Thursday, December 29, 2005

CIO who brought OpenOffice to Massachusetts resigns | InfoWorld

CIO who brought OpenOffice to Massachusetts resigns | InfoWorld : "According to observers, Quinn's support of OpenDocument had put him in a difficult position, which was made more difficult earlier this year, following the departure of his powerful supporter within Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's administration, Administration and Finance Secretary Eric Criss. "

Ray Ozzie: Looking back, looking forward.

Ray Ozzie: Looking back, looking forward.: "As the year draws to a close, I find myself back east with some time to reflect upon this whirlwind of a year."

Ray's review of 2005 and some things he's looking forward to for 2006.

Official Google Blog: I'm feeling silly

Official Google Blog: I'm feeling silly: "Not long ago, I walked by the desk of software engineer JJ Furman, and saw that he had made an interesting addition to his desk: a large blob of Silly Putty, about the size of a grapefruit. Intrigued, I asked how he'd gotten so much of the stuff. The answer? A bulk order directly from the manufacturer! Of course.
I knew then that I wanted some, and it dawned on me that I probably wasn't the only one. So I set out to place a really, really big bulk order. An email went out to cohorts. Their orders came in. Three weeks later, I had an eighth of a ton of Silly Putty delivered to my desk."

I'm sure there's some research value in this somewhere...

Chip Industry Sets a Plan for Life After Silicon - New York Times

Chip Industry Sets a Plan for Life After Silicon - New York Times "The development of nanoswitches has reached a point where it will be possible to manufacture them reliably at low cost, according to several researchers who have been involved in the preparation of the report. The New York Times obtained a draft of a report chapter titled "Emerging Research Devices."
The transition to new nanotechnology techniques could occur around 2015, when chip makers will have exhausted their ability to shrink the wires and switches that make up the modern processors and memory storage devices at the heart of the computer, communications and consumer electronics industries."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Xbox 360 Powers All-New Nissan URGE Concept Car: Motorcycle-inspired roadster delivers a futuristic driving experience using "Project Gotham Racing 3.

Xbox 360 Powers All-New Nissan URGE Concept Car: Motorcycle-inspired roadster delivers a futuristic driving experience using "Project Gotham Racing 3." "Nissan North America Inc.(NNA) and Microsoft Corp. have merged automobile design and gaming technology to create the first-ever fully integrated gaming system within a vehicle. Conceived by Nissan Design America Inc. (NDA) and equipped with the Xbox 360™ next-generation video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Nissan URGE concept car allows drivers (while parked) to play “Project Gotham Racing® 3” using the car’s own steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal while viewing the game on a flip-down seven-inch LCD screen. “PGR® 3” is developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by Bizarre Creations Ltd. for Microsoft Game Studios.
The URGE, which will make its world debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show on Jan. 9, offers a glimpse of how echo boomers are influencing the next generation of vehicle design."

Monday, December 26, 2005

IBM Withdraws OS/2

IBM Withdraws OS/2 "As of today, IBM is officially withdrawing OS/2 from the market, and product CDs are no longer available.
Throughout its life, OS/2 faced competition from Microsoft Windows and never overcame it. The true death knell for OS/2 likely came, though, once IBM began its full embrace of Linux in 1999. In fact, IBM is explicitly recommending to OS/2 users that they switch to Linux."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

CRN | IBM Mike Rhodin | CRN Interview: IBM's Mike Rhodin

CRN | IBM Mike Rhodin | CRN Interview: IBM's Mike Rhodin: "CRN : Any more things to look for at Lotusphere?
Rhodin: This will be one of the more announcement-rich Lotuspheres in history. Maybe the most. We have a lot keyed up
CRN : I assume Ray Ozzie [now CTO of Microsoft] won't be there again?
Rhodin: [Laughs] Probably not. He's pretty busy in his new role. It's interesting, Ray's divorced himself from the Groove stuff. "

Timely and thorough interview. - NBC, Microsoft Start Unwinding Cable-TV Pact - NBC, Microsoft Start Unwinding Cable-TV Pact "The companies didn't disclose the terms of the transaction, and GE doesn't break out results for the channel. But MSNBC takes in between $275 million and $300 million in subscriber fees annually and an additional $100 million in advertising revenue, according to a person familiar with its operations. The channel is profitable, even without Microsoft's annual contribution to the venture of $30 million to $35 million, say people close to the channel. Moreover, it has special value to NBC because it allows its news division to toggle back and forth between its network and cable news outlets, a luxury its rivals don't possess.
Microsoft will maintain its 50% stake in, the cable channel's successful online sibling. In November, the site was the second-most-visited news site on the Web, behind Yahoo News, according to Nielsen NetRatings Inc."

Friday, December 23, 2005

'Rare' Database Bug Causes Outage

'Rare' Database Bug Causes Outage: " runs its hosted CRM (customer relationship management) system on Oracle databases, but Francis declined to confirm that Oracle was the source of the bug.
'The vendor has one of the largest and most sophisticated development teams on the planet, and they had never encountered this bug before,' he said. is working with the vendor to make sure that the bug doesn't crop up again, he said."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wired News: NeXT Fans Give Up the Ghost

Wired News: NeXT Fans Give Up the Ghost: "Among the many milestones in the tech world this last year, one occurred almost without notice. The Bay Area NeXT Group, an important user group formed 15 years ago around Steve Jobs' second great computer design, slipped into history in 2005, even as the technology that sparked it reached millions of users under a new name: OS X."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 outage cuts users off | InfoWorld outage cuts users off | InfoWorld: " Inc.'s 'on demand' CRM (customer relationship management) system came up short in meeting demand on Tuesday, when some customers found the hosted software service unreachable for most of the day.
It was unclear how widespread the outage was -- while some customers reported no problems with the service, others saw their access cut off early Tuesday morning and remain down through most of the afternoon. On the blog, a customer posted a screen capture of the error message he and other users saw for several hours. "

MS Researcher to Explore Human Side of Technology

MS Researcher to Explore Human Side of Technology: "Meanwhile, Buxton said the decision to join Microsoft 'was an easy decision' for him.
'I said where can I go and have the biggest chance to take the ideas I've spent 30 years on and make a difference?'
And although he said he had other offers, he chose Microsoft for a few reasons. One was because he knew and had collaborated with key people in Microsoft's research and product groups.
Another reason was that, 'Microsoft is one of the few places I could go and use all of my own ideas,' as many of the patents for technologies he helped create at Xerox PARC and SGI are cross-licensed by Microsoft, he said. "

Game Maker Cuts Forecast as Industry Seems in Slide - New York Times

Game Maker Cuts Forecast as Industry Seems in Slide - New York Times: "As a result, analysts and executives said, consumers may be waiting to buy an Xbox 360 and, in turn, not spending money on games made for the previous generation of video game consoles, like the original Xbox and the Sony PlayStation 2.
'There are five million people who have made up their minds they are getting a 360 for Christmas and 500,000 who are getting them,' said Michael Pachter, a video game analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. Instead of buying games for old systems, he said, 'They're saying, 'Let's wait for a 360.' '" - Lenovo Replaces Its Chief Executive With Dell Official - Lenovo Replaces Its Chief Executive With Dell Official: "Lenovo Group Ltd. replaced its chief executive, Steve Ward, with a top Dell Inc. executive eight months after the Chinese personal-computer maker completed its purchase of International Business Machines Corp.'s PC business.
Mr. Ward, a longtime IBM worker, ran the PC unit and stayed with it under the new ownership. His departure came at a time when Lenovo was showing signs of improving the IBM unit's lackluster performance.
But Chairman Yang Yuanqing said the company needed a different leader for its 'next phase of growth,' turning to Bill Amelio, a Singapore-based Dell executive in charge of the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Amelio has been overseas for five years, and he spent 18 years with IBM." - AOL, Google Expand Partnership, With a Key Ad-Sales Provision - AOL, Google Expand Partnership, With a Key Ad-Sales Provision: "AOL will also sell some ads on behalf of Google and Web sites that outsource ad sales to Google. Meanwhile, Google will work to ensure that AOL's content appears among its search results, but says it won't compromise the integrity of its results. AOL will also receive advertising credit valued at about $300 million toward buying ads on Google.
AOL and Google will also make their instant-messaging software compatible. Google users will have to set up AOL Instant Messenger accounts to make the services work together."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bowstreet - IBM Acquires Bowstreet, Inc.

