Thursday, October 31, 2002

BetaNews | Microsoft Maps Out Road to Greenwich
eWEEK - Microsoft's Fitzgerald: Web Services Over the Hump Fitzgerald: The baseline standards are there; they're in place, they work. I mean SOAP [Simple Object Access Protocol] and WSDL [Web Services Definition Language] and UDDI [Universal Description, Discovery and Integration]. There are obviously some higher-level capabilities that are evolving and they're evolving quite rapidly. You look at things like WS-Security and WS-Transaction, BPEL [Business Process Execution Language], those things are on a very rapid trajectory and you've got a lot of people involved in that process. At the same time, you've got a coherent approach where people aren't saying here's a security standard and here's a transaction standard and we only care about transactions so we didn't think about security. We and a couple other companies are really focused on the holistic view of the architecture and making sure all the different pieces work together. But I feel really good about the trajectory of that next wave of Web services standards that builds on the baseline SOAP and other protocols.
The Register: Borland comeback continues with tools purchase "Underscoring Borland's acquisition is a sense of double take. Just three years ago Borland was burning through $10m a quarter and seemed doomed to sink, as Fuller took the helm. What followed was a period of restructuring and a drive towards profitability.
Shelton said the TogetherSoft deal was part of that ongoing process to re-launch Borland. "The first phase was plugging the leaks, the second phase was to bail the water and now we are high in the water and going places," Shelton said. "I like seeing Borland come back to life," Rosenberg added."
The New Leader of I.B.M. Explains His Strategic Course "Mr. Palmisano told the business executives and industry analysts in attendance that on-demand computing would allow corporate customers to purchase computing resources as needed as a utility-style service, almost like electricity. Beyond cost savings, Mr. Palmisano explained that the utility model would help companies become more flexible and fast-moving by integrating more closely internal operations like procurement, marketing and manufacturing. The company also expects it to improve communications with partners, suppliers and customers."
So Watson Sr. was right -- in the future, business will only need about five (really really big) computers... Articles > View > Survey sees embedded Windows, Linux in dead heat "According to data recently compiled by Evans Data Corp (EDC), Windows and Linux are running neck-and-neck in terms of developer use for future projects. The newest installment of EDC's Embedded Systems Developer Survey, fielded in July 2002, shows 30.2% of embedded developers expect to use Linux in their next embedded project, while 16.2% say they will use Windows CE and another 14.4% say they will use Windows XP Embedded -- giving Windows Embedded operating systems a slight edge over Embedded Linux, at 30.6% vs. 30.2%."

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Borland Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire TogetherSoft Corporation for $185 Million in Cash and Stock This is major milestone on the Java/IDE/professional developer market. Also suggests WebGain Visual Cafe is dead after all (TogetherSoft was going to pick up the WebGain pieces not ingested by Oracle, but I doubt Borland will be eager to do so).
Microsoft to limit access to Office 11 - Tech News - "Microsoft started beta testing Office 11 last week, but some early participants found that they had been dropped from the program if they had planned to use older versions of Windows. They were dropped because Microsoft doesn't plan to offer Office 11 for Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, Me or NT. The Redmond, Wash.-based company already dropped support for Windows 95 with the release of Office XP in May 2001."
FORTUNE.COM - Fast Forward - Making Online Searches More Useful More raves for Grokker

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Network Tries to Foil Ad Skipping Stimulus-response...
Windows XP Media Center Takes Digital Media Out of the Home Office "A May 2002 report by Forrester Research found that in the U.S.:
60 percent of consumers listen to music on their PC
65 percent use their PC to manage their photos
63 percent use their PC to copy or write audio CDs, and 44 percent use their PC to watch DVDs"
DateCam - Scene_1 Kinda scary application of Flash Communication Server MX - Comcast Posts Strong Growth In Cable-Modem Subscribers "After a disappointingly slow start that staggered an expectant Internet industry salivating to serve customers with high-speed connections, broadband usage has been accelerating to the point where it is reaching critical mass. For the past 18 months, households signing up for broadband connections, mostly through cable modems or telephone digital-subscriber-line service, have more than doubled to reach 16 million, or 13% of U.S. homes....
With more than 100,000 households a week signing up, there should be 20 million homes with broadband by the end of next year. That is close to the magic number entertainment and telecommunications companies have been awaiting to begin developing content targeted at high-speed users more aggressively. Dozens of content providers are now working on programs for the high-speed user, with many of them likely to charge fees."

