Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere 2006 Impressions: Notes/Domino/Sametime Redux

Collaboration Loop - Lotusphere 2006 Impressions: Notes/Domino/Sametime Redux: "IBM's annual Lotusphere event in Orlando, Florida provides an unparalleled opportunity to assess the vitality of the IBM Lotus customer and partner communities. Lotusphere 2006 was a watershed event for many reasons, and I'll share my impressions on the major news and implications in my next few Collaboration Loop posts."

FYI the first in a 5-part series of Lotusphere impressions; the rest will run over the next few days.

WSJ.com - Liberty Media, EchoStar Invest In Start-Up for New TV Device

WSJ.com - Liberty Media, EchoStar Invest In Start-Up for New TV Device: "Media giants Liberty Media Corp. and EchoStar Communications Corp. are investing in a small Silicon Valley company that lets people watch TV on their computers away from home.
The high-profile start-up, Sling Media Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., said Liberty and EchoStar were two of the investors in a new, $46.6 million round of funding, which Sling Media will use for product development and international expansion."

Google's Data Management Ambitions Grow

Google's Data Management Ambitions Grow: "Google made its second move into the information classification and management (ICM) space Monday, combining its enterprise search offerings with Kazeon's ICM technology.
Kazeon will integrate its storage indexing and classification product, the Information Server IS1200, with Google's enterprise search technology, and the start-up also joined the Google Enterprise Professional program. The result, the companies said, will be an 'integrated search solution that stretches from Web-enabled knowledge repositories to the broad storage infrastructure, including file systems, archives and disk-to-disk backups.' "

Monday, January 30, 2006

Q&A: Microsoft Forms Unified Communications Group to Deliver Innovative Communications Solutions

Q&A: Microsoft Forms Unified Communications Group to Deliver Innovative Communications Solutions: "Microsoft today announced it is merging the Exchange and Real-Time Collaboration (RTC) groups to form the Unified Communications Group (UCG). With the mission-critical nature of e-mail and the rapidly increasing use of instant messaging, VoIP, audio/video/Web conferencing, customers are asking for an integrated communications experience that enables them to intuitively and seamlessly communicate across all modes of communication. The merger of the teams aligns Microsoft's efforts internally and allows the company to more rapidly and effectively addresses these customer needs."

Great timing, as communication channels (e.g., email, IM, VoIP, and blogs) continue to converge.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Q&A with Jim Allchin of Microsoft

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Q&A with Jim Allchin of Microsoft: "Q: There's a bit of feature overlap with your new operating system and Apple's. What is the competitive situation going to be like now that you're on the same hardware platform?
A: I actually am not sure that sharing the same hardware platform's going to make that much difference, personally. People may disagree on that perspective. ... We're a massive company. By that, I mean that Apple really has no presence in business, and we think Vista's going to have a huge presence in business. We think we're going to help the corporate IT stack save money.
We think we're going to help information workers. And we think in the home space, we have significant advancements that we're very proud of, in terms of how we integrate with TV and how we do gaming.
And most important, we're super proud of the fact that we're a partnership-level company where we're working with ISVs [independent software vendors] and IHVs [independent hardware vendors] and we're not trying to do it all ourselves. There's a fundamental difference of perspective there."

For Sony's Robotic Aibo, It's the Last Year of the Dog - New York Times

For Sony's Robotic Aibo, It's the Last Year of the Dog - New York Times: "The Aibo, which was introduced in 1999, is being discontinued as part of Sony's move to improve its financial position. Last September the company announced that it would eliminate or scale back 15 product categories. In addition to Aibo, Sony has also stopped selling its Qualia line of high-end televisions and audio equipment, plasma TV's and car stereos in Japan, said Rick Clancy, a senior vice president at Sony Electronics."

The Resurgence of E-Cards - New York Times

The Resurgence of E-Cards - New York Times: "Excite@Home, the ill-fated online portal and high-speed Internet service, bought Blue Mountain for $780 million in 1999, partly for its ability to give advertisers a way to reach a wide swath of the Internet audience. Excite sold Blue Mountain two years later for $35 million to American Greetings, Hallmark's chief competitor, and shortly thereafter the site began charging for subscriptions.
But Hallmark gains enough business from its cards that they are worth giving away, Ms. Hartman said. The company, which is privately held, does not disclose how much more money e-card senders and recipients spend with Hallmark, both online and off."

In Advance of the Government Leaders Forum, Microsoft Outlines a Worldwide Public Services and eGovernment Strategy

In Advance of the Government Leaders Forum, Microsoft Outlines a Worldwide Public Services and eGovernment Strategy: The strategy aims at reducing the cost burden of red tape through technology.: "Today, in anticipation of the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum (GLF) Europe 2006, Microsoft Corp. outlined a worldwide Public Services and eGovernment Strategy that will provide governments with the prescriptive guidance and technology to focus on a seamless service delivery for citizens through technology. The strategy and solutions are designed to enable governments at all levels to reduce the cost burden of “red tape” and allow increased technology adoption to stimulate economic productivity. Government sources have estimated productivity losses in the area of £100 billion in the U.K., €400 billion across the EU-25, $17 billion in Australia and $843 billion in the U.S., per annum."

New York company seeks to make matches in the sky - Yahoo! News

New York company seeks to make matches in the sky - Yahoo! News: "Inspired by a flight where he found himself happily seated next to Miss Texas, company founder Peter Shankman says he set up AirTroductions to give travelers a chance to choose their seatmates.
'It is for anyone who travels who does not want to have to deal with the psychological hell of sitting 2 inches from someone you don't know for eight hours,' he said."

Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone - New York Times

Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone - New York Times: "Mr. Negroponte has made significant progress, but he has also catalyzed the debate over the role of computing in poor nations -- and ruffled a few feathers. He failed to reach an agreement with Microsoft on including its Windows software in the laptop, leading Microsoft executives to start discussing what they say is a less expensive alternative: turning a specially configured cellular phone into a computer by connecting it to a TV and a keyboard."

WSJ.com - Skype, Warner Reach Ringtone Deal

WSJ.com - Skype, Warner Reach Ringtone Deal: "Telephone company Skype Technologies SA and Warner Music Group Corp. are expected to announce today a licensing agreement to bring ringtones to Internet phone service."

In a word: yikes...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Voices in My Headset - New York Times

The Voices in My Headset - New York Times: "Perhaps the greater injustice is realizing you're an Xbox aficionado two months away from turning 30 who might also be the oldest person on the network. There is nothing more embarrassing than discovering you're playing Joust against someone who has not been on this planet long enough to have first played it in a 1980's-era arcade - nothing except perhaps the ignominy of having a game end prematurely because your opponent is being called to dinner by his mother."

Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom

Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom: "The alliance between Jobs and Disney is full of promise. If he can bring to Disney the same kind of industry-shaking, boundary-busting energy that has lifted Apple and Pixar sky-high, he could help the staid company become the leading laboratory for media convergence. It's not hard to imagine a day when you could fire up your Apple TV and watch Net-only spin-offs of popular TV shows from Disney's ABC Inc. (DIS ). Or use your Apple iPhone to watch Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant's video blog, delivered via Disney's ESPN Inc. 'We've been talking about a lot of things,' says Jobs. 'It's going to be a pretty exciting world looking ahead over the next five years.'"

When Terry Met Jerry, Yahoo! - New York Times

When Terry Met Jerry, Yahoo! - New York Times: "The story line at Yahoo is much different today. Having lost $98 million on revenue of $717 million in the year when Mr. Semel joined it, Yahoo earned $1.2 billion last year on sales of $5.3 billion. With a market capitalization nudging $50 billion, it is worth roughly the same as the newly Pixar-ized Walt Disney Company or the combined value of the recently split Viacom and CBS.
Dollars aside, Yahoo has the widest global reach of any Internet site. It counts more than 420 million registered users around the world, and it owns the most-used e-mail, instant-messaging and music Web sites on the planet. In the United States alone, Yahoo attracted 103 million unique visitors in December, making it the country's most-visited Web destination, according to Nielsen NetRatings."

Timely overview of recent Yahoo! business dynamics.

Legal FAQs on NSA Wiretaps - Center for American Progress

Legal FAQs on NSA Wiretaps - Center for American Progress: "This document is the introduction and executive summary for Legal FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the National Security Agency wiretap program. This document is current as of January 26, but may be updated. "

"This list of powers resembles “martial law” as it exists in other countries. We never declared martial law during World War II or the Cold War. But the Administration asserts that the current challenges facing our country justify greater power for the President. The risks of concentrated power are a central theme of the Federalist Papers and our constitutional history. It is therefore vital for Congress and the courts to give meaning to Justice O’Connor’s words in Hamdi, that “war is not a blank check to the President.”"

Via David Farber

Saturday, January 28, 2006

| Steve Gillmor's InfoRouter | ZDNet.com

Steve Gillmor's InfoRouter ZDNet.com: "Generalismo Franco is still dead is dead, says Ed Brill in sessions at Lotusisdeadsphere. From all reports, Lotus (IBM) has killed the notion that Domino/Notes is dead by assuring the 6700 attendees that the move to GrouPlace is vastly overstated. Meanwhile, IBM has discovered RSS and maybe Attention, but don't worry, Notes is still not dead. I guess this falls into the category of negative gestures -- branding around the lack of deadness in this case."

Steve: you are still the T.S. Eliot of bloggers; I'd need at least one page of footnotes per paragraph to be certain I understand what you're trying to say...

