Monday, January 31, 2005 / Business / Technology / GM to make OnStar, stability controls standard / Business / Technology / GM to make OnStar, stability controls standard: "General Motors Corp. plans to put two safety features -- OnStar in-vehicle communications service and electronic stability control -- in all of its vehicles by the end of 2010, the company said yesterday. GM believes it would be the first automaker to make both features standard, a spokesman said.
The world's largest automaker said OnStar will be included on all vehicles in 2007.
The first year of OnStar service will be free. After that, owners will have to pay $199 for a year or $16.95 a month to maintain the service. OnStar alerts emergency services when air bags deploy or the sides of the vehicle are hit."

So... GM is morphing into a network services provider that also happens to sell very large endpoint devices (automobiles and trucks).

Microsoft Won't Bundle Desktop Search with Windows

Microsoft Won't Bundle Desktop Search with Windows: "Microsoft Corp. has no immediate plans to integrate desktop search into its operating system, a company executive said at a conference here this weekend.
Speaking on a panel on search technology at the Harvard Business School's Cyberposium, Mark Kroese, general manager of information services and merchant platform product marketing for MSN, said the federal antitrust battle Microsoft waged with the government has made the company think twice about what technologies it can add to the operating system."

Actually, it already does (integrate desktop search), on Windows XP; it's just not very effective.

No-cost Skype strikes chord with businesses | CNET

No-cost Skype strikes chord with businesses | CNET "The Internet telephony software Skype has found its way into the business world, as corporate road warriors and remote workers use it to reduce long-distance and cell phone costs.
Most of today's Skype adherents use it for personal calls, but a growing number of them are also using it to make calls for work.
Over the past year and a half, Skype's popularity has exploded. Currently, there are about 23 million users signed up for the service, which allows no-cost phone calls over the Internet, according to the company. By 2008, that number is expected to jump to between 140 million and 245 million, says market research company Evalueserve. As more business customers start using the software, Skype's subscriber numbers could grow even higher."

The New York Times > Technology > New Economy: Taking the Pulse of Technology at Davos

The New York Times > Technology > New Economy: Taking the Pulse of Technology at Davos: "Mr. Negroponte said his experience in giving children laptop computers in rural Cambodia had convinced him that low-cost machines would make a fundamental difference when broadly deployed.
'You can just give laptops to kids,' he said, noting that they quickly take advantage of the machines. 'In Cambodia, the first English word out of their mouths is 'Google.' '
Advanced Micro, Mr. Negroponte's first backer, brought its own low-cost computer initiative to Davos 2005. Hector de J. Ruiz, the chief executive, said that the company believed that its new Personal Internet Communicator, or PIC, might have a broader market than just developing countries.
At the 2004 Davos forum, the company started an effort to give half the world's population access to the Internet by 2015. Currently, about 12 percent of the world is connected.
Now, Mr. Ruiz said, Advanced Micro has been working with a variety of mainstream applications for low-cost computing, ranging from inexpensive Web surfing terminals to digital cash registers.
The PIC, which sells for $185 without a monitor and comes with a stripped-down version of Microsoft Windows, is housed in a rugged sealed case without a fan."

Way to Go: Microsoft Tweaks EU, Gets Tweaked Back

Way to Go: Microsoft Tweaks EU, Gets Tweaked Back: "After airing its preposterous product name and letting the EU vent a bit, Microsoft agreed to change the name late Friday, which one has to assume was the plan all along. 'We agreed to make the change in the spirit of compromise,' a Microsoft spokesperson said, apparently without irony. 'This is in the interest of the consumer.' Sure it is. But with this supposed compromise coming after it already announced the original name, Microsoft appears both petulant and contrite at the same time. Neat trick, that. I'm sure that kind of behavior will help clarify the EU's stance on Microsoft's desired settlement talks going forward."

Redmond | Feature Article: Microsoft's $11 Billion Man

Redmond | Feature Article: Microsoft's $11 Billion Man: "In a perfect world from a Microsoft perspective, how will information workers work differently five years from now?
[Jeff Raikes:] We expect that collaboration will be taken a step further, capturing the data and experience of an entire organization and enabling individuals and teams to use that information to make better strategic decisions. Information workers will have more options about how and when they work and the technologies they use will be mature enough so they can participate in high-value, high-content communications no matter what kind of device they are using, no matter where they are using that device. I'm really excited about where software can help people be more productive, but even more importantly, where software can help people increase the value of the work they do." - Time Warner Cable to Add AOL To Its High-Speed Web Service - Time Warner Cable to Add AOL To Its High-Speed Web Service: "Time Warner Inc.'s cable unit plans to start offering America Online accounts to its high-speed Internet customers for no extra charge, in a move intended to boost both Time Warner Cable's Internet business and AOL's advertising sales.
The new agreement suggests that, four years after AOL and Time Warner merged, the company finally is overcoming some of the cultural divisions that long plagued it. Time Warner Cable used to regard AOL as competition to its own Internet service, called Road Runner. When Don Logan was given oversight of the two divisions two years ago, he began urging them to work together.
Until recently, AOL tried to keep its subscribers from canceling their accounts when they upgraded to high-speed Internet services by selling its content and features to those customers for $14.95 a month. Time Warner Cable now will offer AOL customers a chance to keep their AOL accounts without paying an additional fee." - Boards of SBC and AT&T Approve $16 Billion Deal - Boards of SBC and AT&T Approve $16 Billion Deal: "The boards of SBC Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. approved a deal under which SBC will acquire AT&T for roughly $16 billion, mainly in stock.
SBC's board approved the transaction Sunday evening, while AT&T's board approved it just before 1 a.m. Monday.
The acquisition, subject to approval by AT&T's shareholders and regulatory authorities, is expected to close by the first half of 2006.
The deal aims to create the nation's largest communications company. The merger will end AT&T's 130-year history as an independent company, which began with the invention of the telephone.
If completed, a combined SBC and AT&T would set the stage for an all-out war between phone giants and cable companies. Cable companies have been encroaching on the phone industry's turf, as they seek to gain control of telecommunications access to consumers' homes. Moreover, in the past few years, the Bells have been losing customers to alternative services such as cellphones and Internet calling. The deal would give SBC more sources of revenue and reduce its exposure to its threatened core business.
In the past several years, Mr. Whitacre has steadily built SBC through a series of acquisitions to a company with $40.8 billion in revenue. By contrast, AT&T, with revenue last year of $30.5 billion, has seen its fortunes steadily dwindle in recent years. Today, AT&T is a fragment of the company that in the 1980s employed more than one million people. AT&T now employs fewer than 47,000.
At its peak, AT&T was the nation's phone company, with a monopoly on virtually all local and long-distance phone service in the U.S. Founded in 1875 -- around the same time as Sears Roebuck, Johnson & Johnson and Standard Oil -- AT&T was a cutthroat acquirer in the early 1900s, snapping up many rivals and thwarting others by denying them access to its long-distance system."

Project Googlefox

Project Googlefox: "As far as rumors go, the one about Google's move into the browser space is heating up. Ever since it was uncovered that the search company registered the URL last April, Web chatter has been abuzz with the prospect of Google launching a browser to compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
The buzz meter ratcheted up a few ticks last week when Ben Goodger and Darin Fisher, two key players in the development of the Firefox browser, each announced on the MozillaZine blog that they were now employees of Google."

Timely summary of recent speculation

Lotusphere 2005 impressions

Lotusphere 2005 impressions: I spent a couple days at Lotusphere 2005 in Orlando last week. To summarize my high-level impressions:

1. IBM is playing offense rather than defense in communication/collaboration market segments -- for the first time in a long time. IBM Lotus had some serious product line positioning challenges during the last few years, awkwardly trying to balance the Notes/Domino/Sametime base with the Java/WebSphere/DB2/etc. next-generation product line that's now called IBM Workplace. It's clear that Notes/Domino/Sametime are going to be vibrant for the foreseeable future (a significant change from circa 2002) and will usefully complement Workplace, while Workplace will be an attractive option for enterprises that haven't gone with Notes/Domino/Sametime but seek a competitive alternative (which also runs on multiple platforms etc.) to Microsoft's Exchange/SharePoint/Live Meeting/Live Communications/Windows Server System. IBM also made Workplace much easier to understand and acquire, bringing the myriad former IBM Lotus Workplace products together as IBM Workplace Collaboration Services.

2. The tone at this year's Lotusphere was focused on innovation instead of the less compelling tone of recent years (which might be paraphrased as "Me too, but later") as IBM juggled multiple releases of Notes (including the deeply challenged Notes/Domino R5) and lofty aspirations but little shipping product to support what would become Workplace. Now, with new products/features such as Activity Explorer and (the Eclipse framework-based) Workplace Designer, and -- critically -- with strong Notes/Domino integration throughout the product line -- IBM is in a much stronger competitive position.

