Saturday, May 31, 2003

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 2: Microsoft Drops the Ball with Internet Explorer

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 2: Microsoft Drops the Ball with Internet Explorer "If there are truly people still working on IE these days, they should be ashamed of themselves: As I noted yesterday, the product hasn't been demonstrably improved, from an end user application perspective, since 1998. However, reader Terje Sten Bjerkseth (and subsequently, several others) sent me a link yesterday (URL below) that presents Microsoft's take on the future of IE, and the news just went from bad to worse. When asked in a recent online chat about the next version of IE, Brian Countryman, an IE Program Manager, said, "As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation." The reason? "Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1," he said. "Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS." Sadly, this perspective is skewed, and suggests Microsoft believes IE is somehow at the "zenith" of the Web browser heap. But as I also mentioned yesterday, IE lacks basic yet important features, especially automatic pop-up ad removal, that virtually all the competition has, and adding any of these features wouldn't require changes to the base OS. So here's the problem, in my opinion: Microsoft believes that the browser is functionally complete, and can only be improved by adding eye candy that's made possible by the underlying platform (Longhorn, in this case). That's baloney, and as several people mentioned via email, suggests IE development is only important when it can be used to steal market share from other browsers."

Friday, May 30, 2003

Nullsoft unveils file-sharing software | CNET

Nullsoft unveils file-sharing software | CNET "The features of Waste are similar to those of file-swapping services such as Kazaa and the defunct Napster, but the difference is that only small networks of people (up to 50, according to the Web site) can use it. The software also offers encryption and authentication to prevent non-invitees from accessing the private networks."

.NET Enterprise Services and COM 1.5 Architecture

.NET Enterprise Services and COM 1.5 Architecture "With the release of the Microsoft® .NET Framework and its auto-everything, attribute-based programming model, this confusion has been further fueled. Developers and architects are asking questions similar to those asked when Microsoft® ActiveX® suddenly appeared a few years back and clashed with OLE and COM. There is an initial common misunderstanding among the relationship between COM+ and Microsoft .NET: How does .NET fit into COM+? Does it replace COM+? Do I even need COM+ anymore?
Well, you can relax. All the features and services that COM+ provides are available to you in the .NET Framework. The .NET Framework does not replace COM+, for it is dependent upon COM+ for all its middle-tier component services. The .NET Framework provides an environment for managed code to make use of COM+—as well as other enterprise service technologies like Microsoft® Internet Information Services (IIS) and Microsoft® Message Queue server (MSMQ)—more easily than could be done in the past.
COM+ 1.5 takes Microsoft's enterprise component architecture to the next level. Scalability is improved through application pooling and the ability to adjust the transactional isolation level for database operations. For system administrators, the ability to disable or pause an application for updates or to use the new process dump feature increases manageability. The capability to recycle an application based upon predefined triggers, and limit activations in dangerously low-memory situations with memory gates, increases an application's' availability. Web services and Services Without Components add powerful functionality to client code that otherwise may not be able to use component services. Component aliasing, along with the ability to mark components as either private or public, maximizes application architecture possibilities. More control over process initialization adds better resource management.
You are not required to use the .NET Framework and managed code to take advantage of COM+. But .NET Enterprise Services namespace makes access to component services a lot easier on either Windows 2000 and COM+ 1.0 or Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 and COM+ 1.5. You can install unmanaged and managed components into COM+ 1.5. Again, note that any .NET class requires a strong name to be installed in the CSE as well as into the GAC."

Wired News: So Much for the Freelance Economy

Wired News: So Much for the Freelance Economy "Connell is just one of many private contractors who feel they are running out of places to look for work. Freelance message forums are dotted with postings from individuals seeking advice on how to reel in more projects. And a handful of Guru competitors such as and have already shut down because of a dearth of job postings.
The trend suggests that predictions of an economy run by freelancers -- such as those made by Daniel Pink in his book Free Agent Nation, and by MIT's Thomas Malone and Robert Laubacher in their 1998 paper, "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy" -- were shortsighted."

I suspect it's more a question of timing than right/wrong, and also believe there will be many alternatives for "e-lancers".

Via Scott Durgin's weblog

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft, AOL settle feud, forge an alliance

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft, AOL settle feud, forge an alliance "Yesterday's settlement could once again transform the industry — and potentially change the way consumers buy music, movies and television service — by creating an alliance between the world's biggest software and entertainment companies."
"Parsons did not attend the annual retreat for CEOs that Gates hosted last week at Microsoft and his Medina mansion, but Smith said Microsoft hopes he'll be there next year."

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Microsoft wins big in digital media | CNET

Microsoft wins big in digital media | CNET "
"This is a huge win for Microsoft," Gartner analyst David Smith said.
"This signals detente," said Matt Rosoff, analyst at Directions on Microsoft. "The companies are diverging. AOL no longer sees itself as a technology company. It will use whatever products make sense.""

Legal News: AOL Time Warner Agreement - Transcript of Microsoft/AOL Time Warner Telephone Press Conference

Legal News: AOL Time Warner Agreement - Transcript of Microsoft/AOL Time Warner Telephone Press Conference "RICHARD PARSONS: I'm going to refer you to our debt level that we disclosed after our first quarter earnings, because this thing moves around all the time, and we were down at around, my recollection is, at about $24 billion net debt, $24 (billion) and change. But, yes, the answer to your question is, from our perspective, we're going to use the settlement proceeds just to retire some debt." - Microsoft's Gates:Deal Puts Any Past Issues Behind Us - Microsoft's Gates:Deal Puts Any Past Issues Behind Us "AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Dick Parsons said in a teleconference Thursday he plans to use proceeds from the deal to retire some of the New York-based media conglomerate's debt. Microsoft has no debt and more than $45 billion in cash.
As part of the settlement, Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., will also let AOL license its Internet Explorer browser royalty-free for seven years. AOL has used Microsoft's browser for its flagship Internet access service, despite its ownership of Netscape and its strained ties to Microsoft."

Looks like net gain Microsoft to me...

The New York Times: Put the power of Times News Tracker to work for you. Subscribe Today!

The New York Times: Put the power of Times News Tracker to work for you. Subscribe Today! Another until-now free and useful service goes fee-based. This Web thing is getting to be an expensive hobby...

Apple Finds the Future for Online Music Sales

Apple Finds the Future for Online Music Sales I have a hunch this is one of the last fawning iTunes articles we'll see...

Ed Brill: Lotus Workplace

Ed Brill: Lotus Workplace "As I mentioned last week in my blog from Munich, the Lotus keynote there described the new concept of Lotus Workplace. You can think of Workplace as a single IBM Lotus platform for collaboration and human interaction. The existing Notes/Domino products, as well as the "next gen" work we have been discussing, are part of the Workplace platform.
In the Software Symposium's Lotus keynote, Doug Wilson, Lotus CTO, discussed how the Workplace technology manifests itself. First, and most importantly, many of these capabilities are shipping today, either through Domino/WebSphere integration tools (portlets, JSP tag libraries, etc.) or through new deliverables such as Workplace Messaging. Second, Doug described new tools to pull together Workplaces capabilities into "centers", which could be task-focused or horizontal in nature. Third, Doug described the tools for developers and business partners to use for building Workplaces, including WebSphere Studio (and the new, nearly-shipping Domino Toolkit), portlet-building tools, the rapid application development capabilities for J2EE that we've been discussing, and a future Workplace Designer. The Workplace Designer tool borrows many of the concepts familiar to Domino customers -- template-driven applications that collect and integrate Workplace capabilities. It will be the right tool for power users to quickly assemble collaborative functionality, as a complement to the more structure development environment of WebSphere Studio."