Tangent: I'll summarize and post my Lotusphere notes over the next couple days.

Apple offers college lectures via podcasts - Boston.com

Apple offers college lectures via podcasts - Boston.com: "The company behind the iPod portable players, the iTunes online music store and Macintosh computers had been working with six universities on the pilot project for more than a year and expanded the educational program this week, inviting other universities to sign up.
Internet access to college lectures is nothing new, but listening to them on portable gadgets is a more recent phenomenon of the digital age, spurred in part by the popularity of podcasts, or downloadable audio files."

Allchin: Buy Vista for the security | CNET News.com

Allchin: Buy Vista for the security CNET News.com: "'Safety and security is the overriding feature that most people will want to have Windows Vista for,' the co-president of Microsoft's platform, products and services division said in an interview with CNET News.com. 'Even if they are not into home entertainment or in any of the specialty areas, they are just going to feel safer and more secure by using it.'"

The Seattle Times: Microsoft: Microsoft acquiring Seadragon Software

The Seattle Times: Microsoft: Microsoft acquiring Seadragon Software: "Seadragon has developed technology that lets people quickly view large images from a personal computer or other devices. A user could zoom in to see a small road on a vast map, for example, or pick out a single word from hundreds of pages of a novel."

Friday, January 27, 2006


Might Oracle Buy JBoss?: "... the rumor in Silicon Valley is that Oracle is in talks with JBoss to acquire them, although neither company so far publicly confirmed or denied this acquisition rumor. This move, if it's true, follows on Oracle's highly publicized buying spree of several high-profile companies in 2005, including Siebel Systems. "

That'd be a fun way to press the recalc button in the Java app server market...

Irwin Lazar's "Real-Time" Blog: The Age of Real-Time Communication, Presence and Collaboration is Here!

Irwin Lazar's "Real-Time" Blog: The Age of Real-Time Communication, Presence and Collaboration is Here!: "Om Malik reports in his blog on the announcement of 'Tello', which is a service designed to bridge the gap between various forms of communication (IM, voice, mobile) by enabling the sharing of presence information between systems. Tello is the brain child of Jeff Pulver and is backed by an all-star team of individuals including Craig McCaw and John Scully. "

See Irwin's post for links and more insights.

(And never underestimate Craig McCaw...)

NET STOCKS: Google's Action Makes A Mockery Of Its Values

NET STOCKS: Google's Action Makes A Mockery Of Its Values: "It's profound what being a public company can do to the core values of a young firm.
Is incomplete information really better than no information at all?
It depends on whether Google wants to further principles of a free and open society or whether Google wants to ensure that it is well positioned for the biggest economic growth opportunity of the next century."

Linus rejects new GPL licence for Linux

Linus rejects new GPL licence for Linux: "Writing on a news group here, Torvalds dismissed the new version three of licence as 'crazy' although some files of the kernel might end up under the new standard."

Surprisingly Strong Results at Sony Offer Hint of a Turnaround - New York Times

Surprisingly Strong Results at Sony Offer Hint of a Turnaround - New York Times: " Sony, the struggling electronics giant, reported a surprising 17.5 percent increase in quarterly net profit on Thursday and reversed its fiscal year forecast to a profit from a loss, leading some to wonder if the company was seeing the first glints of a turnaround."

Looks like an at least partial rebound, although the fate of the company is still fundamentally a function of PlayStation progress. I guess Apple missed the opportunity to leverage its stock price into a deal for/with Sony at a firesale price...

"... the better-than-expected earnings numbers sent Sony's stock surging. Its shares rose $5.28, to $48.57, on the New York Stock Exchange."

Yahoo, Linksys offer link for digital music - Yahoo! News

Yahoo, Linksys offer link for digital music - Yahoo! News: "Internet media company Yahoo Inc. and wireless equipment maker Linksys [i.e., Cisco] on Thursday unveiled a new product to help consumers move digital music from computers to stereo sound systems in the home. "

Interesting. I'm still a very satisfied Yahoo! Music Unlimited customer, overall.

Scientists warn Skype ideal for hackers - Yahoo! News

Scientists warn Skype ideal for hackers - Yahoo! News: "Researchers from Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) warned on Thursday that Internet calling applications like Skype may provide the ideal disguise for hacker attacks.
"The loophole could be resolved if VoIP providers were to publish their routing specifications or switch over to open standards," the researchers said."

WSJ.com - Microsoft's Server Software Lifts Profit by 5.4%

WSJ.com - Microsoft's Server Software Lifts Profit by 5.4%: "The results are a sign that Microsoft is successfully navigating a year of major transition as it phases in a broad array of new products, including the Xbox 360 videogame console and software for server computers. The strength of the server group is also reassuring as sales of PC software will likely slow ahead of the launch of new versions of the Windows operating system and Office software in the second half of the calendar year.
Sales of the SQL Server database product were a standout in the quarter, rising 20% from a year earlier and helping drive overall sales for the Server and Tools division up 14% to $2.9 billion. Operating income for the group hit $1.1 billion, a 16% increase from the same period a year ago."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

InfoWorld: Coverity and Klocwork code analyzers drill deeper

InfoWorld: Coverity and Klocwork code analyzers drill deeper : "Remarkable increases in hardware performance are enabling the design and creation of tools that were simply not possible years ago. With two processor cores tearing through 3 billion instructions per second, it's now possible to devise tools that perform rich, very thorough analyses very quickly."

Timely snapshot of a fascinating and increasingly vital software product category. Congrats to Mike Laginski and his team at Klocwork on an outstanding product review.

Apple follows the money | InfoWorld | Column | 2006-01-17 | By Ephraim Schwartz

Apple follows the money InfoWorld Column 2006-01-17 By Ephraim Schwartz: "I'm just back from attending the latest Macworld Expo in San Francisco, and the good news is that you don't have to wonder anymore. Apple is no longer pretending it is interested in becoming an enterprise player. "

InfoWorld has been unusually bullish on Apple's servers over the last couple years -- oh well...

Ameriprise Says Stolen Laptop Had Data on 230,000 People - New York Times

Ameriprise Says Stolen Laptop Had Data on 230,000 People - New York Times: "Ameriprise Financial, the investment advisory unit spun off from American Express last year, said yesterday that lists containing the personal information of about 230,000 customers and advisers had been compromised.
A security breach occurred in late December, Ameriprise said, after a company laptop was stolen from an employee's parked car. The laptop contained a list of reassigned customer accounts that was being stored unencrypted, a violation of Ameriprise's rules."

Dead Spots? Use Your Cable Setup to Send Signals to Every Corner - New York Times

Dead Spots? Use Your Cable Setup to Send Signals to Every Corner - New York Times: "One solution is the AuraGrid, which distributes the network signal over your TV cable system. (It does not work with satellite TV.) The $89.99 kit from AuraOne Systems, available at various online stores, includes a splitter you install where the cable enters your house, connectors to feed your wireless router or access point into the nearest cable jack, and antennas to rebroadcast the signal in three rooms. Additional antennas are $19.99 each. No tools or AC outlets are required."

(Apologies for the sparse and delayed posts this week; sparse because I was at Lotusphere -- more on that in future posts, and delayed because Blogger was MIA for at least the first half of today.

Also in the fun-with-software department: I flew home from Orlando on a Delta/Song 757 last night. Many passengers started to lose their TV signals, so the flight attendents rebooted the system. It's a Linux system; suddenly every seatback on the plane was displaying a text mode system check/restart log for a couple minutes...)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Growing Web of Watchers Builds a Surveillance Society - New York Times

A Growing Web of Watchers Builds a Surveillance Society - New York Times: "Sunshine is the only antidote to surveillance, and openness is inherently democratic. Such disclosures allow consumers to react as they wish. And if the snooping is too embarrassing for companies or public officials to acknowledge, their noses shouldn't be there to begin with. "

Intel Inside. Huh?! - New York Times

Intel Inside. Huh?! - New York Times: "Apple has real chutzpah asking its faithful followers to drag themselves through this major architectural changeover; it is, after all, the third such switch in 12 years. First there was the switch to so-called PowerPC processors in 1994, which also required all new software versions; then the switch to Mac OS X in 2001, which again required new software versions. These can be expensive switches; for example, you'll have to pay Apple $50 for each Universalized professional program (Final Cut and so on) even though you don't get any new features for the money except speed.
From a technical standpoint, though, Apple has brought a staggeringly complex ship down for a surprisingly soft landing. It has made an excellent computer even snappier without increasing the price, and done an amazing job of concealing the technical plumbing."

Pixar Creative Chief to Seek to Restore the Disney Magic - New York Times

Pixar Creative Chief to Seek to Restore the Disney Magic - New York Times: "If Wall Street has been fascinated by the pas de deux featuring Robert A. Iger of the Walt Disney Company and Steven P. Jobs of Pixar Animation Studios, animators have been transfixed by someone else caught up in the dance: Pixar's creative leader, John A. Lasseter, who will now face the challenge of reviving Disney's weakened animation unit without losing the magic at home."

