New York Times

Big Media’s Crush on Social Networking - New York Times

Coincidentally, someone I've known for ~20 years asked me to connect via LinkedIn this morning. I've been a passive user of LinkedIn for a long time, but was surprised this morning to discover that I apparently need to "upgrade" to the $19.95/month version of the service if I want to contact the person directly (I opted to annoy a mutual acquaintance for an indirect connection instead). Ridiculous...

Update: in fairness to LinkedIn, note that I was able to make a direct invitation to connect once I updated my work profile -- since both of us have Lotus Development Corp. experience, apparently I can get by without the extortionist monthly fee.

Social networking is a close cousin of the other obsession of the moment: user-generated content. Of course, there is a difference. User-generated content is basically anything someone puts on the Web that is not created for overtly commercial purposes; it is often in response to something professionally created, or is derivative of it. So, it could be a blog, a message board, a homemade video on YouTube, or a customer’s book review on

Social networking, on the other hand, is something potentially deeper — it represents a way to live one’s life online. In many ways, it is the two-dimensional version of what sites like Second Life aspire to be in 3-D: the digital you. And that ties to another earnestly overused term of art at the moment: engagement.

Source: Big Media’s Crush on Social Networking - New York Times

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Madison Avenue Calling - New York Times

Seeing a trend here?  Advertising ubiquity... 

People often say they do not like advertisements, but that may change if the ads start lowering their cellphone bills.

The Mobio mobile movie times is an example of cellphone content supported by advertising.

Cellular phone carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Cingular, now the new AT&T, are beginning to test and roll out advertising on mobile phone screens, and by next year, cellphone advertising is likely to be more common.

Source: Madison Avenue Calling - New York Times

Google Seeks Patent For Digital Billboard Ads -

Relentless...  All your ads are belong to Google... 

Google Inc. has filed a patent application for technology that would let it show advertisements and merchant offers on digital billboards and kiosks in retail settings, in a move that underscores the breadth of the Internet giant's off-Internet expansion plans.

The patent application, which was filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Dec. 21, covers methods for setting up and managing outdoor display campaigns and for presenting merchant messages, including audio, video and print coupons, on devices based on their location.

Source: Google Seeks Patent For Digital Billboard Ads -

Google's Next Ad Frontier May Be Inside Videogames -

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."  I guess advertising information is high on the list...

One person familiar with the matter says Google for months has been discussing with game publishers the prospect of delivering ads over the Internet into the action of their games.

If completed, a deal with Adscape would form part of an ambitious Google effort to broker advertising across many types of media globally. The Internet company, whose 2006 revenue is expected to top $10 billion on the strength of its online-ad sales, currently is testing systems for selling ads in newspapers and on radio, and has said it plans to extend into television ads. People familiar with the matter say it is discussing a possible agreement with CBS Corp. that would include brokering TV and radio advertisements. Both CBS and Google have declined to comment on any talks.

Source: Google's Next Ad Frontier May Be Inside Videogames -

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . When Being a Verb is Not Enough | PBS

More analysis from the mega-data center wars.  Includes some interesting factoids about BitTorrent and many other topics.

Of course this doesn't answer the question why Google needs so much capacity in the first place, but I have a theory on that. I think Google is building for a future they see but most of the rest of us don't. I'll go further and guess that Google is planning to build similar data centers in many states and that the two centers they are apparently preparing to build here in South Carolina are probably intended mainly to SERVE South Carolina. That's perhaps 100,000 servers for four million potential users or 40 users per server. What computing service could possibly require such resources?

The answer is pretty simple. Google intends to take over most of the functions of existing fixed networks in our lives, notably telephone and cable television.

Source: I, Cringely . The Pulpit . When Being a Verb is Not Enough | PBS

Don’t Call. Don’t Write. Let Me Be. - New York Times

Some handy info

How to get your name off lists, so sales people won’t call, junk mail won’t come, and spam won’t clog the in-box.

Link to Don’t Call. Don’t Write. Let Me Be. - New York Times

Friday, January 19, 2007

Blogger: XML syndication MIA again...

 Argh -- both my RSS and Atom feeds seem to be MIA again, for the last 12 hours or so.  Sorry about that...

Link to Blogger

The Resignation of US Attorney Kevin Ryan: What it Could Mean for Apple

So maybe Apple gets lucky -- again...  Via The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, naturally. 

Kevin Ryan stepped down today as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. That could potentially be relevant to Apple, because Ryan has led the government's effort to prosecute Silicon Valley companies on options-related transgressions, such as backdating. Last July, Ryan brought the first backdating indictment, against two former Brocade Communications executives. Just around that time, he also created a backdating task force . And sources say it is his office that is scrutinizing Apple's books, as well.