Microsoft's Thinking Outside the Office Box

Microsoft's Thinking Outside the Office Box "Office 2003 may not be out of the chute until late summer, at best. But that doesn't mean Redmond's waiting until then to get its ducks in a row. The software giant is prepping a bunch of new "accelerator solutions" that are geared toward ratcheting up partner and customer interest in the Office System 2003 family." - Videogame Players May Flunk, But They Can Sure Pay Attention - Videogame Players May Flunk, But They Can Sure Pay Attention "Maybe there's hope for the videogame generation after all: In experiments described in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, scientists found that playing action videogames can bring marked improvements in the ability to pay attention to objects and changes in the visual environment.
Earlier studies showed that playing videogames leads to better spatial skills (producing ever more kids with the eye-hand coordination needed to land a plane on an aircraft carrier). But this is the first to show enhanced attention skills.
The improvements seem to come from playing not just any videogame, but action games -- including such bestsellers as Grand Theft Auto, Spider-Man, Crazy Taxi, Halo and Super Mario Cart -- that require the player to track known enemies, monitor the scene for new attackers, scan the environment for "pick ups" like weapons, and avoid traps.
To be sure, videogames offer no help, and might hurt, other kinds of attention, such as the ability to concentrate for prolonged periods on reading, writing or solving math problems. And a growing body of research suggests that the virtual behavior that violent games reward can encourage real violence and aggression. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, for example, gives points for killing a prostitute the player has just had sex with and then taking back his money."

For TiVo and Replay, New Reach

For TiVo and Replay, New Reach "Remember, furthermore, that DVR feature wars are like a never-ending game of leapfrog. TiVo has made the most recent jump, but ReplayTV's designers say they intend to catch up.
In the meantime, each box has virtues that have nothing to do with home networks. Only the TiVo, for example, offers "wish lists" that can record certain shows, or movies with a certain star, whenever they come on, even months or years later.
But only the ReplayTV can automatically skip over blocks of commercials during playback, an irresistible feature even if it works only about 80 percent of the time. The Replay also lets you send shows to friends across a somewhat larger network - the Internet - if they're patient. It takes 12 hours to transmit a one-hour recording (with a broadband connection).
The costs of the TiVo and ReplayTV boxes are about the same: about $250 for a DVR that holds 40 hours of recordings (at lowest quality), plus a one-time $250 for the TV-guide service. (Instead of that $250, you can also pay $13 per month forever - in June, Replay's rate goes up from $10 - but that's a sucker's game.)
In return, you get a life-changing machine that shatters the traditional broadcast schedule to suit your own, lets you zip past ads and endless reality-show recaps, and relegates "There's nothing good on" to the phrase bin of history. And now that they hook up to your home computer, DVR's give "network TV" a whole new meaning."

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

MySQL Takes Database Reins from SAP

MySQL Takes Database Reins from SAP "MySQL AB Tuesday said it has inked a technology and cross-licensing partnership with SAP AG's (Quote, Company Info) database project in a play that can potentially catapult MySQL into the enterprise limelight. MySQL will take commercial ownership of SAP's SAP DB and become a global technology partner of SAP AG.
The deal, for which financial terms were not made public, should make MySQL's products more attractive to large and medium-sized businesses. Sweden's MySQL will rename SAP DB and will offer it under the free software/open source GNU General Public License (GPL), which means the source code be available at no cost for anyone to read, review, enhance and redistribute."

Blogs: The Next Big Thing

Blogs: The Next Big Thing This column by John Dvorak is already controversial (e.g., Robert Scoble's take), but I think Dvorak's writing style is very consistent with blogger modus operandi, albeit via a print-centric channel, in the past.

Microsoft Sells Its Stake in Telewest at Loss

Microsoft Sells Its Stake in Telewest at Loss "Microsoft said in a filing yesterday that it had sold its stake in Telewest Communications for $5 million in cash, less than three years after buying the shares for $2.6 billion in stock."

Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003 Is Newest Member of the Microsoft Office System

Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003 Is Newest Member of the Microsoft Office System "Microsoft Corp. today announced its Microsoft® Real-Time Communications Server (RTC Server) 2003 Standard Edition will add "Office" to its name, clearly identifying it as a member of the company's highly anticipated Microsoft Office System of programs, servers and services to be released later this year. The Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server is a manageable and extensible instant messaging (IM) server that enables people to communicate in real time across enterprises in a manageable and more secure way than is possible with consumer-oriented services. An extensible platform as well as an IM solution, the RTC Server will allow developers to build real-time communications capabilities into their own applications. The RTC Server is a natural fit in the Microsoft Office System, which is designed to better connect people with each other, information and business processes across an organization to transform information for business impact." - RealNetworks Is Launching Own Online-Music Network - RealNetworks Is Launching Own Online-Music Network "... The jostling for position has juggled the lineup of competitors. RealNetworks' offering is based on the Rhapsody service from Inc., a closely held San Francisco company that RealNetworks agreed to acquire last month. RealNetworks no longer will promote MusicNet, a venture of RealNetworks and recording companies EMI Group PLC, AOL Time Warner Inc. and Bertelsmann AG.
Thus, RealNetworks will be competing with its own investment. RealNetworks owns about 40% of MusicNet and this month invested about $4 million in the service as part of MusicNet's $10 million round of financing. Mr. Sheeran said the company would continue to provide underlying technology to MusicNet, which is offered on AOL Time Warner's AOL service, but would vie for retail customers."

Monday, May 26, 2003 | The ponytail versus the penguin | The ponytail versus the penguin
"At first, Sun dismissed this threat. Then it tried to embrace Linux—offering its own cheap Intel-based servers running the free operating system. (Mr McNealy even dressed up as a penguin, the Linux mascot, at Sun's 2002 analyst meeting.) Yet the new computers were poorly received. Potential customers doubted that Sun was really serious about Intel-based machines.
So what is Mr Schwartz's new strategy? In San Francisco this week, Sun unveiled two new low-priced servers based on Intel chips. It also revealed that Oracle had agreed to make its software work on these machines—adding to speculation that Oracle is about to buy Sun. But much more significant was a subtle but crucial shift in the firm's Linux strategy: as well as Linux, Sun will now also push an Intel-compatible version of Solaris."

Time Bray: ongoing · Bye-bye Home Page?

Time Bray: ongoing · Bye-bye Home Page? "My browser home page is an HTML file on my hard drive. It has 58 links on it, and I used to use all of them, but I use less and less all the time, and I think the importance of the “home page” is declining steadily."

Via Steve Gillmor

I can relate; I'd guesstimate I now split my time info-foraging ~50-50 between IE and Newz Crawler

From PlayStation to Supercomputer for $50,000

From PlayStation to Supercomputer for $50,000 "As perhaps the clearest evidence yet of the computing power of sophisticated but inexpensive video-game consoles, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has assembled a supercomputer from an army of Sony PlayStation 2's.
The resulting system, with components purchased at retail prices, cost a little more than $50,000. The center's researchers believe the system may be capable of a half trillion operations a second, well within the definition of supercomputer, although it may not rank among the world's 500 fastest supercomputers."

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Barron's Online - Beyond iTunes

Barron's Online - Beyond iTunes "The fuss over iTunes has distracted investors from focusing on the troubles in Apple's core business. Apple sells most of its computers to three markets: educational institutions, creative professionals and consumers. Business in the first two categories remains extremely soft. The lackluster economy, a severe advertising downturn and the implosion of many Web-based businesses has weakened the creative category. In education, Apple is losing market share to Dell at a time when the severe financial straits of state and local governments is forcing schools to trim information-technology budgets. The consumer sector, aided by healthy demand for the iPod, has been Apple's strongest market. Even there, though, it struggles to hold market share. Apple's current-generation hardware runs slower and costs more than comparable boxes running microprocessors from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices."