With all due respect to Steve Jobs -- who provided the funding that made Pixar's growth possible, and is now being richly rewarded for it -- there would be no Pixar without John Lasseter (or Ed Catmull, who will now be president of Disney's animation operations).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CRN | News | IBM Turns Over Search Project To Open Source Community

CRN News IBM Turns Over Search Project To Open Source Community: "IBM said Monday that it will begin turning over key intellectual property from its UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) project to the open source community in an effort to spur the growth of the collaborative enterprise search technology. "

WSJ.com - Disney's Board Clears CEO Iger To Seal Pixar Deal

WSJ.com - Disney's Board Clears CEO Iger To Seal Pixar Deal: "Walt Disney Co. moved closer to a deal to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc. in a stock transaction that could be finalized and announced as soon as today, according to people familiar with the situation.
Meeting Sunday and yesterday in regularly scheduled sessions, Disney's board discussed the advanced negotiations and gave Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger authority to complete a deal, according to people familiar with the matter. The Disney board meeting stretched into yesterday evening."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Apple's iWork emerges as rival to Microsoft Office | CNET News.com

Apple's iWork emerges as rival to Microsoft Office CNET News.com: "Corel bills its WordPerfect Office software as 'the world's leading alternative to Microsoft Office.' But when it comes to U.S. retail sales, Corel lost the No. 2 spot in 2005 to a somewhat unlikely competitor: Apple Computer's iWork.
According to market researcher NPD, Apple grabbed a 2.7 percent unit share, while Corel had a 1.6 percent share. Microsoft maintained its dominance with nearly 95 percent of unit sales. "

Strange days indeed.

The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet

The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet: "More dramatically, executives at AT&T and BellSouth got into the headlines recently with a series of audacious statements. In a November Business Week story, AT&T Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr. complained that Internet content providers were getting a free ride: 'They don't have any fiber out there. They don't have any wires. . . . They use my lines for free -- and that's bull,' he said. 'For a Google or a Yahoo or a Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes for free is nuts!''"

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Rival emerges to Boeing's in-flight broadband

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Rival emerges to Boeing's in-flight broadband: "This month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced an auction of key airwave spectrum that will provide in-flight broadband access. The technology works via base stations on the ground similar to cellphone towers, and it is much cheaper to deploy than Boeing's satellite-based Connexion system."

Apple iMac Core Duo (20-inch, 2.0GHz) Reviews. Desktops Reviews by CNET.

Apple iMac Core Duo (20-inch, 2.0GHz) Reviews. Desktops Reviews by CNET. Article summary from email newsletter: "This is an awkward time for Mac buyers. If you buy an Apple iMac Core Duo today, you'll get a machine that will be a great all-around performer--eventually. While it runs new applications (such as the iLife suite) quickly, existing applications run slowly. We won't be able to recommend the iMac for general use until apps such as Photoshop are released for the new design. For workstation-class performance today, check out the Power Mac G5 Quad, but know the architecture will soon be obsolete. "

Friday, January 20, 2006

Good Morning Silicon Valley: It's against Google policy to negotiate with terrorists

Good Morning Silicon Valley: It's against Google policy to negotiate with terrorists: "Go to hell. That was the gist of Google's response to BellSouth's proposal to charge content companies for guaranteed fast delivery of music, video, data or voice
Google's Barry Schnitt said ... 'We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations.'"

BBC NEWS | Health | Mobiles 'don't raise cancer risk'

BBC NEWS Health Mobiles 'don't raise cancer risk': "Alasdair Philips, director of campaign group Powerwatch, says the study 'doesn't really prove anything'.
'I think they should have waited another couple of years and recruited more people with brain tumours so they could have interviewed them, because the trouble was they went back a few years and the people had died.
'If you get a grade four glioma you can die within a year or 18 months of it being diagnosed, and these people are just gone, so they couldn't get their mobile phone history.' "

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Porn again

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Porn again: "But there is a case to be made that placing some controls on the accessibility of some online content is in the best interests of society. (In fact, Google is actively censoring video content already.) And even if you reject that case (as principled people can), you need to at least consider the consequences of pretending there's no problem here. If the internet community doesn't police itself, it may well end up being policed by the police. Like it or not, some slippery slopes have to be negotiated."

LRB | John Lanchester : The Global Id

LRB John Lanchester : The Global Id: "Putting all this together, we reach the conclusion that, on the one hand, Google is cool. On the other hand, Google has the potential to destroy the publishing industry, the newspaper business, high street retailing and our privacy. Not that it will necessarily do any of these things, but for the first time, considered soberly, these things are technologically possible. The company is rich and determined and is not going away any time soon. They know what they are doing technologically; socially, though, they can’t possibly know, and I don’t think anyone else can either. These are the earliest days in a process of what may turn out to be radical change. The best historical analogy for where Google is today probably comes from the time when the railroads were being built. Everyone knew that trains and railways would change the world, but no one predicted the invention of suburbs. Google, and the increased flow of information on which it rides and from which it benefits, is the railway. I don’t think we’ve yet seen the first suburbs."

Excellent essay/book review.

Intel scraps once-crucial Itanium feature | CNET News.com

Intel scraps once-crucial Itanium feature CNET News.com: "Circuitry to let Itanium run software for x86 chips, such as Pentium and Xeon chips, is not present in the forthcoming 'Montecito' processor, according to the 176-page reference manual for the chip published this week
The change, which Intel had refused to discuss until now, reflects the company's diminished Itanium ambitions, which cast the chip as being only for higher-end servers. Intel's retreat to that market segment was in part because Itanium couldn't run x86 software effectively, which imposed major transition burdens on software companies and server customers."

No raised cancer risk from mobile phones: study - Yahoo! News

No raised cancer risk from mobile phones: study - Yahoo! News: "Using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of developing the most common type of brain tumor, according to a study on Friday.
After a four-year survey, scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and three British universities found no link between regular, long-term use of cell phones and glioma."

Deal Could Offer New Disney Role for Apple Chief - New York Times

Deal Could Offer New Disney Role for Apple Chief - New York Times: "Mr. Lasseter's involvement at Disney may end up contributing more to the merger's success than Mr. Jobs's, since it is likely that Mr. Jobs sees more of a future in Silicon Valley than in Hollywood. Mr. Jobs, said friends and associates, deeply believes the counterculture worldview that he articulated in Apple's 'Think Different' advertising campaign.
A child of the 60's counterculture, even though he arrived at the tail end of the movement, Mr. Jobs has told reporters that he has never felt close to the Hollywood moguls he does deals with. "

WSJ.com - Pixar to the Rescue?

WSJ.com - Pixar to the Rescue?: "A glaring reality is evident in Walt Disney Co.'s effort to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc.: Disney needs more than a simple makeover to restore its glory in a world it once dominated.
The possible deal -- a stock transaction that would put Pixar under Disney's control and make Pixar Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Jobs the largest individual Disney shareholder -- is expected to be discussed at a regular Disney board meeting this weekend and could result in a deal as soon as next week, according to people familiar with the situation."

Reality check: Steve Jobs reportedly bought control of what became Pixar from George Lucas in 1986 for under $10 million...

WSJ.com - Google to Buck U.S. on Data Request

WSJ.com - Google to Buck U.S. on Data Request: tbd if what the US government is requesting truly violates the "Do no evil" Google mantra.

Meanwhile, from the WSJ article, "Yahoo in a statement said it complied with the request on a 'limited basis and didn't provide any personally identifiable information.' The Yahoo statement added: 'We are rigorous defenders of our users' privacy. We did not provide any personal information in response to the Department of Justice's subpoena.' Microsoft's MSN unit in a statement confirmed it did comply, but in a way that 'protected the privacy of our customers.' MSN said the data it provided did not include any personally identifiable information of users. 'We gave the DOJ a generic list of aggregate and anonymous search terms from a roughly one-day period,' AOL said in a statement. 'This did not include search results nor any personally-identifiable information and therefore there were absolutely no privacy implications.'"

The timing could have been a better, in terms of Google good will/PR, if it hadn't coincided with international headlines proclaiming "Bin Laden Warns of More Attacks"...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good Morning Silicon Valley: What if we promise not to show the records to Karl Rove?

Good Morning Silicon Valley: What if we promise not to show the records to Karl Rove?: "If you don't regularly anonymize your Google cookie and purge your personalized search history, now might be a good time to start (then again, in this day and age, why bother?). The Department of Justice on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to comply with a subpoena issued last year for search records stored in its databases."

Is Google Out of Steam?

Is Google Out of Steam?: "Downgrading its stock to sell, S&P's Scott Kessler explains why the search giant is vulnerable on several fronts. Key among them: click fraud"

Timely reality check interview

Technology News Article | Reuters.com

Technology News Article Reuters.com: "Japan's Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. said on Thursday it would withdraw from the camera and color film businesses, marking the end to one of the best known brands in the photography world."

David Strom's Web Informant: Bill Gates' Spam Solution Countdown

David Strom's Web Informant: Bill Gates' Spam Solution Countdown: "Two years ago, at Davos, Gates proclaimed: 'Two years from now, spam will be solved. And a lot of progress this year.'
Okay, by my calculations, that gives him until next Tuesday. I can hardly wait! "

Novell gets new identity-software leader | CNET News.com

Novell gets new identity-software leader CNET News.com: "Server software maker Novell quietly named a new executive to lead its identity-software division, the company confirmed this week. David Litwack retired in October, and Novell promoted Kent Erickson to lead the division, spokesman Bruce Lowry said. "

Q&A: Behind Windows Vista Lies a Robust Programming Model Called WinFX

Q&A: Behind Windows Vista Lies a Robust Programming Model Called WinFX: "Microsoft today marked a milestone on the path toward completing the Windows Vista programming model, WinFX, by announcing the availability of Go Live licenses for Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation technologies. Along with the WinFX January Community Technology Preview (CTP), these new resources are meant to give millions of .NET developers a leg up on next-generation application design. All three releases are available now from the MSDN Download Center."