Source: The Resignation of US Attorney Kevin Ryan: What it Could Mean for Apple | Microsoft: Peaks, valleys and vistas

Timely snapshot from The Economist.  The article appears to contain some surprising errors, however, e.g., asserting that Vista was written from scratch.  That might have been the original plan, circa 2000, but the restart in 2004 began with Windows Server code.

Computing has changed radically since Microsoft rose to prominence 25 years ago with its operating system for IBM's personal computer. Microsoft unified standards, which made life easier for users and software writers. Both Windows and Office were employed by software developers as platforms for their own applications, nudging Microsoft further towards ubiquity. Now three trends are changing this.

Source: | Articles by Subject | Microsoft

O Brave New World That Has Such Gamers in It - New York Times


The reason World of Warcraft has become such a cash factory (the game has attracted more than eight million subscribers, most of whom pay about $15 a month to play) is that it delivers an overall entertainment experience that goes far beyond what one might expect from a mere game.

For example, in the new addition, as soon as you cross through the mystical Dark Portal and into the new continent Outland, you are immediately confronted with an epic battle taking place on the gate’s steps between the grotesque Burning Legion and the heroic defenders of peace and justice.

Source: O Brave New World That Has Such Gamers in It - New York Times Microsoft To Build $550M Data Center In San Antonio

 The battle of attrition continues unabated...

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) announced Thursday that it will build a $550 million data center here to house its growing online services.

The 400,000-square-foot facility will be the software giant's first major data center in Texas.

The data center will house tens of thousands of computers to host Internet services such as Microsoft's Windows Live offerings, which include everything from instant messaging to email, said Mike Manos, Microsoft senior director of data centers.

Source: Article -

The Cellphone Wears Prada -

I wonder if one of Apple's "... boy have we patented it!" claims on Apple's future phone will assert that buttonless-ness violates Apple's intellectual property...  In any case it's clear that Apple's entry won't be first to market.

 [prada phone]

Both LG and Apple models have digital cameras, play music and videos and can access the Internet. The Prada Phone has a slot for digital memory cards, a feature missing in the iPhone.

The Prada Phone will be available before the iPhone, going on sale in Europe next month and parts of Asia in March. The iPhone, meanwhile, won't reach those places until late this year or early next year. In the U.S., where cellphone carriers largely control the sale of phones, LG is still negotiating to offer the Prada model.

Source: The Cellphone Wears Prada -

IBM Brightens Tech Outlook -

Um, doesn't this sort of dynamic make "expectations" meaningless?... 

Despite the results, which were stronger than analysts had expected, IBM stock fell 5% in after-hours trading, apparently because investors had hoped results would exceed expectations by a little more, analysts said. After declining 57 cents to $99.45 as of 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the shares fell to $94.24 in after-hours trading.

Source: IBM Brightens Tech Outlook -

ENT News Online | News: 'Longhorn' To Be Officially Dubbed...

I suspect Microsoft won't be sorry to retire the "Longhorn" code name, after the client-side history over the last ~6 years... 

It's official. Well, sort of. Windows enthusiast site reported this week that an unnamed Microsoft official has confirmed the final name for "Longhorn" server.

And the winner is (drum roll, please) ... Windows Server 2007.

Source: ENT News Online | News: 'Longhorn' To Be Officially Dubbed...

Q&A with Joost CEO Fredrik de Wahl - AppScout

Lots of useful details -- read the interview 

Our fledgling blog got fledgling video service Joost's CEO, Fredrik de Wahl, on the phone today, and we had a good chat about Joost's delivery system, video quality, and why you won't be able to upload your grainy webcam video of your dorm room to Joost's pristine video service. If you recall, Joost was until yesterday known as the Venice Project, and is geared toward bringing the TV experience to a Web-based platform. Let's jump right into it...

Source: Q&A with Joost CEO Fredrik de Wahl - AppScout

Thursday, January 18, 2007

IBM Press room - 2007-01-18 IBM Reports 2006 Fourth-Quarter Results - United States

On a roll, heading into Lotusphere next week. See the press release for more details.

[...] revenues for Lotus software, which allows collaborating and messaging by customers in real-time communication and knowledge management, increased 30 percent year over year.

Source: IBM Press room - 2007-01-18 IBM Reports 2006 Fourth-Quarter Results - United States


I hate it when that happens: my ~2-year-old Dell XPS 8400 died last night.  Hard drive failure.  Two hours on the phone with Dell support later, a replacement hard drive will be in my driveway a week from tomorrow (it would have been 1 - 2 business days, but it's a special order since apparently the 8400 is now an antique etc.). 

I'd be in big trouble if I weren't routinely using a mix of Groove, Notes, and FolderShare to back up/sync files.  It's still a bit of an inconvenience, as I'll have to reinstall apps etc., but not a nightmare.