Friday, May 23, 2003

Anticipating a post-Web, post-PC world

"News.Com: Anticipating a post-Web, post-PC world. Kevin Werbach. The basics of the new today are that powerful digital devices are becoming pervasive and inexpensive; they're becoming commodities. Services are available networked across the Internet and use common software. The world is heterogeneous, complex and decentralized."

Microsoft Regains TPC-C Benchmark Crown

Microsoft Regains TPC-C Benchmark Crown "The race for supremacy in the Transaction Processing Performance Council's (TPC's) TPC-C benchmark continued as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) posted new results yesterday in the nonclustered TPC-C category. The race has heated up in recent weeks. At the Windows Server 2003 launch last month, Microsoft and HP used Windows 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) to gain the top position with a score of 658,277 transactions per minute (tpm) at a cost of $9.80 per transaction. IBM used DB2 UDB 8.1 and AIX 5L v5.2 to claim the top spot 2 weeks later when it posted a score of 680,613tpm at $11.13 a transaction.
But IBM's stay at the top didn't last long. Yesterday, Microsoft and HP posted results of 707,102tpm at a cost of $9.13 per transaction. As with the previous Microsoft and HP record, the new benchmark used an HP Superdome with Windows 2003, Datacenter Edition and the 64-bit version SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition.
The renewed interest in the TPC-C benchmarks has started a performance war between IBM and Microsoft and its partners. And Microsoft's recent postings have sparked new interest in the benchmark list, which hadn't been updated for several years. Competitors Oracle and Sun Microsystems have stayed out of the current battle, instead choosing to criticize the benchmark's legitimacy, which is ironic because in the past both companies have touted their performance in the benchmark test. At the Windows 2003 launch, Microsoft said it expects UNIX to temporarily regain the performance crown once or twice, but that Windows 2003 has plenty of headroom and the company expects it will eventually take the lead for good."

Thursday, May 22, 2003

O'Reilly Network: Top Ten Gotchas in Upgrading to .NET Framework 1.1 [May. 20, 2003]

O'Reilly Network: Top Ten Gotchas in Upgrading to .NET Framework 1.1 [May. 20, 2003] "There are layers and layers in .NET. A new release involves changes to all of these layers. First there's the CLR, which actually manages the details of executing .NET code. On top of that is the Framework Class Library (FCL), Microsoft's own set of useful classes (which are themselves .NET code). Visual Studio .NET and other development environments layer their own shortcuts and code generators on top of the FCL, and your application software sits at the top of the stack.
Some of the most interesting changes from .NET 1.0 to .NET 1.1 are in the FCL. Microsoft has catalogued over 100 breaking changes as a result of the new version. While many of these changes are in specialized areas that most .NET developers will never visit, there are some major changes that you should be aware of, lest they bite you when you upgrade."

The Register: WiFi for data - Nokia dials for future phones

The Register: WiFi for data - Nokia dials for future phones "Donal O'Connell, Nokia phones' R&D veep, said that WiFi will form a part of its future high-end handsets at an analyst briefing in Irvine, Texas today.
O'Connell offered a few glimpses of future directions for the handset business. Next generation phones will have Gigabytes of storage, megapixel cameras and morph into super-IM clients, with the user notified of the status and whereabouts of each contact. Even if this proves to be too intrusive for many, Nokia will be able to return a users profile, so you don't interrupt them during a meeting."

Via Security Curve weblog

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates, Buffett touch base at CEO meet

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates, Buffett touch base at CEO meet "A couple of hours later, seven executives, including Buffett, Gates and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, took questions from the media.
Most of the questions were directed at Buffett, who prefaced his comments by joking that Gates brought him to Microsoft to replace the company chimpanzee that had been testing all the new products. The chimp died last week, Buffett said, and Gates called him in a panic and said, "We need you, Warren!"

IBM Lotus software - Ed Brill Weblog

IBM Lotus software - Ed Brill Weblog "In today's Lotus keynote, Lotus General Manager Ambuj Goyal discussed Lotus's Workplace platform for collaboration. Workplace is a single IBM Lotus platform for collaboration and human interaction. The existing Notes/Domino products, as well as the "next gen" work we have been discussing, are part of the Workplace effort. Lotus Workplace Messaging is the first major deliverable in this effort, with more to come in the second half of this year."

Bill Gates' Web Site - Speech Transcript, CEO Summit 2003

Bill Gates' Web Site - Speech Transcript, CEO Summit 2003 "The idea of collaboration, sharing information, this is another area where the choices have been pretty limited. Web sites are very hard to build. If somebody in the office says, OK, I want to make a new Web site, they have to go to IT and get it approved, they have to use complex tools, so they're not likely to share that way. Sharing files -- all you get is a list of files up there. And the final way of sharing, that's the most common right now, is just doing enclosures in e-mail, but that doesn't let people see the different versions, your e-mail gets flooded, you have different people working in parallel with documents that may be out of date. Really what you want is that Web site, but you want the Web site so that anybody can just sit down and create one without having to go to IT, without writing a line of code, and pick a template to choose for the Web site, and then easily customize what they want to create on that. This kind of sharing and collaborating is a big step forward for us. We call it using SharePoint."
It's interesting, that getting the phone and PC to work together; a lot of people thought about that as requiring you to change the whole telephony infrastructure to work across the Internet, so-called IP-based approach. But it turns out that that example is a traditional PBX, it's a fairly simple piece of software, that talks between the network, the computer network, and the PBX network. And so even without changing out any of the existing infrastructure you can start to get these benefits. Likewise with PlaceWare, what most people do, because the Internet telephony, also called voice over IP, isn't high enough quality yet, they're placing a traditional phone call in parallel with that screen connection. And so they're the best of both worlds, they're getting the screen interaction, and yet the voice quality and all that is the same. And yet, it all gets set up, when you click to join Net Meeting, in one simple step.
"I thought I'd do one last thing, which is just to give you a sense of how I work in a typical day, using these tools; what am I doing sitting in my office. I've got here a pretty nice system, this is a 23-inch LCD, you can see it's got an interesting aspect ratio to let you see lots of information across like this. This is still a pretty expensive display, they're about $2,500, they've just come out, it's a Sony display. These will come down in price over the next three years, we think, to about a third of that, to $700 or $800. So even though today, maybe only the executive staff should have these things, these are going to be commonplace. You've probably seen a rapid shift in your company from CRTs and desktops to LCDs because the 15- and 17-inch LCDs are already at that $600-700 price point. So we're reached crossover where for any new system the LCD is superior, partly because of the text readability, partly because it requires less desk space. But as those LCDs get larger you'll see a couple of cases where that extra screen area really is very helpful in terms of that productivity you get out of it." - IBM Tops Oracle In Database Market Share: Analyst - IBM Tops Oracle In Database Market Share: Analyst "International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) stole the relational database market crown from Oracle Corp. (ORCL) last year as its business survived the downturn better than its Silicon Valley rival, one market research firm found.
However, Oracle held onto its advantage in the market for database software running on Unix and Windows machines, according to Gartner Dataquest. Database software acts as a digital filing cabinet, storing and retrieving numerical and other information kept in computers.
IBM's share of the market climbed to 36% last year from 34% in 2001. Sales, including mainframe products, fell 0.8% in 2002, but Oracle's business tumbled a larger 21%.
The greater decline led Oracle's share to slip to 34% from 40%, Gartner Dataquest said. Still, Oracle maintained 43% of the market for database software running on Unix, Windows and Linux computers. IBM had 24% of this market while Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) won 23%.
Microsoft's SQL Server expanded its lead as the most widely used database on Windows machines with 45% of the market, up from 39% last year. Oracle had 27% of this market, while IBM had 22%.
Overall, the database sales fell almost 7% last year, Gartner Dataquest found."