Very significant milestone.

Netflix names ex-US postmaster as COO - Yahoo! News

Netflix names ex-US postmaster as COO - Yahoo! News: "Online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. on Wednesday named former U.S. Postmaster General William J. Henderson as its chief operations officer, starting January 23. "

WSJ.com - Amazon.com Broadens Content With Live, Weekly Internet Show

WSJ.com - Amazon.com Broadens Content With Live, Weekly Internet Show: "In an effort to draw in Web shoppers, Amazon.com Inc. said it will begin broadcasting a weekly Internet show featuring comedian Bill Maher and guests from the worlds of books, music and film.
The live, 30-minute Web program -- 'Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher' -- will launch June 1. The plan is for 12 episodes, produced and distributed exclusively by Amazon. Highlights of the premiere will be shown beginning Jan. 24 on Amazon's Web site. The premiere will be filmed at the Sundance Film Festival, which opens today in Utah."

Personal Technology -- Cingular Joins Rivals With Fast, Reliable Wireless Broadband

Personal Technology -- Cingular Joins Rivals With Fast, Reliable Wireless Broadband.: "This is a revolutionary development. It means that, with a properly equipped laptop or smart phone, you can now get enough speed on a wireless connection to do everything you would do with a fast Internet connection at your desk -- stream video, download large Web sites, open large email attachments. And you don't have to shell out $4 for a Venti latte just to gain access to a Wi-Fi hot spot."

WSJ.com - Walt Disney Is In Serious Talks To Acquire Pixar

WSJ.com - Walt Disney Is In Serious Talks To Acquire Pixar: "Walt Disney Co. is in serious discussions to buy Pixar Animation Studios after months in which the two animation giants have been exploring ways to continue their lucrative partnership, according to people familiar with the matter.
In the deal under discussion, Disney would pay a nominal premium to Pixar's current market value of $6.7 billion in a stock transaction that would make Pixar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney, according to people familiar with the situation.
Mr. Jobs remains the largest shareholder in Pixar, with slightly more than 60 million shares, or 50.6%, according to Pixar's filings with securities regulators last year. At its current share price, Mr. Jobs's stake is worth about $3.44 billion."

Good start -- next Apple should buy/merge with Sony, and the combined entity could sell Sony's media business to Disney.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Business Article | US

Business Article US: "Corel said its WordPerfect Office X3 costs between $79 and $399. Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, offers its Office programs from around $150 to more than $500.
Microsoft held a $135 million investment in Corel, which it sold in 2003 at a deep loss, before the Canadian company was bought by venture capital firm Vector Capital Corp."

Respectable Results at I.B.M. Win Approval From Investors - New York Times

Respectable Results at I.B.M. Win Approval From Investors - New York Times: "Because I.B.M. is the largest information technology company in the world, its earnings are closely monitored by investors, especially now, when many market analysts have been counting on strong results from large corporations to propel the stock market upward this year. And as other closely watched technology stocks like Intel and Yahoo plunged yesterday, I.B.M.'s slow but steady results found favor with investors and its stock held firm at $83 in after-hours trading."

WSJ.com - Yahoo Profit Soars, but Stock Drops

WSJ.com - Yahoo Profit Soars, but Stock Drops: "Yahoo Inc. reported an 83% increase in fourth-quarter profit and a 39% increase in revenue, fueled by advertisers' shift to online advertising from traditional media. But the Internet portal company's results missed some analysts' expectations, sending its shares plunging 14% in after-hours trading.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company reported net income of $683 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with $373 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding gains, tax benefits, and other adjustments related to investments and Yahoo's transaction with Chinese Internet firm Alibaba.com, Yahoo's income was $247 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $187 million, or 13 cents, a year earlier. That fell short of Wall Street analysts' estimates of 17 cents, according to a survey by Thomson Financial."

WSJ.com - The New Multimedia Package

WSJ.com - The New Multimedia Package: "The biggest change in this version of iLife is a new component, called iWeb, that makes it easy to create really handsome Web sites, including blogs, with absolutely no technical knowledge. In addition, Apple has added the ability to easily make podcasts, the personal radio shows that have lately become popular online. And it is introducing a new capability called 'Photocasting,' which allows you to send pictures directly to the computers of friends and family -- without using email or asking them to visit a Web site."

Looks like lightning struck twice...

The Mossberg Solution -- The iMac Gets a Brain Transplant

The Mossberg Solution -- The iMac Gets a Brain Transplant: "Our verdict: The brain transplant was a success. The two machines behaved almost identically in our tests. Compatibility is excellent. The new model easily handled all the major consumer software we threw at it. We never noticed the translator software, called Rosetta, and any slowdowns it imposed were so slight as to be indiscernible.
The new model was actually a little faster at a few of the tasks we tried, but nothing like the two to three times as fast that Apple claims. A mainstream user who didn't know what was under the hood couldn't tell the difference between them, even after using them for hours. It appears that the faster chip roughly balances out the translation effect.
Also, there are two drawbacks to the Intel-based iMac that we judged relatively unimportant to most users, but which could be crucial to some. It can't run old, pre-2001 Mac programs that were written for the old Mac operating system, called "Classic." And, even though it now uses the same processors that Windows machines do, the new iMac can't run Virtual PC, the Microsoft program that allows Macs to run Windows software. Microsoft is rewriting Virtual PC for the new Macs but won't be done until 2007. Some other company may bring out a way to run Windows stuff on the new Mac sooner than that. But, for now, it can't run Windows programs."

In fewer words: no discernible speed increase from the dual-core Intel on key apps such as Microsoft Office, for the immediate future, and some apps, including Virtual PC and AOL for the Mac (referenced elsewhere in the article) don't work. MacIntel, for now, is only a major upgrade if you're running all Apple software.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

WSJ.com - Google Agrees to Buy dMarc Extending Its Reach Into Radio

WSJ.com - Google Agrees to Buy dMarc Extending Its Reach Into Radio: "Google Inc. agreed to acquire dMarc Broadcasting Inc., a radio advertising firm, for $102 million in cash and additional payments that could be worth up to $1.14 billion if performance targets are met over the next three years.
Newport Beach, Calif.-based dMarc's technology connects advertisers directly to radio stations. Its software helps advertisers purchase and track radio ads and lets broadcasters automatically schedule ad spots. Google, Mountain View, Calif., said it plans to integrate dMarc's technology into its AdWords advertising program."

Geek Trivia: Last but not Lisa

Geek Trivia: Last but not Lisa "One of the most colossal blunders in personal computing history hit the market with a painful thud 23 years ago this week. On Jan. 19, 1983, Apple Computer's much-ballyhooed and wildly unsuccessful Lisa PC debuted, earning renown both for its remarkable technical innovations and its notorious commercial failings.
Much like Atari did with its surplus video game cartridges in 1982, Apple simply bulldozed its remaining Lisa PCs into a landfill. The tax write-off from renting the landfill space in Logan, Utah made this extreme measure more financially appealing than trying to reclaim or sell the unwanted merchandise."

eWEEK Labs Review: IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino 7

eWEEK Labs Review: IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino 7: "With Version 7 of the Lotus Domino server and Notes client, IBM continues to provide the richest integrated collaborative environment available today. This release features several refinements to the Notes and Domino Web Access clients that will make users more productive. On the server side, improvements in management make it easier for large organizations to manage Domino servers and deploy Notes clients."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Mac users 'too smug' over security

BBC NEWS Technology Mac users 'too smug' over security: "It would certainly be wonderful if the Macintosh computer and its operating system were immune to attack but this is just wishful thinking. Mac OS is certainly a lot better than Windows, but being better isn't nearly enough.
Mac OS may not have the gaping holes that let viruses spread, but worms, spyware and even keyloggers are out there."

Technology News Article | Reuters.com

Technology News Article Reuters.com: "Cisco Systems Inc. plans to expand its share of the consumer electronics market by selling phones, radios and home theater equipment, the Financial Times reported on Monday. "

Hey, maybe Apple should do a leveraged buyout of Cisco :)...

