Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Making Design Decisions Great goals for Chandler. Lotus Agenda might still be around today if it had been similarly guided.
Pew Internet & American Life Project": Counting on the Internet "With over 60% of Americans now having Internet access and 40% of Americans having been online for more than three years, the Internet has become a mainstream information tool. Its popularity and dependability have raised all Americans’ expectations about the information and services available online. When they are thinking about health care information, services from government agencies, news, and commerce, about two-thirds of all Americans say that they expect to be able to find such information on the Web. Internet users are more likely than non-users to have high expectations of what will be available online, and yet even 40% of people who are not Internet users say they expect the Web to have information and services in these essential online arenas."
Economy Intrudes on Dreams of New Services "The coming year, cellphone evangelists say, will be the year of 3G in Europe. Of course, that's what they said about 2002.
3G, or third-generation cellular service, which uses high-capacity networks to deliver multimedia services in addition to phone calls, has become the perennial tease of telecommunications — its arrival eagerly awaited and endlessly predicted, yet seemingly always further in the future."
WSJ.com - Risking a Flop, Microsoft Places Bets on 'Longhorn' "... The massive Cairo project simply "imploded under its own weight," says Gartner Inc. analyst David Smith. Still, some aspects of the failed system did make it into other Microsoft products, and Microsoft says Longhorn will contain innovations that weren't in Cairo. Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin, the company's Windows czar, acknowledges the similarities between Cairo and Longhorn, but says the previous effort failed because "we didn't have the technology we needed to pull this off ... Now we think we do."

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Beyond "Couch Potatoes" "The fundamental challenge for computational media is to contribute to the invention and design of cultures in which humans can express themselves and engage in personally meaningful activities. Cultures are substantially defined by their media and tools for thinking, working, learning, and collaborating. New media change (1) the structure and contents of our interests; (2) the nature of our cognitive and collaborative tools; and, (3) the social environment in which thoughts originate and evolve, and mindsets develop.
Unfortunately, a large number of new media are designed from the perspective of seeing and treating humans primarily as consumers. In personally meaningful activities, the possibility for humans to be and to act as designers (in cases in which they desire to do so) should be accessible not only to a small group of "high-tech scribes," but rather to all interested individuals and groups. While the core message of the article applies to cultures, mindsets, media, technologies, and educational systems in general, my examples are mostly drawn from computational media, and more specifically from human computer interaction as a particular domain."

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Microsoft Loses a Round to Rival Sun "Had Microsoft not undercut Java the way it did it would likely be more popular on desktops today," said David Smith, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "But now there are other alternatives. This is certainly a plus for Java and a negative for Microsoft, but the fact is you can't turn the clock back."
WSJ.com - Microsoft to Carry Sun's Java After Judge Rules for Its Rival "Judge Motz, who during the hearing compared Microsoft's behavior against Java to skater Tonya Harding's knee-capping attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, rejected those arguments. His written opinion also seems broadly skeptical of Microsoft executives; in one footnote, he credited the testimony of a Sun executive who failed to persuade Judge Kollar-Kotelly, while dismissing two other Microsoft officials for sharing "what some might characterize as their employer's imperialistic inclinations."
Two other judges have been removed from government cases involving Microsoft for showing bias against the company. Sam Miller, an antitrust lawyer with Folger Levin & Kahn in San Francisco, called the must-carry decision "unusual," and a "strong rebuke" to Microsoft that might also help the case filed by AOL's Netscape unit. But Mr. Miller didn't think Judge Motz's opinion could necessarily be construed as biased, noting Judge Motz also has ruled in Microsoft's favor in a consumer class-action case against Microsoft."

Monday, December 23, 2002

Microsoft’s Top 10 Challenges for 2003 Predictions/projections from Directions on Microsoft
NY Times: Many Tools of Big Brother Are Up and Running "The early version of the Total Information Awareness system employs a commercial software collaboration program called Groove. It was developed in 2000 by Ray Ozzie, a well-known software designer who is the inventor of Lotus Notes. Groove makes it possible for analysts at many different government agencies to share intelligence data instantly, and it links specialized programs that are designed to look for patterns of suspicious behavior."

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Company Men (washingtonpost.com): 'Bad Boy Ballmer' by Frederic Alan Maxwell and 'Sloan Rules' by David Farber "What drives this intensely driven man? With no real answer to this central question, Maxwell resorts to vague insights drawn from pop psychology, suggesting that "competition addict" Ballmer may really be driven by an unfulfilled childhood need to be loved. Even by pop-psych standards, that's not much of an answer. Ballmer may come across as a manic buffoon, but he didn't get where he is today on enthusiasm alone. Unfortunately, the book that truly explains the secrets of his success remains to be written."
NY Times: Bush Administration to Propose System for Monitoring Internet "The Bush administration is planning to propose requiring Internet service providers to help build a centralized system to enable broad monitoring of the Internet and, potentially, surveillance of its users."

Friday, December 20, 2002

I, Cringely | The Pulpit: Go to the Back of the Bus -- Intel's Plan to Crush Competitors by Making More and More of Your Next PC "It all comes down to earnings growth. In order to keep its earnings growing in a market that is no longer enjoying 20 to 30 percent annual revenue growth, Intel has to make sure it makes more and more of the next computer you buy. The ultimate goal is to make sure that computer has an Intel processor with Intel support chips on an Intel motherboard. Then it is only a short step to having Intel make the whole computer, which they will gladly do. Maybe it will work, but this strategy is going to lead to interesting responses from Intel competitors and customers alike. Fortunately, such responses can only be good for the consumers, for you and me."
"The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Japanese supercomputer dashes past competition It's a machine so fast it performs more computations per second than there are stars in our galaxy. It's so large it's housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar.
Running 35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest supercomputer in the world, almost five times faster than the next best one and as fast as the top five U.S. supercomputers combined."...
"IBM, flush with a $290 million government contract to build two supercomputers, says it will regain the No. 1 title in 2004 with a 100-teraflop machine that would be nearly three times faster than Earth Simulator.
Seattle-based Cray has won a $90 million contract to build a supercomputer for nuclear-weapons simulations at Sandia National Laboratory, also by 2004. And it has taken on a government challenge to create, by 2010, a computer that will be measured in petaflops — 1,000 trillion calculations per second."
The supercomputer leapfrog game continues...
Boston Globe Online: Sharing the riches -- Mitch Kapor uses his personal fortune to create free software he says will outdo Microsoft Outlook ''One of the certain things in the marketplace is that Microsoft products tend to advance when they are challenged,'' Marc Andreessen, a creator of the Netscape Communications browser that prompted Microsoft's abrupt shift toward Internet-based software, said in a recent interview with the Globe. ''It won't necessarily put price pressure on them, but at least it will cause them to maybe innovate.''