3. IBM is clearly competing with Microsoft at a portfolio level -- platforms, tools, applications, and solutions. Both companies are touting strong support for rich PC clients, non-PC devices, and browser clients, with dynamically-provisioned, server-managed applications, deep and broad contextual communication/collaboration, tool suites for several types of developers, and much more. The relentless competition between IBM and Microsoft is going to produce significant opportunities for customers and steep challenges for vendors that can't compete across the full platform/tool/application/solution continuum.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Recommended reading: Revolution in The Valley

Recommended reading: Revolution in The Valley: "product description:"

"There was a time, not too long ago, when the typewriter and notebook ruled, and the computer as an everyday tool was simply a vision. Revolution in the Valley traces this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and beyond. The stories in Revolution in the Valley come on extremely good authority. That's because author Andy Hertzfeld was a core member of the team that built the Macintosh system software, and a key creator of the Mac's radically new user interface software. One of the chosen few who worked with the mercurial Steve Jobs, you might call him the ultimate insider. When Revolution in the Valley begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple's first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II. He sees that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company's most brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort the Macintosh. Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team, and the rest is history. Through lavish illustrations, period photos (many never before published), and Hertzfeld's vivid first-hand accounts, Revolution in the Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book's portrait of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the Macintosh team. Now, over 20 years later, millions of people are benefiting from the technical achievements of this determined and brilliant group of people."

I enjoyed reading this book -- a first-person tribute to the people who created the Macintosh. Many of the chapters (and anecdotes) can also be found at (author) Andy Hertzfeld's Folklore site, but you should buy the book; O'Reilly did a great job with it. The author bio in the book notes "His latest project is web-based software for collective storytelling, which was used to originally publish the stories in the book:"

Xbox Enthusiasts Uncover Its Versatility (

Xbox Enthusiasts Uncover Its Versatility ( "As designed by Microsoft, the Xbox can already perform some non-game functions: A $30 remote-control kit turns it into a DVD player, and the recent $80 Media Center Extender kit enables a networked Xbox to play music, photos and video stored on a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition.
But Xbox enthusiasts, taking advantage of such computer-derived Xbox components as its hard drive and network adapter, have taken this green-and-black box far beyond its maker's intentions.
The most successful such effort may be XboxMediaCenter, or XBMC. This free program ( lets an Xbox connect to a wired or wireless home network and perform many more media-sharing tricks than Microsoft's Extender add-on allows."

nat friedman: (Miguel mimics teenage billg)

nat friedman: (Miguel mimics teenage billg): "Some of you may have seen the recently-resurrected photos of Bill Gates posing for Teen Beat magazine. Well, let's just say that things get a little crazy at the Novell offices after hours. And so I offer you the modern, open-source alternative."

(Check out the pictures -- old and new)

The New York Times > Business > MCI May Be New Belle of the Acquisition Ball

The New York Times > Business > MCI May Be New Belle of the Acquisition Ball: "But is MCI a worthy second prize to AT&T?
Despite its woes, MCI has plenty going for it. It emerged from bankruptcy in April 2004 with less debt relative to AT&T and has $5.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet. The chief executive, Michael D. Capellas, has cut thousands of jobs, retreated from the consumer phone market and introduced software services to complement its extensive data network.
MCI is also relatively cheap, with a market capitalization of just $6.5 billion, less than half of AT&T's."

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > Essay: Tool for Thought

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > Essay: Tool for Thought: "Changing the way we think, of course, was the cardinal objective of many early computer visionaries: Vannevar Bush's seminal 1945 essay that envisioned the modern, hypertext-driven information machine was called ''As We May Think''; Howard Rheingold's wonderful account of computing's pioneers was called ''Tools for Thought.'' Most of these gurus would be disappointed to find that, decades later, the most sophisticated form of artificial intelligence in our writing tools lies in our grammar checkers.
But 2005 may be the year when tools for thought become a reality for people who manipulate words for a living, thanks to the release of nearly a dozen new programs all aiming to do for your personal information what Google has done for the Internet. These programs all work in slightly different ways, but they share two remarkable properties: the ability to interpret the meaning of text documents; and the ability to filter through thousands of documents in the time it takes to have a sip of coffee. Put those two elements together and you have a tool that will have as significant an impact on the way writers work as the original word processors did."

The New York Times > Arts > Television > Steal This Show

The New York Times > Arts > Television > Steal This Show: "It all started with the digital video recorder. First popularized by TiVo and ReplayTV about five years ago, the DVR gave consumers a new degree of control: instead of being at the mercy of the broadcast schedule or VCR's, they could now be their own television programmers, scheduling shows at their convenience, pausing live television and skipping easily past commercials. Smith Barney estimates that though only a little more than 6 million Americans now use DVR's, by 2010 nearly half of American television households, or 58 million homes, will have them.
Meanwhile, the file-sharing networks that are the scourge of the music industry began to have their way with television. Two factors slowed the spread: television isn't as expensive as recorded music, and its digitized files are significantly larger and harder to maneuver than their music equivalents. But hacking the cable box or stealing pay-cable channels like HBO is a longstanding tradition. 'There is a sense of entitlement that once it hits the airwaves it's free,' said Brandon Burgess, NBC Universal's executive vice president for digital media, international channels and business development.
Until recently, it was hard for average viewers to act on that sense. But these days all it takes is a broadband connection and a program like BitTorrent."

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Wired News: My IPod, My Self

Wired News: My IPod, My Self: "Unlike the Walkman, the iPod taps into a 'hybrid entertainment matrix,' in which functions like random shuffle are a key construct, not just a cute marketing device.
'IPod and user form a cybernetic unit,' said Giesler. 'We're always talking about cyborgs in the context of cultural theory and sci-fi literature, but this is an excellent example that they're out there in the marketplace.... I have seen the future, and it is called the cyborg consumer.'"

We are borg -- my experience on JetBlue last week was scary in some respects; I think I was the only passenger on the plane who turned off the seat-back real-time TV and occasionally looked out the window (okay, I admit I also used my laptop, and my noise cancellation headphones, but at least I wasn't watching Spongebob...).

Verizon opts for Microsoft TV technology

Verizon opts for Microsoft TV technology: "Verizon Communications Inc. plans to use Microsoft Corp. technology for its rollout of television service over a new fiber-optic network, becoming the third major telephone company to help fulfill Microsoft's long-stymied bid to barge into the TV business.
The software maker's platform initially will be used to provide an interactive program guide, high-definition television, digital video recording and video-on-demand for Verizon's FiOS TV service, which is due to launch in undisclosed markets around mid-year.
"The deal with Verizon comes on the heels of a contract from SBC Communications Inc. to use Microsoft's platform to launch that telephone company's TV service and an agreement with BellSouth Corp. to conduct trials with the technology.
By signing up the nation's three biggest local phone companies, Microsoft has taken a sharp detour to achieve in just three months what it failed to accomplish in a decade, bypassing the traditional cable establishment to establish a serious beachhead in the video entertainment industry.
Prior to the deals with the three former Bells, Microsoft's only notable TV success in the United States is a new set-top box and video recorder with its software being offered in Washington state by Comcast Corp., the nation's biggest cable company."

Relentless.... - EU Questions Microsoft's Name For Stripped-Down Windows - EU Questions Microsoft's Name For Stripped-Down Windows: "The European Commission's antitrust authority has expressed concern to Microsoft Corp. about the name it has chosen for its new stripped-down version of Windows, say people familiar with the ongoing negotiations over the software company's business practices.
Microsoft said last month it would offer a new 'Windows XP Reduced Media Edition' to comply with European regulators' orders to make its ubiquitous operating system available without its Windows Media Player already attached.
But regulators fear that the unappealing name could turn away consumers, potentially undermining the order, say the people familiar with the negotiations.
If the commission does not believe Microsoft is acting quickly enough or in good faith to comply with its orders, it has the option of levying a fine of up to 5% of the company's average daily turnover, he told reporters."

How about Windows XP VB, for "vindictively broken"?

Friday, January 28, 2005 Oracle 10g, IBM DB2 Both Leapfrog Yukon to .NET Oracle 10g, IBM DB2 Both Leapfrog Yukon to .NET
""Never leave me alone in the room with Bill Gates and a pen and paper."
— Larry Ellison, Chairman of Oracle, during a press briefing at Oracle OpenWorld in Orlando in the early 90s

"Perhaps the most surprising feature of the Oracle Database 10g Release 2, which went into beta late last month, is its support for the .NET Framework and associated common language runtime (CLR)."

Includes some diagrams about how it's all going to work.

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog: An Open Letter to Sam Palmisano, CEO, IBM Corp.

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog: An Open Letter to Sam Palmisano, CEO, IBM Corp.: "We've repeatedly passed along customer interest in having IBM support Solaris 10 with WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Rational and MQSeries products. Customers have made repeated calls to you and your staff. Those same customers have now asked me to begin communicating with you in a more public and visible way - they'd like the choice to run IBM products on Solaris 10, and they're feeling that your withholding support is part of a vendor lock-in strategy. A strategy to trap them into IBM's proprietary Power5 platform only.
Frankly, that behavior is reminiscent of an IBM history many CIO's would like to forget."

Reality check:
1. IBM should focus on growing software platform market opportunities; it's not clear Solaris will ever be on that list again, and maybe Sun can explain why IBM should lend its support to Solaris when AIX is its most significant and direct competitor.
2. BTW IBM also seems to be effectively controlling the future of Java, especially with Eclipse and the new Workplace Client Technology; it's not clear that IBM needs a lot of help from Sun these days...

Lots of conflicts at the intersection of (real or ostensible) Internet-enlightened modus operandi and classic capitalism these days; interesting times...

Ed Brill: Original versions of Lotus Notes available for download

Ed Brill: Original versions of Lotus Notes available for download: "One of several 'Lotusphere specials'... my colleagues and I, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of Lotus Notes, have posted the original Notes V1, V2, and V3 builds on IBM developerWorks: Lotus for download. This is a limited time offer through next week.
Thanks to a myriad of cohorts who helped make this happen."