Microsoft aims to topple Lotus' Domino | CNET News.com

Microsoft aims to topple Lotus' Domino CNET News.com: "Cain noted that Microsoft is not offering software to help businesses deal with the custom applications that many of them have created using Lotus.
'What's still missing is a tool or service that can migrate the Domino application logic,' Cain said. 'Domino still is an awesome rapid application development tool. There frankly is nothing (like it) on the market.' "

Microsoft Announces New Application and Messaging Migration Tools for Lotus Notes/Domino Customers

Microsoft Announces New Application and Messaging Migration Tools for Lotus Notes/Domino Customers. "As part of its broader strategy to make it easier for Lotus Notes/Domino organizations to move to the Microsoft collaboration platform, Microsoft Corp. today announced a suite of new and updated tools to help organizations analyze their Notes/Domino application environment and move important application data to Microsoft’s collaboration platform. These tools, which will be available for free download, include the Microsoft® Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino, Microsoft Data Migrator 2006 for Lotus Domino, and new Windows® SharePoint® Services Application Templates. In addition, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of updated messaging and calendaring migration and coexistence tools, available now for free download, that include Exchange Connector for Lotus Notes/Domino, Exchange Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes/Domino and Migration Wizard for Lotus Notes/Domino. Microsoft continues to be the collaboration platform of choice with hundreds of companies worldwide, such as Arcelor, First Data Corp. and Wolters Kluwer, making the decision to move in the past six months. Leading industry analyst firm IDC has also identified Microsoft as the market leader in Integrated Collaborative Environments, with a 51 percent share, a 10 percent distance over its nearest competitor based on 2004 revenue."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Forbes.com - This Apple Is Too Shiny

Forbes.com - This Apple Is Too Shiny: "But this sales bounty masks a worrisome downward trend in profitability. Apple's computer business, which contributes 45% of sales, has a gross margin of 30%, estimates Eugene Munster of Piper Jaffray; the iPod, with a 33% (and rising) share of sales, has a margin of only 20%. The other businesses linked to the iPod do little more than break even, analysts estimate: The iTunes Music Store earns at most 4 cents pretax on each 99-cent download for Apple, and iPod videos, which sell for $1.99, have a similar margin.
Founder-evangelist Chairman Steve Jobs has a cult following among certain computer users and the mostly worshipful attention of the business press. But it is unlikely that even his magic touch can alter the grim economics of consumer electronics gadgets: After a while they become commodities subject to vicious price competition. It happened to Sony's color TV, to Motorola's cell phone and to IBM's PC. It takes a lot of guts to take on an icon like Steve Jobs, but Apple admirer Andrew Neff of Bear Stearns lowered his rating from a buy to a hold in mid-December. "

Michael Dell Should Eat His Words, Apple Chief Suggests - New York Times

Michael Dell Should Eat His Words, Apple Chief Suggests - New York Times: "In 1997, shortly after Mr. Jobs returned to Apple, the company he helped start in 1976, Dell's founder and chairman, Michael S. Dell, was asked at a technology conference what might be done to fix Apple, then deeply troubled financially.
'What would I do?' Mr. Dell said to an audience of several thousand information technology managers. 'I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.'
On Friday, apparently savoring the moment, Mr. Jobs sent a brief e-mail message to Apple employees, which read: 'Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.'"

Google's Shadow Payroll Is Not Such a Secret Anymore - New York Times

Google's Shadow Payroll Is Not Such a Secret Anymore - New York Times: "Google's advertising network sales, which come largely from its AdSense advertisers, reached $675 million in the third quarter of 2005, the last period for which Google reported results. That figure was up 76 percent from a year earlier. AdSense generates slightly less revenue than Google's primary revenue engine, its search Web sites, which sold about $885 million worth of ads in the third quarter of 2005, a 115 percent jump from the previous year."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Putting The Screws To Google

Putting The Screws To Google: "What if 2006 is the year big media players take aim at Google's kneecaps?
"FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I CAN'T IMAGINE why they haven't done it," says Tom Curley, CEO of Associated Press. Here's one reason: Doing it would require spinal implants for intimidated media barons. But the notion that some pushback is pending is not far-fetched. Curley says he is talking with potential partners about setting up subject-specific Web packages -- say, for travel or basketball -- that will include content from multiple media. Once partners are on board and packages are finalized, search engines will be invited to bid for that traffic."

Interesting scenario -- read the full article.

Rick Rashid: Microsoft's Right Brain

Rick Rashid: Microsoft's Right Brain: "Responding to critics who carp that Microsoft just copies others' best work, Rashid can reel off dozens of strides his team has made -- like the grammar checker in Microsoft Office, and ClearType, a display technology that produces crisper text resolution in Windows XP. Researchers also came up with spam filters that block unwanted e-mails in MSN Hotmail, a free feature that stops 3.2 billion messages a day. The steady anti-Microsoft harping is 'one of those things where people don't think it through,' Rashid says."

One-stop site for blogs offered - The Boston Globe

One-stop site for blogs offered - The Boston Globe: "A new Boston website aims to bring order to the tens of millions of weblogs proliferating online and provide one-stop shopping for overwhelmed Internet surfers. In the process, it could put some cash in the pockets of Internet scribes pecking away in obscurity.
One of Gather's new voices belongs to its new financial backer Manzi, who posted an article yesterday extolling the merits of the Gather model. ''No longer must I accept much of my content from what I have called the Literary Industrial Complex, that group of concentrated media organizations with their small elites and self-reinforcing arbiters delivering my news and information 'top-down,' " Manzi wrote, casting Gather as a democratic alternative to the mainstream press."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Economist.com | St Lawrence of Google

Economist.com St Lawrence of Google: "And what is that quest? Merely upstaging Microsoft would be almost banal. “We're not trying to build a better operating system,” says Mr Schmidt (although that will not kill the rumour). Part of the plan is certainly “organising the world's information”. But some people think they detect an even more grandiose design. Google is already working on a massive and global computing grid. Eventually, says Mr Saffo, “they're trying to build the machine that will pass the Turing test”—in other words, an artificial intelligence that can pass as a human in written conversations. Wisely or not, Google wants to be a new sort of deus ex machina."

Economist.com | Podtastic

Economist.com Podtastic : "The most powerful factor working in Apple's favour is peer pressure: what friends and relatives have to say about products is now the most trusted form of consumer advice, and to be seen with something different can be almost taboo. That is why millions of people said they wanted an iPod for Christmas, and not a digital-music player from another manufacturer -- even though rival players are often cheaper than iPods, and generally have more features. During the years it spent in Microsoft's shadow, Apple benefited from having a distinctive, counter-cultural brand. But given its dominance in digital music, where it is anything but the underdog, how long can Apple keep its cool?"

Sun founders confess all during walk down workstation lane [printer-friendly] | The Register

Sun founders confess all during walk down workstation lane [printer-friendly] The Register: "And when Bechtolsheim doesn't have doubts, you should listen. He put the original money behind Sun, VMware and Google. He's got to be one of the top five investors of all time. Not bad for a hardware genius and founder of multi-billion dollar company.
Oh yeah, he's really humble and generous too. As it turns out, nice guys can do okay."

You are for Sale: Ask Wesley Clark | Bayosphere

You are for Sale: Ask Wesley Clark Bayosphere: "AMERICAblog just bought retired General and former presidential candidate Wesley Clark's cell phone records for $89.95.
Maybe we should get together and buy all the available records of members of Congress. Maybe that would get them to pay attention."

PDA Pundit: Treo vs. Treo - Yahoo! News

PDA Pundit: Treo vs. Treo - Yahoo! News: "Overall, that about sums up my feeling about the Treo 700w. It's fast; it's got a few nice phone features; and if I have to use a Windows Mobile hybrid, I'd rather have a Treo than any of the other Windows Mobile smart phones I've seen. But do I feel any desire to surrender my Palm OS-based Treo? No. I'll just upgrade when a faster version comes along. The best things about the Treo 700w have little or nothing to do with Windows Mobile."

John Battelle's Searchblog: And More Goog: Mobile Personal Homepage

John Battelle's Searchblog: And More Goog: Mobile Personal Homepage: "Now here's something I just might start using right away, because, honestly, I hate my Treo, it promises so much, and delivers so little. Why? Because I am a mobile moron - it's too much work to make it work right. Might Google help me with this? We'll find out."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft nearing ad system for MSN searches

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft nearing ad system for MSN searches: "Microsoft also said it is reorganizing some of its scientists into a new division to focus solely on creating advanced technologies for online advertising.
About 22 scientists from Microsoft's Beijing research center and at least 20 from Redmond will work in the new division, the Microsoft adCenter Incubation Lab, or adLab."

Microsoft, Yahoo Talk Search

Microsoft, Yahoo Talk Search: "'There is something called search relevance that Google has been ahead of most competitors in,' Shum [the Beijing-based managing director of Microsoft Research Asia] said. 'But the gap is closing. And Yahoo claims statistically that this difference does not even exist anymore between Google and Yahoo. MSN, with a lot of help from MSR [Microsoft Research] is closing the gap like crazy. We will be catching up with them in a matter of months. And something will be there. But that is only one problem -- one very tough problem, however.' "

Apple files 'Mobile Me' as US trademark - Yahoo! News

Apple files 'Mobile Me' as US trademark - Yahoo! News: "'We believe this is further indication of (Apple's) strategic direction to extend its iPod + iTunes and Mac franchises into new business areas including smart phones, value-added mobile content services, and the broader consumer electronics space,' American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a note on Thursday."

So McNealy may be right, only the iPod may morph into a phone++ by the time his vision comes to fruition, and iTunes will probably morph into some variant of "My Stuff" or "Digital Me".

Web Site of Agency Is Called Insecure - New York Times

Web Site of Agency Is Called Insecure - New York Times: "The General Services Administration has shut a Web site for government contractors after a computer industry consultant reported that he was able to view and modify corporate and financial information submitted by vendors."


Thursday, January 12, 2006

McNealy's cold feet and other tales of Sun | CNET News.com

[print version] McNealy's cold feet and other tales of Sun CNET News.com: "McNealy has praised Jobs on occasion, but he acknowledged on Wednesday he doesn't have time to listen to his own iPod and forecasted doom for the popular digital music player. The right place to store music is on the network, where it can be accessed by many devices, he said, much like the right place to store voice mail is on a central server.
'Your iPod is like your home answering machine. It's a temporary thing,' McNealy said. 'It's going to be hard to sell a lot of iPods five years from now, when every cell phone is going to be able to automatically access your library wherever you are.' "

Read the full interview for an interesting recap of Sun's glory days.