Weirdly, the 2-year warranty on the 8400 ends in ~2 weeks -- usually hardware waits until ~2 weeks after the warranty expires to die, in my experience...  Also weirdly, Dell called last night to offer a warranty extension on the 8400, but I declined, pointing out that I could upgrade to a new CPU for ~twice what they proposed to charge me for 2 more years full coverage on the older PC.

So on 1/26 I will have a new hard disk and a fresh installation of Windows XP on the two-year-old Dell -- just in time to upgrade to Vista...

Link to Error Message: STOP 0x000000D1 DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Oh sure, Apple gets the "Pray" cover, and all we get is "How Yahoo Blew It"

Read the post for more details... 

If the truth hurts, then Yahoo's response to Wired is an embarrassing squeal of pain. Rather than grit its teeth and go about its business, the company issued an excuse-laden press release rebutting the article. "Since its inception, Yahoo has seen numerous trends rise and fall and various competitive threats come and go," Yahoo's Nicki Dugan wrote.

Source: Good Morning Silicon Valley: Oh sure, Apple gets the "Pray" cover, and all we get is "How Yahoo Blew It"

Newspaper blogs are up - Business Filter - The Boston Globe

Ironic to see this on a Boston Globe blog, as I'm about to drop my dead-tree subscription to the paper since 1) I can get most of the stories from the Globe's web site, and 2) the paper is rarely delivered in time for me to read it during breakfast... 

New data from Nielsen/NetRatings indicates that newspaper blogs are a hit. Web traffic to the blog pages of the top 10 online newspapers grew 210 percent year over year in December and the overall unique audience to these papers was up 9 percent from last year.

Source: Newspaper blogs are up - Business Filter - The Boston Globe

WIRED Blogs: Listening Post

Cool -- so I'll finally be able to purchase the few Beatles tracks I want but don't have on CD, sometime in May or June... 

Listening Post reported last week that Steve Jobs would soon announce the Beatles' availability on the iTunes store, now, new details have emerged suggesting that in keeping with Jobs' oft-professed love of the Fab Four, the Beatles catalog could become available in the iTunes store next month, on Valentine's Day.  Rumor has it that iTunes will have a three-month digital exclusive on the albums, which have never before been available on a "legit" online music service.

Source: WIRED Blogs: Listening Post

Wired News: How Yahoo Blew It

Long Yahoo/Google article in Wired 

The Yahoo CEO had offered to buy Google for roughly $3 billion, but the young Internet search firm wasn't interested. Once upon a time, Google's founders had come to Yahoo for an infusion of cash; now they were turning up their noses at what Semel believed was a perfectly reasonable offer. Worse, Semel's lieutenants were telling him that, in fact, Google was probably worth at least $5 billion.

This was way back in the summer of 2002, two years before Google went public. An age before Google's stock soared above $500 a share, giving the company a market value of $147 billion -- right behind Chevron and just ahead of Intel.

Source: Wired News: How Yahoo Blew It

Microsoft tries to spread Vista far and wide | CNET

Nice option, although I don't know many people who have multiple Vista-ready PCs 

In what is being billed as a limited time offer, Microsoft will let those who buy a boxed version of Vista Ultimate Edition purchase discounted licenses for up to two more PCs in their house. The cost for each of the additional PC licenses is $50; for that amount, consumers can install the Home Premium version of Vista on the other PCs.

Source: Microsoft tries to spread Vista far and wide | CNET

Take an Internet Call and Some Notes, or Just Doodle - New York Times

The form factor that wouldn't die...


You can’t put the world in your pocket, but you can put the Web there, with Nokia’s N800 Internet tablet, which is about the size of a paperback (3 by 6 by ½ inch). Like the earlier N770, it lets you browse the Internet, send and receive e-mail and instant messages, download audio and video and get R.S.S. feeds. The N800 adds a Web cam for videoconferencing and a microphone for Internet phone calls.

Source: Take an Internet Call and Some Notes, or Just Doodle - New York Times

Apple Profit Rose 78% in Quarter - New York Times


The strength of the company’s quarter was underscored by Apple’s far outstripping Wall Street’s expectations. The consensus expectation of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was for earnings of 78 cents a share; Apple reported earnings of $1.14 a share.

While its mainstay Macintosh computer line did reasonably well, growing 28 percent from a year ago, the company’s business focus has clearly shifted toward mobility. The company’s desktop computer business grew only 5 percent from a year ago, but its portable business was up 79 percent, largely on the success of its MacBook line of notebook computers.

Source: Apple Profit Rose 78% in Quarter - New York Times

Brightcove raises $59.5m in new round of financing - The Boston Globe

(Full article/snapshot) 

The Internet television company Brightcove, of Cambridge, said it closed a $59.5 million funding round. The round, led by AllianceBernstein, Brookside Capital, and Maverick Capital, also includes investments from The New York Times Co., parent of The Boston Globe, and Transcosmos Investments & Business Development Inc. Brightcove's technology enables media and entertainment companies to run video clips on their websites. Senator Barack Obama , Democrat of Illinois, used the Brightcove technology to embed a video player on his website when he disclosed he was exploring a run for president, Brightcove said.