Monday, October 28, 2002

Mercury News | 10/27/2002 | Dan Gillmor: Tools coming for connecting information "But we need more sophisticated methods for gathering, massaging and making connections among all the pieces of information that enter our lives each day -- everything from e-mail to Web pages to phone numbers and more. So when I see useful tools, I pay attention." via Tomalak
Nonprofit to Create Open Source Software "Individuals and small organizations are at a disadvantage today," he said, "and I'm an old PC guy. I'm in favor of end-user empowerment and decentralization." Mr. Kapor said Chandler was aimed at filling an unmet need for smaller organizations, not at unseating Microsoft in large companies. Groove Networks, a company backed by venture capital and founded by the Lotus Notes creator, Ray Ozzie, has also produced a peer-to-peer e-mail and collaboration program, but it, too, is primarily aimed at large companies, Mr. Kapor said.
Microsoft Tablet PC technology a stroke of genius Curious that Hiawatha Bray apparently feels he has to put MSFT down before complimenting the Tablet PC

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Doonesbury Town Hall and Web Presence- Daily Dose Classic Doonesbury on email realities circa 2002 (note: URL corrected mid-morning 10/28)
In Defense of the Boom More thought-provoking Michael Lewis His Masters' Voices "...So learned and idea-enamored is Bloom that he cannot discipline his own celebratory sensibility. There is too much, the cohort is simply too large, and Bloom is too eager to play passionate tour-guide to his many beloved writers, everyone from Plato to Kierkegaard, Whitman to Ellison. Every page announces and declares; quotations and gnomic interpretations abound. But no one genius can be got -- represented -- in a few short pages, and Bloom can only telegraph his fondest insights. Like: "The prophetic, Zarathustra-aspect of Nietzsche is now as archaic as Freud's credo: 'Where it was, there I shall be.' " A thesis topic for somebody, to say the least. But Bloom drops this nugget, and a hundred like it, without bending over to pick it up. This is a problem, for without a stronger thread of argument the whole never does exceed the sum of its parts. Still the parts are, many of them, luminous, and the pages are crowded with exuberant personality. Bloom's outsize ambition and reach make the idea of greatness attractive once again."
'Genius': The Hall of Fame "...But what Bloom loves he loves with a largeness of heart that he transforms into a fundamental critical principle, and at a time when critics vie with one another to see who can manifest the greatest degree of suspicion, such generosity is nothing to laugh at."
A New Company Tries to Sort the Web's Chaos "...Grokker builds a visual map of the general categories into which documents fall by using what computer software designers call metadata, which describes each Web page or document. The program currently works with the Northern Light search engine, the Amazon online catalog and as a tool for scanning a user's own PC file collection.
The basic ideas underlying the Groxis technology were developed by Jean-Michel Decombe, a French computer researcher, who in the late 1990's worked for the Silicon Valley start-up Metacode, which was developing automatic categorization. When Metacode was acquired in 2000 by Interwoven, another Silicon Valley content management concern, Mr. Decombe joined with Mr. Hawken and R. J. Pittman, a computer scientist and venture capitalist, to acquire the visualization technology he had been working on."

Friday, October 25, 2002

Perspectives: Mitch Kapor's impossible dream - Tech News - "I hope Kapor proves me wrong, but his ambition to build an operating system-independent Microsoft Outlook killer (my words, not his) rests upon the optimistic assumption that a better product will always trump inertia and thus loosen Microsoft's virtual hammerlock on the information technology world."
Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Design Notes "A little more info about our approach:
Chandler will represent chunks of information as items, much as Agenda did. An item may consist of an email, an appointment, a contact. It can also be a document. An item can be thought of us having a body and a set of attributes (or meta-data).
Views are formed (logically) by specifying a query and running that query against the repository of all items. As in Agenda, an item can appear in more than one view. This is the underlying mechanism by which we will do the equivalent of "virtual folders".
Views can be of a single item type, e.g., email, or than can be of mixed types, e.g., all items relating to a single subject, regardless of whether they are emails, attachments, contacts, or appointments.
Every item in the system will have a unique URI, so it is referenceable, both from the user's own machine and remotely.
Items can be linked in arbitrary ways as well.
Whereas Agenda was limited to a single hierarchy of categories (equivalent to attributes), in Chandler we are using an RDF-compliant schema as the backbone. It will come with a basic schema for PIM's and it will be extensible, although we are still thinking about how extensible it will be, e.g., in terms of interoperability between different schemas."
(Agenda lives... sort of.)
Jacks? Dolls? Yo-Yos? No, They Want Cellphones "Among the second graders at the Kulosaari Elementary School, the most fashionable object of desire this year is not a Barbie or a Power Ranger or even the latest Japanese cyberpet. It is a Nokia cellphone, accessorized with a personal logo on the screen."