Maybe IBM will buy Sybase so they can be "number one" again next year...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Microsoft to license SCO's Unix code | CNET

Microsoft to license SCO's Unix code | CNET "What's next?
Look for other companies to follow Microsoft's actions and for feedback from major IT buyers about whether their plans for Linux are being reviewed. As for IBM, SCO has threatened to revoke Big Blue's Unix license, starting June 13."

(Check FAQ in right-hand column; via John Dowdell)

Eric Rudder blog

"Oh, Microsoft execs are coming into the weblog world now. Here's Eric Rudder. He's a senior Vice President. He's also my boss' boss' boss. Or something like that. So far, not much to see, but hopefully he'll take us on a tour of the executive offices in a way that hasn't been done publicly yet."

Silicon Valley - Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Bloogle's Progress

Silicon Valley - Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Bloogle's Progress "The first order of business for Evan Williams and his team was to upgrade the blog-posting software, and to put the Blogger-hosted weblogs on Google's more reliable server computers. But Williams said the team is also looking hard at the element of the read-write Web that Google does so well -- finding stuff.
So a project is under way to create a superior method to help people find, sort and make better use of the content that all those webloggers are creating. Several tools already exist in this arena, including Daypop and Technorati. Google's interest in this is exciting, to put it mildly. (And I can't help wondering if Google's interest will turn into some more acquisitions...)
In the rumor-debunking category, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said there were no plans to segregate weblog content from the main search engine results. There's been wide speculation about such a move."

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The Onion | Report: Majority Of Human Discourse Now Occurring In Online Product Reviews

The Onion | Report: Majority Of Human Discourse Now Occurring In Online Product Reviews "In our increasingly soulless, mechanized world, it might seem that we're becoming more disconnected from those around us," said Duke sociology professor and study head Dr. Allan Piersall. "Well, the happy news is, people are talking to their fellow humans as much as ever. Only, they're most likely weighing in on the new Ferris polarized sunglasses from Eddie Bauer or expressing dismay over the lack of cleanliness at the Boca Raton Holiday Inn."

(Consider the source...)

Tipping Point: Does Windows Server 2003 Signal the End of the Web Application Server?

Tipping Point: Does Windows Server 2003 Signal the End of the Web Application Server? "The Windows Server 2003 marketing team faces an interesting challenge: The product is something of a chameleon, relative to today's market segmentation models. It's an operating system, an application platform, a Web application server, a transaction processing engine, a real-time communication server, a document and Web content management server, and much more. Need digital rights management? It's in there. Advanced, automated deployment and management services? Built in. Distributed component middleware for multi-tier applications and server farms? Part of the package. Component-oriented relational database integration? No extra charge. Can it magically restore your IT budget levels from 1999? Will it forever vanquish the free/open source threat to Microsoft? No, but you should continue reading anyway."

My latest Microsoft Smart Solutions newsletter/Web column

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Chandler for Higher Ed Gets a Go Ahead

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Chandler for Higher Ed Gets a Go Ahead "We recently presented our vision of a version of Chandler, called Westwood, for higher education to a consortium of schools we were introduced to by the Melon Foundation. It got a great reception.
We believe the main concepts of our Westwood plan have been validated. You can see the description of the proposed Westwood version of Chandler and a summary of our thinking about Chandler in Higher Education here."

Software To Watch Over Me

Software To Watch Over Me "What if you could get an electronic map that showed a bird's-eye view of every electronic conversation you have and everything you see on your computer in a given day? That's the concept driving a new branch of software interface work from Microsoft Research, dubbed Stuff I've Seen. In April, Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft's lab, showed off the new interfaces at the Microsoft Research Road Show."


Gartner: Drop Microsoft Passport

Gartner: Drop Microsoft Passport "In what can only be called yet another bid for attention, market research group Gartner is advising businesses using Microsoft's Passport authentication service to stop implementing the technology. This is the second such advisory from the company is recent months; Gartner last year advised companies to stop using Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft's Web server. As with the IIS incident, the catalyst for this advice is a security vulnerability, and now, as then, Gartner is out of line."

Microsoft, ACORD Link Insurance Forms to XML Web Services, Helping Agents Enter Data Once and Share Data Across Their Businesses

Microsoft, ACORD Link Insurance Forms to XML Web Services, Helping Agents Enter Data Once and Share Data Across Their Businesses "Today at the 2003 ACORD Conference Microsoft Corp. and the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) announced that ACORD will provide more than 500 insurance forms built using Microsoft® Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office System's new information-gathering application."

Monday, May 19, 2003

Ray Ozzie's Weblog

Ray Ozzie's Weblog "With regard to blogs, I do agree that we need to figure out some kind of structure, but I don't think it should be strictly hierarchical. I've got nearly 150 feeds that I monitor in one way or another - some employee, some not - and of course it's way too much to consume everything. I've asked myself "if you could only read 10, which would you read?" But I've found that this is the wrong question. Reading those 10 would be like only having meetings with my direct reports. I look to blogs for serendipity, and I won't truly understand what's going on "out there" unless I mix it up a bit."

Connections to Broadband Increase 50%

Connections to Broadband Increase 50% "The number of American households that connect to the Internet via high-speed, or broadband, connections grew by 50 percent in the last year, raising to nearly one-third the portion of home Internet users who now use broadband connections, according to a study to be released today." - Microsoft to Buy Unix License From SCO, Helping Campaign - Microsoft to Buy Unix License From SCO, Helping Campaign "Microsoft Corp. has agreed to buy rights to Unix technology from SCO Group Inc., a boost to SCO's controversial campaign to exact royalties for a predecessor to the Linux operating system.
No financial terms are being disclosed in the deal, under which Microsoft will license SCO's Unix patents and underlying technology called source code. But Microsoft's move suggests that the software company's lawyers view SCO's patents as important, and could encourage other companies to strike similar pacts."

Microdoc News: What Google Leaves Out

Microdoc News: What Google Leaves Out "Many people think that Google indexes everything on the Internet. Google may be the best search engine we have, but Google indexes far less of the Internet than you may even imagine. According to the Google front page, Google indexes 3,083,324,652 web pages out of an estimated 10 billion or so pages that are actually on the Internet. We ask the question, "What does Google leave out?""