Bowstreet - IBM Acquires Bowstreet, Inc.: "IBM today announced the acquisition of Bowstreet, Inc., a Massachusetts-based provider of portal-based tools and technology that helps companies bring together corporate applications, documents, databases and other enterprise information into a single, integrated portal application, without requiring significant technical skills. By bringing together assorted data and information into a single 'composite' application, businesses can more easily share and connect their data with customers, partners and suppliers, which increases collaboration and leads to increased organizational productivity. " Chicago news, weather, traffic, video from WBBM-TV: Web Phone Service Saves Money, Has Other Costs Chicago news, weather, traffic, video from WBBM-TV: Web Phone Service Saves Money, Has Other Costs: "Irwin Lazar knows the benefits of Internet phone service, officially known as Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP. His office uses a VoIP service for all its local and long distance calls."

My colleague Irwin Lazar on TV -- along with his cool Opus lamp...

[The end of the road for] Internet Explorer 5 for Mac

[The end of the road for] Internet Explorer 5 for Mac: "In June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005. In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates.
Additionally, as of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac will no longer be available for download from Mactopia. It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple's Safari."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google to pay dearly for AOL

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google to pay dearly for AOL: "Google's agreement to buy a stake in Time Warner's America Online (AOL) values the Internet company at $20 billion, twice as much as Wall Street estimates."

AOL Coaxes Google to Try Busier Ads - New York Times

AOL Coaxes Google to Try Busier Ads - New York Times: "Google also agreed to provide technical assistance to AOL to help explain how to make its pages easier for Google - and other search engines - to find and include in its index of the Web. Google has provided similar information for other large Web sites, according to Kevin Lee, executive chairman of Did-it, a search marketing firm. In general, Google will offer an engineer who recites publicly available technical information on how Google's search engine evaluates Web sites.
Lynn Fox, a Google spokeswoman, said that no deals Google was contemplating would allow its search results to favor a particular company."

AOHell: Google Sells Soul to Stop Microsoft

AOHell: Google Sells Soul to Stop Microsoft: "However, Google swept in with a last minute offer that scuttled Microsoft's plans. Google will pay Time Warner $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL, and will keep the AOL search business as a result. The deal, which was done solely to hurt Microsoft, will not financially benefit Google in any perceptible way. But as part of the deal, Google will do that one thing they've always promised not to do: It will present AOL-sponsored search results on its main search results page, complete with the AOL logo. That's right, folks. Google has sold out. And it did so to harm a competitor that has less than one third its marketshare.
There are two key take-aways here, from what I can see. First, Google is not the trustworthy corporate giant that some people imagine, though the company's track record, including its close work with the totalitarian government in China, should have made that clear already. Second, Google considers Microsoft a huge threat, despite the fact that the Redmond company has yet to make any serious inroads with Internet search."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Icahn seeks to derail Google as AOL partner | CNET

Icahn seeks to derail Google as AOL partner | CNET "'Like all shareholders, I am not opposed to Time Warner entering into an AOL transaction that creates long-term value. However, I am deeply concerned that the Time Warner board may be on the verge of making a disastrous decision concerning an agreement with Google if this agreement would make it more difficult in any way or effectively preclude a merger or other type of transaction with companies such as (InterActiveCorp), eBay, Yahoo or Microsoft.' Icahn wrote in an open letter to the Time Warner board of directors. "

Need to Find an Xbox 360? Buy a Ticket to Tokyo - New York Times

Need to Find an Xbox 360? Buy a Ticket to Tokyo - New York Times: "At Yodobashi Camera, an eight-story electronics department store selling everything from hair curlers to home computer servers, a small corner display of Xbox 360's draws little attention from passing shoppers.
It is not hard to figure out why. Lined up on a rack near the display are the only nine games sold for Xbox 360. But behind it are some 3,000 games, spread across six store aisles, for Microsoft's biggest rival here, the Sony PlayStation 2."

AOL's Choice of Google Leaves Microsoft as the Outsider - New York Times

AOL's Choice of Google Leaves Microsoft as the Outsider - New York Times: "'I thought Microsoft would pay just about anything to get this,' said David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School. For Microsoft, he said, 'AOL was the single best way to gain market share.'
Yet Google found a way to trump Microsoft's hoard of cash, in part because losing to Microsoft was a strategic risk. Mr. Yoffie characterized the deal as 'crucial and purely defensive' for Google because it 'prevents Microsoft from being credible in search.' "

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: AOL says no to Microsoft, opts to stick with Google

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: AOL says no to Microsoft, opts to stick with Google: "Lately Time Warner has been under pressure from investor Carl Icahn to increase the value of AOL. Google's reported $1 billion investment is for a 5 percent stake in AOL, valuing the business at $20 billion. A steal, compared with what Time Warner paid."

Somehow I won't be surprised if there are lots of headlines about Microsoft/Yahoo! relationship changes over the next few weeks...

Google may trump Microsoft on AOL - The Boston Globe

Google may trump Microsoft on AOL - The Boston Globe: "AOL is Google's biggest customer, accounting for $420 million, or about 10 percent, of Google's revenue during the first nine months of this year, according to regulatory filings."

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Hello, facilities? Ballmer needs a new office chair. Yes, again.

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Hello, facilities? Ballmer needs a new office chair. Yes, again.: "Time Warner has agreed to sell a 5 perccent stake in its AOL unit to Google for $1 billion. The deal is an ugly blow for Microsoft which had been pursuing a partnership with the company since January. Under the terms of a deal to be announced next week, AOL will become Google's global advertising partner, with the ability to sell ads on Google's behalf directly to advertisers. "

Friday, December 16, 2005 - AOL Nears Deal With Google

"Google and AOL are in exclusive talks over a deal that would have the search giant pay $1 billion for a 5% stake in AOL, deepening their advertising partnership."

Strange days indeed.

Yahoo Snags DARPA AI Guru for NYC Research

Yahoo Snags DARPA AI Guru for NYC Research: "Brachman is an artificial intelligence guru, and a former president of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He comes to Yahoo from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he directed its Information Processing Technology Office. While there he developed IPTO's cognitive systems initiative. Before that, he was a research vice president at AT&T Labs, where he developed its AI group. " | 12/07/2005 | PeopleSoft founder scales back plan for mammoth mansion | 12/07/2005 | PeopleSoft founder scales back plan for mammoth mansion: "Bowing to pressure from his would-be neighbors, high-tech billionaire David Duffield has backed off plans to build a home that would have been larger than the Hearst Castle.He has instead settled on a more modest, 17,000-square-foot mansion.Duffield, who made his $1.1 billion fortune as founder of business software maker PeopleSoft Inc., had planned to build a 72,000-square-foot residence, considerably larger than the Hearst Castle, a monument to the extravagance of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, which encompasses 60,645 square feet."