Thursday, October 24, 2002

XML-Journal - Co-Inventor of XML Says Office 11 is "A Huge Step Forward for Microsoft" "So it seems to me," he [Tim Bray] concludes, in delightfully prophetic mode, "that when the huge universe of MS Office documents becomes available for processing by any programmer with a Perl script and a bit of intelligence, all sorts of wonderful new things can be invented that you and I can't imagine." Via Slashdot
Mitch Kapor's Weblog "We are trying to level the playing field by giving small & medium organizations collaborative tools which are as good as what large companies have had. We think we can do this in a way which doesn't have the administrative burden of Notes or Exchange. We're trying to be faithful to the original spirit of the personal computer -- empowerment through decentralization."
A Palmtop for the Prosecution "The Sony Clié was as good a smoking gun as investigators could get in a white-collar crime.
When the police in San Jose, Calif., broke up an identity-theft crime ring two weeks ago, they used search warrants to seize and examine the hand-held organizers of the suspects, including that of the man the police said had been the ringleader, Julian Torres, 21.
Stored on Mr. Torres's Clié, investigators said, were the names of more than 20 victims along with their Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers and other personal information. Mr. Torres's To-Do list included tasks like picking up materials at the local office supply store to make fake checks, the police said. E-mail messages contained confirmations of transfers from victims' bank accounts. He had even used the Clié's digital camera to take pictures of his partners in crime. It was hard for Mr. Torres to deny the Clié was his, the police said, given that he had entered his parents' phone numbers under "Dad" and "Mom.""
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft launching its latest Internet service today "If you haven't heard about MSN 8, you probably will soon.
Microsoft's latest version of its Internet service launches today, accompanied by a $300 million marketing blitz that includes nationwide television spots, a Lenny Kravitz concert in New York's Central Park and a woman in a butterfly costume sailing across Lake Washington."
Microsoft Releases Office 11 Beta 1 "A new Office 11 feature called Smart Documents makes its debut in Beta 1. This feature lets users link data in Office documents to one or more back-end data sources, without having to leave the Office application. Smart Documents are based on technology from XDocs, which Microsoft revealed earlier this month at the MEC 2002 trade show." - Mossberg: New MSN Online Service
Outshines Its Rival AOL
"Ten years ago this month, I became the first national columnist to recommend an obscure, fledgling online service called America Online over its larger rivals. In that column, I noted that AOL had just 200,000 members at the time, but I called it "the sophisticated wave of the future among such services."
In the years since, I have consistently backed AOL as it grew to 35 million members in the face of sneering comments from the techie class and predictions of its doom. I stood by AOL because it focused squarely on nontechnical mainstream users, and because its main rival now, the Microsoft Network, or MSN, with about 8.7 million members today, was markedly inferior.
In the past few years, however, AOL has seemed to lose its way. While its mainstream users became more adept at going online and more reliant on e-mail, the service stubbornly retained its simplistic e-mail system and one-size-fits-all Welcome Screen. Worse, it treated members as little more than sales prospects. Meanwhile, MSN got better and better.
Now, both services have released their latest versions. After testing these two for weeks, I believe MSN has now surpassed AOL. MSN 8 offers a better online experience than AOL 8.0, in my view, even for the average, mainstream users to whom AOL has always catered."

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

The Register: Novell touts MySQL with Netware 6 "In recent years MySQL has soared in popularity as web developers in particular have turned to the database as a cost effective way to develop a fully functional site. Rather than spend millions on a larger system like Oracle, web developers have found that they can build and deploy database-driven sites at half the time and with considerably less cost. Better still, you don't have the transaction lag that you get from many of the larger systems - giving web sites blistering performance - for free.
This, we expect, is where Novell sees itself making some gains. Bundle NetWare with MySQL, advise on scripting languages like Perl and PHP, underpin the whole thing with Apache and suddenly a whole raft of new users will have access to a phenomenally powerful database system with the many benefits of a world-class network operating system, NetWare 6. Further to that of course it will take MySQL into new territories which won't do it any harm at all."
Microsoft Agrees to Acquire Vicinity Corporation to Extend Value Of Location-Based Technology for Customers and Developers Good thing Jeff Papows likes competing with MSFT so much (see ComputerWorld interview below); looks like he has another opportunity to do so. - The Mossberg Solution: New Refrigerator Surfs Web, Takes Dictation, Makes Ice "At $8,000, this behemoth, with a built-in Windows PC on top and a 15.1-inch color flat-panel screen in the door, is probably the largest, least-mobile digital gadget in the world. But it might be worth considering -- especially if you're sick of spending your money on Porsches and summer homes in the Hamptons, and you've promised your live-in chef a kitchen upgrade. ... Right now, this is an amusing, even slightly silly, toy for the rich. But if it had a few improvements, and could be sold for maybe a $1,000 or $1,500 premium over the $1,200 or so normal refrigerator, it might get real. Then we could move on to inventing the Internet garbage disposal."