Source: Brightcove raises $59.5m in new round of financing - The Boston Globe

Some Bling for Your Blog - New York Times

First blogs (and wikis) made millions of people into web authors (with no advanced training/brain transplant/etc. required), and now many people are becoming application developers of sorts through blog embellishments in the form of interactive widgets.  Fascinating. 

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 12 million Americans now maintain a blog. Widgets are elements, often in the left or right columns of a blog, that enhance its usefulness or aesthetic appeal. (The term “widgets,” confusingly, can also refer to compact applications that operate on a computer’s desktop.)

“Widgets pull content or services from some other place on the Web, and put it into your personal page,” said Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures in Manhattan.

Source: Some Bling for Your Blog - New York Times

Personal Technology -- Vista: Worthy, Largely Unexciting

I think this is the closest Walt Mossberg has ever come to saying something nice about a Microsoft product (this is the no-subscription-required version).

A new version of Microsoft Windows, the world's most popular and important computer operating system, will finally arrive for consumers on Jan. 30. It has taken the giant software maker more than five years to replace Windows XP with this new version, called Windows Vista -- an eternity by computer-industry reckoning. Many of the boldest plans for Vista were discarded in that lengthy process, and what's left is a worthy, but largely unexciting, product.

Source: Personal Technology -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wired News: Why Joost Is Good for TV

Joost snapshot 

Like a lot of major-league geeks, Dirk-Willem van Gulik doesn't pretend to be a fan of television, at least in its traditional incarnation. His vice is Lego. But the Venice Project's chief technical architect also knows as much as anyone about megaweight bitstreams. He made his name figuring out how to transmit large scientific data files, and he's a long-standing director and former president of the foundation that supports open source Apache software, the world's most popular Web server. He's very clear about the economic folly of using big servers to mainline video to millions of desktops. "You can try to cut costs by allowing only crappy little images. You can limit the run times or make money selling hardware. But eventually the bandwidth bills will eat you alive. YouTube, iTunes, and the rest of them haven't got a chance. We just hope they take their time realizing it."

Source: Wired News: Why Joost Is Good for TV

PS3s in stock show demand may be softening, analyst says -

Perhaps some people decided to set aside the $599 for an iPhone instead... 

"Our channel checks yesterday of 52 retail stores, from boutiques to big-box retailers, showed that 28 of the 52 stores had PS3 consoles in stock, while none had Wii consoles in stock," American Technology Research analyst Paul-Jon McNealy said in the research note.

Source: PS3s in stock show demand may be softening, analyst says -

BBC NEWS | Business | Weak sales hit Symantec profits


Blaming weak sales and higher costs, it said its net profit for the three months to 29 December should now come in between 10 and 11 cents a share.

This compares to Symantec's previous forecast of between 14 and 15 cents.

It now expects full-year profits to come in between 36 to 39 cents a share, down from 46 to 56 cents.

Source: BBC NEWS | Business | Weak sales hit Symantec profits

Top Security Companies Align to Support Consumer Launch of Windows Vista: Anti-virus and family safety solutions bolster built-in security of newest version of Windows.

Looks like everybody decided to get along after all... 

Microsoft Corp. today announced that leading security providers are committing to delivering fully tested and compatible versions of their consumer and small-business security solutions by Jan. 30, when the Windows Vista™ operating system becomes generally available on new PCs and in retail stores around the world. In addition, today many independent software vendors pledged to deliver a wide range of innovative applications and services designed to further enable safer online experiences for families and home users in time for the consumer launch.

Source: Top Security Companies Align to Support Consumer Launch of Windows Vista: Anti-virus and family safety solutions bolster built-in security of newest version of Windows.

MySpace Moves to Give Parents More Information -

Given the relatively low barriers to entry, I suspect it'll be easy for MySpace customers to move to other alternatives... 

In a bid to appease government critics, News Corp.'s popular Web site is planning to offer free parental notification software -- a move that risks alienating its young users.

Parents who install the monitoring software on their home computers would be able to find out what name, age and location their children are using to represent themselves on MySpace. The software doesn't enable parents to read their child's e-mail or see the child's profile page and children would be alerted that their information was being shared. The program would continue to send updates about changes in the child's name, age and location, even when the child logs on from other computers.

Source: MySpace Moves to Give Parents More Information -

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Netflix to be delivered on the Internet - Yahoo! News

So maybe information worker productivity will be okay, at least through June... 

The Los Gatos-based company plans to unveil the new "Watch Now" feature Tuesday, but only a small number of its more than 6 million subscribers will get immediate access to the service, which is being offered at no additional charge.