Via Dave Winer

Friday, May 16, 2003

Apple Music Store Momentum Builds but Piracy Problems Loom

Apple Music Store Momentum Builds but Piracy Problems Loom "According to reports last week, only two of the five major record labels that agreed to publish their songs on the service have agreed to do so when Windows users come aboard. That's because the Windows user base is so large and diverse that these companies aren't convinced Apple can keep a lid on piracy. While Apple is obviously working to counter those fears, this week's revelation about music download hacks certainly can't help. Apple's response to these issues will probably determine whether the service is a long-term success and not just a historical footnote." - T-Mobile Delays Microsoft Phone, Dealing Blow to Software Maker - T-Mobile Delays Microsoft Phone, Dealing Blow to Software Maker "A spokesman for T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, said that the phone isn't ready to be launched because it is "not of the quality we expect." He said that the handset, which runs Microsoft's Smartphone software and is to be made by HTC Corp. of Taiwan, should still go on sale this year. ...
U.S. research firm firm International Data Corp. reports that Nokia supplied 57% of the 1.7 million smartphones shipped world-wide in the first quarter. These handsets use the Finnish company's own software together with software from Symbian Ltd., a London consortium in which Nokia owns a minority stake. Two other leading phone makers, Siemens AG and Samsung Electronics Co., also plan to launch phones running a combination of Nokia and Symbian's software this year.
By contrast, fewer than 10% of the smartphones shipped in the first quarter used Microsoft's software. The U.S. giant is focused on persuading mobile-phone operators to launch own-brand handsets running its software. Aside from T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. in the U.S., TMN, a unit of Portugal Telecom SA, and several other operators plan to launch such phones this year. Orange SA, which launched the first phone running Microsoft's Smartphone software in October, intends to launch an improved version of the handset following complaints from users about glitches and poor battery life." | Is it time to say goodbye to SQL? | Is it time to say goodbye to SQL? "The fact is that we won't be saying goodbye to SQL any time soon but it is surely becoming over-bloated and it is not the panacea that the marketing departments of some suppliers would have us believe. Companies making buying decisions need to recognise that large numbers of SQL extensions make SQL a lock-in just as much as proprietary operating systems or hardware."

I'll be ready to say "goodbye" to SQL right after someone convinces me that set theory is broken...

Thursday, May 15, 2003

An official networking mystery

I am losing TCPIP almost every day at ~2:20 - 2:30 p.m. and am totally baffled about the potential problem source. Browser (Windows XP IE) starts getting flaky first, then Notes R6 fails to replicate and reports TCP out of memory; IM clients generally stay alive, however. Anyone heard of weirdness like this with attbi/Comcast? I thought it might a Notes R6 memory leak, or some semi-random interference between Bluetooth and 802.11b (e.g., laptop network driver bug?), but the fact that it's happening at approx. the same time every day (whether I'm using phone + Bluetooth or not) has me wondering... Maybe there's a daily mid-afternoon TIA sweep in my neighborhood?...

Lunch on me (in Boston area) for whoever can solve this mystery; Dell, Sony Ericsson (I use a T68i with a Jabra Bluetooth headset), AT&T Wireless, and attbi/Comcast all essentially say "Gee, that's weird, but it can't be our problem..."

Valley 3.0: Life in the Bust Belt

Valley 3.0: Life in the Bust Belt "The thrill is gone in Silicon Valley -- and it will never return. As businesses look for new ways to export the future to the world, everybody's waiting for the next big thing to roll into town. By Po Bronson from Wired magazine."
[via Wired News] - Shirk Ethic: How to Fake A Hard Day at the Office - Shirk Ethic: How to Fake A Hard Day at the Office "It has never been easier to be a white-collar slacker. While the uninitiated are still grousing about how mobile technology has created a 24/7 work culture and sabotaged their private time, a savvier crowd has moved on to a more rewarding pursuit: using technology to make it look like you're working when you're not."

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Read Darwin -Are You Ready for Social Software?

Read Darwin -Are You Ready for Social Software? "Despite the wet blankets and the naysayers, we are witnessing the appearance of a new crop of inductive, bottom-up social software that lets individuals network in what may appear to be crude approximations of meatworld social systems, but which actually are a better way to form groups and work them.
Perhaps just as interesting as the way that social software is transforming group interaction — across different time zones or in the same room — social software is destined to have a huge impact on how businesses get at their markets. So the essential elements of social software will be incorporated into more conventional software solutions, changing the way collaboration and communication is managed within and across businesses, and ultimately transforming how companies sell and interact with customers."

MS Hands On Labs

"Tonight I learned about MSDN's Hands On Labs, where you can try out Microsoft stuff remotely without loading stuff on your own machine."

Ray Ozzie's Weblog: on social software

Ray Ozzie's Weblog: on social software "What's incredibly exciting to me is that a confluence of factors e.g. ubiquitous computing, networking, web and RAD technologies, the state of the job market - in essence, loosely coupled systems and loosely coupled minds - have created what amounts to a petri dish for experimentation in systems for social network formation, management and interpersonal interaction. An exciting time to be exploring what may happen to social structures, to organizations and to society when the friction between our minds can be reduced to zero ... to the point where we can truly have superconductive relationships."

A must-read in this context: The Dream Machine

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / Verizon battling on broadband

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / Verizon battling on broadband "With cable companies such as Comcast Corp. amassing a consistent two-to-one lead over Baby Bell competitors, Verizon launched what one executive called its ''broadband big bang.'' It cut the price for its high-speed digital subscriber line service from $50 to $35 a month -- $30 for customers who add long-distance and wireless phone service -- while doubling top download speeds for many customers to match faster cable modems. DSL offerings will include new Microsoft-provided special content and services.
At the same time, Verizon activated the first 150 of a planned 1,000 wireless fidelity, or WiFi, hot spots in New York City, created by converting surplus pay phones with wireless broadband Internet gear. Its DSL subscribers can use them for free with a special air card device plugged into their laptops or other wireless computer devices. Verizon expects to bring similar WiFi service to Boston and other US markets in coming months.
Industry analysts said Verizon's moves were likely to turbocharge the already booming growth in broadband home Internet connections, which increased by 6.4 million homes last year, to 17.4 million total, according to Leichtman Research Group, a Durham, N.H., consulting firm. That would step up pressure on conventional dial-up service providers, such as America Online, while building bigger markets for delivering music, video, and other entertainment and information over fast Internet hookups.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Wired News: AI Founder Blasts Modern Research

Wired News: AI Founder Blasts Modern Research "AI has been brain-dead since the 1970s," said AI guru Marvin Minsky in a recent speech at Boston University. Minsky co-founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1959 with John McCarthy.

Blogging from Nokia 3650

"Blogging from Nokia 3650 Russ reviews a J2ME blogging app for the 3650: Blo Russ reviews a J2ME blogging app for the 3650: BlogPlanet Rules: J2ME Blogging MIDlet for 3650s, excerpt: "This is a...

Great intro to a powerful new J2ME app for my Nokia 3650 camera phone. Will give it a try and report back.nbsp Most interesting tidbit in his article that was news to me was that the Nokia 3650 is one of the only phones with support for J2ME Media and Messaging APIs, which give the Java client access to your camera device.nbsp That's great!"

Now you can photo-blog and get just-in-time-invited to your Xbox Live games any place/time/device...

CRN : Steve Gillmor: Shucks and Aww II

CRN : Steve Gillmor: Shucks and Aww II "Forgive me if you think weblog stories about weblogs are just so much inside baseball. Of course they are, but the emerging direct publishing platform is rapidly becoming the national pastime in more than name only. When Dave Winer sounds the alarm and the anti-aircraft lights go up over Redmond, you can be sure that this version of shock and awe has legs."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: E3: Microsoft plays up Xbox hookups

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: E3: Microsoft plays up Xbox hookups ""Our long-term vision is that entertainment will ultimately become a software business," said J Allard, Microsoft's vice president in charge of Xbox's online services.
To that end, Xbox announced three new ways it is integrating entertainment and software on its Xbox Live service, which launched in November and has 500,000 subscribers.
One way, called Live Now, allows players to connect online through the Xbox — with no game in the machine — and talk to each other over a headset in conference-call fashion.
A second tool, called Live Web, lets people go online from any Web connection to check player rankings and see who else is playing online at the time.
The third feature, called Live Alerts, is what Allard called "real Dick Tracy stuff." It lets people send each other invitations to play games through Internet-enabled cellphones, handheld computers and other devices that use the free MSN Alert service.
The service is compatible with the new SPOT watches expected to be on the market later this year, Allard said. Those watches, based on Microsoft's .NET Web-services initiative, display constantly updated information from the Internet using the FM radio band."