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Lotus founder preps Outlook alternative - Tech News - "The organization's "personal information manager" software will have many of the same features as Microsoft Outlook, with an emphasis on tools that allow people to work collaboratively in groups and share information, said Kapor, who is funding the project with $5 million from his own pocket. The software will incorporate Jabber, an open-source instant messaging system, as well as an easy-to-use e-mail encryption system that Kapor's organization is developing, he said."
Doonesbury blogs Also see Oct 22 strip (cool -- it's a CF site)

Monday, October 21, 2002

Adobe extends server push to Acrobat - Tech News - "Adobe is scheduled to release its own versions of Accelio's products--Form Server, Workflow Server and Output Server--within the next two months. This would give it a long lead over Microsoft, which last week announced plans for a 2003 release of XDocs, electronic forms software based on its Office desktop applications."
Mitch Kapor's Weblog "We are trying to make a PIM which is substantive enough and enticing enough to make people want to move to it from whatever they are currently using, which statistically is probably Microsoft Outlook. I'm not going to bash Outlook here. Suffice it to say that while feature-rich, it is very complex, which renders most of its functionality moot. Its information sharing features require use of Microsoft Exchange, a server-based product, which is both expensive and complex to administer. Exchange is overkill for small-to-medium organizations, which we think creates on opportunity we intend to pursue (as well of course as serving individual users)
Have I mentioned it's going to run on Macintosh, Linux, and Windows and will not require a server? This is an ambitious goal, but we are convinced is possible to achieve using a cross-platform tool kit. (We are working with wxWindows/wxPython).
Also, everything is going to be fully open sourced."
The Register: Kapor's open source 'spreadsheet for the mind' "But if it offers us only part of what made Lotus Agenda's appeal so insanely great, it will be very welcome indeed."
Mercury News | 10/20/2002 | Dan Gillmor: Software idea may be just crazy enough to work "For more than a year, Kapor and his small team have been working on what they're calling an open-source ``Interpersonal Information Manager.'' ... The software is being designed to securely handle personal e-mail, calendars, contacts and other such data in new ways, and to make it simple to collaborate and share information with others without having to run powerful, expensive server computers."
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Web concept for fuel cells has promise "If only things would work out the way Jeremy Rifkin describes in his visionary books, what a wonderful world it would be."

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Scientific American: Claude E. Shannon: Founder of Information Theory Shannon, Turing, and a few others keep resurfacing in unexpected domains...
Paul Krugman: For Richer "Even if the forms of democracy remain, they may become meaningless. It's all too easy to see how we may become a country in which the big rewards are reserved for people with the right connections; in which ordinary people see little hope of advancement; in which political involvement seems pointless, because in the end the interests of the elite always get served."

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Ballmer sees free software as Microsoft's enemy No. 1 "...Ballmer a few years ago summed up Microsoft's competition by using the acronym NOISE -- Netscape, Oracle, IBM, Sun and Everybody else. Netscape Communications Corp., now owned by AOL Time Warner Inc., isn't on Microsoft's radar anymore. Ballmer now talks less about Sun and Oracle Corp. and more about Linux and IBM's WebSphere program, which works with Linux."