Internet Explorer 7's Greatest Enhancement- ADTmag.com

Internet Explorer 7's Greatest Enhancement- ADTmag.com: "Despite its potential for push-based content delivery, RSS has only seen modest acceptance outside the tech-savvy world. Research conducted by Ipsos for Yahoo! [pdf] shows that while 12% of surveyed Yahoo! users know what RSS is, only 4% of surveyed IE users knowingly use it. A further 27% use RSS without being aware of it. This leaves 69% of web users – people who use the web regularly to read news headlines and so on – who either don’t know about RSS or just choose not to use it."

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The beta culture

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The beta culture: "But while I used to think the beta approach was a pretty nifty idea, now I'm having my doubts. While Google has certainly proved that it can produce wonderful products, like its bread-and-butter search engine and its addictive Google Earth, a lot of those beta products - and not just the new ones - are pretty lackluster. Froogle, for example, is unpleasant to use, and Blog Search is just plain dreary. The tossing of half-baked products onto the web is starting to look less like a brilliant idea than a sign of hubris. You get the sense that the great minds at Google believe that we lowly users should be grateful for any scrap they throw out to us. Google may be in the process of creating a dysfunctional 'beta culture' that puts the interests of its engineers ahead of the interests of its customers. Eventually, if it keeps pumping out mediocre beta products and letting them lie around more or less indefinitely, it will start to tarnish its brand, if not wear out its welcome. We all know success breeds hubris, and we know what hubris breeds, too."

Sorry, no Apple for you: Microsoft's bid fruitless

Sorry, no Apple for you: Microsoft's bid fruitless: "It's not every day that Microsoft Corp. asks to put a competitor's logo on one of its own products. And the kicker is, the answer was 'No.'
In a first for Microsoft's hardware group, the company is developing a keyboard designed just for the Mac. But regular Mac users will notice there's no Apple key.
To be clear, there is a key to the left of the space bar that will do everything the regular Apple key does. But the customary Apple icon is missing."

Apple also reportedly declined to have any type of Intel insignia on its new Macs.

BetaNews | Microsoft Quietly Ditches WMP for Mac

BetaNews Microsoft Quietly Ditches WMP for Mac: "Despite pledging its support for Apple's platform, Microsoft has backed out of future releases of Windows Media Player for Mac, and the company's Web site now directs visitors to download a third-party application from developer Flip4Mac.
Sources tell BetaNews that Microsoft has taken a different approach toward dealing with the Mac platform in recent months. Key developers in the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft have been reassigned elsewhere, such as the MSN unit, and the company has plans to slowly exit the consumer side of the [Mac OS] business."

Seems prudent to me, given Apple's current end-to-end approach for consumer apps/utilities. Microsoft was clear at MacWorld -- it's continuing with Mac Office, MSN Messenger (hmm -- I wonder if it will be renamed Windows Live Messenger for Mac OS), and Virtual PC.

BetaNews | Microsoft's FAT Patents Upheld

BetaNews Microsoft's FAT Patents Upheld: "Ending a two-year battle over the FAT file system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has reversed a non-final ruling from October and upheld Microsoft's patents on the technology. Despite the prior setbacks, Microsoft had remained steadfast that it would be victorious all along.
In June of 2004, the USPTO agreed to review the patent after questions arose surrounding its validity. A group known as the Public Patent Foundation disputed Microsoft's claims to FAT in April 2004, saying it had become ubiquitous as a format and found in many devices."

Personal Technology -- Software to Help You Download From iPods, Share iTunes on 1 PC

Personal Technology -- Personal Technology -- Software to Help You Download From iPods, Share iTunes on 1 PC: "Apple is aware of these shortcomings, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it solve the second one, multiple libraries, this year. But the first, the inability to use the iPod to copy music to multiple computers, is tougher. Apple was forced to cripple the iPod in this manner at the insistence of the record labels, which feared that it might be used to copy music too widely. So a fix probably requires negotiations with the labels, whose obsession with piracy has caused them to treat their own customers like criminals.
Luckily, there are solutions to both problems available today, through third-party software or workarounds. Here's a guide to those solutions."

WSJ.com - Digital-Music Officials Criticize Subscription Prices

WSJ.com - Digital-Music Officials Criticize Subscription Prices: "While New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigates possible price collusion in the music-download business, some in the industry are complaining about pricing tactics used by the major record labels in another corner of the digital-music world: subscription services.
Mr. Spitzer's preliminary investigation appears to focus on wholesaling music to a la carte services that sell individual songs for 99 cents apiece, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store. To collect information, Mr. Spitzer has issued subpoenas to the four major music companies: Vivendi Universal SA's Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp., EMI Group PLC and the Sony BMG venture between Japan's Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, of Germany."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

BostonHerald.com - Business Today: No revelation: Appleheads to feed on faith

BostonHerald.com - Business Today: No revelation: Appleheads to feed on faith: " As for the wizard himself: A lot has been written about the pressure on Steve Jobs to amaze yet again.
But maybe the true test of a religious leader is when you no longer need to perform miracles. Your followers can survive on faith alone.
The new computers look impressive. They’re much faster than previous models. The new MacBook Pro laptop, coming next month, is also thinner.
Nonetheless, they weren’t much of a surprise. The Intel collaboration was announced last year. The first products are hitting the shelves about five months ahead of the official deadline, but these days that may just be a feat of expertly managed expectations."

Other reality check dimensions:
1. A big part of that 2 - 4x performance improvement, until leading app vendors do native Intel Mac OS ports, is going to be applied to emulation and virtualization.
2. While there has been a lot of speculation about Apple's competitive stance with Windows, I'm surprised there hasn't been more coverage of the first wave of competitive ramifications from the Mac OS resurgence -- i.e., the fact that Linux on the desktop will remain a very specialized (shop floor, full-time data entry, green screen replacement...) scenario for the foreseeable future.

MercuryNews.com | 01/11/2006 | The Mac is back

MercuryNews.com 01/11/2006 The Mac is back: "It's not that the Apple vision is a revolutionary one, Wu observed.But the company has a way of turning bland beige computer boxes into white objects of desire. And all the pieces fit well together, from the software that operates the thin, portable iPod music players to the iTunes Web site that delivers the songs, and now video.``It's like a symphony,'' Wu said. ``Everything has to work in sync. That has been the biggest problem Apple's competitors face. Even at CES, with all of these announcements -- a lot of these products are not integrated. Remember, the iPod has been out for four years. Every year, you hear it's going to die, and every year they sell more. Apple is extending its franchise into other areas.''"

Sun to subsidize Oracle database software | CNET News.com

Sun to subsidize Oracle database software CNET News.com:
One more thread from the Sun/Oracle news:

"And in showing a slide with Sun-Oracle partnership milestones, McNealy observed, 'The one they didn't put in is when you and I were both pushing the network computer,' the ill-fated thin client that both companies hoped would displace the personal computer.
'Let Google make the network computer now,' Ellison said, a reference to the Google PC rumor that circulated last week at the Consumer Electronics Show. 'They're young and foolish.' "

Sun to subsidize Oracle database software | CNET News.com

Sun to subsidize Oracle database software CNET News.com: "In a bid to compete better against IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems said Tuesday it will bundle Oracle's database with higher-end Unix servers and partially subsidize the fees customers would otherwise have to pay to use the software.
Because Oracle license fees correspond to the number of processors a server has, Sun's subsidy can be significant on machines such as the E25K, which has as many as 72 dual-core processors. Singer said the Oracle license fee for such as system is $850,000."

Maybe they should call it "Sun Pack." The article continues:

"Also Tuesday, the companies announced that Oracle will extend its license to use Sun's Java software technology for another 10 years. Oracle is rebuilding its applications using the software, Ellison said."

Hmm -- I wonder if there might be a correlation between the announcements...

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Apple moves at top speed with switch to Intel's chips

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Apple moves at top speed with switch to Intel's chips: "Separately, Apple secured an agreement with Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, which produces the Office suite of productivity software, for a minimum of five more years.
Persistent rumors of discord have dogged the two companies since a reconciliation five years ago.
The pact, signed in November, requires Microsoft to produce new versions of its software for the Mac, while Apple agreed to provide Microsoft with developer resources 'in a timely manner,' Scott Erickson, Microsoft's Mac Business Unit director of product management and marketing, said Monday. 'We wanted with Apple to make a very visible commitment.'
In a broad gesture at Microsoft, Jobs previewed a television commercial announcing the Intel-based computers in which a voice-over actor expressed sympathy for an Intel processor because 'it's been trapped inside dull little boxes performing dull little tasks when it could have been doing so much more.'"

The more things change, ...

Apple Beats the Calendar and the Street - New York Times

Apple Beats the Calendar and the Street - New York Times: "Mr. Jobs said the company sold 14 million iPods during the holiday quarter, up from 4.5 million during the 2004 holiday season. Perhaps more surprising was the news that Apple sold 1.25 million Macintosh computers in the quarter, up from 1.05 million in 2004, despite the worries of some analysts that consumers would delay their purchases. Sales at Apple's retail stores rose to about $1 billion, Mr. Jobs said.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Jobs said Apple increased its share of the computer market in 2005 to roughly 4 percent, from 3 percent. 'All we have to do is get 4 or 5 percent of Windows users to switch, and we'll be in great shape," Mr. Jobs said.'
Mr. Jobs said he fully expected some users to run Windows on the new Macs eventually, which could make Apple's computers an attractive alternative to PC's that run only Windows. 'I'm not going to do anything to preclude that,' he said."