Xbox Innovations Expand Video Game Entertainment

Xbox Innovations Expand Video Game Entertainment "As Xbox Live continues to evolve over the next year, the growing worldwide community of online gamers will be enticed by a host of new features:
Xbox Live Alerts. Gamers can receive invitations to play on their personal digital assistant (PDA), cell phone or PC with MSN® Messenger Service.
Xbox Live Web. Xbox Live stats and friends lists will be available to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service.
Xbox Live Aware Games. More games will allow users to be "logged on" while playing, even as a single player, so they can receive invitations and keep up with what their friends are doing.
Teams and Competition. New features on Xbox Live will make it easy for gamers to form teams with friends, and create and participate in structured competitions on the Web and in games.
Xbox Live Now. Gamers will have a place to meet and can use voice chat to determine where to begin their gaming experience. They can decide which game to play and how to team up, and chat after the game.
By this time next year more than 100 Xbox Live games are forecasted to be available, including the most-anticipated game in the industry, "Halo 2," as well as games such as "Counter-Strike," "Project Gotham Racing 2" and every sports game from Microsoft Game Studios."

100 Million Customers and Counting: MSN Messenger Extends Worldwide Lead Among Instant Messaging Providers

100 Million Customers and Counting: MSN Messenger Extends Worldwide Lead Among Instant Messaging Providers "MSN® Messenger Service recently reached a record high of 100 million active users per month worldwide. In addition, MSN Messenger was the No. 1 instant messaging (IM) service in 11 countries, according to independent third-party rating organizations during the month of March 2003. The service's continued growth further solidifies MSN Messenger's position as the industry leader. Over the coming months, MSN Messenger fans can look forward to an innovative new version of the service that delivers advanced personalization, integrated games and video chatting capabilities, along with a dramatic new user interface. ...
MSN will build on the success of the current version of MSN Messenger when it releases a major upgrade to the service this summer. New and enhanced features will include these:
Significant improvements to the user interface
New personalization features
Integrated game capabilities that allow users to play checkers, double solitaire and other games live via MSN Messenger
Integrated video and voice features that offer live, face-to-face communications between customers of MSN Messenger. Previously available as an add-on service from Logitech, consumers can take advantage of integrated webcam functionality, which allows them to show live pictures to their online buddies. Audio voice features are also available, enabling consumers to talk to each other using their PC's microphone and speakers. For Windows® XP users, video conferencing, or synchronized video and audio, will be available with MSN Messenger version 6."

Wired News: A TiVo Player for the Radio

Wired News: A TiVo Player for the Radio "Several electronics makers are releasing new products that promise to do for radio what the TiVo digital video recorder has done for television.
These digital radio recorders, which can be preset to record a program at a certain time, enable customers to record any radio program they want and have it converted into a digital format. They then can listen to the program or upload it onto a PC in a transferable file."

Once Derided for Dinosaur, I.B.M. Shows a T-Rex Bite

Once Derided for Dinosaur, I.B.M. Shows a T-Rex Bite "The big machines themselves account for a modest slice of I.B.M.'s sales these days, about $2.9 billion of total revenues of $81.2 billion last year. But when the related software, services, maintenance, finance and data storage businesses are included, the mainframe franchise represented 24 percent of I.B.M.'s revenues and 45 percent of its operating profits last year, according to A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company."

Friday, May 09, 2003

IBM alphaWorks Releases XML Forms Package

IBM alphaWorks Releases XML Forms Package "IBM alphaWorks has released an 'XML Forms Package' as one of several new technologies. The toolkit consists of software components designed to showcase possibilities presented by the W3C Candidate Recommendation specification. It allows developers to deploy XForms applications without client-side technologies, using the Java XForms compiler. Extensions support binding of XForms to Web Services, off-line operations, and rich UI controls."

InfoWorld: Interview: Macromedia CEO discusses upcoming Royale tool: May 08, 2003: By John Blau: Applications

InfoWorld: Interview: Macromedia CEO discusses upcoming Royale tool: May 08, 2003: By John Blau: Applications "Burgess: Royale is a new product still under development. It's essentially Flash for programmers. Currently, the Flash authoring tool is widely used by creative people. It has a visual interface, allowing these people to draw, move things around and do all this in a time-line. This interface is something that is very natural for an artist. If you're a hardcore programmer, you really want a tool to use in a server environment, especially as content merges with logic in next-generation applications, like the Watergate Hotel application I mentioned earlier. To put it another way, programmers aren't visual; they want code. We hope to deliver Royale later this year."

Microsoft's Got Blogging On the Brain

Microsoft's Got Blogging On the Brain When you add up its growing list of Weblog-related initiatives, Microsoft is poised to try to capitalize on Weblogmania.

Very handy and timely summary.

Sun, Oracle Join BPEL Effort

Sun, Oracle Join BPEL Effort WSCI ringleaders get on the BPEL bandwagon -

Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft admits Passport flaw, says error fixed

Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft admits Passport flaw, says error fixed "Under a settlement last summer, the government accused Microsoft of deceptive claims about Passport's security. In response, the company pledged to take reasonable safeguards to protect those accounts, submit to audits every two years for the next 20 years or risk fines up to $11,000 per violation.
Microsoft declined to say yesterday whether it had contacted the FTC. The agency's assistant director for financial practices, Jessica Rich, said any follow-up investigation would be conducted privately, but she added, ''We routinely look into issues that may bear on compliance with our orders.''
Sanctions or fines could be calculated various ways under federal laws, but Rich confirmed that each Passport account that was vulnerable could constitute a separate violation.
''If we were to find that they didn't take reasonable safeguards to protect the information, that could be an order violation,'' Rich said."

Theoretically, that would set the maximum fine at $2.2 trillion -- although experts said any fine would be significantly lower. Sanctions imposed by the FTC will depend on technical details of the flaw and the adequacy Microsoft's response over the next few days to prevent any recurrence."

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Windows XP to see double | CNET

Windows XP to see double | CNET "Microsoft plans to retool its Windows XP operating system so that two people can run applications on the same machine concurrently, an important step toward the company's goal of transforming the PC into a home entertainment center."

To be precise, they'll fix the Windows XP/Smart Display kludge. You can already run concurrent users+apps on Windows XP, just not via Smart Display; the problem is in input/output device management, not multi-user multi-tasking.

WinHEC 2003: Blackcomb to be Phased in Over Time

WinHEC 2003: Blackcomb to be Phased in Over Time "In his WinHEC keynote address Wednesday morning, Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Thompson revealed that the company's Blackcomb project will not be delivered as a major server upgrade as previously expected, but will instead be phased in over several years, beginning with technology that Microsoft will release this year as "out of band" upgrades to Windows Server 2003. This news confirms that Blackcomb is effectively the next "Cairo," a project that began life in the mid-1990's as a major revision to Microsoft's enterprise server line, but ended up quite differently, its various components scattered to other teams and projects at the company. Cairo technology was rolled into the Windows 95 shell, Active Directory, and the WinFS file system that will debut in Longhorn, the Windows client version that will debut in 2005."

I imagine this means we can also expect to see WinFS on Windows Server circa the Longhorn time frame.

WinHEC 2003: Microsoft Details Longhorn Roadmap

WinHEC 2003: Microsoft Details Longhorn Roadmap "During his keynote address on day two of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Microsoft Senior Vice President of the Windows Client Division, detailed his company's roadmap for delivering Longhorn, the next major Windows version. Contrary to previous reports, Longhorn will not ship in beta form until early 2004, and will not be released to manufacturing until 2005, Poole said."