Google to open research facility in Pa. -

Google to open research facility in Pa. - "Google Inc., the leading online search engine company, will open a new engineering and research office in Pittsburgh next year to be headed by a Carnegie Mellon University professor, the company said Thursday.
The office will be headed by Andrew Moore, a Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science and robotics who currently runs a research laboratory of 30 students, programmers and faculty members. Moore, 40, is an expert in data mining and artificial intelligence."

Yahoo Opens New York Facility

Yahoo Opens New York Facility: "Yahoo Inc. said Thursday it's opening a new research center in New York, its first outside the West Coast, and has an eye on adding more centers in the coming months.
Yahoo's New York lab will focus on initiatives such as 'computers doing things on their own,' which an Internet search engine could use to mine more data, said Ron Brachman, Yahoo's newly appointed vice president of worldwide research operations."

Exchange 12 Has Competitors, Execs Insist

Exchange 12 Has Competitors, Execs Insist: "Jeff Ressler, the director of product planning for Microsoft Exchange, in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK in an interview this week that Exchange was the market leader whose share was growing.
'We still worry more about Lotus than about the open-source providers, a lot of whom don't have a unified strategy [for trying] to try and address the bigger players in the market. There are interesting things happening with some of them, but they don't come up often in our competitive engagements,' he said. "

CRN | Adobe, Macromedia | Adobe Posts Profit, Plans Job Cuts

CRN | Adobe, Macromedia | Adobe Posts Profit, Plans Job Cuts: "Adobe Systems posted higher fourth-quarter earnings Thursday but said it expects to cut 650 to 700 jobs as it folds recently acquired rival Macromedia into its operations.
The 11 percent to 12 percent work force reduction will cut overlapping positions, help the company focus on growth areas and help it achieve its 2006 financial targets, said Murray Demo, Adobe's chief financial officer. Employees from both companies will be affected. "

Patent Lawsuit Seeks to Block Microsoft's Wireless E-Mail Service - New York Times

Patent Lawsuit Seeks to Block Microsoft's Wireless E-Mail Service - New York Times: "In its filing, Visto contends that Microsoft's software violates three patents that deal more with synchronizing data and security than directly with wireless e-mail, the crucial element of NTP's patents.
'They have a product that they look like they've copied from us,' Mr. Bogosian said. He acknowledged that no one at Visto had examined or used the Microsoft system, which, like BlackBerry, is aimed primarily at corporate users."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

IGN: Ubisoft Chief: X360 Kong May Be Too Dark

IGN: Ubisoft Chief: X360 Kong May Be Too Dark: "Speaking to the BBC, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that Kong on the X360 can appear too dark on standard TVs, making the game 'unplayable.' The development team apparently didn't notice, as it was testing the game on high-definition sets."


A Video Game Chair That Vibrates in Time to the Action on Screen - New York Times

A Video Game Chair That Vibrates in Time to the Action on Screen - New York Times: "This rocker is actually a large subwoofer-and-speaker system that vibrates and pulses in time to the on-screen action. The seat, ergonomically designed for hours of gaming, has built-in audio ports and can hook up to any device with audio outputs. It is compatible with almost any device, from the Xbox 360 to the Nintendo DS. The PM220 also has a side connector for piping music from an iPod or other MP3 player through the three internal speakers."

$99 at Target...

Three Technology Companies Join to Finance Research - New York Times

Three Technology Companies Join to Finance Research - New York Times: "With federal funds for basic computer science research at universities in decline, three of the industry's leading companies are joining to help fill the void.
University of California computer scientists plan to announce on Thursday that the companies - Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems - will underwrite a $7.5 million laboratory on the Berkeley campus. The new research center, called the Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed Systems Laboratory, will focus on the design of more dependable computing systems. " - Microsoft Tweaks Consumer Units - Microsoft Tweaks Consumer Units: "In an internal memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal, the head of one of Microsoft's three divisions announced that several architects of the Xbox 360 business will be given broader power to set strategy for Microsoft's digital movie, music, television and videogame businesses.
The changes will give Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, responsibility for Microsoft's MSN Music business. He will also oversee the team, previously within Microsoft's Windows group, that handles Microsoft's relationships with music labels, movie studios, cable channels and broadcasters.
The changes follow a broader restructuring in September that added Microsoft's cellphone group to the responsibilities of Mr. Bach, who over the past five years has guided Microsoft into the videogame console business. The recent changes elevate Mr. Bach and give his division a more critical role in Microsoft's future."

Personal Technology -- Microsoft Offers Range Of Programs That Run Off Web, Not Hard Disk

Personal Technology -- Microsoft Offers Range Of Programs That Run Off Web, Not Hard Disk: "Like all other trends in technology, this one, sometimes called 'Web 2.0,' is overhyped. It's been happening quietly for years, but it's a long way from replacing all the software you use.
Still, the biggest software company of all, Microsoft, has recently launched a major initiative to produce this kind of remote software. Its project, called Windows Live, is hardly unique. Google, Yahoo, America Online and many others are also offering new Web applications. But Microsoft's Windows Live may be the biggest of these efforts."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sun Backs Apache Derby With Java DB

Sun Backs Apache Derby With Java DB: "Apache Derby, a project created by a code donation from IBM, is now a part of Sun Microsystems' solutions.
Sun said it will combine Apache Derby with its patches and call it 'Java DB.' The move adds yet another database to Sun's increasing support of open source applications.
The Apache Derby project began in August 2004 with IBM's donation of the Java-based Cloudscape relational database application to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). "

Java? It's So Nineties

Java? It's So Nineties "Reports by Evans Data Corp., which does annual surveys of the activities of software developers, show Java use is slipping as LAMP and Microsoft's (MSFT) .NET technology gain traction. In North America, the percentage of developers who use Java as one of their principal programming languages declined to 47.9 in Evans' fall survey, vs. 51.4% in the fall of 2002. The same surveys show that while Java use is climbing in Asia, it's on the decline in Europe.
Meanwhile, .NET usage increased to 54.1% from 40.3% in the same period in North America, and exceeded Java use in Europe and Asia. In a different survey series, the use of PHP in North America grew to 36.1% this fall, from 26% in the fall of 2003. It grew almost as quickly in Europe and Asia. "There's more competition out there," says Evans President John Andrews. "These other technologies are catching hold. They're biting away at [Java's] share.""

A tech guru prognosticates

A tech guru prognosticates: "[SNS Mark] Anderson's predictions for 2006:
1) The American people will reject US TV news in favor of the Net. 'The Net is for news. TV is for entertainment. Fox is for propoganda.'
2) Online ad spending will rise 40% to 50%. That will destabilize the TV networks and print publishing empires.
3)Americans will discover the real impact of outsourcing work to India, and they won't like it. These are the highest-skill jobs."

See the post for 7 more. Re #2 -- hmm, Time lays off 105, including top executives ... "part of a wide-ranging overhaul of Time's business side, prompted partly by pressure to offset advertising losses among the company's 154 publications."

A Conversation with Ray Ozzie

A Conversation with Ray Ozzie: "There are not many names bigger than Ray Ozzie’s in computer programming. An industry visionary and pioneer in computer-supported cooperative work, he began his career as an electrical engineer but fairly quickly got into computer science and programming. He is the creator of IBM’s Lotus Notes and is now chief technical officer of Microsoft, reporting to chief software architect Bill Gates. Recently, Ozzie’s role as chief technical officer expanded as he assumed responsibility for the company’s software-based services strategy across its three major divisions."