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The Register: VB developers take back seat at BEA "BEA Systems Inc is back-pedaling on efforts to attract Visual Basic developers to its WebLogic Workshop Java programming environment, in what appears a strategic reversal, writes Gavin Clarke.
After 12-months' rhetoric, San Jose, California-based BEA told ComputerWire Microsoft Corp's Visual Basic developers are no longer a priority as the company now focuses on building grassroots market share against Java rivals like IBM."
Xbox Sales Surge "Microsoft said Tuesday that sales of its Xbox video game console have surged in the past 30 days, an indication that the system might be gaining ground on competitors such as the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. In a letter to analysts, the software giant said that it sold 468,000 Xbox units in November, nearly double the number it sold the previous month. The company also reported sales of 2.4 million Xbox software titles, with five titles topping the 100,000 units sold mark. Finally, Microsoft reported that the Xbox Live Starter Kit, which enables Xbox users to play games online with people around the country, has sold over 136,000 copies.
Still, market leader Sony posted numbers that, predictably, leave Xbox in the dust. The company reported sales of over 1 million PlayStation 2 units "in the first couple of holiday shopping weeks," and says that its network adapter, which is required for online games, will sell over 400,000 units by the end of the year."

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

"Office 11" for Developers "Office 11 smart document technology will enable developers to create solutions that give users more useful, contextual, and customized content in the Office task pane. Developers can create these document-based solutions by using underlying XML schemas—which define the structure of a Word 11 or Excel 11 document—and a custom DLL. As users navigate through a smart document, the solution will detect the cursor location, and then in the task pane display the most relevant information—such as context-sensitive actions, help with the current task, suggested content, or supporting data or links to related information. The applications respond to user input and offer a significantly enhanced user experience."
Includes useful summary of new XML and smart tag features as well.
SONICblue Introduces First of its Kind Networked DVD Player "SONICblue™ Incorporated (Nasdaq: SBLU), introduced the world’s first Networked DVD player, the GoVideo® D2730. Besides top quality, standard DVD playback, the D2730 brings all the pictures, music and video clips stored on your computer onto your TV. The user-friendly PC software included makes set up incredibly simple, and TV viewing is as easy as pressing a button on the DVD remote control. The product is so exciting that the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) recently selected it as a 2003 Innovation Award winner."

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

xmlhack: Microsoft Office embraces XML Some details:
"Word 11 has been transformed into a XML editor and can be used to edit any XML document, assuming you can write a W3C XML Schema for it. The presentation can be configured and the validation is done on the fly like spell-checking. A standard XML format has also been added for "regular" Word documents.
Excel XP already exports documents as XML. Excel 11 adds support for arbitrary documents and maybe more interesting the possibility to import values from XML documents as can be done with DBMS. The selection of the values to import is done through drag and drop and the links are stored as XPointer expressions.
XDocs is a new application to define and use document-oriented forms which are more similar to the forms in Lotus Notes than to those on the Web. User input may be stored together with the form in a XML document after a schema defined by Microsoft or in external XML documents with arbitrary schemas.
Access 11 can export its content as XML using your own schema.
Visio has its own XML format and can also read arbitrary XML documents and display their content in its drawings. Visio is the first Microsoft application to support SVG, and can load and save SVG documents.
Front Page 11 includes a WYSIWYG XSLT editor to define XSLT transformations through drag and drop."
Microsoft unveils entertainment software - Tech News - CNET.com "The technology, called Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition for Windows XP and part of the Microsoft Plus product line, is designed to give users of standard PCs more features for editing and playing with media files, without turning to entertainment-friendly Apple iMacs or upgrading to more expensive systems like Microsoft's own Media Center PC." This $19.95 addition must annoy some of the recent Media Center PC customers...
Bloomberg.com : Microsoft Mulling Lower-Priced Office for Consumers "Microsoft gets about a third of its sales from Office. Revenue from Office grew less than 1 percent in the fiscal year ended June 30, as customers balked at spending several hundred dollars for a new version of the software when many already have an older one, analysts said. The program also faces competition from cheaper products such as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice and the freely distributed OpenOffice."
2003 Preview: The Year Microsoft's Enterprise Computing Infrastructure Expands, Unites Around .NET Very handy reference list -- summary overviews of products planned for 2003

Monday, December 16, 2002

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: What's New About Chandler "By treating items as the first-class elements of data, it is then possible for the user to obtain an integrated view of all the information in her universe. One simple feature which takes advantage of this is that when you use Chandler you will never have to look in multiple places to find what you're looking for. In today's world, you use your PIM to look for information sent by email, and you use a file manager to locate information contained in a document stored as a file. You may have to use other tools to find other types of information."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Sites to watch for news of what's next When media collide... (If the Boston Globe were really serious about blogs, they'd fix their broken URL scheme.)

Saturday, December 14, 2002

CNN.com - Review: 'Trek: Nemesis' its own worst enemy - Dec. 13, 2002 I don't understand the harsh reviews; I saw the movie today and thought it was better than average for the ST:TNG franchise.
Novell previews new GroupWise collaboration suite More not-dead-yet Novell: "Novell currently has some 34 million users of its GroupWise application, according to figures from Framingham, Mass.-based IDC."
The Lives and Death of Moore's Law More Moore; from Business 2.0 reference

