Wednesday, February 28, 2007

» Video: Corel’s Wordperfect Lightning is a free, lightweight collaborative word processor | Berlind’s Testbed |

I suspect I could easily fill my hard disk with free rich text editing/etc. tools these days.  Interesting review, in any case, with a section covering the bigger-picture Corel business strategy/bet.

Based on what I saw in the beta version (released today) of Corel's new Wordperfect Lightning (I have a video as well as a screen gallery), the freely downloadable lightweight collaborative word processor could be a harbinger of things to come as the productivity heavyweights look to find a sweetspot between full-blown, expensive, and locally run office suites like Microsoft Office and a new breed of browser-based competitors from outfits like Google, the chief disadvantage of which is that they're unusable wherever and whenever an Internet connection is unavailable.

Source: » Video: Corel’s Wordperfect Lightning is a free, lightweight collaborative word processor | Berlind’s Testbed |

Adobe Engage Notes « HighContrast

Timely and detailed Adobe reality check from Sim Simeonov; read the post for details 

The Adobe Engage event worked out well. The audience was sharp and with a broad range of perspectives. A few interesting points worth noting

Source: Adobe Engage Notes « HighContrast

New Profiling Program Raises Privacy Concerns -

Read the full article for more, e.g., on the  Disruptive Technology Office...

Bearing the unwieldy name Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE), the program is on the cutting edge of analytical technology that applies mathematical algorithms to uncover hidden relationships in data. The idea is to troll a vast sea of information, including audio and visual, and extract suspicious people, places and other elements based on their links and behavioral patterns.

The privacy violation, described in a Government Accountability Office report that is due out soon, was one of three by separate government data mining programs, according to the GAO. "Undoubtedly there are likely to be more," GAO Comptroller David M. Walker said in a recent congressional hearing.

Source: New Profiling Program Raises Privacy Concerns -

Google Operating System: Export a Notebook to Google Docs

Another offering in the Onfolio zone.  Perhaps Google, being almost exclusively focused on connected usage scenarios, will help to advance substantive hypertext innovation. 

Google Notebook has a new option: export to Google Docs. While the new document keeps the same formatting as the notebook, it's interesting to note that the images aren't saved in your document, so they still reference the original source. The transition is facilitated by the fact that Google Notebook and Google Docs use the same internal format

Source: Google Operating System: Export a Notebook to Google Docs

Ray Ozzie Speaks 'Live' - Microsoft, SaaS, Office Live, Windows Live, Software - CRN

Sounds kinda cool 

Also at the event, Ozzie said innovation is alive and well at Microsoft. He mentioned PhotoSynth software, which grew out of his Live Labs group.

The software "takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed, three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next," according to Microsoft. "In our collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor," the company said.

Source: Ray Ozzie Speaks 'Live' - Microsoft, SaaS, Office Live, Windows Live, Software - CRN

Parallels adds a little 'Coherence' to Windows virtualization for Macs

I wonder if anyone is using Apple's severely limited Windows virtualization alternative these days... 

Under Coherence, individual Windows applications show up as windows on the Macintosh desktop and can be docked just like any Mac app, according to information from Parallels. "Use Windows and Mac applications on your home OS X desktop at the same time ... [with] no moving between OSes," Parallels says on its Web site. Typically, users must switch between the host operating system and a guest OS in a virtual environment, in effect leaving one system's interface for the other. Coherence skips that part of the process.

Source: Parallels adds a little 'Coherence' to Windows virtualization for Macs

Sun sponsors Free Software Foundation | | CNET

As an added bonus, it probably also provides some indirect ways for Sun to stick it to Linux vendors... 

The move fits with Sun's expressed fondness for version 3 of the General Public License (GPL) whose development the foundation now is leading. Sun is releasing Java as open-source software under the GPL.

Patron status gives Sun the right to market itself as such, two hours of consulting on licensing issues, and five T-shirts and baseball hats and miniature CDs that boot a version of the foundation's Gnu's Not Unix (GNU) operating systems based on the Linux kernel.

Source: Sun sponsors Free Software Foundation | | CNET

Google Searches For Government Work -

A tiny team for Google at this point; see the article for details 

Google, meet Uncle Sam.

The search engine giant showed off its ambition yesterday to expand its business with the federal government, kicking off a two-day sales meeting that attracted nearly 200 federal contractors, engineers and uniformed military members eager to learn more about its technology offerings.