Friday, October 18, 2002

O'Reilly Network: Treo 300: DSL to Your Hand [October 17, 2002] "I've been using a Treo 300 for over a week now. Using it is just like the experience of going from a dialup, 56k modem to a DSL line: "Oh, yeah. This is the way it was meant to be." ...
The Handspring Treo 300 is a combination PalmOS PDA, Sprint PCS cell phone, and Internet handset, with an email client and a Web browser as the primary network applications. I still carry a pocket knife, but with that one exception every other useful device I carry around is collapsed into this one product."
Interwoven manages enterprise content Interwoven Vice President of Product Management Kevin Cochrane: "I think Groove [has] the slickest product I've seen in years. It's very cool. And the great thing about something like Groove is, out of the box Groove works with our product. So if you wanted to do the peer-to-peer sharing of assets today using Groove on Interwoven, there's no integration required, you just simply re-enable that. If you wanted to just do peer-to-peer, Groove is the best platform for pure end-user to end-user peer-to-peer. Interwoven and the resources that we'll develop in our R&D don't want to mimic and re-create Groove's pure peer-to-peer functionality. Groove will work out of the box with Team Site; even if it becomes part of Office, we're still going to leverage it. But where you're really looking to transform profits and information, that's a set of services that I personally don't see someone like a Groove or even a Microsoft thinking about at a really deep level. That's what our value-add is."
Came across this article via a Groove-focused blog (wherein the last few sentences were truncated...) - Microsoft Net Doubles As Sales Rise by 26% Impressive factoid: "Right now, about 63% of Windows-powered computer desktops run a higher-end "business" version of Windows, as opposed to a consumer-oriented version. Microsoft gets about twice as much money when computer makers install that high-end software. Rick Sherlund, of Goldman Sachs, says only about 47% of desktops were running professional Windows a year ago."
PRISMIQ MediaPlayer
"The PRISMIQ MediaPlayer sits atop any television, stereo, or entertainment center and links to any computer via a home network or Ethernet connection. It eliminates the requirement to be physically present at the PC in order to experience digital movies, MP3 audio, and digital pictures. The PRISMIQ MediaPlayer also connects to the Internet through the home network for relaxed, TV-based web surfing, instant messaging, personalized TV-displayed news, and easy access to emerging next-generation broadband services."
Came across a semi-random reference to this product in one of the email newsletters I receive; don't know details but it looks like a potentially interesting alternative to the WXP Media Center approach.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Q&A: Former Lotus CEO Papows on his move to start-up - Computerworld A challenge for other Lotus alum: how many factual errors can you find in this interview?...
O'Reilly Network: HP acquiring BEA? [October 16, 2002] This looks like an instance of the press/pundit full-employment act -- lots of speculation about BEA-related scenarios suggested by Forrester, most of them nonsensical.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Microsoft shuffles deck on Exchange "Two years ago, Microsoft stuffed a number of collaboration features in Exchange Server with great fanfare. Last week, the company started to tell network executives why it now plans to pluck them out." (thanks to BillC for pointer)
The Register: Adobe moves into document management "Adobe Systems Inc will on Monday announce a slew of new products targeting enterprise customers, ComputerWire has learned, and the company will for the first time use a direct sales team to peddle the software, Jason Stamper writes.
The new products to be announced are: Forms Server, which renders electronic forms and publishes them to any platform or device; Workflow Server, which enables companies to distribute documents according to business rules; Output Server, for publishing data output from ERP applications according to predefined templates; Document Server, a publishing and document personalization tool; and a new version of its Acrobat Reader."
Gateway snubs Microsoft - Tech News - These PR-centric deals don't seem to be doing much to sustain Corel's stock, however (nice pop on earlier announcements, but rapid decline)...
AOL Says It Will Eliminate Some of Its Pop-Up Ads "AOL Time Warner said yesterday that its AOL service would eliminate pop-up advertisements for other companies as it sought to revive the allegiance of its members, reinvent its fading advertising business, and fend off an assault from Microsoft's MSN service." Let's hope this starts a trend...
Exchange's uneasy dominance "On the customer side of the equation, Microsoft is painfully aware that no more than one-quarter of its Exchange 5.5 installed base has upgraded to Exchange 2000, in spite of that latter version's having been on the market for more than two years. Users' beefs with Exchange 5.5 and Outlook include the products' premium pricing, performance and scalability problems; substandard offline access functionality; inflexible public folders; and vulnerability to viruses and spam."
InformationWeek: Blogs Made Easy > October 15, 2002 Interesting that Trellix is considered a blogging tool in this article; also surprising that it'll apparently cost $29.95/month, while Blogger is free and Radio UserLand costs $39.95/year.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002 - Sagging General Electric Stock Makes Microsoft Most Valuable " Microsoft Corp. is once again the world's most valuable company. ... The Redmond, Wash., software company sports a market capitalization of $262.1 billion based on Friday's close. That's less than half its peak value, but good enough to eclipse the sagging General Electric Co., whose market cap is $240.9 billion." - Microsoft Removes 'Switch' Ad "Microsoft Corp. on Monday pulled a breezy advertisement purportedly by a free-lance writer who switched to using Windows software from rival Macintosh, amid questions about whether the woman actually exists. An employee at a public relations company hired by Microsoft, Valerie G. Mallinson of Shoreline, Wash., later acknowledged she was Microsoft's mysterious convert, and Microsoft confirmed it. Microsoft's effort was an apparent response to a popular national campaign by Apple Computer Corp. featuring names, photographs and testimonials from customers who began using Macintosh technology because of frustration with Windows. In Microsoft's ad volley, an unidentified woman wrote that she jumped to Windows after eight years as a loyal Macintosh user and boasted that the "process of switching was as easy as the marketing hype had promised." Trouble erupted after amateur sleuths at a popular technology Web site,, noticed that a photograph showing the woman with a cup of coffee was a stock image available for purchase elsewhere on the Internet."
Microsoft, Linux gaining ground "While the battle between Microsoft Corp. and the open-source software movement dominates headlines, another phenomenon is shaping the marketplace -- at least for servers used by businesses.
It turns out the dueling approaches to software development are both gaining momentum at the expense of Sun Microsystems Inc. and other companies that customize hardware and develop unique flavors of the Unix operating system."