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The Longhorn Chronicles

The Longhorn Chronicles "In Texas, something called a longhorn sermon consists of two good points with a lot of bull in between. This may also apply to the newest version of Windows, code-named Longhorn."

Cute line, but I guess nobody told Dvorak that Longhorn is currently pre-beta code, and thus hardly appropriate for this type of analysis. That's entertainment...

Werbach on Post-PC

"Werbach on Post-PC Post-PC When it rains, it pours. This has been quite a week for the emerging post-PC ecosystem. Apple introduced its iTunes music service, which is really more interesting for what it says about Apple than what it means for digital music distribution. Dell announced it is changing its name to remove the word "computer". And on Sunday, the New York times published a marvelous article by Steve Lohr about the evolution of the technology industry. The common theme is that the ecosystems of the personal computer and enterprise IT are maturing and giving way to something new. Or several new things. What comes after the PC isn't the Internet appliance, or the interactive TV, or the smart phone -- it's all those things and more. The underlying forces are irresistable. Moore's Law continues unabated, but for end-users today's processors don't feel that much faster than last year's. The market is no longer about putting a PC on everyone's desk, or about connecting that PC to the Net, or about wiring up corporate systems, or about giving people tools like email and Web browsers. Been there, done that. Smart companies like Dell, Microsoft, and Intel that have generated extraordinary wealth by riding the PC adoption curve realize that the ground is shifting. Dell's name change reflects the fact that it, like the others, is branching out to non-PC devices. But that's the least interesting of the three stories this week. New platforms such as handhelds, game consoles, and home media servers have been around for several years. Apple's iTunes service is more significant. Simply put, Apple is becoming a post-PC company. Everyone scratching their heads about how this will sell more Macs is missing the point. The Mac is near and dear to Apple, but the company has shown several times that it can jettison a core product -- the Apple II, the 68000 processor, the pre-OS X system software -- and reinvent itself. Apple is becoming something much closer to Sony: an integrated digital media company. Sony sells computers, but no one would call Sony a PC company. What it does best is create unique platforms and experiences, then market the hell out of them. That describes the new Apple as well. The heart of the company is the digital lifestyle, not a box. (I wouldn't be surprised if Sony acquires Apple, though similar deals have fallen through before.) And then there's the New York Times piece. Don't be mislead by the article's rhetoric about tech's "midlife crisis." That's the negative spin the Times' editors no doubt insisted on, because after all, how could anyone say positive things about tech these days? The point of the article is not that tech is dying, or that innovation is drying up. It's that enterprise technology is moving into a new phase. Bigger, faster, and more feature-laden are no longer selling points in the same way. Smarter, simpler, more efficient, and more flexible are the new criteria. It's much harder to make powerful system simple than to make them complex. The same issue arises in the consumer market. Apple has won plaudits for the user experience of its digital music service. That, more than a novel business model or better deal with the record companies, is what could change the market. EMusic had most of the same features well before iTunes. But there were personal computers before the Apple II, and graphical user interfaces before the Macintosh. Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has a genius for user experience and promotion. In a post-PC or post-technology world, those are two essential skills. So, onward we go. This is a time of reinvention, not senescence, for the tech industry.
[via Werblog]

Thanks for the great analysis Kevin!"

(This is my first two-level post via NewzCrawler -- Jeremy's posting of Kevin Webach's post...)

WinHEC 2003: Microsoft, HP Unveil Athens PC

WinHEC 2003: Microsoft, HP Unveil Athens PC "During a demo of the Athens PC prototype at the Gates keynote, Chad Magendanz, Lead Program Manager of the Hardware Innovation Group at Microsoft, discussed the various hardware/software features that make this solution so compelling. A 20" version of Athens' 23" widescreen display, he said, might cost several thousand dollars now, but in mid-2004 it will retail for less than $400. The display features a mount for the Bluetooth handset, side-mounted ports, and three lights on the top that alert the user when they have new voicemail or email, or a pending meeting. Similarly, the keyboard features buttons to launch software features like voicemail.
Based on Longhorn, the Athens PC comes out of standby within 2 seconds, and uses a USB flash card with security hardware and a thumbprint reader for user authentication. When you pick up the phone handset, software launches to show you Outlook contacts lists and Messenger changes your presence information to "on the phone." When you do make a call, Athens does a reverse lookup on the person you called, providing you with a list of the email and voicemail you've exchanged with that person, the documents you've collaborated on, and notes from previous meetings. "This functionality makes you more effective on the phone," Magendanz noted. Likewise, you can perform the electronic equivalent of closing your office door by marking your presence information as "do not disturb." In this setting, incoming calls will be routed to voicemall automatically, so that your workflow won't be interrupted. You can also answer voice messages via email with a voice-based reply. "With Athens, voice is a first-class citizen," Magendanz said."

Security system meant to aid, not stifle, users, Gates says

Security system meant to aid, not stifle, users, Gates says "This is a mechanism that if people want to use, for example, to protect medical records, they can use it," Gates said in an interview. "It's a lot of work to do this stuff, and we think consumers will want those privacy guarantees. If they don't want them, then fine, ask me about our other work."
Although no one doubts the need for better security, some have questioned whether Microsoft is best suited to be leading the charge, given its software monopoly and its history of skirting antitrust laws.
"They just don't understand," Gates said.
"That's like saying because we make a word processor, that reporters write what we want them to write or something. I can give you examples to prove that's not the case."

Wired News: Gates Goes From Geek to Chic

Wired News: Gates Goes From Geek to Chic "Granted, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Gates doesn't have quite the crazed charisma of Apple's CEO Jobs. But the new prototype computer Gates was fondling in front of hundreds of hardware developers on Tuesday looked so much like a Mac that it was impossible not to draw comparisons between the two men and their machines."

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

A Once and Present Innovator, Still Pushing Buttons

A Once and Present Innovator, Still Pushing Buttons "Mr. Bricklin has already played an important role in helping democratize technology as a pioneering innovator in the personal computer industry and says that he thinks the Internet is the next step in delivering powerful technology to individuals and small businesses. "The beauty of the PC was that it leveled the playing field and let small businesses do so much more," Mr. Bricklin said. "This technology is that same kind of tool.""

WinHEC 2003: First Look at Longhorn Graphics

WinHEC 2003: First Look at Longhorn Graphics "In a pre-show demonstration of the Longhorn graphics subsystem at the WinHEC trade show in New Orleans Monday night, I saw for the first time some of the advanced video effects that Microsoft will enable in the next Windows version. Longhorn, due in late 2004 or early 2005, includes a completely new desktop composition system that replaces the model used in previous Windows versions with one that is more technically advanced, visually appealing, and scalable. The early test versions Microsoft is showing at WinHEC include amazing animation effects, smooth window scaling, and advanced window translucency."

Monday, May 05, 2003

XP System Slowdowns Caused by Microsoft Patch

XP System Slowdowns Caused by Microsoft Patch "Reports are coming in from all over regarding XP system slowdowns caused by Microsoft's latest buffer-overrun patch. Microsoft allegedly is at work on a remedy to the problems created by its own security fix."

Not sure which "fix" was the cause, but I did multiple Windows Update runs on a Windows XP PC a week ago that hasn't been the same since...