Friday, December 13, 2002

ZDNet: Novell: Not dead yet "If your company already has a significant NetWare investment, and you want to move applications to the J2EE platform, the Nakoma release is well worth investigating. The rise in popularity of Java, coupled with the interest in application servers as a core enterprise server offering, has given Novell a new lease on life. And with the Nakoma release, Novell is in a great position to take advantage of it."
O'Reilly Network: Why JSP Sucks So Hard [December 13, 2002] Interesting perspective; I wonder if XForms would do the trick for this author
The World According to Google [Steven Levy] "Eleven years ago computer scientist David Gelernter wrote of the emergence of “mirror worlds,” computer-based reflections of physical reality that can increase our understanding and mastery of the real world. Google is the ultimate mirror world, reflecting the aggregate brilliance of the World Wide Web, on which is stored everything: cookie-bake results, Weblogs, weather reports and the Constitution. And because Google is now the default means of accessing such information, the contents of Google’s world matter very much in the real world."
ObjectWatch Newsletter #42: J2EE versus .NET; The Latest Benchmark Roger Sessions fans the Pet Store benchmark flames:
"Admittedly, the TMC benchmark is not perfect, but no benchmark is. Overall, we owe TMC a debt of gratitude for a difficult job well done. The following conclusions are, I believe, strongly supported by the TMC benchmark:
* The cost savings of using Linux are illusionary. The actual hardware/software cost of a WebLogic on Linux or WebSphere on Linux system will be more than twice that of a comparable .NET on Windows system.
* Either a WebLogic or WebSphere system will cost at least six times as much to program as the equivalent .NET system.
* Either a WebLogic or WebSphere system will cost at least five times as much to administer as the equivalent .NET system.
* Either a WebLogic or WebSphere system will, in the end, support one half to one third the user load as will the equivalent .NET system, at least when those systems are run on the Windows operating system."
(Thanks to Wolfgang Hilpert for the pointer)

Thursday, December 12, 2002

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: New Tablet, Media Center PCs sell slowly for Microsoft Maybe that's because, as with the Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard/mouse (and indeed with all Microsoft wireless keyboard and mice), they're almost impossible to purcahse? Interesting twists on Xbox -- also see News.com: Xbox may boost Microsoft earnings
WSJ.com - Rational Software Up 3% On Rumors Of Second Bidder "Shares of Rational Software Corp. (RATL) saw heavy volume Wednesday after rumors spread on the Internet that a second company could make a bid for the software maker." ...
Gary Abott, an analyst at RTX Securities, said the chances of a second bidder emerging are "highly unlikely."
"There is a constituency out there that believes IBM has stolen this on the cheap," said the analyst. "I do not count myself among that group."
WSJ.com - Personal Technology [Walt Mossberg]: Two New PDA Models Offer Real Choice in Price, Design "For those with deep pockets who value style and compactness, the Palm Tungsten T may be just the ticket. For those with tight budgets who don't mind bulk and a more complex software interface, the Dell Axim is the better deal." I've noticed a resurgence in pro-Palm press this week -- interesting...
IBM Improves ODBC/SQL Access to Domino Data Nice to see NotesSQL is still running strong, 10 years later...
Fawcette.com - Is There an (X)Doc in the House? "Technically speaking, XDocs refers not to the format itself, but rather to the application used to create and manipulate this XML format. In essence, the XDocs editor will likely end up superceding Microsoft Word, and will offer much the same functionality that Word does. You will create documents just as you did before, except you'll be able to specify the underlying schema (presumably) to which specific word-processing elements get mapped. This means you could create a document based on its semantics—the meaning of each style or tag—and still be able to handle much of the presentation-layer work that has proved to be problematic when working with an XML editor."
Interland Gains Leadership in Mass-Market Web Solutions for Small Businesses By Signing to Acquire Trellix "The transaction consideration consists of $9.75 million in cash and stock plus warrants. In return for all the outstanding shares of the company, Trellix shareholders will receive $4.75 million in cash, three million shares of Interland stock, and a five-year option to purchase up to six million additional shares of Interland at a price of $5.00 per share. The transaction is expected to close within the next 30 days." via Dave Winer

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

[Marc Andreessen] Perspective: Sidestepping the new IT crisis - Tech News - CNET.com To paraphrase: buy my stuff or we're all doomed...
In the Future, We'll All Be Harry Potter (Alertbox Dec. 2002) "By saying that we'll one day be like Harry Potter, I don't mean that we'll fly around on broomsticks or play three-dimensional ballgames (though virtual reality will let enthusiasts play Quidditch matches). What I do mean is that we're about to experience a world where spirit inhabits formerly inanimate objects.
Much of the Harry Potter books' charm comes from the quirky magic objects that surround Harry and his friends. Rather than being solid and static, these objects embody initiative and activity. This is precisely the shift we'll experience as computational power moves beyond the desktop into everyday objects."
META Predicts Microsoft Will Offer Linux Software Interesting speculation, via slashdot
Q&A: Instant Messaging Milestone for Real-Time Communications Strategy "The marketplace for enterprise IM is growing at a record rate and is putting a strain on corporate IT departments. According to recent studies by IDC and Ostermann Research, 200 million people worldwide use IM today, and it is predicted that this number will grow to 500 million by 2006. Among corporations, 84 percent reported information workers use IM, but the majority of these users access IM via private applications that are not endorsed by the company. This number is expected to grow to 93 percent by September 2003. ...
"Greenwich" is also a component to the real time communications strategy; it not only consolidates communications into a central, secure platform but provides a way to integrate presence-based technology into an IM network and across any line of business solution. This allows the user to ask, "What could I do when I know a person with whom I need to do business s available?" "Greenwich" will provide a delivery mechanism for real-time alerts, which could be something as simple as "Machine A is out of red paint." It finds and informs the person available who is most able to deal with an issue. This presence-based technology, the ability to see whether people are available to communicate with you or not, and vice versa, is the core of how real-time communications can change the way people work and use computers in their day-to-day life."
First Yukon Beta Set for Q1 2003 "Microsoft is prepping the first beta release of SQL Server 2003--code-named Yukon--for release in February or March, and will use feedback from Beta 1 to determine the final release schedule. The long-awaited Yukon code-base will usher in a new era on Microsoft's software development roadmap, with the software being plumbed into various other projects, including the WinFS (Windows Future Storage) file system in the next Windows version (Longhorn) and the data store for a future Exchange release called Kodiak. Microsoft will also issue the next major release of Visual Studio .NET to coincide with Yukon; a minor release, code-named Everett, will ship in early 2003 to coincide with Windows .NET Server 2003."