Monday, October 14, 2002 - books: chapters/index Free access to Creating Applications with Mozilla book, with comment: "Note: If you would like to read these chapters in a handy pre-printed format there are many places where you can order the book."
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft finds couch potatoes indifferent to iTV "The software giant has run into two problems: its programmers, designing a new system from scratch, are working in unfamiliar territory and wrestling with technical snags; and the cool market reaction suggests passive TV viewers are reluctant to sit up and interact with their set."
Site for the Truly Geeky Makes a Few Bucks "But far away from the buzz and the glamour, Slashdot survives and thrives. Run out of a basement office in a suburb of Ann Arbor, Mich., Slashdot has remained true to the slogan: "News for nerds. Stuff that matters."
The secret to the online publication's moderate success? "They didn't buy a Super Bowl ad," joked Sean Bergeron, a fan from Virginia.
It's a little more complicated than that, but not much. The company keeps its expenses low. Its creators write about what interests them. And — here's where the business model may not be everyone's cup of Bawls Guarana energy drink — they don't seem to care if the operation actually makes any money."

Friday, October 11, 2002

Borland to Acquire StarBase, Acquires BoldSoft "On the J2EE front, Borland now boasts a tools stack including a database, appserver, IDE, source control, profiler, and management tools."
MIT tries free Web education - Tech News - "MIT embraced a comparison to the open-source model, in which the source code for both grass-roots and corporate software titles is published, developed and licensed free of charge.
"We are fighting the commercialization of knowledge, much in the same way that open-source people are fighting the commercialization of software," Potts said."
The Register: 'It's Tough' for Symbian as Psion sees WinCE device surge "Raf Jezierski, director mobile computing Psion Teklogix international, told ComputerWire that WinCE-powered netpads - the company's ruggedized, tablet-style mobile computing terminals, which are sold with the tagline "It's tough" - already make up 15% of the model's sales pipeline. This is despite the devices only being introduced three months ago and only shipping for one month."
Not unlike Apple having a subsidiary selling Windows PCs...