Very timely and extensive interview with Ray. - Intel's New Chip Points To Home Media Centers - Intel's New Chip Points To Home Media Centers: "The big semiconductor maker is attempting to build a brand called Viiv, which will be applied to a new generation of PCs that are styled as home media centers. Besides supplying chips for the effort, Intel is trying to persuade media companies and hardware makers to adapt their products to work together, and identify the offerings it has certified with a Viiv logo."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ajax Sucks Most of the Time (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox December 2005): SPOOF

Ajax Sucks Most of the Time (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox December 2005) Correction to an earlier post: the essay was a spoof. Very tacky...

Man loses bet by staying alive -

Man loses bet by staying alive - "A 91-year-old British man who staked a 500-pound bet that he would be dead by the end of the first week in December lost his stake by staying alive, a bookmaker said Saturday.
Arthur King-Robinson said he put the bet on at odds of 6/1 at the start of the year because his wife would have faced an inheritance tax bill of 3000 pounds had he died in the intervening period."

Tokyo Exchange Struggles With Snarls in Electronics - New York Times

Tokyo Exchange Struggles With Snarls in Electronics - New York Times: "The latest electronic mix-up began last Thursday during the initial public offering of J-Com, a small recruiting company. An employee at Mizuho, a subsidiary of the Mizuho Financial Group, mistakenly typed an order to sell 610,000 shares at 1 yen, or less than a penny each, instead of an order to sell one share at 610,000 yen ($5,057) as intended, the brokerage said.
At that price, the sale would have been worth $3.1 billion, far more than the company's actual value. But the number of shares ostensibly being sold far exceeded the shares on offer."


Microsoft, MCI to join computer-to-phone calling market - Yahoo! News

Microsoft, MCI to join computer-to-phone calling market - Yahoo! News: "Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and MCI Inc. said on Monday they are teaming up to extend the reach of MSN's instant-messaging service into the crowded global computer-to-phone call market.
The deal will allow consumers to place calls for as little as 2.3 cents a minute -- undercutting rates MCI offers existing customers -- and highlighting the challenge Web-based calling poses to voice-based telephone businesses."

Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet - The Boston Globe

Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet - The Boston Globe "AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. are lobbying Capitol Hill for the right to create a two-tiered Internet, where the telecom carriers' own Internet services would be transmitted faster and more efficiently than those of their competitors.
The proposal is certain to provoke a major fight with Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Time Warner Inc., and Microsoft Corp., the powerful owners of popular Internet sites. The companies fear such a move would give telecommunications companies too much control over a fast-growing part of the Internet."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Slashdot | Fingerprint Scanners Fooled By Play-Doh

Slashdot | Fingerprint Scanners Fooled By Play-Doh: "... in recent tests by Stephanie C Schuckers, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Clarkston University, she has shown that, among other things, biometric security measures were fooled 90% of the time by simple attacks like Play-Doh molds."

Can This Really Be Hewlett-Packard?

Can This Really Be Hewlett-Packard?: "For years, Hewlett-Packard Co. seemed locked into the role of computerdom's least likely to succeed. Caught in a no-man's land between hyperefficient Dell Inc. and technology powerhouse IBM, HP became known mostly for epic earnings misses, a controversial merger with Compaq Computer Corp., and acrimony among employees and investors during the stormy reign of Chief Executive Carleton S. Fiorina.
Funny how a 40% rise in the stock price can change the mood."

Long-canceled variety shows thriving on DVD - Yahoo! News

Long-canceled variety shows thriving on DVD - Yahoo! News: "A nine-hour collection of the 'Donny and Marie' show is coming next spring from R2; also expected next year from R2 is a 1950s favorite, 'The Dinah Shore Show.' Alpha Home Entertainment is expected to release 'The Merv Griffin Show: 40 of the Most Interesting People of All Time' next year."

Digital entropy is definitely on the rise...

Adobe's Deal for Macromedia May Help It Fend Off Microsoft - New York Times

Adobe's Deal for Macromedia May Help It Fend Off Microsoft - New York Times: "But the creative market has proved challenging for Microsoft. In the late 1990's, Microsoft's Front Page desktop publishing software failed to gain any significant ground against PageMaker from Aldus, the leading product; Aldus was eventually acquired by Adobe. 'If Microsoft is ever going to fail in a market, it's going to be in the creative professional market,' said C. Eugene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, who has an outperform rating on Adobe stock."

Accessories for iPod: To the tune of $300m - The Boston Globe

Accessories for iPod: To the tune of $300m - The Boston Globe: "The iPod accessories market has become a powerhouse in its own right, to the tune of more than $300 million annually, and sales of such products are growing faster, on a percentage basis, than the device itself, said Gavin Downey, a director of product management at accessory maker Belkin Corp., in Compton, Calif.
In the early days of the iPod, he noted, there was a relatively low ''attach rate' from the unit. For every 15 to 20 iPods sold, one unit of accessories moved. Today, it's almost a one-to-one ratio."

On a related note: the best ~$10 gadget I've purchased recently...

Yahoo offers Movable Type for bloggers - Yahoo! News

Yahoo offers Movable Type for bloggers - Yahoo! News: "Yahoo will effectively act as the preferred provider of Movable Type for small business users, taking advantage of its scale and efficiency, Anil Dash, vice president of professional products for San Francisco-based Six Apart, said in a phone interview.
'This is going to be our recommended (sales) channel for small business,' he said."

AOL Co-Founder Calls for Split of Time Warner - New York Times

AOL Co-Founder Calls for Split of Time Warner - New York Times: "As Time Warner nears a decision on a big alliance with Google or Microsoft for its America Online unit, Stephen M. Case, the co-founder of AOL, has spoken out against the plan, aligning himself with the thinking of the financier Carl C. Icahn, who has pushed for a breakup of Time Warner."

I suspect this means both Icahn and Case believe Time Warner is unlikely to see higher bids for part/all of AOL, and should sell now.

Meanwhile, Lycos tries to regain relevance. - Microsoft May Give Consumers A Share in Advertising Revenue - Microsoft May Give Consumers A Share in Advertising Revenue "Microsoft Corp. may up the ante in its competition with Google Inc. by sharing some of its online-advertising revenue with consumers who use its Internet search engine.
The concept, described by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in a presentation last week in India, is being considered as a way to draw more users to Microsoft's search business. It would mark a significant change in how a major search engine operates."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Citizen's extended Q&A with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

The Citizen's extended Q&A with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: "Q: Your stock price has been relatively flat over the last few years. Is that a concern to you and what do you plan to do to get the markets excited about Microsoft's stock again?
A: (Nearly shouting, face reddening) Grow! We've done a lot of growing over the last five years, and our stock as you've pointed out has been basically in a flat line. I can't control how the markets see us. I have some ability to control what we really do. At some point we'll have grown so much, our stock price will have to go up. Our operating profits pre tax in the last five years are up 70 per cent--70 per cent!--and the stock's been flat. If our operating profits are up another 70 per cent, I challenge the stock to stay flat. There's really two things we can do. Number one, We can really drive innovation, number one. Innovation in the short term can take a hit on earnings, but in the long run innovation drives operating profit, and operating profit is the number one driver of the stock price. The other thing we can do is figure out what to do with the cash on behalf of our shareholders. You've seen us be much more aggressive in returning cash to shareholders, both through our annual dividend, our one time dividend, our share repurchase. So we're working both of what I call our capital structure side and our operating side. "