Monday, December 09, 2002

Wi-Fi Internet Access Is Hot, but Its Profit Potential Is Tepid "With the Wi-Fi wireless Internet access standard becoming a bandwagon that even big players like AT&T, I.B.M. and Intel are joining, equipment companies big and small are hoping to ride along. But many industry analysts say it could be hard to make money in Wi-Fi, which is unlikely to represent more than a tiny fraction of the overall telecommunications equipment market for at least several years."
In Software, Still Testy After All These Years ... "Feisty and combative, Mr. Gates says he finds I.B.M.'s software unimpressive — a patchwork of programming projects, not as coherent or as integrated as Microsoft's competing offerings. "WebSphere is a marketing term for I.B.M.'s platform," Mr. Gates said.
"We have nothing against free software," Mr. Gates insisted. But, he added, it just so happens that the commercial model works better in most cases for both producers and consumers.
Good software, he conceded, is running on Linux systems, including computerized special-effects for Hollywood movies and gene-sequencing research. "But that is because something has been built on top of it," he said. The Linux technology itself, is "sort of Unix of the 1970's," Mr. Gates said. "There's not one iota that's changed."
ZDNet: Story: Why you'll own a Media Center PC someday "One day, you will wake up and new computers will have all the Media Center features and there will be add-ons to integrate most of your entertainment systems with the computer. I expect the consumer electronics industry will develop products to compete with Microsoft on this. So far, however, none of the companies has stepped forward with anything like a vision, much less the fairly complete one Microsoft can offer and has the ability to implement."
Boston Globe Online / Business / E-mail overload a myth, study says "A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that overwhelming levels of e-mail are quite atypical, an outcome that surprised even the researchers."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Linux is no longer just an upstart Interesting snapshot and factoids

Sunday, December 08, 2002

IBM deal could hurt Microsoft A cash deal of this size makes me wonder if it was a preemptive strike...

Friday, December 06, 2002

Judge: 'Java People Have Pride, Too' Egads. The hypocrisy in this is amazing. Maybe Sun and the judge are hoping for a TV miniseries; their commentary would be more fitting for "The People's Court".
Wired News: Saving Your Bits for Posterity "Someday, long after you're dead, your descendents will rummage through the minutia of your life, eavesdropping on long-ago phone conversations, reading private e-mail exchanges and watching the video highlights of your existence.
That's the idea behind MyLifeBits, a new Microsoft research project that aims to record the essence of a person's life on computer disks: every photograph snapped, home movie filmed, Web page browsed, e-mail scribbled, phone call made or bill paid."
(I imagine this plus a summarization engine will leave many people in a serious funk...)
Microsoft Not Cutting Losses with Xbox "Despite dropping into the number three spot behind Sony and Nintendo in the video game market, Microsoft says that it is not throwing in the towel and will instead double its investment in the Xbox video game console. Microsoft CFO John Connors told analysts in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday that the software giant wasn't considering an exit strategy and would instead "double down and make it successful.""
Judge Likens Microsoft's Effect on Java to a Bang on the Knee I do not understand these judges and their snappy, notable/quotable one-liners in MSFT-related contexts. I recently read the not-great Bad Boy Ballmer; the author speculated that MSFT bet Judge Jackson would eventually blow a fuse, for instance, and that he would be removed from the case (which he was in part for inappropriate public commentary about MSFT). Seems likely that Tonya Harding analogies are in the same zone...
High-Speed Wireless Internet Network Is Planned Only a matter of time...

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Price Is Limiting Demand for Broadband "Only about 15 percent of American households currently subscribe to broadband service — or fast Internet access — despite the fact that 70 percent of households have the technical option of doing so. And analysts do not expect the majority of homes to have broadband access anytime for at least five years."
Fortune.com - Fast Forward - Like It or Not, Microsoft Has a Vision "Despite its monopoly, Microsoft's products are feeling more competitive heat today than in many years, mostly from open source software like the Linux operating system and the MySQL database. But Microsoft will probably continue to drive the adoption of technology and will maintain its overwhelming market share. I predict it will eventually become some sort of regulated utility--its monopoly accepted as a necessary evil and the price we have to pay for widespread access to inexpensive computing."

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Liberty Alliance Waves White Flag at Passport "Officials at the Liberty Alliance's founder and chief sponsor, Sun Microsystems Inc., last week went so far as to concede defeat to the Passport authentication service on the Windows platform.
"There is no way we can compete with them there. They have that market tied down really tight," said Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president at Sun's software group, in Menlo Park, Calif."

SD Times: Delivering on a promise "Almost a year after its release, Microsoft Corp.’s .NET has yet to prove itself to be the “next big thing” to hit the software industry, and it has not proven itself compelling enough to convert significant numbers of Java or Linux developers. What it has done, however, is to deliver significant benefits to those companies that are already Microsoft shops; and perhaps as important, it continues to hold out promise to those users as the platform to be on for future integration with Web services and loosely coupled application components." (via theserverside.com)

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Object Relational Tool Comparison Handy resource
BetaNews | AOL Pulls Rug From Under 'Magic Carpet' "Weinstein claimed that there was no shift in the company's overall strategy, and touted ScreenName partner sites while failing to characterize what Magic Carpet really was meant to be."
Adobe Jumps Gun on Microsoft's Xdocs Curious Adobe also doesn't mention XForms
Microsoft - PressPass - The Disappearing Computer by Bill Gates- The World in 2003 (The Economist), Nov. 2002 "According to Gartner Dataquest, an American research firm, the world computer industry shipped its one billionth PC in 2002, and another billion more are expected to be built in the next six years. Almost all of the first billion were traditional desktop and laptop PCs, but the second billion will be very different. They will be optimised for the things that people actually want to do with them--we will have tablet-sized PCs for taking notes at meetings or reading e-mail on the couch, entertainment PCs that play music and movies on the living-room television, and pocket-sized PCs that keep people connected and informed wherever they are.
Add to this the exploding number of embedded computers--the kind found in mobile phones, gas pumps and retail point-of-sale systems—which are fast approaching the power and complexity of desktop PCs. On one estimate, people in the United States already interact with about 150 embedded systems every day, whether they know it or not. These systems—which use up to 90% of the microprocessors produced today—will inevitably take on more PC-like characteristics, and will be able to communicate seamlessly with their traditional PC counterparts. They will also become amazingly ubiquitous. In 2001, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, the world microchip industry produced around 60m transistors for every man, woman and child on earth. That number will rise to one billion by 2010."

Monday, December 02, 2002

O'Reilly Network: XForms and XDocs: friend or foe? [December 02, 2002] "Microsoft needs to support XForms, though they probably need some encouragement to do so. Every Office program has a "Save as Web Page" feature. What will come out of XDocs when you choose that menu item? For it to be anything other than XForms would be silly, comparable to "Save as Web Page" in Word not producing HTML. And from the competitive angle, it seems inevitable that OpenOffice and other software alternatives (including Mozilla, Xopus, and blogging tools) will support XForms or XDocs-like functionality in short order."
Boston Globe Online: Here come the disposable servers "Servers are centralized computers used by businesses or other organizations. Once expensive and bulky, the new models are increasingly cheap and compact. If a server breaks today, it's simply swapped out for a spare. Or the spare is already installed and is waiting to be switched on. Rarely is a box cracked open to repair the failed component. In a sense, servers have become as disposable as electronic appliances that aren't worth fixing even if they could be."