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Changing Channels, on the PC "If the placement conundrum doesn't bother you, you'll find the Windows XP Media Center Edition nicely designed and really fun to use. In fact, you may like it so much that you'll trade in your Swarm card for a membership in AGAMOTWCR.: Americans Who Grudgingly Admit That Microsoft Occasionally Takes a Worthwhile Creative Risk."
Much more positive review than WSJ link below.
Borland to Acquire StarBase, Acquires BoldSoft Relatively small but very significant deals.
Q&A: How "XDocs" Alters the Paradigm for Gathering Business-Critical Information "Jean Paoli, the XML architect behind "XDocs" at Microsoft, spoke to PressPass about how companies can use the tool to better manage their business processes. Paoli, who is one of the co-creators of the XML 1.0 standard with the W3C, believes that "XDocs" represents a revolutionary leap in XML technology. He has been a significant player in the worldwide XML community since 1985, when the technology was then known as SGML." Also see XDocs home page. - Personal Technology: Mossberg on HP Media Center PC "...But the Media Center PC is done in by its TV function. The TV picture it produces is fuzzy and dark, even on the $750 flat-panel monitor H-P supplied me. Microsoft says this is a function of the lower resolution of TV compared with that of a modern PC monitor. The company suggests that users can improve the TV picture by upgrading the video card or hooking up a standard TV to the computer, but these steps would totally defeat the purpose of buying the costly Media Center in the first place. ...
Secondly, if the Media Center is meant to serve as the shared TV in a room with roommates, it could be a bust. When one of the roommates needs to use the PC to write a paper, or do e-mail, it's unavailable as a TV for the rest of the group. The small TV window you can run while doing other things is useless for group viewing. A cheap TV set would be better. ...
So, my recommendation on this PC is decidedly mixed. For music, photos, DVDs and video clips, it's very nice, and provides new capabilities in a small room. But as a TV receiver, it's suitable only for people willing to put up with a really bad picture."
(He has lots of complimentary things to say as well, earlier in the article, but I doubt they matter much if the TV features don't work well.)
Mobile Junkies Reshaping Society? New book overview: "As Rheingold puts it: "Mobile communications and pervasive computing technologies, together with social contracts that were never possible before, are already beginning to change the way people meet, mate, work, war, buy, sell, govern and create.""
Microsoft erred on licensing, CEO admits "With 20-20 hindsight, I probably wouldn't have made any of these changes when the economy was going to go south," Ballmer said in an interview at a conference here hosted by market researcher Gartner Inc.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Next Stop, "Greenwich": Enterprise IM Takes Shape with Platform Roadmap "Reeves: Microsoft released the first enterprise instant messaging product as part of Exchange 2000. We were excited by customer feedback, which told us that enterprise instant messaging is an important scenario for Microsoft customers, because it helps information workers get their jobs done more effectively. Two key points came from that feedback: first, make the platform extensible, and also make it usable in more than just the core application. So, we looked at the underlying communications protocol, and moved away from one used only by Exchange instant messaging, toward an industry standard protocol called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP is approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which shows it already is a communications industry standard. It provides us with a base for presence, as well as the ability to support API's and all of the possible real-time content: text, speech, files, video."
Mission to "Jupiter": Building the Connected Business "Essentially, our vision for "Jupiter" is a project that aims to create a single, unified offering that will enable companies and end-users to analyze and react to the information, people and business processes of a truly connected business. To do this, the project will integrate Microsoft's three best-of-breed e-business servers -- Microsoft BizTalk Server, Microsoft Commerce Server, and Microsoft Content Management Server -- and leverage the inherent Microsoft assets, including Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, our Windows application server and Microsoft Office." - MEC 2002 - What's New in Outlook 11 "With current versions of Outlook, losing a network connection or working with a slow or unreliable network connection produces horrible results. If Outlook loses its network connectivity, error messages pop up before Outlook freezes completely. Outlook 11 eliminates this problem. Details have not been fully released, but Outlook 11 will work in what is termed "cached Exchange mode." When a fat pipe (a high-speed network connection) is present, Outlook will run much like it does now, where headers and message bodies will be downloaded as new messages arrive. When Outlook detects a slower pipe, either a dial-up or a cellular modem connection, only message headers will be downloaded. If a user wants to display a message, the entire message body will then be downloaded from the server. Outlook's default behavior will be to work against its local cache." Better late than never...

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

The Register: Microsoft consolidates Server map "The biggest shake-up, though, is in Microsoft's emerging e-business server platform. E-business server lead product manager Dave Wascha declared Microsoft's intention to componentize and integrate the products, called the Jupiter family, with componentization scheduled for the first half of 2004."
Two Magazines Are Shut and a Third Revamps "Mutual Funds magazine, a personal finance magazine owned by AOL Time Warner, and Upside magazine, a privately held publication in Silicon Valley, announced yesterday that they were shutting down. And Red Herring, another Silicon Valley publication, announced that it was selling itself to a majority investor in an effort to restructure financially."

Monday, October 07, 2002

Read Darwin -When Bad Things Happen to Good Ideas - KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT "Knowledge management is a solid concept that fell in with the wrong company. Software companies, to be precise." Via Camworld
Dueling 8.0's: America Online vs. Microsoft "MSN still needs a lot of help. It said last week that it added a million customers the last nine months, less than half AOL's growth in the same period. That gave No. 2 MSN a total of 8.7 million customers, compared with 34 million for AOL. AOL also still makes money; MSN does not." - NTT, DoCoMo Develop Way For Human-Contact Data Swap "Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and NTT DoCoMo Inc. have jointly developed technology to allow people to exchange data via their personal digital assistants just by touching each other, sources close to the companies said Sunday. ... The technology, which takes advantage of the human body's conductivity, will be applicable in various situations, and the companies will try to commercialize it as a new communications medium, the sources said."

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Rival to Pokémon Keeps Market Hot These things are great case studies in exploitive and multi-modal marketing (to children, via TV, toys, cereal boxes...) and artificial economies (carefully controlled supply to sustain ridiculously high prices etc.). Our kids are addicted, of course, and all trading cards have now been banned at the local elementary school. Scary stuff.