I have a shrink-wrapped copy of the special edition of Lotus Notes ViP if anyone is looking to expand their collection of Lotus rarities...

vowe dot net :: Microsoft Booth Babes @ Lotusphere [with Nick Shelness comment]

vowe dot net :: Microsoft Booth Babes @ Lotusphere [with Nick Shelness comment]: "Sametime-Paul, Demo-Gary and Security-Charlie. Gary was formerly with Lotus, Paul and Charlie with Iris Associates. If you watch closely, you can see the Iris logo on their green shirts. Honi soit qui mal y pense."

Priceless snapshot from the Lotusphere exhibit hall. More Lotusphere impressions to follow.

Interesting comment/response to the blog post:

"It is one of my great sadnesses, that I and others were unable to convince IBM to provide a climate in which the vast majority of those who provided Lotus' inovative drive would continue to do so. It is interesting that Microsoft has chosen to do so, not only for ex Loti/Iri but for those who provided that drive at DEC (Butler Lampson, Chuck Thacker, Jim Gray, Bill Laing - my best friend, ...), SUN, IBM, etc.
— Nick Shelness, 2005-01-27 23:42"

BTW from
"Honi soit qui mal y pense [...] is the motto of the Order of the Garter. It's French for 'shamed be the person who thinks evil of it'."

The New York Times > Technology > Windows, Boxes and a Halo Bolster Microsoft Profit

The New York Times > Technology > Windows, Boxes and a Halo Bolster Microsoft Profit: "But the brightest spot was Microsoft's server and tools business, which grew 18 percent during the quarter, to $2.52 billion from $2.15 billion a year earlier. 'The world is buying a heck of a lot of servers,' Mr. Connors said.
Revenue from the SQL Server product alone grew 25 percent, indicating that Linux, a free open-source operating system used to run many servers, is posing less of a threat to Microsoft's corporate business than people may think.
'Linux is an issue, but it's not the Microsoft killer it's made out to be,' said Charles J. Di Bona, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. 'They're holding their own.'"

Microsoft to Require Legitimate Windows for Downloads

Microsoft to Require Legitimate Windows for Downloads: "In what will surely be seen as a controversial move, Microsoft this morning announced a roadmap for moving to a future in which Windows users must prove that their OSs aren't pirated before they can download any software from or Windows Update. The plan, dubbed Windows Genuine Advantage, is being phased in over time, although representatives of the company told me last night that they'll continue to let even pirated Windows versions download critical security patches through Automatic Updates." - CEO helps Microsoft enter its 30s gracefully - CEO helps Microsoft enter its 30s gracefully: "PC sales don't provide enough growth anymore, so Microsoft has to have its software in other devices that have growing sales. That's why it keeps expanding from PCs.
Next, all Microsoft platforms must embrace three capabilities: security (from viruses, identity theft, etc.), communications (helping devices connect to networks) and search and information management (which applies to everything from searching the Web to finding what you want to watch out of 500 TV channels). Microsoft has struggled with security and is behind competitors in search.
Finally, Microsoft products have to integrate with each other. In Microsoft's eyes, that's a benefit to users. The integration makes it easy to move among software programs and devices. In the eyes of many competitors and some government agencies, that can be a way for Microsoft to shut out competition."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

SC Magazine: Mobile virus infects Lexus cars

SC Magazine: Mobile virus infects Lexus cars: "Lexus cars may be vulnerable to viruses that infect them via mobile phones. Landcruiser 100 models LX470 and LS430 have been discovered with infected operating systems that transfer within a range of 15 feet."

Kind of a new meaning for crashing one's car...

(Thanks, Jamie)

The New York Times > Reuters > Business > JetBlue Keeps Profit Streak Alive

The New York Times > Reuters > Business > JetBlue Keeps Profit Streak Alive: "JetBlue Airways Inc. (JBLU.O) eked out a fourth-quarter profit, the low-cost carrier reported Thursday, narrowly dodging a first-ever quarterly loss analysts had predicted thanks to a hedge against high fuel costs.
JetBlue is the second-largest U.S. airline by market value after leading low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines (LUV.N)."

I had an unfortunate experience on JetBlue en route to Lotusphere Sunday/Monday; apparently it wasn't all the airline's fault, however -- I heard lots of discussion about JetBlue being not-so-subtly punished for being a non-union airline -- massive snow piles dumped at their gates, unresponsiveness on jammed/frozen/etc. equipment. I hope somebody at Massport loses their job over the incident, if that's true.

I'm not going to hold the experience against JetBlue, in any case, and I was pleased with my return from Orlando last night (despite more weather-related chaos at Logan).

Yahoo! News - Google Hires Top Firefox Web Browser Programmer

Yahoo! News - Google Hires Top Firefox Web Browser Programmer: "Web search company Google has hired the lead engineer of the Firefox Web browser, fueling speculation that Google will create its own version of Firefox to take on Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer."

See this Wired cover story for more on his background. - Personal Technology: Unlike Search Engines, Answers.Com Responds With Data, Not Links - Personal Technology: Unlike Search Engines, Answers.Com Responds With Data, Not Links: "But now there is an entire search service devoted to providing direct answers to search queries. It is called, and it is available at Using a variety of reference sources, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, it generates a thoughtfully organized page of relevant information about your search query without requiring you to click on any further Web links. comes from GuruNet, an Israeli company that developed a little-known, but slick, reference utility called GuruNet a few years back. With GuruNet, when you held down the Alt key and clicked on any word on any screen on your computer, the program produced a tabbed window with definitions, encyclopedia articles, and other information related to the word. GuruNet also powers the reference section of the A9 search service.
... is also a start toward a new search paradigm where the object is to provide real instant information, not just links to pages where that information may, or may not, be found. I urge you to try it."

[Sorry for the sparse postings this week; I had a few challenges getting to/from Lotusphere; more on Lotusphere soon...]

Monday, January 24, 2005

Win a piece of Notes history from Ray Ozzie and Groove Networks [at Lotusphere]

Win a piece of Notes history from Ray Ozzie and Groove Networks [at Lotusphere] "Ray Ozzie will be joining us again tomorrow morning in Northern Hemisphere A-C as he participates on our Innovators Panel moderated by industry luminary Esther Dyson. Other panelists include Mike Rhodin, Irene Grief,and Conrad Cross, CIO, City of Orlando, and Mike Dituro of Deutsche Bank.
You want to make an effort to visit Groove Networks at Pedestal #831 where you can have your badge swiped to become eligible to win one of two framed, signed copies of Lotus Notes anniversary memorabilia. Each framed item includes the signature page of the original Iris/Lotus contract that Ray Ozzie and then Lotus CEO Mitch Kapor signed on Dec. 7, 1984, the original description of Notes within that contract, as well as original floppy disks from Lotus Notes 1.0, which shipped on Dec. 7, 1989. Both items are personally signed by Iris Associates founders Tim Halvorsen, Len Kawell and Ray Ozzie!
Don't miss out on the opportunity to be one of two lucky Lotusphere attendees to win a piece of Notes history!
Again, to be eligible you must visit Groove Networks Pedestal #831 in the Lotusphere Product Showcase, and have your badge swiped by a Groove Networks representative. We will announce the winners of this Notes memorabilia on Thursday morning."

Very cool that Ray is at Lotusphere. (Note: I think you'll need a Lotusphere id/pw to access the page; I've grabbed full text, but the page also has a picture of of the signed Notes v1 set.)

The New York Times > Technology > Friendster, Love and Money

The New York Times > Technology > Friendster, Love and Money: "Google, which introduced a Friendster-style service last January dubbed Orkut, presents another challenge to Friendster. Marissa Mayer, who manages Orkut, acknowledged that it and Friendster have 'similar capabilities and similar limitations,' but she said Google had been 'blown away' by the success of the service only 12 months after it was introduced. Google still earns no revenues on Orkut, Ms. Mayer said.
Orkut began as a plaything for Silicon Valley's digerati but, oddly enough, has morphed into a site where the primary language is Portuguese. Nearly two in three registered Orkut users hail from Brazil; Americans account for only one in 11 registered users. Similarly, Friendster is wildly popular among 18 to 21 years olds living in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, who account for a huge portion of Friendster's most active users.
'Lots of early adapters here in the U.S. no longer have this obsessive, 12-hour-a-day obsessive interest that they did when Friendster originally hit,' said Danah Boyd, who is studying Friendster as a Ph.D. student at the School for Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley.
The problem, Ms. Boyd said, 'is they haven't built anything new that gives people a reason to spend more time at the site.'" - Sun, Challenging Linux, To Issue Open-Source Rules - Sun, Challenging Linux, To Issue Open-Source Rules: "Sun Microsystems Inc. is releasing long-awaited ground rules for making its flagship software available on an open-source basis, hoping to regain momentum from the popular Linux operating system.
The Santa Clara, Calif., computer maker has drafted an open-source licensing plan that differs from the license that governs Linux. Sun tomorrow is expected to announce plans to disclose technology associated with a forthcoming version of its operating system, called Solaris 10, under the new licensing terms in the second quarter. It plans to immediately disclose technical details of a Solaris 10 feature, called dynamic tracing, that helps make application programs run faster." / Business / Personal Technology / Web prodigy takes on new challenge / Business / Personal Technology / Web prodigy takes on new challenge "By age 10, Blake Ross was designing Web pages on America Online. By 14, after mastering complex programming languages such as C++, he was fixing bugs in Netscape's Web browser from home, a hobby that landed him a job offer.
Ross, now 19, a sophomore computer science major at Stanford University, has an even more impressive resume than most of his peers. Before graduating from high school, he helped develop Firefox."