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Speaking Mind to Mind [Ray Ozzie] "After graduation, I said to myself, "By hook or crook, I am going to build software to recreate the interactive environment I'd used with Plato." That thought led to the creation of Lotus Notes, which sits on nearly 100 million desktops, as well as everything else I've done."

Friday, November 29, 2002

FORTUNE.COM - Fast Forward - Marc Andreessen on What's Next "A few of his favorite points:
"Linux and Windows are winning--everything else is losing."
"You can replace a $300,000 Unix server with ten $3,000 Dell servers for a ten-times savings right off the bat--and they'll outperform."
Storage hardware has gotten so cheap--close to $1/gigabyte--that fully redundant storage for a big multinational company can now cost only around $300,000.
Bandwidth costs have plunged. Andreessen says that whereas Netscape paid about $1,600/megabit in late 1999, today the price is down to a mere $50."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Most Unsecure OS? Yep, It's Linux "According to a new Aberdeen Group report, open-source solution Linux has surpassed Windows as the most vulnerable OS, contrary to the high-profile press Microsoft's security woes receive. Furthermore, the Aberdeen Group reports that more than 50 percent of all security advisories that CERT issued in the first 10 months of 2002 were for Linux and other open-source software solutions."

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

A Computing Pioneer of the 1970's Joins Hewlett-Packard "Alan Kay, a personal computing innovator who was a leader of Xerox's pioneering Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970's, has joined Hewlett-Packard as a senior researcher. ...
With the PC business in the doldrums, many executives and analysts say they believe that the industry is entering maturity. Dr. Kay disagrees. Personal computing, he insisted, is "ripe for new markets — I don't think the real computing revolution has happened yet."

Monday, November 25, 2002

About Tablet Computing Old and New Useful summary of pen-based computing history by Dan Bricklin.
"Remember what happened with the Internet as developers experimented with HTML after the early browsers came out. Compare what web sites looked like in 1994 and 1996 to today. (For example, compare the early browser-based web site authoring systems to later ones like Trellix's, and you'll see huge improvement.) Now that we have a basis to build upon, that type of advancement, like we saw in tablet and pen computing in the early 1990's, can resume where it left off."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Free software vs. Goliaths "...Even though the free software movement has generated a host of major products - the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server, the Emacs text editing system - Moglen thinks the movement faces a struggle for survival, with scarcely a dime in its war chest. ''We're a small organization running a big revolution,'' said Moglen, ''and we have big adversaries.''
The foundation is based on the idea that software should be entirely open, with users free to study its underlying source code and modify it in any way they wish. Its enemies, in Moglen's view, are the companies that want to turn our computer software and hardware into hermetically sealed black boxes. Commercial software makers, movie makers, and music producers are desperate to prevent us from making perfect - and perfectly illegal - digital copies of their products.
Their arsenal includes software patents to prevent other free software writers from emulating useful new features, laws that forbid free software programmers from bypassing encryption software, and, perhaps someday, a chip that could stop your machine from running free software at all."
The Big Bang (Steve Gillmor) "Lost in this shuffle is OneNote, a powerful idea processor from the Office group. Mark my words: OneNote is the new center of the Office universe, relegating Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to the edges of the architecture in a single leap. Billed as an Office add-on, in reality it's a smart device programmed to transform Office from a suite of applications to a grid of interactive components."

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Microsofter "Yet only after fighting the biggest antitrust case in a century has it begun to sink in with Ballmer that in most ways he has already won, and that with victory he might be expected to behave less like a petulant adolescent and more like a statesman, comfortable in his power. Recently, in the span of one week, Microsoft first received the news that a federal judge approved the company's settlement with the Justice Department and rejected the remaining suits by individual states, then came out with a powerful new-product launch, its much hyped Tablet computers. Both of these developments indicate that the company is exiting the fog, legal and otherwise, of the last few years and is entering a period that will largely be shaped by Ballmer. With his schedule rigorously organized, his managerial duties more defined than ever and his personality in a state of self-imposed overhaul, he aims to prove that he can be a different person and that the Microsoft Bill Gates has essentially handed over to him can be a different company."

Friday, November 22, 2002

O'Reilly Network: James Gosling: "J2EE has it all over .NET..." [November 21, 2002] It would be refreshing if Gosling et al. occasionally focused on substantive differences, as, e.g., Anders Hejlsberg does, instead of just going for sound-bites.
Salon.com Technology | Microsoft wants your cellphone "There's now some indication that Symbian's model may be winning early battles in the marketplace. A number of the largest phone makers have already released Symbian-based smart phones, and Nokia says it will sell as many as 10 million of them by year's end. But Symbian's biggest victory came early in November, when Sendo, a British handset maker that was one of the first companies to sign on with Microsoft, abruptly announced that it would no longer build a Microsoft phone. Instead, Sendo said it would now start working on a smart phone using software from Nokia and Symbian, software that Sendo calls "uniquely flexible."" (via Slashdot)
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Nintendo: Price war takes toll on profits Let's see -- MSFT has 3 amazingly profitable business lines with which to subsidize Xbox (and MSN, and...), during the game console expansion and market share acquisition phase; what do Nintendo and Sony have?...
COMDEX Fall 2002: A Show Report "Microsoft OneNote is going to change my life and will be a huge hit with a lot of people. For people who take notes (and lose most of them, as I do), this application will be as popular as Microsoft Outlook. I'll post a detailed write-up about OneNote soon; the product is far more important than it seemed at first blush."

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Microsoft SQL Server Turns 10 "Microsoft SQL Server has come a long way from its early beginnings on the Windows NT® platform. In 1993, 2,000 corporate sites were engaged in beta testing of SQL Server 1.0. Today, 40 percent of the relational database management systems on the Windows platform run SQL Server. Since the release of SQL Server 7.0 in 1998, Microsoft has outpaced the industry in integrated database technology, providing innovative features such as self-tuning; self-management; built-in Online Analytical Processing (OLAP); and extract, transform, load (ETL) and data warehousing capabilities. In addition, Microsoft added data mining into SQL Server 2000. These business intelligence (BI) features, included at no extra charge, offer an integrated data management and analysis platform. With the built-in BI features in SQL Server 2000, customers at all levels of an organization, from the mailroom to the boardroom, can increase productivity through the ability to have real-time insight into their data."
The Register: No server Longhorn, but big .NET Server changes due in 2004 "Valentine confirmed that Longhorn would be client only, and said it would be due no sooner than mid- to late 2004. But the new file system for Longhorn will require major server side changes, delivered as a service pack or some kind of add-on pack. According to The Register's eye-witness he said Longhorn used a genuine new store, rather than a "lashup of .NET frame work 'children of OLE-DB' strung together."