Okay, it looks like history is not going to repeat, at least not immediately...

Q&A: Microsoft's Renewed Commitment to Developing for the Mac

Q&A: Microsoft's Renewed Commitment to Developing for the Mac: : "Microsoft continues to deliver world-class technology products for the Macintosh platform, as it has for more than 20 years. Founded in 1997, Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) is a leading developer of software for Mac customers. The group comprises more than 180 fulltime Mac product experts, who are dedicated to creating top productivity software for Mac customers worldwide. Developed by Mac users for Mac users, the current product line includes: Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, a productivity suite that is comprised of the e-mail application and personal information manager Entourage 2004, Word 2004, Excel 2004 and PowerPoint 2004; Microsoft Messenger for Mac 5; and Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac Version 7. "

Maybe Microsoft will eventually use the Mac OS Intel shift to resync Windows and Mac versions of Office; this would leave PowerPC Mac users with stale, dead-end versions, but that appears to be consistent with Apple's overall strategy...

WSJ.com - AOL Buys Video Search Service

WSJ.com - AOL Buys Video Search Service: "America Online bought video search company Truveo Inc., a move by the Time Warner Inc. unit to expand its reach in online video content.
The Truveo acquisition follows other moves by AOL in the video search arena, including the purchase of Seattle-based Singingfish in November 2003, and the launch of AOL Video Search in June 2005.
Truveo was AOL's fifth announced corporate acquisition of 2005 -- following the acquisitions of Music Now LLC in November, Weblogs Inc. in September, and Xdrive Inc. and Wildseed Ltd. in August."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Hey, it looks like Google is a relatively conservative investment!

More Apple musings

Taking a trip down memory lane this afternoon, thinking about Apple's radical resurgence --

Here's Apple's stock price over the last ten years (chart from wsj.com). Consider the mid-1997 price, when Microsoft, as part of a multifaceted agreement/settlement with Apple, bought $150M in Apple stock (see this page for a fun overview of that event).

Macworld: Intel-based Macs built for speed | CNET News.com

Macworld: Intel-based Macs built for speed CNET News.com: "Jobs unveiled the first Intel-based Mac, an updated iMac. The machine will come in the same sizes as its Power PC-based predecessor and will cost the same, but Jobs said it will be two to three times faster because it uses Intel's dual-core Duo chip. "

Okay, time for me to buy a Mac...

Also key for me:
"Microsoft Mac Business Unit General Manager Roz Ho came onstage and announced that Microsoft is moving ahead with efforts to create an Intel-based version of Office for Mac.
Ho also announced a deal between Apple and Microsoft under which Microsoft will continue creating new versions of Office for Mac for a minimum of five years. "

My last experience in day-to-day personal computing without a Microsoft operating system was circa 1986, when I retired my trusty Kaypro (a CP/M box). I figure I should mix up my personal computing routine at least once every couple decades...

Edward Castronova: Synthetic Worlds : The Business and Culture of Online Games

Edward Castronova: Synthetic Worlds : The Business and Culture of Online Games

I've just started reading this book but am very impressed with what I've read so far and recommend you buy the book and explore for yourself, especially if you have young children (I'll follow-up with other posts if I lose interest in the book for any reason, but I believe even the intro chapter is worth the ~$19 at Amazon.com). Book reviews can be found via the author's site (the primary link for this post). It usefully complements Smartbomb (which I impulse-purchased following an Amazon.com offer/suggestion for both when I bought the Castronova book); the latter is a primarily series of biographical overviews of some of the key people who contributed to the game business, while the former is a more comprehensive perspective from an economist who's also an excellent writer (and apparently an avid gamer).

(Yes, one of my New Year's resolutions was to read more books...)

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Predicting Apple's fall

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Predicting Apple's fall: "Apple today is in the driver's seat in the digital music business in a way that it never was in the PC business, and it will likely announce products and partnerships tomorrow that will extend its lead in video as well. If Apple's rivals are going to overtake it, they're going to have to come up with a better strategy than waiting for history to repeat itself."

Reply to the BW article I referenced yesterday.

A couple thoughts on this:
1. In many ways it does indeed look like history is going to repeat at Apple; I think the point in the BW article (and elsewhere) is intended to be more constructive criticism than anticipatory negativism.
2. I doubt any of Apple's competitors in this context are betting exclusively on the possibility that history will repeat itself; many of the market dynamics unveiled at CES last week suggest there are indeed many new and creative strategic initiatives and partnerships in this context.

InformationWeek | Microsoft And Google | Gates Disses Google | January 9, 2006

InformationWeek Microsoft And Google Gates Disses Google January 9, 2006: "With rampant rumors that Google plans to introduce low-cost computing and media-distribution hardware for the home--rumors Google denies--it's hard to believe Microsoft is fixated on the next Lotus Notes release. "

Yeah, I suppose if Microsoft were a not-for-profit mono-tasking entity, things would be otherwise...

BBC NEWS | Health | Violent games 'affect behaviour'

BBC NEWS Health Violent games 'affect behaviour': "Previous research has found people who play such games are more likely to be aggressive but some say this just shows violent people gravitate towards them.
But a team from the University of Missouri-Columbia said their study which monitored the brain activity of 39 game players suggests a causal link. "

Net Sense: Google Video setback gives big media time to improve - Internet Services - Internet - Opinion

Net Sense: Google Video setback gives big media time to improve - Internet Services - Internet - Opinion: "On the flight home from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I sat next to a woman who was excited about the possibility of charging people 5 cents to watch one of her home videos of her toddler."


Developer hopes Apple lightning won't strike twice | CNET News.com

Developer hopes Apple lightning won't strike twice CNET News.com: "Mac developer Dan Wood knows what happens when Apple Computer has the same idea he does.
A couple of years back, his small firm, Karelia Software, released a set of consumer Web services known as Watson. Some months later, Apple added a very similar set of utilities under the Sherlock 3 moniker.
Now Wood is worried that history is about to repeat itself--or, as he puts it, that lightning is going to strike twice.
Karelia has been working on a program called Sandvox, a set of tools designed it to make it easier for people to publish their own rich Web site with photos, audio and other features typically not found on personal Web sites. "

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Hands on with Google Pack

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Hands on with Google Pack: Conclusion from the first detailed review I've come across:
"While virtually every computer company on earth is scared to death of Google, and virtually every PC user seems to be in love with them, Google Pack serves nicely as a reality check. Not only is Google human, buts the flaws in Google Pack suggest that this company has a long, long way to go before it can ever justify its insanely lofty stock price. Google Pack is a mixed bag of applications, some useful and some not, though virtually all are deficient in some way as packaged here. I applaud Google for trying to make the PC experience simpler and more secure, but shipping out-of-date security products is even worse than not shipping them at all, because users will get a false sense of security and believe they're protected when in fact they are not. Google Pack is still in beta, so the more glaring issues can be fixed by a final release, if there is one. But this initial version of Google Pack is an embarrassment to the company. It's just a mess."

WSJ.com - Behind the Music: IPods and Hearing Loss

WSJ.com - Behind the Music: IPods and Hearing Loss: "Similar concerns were raised when the first generation of portable music players, including Sony Corp.'s Walkman, hit the market in the 1980s. But the latest portable stereos -- including Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod, and other players by iRiver, Sony and SanDisk -- can hold thousands of songs and have longer-lasting batteries than older players. As a result, people are listening to the devices for much longer periods of time. Because hearing damage is directly related to the duration of exposure -- not just the volume -- one concern is that the steady, long-term exposure to even moderately loud music could contribute to premature hearing loss."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mercury to Acquire Systinet to Capitalize on High-Growth SOA Market: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Mercury to Acquire Systinet to Capitalize on High-Growth SOA Market: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "Today, Mercury Interactive Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: MERQ - News), the global leader in business technology optimization (BTO) software, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Systinet Corporation, a privately held company, for $105.0 million in cash."

Fun to ponder the implications of this deal; Systinet is a pioneer with myriad strategic partnerships that will now be recalc'd...

Ray Kurzweil: IT Will Be Everything - Computerworld

Ray Kurzweil: IT Will Be Everything - Computerworld: "And what do you mean when you say people will 'merge' with their technology?
We'll be able to put intelligent machines -- nanobots -- into the bloodstream. By the late 2020s, these devices will have significant computing, communications and robotic abilities. Nanobotic white blood cells could download software for a particular pathogen and destroy it in a matter of seconds, compared with hours for our biological white blood cells. And you could have billions of nanobots go into the brain through the capillaries. [They] will enhance our cognitive functions and really expand human intelligence.
We will be able to go beyond the limits of biology and replace your current 'human body Version 1.0' with a dramatically upgraded Version 2.0, providing radical extension of life."

For a timely and thorough review of related scenarios (which the author calls heaven [Kurzweil et al], hell [e.g., Bill Joy's perspective], prevail, and transcend), check out Radical Evolution.

How Apple Could Mess Up, Again

How Apple Could Mess Up, Again: "What about in the PC business today? Apple has been gaining share for the first time in years, and most people think that will continue, given the delay of Microsoft's Vista software, widespread malware problems with Windows, and Apple's move to the Intel platform. Don't you think that will enable Apple to gain some significant share in PCs?
I don't. I think it will allow them to survive for a bit longer. I think most people are satisfied with their current PCs (using Windows and based on Intel chips) and find that the performance of their systems is good enough. Sure, there are people at the bleeding edge who want to do more. But a good Dell PC can be had for $500, and it has performance that's well beyond what most of us need."