Somebody gets a press relations gold star -- this topic is also the cover story in the latest issue of Wired (not yet posted on, however) and a collection of open source articles is the lead in this week's BusinessWeek as well.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Another happy JetBlue Airways customer experience [updated] [twice] [3 times]

Another happy JetBlue Airways customer experience I'm supposed to be heading to Orlando today, for Lotusphere, but of course the storm in Boston is making travel a bit challenging -- quite the winter wonderland/wasteland scene here at the moment, with Logan Airport closed, but it's supposed to let up by mid-day. I was originally scheduled for a 2:05 flight on JetBlue; I called this morning and rescheduled to their 6:30 p.m. Boston/Orlando flight instead, expecting the roads will be a problem until mid/late afternoon. JetBlue was very helpful/responsive, and I just realized I may not even miss the entire Patriots/Steelers game, since JetBlue has live DirectTV inflight channels...

Okay, maybe I'll be watching the Patriots game at home, and now I'm not such a happy JetBlue customer; their Web site now shows my 6:30 flight cancelled and their 800# says something to the effect of "We're too busy right now so check our Web site instead" and hangs up...

2005/01/24 update: I suppose I can't blame JetBlue for the fact that Logan Airport was closed all day yesterday, and it was partially redeemed (despite its inadequate 800# call center -- the Web/800# infinite loop experience yesterday) by pro-actively calling me, mid-day yesterday, to propose rescheduling options. I'm heading to Lotusphere a day late -- as I'm sure many other people from the northeast US are as well...

2005/01/24 mid-day: in case you're planning to spend time in East Boston today, note that the area is having sporadic power system failures... which are, among other things, producing new probems at Logan Airport. I'm starting to sense that Lotusphere is not in my immediate future...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'They Made America': 1 Percent Inspiration, 99 Percent Marketing

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'They Made America': 1 Percent Inspiration, 99 Percent Marketing: "In ''They Made America,'' Sir Harold, the historian, publisher and journalist, follows up his 1998 volume, ''The American Century,'' with absorbing profiles of Americans whose inventiveness and industriousness changed the way human beings live. Read just a few of these portraits and you begin to become dismayed at what you yourself have accomplished in your time on the planet: that is, comparatively nothing. Certainly nothing that compares with the lasting transformations wrought by Samuel Insull (who put cheap electricity into many thousands of homes) or Samuel Morse (whose telegraph liberated communication from the constraints of geography). It's enough to make you throw the book down and plunge headlong into the development of time travel or climate control or anti-aging pills -- anything that might result in a legacy with some heft to it."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft dividend bumped up personal income

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft dividend bumped up personal income: "Microsoft's $32.6 billion special dividend payment last month raised personal income nationwide and probably worsened the U.S. current-account deficit in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said."

The New York Times > Business > AT&T Looks Beyond 'Number, Please'

The New York Times > Business > AT&T Looks Beyond 'Number, Please': "For a century, AT&T was known as America's premier phone company. If Hossein Eslambolchi has his way, that label will go the way of the dodo bird.
As chief technology and chief information officer, Mr. Eslambolchi is the technological strategist behind AT&T's ambitious turnaround plan to become a data transmission company selling an array of software products like network security systems - with phone calls being just one of many digital services.
Indeed, for the first time, voice calls generated less than half of the revenue in AT&T's corporate business group in 2004.
A few years ago, this approach was heresy at AT&T, where connecting calls was the cornerstone of the former monopoly's business. But with falling prices, growing competition and cheap new Internet phone services from start-up companies, AT&T's future depends more than ever on vigorous cost-cutting and focusing on its worldwide data network."

Friday, January 21, 2005

An apology to Walt Mossberg (re "conventional wisdom")

An apology to Walt Mossberg (re "conventional wisdom")

I've had an educational day since I posted my "conventional wisdom" comment about Walt Mossberg's article yesterday. He sent some useful and constructive comments via email, and some of my security-focused Burton Group colleagues also shared valuable insights about the relative virus risks on Mac OS X and Windows.

I apologize for the "conventional wisdom" slight and, while no OS is perfect, I now agree with Walt Mossberg (quoting from our email exchange), that "There has never been a successful virus (one that actually attacked real people's computers, outside of a lab, and spread from machine to machine) for OS X." I originally took issue with his use of "never," but as far as I can determine he is indeed correct (this does not mean, of course, that there won't be issues in the future, or that Mac OS X users don't need to be mindful of security best practices; he also noted, via email, "My 'never' was never predictive.").

Coincidentally, I'm currently working on a Burton Group report on blogs, wikis, and related subject areas. In part because of this encounter, I added the following to my recommendations section (note it's draft mode and subject to considerable improvement from my BG editors...):

Stay Circumspect: Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

Blogs and wikis make it very easy to capture and publish information on the Internet and in more constrained contexts such as intranet workspace discussion forums. The Latin phrase above is often translated into English as “The spoken word evaporates, the written word remains” (the phrase is literally translated as “"spoken words fly away, written words remain"), and it’s sage advice, especially in an era when anything published on the Internet is likely to be both saved indefinitely and readily searchable.

Even “security through obscurity,” such as using obscure Web site names and page addresses, is a porous plan as hypertext tools (e.g., automatic trackback reference generation) increasingly can bring even content intended for small, private audiences into the purview of automated searching/indexing services. Blog and wiki authors need to be mindful of the fact that document-based discourse is a very different context from other modes of interpersonal communication, and that what you say can and probably will be used against you, if you say it imprecisely (fraught with potential for misinterpretation and perhaps zealous overreaction) or in a way that constitutes defamation (inviting legal recourse).

Incidentally, even the context for the Latin adage in the header of this section needs to be reconsidered, in these days of podcasting, smartphones and other inexpensive devices that can be used to record conversations (and later transfer recordings to computers, whence they can be readily published), and multi-person, real-time, automated speech transcription software: even spoken words can no longer be assumed to evaporate.

Note that I do not mean to imply I was trying to obscure anything in my blog (nor have I ever, in my ~5 years of blogging); the recommendation addresses the broader blog/wiki beyond context, but the feedback on my "conventional wisdom" error was a timely reminder of the need to focus on precision/economy/etc. of expression in blogging (and other async communication/collaboration contexts).

When blogging can get you locked up | Perspectives | CNET

When blogging can get you locked up | Perspectives | CNET "In Kazakhstan, the government has periodically blocked access to opposition Web sites since 2002. The authorities have since called on one of the country's two main Internet service providers--Kazakhtelekom which is state-owned--to cut off access to sites deemed to be 'destructive,' or pose a threat to the state.
In the good ol' United States, things haven't gotten that out of hand--at least not yet. But who knows? In this post-Patriot Act age, we're all walking on terra incognita.
The business world doesn't produce heroes, but we should expect its leaders to occasionally demonstrate guts.
In the meantime, journalists and bloggers in the states are in no position to brag about their First Amendment rights. Just this month, we were treated to the spectacle of a bullying corporate entity--Apple Computer--going after a student Web publisher it wants to silence. Free speech, anyone?"

Okay, blogging ethics (etc.) is now the offical meme of the day...

BBC NEWS | Technology | Games find home in the classroom

BBC NEWS | Technology | Games find home in the classroom: "Video games could soon be transplanted from their natural habitat to the more academic atmosphere of the classroom.
With violent titles continuing to top the charts, gaming and learning have not always sat well together but the tide could be beginning to turn.
Recent research by the London Institute of Education concluded that games have a valid place in the classroom.
'Games teach life skills such as decision making, problem solving,' said Martin Owen, at Futurelab.
Mr Owen said games could also help children make quick assessments of situations and learning by trial and error."

Good snapshot/overview. I remain cautiously optimistic about games + education potential.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Text message record smashed again

BBC NEWS | Technology | Text message record smashed again: "UK mobile owners continue to break records with their text messaging, with latest figures showing that 26 billion texts were sent in total in 2004.
The figures collected by the Mobile Data Association (MDA) showed that 2.4 billion were fired off in December alone, the highest monthly total ever.
That was 26% more than in December 2003. The records even surpassed the MDA's own predictions, it said.
Every day 78 million messages are sent and there are no signs of a slow down."

Microsoft Seminar Explores the Art of Saving Thousands of Dollars While Reaching More Customers Through Web Conferencing

Microsoft Seminar Explores the Art of Saving Thousands of Dollars While Reaching More Customers Through Web Conferencing: "On Jan. 27, Emir Aboulhosn, vice president of Marketing Communications for Laplink Software Inc., will discuss Laplink's adoption of Microsoft Office Live Meeting, an online collaboration and Web conferencing service, during an online business seminar titled 'Laplink Connects With Its Customers.' During the complimentary seminar powered by Live Meeting, Aboulhosn will explore how Live Meeting has strengthened and shortened Laplink's sales cycles while enabling the company to reach a broader audience without the need to travel. Aboulhosn will also discuss how Laplink expects to recover an estimated $80,000 in expenses and lost productivity by replacing some business travel with Live Meeting Web conferences."