Can This Man Reprogram Microsoft? - New York Times

Can This Man Reprogram Microsoft? - New York Times: "The familiar pattern of a decade ago begs the question that Bill Gates was asked when he met last month with a group of executives and journalists from The New York Times: Will you do to Google what you did to Netscape?
Mr. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and chairman, paused, looked down at his folded hands and smiled broadly, as if enjoying a private joke. 'Nah,' he replied, 'we'll do something different.'
The man whom Mr. Gates is counting on to make a difference is Ray Ozzie, a soft-spoken 50-year-old who joined the company just eight months ago. He has the daunting task of galvanizing the troops to address the Internet services challenge, shaking things up and quickening the corporate pulse. "

Timely snapshot.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Prodigy up for sale | CNET

Prodigy up for sale | CNET "Prodigy Communications, one of the oldest brands on the Internet and among Net service providers, is up for sale by its parent SBC Communications, now known as AT&T.
The Prodigy brand name and associated 66 registered trademarks in 52 countries are the intellectual property being sold, according to a document and proposal seen by CNET AT&T has contracted Ocean Tomo, an intellectual capital equity firm based in Chicago, to solicit and accept bids starting this month. The sale is expected to be closed by the end of March 2006."

Sprint to offer full-length movie downloads - Yahoo! News

Sprint to offer full-length movie downloads - Yahoo! News: "Using a mobile phone to buy movie tickets and check showtimes is one thing, but Sprint offers the whole movie.
Sprint Nextel Corp. is expected to announce on Monday that it has begun selling a service which allows users of its mobile video phones to watch full-length movies, television shows, concerts and comedy specials."

Yahoo! makes a purchase

Yahoo! makes a purchase: "Yahoo!'s other recent social networking acquisitions include a popular photo-tagging service, Flickr, and an event-planning service,
The site was created in 2003 by Schachter, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate.' investors include Union Square Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm, Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp. co-founder Marc Andreessen."

Xbox II: quest for the game - The Boston Globe

Xbox II: quest for the game - The Boston Globe "After four years without a new video game console hitting the market, Microsoft's radical new Xbox 360 is one of the most sought after gifts for this holiday season.
But the company didn't make enough to satisfy demand, leaving desperate shoppers like Castaldo empty handed with fewer than two shopping weeks left before Christmas. Others have turned to the Internet, where systems that would normally cost $400 are being bid as high as $1,700 on eBay.

If Xbox 360 is really going to be sold out until Feb/March, as this article suggests, Microsoft will be doing Sony a huge favor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yahoo acquires shared bookmark site - Yahoo! News

Yahoo acquires shared bookmark site - Yahoo! News "Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news), the world's largest Internet media site, had agreed to acquire, a popular Web site that helps users share links to their favorite Web sites, the site's founder said on Friday."

SD Times - Microsoft Sees the Future as a Singularity

SD Times - Microsoft Sees the Future as a Singularity: "Despite two years of work already under his belt, Galen Hunt, senior researcher of Microsoft Research, estimates there are another four to five years of work to be done on Singularity, a completely new operating system with an emphasis on dependability instead of performance.
Microsoft last month published the first details of Singularity, but any advances made in the operating system won't appear in commercial products for some time -- and certainly not in Windows Vista due next year.
The Singularity project contains new languages and tools and a whole new architecture and operating system design. The Singularity OS is built around three key abstractions: a kernel, Software-Isolated Processes and channels. "

BlackBerry Smackdown - Newsweek Technology -

BlackBerry Smackdown - Newsweek Technology - "But even if RIM ultimately prevails in court, analysts think it should be concentrating not on NTP but on the action in its rearview mirror. Alternative mobile e-mail services from Microsoft and Nokia aren't nearly as robust as what RIM offers, and upcoming mobile e-mail devices from Motorola, HP and Palm may not be as slick as the BlackBerry. But if the BlackBerry becomes synonymous not just with e-mail addiction but confusing, endless litigation, they won't have to be. "

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The birth of Google

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The birth of Google: "In this context, the company’s famous “do no evil” motto begins to appear like a salve for a guilty conscience. Any discussion of Google’s ethics needs to begin with an acknowledgment that the business’s commercial interests have in the past compromised its founders’ ideals, and that such compromises can be expected in the future as well."

Technology News Article | Microsoft's CEO will have to shop for his Xbox

Technology News Article | Microsoft's CEO will have to shop for his Xbox: "The Ballmer children do not have their Xbox 360 yet. I'm in the same boat as many of you,' Ballmer said. 'Thanks to the wonders of Sarbanes-Oxley, management does not get a free Xbox 360,' he quipped at a meeting of technology industry executives. "

Secure Enterprise | Special Report: Securing a Service-Oriented Architecture

Secure Enterprise | Special Report: Securing a Service-Oriented Architecture: "The complexities of an SOA environment require a centralized security framework built on high-level Web service standards. We show you how to do it. "

Timely summary from my colleague Pete Lacey

WinInfo Short Takes: Regarding Xbox 360 reliability issues

WinInfo Short Takes: Regarding Xbox 360 reliability issues "Regarding Xbox 360 reliability issues: Don't believe the rumors. The percentage of Xbox 360 units that have any problems at all is quite small and well within the expected range, I'm told. Long story short, there isn't a quality problem. And frankly, give Microsoft some credit for being very upfront about what people can do to get units fixed or replaced and then turning around problems machines so quickly. I give Microsoft a hard time when they deserve it, but they're doing the right thing with Xbox 360."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft offers new window to the world

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft offers new window to the world: " 12 different views from a 40-degree angle, said Dante Pennacchia, a senior vice president at the company.
The planes take pictures of large areas at 4,500 feet and drop to 3,000 feet for detailed images.
So far, Pictometry has pictures covering about 28 percent of the U.S. population and aims to capture 80 percent in the next few years. The flight schedule is especially aggressive now because the leaves are off of trees, making it easier to see the land, according to Microsoft."

Yahoo undercuts Skype, telcos on voice call rates - Yahoo! News

Yahoo undercuts Skype, telcos on voice call rates - Yahoo! News: "The world's largest Internet media company said it plans to charge one cent per minute to Yahoo Messenger users calling the United States from, say, Russia, or anywhere else in the world and 2 cents a minute to call 30 other countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea.
In all the Yahoo Messenger phone-calling service will be available in 180 countries, according to Terrell Karlsten, a spokeswoman for the Sunnyvale, California-based company. Details were due to be available shortly at" - Yahoo Piles Into Web-Phone Field - Yahoo Piles Into Web-Phone Field: "Yahoo's addition of computer-to-phone capabilities follows a similar retooling of the rival AOL Instant Messenger service from Time Warner Inc. in October.
It also comes just as Skype is revamping its popular service with video calling, a feature that has been available through Yahoo Messenger for several years, though only for computer-to-computer calls.
In a similar vein, Sony Corp. introduced a free Internet-based phone service last month with an emphasis on visual calling that the company hopes will fuel sales of its video equipment."

Website's power to overexpose teens stirs a warning - The Boston Globe

Website's power to overexpose teens stirs a warning - The Boston Globe: "Principals of several Boston area middle and high schools are warning parents to rein in teenagers who are posting intensely personal information and, in some cases, provocative photos of themselves on a free Internet site.
The students, principals have said in letters and even in calls to parents, could become victims of predators."