Friday, October 04, 2002

O'Reilly Network: PHP and PostgreSQL Open Sesame [October 03, 2002] "In 4 or 5 months, Sesame Workshop's sites were rebuilt using PHP and PostgreSQL, running under Apache and Linux on Intel-based hardware. The new sites also use add-ons popular in the PHP community: PHP Accelerator for caching compiled scripts, JPCache for caching generated pages, and ADOdb for database access and query caching." Web Services Satire Good satire via theserverside
Shirky: Weblogs and Publishing "Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing" via Tomalak.
The Seattle Times: Microsoft: U.S. antitrust negotiator in Microsoft case resigns Apparently nobody told this guy that the pattern is to go from an oil company to the federal govt, not the other way around...
Documentum To Acquire eRoom Technology, Inc. "Documentum (Nasdaq: DCTM), the leading provider of enterprise content management (ECM), today announced an agreement to acquire privately held eRoom Technology, Inc. In the acquisition, Documentum will issue approximately 7.7 million shares of its common stock and pay approximately $12.6 million in cash for all of the outstanding shares of eRoom’s capital stock, based upon eRoom’s current capitalization."
Congrats to Jeffrey and Pito.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

.NET Magazine - Web Services: Decide Between J2EE and .NET Web Services "Microsoft has reinvented its distributed computing development and deployment platform around XML and Web services. Therefore, the .NET platform is less mature than most Java-based application servers, where vendors have tended to view Web services support more as an add-on to a proven technology. However, Microsoft seems to have done the right thing by taking the plunge. The big question in all of this, of course, is whether the "embrace and extend" approach is superior to the "redesign and rework" approach when it comes to Web services. Are Web services sufficiently different from the features and functions that motivated J2EE and Windows DNA originally? Given the tremendous interest and activity around them, the answer seems to be yes."
Cellphones, and Then Some: The Latest High-Tech Mergers "For the moment, you can't have it all. The leading candidates offer economy and delicious software (the T-Mobile Sidekick); beauty and luxury (the Kyocera 7135); or shirt pocketability (the Handspring Treo). To find all of these virtues in a single device, you'll have to wait another year or two."
Microsoft Reports Progress in Averting Computer Crashes "The company has used the reporting technology while testing its new products. During the testing period for its Visual Studio .Net application that was released in February, error reporting permitted the company to log and fix 74 percent of all crashes. The software also permits Microsoft to assist outside software developers. About 450 companies have taken advantage of the database of error reports to fix problems." (And the NYT misspells Procter & Gamble!)

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

ePeriodicals: Microsoft's Killer App for Tablet PC? "ePeriodicals technology will allow developers to create complex documents, like eMagazines, that can be read on a variety of devices, including the Tablet PC. The technology will manage the full publishing process—from the layout and creation of the documents; to their full editing life cycle; to their delivery via a push-type online subscription mechanism, say sources familiar with the plans. ... ePeriodicals is built around a new rendering engine that will make use of the next-generation ClearType technology that is built into the Tablet, as well as of the souped-up eBook Reader that is integrated into the Tablet PC operating system. ePeriodicals also will provide a set of automated layout tools for template creation and automated file creation, sources added." via Tomalak
Boston Globe Online / Business / Lotus thinks teamwork with new products "When it was acquired by IBM Corp. seven years ago, Cambridge-based Lotus Development Corp. vowed to retain an aura of independence. Yesterday, with its biggest new product release in over three years, Lotus left no doubt that the software maker now sees itself as a team player."
Ray Ozzie's Weblog "Five years ago today was my first day working on Groove..." Big week for milestones in the collaboration space.
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Telecom slide kept Teledesic grounded "Craig McCaw's dream of an Internet in the sky fluttered to Earth this week."

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

O'Reilly Network: Has Java passed its prime? [October 01, 2002] "According to this article: "Creeping featurism may drive programmers away from Java to use newer languages that come along. Java cannot be all things to everyone, but it will probably try to do so... As Java's complexity increases, its utility as a teaching language may decline. Just as C and C++ kicked Pascal and BASIC out of the classroom and were themselves kicked out by Java, Java may get kicked out by whatever new language comes along. Java has many faults and perhaps tries to do too much, between its ever-growing standard APIs and the evolving language and virtual machine. In Java, it's very awkward to express dynamic behavior, such as introspection and adaptation. If dynamic computing structures become as important as static ones, scripting languages may make their long-predicted jump to the fore of software development. But Java will secure its niche, and like Cobol, keep many programmers happily employed.""
Apple pulls iPod in France - Tech News - "The Mac maker confirmed Monday that it has stopped shipments in that country for the next 15 days as it works on a fix that will keep the device from producing more than the 100 decibel maximum allowed under French law." Only in France... - Windows 2000 running on the Microsoft Xbox Interesting project; I wonder when MSFT will support MSFT apps running on Xbox