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The Register: MS exec rattles sabre, suggests Linux could infringe patents "The CEO of Microsoft Israel has played the FUD card against Linux, raising doubts about the provenance of the intellectual property in the software, and advising potential customers to seek indemnification from the supplier in the event of patent infringement."
Java and .Net both a disaster: research: ZDNet Australia: News & Tech: Enterprise "Still trying to decide whether your enterprise development architecture should be based around Sun's Java or Microsoft's .NET? Perhaps you should be more worried about whether either of them is going to work at all."

Monday, November 18, 2002

BYTE Magazine (announcement of paid subscription model effective 11/25/2002) I suspect this signals the end of the road for Byte, sadly, although there's always hope that Pournelle et al. will write for other publications.
O'Reilly Network: What's Wrong With RDF? [November 18, 2002] "Tim Bray responded "I'd go further. I think the current RDF/XML syntax is so B.A.D. (broken as designed) that it has seriously got in the way of people being open-minded about RDF. I'm baffled why the RDF working group has been forbidden to work on replacing that syntax.""
O'Reilly Network: XForms Building Momentum [November 18, 2002] Not unbiased, since the author is also an editor and author of the XForms 1.0 W3C specification, but still an important development
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates talks innovation amid tech's hard reality The seven-minute video, "Behind the Technology," was played as an exposé of the personal computer and featured appearances by entertainment and industry celebrities.
It showed Steve Ballmer hawking a $99 computer, and selling Microsoft Bob, a product the company developed that failed in the market, along with mood rings on the Home Shopping Network.
Gates himself says in the video: "It was very clear to me that the Internet was where everybody was going to go. It was especially clear to me after everybody had already gone there."
BEA Systems - 2002 Press Releases: The True Cost of IBM Serviceware Exposed "According to a report commissioned by IBM, for every dollar an IBM customer spends on IBM middleware, more than $11 is spent on services with IBM partners, [Reality Research & Consulting, Jericho, NY; March 2002]. These services dollars exclude any additional services that may be provided by IBM Global Services." Aggressive BEA positioning...

Sunday, November 17, 2002

WorldCom Beats Microsoft for Ex-Compaq Chief "While the announcement was expected, Mr. Capellas had been considering a competing offer to become the No. 3 executive at Microsoft until early Thursday, according to people close to the search process. These people said that soon after reports appeared Monday that Mr. Capellas was in the running for the WorldCom job, Microsoft approached him with a lucrative offer to become its president and chief operating officer. In that job, Mr. Capellas, 48, would have reported to Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, and Steve Ballmer, the chief executive."
Wired News: Online Gaming Thinks Inside Xbox "While no winner in the online console gaming war has been declared, there is some evidence that Xbox Live is gaining an early edge. In a poll on ConsoleWars.com, almost 36 percent of respondents said Microsoft offered the best online gaming plan. Sony ranked third behind Nintendo, which has only one title available online.
"(Xbox Live) is a better laid-out plan and offers a smoother experience overall," said gamer Ricky Tucker, who also happens to be the software editor for PlayStation Illustrated.
Matt Forys has also sampled both systems. He said that since becoming an Xbox Live beta tester, "I haven't powered my PS2 on in over a month."
Microsoft reveals bleeding in four divisions "Revealing unprecedented detail about how it is performing, Microsoft Corp. says four of its seven divisions -- led by the group that developed the Xbox -- are losing money."

Friday, November 15, 2002

You Are a Suspect (William Safire, via O'Reilly Network Weblogs) "If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen."
Dan Bricklin: Tablet PC: First Impressions "Back in the early 1990's, I was heavily involved in the pen computing world. I co-founded Slate Corporation which developed application software for GO's Penpoint as well as Microsoft's Windows for Pen Computing and for the Apple Newton. I was exposed to software and hardware development, both at the OS and application level, and had experience using a wide variety of machines. With the release of the new Tablet PCs based upon Microsoft's new software, I felt it was appropriate for me to comment upon that, given my perspective. You will find here my comments based on my general feelings as well as actual experiences using various equipment. ...
So, one day in, my verdict: I can't see ever buying a portable laptop that isn't a convertible -- the benefits are too great for me. It's a Tablet PC, not a Pen PC, and not a Clamshell PC, and that's a win. While these are clearly still basically a version 1 or 2, they are still very useful. If you read a lot on a PC, and move your laptop around a lot, and have benefited from 802.11, and don't mind using early software that works but is basic (like the original VisiCalc was), and are in the market for a new laptop, take the next step and move up to a tablet. Corporate evaluators must start learning about these systems, because as they improve and the price difference disappears, you'll have to figure out how to configure them, what type of software to insist upon, etc. If you always wanted to do your composing with a pen, and expect handwriting to be as reliable as a keyboard, stick with the keyboard, and wait for "handwriting computing" to happen, if it ever does. It's not that important. Tablet computing is. It will make reading on a computer even more pervasive. I think Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers who were willing to take a chance trying to advance the state of mainstream personal computing are to be commended for what they've done."
Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Chandler's Schedule "Software, like construction projects, is typically late, sometimes very, very late. It typically takes longer and is much harder than any estimates. There are, of course exceptions, like the original version of Lotus 1-2-3, which shipped exactly on time, and there tend to be exceptional reasons why. In the case of 1-2-3, it was implemented almost entirely by one person, Jonathan Sachs, and it was the fifth time Jon had implemented a spreadsheet. Not only did he know what he was doing, but he had enough experience to accurately estimate how long each part of the coding would take. This was one of the keys. The other was that we had a relatively precise idea of the feature set going into the product. In other words, we both knew what work had to be done, and how long each piece would take. It was possible to roll up the schedule from the bottom up."
The Register: W3C publishes XForms 1.0 "Although Sean McGrath, chief technology officer of Irish XML company Propylon, said the specification was long overdue and would make it easier for Web pages to be displayed on different devices, he cautioned that the lack of Microsoft backing for XForms may restrict its wide-spread adoption.
"XForms will need to be bundled directly into the browser if it is to be well supported, but the problem is that Microsoft has developed its own specification, XDocs. Without Microsoft on-board, it will be it difficult for XForms," commented McGrath."