Indian IT firm buys U.S. consultancy

Indian IT firm buys U.S. consultancy ZDNet May 5 2003 6:23AM ET

Maybe Ed Yourdon was right after all, in his pessimistic Decline and Fall of the American Programmer (Prentice Hall, 1992), and was simply a decade ahead of his time.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Technology now being tested could integrate cellular and Wi-Fi networks

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Technology now being tested could integrate cellular and Wi-Fi networks "Bellevue-based RadioFrame, another Mechaley company, has tested application handoffs between networks but hasn't had customers ask for the capability. In conjunction with cellular carriers, RadioFrame offers large businesses a system that delivers Wi-Fi coverage and can extend cellular service inside buildings. Nextel Communications is marketing the product to businesses. businesses."

WinHEC to Provide First Public Preview of Longhorn

WinHEC to Provide First Public Preview of Longhorn "This week's Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) trade show in New Orleans will mark the first public preview of "Longhorn," the next Windows desktop version. Long steeped in mystery, Longhorn will be the first major new version of Windows since Windows 95, when Microsoft began to break its ties with the DOS-based past and moved consumers into 32-bit computing. Longhorn will be an equally important milestone for the software giant's customers, as it will mark the first time since Windows 95 that each of Microsoft's three core markets--consumers, business users, and developers--will see major changes in Windows. The last two releases--Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP--provided major changes for just consumers and businesses, respectively."

America's Broadband Dream Is Alive in Korea

America's Broadband Dream Is Alive in Korea "And now that most of the nation is online at high speeds, South Koreans are shifting more of their analog lives to their computers, where they watch soap operas, attend virtual test preparation schools, sing karaoke and, most of all, play games."

Story: What you can do to get rid of 'spyware' - ZDNet

Story: What you can do to get rid of 'spyware' - ZDNet "If you think you may have spyware on your system, I recommend a program called Ad-aware to find and remove it. That's what I used to get rid of the spyware on my coworker's machine. Developed by Lavasoft (a Swedish company that for some reason uses a German domain name), Ad-aware is available free for personal use."

Ran this last week on several PCs, with surprising results -- highly recommended.

Sit and surf: MSN UK tests portable potty | CNET

Sit and surf: MSN UK tests portable potty | CNET ""Reading in the loo, or the bog, is a traditional English pastime," said Jeremy Davies, an analyst with U.K.-based market researcher Context. "We've all seen the magazine racks, loo paper with jokes and cartoons on the walls in toilets up and down the land. You've got to hand it to the creative--and uniquely English--minds at Microsoft.""

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Technology Hits a Midlife Bump

Technology Hits a Midlife Bump "Jim Gray, a computer scientist, has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. For his pioneering research on databases and transaction processing at I.B.M. and elsewhere, he won the 1999 A. M. Turing Award, sometimes called the Nobel of computer science. "I've seen the `end' at least twice in my career — only to be surprised by the next wave," said Mr. Gray, who now works for Microsoft. "My guess is that this computer thing has just gotten started.""

Another timely and insightful Steve Lohr snapshot of the IT business.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Sun rises on acquisition speculation

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Sun rises on acquisition speculation "Shares of Sun Microsystems, which have fallen 92 percent in the past three years, rose 12.3 percent on speculation the company might be bought by a larger computer rival, an analyst said.
Sun rose 41 cents to $3.75 yesterday. About 131 million shares were traded, making Sun the most actively traded U.S. stock. Trading was more than two times the three-month average and the highest since July 19, when 223 million shares changed hands.
Investors are speculating that Dell, IBM or Hewlett-Packard may acquire Sun, said Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderle."

Microsoft Hardware Celebrates 20 Years of Product Innovation

Microsoft Hardware Celebrates 20 Years of Product Innovation They seem to have forgotten about the Z80 add-in card they used to sell for Apple IIs. Also interesting to note that the Bluetooth keyboard is finally available for purchase again.

Friday, May 02, 2003

I, Cringely: May the Source Be With You

I, Cringely: May the Source Be With You "Open Source software will survive because it is useful even if it is parted out. Those hijacked and abandoned Open Source projects I described last week will still be sitting somewhere, the source code available for anyone who needs it. Only the momentum and the easy familiarity of the original programmer will be missing. So in strict terms, Open Source will always be with us.
But it could be so much better. At the risk of annoying my two remaining technical readers, I believe Open Source suffers from a kind of unspoken caste system, with a few projects getting lots of resources and most other projects getting very little. The result is what I think of as three classes of Open Source software -- professional, semi-pro, and amateur. I’m not saying this is bad, just that it is the case."

More thoughtful Cringely analysis



QuickTopic (SM) free message boards
"I've recently gotten to know Steve Yost and his QuickTopic topic board/mail list program. Instead of being a message board - scaled to handle threaded discussions and full fledged bulletin board features, QuickTopic focuses just on one thread.
It's a wonderful system as every post to the topic board or mail list entry - gets mirrored. So if I go to the site - what I leave on the topic board gets sent to the mail list. And if I reply to a email message or post my own message, that gets put onto the Topic board. Totally seamlessly!
If only other commenting systems and message boards were this clean! A lot of people use QuickTopic as their comment system for their blog. That way the blogger can ne notified when someone leaves a comment behind.
No wonder Steve is one of the architects and implementors of ThreadsML!"

Fortune: In the Hands of Geeks, Web Advertising Actually Works

Fortune: In the Hands of Geeks, Web Advertising Actually Works. "For all the flash and animation that marketers have put into building Internet ads, the geeks have figured out the real trick: Relevance is more important than style. We're turning to the Internet more and more in the ordinary course of our lives."

Kubi Software versus Groove

Kubi Software versus Groove Interesting observations via Jeroen Bekkers. I think the real issue for Kubi Software is Kubi relative to Windows SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Portal 2003, however, not Groove.

The Matrix - It's Harry Potter with guns. By Chris Suellentrop

The Matrix - It's Harry Potter with guns. By Chris Suellentrop "The implication is clear: Neo wants machines and men to coexist in peace. He doesn't want to destroy the Matrix. He just wants people to understand it so they can play with it and enjoy it as much as he does. He's an evangelist for the product.
Neo's not a Luddite. He's an early adopter. Just like his fans."

Thursday, May 01, 2003

.NET Architecture Center

.NET Architecture Center "Summary: This document provides a brief overview of Enterprise Solution Patterns Using Microsoft .NET, which embraces existing patterns work and applies it to .NET technologies. Included in the guide are an introduction to patterns and a catalog of 27 architecture, design, and implementation patterns."

IBM Lotus software news: New WebSphere Portal capabilities: out-of-the-box portal collaboration (2003-4-26)

IBM Lotus software news: New WebSphere Portal capabilities: out-of-the-box portal collaboration (2003-4-26) The future of the Notes client experience.

PlaceWare, Inc. Announces Its Acquisition by Microsoft Is Complete

PlaceWare, Inc. Announces Its Acquisition by Microsoft Is Complete "About PlaceWare, Inc. -- A Microsoft Company
PlaceWare is a leader in real-time "carrier class," multimedia platform and application services for Web-based communication and collaboration, both inside and outside corporate firewalls. Enterprise customers prefer PlaceWare Web conferencing because of its scalable, reliable and security-enhanced browser-based architecture, which is based on technology developed and tested at Xerox PARC. The company offers unparalleled performance for all types of Web-based collaboration, from large-scale meetings with up to thousands of attendees to small collaborative meetings, presentations and e-learning sessions. Founded in 1996, PlaceWare has already attracted more than 3,300 leading organizations that see Web conferencing as a natural evolution in helping their businesses compete more effectively in the global marketplace. PlaceWare helps companies host thousands of simultaneous Web meetings, simply using Web browsers and telephones."

Done deal. Summary includes new team leadership roster.