Netflix expects to introduce the instant viewing system to about 250,000 more subscribers each week through June to ensure its computers can cope with the increased demand.

Also, maybe not Flash-based:

Another major drawback: the instant viewing system only works on personal computers and laptops equipped with a high-speed Internet connection and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. That means the movies can't be watched on cell phones, TVs or video iPods, let alone computers that run on Apple Inc.'s operating system.

Source: Netflix to be delivered on the Internet - Yahoo! News

The Legal Tangles Of Data Collection -

 Scott McNealy once noted, "You have zero privacy anyway.  Get over it."  Maybe not so much "get over it" as plan accordingly.

E-mail is a slightly different matter. The law makes a distinction between intercepting e-mail in transit and obtaining stored e-mail from a service provider's servers. The distinction made sense in the 1980s and early 1990s when downloaded e-mail often sat only on the user's computer. If the government wanted the records, it had to go to the e-mail recipient.

These days, most e-mail is held and stored by third parties. So the government claims the authority to read someone's most intimate communications, including stored chat sessions, by serving a subpoena -- no probable cause required. A person may never even know that this has been done, as there is no legal requirement for an Internet service provider to provide notice. In most cases where the government subpoenas the e-mail, it demands that the third party keep that fact confidential, at least for a while.

Source: The Legal Tangles Of Data Collection -

An Airport Security Game That Rivals the Real Thing - New York Times

Sign of the times... 

As little animated passengers march up to the checkpoint, you must click on icons of various prohibited items depicted in their carry-on bags or on their persons, while not letting the lines back up. (A laptop without a mouse is not advisable).

The trick is, news flashes on the bottom of the screen keep changing the rules on what’s allowed and what’s not. You have to be quick to click on newly prohibited or allowable items, among them Sioux war bonnets, tubes of Preparation H, cattle skulls and conch shells.

Source: An Airport Security Game That Rivals the Real Thing - New York Times

BBC NEWS | Technology | Skype founders move into net TV

With this, BitTorrent, and the new Netflix service, I suspect information worker productivity may be declining in the near future...

"We are trying to replicate the complete television experience," he explained as he flicked through channels using the Joost interface on a widescreen television.

"It's full-screen, broadcast quality, you've got instant channel flipping, and interactivity - a viewer can come to us and get all their TV needs."

The service is still undergoing trials, but thousands of people have taken up an invitation to download the software and try it out.

But the big question is what is there to watch?

Source: BBC NEWS | Technology | Skype founders move into net TV

Startup hopes 'Tubes' metaphor has legs -

Adesso snapshot 

After downloading the Tubes application from Adesso Systems Inc., Windows computer users can create dozens of such tubes and fill each one with up to 2 gigabytes of content -- room for about a few hundred songs, for example.

Tube creators then invite others to join a Tube (the recipients must also download Adesso's application to their PCs) and can grant those partners varying privilege levels. Those include locking them into a read-only mode or letting them add or remove files of their own.

Source: Startup hopes 'Tubes' metaphor has legs -

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Netflix unveils instant viewing

More Netflix details 

"We are going into this with the knowledge that consumers want to watch [media] in various ways and we want to be there for them," said Frances Manfred, a senior vice president for NBC Universal. "For now, though, we know television is the vastly preferred option."

With its 8-year-old service on the verge of mailing out its billionth DVD, Netflix has been in no rush to change the status quo either.

But Hastings realizes Internet delivery eventually will supplant DVD rentals shipped through the mail, although he thinks it will take another three to five years before technological advances and changing studio sentiment finally tip the scales. By then, he hopes to have 20 million Netflix subscribers ready to evolve with the service.

Source: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Netflix unveils instant viewing

Netflix [PC movie streaming press release]

I wonder if this is Flash-based, like the existing Netflix preview feature. 

The new immediate viewing feature differs from current services in that it does not require the often lengthy downloading of a large video file. The Netflix feature uses real-time playback technology that allows video to be viewed at virtually the same time it is being delivered to a user's computer. Following a one-time, under-60-second installation of a simple browser applet, most subscribers' movie selections will begin playing in their Web browser in as little as 10 to 15 seconds. Movies can be paused and a position bar gives viewers the ability to immediately jump to any point in the movie. In all, the instant watching feature requires only Internet connectivity with a minimum of one megabit per second of bandwidth. The more bandwidth a consumer has, the higher quality the video displayed, ranging from the quality of current Netflix previews to DVD quality with a three-megabit-per-second connection.