Thursday, November 14, 2002

TiVo Rivals Add DVD to the Mix "Yet strangely enough, DVR's like TiVo and its rival, ReplayTV, haven't sold very well. Last week, an Advertising Age magazine headline summed up the problem succinctly, if painfully: "More U.S. Homes Have Outhouses Than TiVos."
Nobody's really sure why the technology hasn't caught on. But one thing is certain: Hard-drive recording is here to stay. This feature is making its way into cable boxes, personal computers - and now, with the introduction of machines from RCA and Panasonic, DVD players. Each of these new set-bottom boxes changes the TiVo recipe, with some interesting results."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

The Register: Gates gives $100m to fight HIV, $421m to fight Linux "We do hate to rain on a high-profile corporate love-fest, but we have to point out that in addition to the much trumpeted $100 million Billg has donated to India's fight against HIV, he's funding the Microsoft jihad against Linux to the far more impressive tune of $421 million."
Q&A: Bluetooth Takes a Bite Out of Desktop Cable Clutter "Bluetooth is a low-power and low-cost USB and cable replacement technology that is best for personal devices. Wi-Fi is a high-speed wireless Ethernet replacement that is best for networking devices. We need two wireless standards for the same reasons we have both USB and Ethernet on today’s PCs. Each is very much optimized for its particular application."
New Top-Level Change at AOL Could Foretell Fresher Content "Mr. de Castro was notable for a charged-up, enthusiastic management style. He pumped rock music into the hallways of Creative Center 1, the building on America Online's campus in Dulles, Va., where the service is programmed, and he tought an early morning class on spinning, aerobics on stationary bicycles. He changed the AOL welcome screen, one of the most visited patches of cyberspace, to focus more on gossip and popular culture."
Microsoft: Longhorn on the Desktop, Blackcomb on the Server "Microsoft this week confirmed rumors that its next Windows release, code-named Longhorn, would be a desktop OS only, and not a synchronized release including both desktop and server versions as originally planned. Likewise, the Windows release following Longhorn, code-named Blackcomb, will be server-only. Microsoft did tell me, however, that while the company has not announced an official release date for Longhorn, the time table for its release hasn't changed, contrary to rumors. This means we'll see Longhorn in 2004 or 2005, depending on which Microsoft official you believe."

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

WSJ.com - Microsoft Targets Consumers With New Portable Display "The new smart displays, formerly code-named "Mira," are essentially thin, flat computer monitors that can be carried around the house. They draw their power from a regular PC via a wireless connection and can be used for tasks such as Web surfing, reading e-mail, sending instant messages or listening to digital music. Microsoft says they will appeal to people who want to read their e-mail while watching TV in the living room, or who want to access the Internet from the kitchen. ...
Microsoft and ViewSonic note that the ViewSonic machines will come with a PC wireless adapter and a free upgrade to Microsoft's Windows XP software, two extras that would together cost about $300 if bought separately. Prices are expected to come down eventually."
Interesting that they decided to bundle XP (Pro) -- that gets around the issue of Home not having support for Terminal Services...

Monday, November 11, 2002

Vinod Khosla And Sun Microsystems 1989 HBS account of the birth of Sun, via Robot Wisdom
Macromedia - Designer & Developer : The Contribute Vision Contribute context: "We believe that Macromedia Contribute starts the next wave of the web—the low-maintenance, read/write web—where each user can participate actively in what's out there, rather than be a passive recipient."
The Register: Next XP rev Longhorn a 2003, client-only product? "... Now, she also says there'll be a major Server release, which will presumably be Blackcomb, to follow .NET Server 2003. So no major server release with Longhorn, but major server release to follow the next server release. Which means Longhorn is earlier, but is client-only. And if it is a 2003 product, then all of the people who said Microsoft was only kidding earlier this year will turn out to have been right."
Macromedia - Contribute Major new product from Macromedia
What Happened to the Magic of Liberty Media and Malone? "Liberty's stock is in the doldrums, having fallen from a high of $29.21 on March 31, 2000, to close last Friday at $8.82. And Mr. Malone's power and mystique are not quite what they once were. Still, there are money managers who say he is too important to ignore.
Mr. Leibowitz, for one, says he likes Liberty's stock because he thinks it gives an investor a basket of media companies at a big discount. "I also believe in Malone," Mr. Leibowitz said. "To me, it is the media equivalent of buying Warren Buffett."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Teething pains "Despite a spate of new Bluetooth devices, the short-range wireless networking technology has yet to live up to its promises...
WirelessUSB devices are supposed to hit the market by the middle of next year. Bluetooth device makers have already had about eight years to tinker with their technology. Maybe given six more months, they'll finally get it right."
Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft's home entertainment center of the future "Microsoft's home entertainment center of the future won't clutter up a living room like a wooden behemoth from the 1950s. It won't even take up as much space as a PC. It'll hum unobtrusively in a closet or in the basement, ignored by everybody.
Until the TV image unexpectedly freezes and Dad curses under his breath and runs downstairs to reboot the server. We're talking about Microsoft, after all."

Saturday, November 09, 2002

eWEEK - EPeriodicals: Microsoft Takes Aim at PDF "Adobe's PDF document-distribution format may seem entrenched among computing consumers, but that isn't stopping Microsoft from trying to throw its weight behind a competing publishing venture. At its Tablet PC launch here on Thursday, Microsoft provided its first public glimpse of its e-publishing technology, code-named ePeriodicals."

Friday, November 08, 2002

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Woman gets new position among Microsoft's elite "Microsoft has hired cable-television veteran Maggie Wilderotter as senior vice president of business strategy, a new position that initially will focus on selling products to schools and governments.Wilderotter, 47, becomes one of the highest-ranking women at Microsoft, which has been criticized by investors and others for gender inequity at its executive level. She will be the second woman in one of the company's 16 senior vice president positions."