This type of practice-what-you-preach (use Live Meeting to describe how Live Meeting can be effectively used etc.) is very powerful (when it works well, of course).

Yahoo! News - Wi-Fi Boom Makes Life Easier for Computer Hackers

Yahoo! News - Wi-Fi Boom Makes Life Easier for Computer Hackers: "'When convenience and features are in opposition to security, security generally loses. As wireless networks become more common, security will get worse,' California-based cryptographer Bruce Schneier told the magazine."

So... tell me again why the consumer-oriented offerings don't come by default with security set to maximum? - When Bloggers Make News - When Bloggers Make News: "Bloggers such as Mr. Frankonis are finally moving from the alleys and side streets of the Internet into the mainstream. And as their visibility and clout increases, some are asking: what are the rules of the road? There is no exam to pass or society to join to become a blogger -- anybody can set up a 'Web log' to publish his or her ideas -- and at last count, an estimated eight million people in the U.S. are doing so, writing on everything from pets to porn. Blogs run the gamut from news and political commentary to hobbies to highly personalized attacks on fellow bloggers. Most blogs let readers post their own comments, which inevitably attract still more, which sometimes devolve into name-calling, all in the span of an afternoon.
Some bloggers don't want to be limited to the traditional notions of journalism. "Bloggers should reject the traditional idea of objectivity," says Mickey Kaus, a former New Republic and Newsweek writer whose blog Kausfiles appears on "One of the virtues of blogging is that it's not subject to the professional and bureaucratic restrictions of big media." Mr. Kaus says a formal code isn't needed -- just honesty. He adds: "The point of blogging is to say what you actually think -- opinion, not the traditional ideal of journalism.""

This article addresses a timely and important debate.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: Notes from Microsoft Webinar on Collaboration & Business Productivity, Jan 21

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: Notes from Microsoft Webinar on Collaboration & Business Productivity, Jan 21 "Notes from Microsoft Webinar on Collaboration & Business Productivity, Jan 21
Microsoft today hosted a Webinar entitled Make Collaboration the Engine of Business Productivity, presented by Peter O’Kelly from The Burton Group."

Thanks to Michael Sampson for the webinar summary, and for posting my presentation file (warning -- 2 meg .pdf file). I'm glad Microsoft gave me the opportunity to present; note that I'll be doing a similar presentation live (as opposed to Live Meeting, which worked very well for the webinar this morning) in several cities in North America during Feb - April; you can also check Microsoft's webcast site after today for a replay of this morning's session.

p.s. in case you're wondering how Michael wrote from the future (2005/01/21): he lives in New Zealand...

Macromedia - Press Room : Macromedia Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2005 Results

Macromedia - Press Room : Macromedia Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2005 Results: "'What pleased me about the performance in the quarter is that we had solid results in all three of our businesses and across all of our regions,' said Rob Burgess, chairman, Macromedia. 'Our core products are doing well, our new initiatives like Breeze and Flex are really starting to take off, and mobile is set to explode.'
In a separate release, Macromedia also today announced today the promotion of Stephen Elop to the position of chief executive officer. Rob Burgess, who has served as CEO and chairman for the past eight years, will continue as executive chairman and chairman of the board."

Strong results a new CEO for Macromedia. Congrats to Stephen Elop.

Vision For Hire: This just in -- New information about Workplace Designer!

Vision For Hire: This just in -- New information about Workplace Designer! "The soon to be seen, IBM Workplace Designer:
I’m going to talk about things from an architectural viewpoint rather than focusing on a “feature set” for two reasons. The architecture is the important part. The architecture limits what can be done with the Domino Designer. Keep in mind also, that this preview I saw was an early preview of what will become a 1.0 product and it would hardly be fair or accurate to compare feature lists. That said it was pretty feature rich already.
The base framework of Eclipse has provided a ready made platform that is stable, responsive, and user-accepted right from the word go. The new designer takes full advantage of this right down to using the existing JavaScript editor and other tools. That means right away the editor has full code completion, help, formatting, object browsing, and all the other features developers have come to expect."

First IBM Workplace Designer detailed overview/preview I've run across (thanks, Bob). I think Eclipse + Notes/Domino application metamodel elements is very significant, and look forward to learning more about it next week at Lotusphere. - Microsoft To Sell Outlook E-Mail Pdt For Hotmail Accts - Microsoft To Sell Outlook E-Mail Pdt For Hotmail Accts: "Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will begin selling its Outlook e-mail program as a subscription to Hotmail customers, in a bid to persuade people to pay for add-on services and better compete with rivals such as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO).
The new service, which costs $59.95 per year, will let people organize e-mail, contact lists and calendars in their online Hotmail accounts using the Microsoft Outlook program most often found on businesses' desktop computers.
Meanwhile, Yahoo has in the past year acquired Oddpost Inc., praised as a Web-based e-mail service that works more like a desktop application, and Bloomba, which some say is more nimble than Outlook. But Yahoo hasn't said what it will do with those technologies.
Microsoft Office Outlook Live also will include 2 gigabytes of online storage, plus the ability to send attachments of up to 20 megabytes. Microsoft currently charges $19.95 per year to customers who just want the added storage and attachment capability.
Hotmail already gives users free storage of up to 250 megabytes and lets users send 10-megabyte attachments. Rival Yahoo offers the same.
Microsoft's Web site sells Outlook as a stand-alone product for $109. This is the first time Microsoft has offered any of its Office products on a subscription basis." - Personal Technology: With New Mac Mini, Apple Makes Switching Attractive, Affordable - Personal Technology: With New Mac Mini, Apple Makes Switching Attractive, Affordable: "f my e-mail from readers is any indication, more Windows users are thinking of switching to Apple Computer's Macintosh models than at any time in a decade. A significant minority of Windows users are so fed up with battling viruses and spyware, or so impressed with Apple's iPod music players, that they are seriously tempted to jump to the Mac.
But some are put off by Apple's prices. The widely praised iMac G5 starts at $1,299. And the lowest-priced Mac, the eMac model, is $799. When you compare them with truly comparable Windows machines, their prices are competitive. But they look very high compared with the cheapest Windows machines, which are under $500.
So, this weekend, Apple will start selling its lowest-priced Mac ever, a tiny but full-featured desktop computer called the Mac mini, priced at just $499. But there is a catch. The mini doesn't include a monitor, keyboard or mouse. Apple says it was designed to work with the monitors, keyboards and mice from Windows PCs that it assumes switchers already own.
In addition, the mini comes with Apple's latest operating system, called Panther, which has so far never been attacked by a successful virus and has been plagued with little or no known spyware."

I'm surprised this type of conventional wisdom (i.e., the virus/spyware part) isn't more widely challenged.

Microsoft Office Outlook Live: Outlook Lights Up With MSN Hotmail

Microsoft Office Outlook Live: Outlook Lights Up With MSN Hotmail: "Staying in sync any time, anywhere. With Outlook Live, any updates made -- from deleting messages and adding a new contact to scheduling a meeting or creating a new task -- using Outlook are automatically synchronized and reflected in customers' MSN Mail or MSN Hotmail accounts when they are online. Even changes made or e-mail messages composed while working offline are captured and completed when the customer signs back online, so they never have to worry about staying up to date. Best of all, customers can access this information virtually anywhere from"

"Megaserver" lives -- no doubt this will expand to include files and other more workspace-oriented storage sync in addition to channel-oriented sources such as email. - Internet and Phone Companies Plot Wireless-Broadband Push - Internet and Phone Companies Plot Wireless-Broadband Push: "Several big Internet and phone companies are moving to provide wireless high-speed access to the Internet -- without phone lines or cable -- challenging the dominance of those traditional connections to millions of U.S. homes and offices.
EarthLink Inc. hopes to be selling this kind of Internet access, known as wireless broadband, in multiple markets across the country by the second half of this year, according to a company executive. Sprint Corp. and MCI Inc. are actively testing the technology, while AT&T Corp. plans to begin deploying it in 2006.
The city of Philadelphia is moving ahead with the nation's largest citywide deployment of the technology know as Wi-Fi and next month will announce details for its plan to blanket the city with cheap wireless Internet access. The reason, city officials have said, is that parts of some neighborhoods haven't been wired for high-speed Internet access via phone or cable lines, and others can't afford it."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Mac mini, meet the competition

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Mac mini, meet the competition: "So, what do these deals show us? First, you can get a lot of PC--indeed, a whole PC system including a large CRT screen and a printer--for the same price, or less, than the Mac mini. Second, these PC systems are far more expandable than the Mac mini, thanks to their comparatively voluminous tower cases, with readily available RAM slots, room for more hard drives and optical drives, and various add-in cards: You can even get integrated 9-in-1 (or 8-in-1) media readers, which is a huge plus.
Third, and perhaps most important, none of this matters. Put simply, the people who buy $300 to $500 PC systems at Best Buy are never, ever going to be Apple customers. The people who will be attracted to the Mac mini are people who already have expensive PCs but are looking for a second machine. They are into digital media and are perhaps taken with the style of the iPod. They can afford a $500 second machine, just like they can afford an iPod. And they number in the millions. They will not be buying either of the PCs shown above, not ever.
When it comes to this kind of purchase, the $500 price tag of the Mac mini means just one thing. Like the iPod, the Mac mini is an affordable luxury and it will, in my opinion, open up Mac OS X to a much wider audience. The Mac mini, however, does not compete feature-for-feature or price-for-price with the PC. And you know what? Neither does the iPod, when compared to its competition. Just look what happened there. People aren't buying these things based on features. There's something intangible happening here.
My prediction is that the Mac mini will reverse Apple's market share slide. And one year from now, if not sooner, all of us--even the detractors, begrudgingly--will credit this product with turning around the Macs fortunes. Comparing apples to oranges, or in this case, Apples to eMachines, just doesn't make sense."