Source: Netflix

Donald Ferguson: [Microsoft] Technical Fellow

 Big loss for IBM

Dr. Donald Ferguson is a Microsoft Technical Fellow in Platforms and Strategy, in the Office of the CTO. Don focuses on both the evolutionary and revolutionary role of information technology in business. Understanding the trends, architecting and piloting the implications for existing and new products and evangelizing Microsoft’s vision are the key aspects of Don’s job.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Don was an IBM Fellow and Chief Architect for IBM’s Software Group (SWG). Don provided overall technical leadership for WebSphere, Tivoli, DB2, Rational and Lotus products. He also chaired the SWG Architecture Board (SWG AB). The SWG AB focused on product integration, cross-product initiatives and emerging technology. Some of the public focus areas were Web services, patterns, Web 2.0 and business driven development. Don guided IBM’s strategy and architecture for SOA and Web services, and co-authored many of the initial Web service specifications.

Thanks for the link, Mike.

Source: Donald Ferguson: Technical Fellow

H.P. to Report an Advance in Adaptable Circuitry - New York Times


Hewlett-Packard researchers have developed a novel way to create flexible electronic circuits that could make it routine by the end of the decade to modify and upgrade the circuitry in computer-based consumer products even after they have been sold.

The technology grows out of an advance in nanocomputing, which involves creating circuitry on a molecular scale and making it interact with today’s silicon wires and transistors.

Source: H.P. to Report an Advance in Adaptable Circuitry - New York Times

Netflix to Deliver Movies to the PC - New York Times

Chapter 2... 

On Tuesday, Mr. Hastings will begin to answer that question. Netflix is introducing a service to deliver movies and television shows directly to users’ PCs, not as downloads but as streaming video, which is not retained in computer memory. The service, which is free to Netflix subscribers, is meant to give the company a toehold in the embryonic world of Internet movie distribution.

Source: Netflix to Deliver Movies to the PC - New York Times

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog: Ultimate iPhone FAQs List, Part 2

More iPhone questions; an excerpt: 

Markoff: “What about all those plugins that live within Safari now, like Flash or like Java or like JavaScript?”

Jobs: “Well, JavaScript’s built into the Phone. Sure.”

Markoff: “And what are you thinking about Flash and Java?”

Jobs: “Java’s not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.”

Markoff: “Flash?”

Jobs: “Well, you might see that.”

Source: Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog

Documents Borne by Winds of Free Speech - New York Times

 I suspect this isn't going to go well for Eli Lilly.

A showdown is scheduled for a federal courtroom in Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon, where words like “First Amendment” and “freedom of speech” and “prior restraint” are likely to mix seamlessly with references to “BitTorrent” and “Wiki.”

It is a messy plot that pits Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant at the center of several articles in The New York Times suggesting that the company tried to hide or play down the health risks of its leading antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa, and lawyers representing various individuals, organizations and Web sites — all arguing that their online speech has been gagged.

Source: Documents Borne by Winds of Free Speech - New York Times

Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Now Likely to See an Ad - New York Times


Supermarket eggs have been stamped with the names of CBS television shows. Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance. Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways. US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. And the trays used in airport security lines have been hawking Rolodexes.

Marketers used to try their hardest to reach people at home, when they were watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines. But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn.

Source: Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Now Likely to See an Ad - New York Times

Personal computers still at Apple's business core - The Boston Globe

Timely snapshot 

Despite the hoopla surrounding Apple's iPod music players, and the hype over upcoming Apple home entertainment servers and cellphones, the company still makes a lot of money on computers. During the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Apple sold more than 39 million iPods, compared to just 5.3 million Macs. But the Macs brought in nearly as much revenue, $7.4 billion, as the $7.7 billion in iPod sales, and have a better profit margin. Besides, since the rise of iPod, Apple's computer business has been better than ever, with unit sales up 61 percent over the past two fiscal years.

Source: Personal computers still at Apple's business core - The Boston Globe

Thirteen reasons to doubt the iPhone hype | Crave : The gadget blog

Some interesting questions 

The honeymoon is over for the iPhone.

It's not that we're sick of it already (well, maybe a bit), it's just time for it to answer some questions. Otherwise, it may join the Sony PS3 in the realm of "tech that looks absolutely amazing but is far too expensive for most people to even consider buying."

Source: Thirteen reasons to doubt the iPhone hype | Crave : The gadget blog

Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way -

This will no doubt be quite popular... 

You're a government worker in China, and you've just gotten a memo showing the true face of the regime. Without any independent media around, how do you share what you have without landing in jail or worse? is a Web-based way for people with damning, potentially helpful or just plain embarrassing government documents to make them public without leaving fingerprints. Modeled on the participatory, online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the site is expected to go live within the next two months.

Source: Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way -

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Home Server Preview

Missed this before.  I want one... 

When most people hear the phrase "Windows Home Server," they think of digital media files and sharing, and sure enough, WHS does offer these facilities via Windows Media Connect. That is, content on your home server can easily be shared with other compatible devices, including Media Center PCs, XP- and Vista-based PCs, and Xbox 360s. What's amazing about WHS, however, is that it also offers these facilities remotely, via the Internet. To make this work, Microsoft is providing WHS users with a free Internet address via Windows Live. This address will give you a remote interface into your entire home network, not just WHS. You will be able to access any shared folders remotely, or even control individual PCs remotely.