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Microsoft memo: Linux fight backfiring - Tech News - CNET.com "Some of Microsoft's efforts to disparage open-source software such as Linux have backfired, according to a recent memo by the software maker." (It's Halloween document time again.)
Forget the Files and the Folders: Let Your Screen Reflect Life Fascinating that NYT and other publications periodically give David Gelernter free advertising space. I have a great deal of respect for Gelernter and his ideas, books, etc., but I wish he'd spend more time explaining the value of his vision and less time pitching his company.
Tablets Mightier Than the Keyboard? "Pen computing, as this concept is known, has been catnip to investors and inventors for years, but Silicon Valley is strewn with the corpses of famous disasters. Microsoft's own WinPad and Windows CE devices were expensive flops. The GridPad and the Go Corporation's Eo are distant memories. Apple's Newton rests in pieces. As recently as this year, the innovative I.B.M. TransNote and the Sony Vaio Slimtop Pen Tablet slipped quietly into oblivion.
But Microsoft is confident that this time, it has found the formula for pen-computing success. So confident, in fact, that Bill Gates told a recent trade show crowd, "Within five years, I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.''

It's Official: No Office 11 on Windows 9x Can anyone really be upset about this?
WSJ.com - Mossberg: Can the Tablet PC Hit the Mainstream?"...I've been testing four Tablet PC models and I have mixed feelings about these first examples of the new design. They work well for handwritten notes, which could replace some paper files. They are also far better than a standard laptop for comfortably reading long documents.
But they have a big drawback: Microsoft has done surprisingly little to adapt Windows and Office to the pen-and-ink format. So, using the stylus to do almost anything but take notes -- even basic tasks, such as adjusting speaker volume, saving a file or addressing an e-mail -- can be clumsy and frustrating.
As a result, I don't see these first Tablets as mainstream products. Instead, I see them catching on with gadget freaks, people in business or college who deeply desire to take notes on a PC instead of paper, and those with large amounts of on-screen reading to do on a regular basis."
Lotus Developer Domain: What's cool about the Notes/Domino 6 UI Handy summary.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot via Camworld
"Bill Gates Views What He's Sown in Libraries Now, he is about $40 billion lighter, on paper, but he shrugs it off. "My value is still so much higher than I ever expected it to be by a factor of about 50," Mr. Gates said. "So the fact that at one point it was say, a factor of 60, well — that wealth is all going back to society anyway."
The charitable group that Mr. Gates started with his wife, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is now giving away $1.2 billion a year. Mr. Gates said he was pleased that its first major philanthropic effort, the library project, had helped to narrow the digital divide. More than 95 percent of public libraries now offer free Internet access, including those here in Whitman County, which mainly serve wheat farmers and received $93,000 from the Gates Foundation."
Silicon Valley's Dream Tablet, From Microsoft "If Microsoft succeeds where others failed, it will probably increase the residue of bitterness here among those who believe that a decade ago the company killed a nascent pen computing industry because it thought it would be a threat to its Windows operating system business."

Monday, November 04, 2002

Antenna System Is Said to Expand Wireless Internet Use "A start-up company plans to announce new antenna technology on Monday that it says can expand the limits of a popular wireless Internet format, providing access to hundreds or even thousands of portable computer users at distances of more than 2,000 feet within buildings and about four miles outdoors."
ZDNet: Story: Triumph of the Bill: Why Microsoft won "...American antitrust laws were designed to protect consumers from obviously predatory business tactics. They weren't designed to protect consumers from a single company. And they weren't designed to protect other businesses or to preserve competition--at least not in the abstract sense of, "What would competition be like today if Microsoft hadn't done X?""
This is a key point: antitrust is about protecting consumers, not competitors.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Gateway: Home Segment: Gateway 300S Value $399 -- no monitor, but 1.8 GHz Celeron, 128 meg RAM, 40 gig hard disk, modem and Ethernet, Windows XP Home -- even a copy of The Sims (limited time offer). Yow. Wal-Mart can keep the "Lindows" boxes, as far as I'm concerned...
Life With Microsoft Still Stifling for Rivals "Now the gloves are off," said Jonathan I. Schwartz, an executive vice president who heads software efforts at Sun Microsystems. "The industries that need to be concerned will include media companies, retailers and financial institutions."...
"The climate today feels exactly reminiscent of the late 1980's," said Jim Breyer, the managing general partner of Accel Partners, one of the Silicon Valley's leading venture capital firms. "From an industry structure standpoint, it's as if you've dialed the clock back 13 years with both I.B.M. and Microsoft being in a better position than at any time in the past decade."

Saturday, November 02, 2002

magazine: Microsoft's Weblog Software "The final analysis puts Microsoft on even footing with its much smaller competitors, which is both a tribute to their nimbleness and an indictment of their lack of focus on the business market. Given the resentment against Microsoft's licensing changes, end-users' familiarity with browser-based applications, and the newly resurgent eagerness of businesses to adopt centrally-managed knowledge management applications based on free or low-cost platforms, weblogs are ripe for a shot as the preferred Intranet knowledge management solution. Microsoft has entered this market, albeit with a slight stumble. Now that competitors are aware of their presence, it would behoove them to stake their claims in the market."
(via Dave Winer)

Friday, November 01, 2002

MPAA Blasts Surging XP Media Center Edition
"'We have some real concerns about content that enters an unprotected input into a personal computer, where the rights associated with the content are not being obeyed,' said Brad Hunt, MPAA CTO, who noted that MCE's original version, which didn't allow consumers to share TV recordings, was preferable."...
"Hollywood has a right to be concerned. Microsoft's XP MCE software is available on just one line of PCs from Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the US this holiday season, but those PCs are already selling fast. After being on store shelves for just a few days, the HP Media Center PCs are the best selling computers at CompUSA and HP executives told me at the XP MCE Wednesday that the company doesn't expect the systems to be available for very long. "We believe it will sell out," said David Galvin, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for HP's Home Products Division. "So if you want one, be sure to go out and get one now.""
PCWorld.com - Microsoft on Custom XPs "After 11 years we finally got to the NT code base for basically everyone. And the benefits of that [include] higher reliability, more stability, security, and the like for consumers. It's obviously better for IHVs [independent hardware vendors] because they only have to write one driver and it will work everywhere. And now we have the flexibility to target specific customer needs very quickly without having a splintering of the code base."...
"We have a lot of analogies we talk about here--that the Tablet is like a cell phone and the Smart Display is like the cordless phone in the house. You can't go outside the house with it very far, versus the Tablet, which you can take totally with you--it's a full-fledged machine."
(It's actually 14 years + 1 day since MSFT started on NT -- Halloween 1988.)
Vista: a prototype for OSAF's Networked Personal Information Manager [Chandler] via Dave Winer

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...
WindowsForDevices.com: 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 - CNET.com "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
WSJ.com - 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
washingtonpost.com: 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 - CNET.com "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."
WSJ.com - 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.
WSJ.com - 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 - CNET.com "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 - CNET.com "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...)