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: Review of Convoq ASAP Pro 2.0, Jan 20

Shared Spaces Research & Consulting: Review of Convoq ASAP Pro 2.0, Jan 20: "In early December, Convoq released Version 2.0 of ASAP Pro, its Web conferencing and collaboration service.
There is a lot packed into this offering, and I will outline its features using a three-stage process model for managing online meetings..."

Always-insightful Michael Sampson reviews Convoq ASAP 2.0

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check: search me...

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check: search me... An update on the Google/Blogger template with the search edit control (following this post): FYI the search scope is now correct -- i.e., searching via the edit control in the upper left-hand side of this page now searches only my blog content.

SAP buys PeopleSoft support firm | CNET

SAP buys PeopleSoft support firm | CNET "SAP has purchased TomorrowNow, a software company that provides support services for products sold by the former PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.
The move, announced Wednesday, is an attempt to lure customers in the wake of Oracle's recent acquisition of PeopleSoft.
SAP described the buy as part of a plan to give customers a 'safe passage away from the uncertainties' associated with Oracle's takeover."

Unfettered capitalism is such fun...

Networking Pipeline | Internet2 Consortium Sets New Internet Speed Record

Networking Pipeline | Internet2 Consortium Sets New Internet Speed Record: "The Internet2 consortium announced that a research team based at the University of Tokyo set a new IPv4 transmission speed record in November. The team successfully sent a multiple stream data transmission with a transfer rate of 7.21 gigabits per second over a distance of 20,645 kilometers ' more than half the circumference of the earth."

Google Blog: Preventing comment spam

Google Blog: Preventing comment spam: "If you're a blogger (or a blog reader), you're painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites' search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like 'Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site.' This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and we've been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel='nofollow') on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists. "

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Reports Strong Results for 4th Quarter

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. Reports Strong Results for 4th Quarter: "I.B.M., Mr. Loughridge said, continues to benefit from a strategy that emphasizes supplying corporate customers with packages of technology - hardware, software and services - instead of selling them individual products. That model, he said, has helped the company at a time when business customers are winnowing their rosters of suppliers and trying to avoid the cost and complexity of putting technology components together themselves.
Today, I.B.M. is looking for growth in its big services and software businesses. The company has $10.3 billion in cash, or $3 billion more than a year ago. Mr. Loughridge said I.B.M. saw "very good" prospects for making further acquisitions this year. The company spent $2 billion last year on 14 niche acquisitions in the software and services field." / Business / Technology / Verizon to roll out super-fast Net access / Business / Technology / Verizon to roll out super-fast Net access "Verizon Communications Inc. yesterday identified 19 Boston suburbs -- including Natick, Newton, and Woburn -- where it will offer super-fast Internet access over a new fiber-optic network this year.
Verizon is preparing to offer Internet access at speeds of up to 30 megabits per second, six to 10 times faster than what's possible with conventional cable modems. Both Comcast and RCN are responding this month with free upgrades for current and new customers. Comcast's current 3-megabit service will increase to 4 megabits, and RCN will crank up its 7-megabit service to 10. Subscription prices will not increase.
Verizon plans three FiOS broadband Internet services, all of which offer much faster ''upstream" Internet connections (to send data) than Comcast's or RCN's. That could appeal to people who regularly transmit large video and graphics files or compete in multiplayer online computer games:
5 megabits downstream (to receive data) and 2 upstream, for $35 a month bundled with phone service, $40 a month stand-alone.
15 megabits down and 2 up; $45 bundled with phone and $50 stand-alone.
30 megabits down and 5 up; $200 a month." - Dell Ousts H-P As Top PC Seller In the 4th Period - Dell Ousts H-P As Top PC Seller In the 4th Period: "Dell Inc. was the No. 1 seller of personal computers world-wide in the fourth quarter -- the first time in two years it hasn't relinquished the position to Hewlett-Packard Co. during the holiday period heavy with home users, according to two new research reports.
H-P's market share slipped to 15%, while Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, grabbed a 15.9% share of fourth-quarter shipments, according to researcher Gartner Inc. Historically, fourth-quarter retail sales gave H-P, Palo Alto, Calif., its largest share of the year.
'It no longer appears to be a two-horse race,' said International Data Corp. analyst Roger Kay. H-P's loss of the fourth-quarter crown comes just after it disclosed a reorganization that folds PC operations under its printer unit. Dell shipments rose 21.1% to 8.8 million, well above the industry average, according to IDC."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 Data On The Fly Data On The Fly: "Relational databases are great, but not for everything, Michael Stonebraker says.
He should know. The former computer science professor at University of California, Berkeley is a bit of a legend in the database world, having created two well-known relational database systems, Ingres and Postgres. Ingres, the company Stonebraker founded, is now part of Computer Associates International. Stonebraker also founded Illustra, a database company that was acquired by Informix, which later was acquired by IBM.
Now Stonebraker has launched a new database software company to tackle one of the toughest jobs in computing--analyzing huge amounts of streaming data on the fly."

Always pay attention when Michael Stonebraker is involved.

Bill Joy Returns to 'Sea Level'

Bill Joy Returns to 'Sea Level' "The Sun executive who helped create BSD, co-founded Sun Microsystems and spearheaded Java has a new job: partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
Q: Sun is a company full of smart people who always seem to be full of interesting ideas. Why hasn't it done better as a company?
Microsoft preyed on them. It's hard when somebody has an infinite amount of money and is breaking the law and decides to attack you. That it got settled for a huge amount of money, that wasn't by accident.
The story is not completely written on that company. Apple went through some tough times, too. Sun is trailing behind Apple in reinventing themselves. Where they might be in two or three years? The future is not knowable, but they're doing some smart things."

Dell's Rollins dismisses iPod as a 'fad' | CNET

Dell's Rollins dismisses iPod as a 'fad' | CNET "'It's interesting the iPod has been out for three years and it's only this past year it's become a raging success,' said Rollins, who is also Dell's president. 'Well, those things that become fads rage, and then they drop off. When I was growing up there was a product made by Sony called the Sony Walkman--a rage, everyone had to have one. Well, you don't hear about the Walkman anymore. I believe that one-product wonders come and go. You have to have sustainable business models, sustainable strategy.'"

LiveJournal, SaaS, and the Trust Problem

LiveJournal, SaaS, and the Trust Problem: "Perhaps the biggest problem with software-as-a-service is that a vendor able to give you everything can also take it all away, sometimes accidentally. We saw an example of this over the weekend.
LiveJournal, the big blog vendor, was down for more than 24 hours after a power outage hit both the regular and the back-up power at their outsourced data center.
The LiveJournal techs deserve credit for being what appears to have been upfront about the problem--including telling customers this was the second time there's been an outage. Why it was allowed to a second time is something LiveJournal's customers ought to be asking.
One of the things I am going to start checking when I write about SaaS vendors is how easily customers can keep local copies of their own files."

Don't get your hopes up... BTW it's not just files -- it's the ability to continue using applications when network-disconnected. These are features of products such as Notes and Groove that are very difficult to implement reliably/robustly.

Pito's Blog: Improv in Wikipedia

Pito's Blog: Improv in Wikipedia: "I got many comments from people about my postings recently about Lotus Improv. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a pretty accurate description of Improv and its history in the WikiPedia. By the way, I had absolutely nothing to do with writing it.
Actually I am quite curious who did write it, because he or she was pretty well informed so I suspect it's someone who was on the team from the early days, or knew someone who was. (Of course there are a few inaccuracies, but what the heck!) Cool"

Check the page history; the Improv entry started in September, 2002

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog: "On the one hand, and at the risk of offending some of my more blogomaniacal friends, I do admit to feeling blogs are a tad overhyped. But only in the sense that blog content isn't, all that different from the content that preceded the blog's building blocks. What is underhyped, in my view, is the impact of blogs on the advancement of simplicity and convenience. The most powerful weapons known to this industry. My friend Adam's long been a proponent of the simple - I could not agree with him more. Simplicity changes the world. Convenience is a force multiplier.
The simplicity of blogs, the convenience of pervasive networks, and an explosion of new content sources - as a combined force, is radically underestimated. And not for its impact on the publishing industry, in specific, but on any industry that finds competitive advantage in the latency of information, or in complexity. From national security to the whole IT industry. Simplicity can be a sustainable competitive advantage. It's becoming more obvious by the day."

Maybe, but I'm missing the part where Sun => simplicity...

Microsoft, Massachusetts Reach Accord on Office 2003

Microsoft, Massachusetts Reach Accord on Office 2003: "Microsoft has reached an agreement with Massachusetts that will result in the software giant easing its license restrictions for its Office 2003 document formats in return for the state dropping a previous requirement to only use document formats based on open standards. In early 2004, Massachusetts announced that it would require all state agencies to create and store information in document types based on open standards like HTML.
In addition to Microsoft's XML-based document formats, Massachusetts will also use the PDF format, which is owned and controlled by Adobe, as well as other common document words such as TXT and RTF. The change is a huge blow to open source advocates, who saw last year's Massachusetts open standards requirement announcement as a win for open source solutions such as Linux and Worldwide, open source solutions have been gaining traction in many country and local governments, but they have yet to see much success in US governmental bodies."