On page 1 of today's Boston Globe - Friendster's 'Eww' Moment - Friendster's 'Eww' Moment: "Heather Gill's heart dropped when she logged on to in late September and noticed a new section called 'Who's Viewed Me.' Ms. Gill had been using the social-networking site to learn more about her new classmates at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. She was aghast to realize that whenever she looked at someone else's profile, that someone could see her looking.
'I felt totally exposed without my permission,' says the 28-year-old graduate student. 'I was horrified at the thought that this guy or other people in my class would think that I was stalking them or was insecure or needy for friendship.'" - Judge in RIM Case Is Likely To Ignore the Outside Issues - Judge in RIM Case Is Likely To Ignore the Outside Issues "Judge Spencer also has said he's not going to hold up court proceedings for further patent-office rulings. What's more, NTP recently sought to add more than 32,000 claims to its patents, but backed off most.
If the judge calls for a service halt, RIM could immediately appeal any ban to the appeals court, which may be more inclined to postpone the ban. But the appeals court would have to side with RIM instantly, since observers say RIM can't afford even a brief BlackBerry shutdown.
Some lawyers say RIM's strategy amounts to a dangerous gamble. RIM is playing "Russian roulette" with its customers, says patent lawyer Robert Greene Sterne."

I don't get it...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ajax Sucks Most of the Time (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox December 2005)

Ajax Sucks Most of the Time (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox December 2005): "For new or inexperienced Web designers, I stand by my original recommendation. Ajax: Just Say No.
With respect to the use of ajax by highly skilled Web designers, I have changed my opinion somewhat: people who really know what they are doing can sometimes use ajax to good effect, though even experienced designers are advised to use ajax as sparingly as possible. "

A timely reality check.

Higher Speed From Cingular - New York Times

Higher Speed From Cingular - New York Times: "Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest provider of mobile phone service, has introduced high-speed wireless network services in 16 cities.
The so-called third-generation network lets customers download data and view video at broadband speeds, Cingular said yesterday. "

Maybe I could use Skype on this service to work around the fact that my Cingular voice service is often inadequate...

Microsoft Releases Windows Server 2003 R2

Microsoft Releases Windows Server 2003 R2 "Microsoft Corp. today announced the release to manufacturing of Windows Server™ 2003 R2. Based on Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 R2 delivers new capabilities and value for customers in the areas of branch-office management, identity and access management, virtualization, data storage and Web platform technologies. The product will be generally available to customers within 60 days."

Check the feature/function list - Tech Blogs Produce New Elite to Help Track The Industry's Issues - Portals "The reality is that while there are now as many tech blogs as stars in the sky, only a tiny fraction of them matter. And those that do aren't part of some proletarian information revolution, but instead have become the tech world's new elite. Reporters for the big mainstream newspapers and magazines, long accustomed to fawning treatment at corporate events, now show up and find that the best seats often go to the A-list bloggers. And living at the front of the velvet rope line means the big bloggers are frequently pitched and wooed. In fact, with the influence peddling universe in this state of flux, it's not uncommon for mainstream reporters, including the occasional technology columnist, to lobby bloggers to include links to their print articles.

The easiest way to follow this world is via a useful blog-tracking service called tech.memeorandum . The site runs off software written by Gabe Rivera, a former Intel compiler programmer. It sifts through hundreds of technology-oriented blogs to find the hour's hot topics and who is saying what about them. The results are presented concisely in a single place, updated every few minutes. Another site,, offers a similar service. (It is apparently important in the tech blog world to pick a name that is as awkwardly unspellable as possible.)" - NBC Will Sell TV Shows Online For Apple's iPods - NBC Will Sell TV Shows Online For Apple's iPods "The universe of television shows available on Apple's video iPod just got a little bigger.
NBC Universal, a General Electric Co. unit, agreed with Apple Computer Inc. to sell episodes of some of its most popular programs on the Internet for viewing on the new video-capable iPod and on personal computers -- including "Law & Order," "Dragnet" and "The Tonight Show." Terms weren't disclosed."

"Knight Rider" episodes available via iTunes? Time to revise my Dear Santa list; I need a video iPod...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ACM MemberNet - ACM Turing Award Winners Cerf, Kahn Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

ACM MemberNet - ACM Turing Award Winners Cerf, Kahn Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom: "The White House has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award, to Internet pioneers Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn. The White House announcement cited their design of the software code that is used to transmit data over the Internet, and noted that they have been at the forefront of a digital revolution that has transformed global commerce, communication, and entertainment. "

Of course, "Presidential Medal of Freedom" is somewhat oxymoronic at this point in time... Microsoft eyes big companies with new CRM software Microsoft eyes big companies with new CRM software: "'Microsoft Dynamics as a product line is not limiting itself to small and mid-sized businesses,' said Brad Wilson, general manager for Microsoft Dynamics. 'Clearly CRM is an example of where we are going after large business in a very broad manner.' "

Anybody else remember the Oracle/PeopleSoft review phase, when Microsoft asserted it was focused on SMB application opportunities for the foreseeable future?... File under "This shouldn't surprise anyone."

Glaser turns wrath on Apple, Jobs | CNET

Glaser turns wrath on Apple, Jobs | CNET "At the Digital Living Conference here on Monday, Glaser told a packed hotel ballroom that Jobs & Co.'s refusal to make the iPod compatible with music services other than Apple's iTunes was 'pig-headedness.' Glaser also said that Apple's unwillingness to cooperate with other online music vendors promotes piracy of copyrighted materials and will eventually draw the wrath of consumers. "

Virtual Stars Compete for Real Money - New York Times

Virtual Stars Compete for Real Money - New York Times: "Fatal1ty and Vo0 stood on opposite sides of a darkened theater while an announcer boomed their introductions to an appreciative crowd. Their faces magnified on giant overhead monitors, the two stared straight ahead while artificial smoke swirled around them. They met at center stage and shook hands before starting what the announcer called their "grudge match."
The victor of the match, which took place last month at the Nokia Theater in Times Square, left with $150,000, while the loser earned $100,000. "

See the article for more details and related resources. Why does this remind me of some of the more dystopian themes from Snow Crash?... - Adobe Gets Off To Fast Start Following Macromedia Close - Adobe Gets Off To Fast Start Following Macromedia Close: "The acquisition of Macromedia is a major undertaking for Adobe, which has to prove it can handle the complexities of integrating a large acquisition.
The deal creates a company with almost $2 billion in revenue and a market reach that rivals Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) through the ubiquitousness of Adobe's portable document format (known as PDF) and Macromedia's Flash.
But the combined company also faces competitive threats. Microsoft is increasing the pressure on Adobe with software that takes aim at PDF and Photoshop. Likewise, Flash faces a challenge from the emergence of AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML) - a method for building interactive Web pages using industry-standard tools."

Macromedia no longer exists -- Adobe hasn't gotten around to rebranding the Macromedia products yet, but now leads with "Adobe formerly Macromedia". - Time Warner Nears Agreement With Microsoft in Online-Ad Deal - Time Warner Nears Agreement With Microsoft in Online-Ad Deal "Time Warner Inc. is closing in on an agreement with Microsoft Corp. to build an online-advertising service designed to compete with Google Inc., say people familiar with the negotiations.
After months of on-again-off-again negotiations, the two companies are now focused on a deal that would combine advertising-related assets – with minimal, if any, money changing hands. An agreement is expected to be struck sometime before year-end, but it is still possible that AOL could choose instead to deepen its relationship with Google at Microsoft's expense."