Source: Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Home Server Preview

Hard-Luck Software -

Another review of Dreaming In Code -- excerpt: 

Software inventor Mitch Kapor is caught in a time warp. His self-funded project to create the ultimate organizer of personal information -- yours, mine and everyone else's -- has slipped further and further behind schedule since the first lines of code were written in 2002. Mr. Kapor's most famous program, the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, was one of the original killer apps that lured nontechies to buy personal computers in 1983. But Mr. Kapor's new project, dubbed Chandler, is a study in how programmers get sucked into "software time," a surreal and open-ended schedule-spiral where the harder you work, the faster the goal recedes.


To make things worse, the journalist who came onboard to document Mr. Kapor's innovative approach went away instead with field notes for a book on "why software is hard." Scott Rosenberg, a cofounder of the online magazine, spent three years tagging along with Mr. Kapor's nonprofit team of programmers as they tried to build Chandler. "Dreaming in Code" interweaves the tale of the frustrated development crew with Mr. Rosenberg's quest to understand why Chandler's "slow-motion trainwreck" seems to be the most common result of ambitious software projects. Why does it take so much longer than anyone plans to develop a new program? Why doesn't it do what we expected? Why, why, why does it still crash?

I still look forward to reading the book...

Source: Hard-Luck Software -

Anytown, Online - New York Times

First time I've run across AmericanTowns -- interesting 

Pleasantville is one of thousands of municipalities on the AmericanTowns service, which is based in Fairfield, Conn. Like other community-oriented sites, AmericanTowns offers users the chance to post information free, to bolster postings by site editors.

Jim Maglione, the company’s co-president, said the Pleasantville site is like those of Huntington, N.Y., and Wilton, Conn., in that the information on the site is almost entirely from users. In addition to listing information about lost pets, users post scheduled meetings of religious and community organizations, suggestions for family activities and links to news from local papers, among other things. Community organizations can also create their own Web pages on the site for free.

Source: Anytown, Online - New York Times

RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service beats Apple's iPhone - Jan. 12, 2007

On a note related to the closing paragraphs of the Randall Stross article in the previous post (South Koreans have unlimited music for $5/month after the market for CD sales collapsed there), a timely reality check on RealNetworks. 

Yes, Apple's latest toy is seductive. But the iPhone does not represent the future of music. Fortune's David Kirkpatrick introduces the jukebox in the sky - RealNetworks' Rhapsody.


We're entering an era of ubiquitous wireless broadband, where data will be available to us wherever we go. In that kind of world, we will not need iTunes. I doubt most people will want to buy or "own" music at all. It will be far more useful to pick from a giant online library and listen to whatever we want wherever we are.

$10/month for Rhapsody at this point.

Source: RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service beats Apple's iPhone - Jan. 12, 2007

Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs - New York Times

Timely DRM reality check from Randall Stross -- covers both iPhone and Zune. 

STEVE JOBS, Apple’s showman nonpareil, provided the first public glimpse of the iPhone last week — gorgeous, feature-laden and pricey. While following the master magician’s gestures, it was easy to overlook a most disappointing aspect: like its slimmer iPod siblings, the iPhone’s music-playing function will be limited by factory-installed “crippleware.”

Source: Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs - New York Times

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pattern Finder: Open Text: Adjusting to the New Order

Timely enterprise content management reality check from my Burton Group colleague Guy Creese -- see the full post for more on OpenText's recent IT analyst day. 

Open Text is absolutely right: SharePoint has changed the ECM market. It won't happen overnight -- this year will be a year of mental adjustment, as enterprises start to realize just what SharePoint 2007 offers. Many MOSS/WSS 2007 implementations won't take place in 2007, but rather next year and beyond. Nevertheless, the ECM market will start moving away from content management application silos and migrating towards an infrastructure approach. To its credit, Open Text understands the new order.

Source: Pattern Finder: Open Text: Adjusting to the New Order

Knock, Knock, Microsoft. Its SanDisk - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog


In a standing-room-only press conference, Eli Harari, the chief executive of SanDisk, announced the introduction of its latest digital music player, the Sansa Connect, and set it on a head-to-head collision with the Zune.

Like the Zune, the Sansa Connect is WiFi–enabled, meaning that it, like the Zune, can wirelessly access music. Where it basically departs from the Zune is where you find many of its chief advantages. Whereas the Zune’s rather thick, rectangular body isn’t the easiest fit into a shirt pocket, the Connect is svelte and contoured and is swallowed up by most pockets.