Yahoo! News - Google Adds Features to Picasa Photo Service

Yahoo! News - Google Adds Features to Picasa Photo Service: "Web search leader Google Inc. said late on Monday it has added a variety of new features to its Picasa digital photo service, including the ability to e-mail pictures via its Gmail service.
Google bought Picasa last summer to improve photo-publishing on Blogger, its Web log service. The latest Picasa update, which is free, also features faster photo posting to Blogger."

Very interesting to watch the suite of Google services and competitive offerings such as MSN Spaces evolve and expand. - H-P Wins Fans by Ceding Market Share to Dell - H-P Wins Fans by Ceding Market Share to Dell: "Sometimes being No. 1 isn't worth the effort. Hewlett-Packard Co. seems to have learned that lesson -- and investors could benefit.
The technology giant's personal-computer business has long faced the difficult choice between focusing on grabbing market share or on improving profitability. For much of the past two years, H-P has chosen the first approach, aggressively battling rival Dell Inc. to claim bragging rights as the top PC seller.
But in an important change, H-P is now backing off from seeking market share at all costs, or going all-out to unseat Dell from the top slot.
The reason for the applause: The Palo Alto, Calif., company is now making clear that profits are its top priority. "We won't sacrifice profitability for market share," Carly Fiorina, H-P's chief executive, said at a meeting with analysts late last year. Her comments are echoed by Vyomesh "VJ" Joshi, who heads the company's highly profitable printer unit and who last week also was put in charge of the PC business. "The focus is first going to be on the bottom line," he says."

As opposed to, say, focusing first on competitively addressing customer satisfaction? Where's the relationship between higher HP profits and improved customer satisfaction? It's not as if Dell is winning by offering lower-cost but functionally inferior products.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Siemens mobile arm for sale or closure | The Register

Siemens mobile arm for sale or closure | The Register "Siemens will close its mobile handset division unless it can find a last minute buyer, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Siemens is the fourth largest handset maker by market share it has struggled to make a profit. In the fourth quarter of 2004 the mobile division lost €140m." - Experts Envision the Future of the Internet - Experts Envision the Future of the Internet: "Think hooking all your gadgets, appliances, and clothing up to the Internet is the ultimate in futuristic convenience? If you're worried about privacy, security, and safety, then you may want to think again.
According to a survey titled 'The Future of the Internet' recently released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, American's growing dependence on the Internet is making it a flashing electronic target for terrorists.
Sixty-six percent of those surveyed--technology experts, scholars, industry officials, and interested members of the public--predict that there will be at least one devastating attack on the Net's infrastructure or the country's power grid in the next ten years."

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: "Apple Insider: "Hewlett-Packard, which recently entered into a strategic alliance with Apple to deliver HP-branded versions of the iPod under name 'iPod HP', has stopped placing orders for the digital music players with Apple Computer, AppleInsider has learned.
Hewlett-Packard is reportedly quarreling with Apple over a lack of price protection offered with the iPods it manufacturers through the Mac maker, possibly explaining why the two companies have yet to set a date for the rollout of the HP-branded iPod photo.
Without a set price protection policy from Apple, HP will be vulnerable to sudden iPod price cuts that would leave it biting the full cost of those reductions. Apple currently offers HP no price protection, whatsoever, on the two models it currently sells."
"This shows two things: That Apple intends to use the cachet it's built up for the iPod and that HP was so desperate to bask in the glow of the iPod that it would make what is pretty obviously a really bad deal."

Also from the Apple Insider article:
"During Apple's Q1 2005 financial conference call on Wednesday, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that HP-branded iPods accounted for only 7% of the 4.58 million iPods sold during Apple's December quarter. Curiously, this figure rose just one percent from the previous quarter, even though both parties vouched that the December quarter would be marked by an increased presence of HP's iPod offerings."

The New York Times > Technology > Is Apple Thinking About Mac TV?

The New York Times > Technology > Is Apple Thinking About Mac TV?: "But if Mr. Jobs is thinking about a future role for the quirky computer maker in entertainment beyond digital music, he is holding his cards very close to his chest.
The Mac mini, which sells for $499, is intended to woo Windows iPod users who have been leaning toward a Macintosh but have been put off by the Mac's higher prices. That did not stop speculation that, with a minimum of modification, the Mac Mini would make a compelling interactive television set-top box, placing Apple squarely in competition with TiVo and Windows Media Center from Microsoft.
In an interview after his presentation, Mr. Jobs demurred. The problem, he suggested, was not that Mac TV was not a good idea, but that the cable companies are monopolies. But he did not close the door entirely."

Typical Steve Jobs modus operandi: it's a stupid idea (in this case PC + TV) until it's done à la Apple, at which time it's brilliant innovation.

The Seattle Times: Microsoft: Gates tugs "communist" thread again

The Seattle Times: Microsoft: Gates tugs "communist" thread again: "Fan and foe alike expressed mystification at Bill Gates' reference to digital 'communists' during an interview before the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
'There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises,' Gates said, leaving observers to wonder what, and whom, he meant. But an abundance of historical clarification of the Gates lexicon exists. Although the context has changed, Gates has been markedly consistent in his use of the term over the years.
Perhaps if the Microsoft chairman begins writing his long-promised blog, he can "name names" in true McCarthyite tradition. Or maybe, given the inside-joke baggage, Bill simply threw out the comment for a chuckle. It wouldn't be the first time he's enjoyed a laugh on himself."

The New York Times > Technology > TiVo Struggles to Find Its Niche After Quitting a Deal with Cable

The New York Times > Technology > TiVo Struggles to Find Its Niche After Quitting a Deal with Cable: "TiVo's plight resembles that of many technology innovators that never find a way to profit from their elegant and sophisticated inventions. TiVo was one of the first companies to develop a device that used a computer hard drive to store television programs, a method that offered users much more flexibility than videotape. Its software is regarded as the best at helping people find programs to record of particular interest to them, earning it a cult-like following among its 2.3 million subscribers.
'As Kleenex is to tissue and Xerox is to copiers, TiVo is to video recorders,' said Jack Myers, the publisher of the Jack Myers Report, a media newsletter. 'They have an elegant user interface but it is not sufficiently differentiated that they can build a business on it.'
So now Mr. Ramsay has decided to pull back from the discounting strategy to focus on selling advanced features to more sophisticated users - at higher prices.
"The mainstream of our market going forward is not at $99 but at a higher level," he said. He does not have much choice; TiVo's cash fell from $143 million a year ago to $89 million on Oct. 31, 2004.
His plan - called Tahiti - involves several technological innovations intended to let TiVo thrive without the cooperation of cable companies. Devices will be able to send recorded programs to personal computers and to download programs from the Internet as well, taking advantage of a standard mandated by the government that, in theory, would allow TiVo to directly connect to cable systems. Also, he said TiVo would move beyond video recorders to a broader product line involved in the convergence between computers and television, including software that would allow a home computer to record television programs. This would put TiVo into direct competition with other companies, like Sony, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft."

Sunday, January 16, 2005 When IPod Sales Run Out Of Steam When IPod Sales Run Out Of Steam: "Yes, indeed, Apple's (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) little music box has done a heck of a job in boosting the company's fortunes. There are some 10 million iPods in use around the world, and if the figures in my spreadsheet are correct, it has contributed $2.8 billion in gross revenue over the ten quarters since the company started breaking out iPod sales in its results. More than 42% of that revenue came during the quarter that just ended.
To hear the media tell it, everyone has an iPod, and if they don't already have one, they're soon going to get one. But the fact is not everyone does. Not even by a long shot.
I don't mean to sound bearish about Apple or about the iPod. But as good as Apple's latest results were, I've started to wonder how long the iPod miracle can last. Nothing this good can last forever."

Timely reality check on overall market potential and dynamics.

The New Republic Online: Blinkered

The New Republic Online: Blinkered: "Taken together, these literatures demonstrate the importance of unconscious cognition, but their findings are obscured rather than elucidated by Gladwell's parade of poorly understood yarns. He wants to tell stories rather than to analyze a phenomenon. He tells them well enough, if you can stand the style. (Blink is written like a book intended for people who do not read books.) And there are interesting and even illuminating facts scattered here and there, such as the blindfold 'sip' test that led Coca-Cola into the disastrous error of changing the formula for Coke so that it would taste more like Pepsi. As Gladwell explains, people do not decide what food or beverage to buy solely on the basis of taste, let alone taste in the artificial setting of a blindfold test; the taste of a food or a drink is influenced by its visual properties. So that was a case in which less information really was less, and not more. And of course he is right that we may drown in information, so that to know less about a situation may sometimes be to know more about it. It is a lesson he should have taken to heart."

Richard A. Posner dissects Gladwell's new book (which I expect to enjoy reading anyway...).