With Carl Ichan in the picture as well -- this has all the makings of a reality TV mini-series...

Monday, December 05, 2005

PBS | I, Cringely . December 1, 2005 - The Sweet Spot

PBS | I, Cringely . December 1, 2005 - The Sweet Spot "Microsoft is effectively taping $126 to every xBox 360 as it leaves the factory. Say Google did something similar with the imbedded, unhackable, valueless for anything else gSpot, driving its cost down to $10 (it has to cost something or some people won't plug it in) from a Cost of Goods of, say, $40. By investing $1 billion, Google could put 33 million gSpots into local service, networking at least five million homes for two percent of the amount per customer Verizon and SBC are throwing into Fiber-to-the-Home.
Who is going to win the triple play? It doesn't matter. Who is going to win the game? Any player with deep pockets and no particular technological dependency. At this point that could be Yahoo or Microsoft or AOL or some new player altogether, but it probably means Google."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar - New York Times

Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar - New York Times: "It has, by most measures, been a spectacular success. Wikipedia is now the biggest encyclopedia in the history of the world. As of Friday, it was receiving 2.5 billion page views a month, and offering at least 1,000 articles in 82 languages. The number of articles, already close to two million, is growing by 7 percent a month. And Mr. Wales said that traffic doubles every four months.
Still, the question of Wikipedia, as of so much of what you find online, is: Can you trust it?
And beyond reliability, there is the question of accountability. Mr. Seigenthaler, after discovering that he had been defamed, found that his 'biographer' was anonymous. He learned that the writer was a customer of BellSouth Internet, but that federal privacy laws shield the identity of Internet customers, even if they disseminate defamatory material. And the laws protect online corporations from libel suits. "

The Gamer as Artiste - New York Times

The Gamer as Artiste - New York Times: "The release of the Xbox 360 game console last month, with its sharper graphics, is likely to renew debates about whether games are too violent or too mindless, or whether children should be outside running around.
But as video play occupies more and more of American imaginative life, the games themselves raise other provocative questions: Can games be something more than games? In other words, can they move people emotionally or intellectually in the manner of great art?
Steven Spielberg last year offered one model for the medium to follow: cinema. In an address to students learning to be game developers at the University of Southern California, Mr. Spielberg, who has since contracted to create three games, challenged the industry to improve the storytelling, character development and emotional content in the same way it has enhanced the images and action. The medium will come of age, he said, 'when somebody confesses that they cried at Level 17.' "

I'm still cautiously optimistic that next-gen game consoles will become incredible educational tools, at least for those who seek to use them as such.

Gone Spear-Phishin' - New York Times

Gone Spear-Phishin' - New York Times: "More recently, however, a hybrid form of phishing, dubbed 'spear-phishing,' has emerged and raised alarms among the digital world's watchdogs. Spear-phishing is a distilled and potentially more potent version of phishing. That's because those behind the schemes bait their hooks for specific victims instead of casting a broad, ill-defined net across cyberspace hoping to catch throngs of unknown victims.
Spear-phishing, say security specialists, is much harder to detect than phishing. Bogus e-mail messages and Web sites not only look like near perfect replicas of communiques from e-commerce companies like eBay or its PayPal service, banks or even a victim's employer, but are also targeted at people known to have an established relationship with the sender being mimicked.
And spear-phishing is usually not the plaything of random hackers; it is more likely, analysts say, to be linked to sophisticated groups out for financial gain, trade secrets or military information. While hard data about spear-phishing incidents is hard to come by and some security vendors may have a vested interest in hyping potential threats, veteran security analysts describe spear-phishing as one of the more insidious cybercrimes they have encountered and one that has been underpublicized because victims are hesitant to come forward."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Microsoft tweaks browser to avoid liability | CNET

Microsoft tweaks browser to avoid liability | CNET "Microsoft is changing the way its Web browser handles certain controls in an effort to shield itself from liability in an ongoing patent spat with a start-up backed by the University of California.
The software giant is notifying Web developers and other partners on Friday that it is changing the way Internet Explorer handles certain Web programs, known as ActiveX controls and Java applets. "

Bye Bye BlackBerry? - New York Times

Bye Bye BlackBerry? - New York Times: "In March, the two companies announced that R.I.M. would pay NTP $450 million to license its patents. But that deal collapsed over final terms.
Although NTP is now asking a federal court in Virginia to block BlackBerry service to everyone in the United States except government and aid agency account holders, most analysts say that the Canadian company can, and should, still settle out of court. The estimated price tag for that, however, is now pegged at $700 million to $1.5 billion. While such a settlement is large for a patent case, R.I.M. is estimated to have at least $1.8 billion in cash.
'If this goes as far as an injunction, I won't feel sorry for them," Mr. Stout said. "No BlackBerry customer can say that NTP didn't offer a license. If R.I.M. turns that down, they have no one to blame but themselves for the consequences. BlackBerry users should tell R.I.M. to stop fooling around with their service and take the license.'"

Xbox bidders warned to beware

Xbox bidders warned to beware: "Capitalizing on shortages of Microsoft's new video-game console, several people have attracted bids as high as $600 or more on eBay this week by offering Xbox 360 boxes -- just empty boxes -- in ways that made it seem, without reading closely, that the items for sale were actually consoles.
The common approach: Acknowledging that the item was merely a box, but surrounding that disclosure with so many pictures and descriptions of the real console and accessories that someone merely skimming the listings might not notice."

Google search and seizure - The Boston Globe

Google search and seizure - The Boston Globe "Google's internal slogan is, charmingly, ''Don't be evil." Well, the interaction of cyber-snooping and the unreasonable searches authorized by the Patriot Act is pure evil.
Herewith an idea that I am putting into the public domain, which could make some computer-whiz a billionaire: One of Google's competitors could guarantee users of its search engines that all data keeping track of searches will be permanently discarded after 24 hours. The search process could still learn a broad pattern of users' purchasing tastes, if we wish to be party to a bargain of being marketed to in exchange for the convenience of free searches."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ed Brill on WSJ: A new gold standard for PCs

Ed Brill on WSJ: A new gold standard for PCs: "Can I just pile on for a moment? Front Row is the software that should be on full-time demo in the Apple Store. I never saw it until Bruce told me to push the menu button on the tiny little remote control that came with my G5. One click and I was in awe. This extends my Macintosh investment into a piece of the home entertainment system, and is so visually slick and easy to use. I can't ever imagine a Windows PC having the kind of ease-of-use, eye candy, and function that this one piece of software does on the Mac. "

At Novell, Too Soon to Celebrate

At Novell, Too Soon to Celebrate: "Despite the strong showing, Novell says it expects first-quarter 2006 revenues to fall between $260 million and $270 million, lower than the $288 million Wall Street is projecting. Messman told analysts that revenue will be lower because it's a seasonally slower period and the company is de-emphasizing some older product lines.
The first quarter will mark the two-year anniversary of Novell getting Linux religion -- the time line Messman originally gave for how long it would take to revive the company. Poised before that deadline, his rhetoric has softened. 'While we have come to the end of the two-year period, we still have much to do,' he told investors and analysts, promising to continually search for ways to boost the top line and trim the bottom line."