Source: Knock, Knock, Microsoft. Its SanDisk - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog

Good Morning Silicon Valley: With all due respect, sir, I don't think we can backdate the iPhone trademark

 Lots of speculation in the press this morning about whether this was some kind of brilliant free-advertising move on Apple's part.  If that was the intent, I think it's going to backfire -- as free advertising for Cisco rather than Apple.

Looks like Cisco's been iPh0wn3d. Apple has not agreed to license Cisco's iPhone mark, as the networking giant implied earlier this week (see "Keyboards across country shorted out by 'iPhone drool' "). Nor does it intend to, apparently.

Source: Good Morning Silicon Valley: With all due respect, sir, I don't think we can backdate the iPhone trademark

Business Filter - Business Weblog - The Boston Globe: Airport security bin ads

Sign of the times 

The next time you're waiting in line with your shoes, jacket and liquids in hand and your laptop bag gouging your shoulder, glance down at the plastic bin you're loading your stuff into. SecurityPoint Media is a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company that is supplying bins covered with ads to the Transportation Security Administration.

Source: Business Filter - Business Weblog - The Boston Globe

At Heart of Cisco's iPhone Trademark Lawsuit: A Desire for Open Standards -

The plot thickens... 

Cisco also disclosed that it had been asking Apple, in exchange for using the name, to help Cisco's product work together with Apple's. Mark Chandler, Cisco's general counsel, summed up its account of what happened in a blog posting Wednesday night: "What were the issues at the table that kept us from an agreement? Was it money? No. Was it a royalty on every Apple phone? No. Was it an exchange for Cisco products or services? No.

"Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future."

Source: At Heart of Cisco's iPhone Trademark Lawsuit: A Desire for Open Standards -

U.S. Scrutinizes Grant to Jobs -

Reality check: this is not going to go away... 

Apple's backdated stock options are the subject of criminal and civil probes by the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco and the SEC. A decision on whether to bring criminal charges in the Apple case isn't expected for months.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment, except to repeat that the company has provided results of an internal options investigation to the SEC and U.S. attorney and that the investigation cleared Mr. Jobs of misconduct.

Source: U.S. Scrutinizes Grant to Jobs -

At Mac-Less MacWorld, Apple Completes Transition to Consumer Electronics Company

Another timely reality check from Paul Thurrott 

No, Jobs has clearly sensed that there are changes brewing in the market. While Apple's yearly revenues for Macintosh computers have barely edged up in over five years, the company's revenues of iPods and related products and services have skyrocketed. In 2006, in fact, iPod-related revenues will almost certainly match those of the Mac for the first time. Apple, it seems, is becoming a consumer electronics company.

Jobs admitted as much indirectly. First, he announced that the company was changing its name from Apple Computer Inc. to Apple, Inc., a tacit admission that Macintosh is no longer the focus. Second, he said after his keynote that the company now has four major product categories: Mac, iPod, Apple TV, and iPhone. Two of those products were formally announced in the past six months, one yesterday.

Source: At Mac-Less MacWorld, Apple Completes Transition to Consumer Electronics Company

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . What's in a Name? | PBS

See the post for more analysis, including to 3G or not to 3G

So Apple changed its marketing, diluting its whole "iThis" and "iThat" naming strategy in deference to Elgato, a company they could buy with a weekend's earnings from the iTunes Store, but chose to go toe-to-toe with Cisco, a company that's bigger, richer, and just as mean as Apple any day.

If an iTV can become an Apple TV, why can't an iPhone become an Apple Phone?

I think it will.

Source: I, Cringely . The Pulpit . What's in a Name? | PBS

Steve Jobs Walks the Tightrope Again - New York Times

Timely reality check 

Indeed, when the Macintosh computer — which was also designed by a small group shrouded in secrecy — was introduced in January 1984, it was received with the same kind of wild hyperbole that greeted the iPhone this week. But a year later, the shortcomings of the first-generation Macintosh cost Mr. Jobs his job at the company he founded nine years earlier with a high school friend, Stephen Wozniak.

In light of the iPhone’s closed appliance-style design, it is worth recounting the Mac’s early history because of the potential parallel pitfalls that Mr. Jobs and his company may face.

Source: Steve Jobs Walks the Tightrope Again - New York Times

Demand Outpaced Supply for New Game Consoles - New York Times

Mixed blessing for Sony 

During December, Sony in particular turned in surprisingly strong sales — but not for its new PlayStation 3.

In a development that industry analysts said speaks to the strength of the video-game market and the lure of low prices, the nation’s best-selling console during the holiday season was Sony’s PlayStation 2, a six-year-old system.

Americans bought 1.4 million PlayStation 2s during the period. That was more than the Xbox 360, which sold 1.1 million units; the Nintendo Wii, which sold 604,000; and the PlayStation 3, which sold 491,000.

The sales figures for the PlayStation 3, and in particular the Wii, fell below the expectations of industry analysts.

Source: Demand Outpaced Supply for New Game Consoles - New York Times