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: After 20 Years, Finally Capitalizing on Cool

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: After 20 Years, Finally Capitalizing on Cool: "Consider some competitors. Microsoft has a near-monopoly on the basic software used on the hardware owned by most people, enabling the company to extract what is basically a head tax. Google has a near-monopoly in the digital library business, which enables it to do very well with advertising that monetizes eyeballs. But Apple has an absolute monopoly on the asset that is the most difficult for competitors to copy: cool.
Apple is well positioned for the future. When consumers open their wallets to buy things that have machine intelligence, or provide digital entertainment, or link to the Internet - that is, just about everything in a household that is not edible - they are likely to be drawn to the company with cachet, offering the best-designed, best-engineered, easiest-to-use products, priced affordably thanks to Mr. Moore's old law and Mr. Jobs's new pragmatism. They'll turn to the company that best knows how to meld hardware and software, the company embodied in the ecstatically happy hipster silhouette. The company that is, in a word, cool.
Apple has $6.4 billion in cash, a seemingly small sum next to Microsoft's $64 billion. But it is Microsoft, the poor little rich kid, who must be envious of Apple. All of the billions in its corporate treasury, all of the personal billions of the co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, all of the money in the world, cannot buy the ability to fathom the metaphysical mystery of cool."

Lots of interesting historical tidbits. Curious that the author (Randall Stross) never seems to mention his book Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Michael Helfrich's Weblog: Thanks for the Road Ahead

Michael Helfrich's Weblog: Thanks for the Road Ahead: "The engineering team at Groove humbles me, but the allure of serving in our quest for national security has proved incredibly appealing. Earlier this week, I resigned my position at Groove Networks to start my own business developing technology solutions for the most important constituencies we have as a nation: those asked to secure a neighborhood in Iraq; those asked to watch a gate or tarmac at the airport; those who watch our borders; and those that we ask to rush into burning office towers. I am excited beyond words to have this opportunity to continue to serve. My new mission will begin on February 1."

Watch this space -- I worked with Michael at both Lotus and Groove and have very high expectations for anything he's involved with.

Comcast expected to raise broadband speeds | CNET

Comcast expected to raise broadband speeds | CNET "The nation's largest cable company and broadband provider will raise its current speed of up to 3mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 256kbps (kilobits per second) upstream to 4mbps and 384kbps, respectively, at no additional cost. Comcast will also offer its more expensive 4mbps customers a 50 percent increase to 6mbps downstream and 768kbps upstream, the sources said.
Comcast has upgraded its speed as part of an overall effort not only to distance itself from slower DSL (digital subscriber line) services but to add more high-bandwidth features, such as video e-mail, for its subscribers."

Competition is good for customers...

Company offers 10GB of Net storage, for free | CNET

Company offers 10GB of Net storage, for free | CNET "A company called Streamload is offering consumers a free 10 gigabyte online storage locker for multimedia files, potentially raising the stakes for larger companies such as Yahoo and America Online.
Streamload typically provides online storage space for a price, making it one of the few companies to survive in that business through the dot-com shakeout. However, it is increasingly competing with larger companies that offer online homes for digital photographs, and even the huge archive space provided by Google's Gmail service.
People who sign up for the free 10GB service can only download 100MB a month and can only upload files of 100MB at a time. Customers who pay about $10 a month have much looser restrictions.
The free offer will go into effect Monday, the company said."

Sign of the times...

Basic Instinct (

Basic Instinct ( " In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, a former science and business reporter at The Washington Post who now writes for the New Yorker, offers his account of this sort of seemingly instantaneous judgment. Readers acquainted with Gladwell's articles and his 2000 bestseller The Tipping Point will have high anticipations for this volume; those expectations will be met. The book features the fascinating case studies, skilled interweavings of psychological experiments and explanations and unexpected connections among disparate phenomenon that are Gladwell's impressive trademark.
For most readers, this feast will be more than enough. Yet, with a writer of Gladwell's talents, it is fair to raise the bar and evaluate him by more demanding criteria."
[Review written by]
Howard Gardner, a psychologist, is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. His most recent book is "Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds."

Howard Gardner has changed my mind (in very positive ways) many times.

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'Blink': Hunch Power

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'Blink': Hunch Power: "There is in all of our brains, Gladwell argues, a mighty backstage process, which works its will subconsciously. Through this process we have the capacity to sift huge amounts of information, blend data, isolate telling details and come to astonishingly rapid conclusions, even in the first two seconds of seeing something. '' 'Blink' is a book about those first two seconds,'' Gladwell writes.
Well, I'm impressed. Here we have a guy who has already written one of the best and most successful nonfiction books of the past few years, the ubiquitous ''Tipping Point.'' He's the author of dozens of unfailingly fascinating articles in The New Yorker. And he's opened his new book with a crisp anecdote that suggests each of us possesses a hidden power, which we could use to improve our lives if only we knew how to tap it more fully. That's the essential formula for self-help-book greatness.
If you want to trust my snap judgment, buy this book: you'll be delighted. If you want to trust my more reflective second judgment, buy it: you'll be delighted but frustrated, troubled and left wanting more.
Or just go to the bookstore, look at the cover and let your neurons make up their own damn mind. "

David Kirkpatrick - Fast Forward: Want Truth in Advertising? Try a Blog - FORTUNE

David Kirkpatrick - Fast Forward: Want Truth in Advertising? Try a Blog - FORTUNE "The bloggers had a lot to say about the story by me and Dan Roth on blogs in FORTUNE's last issue. But the single most popular, and remarked-upon, item in our story was a quote from legendary ad-man Steve Hayden, vice chairman of New York-based Ogilvy & Mather. Said Hayden: “If you fudge or lie on a blog, you are biting the karmic weenie. The negative reaction will be so great that, whatever your intention was, it will be overwhelmed and crushed like a bug.”

Friday, January 14, 2005

RIM stock rises on acquisition speculation | The Register

RIM stock rises on acquisition speculation | The Register: "Blackberry developer Research in Motion (RIM) could be the subject of a takeover bid, Goldman Sachs suggested this week after dubbing the company a 'very attractive' acquisition.
The report helped push RIM shares up 7.4 per cent on speculation that there may be more to the investment bank's comments than meets the eye. On Nasdaq, RIMM stock closed at $78.44, up from the previous day's closing price, $73.02.
Yesterday's closing price values RIM at $14.7bn.
GS' report mentions two possible suitors, Nokia and Motorola, which might be interested in RIM to boost corporate sales."

Meanwhile, see this Fortune article -- "Has Nokia Lost It?" -- for more on Nokia's recent challenges.

Bill Coleman Just Can't Stay Retired

Bill Coleman Just Can't Stay Retired: "... 18 months later, the entrepreneurial bug hit Coleman once again, and he started work on a new software company called Cassatt Corp. Coleman sees Cassatt sitting squarely at the intersection of two big info-tech software trends -- so-called Web services and utility computing. With more than $50 million in venture funding and 115 employees, he's aiming to recreate the magic of his early days at BEA. Coleman recently talked with BusinessWeek Online Technology Editor Jim Kerstetter about Cassatt, his old company, and whether an entrepreneur can have two big successes in one lifetime. Following are edited excerpts of their interview:
Q: So what are you doing at Cassatt?
A: We're focusing on automating IT operations. I think this is the long-missing piece in this industry. We're at the state-of-the-art of the telephone system in 1925, and there aren't going to be enough IT people in the world to operate this stuff if it keeps on going the way its going.
Q: I thought you were retired. What happened?
A: In 1993, I thought I had retired from Sun [Microsystems] (SUNW ). After a few months of skiing in Aspen, I was walking home and said to myself, "Boy, is that all there is?" Then we went and founded BEA.
I stepped out of the CEO job at BEA in October, 2001, and about a year and a half later, I was spending a few weeks skiing up in Aspen and had another one of those "Is that all there is?" moments.
Q: I have to ask, are you worried about BEA's direction? It appears stalled.
A: I still think BEA is a technology leader. From an economic point of view, [CEO Alfred Chuang] has done a good job of holding the economic line. In any other industry, a company that's growing 10% top line, with a 21% pretax operating profit and generating a quarter-billion free cash flow on $1.1 billion in revenue would sound pretty good.
But the problem is we're in the part of the technology cycle in which what was invented in the last decade is being commoditized. And that market is being commoditized both by the big players and by open-source.
The market needs a BEA, but I think BEA is challenged. I would like to see BEA be more aggressive in how they can dramatically break out of just the niche they're in. I can say that because I've been off the board for more than six months, and I wish [them] all the luck in the world. Obviously, I'm disappointed they haven't been more aggressive in the last couple of years.
Q: So BEA was out of ahead of Internet software in the 1990s. It sounds like you're trying to get out ahead of what's being invented in this decade.
A: I think that's exactly right. Every 10 years in technology have been an exact repeat of itself. "

IBM Software news: Here to stay! Notes begins evolution into premier rich client for IBM Workplace (2005-01-11)

IBM Software news: Here to stay! Notes begins evolution into premier rich client for IBM Workplace (2005-01-11) "So what is the answer for Notes customers wondering when they should move to IBM Workplace? They don’t have to move at all, says Bisconti, because Notes will take them there.
“Customers shouldn’t think of IBM Workplace as something new and separate that they need to worry about and stop and think and move to,” he says. “Workplace is our next-generation family of collaboration and portal technologies, and over time the Notes product family will adopt these technologies in the most appropriate and natural manner for our customers.”
Bisconti reiterates that throughout this period of change, Notes will continue its tradition of backward compatibility and investment protection.
“We realize what a big part Notes plays in our customers’ every business day,” he says. “So we’re not going to run-off and create a brand-new experience. Whatever we do to improve the product, we’re going to make sure it retains full-fidelity support for the functions and capabilities our customers have invested in.”

Via Lotus Geek