Sun Sets More Software Free, Cautions MA on Microsoft

Sun Sets More Software Free, Cautions MA on Microsoft: "Sun's assurances to the contrary, the company's open source moves have been met with suspicion from the Open Source Software (OSS) community, which continues to badger the company to open up its Java programming environment. Meanwhile, Sun's plan to make money while giving away its software seems to hinge on support services. The company also announced a variety of technical support services for its free software, and Schwartz commented that he had never run into an enterprise customer that would deploy software that wasn't supported." - Research In Motion Scores Victory in Patent Fight - Research In Motion Scores Victory in Patent Fight: "In its typically cryptic language, the Patent Office indicated Thursday that the rejection would have been a so-called 'final office action' but for a 'new rejection based on a strongly anticipatory printed publication (Norwegian Telecommunications report) (also known as Telenor) that was recently disclosed by the patent owner.'
It appears that NTP told the Patent Office about a company called Telenor whose technology predates NTP's claims, rendering them invalid, according to Lance Johnson, patent lawyer at Roylance, Abrams, Berdo Goodman LLP in Washington." - Adobe Systems Says Macromedia Deal to Close Dec 3 - Adobe Systems Says Macromedia Deal to Close Dec 3: "Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) said its acquisition of Macromedia Inc. (MACR) will close Saturday after receiving all regulatory clearances.
The companies went through a lengthy regulatory-review process, waiting on approval from European regulators. The U.S. Department of Justice cleared their $3.4 billion deal in October."

SAP buys integration vendor Callixa - Computerworld

SAP buys integration vendor Callixa - Computerworld: "SAP has bought Callixa Inc., a San Francisco-based developer of enterprise information integration software, said Shai Agassi, head of SAP's products and technology group and a member of its executive board, in an interview Tuesday. The deal closed about three months ago, he said. SAP had not discussed it publicly before.
SAP currently licenses a distributed query technology from MetaMatrix Inc. in Waltham, Mass. SAP wants to embed the technology more deeply in its products and so it made more sense to acquire a company, Agassi said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I, Analyst: How Can I become an Analyst?

I, Analyst: How Can I become an Analyst?: "You need skills we don't have, you need to be able to write for technical people, and you need to fit in. We won't know if you fit in until we talk to you, but if you are a professional, you have a thick skin, and you like to joke around a bit, you'll do fine."

My colleague Richard Monson-Haefel on the research analyst business. BTW we're currently searching for two analysts to focus on communication/collaboration/content management topics; please see the "email" and "ECM" job descriptions on this page and follow up via the directions therein if you're interested. India > News > Internet > Yahoo! Integrates RSS Into Email India > News > Internet > Yahoo! Integrates RSS Into Email: "Yahoo! has announced the introduction of RSS feeds in its new version of Yahoo! Mail, which is currently in beta testing.
RSS enables users to keep track of their favorite syndicated content from the Web, including Web log feeds and news sites.
With the integration of the RSS reader, Yahoo! Mail will now give consumers access to blog entries, breaking news, and other feeds, directly in their Web mail. Yahoo! Mail will now enable users to save time, while using email or reading Web content; and it will help users bring-together online content from an infinite number of sources, as also forward or file the same."

Great to see more multi-channel communication client options.

Upload, Store, Play and Share in a Few Clicks - New York Times

Upload, Store, Play and Share in a Few Clicks - New York Times "Most of the time, high-tech companies can describe their products with equal efficiency, but not always. Take, for example, Glide Effortless, a new Web service that went live yesterday. "What is Glide Effortless?" its news release asks. "It is a compatible browser-based online solution with integrated software and service environments, providing powerful file management, creation, communication, sharing and e-commerce capabilities."
Which leaves only one question: "What is Glide Effortless?""

Article goes on to explore Glide's focus on making it simpler to upload/store/play/etc.

Speaking of ease of use (or lack thereof): Google/Blogger's BlogThis! tool now requires confirmation in the form of typing a dynamically generated text string. This has transformed what used to be a one- or two-click action into an eye test and typing exercise, all apparently to preclude spurious posts -- which I haven't seen once in my 5+ years as a Blogger user. It'd be nice to have the option to turn off this new "feature."

Update: I found the keyword verification option setting -- via a quick Google search, naturally...

Update 2: except... the turn-off option is only for comments, i.e., there is apparently no way to turn it off for blog owners posting on their own blogs. Lovely...

Update 3: but wait... a human review process can be requested to verify the blog is not a spam blog; in theory Google/Blogger then "white lists" your blog and the eye test/typing exercise goes away. Clearly "RTFM" applies even in the wonderful world of "Web 2.0"...

Sun Offers Free Version of Java Tools - New York Times

Sun Offers Free Version of Java Tools - New York Times: "Sun Microsystems, the network computer company, said Wednesday that it would offer a free version of its Java Enterprise System, a set of development programs that includes application server software.
Sun also said it would no longer charge for use of its Sun N1 management software and other developer tools.
Sun currently charges companies $140 per user per month for the Java Enterprise System, including support services. That fee will remain unchanged for companies that want to continue getting those services."

It'll be interesting to see if Sun can successfully adopt the JBoss business model. I suspect this type of move will also lead to more assessments of the relative need for support services by software product/initiative -- if there is going to be a major value shift from licensing to support/services, prospective customers will quite reasonably want to know what they're being asked to pay for -- i.e., the relative emphasis on bug fixes, new features/functions, usable and timely documentation, etc...

Personal Technology -- With Its New Version, Skype Phone Service May Enter Mainstream

Personal Technology -- With Its New Version, Skype Phone Service May Enter Mainstream: "Now, however, Skype is putting those hurdles behind it. Today, the company plans to release a major new version of its phone-calling software, Skype 2.0, with added features -- including video calling -- and a cleaner interface. It is taking steps to make computer microphones cheap and easy to obtain. More importantly, it is moving its service off the computer to a new breed of Internet-based telephone handsets.
But I was most impressed with the new Skype phone I tested, the $100 Linksys CIT200. It looks and works like a regular cordless phone. But it links wirelessly to a little base station that connects to your computer. And it has a big Skype button that connects you to the Skype service via the PC. The phone displays your Skype contacts, and you call them with the press of a button. You can also make calls to non-Skype phones, via SkypeOut.
Skype has escaped from its niche and is heading for the mainstream. You might want to give it a try."

Note: no subscription required to read the full article - Google Gears Up to Face Future Foes, CFO Says - Google Gears Up to Face Future Foes, CFO Says: "'The view of the management team, supported by the board, was there was at least one very large competitor that could inflict a lot of damage on us, and why not take the money when it was available to buffer any storm that might come downstream for us,' he said.
The executive described the Microsoft challenge as one that's on the horizon, rather than a reality today. 'We study and hear and see what Microsoft does, and so far there is not a lot that we've seen that caused us much angst,' he said. Google, however, will be watching to see how the next version of Windows, dubbed Vista, and Microsoft's Web-browser initiative shape up."

Why does this remind me of Andreessen's comment that Windows was just a "collection of poorly debugged device drivers"?... - Microsoft to Develop Service Offering Online-Classified Ads - Microsoft to Develop Service Offering Online-Classified Ads "The software maker is hoping to distinguish its service, code-named Fremont, from rivals by tying in functionality with other Microsoft products.
Users will be able to have Microsoft's instant-messaging service alert them if items they seek come up for sale, or if someone is interested in buying something they are selling.
The Redmond, Wash., company is developing ways that people can limit who can see their ads, such as by offering goods only to people on their messenger "buddy list." The service will enable users to limit sales to those attending the same university or working at the same company, based on email addresses.
The service is integrating Microsoft technology for geography-based searching, to let users hunt for items that are for sale in the immediate area."