Clayton Christensen on Apple's strategy -- read the full interview.

Turning Spreadsheets Into Applications

Turning Spreadsheets Into Applications: "Released Sunday night in public beta, the service from Palo Alto's JotSpot lets you essentially create an application from spreadsheet data, by copying and dropping a spreadsheet into a Tracker page, which is a kind of wiki.
Great minds seem to be thinking alike. Dan Bricklin, co-creator of the seminal spreadsheet VisiCalc, recently put out an early alpha test of something he's calling wikiCalc. For now, wikiCalc is considerably different, since you have to download software to run it, and then you FTP material to the site, so it doesn't look as smooth. But they're both steps in the right direction, toward turning out information into collaborative applications we can share with whomever we choose."

TiVo Uncharacteristically Quiet at CES - Yahoo! News

TiVo Uncharacteristically Quiet at CES - Yahoo! News: "TiVo Inc., the digital video recorder pioneer, made headlines a year ago in vowing to take TV to the next level with support for high-definition video, software that can sling shows outside the box and a plan to pipe movies over the Internet.
But at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the company was unusually quiet despite the event's major focus on big changes in how TV is distributed and watched -- something TiVo helped start but from which it hasn't consistently profited."

So perhaps today Apple will announce they're acquiring TiVo. The timing would be good, since Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and basically every other vendor present at CES last week are planning to increase competition with Apple.

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Google's trojan horse

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Google's trojan horse: "It's worth remembering that one of Google's top advisers is Hal Varian, the Berkeley economist, who has studied what he calls 'the power of the default': the tendency of ordinary people to stick with what they're given, rather than spend time actively seeking alternatives.
Updater gives Google an opportunity to counter, to some degree, at least, the advantage that Microsoft holds through its control of the operating system. How well the tactic will work remains to be seen, but it's certainly worth a shot."

(Check the full post for a classic intro paragraph.)

BUZZSCOPE :: John Carmack Interview

BUZZSCOPE :: John Carmack Interview: "HB: What are your thoughts on the Xbox 360 and the PS3? With the Xbox 360 now released in three territories, can you see yourself developing a game with either of those consoles in mind? “DOOM 3: Demonic Regions” for Xbox 360 & PS3, maybe?
JC: They are both powerful systems that are going to make excellent game platforms, but I have a bit of a preference for the 360’s symmetric CPU architecture and excellent development tools. The PS3 will have a bit more peak power, but it will be easier to exploit the available power on the 360. Our next major title is being focused towards simultaneous release on 360, PS3, and PC."

Via Paul Thurrott

Check out Smartbomb, which includes an overview of John Carmack's role in the videogame business. Useful history of the market (and the people who made it what it is today), despite the dumb title.

Let the Good Times Roll by Guy Kawasaki

Let the Good Times Roll by Guy Kawasaki: "I get pitched dozens of times every year, and every pitch contains at least three or four of these lies. I provide them not because I believe I can increase the level of honesty of entrepreneurs as much as to help entrepreneurs come up with new lies. At least new lies indicate a modicum of creativity! "

A candidate for next year's list: "The Department of Homeland Security is an early adopter..."

I especially enjoyed #8:
"“Oracle is too big/dumb/slow to be a threat.” Larry Ellison has his own jet. He can keep the San Jose Airport open for his late night landings. His boat is so big that it can barely get under the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are flying on Southwest out of Oakland and stealing the free peanuts. There's a reason why Larry is where he is, and entrepreneurs are where they are, and it's not that he's big, dumb, and slow. Competing with Oracle, Microsoft, and other large companies is a very difficult task. Entrepreneurs who utter this lie look at best naive. You think it's bravado, but venture capitalists think it's stupidity."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

.NET Framework Developer Center: Comparing LINQ and Its Contemporaries

.NET Framework Developer Center: Comparing LINQ and Its Contemporaries: "It's now been well over thirty years since Codd and friends defined the original relational model. The relational model is now widely accepted and implemented by most commercial database products, but there has yet to be a widely accepted solution to integrating the relational model into general-purpose programming languages used to write applications.
There has been no shortage of attempts to resolve this programming paradox between the relational model and the local programming language. The last two decades, in particular, have seen a flurry of work, ranging from multi-vendor standards committees to individual developers contributing to the open-source community. Despite these efforts, finding the right balance between the power of the relational model and the local idioms of the programming language continues to elude the community at large.
Rather than simply tout the Microsoft LINQ (.NET Language Integrated Query) Project as the right solution, on face value, this paper will present the status quo in this field circa 2005, and then evaluate the LINQ approach relative to this prior art."

A Conversation with Phil Smoot

A Conversation with Phil Smoot: "In the landscape of today's megaservices, Hotmail just might be Mount Everest. One of the oldest free Web e-mail services, Hotmail relies on more than 10,000 servers spread around the globe to process billions of e-mail transactions per day. What's interesting is that despite this enormous amount of traffic, Hotmail relies on less than 100 system administrators to manage it all.
To understand how they do it, and to learn more about what it takes to manage such an enormous service, we invited Hotmail engineer Phil Smoot to speak with us."

Google - Week in Review - New York Times

Google - Week in Review - New York Times: "Mr. Rashtchy's bold forecast recalls memories of the time in 1998 that Henry Blodget, then a young, unknown analyst at CIBC Oppenheimer, predicted that Amazon.com would hit $400 a share. At the time, Amazon stock traded at $242.75 a share; after Mr. Blodget's prognostication, the stock jumped to more than $600.
Of course, the story did not end well for Mr. Blodget: Amazon's stock eventually fell back to earth (today, it is trading at around $288, after accounting for splits) and Mr. Blodget himself, who had been hired away by Merrill Lynch with a seven-figure salary after his seemingly prescient call, was barred from working in the securities industry when it emerged that he had touted other companies that were also clients of the firm."

One big difference, of course, is that Amazon.com actually has an established and robust business model.

Linking a Device to a Gadget That's Wired to a Gizmo - New York Times

Linking a Device to a Gadget That's Wired to a Gizmo - New York Times: "The average American household now owns some 25 consumer electronics products - televisions and stereos and high-tech gimcracks of every imaginable flavor. That statistic brings that industry's annual convention in Las Vegas last week into stark relief. Some 130,000 people moved around a noisy, pulsing display space, with thousands of products covering a land mass that seemed roughly equivalent to Norway's. "

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google co-founder's speech fails to match all the hype

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google co-founder's speech fails to match all the hype: "Page never mentioned Microsoft, but it became clear how much Google is doing to avoid using its rival's products.
Google developed its own video player for its video library, for instance, even though it could have licensed Windows Media Player. The video player uses Google's home-grown rights-management system as well.
Numerous other programs in the Google Pack also compete directly with Microsoft applications."

Google announces software suite

Google announces software suite: "'It's so that having the right software on your computer is as easy as going to the Google home page,' he said.
None of the programs is from Microsoft, and some are direct rivals to the Redmond company's software. The initiative underscores the potential for Google to use its brand recognition and big consumer following to pose a competitive threat to Microsoft. "

If Google's intent is to elevate itself on Microsoft's competitive radar, this should do the trick...

Coming Soon to TV Land: The Internet, Actually - New York Times

Coming Soon to TV Land: The Internet, Actually - New York Times: "Potentially, IPTV could replace the 100- or 500-channel world of the cable and satellite companies with millions of hybrid combinations that increasingly blend video, text from the Web, and even video-game-style interactivity.
Though still new, IPTV is already commercially available in limited areas both in the United States and internationally. To date, the new digital Internet content is hard to find and of uneven quality. Moreover, the consumer electronics industry is still struggling to complete copy protection agreements with Hollywood and other content providers."

Excellent market overview and dynamics snapshot. It will be interesting to see how Apple tries to reserve a prominent place for itself in the IPTV picture, during Macworld next week.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Google Pack

Google Pack Includes a list of what's included.

The Symantec/Norton part specifies: "Symantec™ and Google™ want to ensure your computing experience remains safe and protected. You have received a complimentary special edition of Norton AntiVirus* with a 6 month subscription to protection updates from Symantec Security Response, the world’s leading Internet Security and response team."

The fine print: "This Norton AntiVirus Special Edition does not include the following features: Norton™ Internet Worm Protection, which stops certain damaging Internet worms at their attempted point of entry; and extended threat protection, which detects spyware and certain non-virus threats such as adware and keystroke logging programs."

Having just spent $59 to upgrade Norton anti-virus on a laptop (for two years), I'll be calling Symantec Monday morning to request a full refund.

Barron's Online - Microsoft, Google Led '05 Insider Sales

Barron's Online - Microsoft, Google Led '05 Insider Sales: "Insiders, including co-founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page and chief executive officer Eric Schmidt, sold $1.8 billion (directly and indirectly) of Google shares in 2005. That was more than the $1.4 billion in sales in the entire Internet software industry in 2004, according to Thomson Financial.
'Internet software has done really well, and this has bought the insider sellers out in droves,' says LoPresti.
Yahoo insiders were no slackers, either. Top corporate executives like CEO Terry Semel sold $487 million in Yahoo stock in 2005."