Source: Google Searches For Government Work -

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Microsoft still trying to answer Google's wake-up call | CNET


Beyond advertising, the second major influence of Google on Microsoft has been to point to the importance of being able to offer software-based services, he noted. Ozzie made several references to work Microsoft is doing behind the scenes to build a companywide services engine. All of its business units will be able to tap into the engine to add services components to their products, and those tools eventually will be available outside Redmond as well.

"We've been building that services platform," Ozzie said. "The economies of scale that we gain internally are going to be available to third-party developers and enterprises."

Source: Microsoft still trying to answer Google's wake-up call | CNET

Corel WordPerfect Lightning - Gather ideas - Corel Corporation

From a quick skim, Lightning looks a lot like Onfolio's conceptual model; see this page for a reviewer's guide 

Corel WordPerfect Lightning lets you capture your ideas in an easy-to-use workspace.

Let's start with content. There are many tools within Lightning to copy and grab content from other applications—and take it into Notes [POK: not Lotus Notes]. You get fast access to standard word processing features, such as fonts, styles, bullets and numbering, text alignment, tables, and color. You can even insert graphics and pictures in your notes.

Source: Corel WordPerfect Lightning - Gather ideas - Corel Corporation

Corel releases beta of WordPerfect Lightning | CNET

I think this is the first WordPerfect-related news I've seen in a couple years... 

WordPerfect Lightning beta, a free, downloadable word processing and note-taking software application, aims to provide a new distribution and online services model for Corel WordPerfect Office.

The WordPerfect beta builds on Corel's earlier efforts to create a hybrid platform that combines desktop and Web applications, such as its modular components. The modular Corel components are designed to work from an online environment, while the platform remains on the desktop.

Source: Corel releases beta of WordPerfect Lightning | CNET

Wired: Virtual Designers Busy in Online Worlds

Strange days indeed 

When Toyota Motor Corp. wanted to promote its new Scions to young buyers, it turned to one of the growing number of digital design companies doing business in the popular online universe "Second Life."

The firm, Millions of Us, conjured up Scion City - a futuristic urban island with a dealership that sells the cars and a racetrack where consumers' online personas can take them for virtual test drives.

Source: Wired: AP Technology and Business News from the Outside World on

Microsoft to Buy Health Information Search Engine - New York Times

Searching for healthcare solutions 

In Medstory, Microsoft is acquiring “some of the best deep technology” in the emerging field of medical search, said Esther Dyson, an industry analyst who is also an investor in Medstory. That technology, Ms. Dyson said, is “not so much a search engine, but an ontology engine,” with a capability to find and identify concepts in health and not just sort through words and Web links.

The longer-range goal, Mr. Neupert said, is to link personal information like age, sex, drug regimens, family history and even genetic markers to search. The ideal is that search results are tailored individually, identifying treatments, drug interactions and medical journal articles of interest.

Source: Microsoft to Buy Health Information Search Engine - New York Times

Kazaa’s Creators Do Latest Venture by the Book - New York Times

More on Joost and its strategy 

But with their latest creation, a Web video venture called Joost, Mr. Friis and Mr. Zennstrom, who were behind the file-sharing service Kazaa and the Internet telephone service Skype, are doing everything by the book. Revenue-sharing agreements have been signed. Licenses have been granted.

“The reason we’re doing this is because of our history,” Mr. Friis said in a telephone interview last week. “We know how these things work. And above all, we know that we don’t want to be in a long, multiyear litigation battle.”

Source: Kazaa’s Creators Do Latest Venture by the Book - New York Times

Novell's deal with Microsoft irks others in open-source software - The Boston Globe

Timely reality check; see the story for more details on the deal 

Last year's surprise partnership between software titan Microsoft Corp. and leading Linux distributor Novell Inc. was supposed to be a kind of peace treaty. Instead, it's brought the open-source software community to the brink of civil war, over a provision that could help Microsoft sue other open-source software companies for patent violations.

Source: Novell's deal with Microsoft irks others in open-source software - The Boston Globe

Monday, February 26, 2007

A closer watch over kids online: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Read the full article for a reality check on why such features are necessary 

Microsoft felt strongly enough about the parental controls that it took an unusual approach in marketing the features during the introduction of Windows Vista.

Chairman Bill Gates is usually protective of his family's privacy. But in an interview with NBC's "Today" show Jan. 29, the day before Vista's release, he described how he's using the parental controls.

"Our family just got to the point where our 7- and 10-year-old are just using the screen so much that we've had to set a limit," said Gates, who made similar comments in interviews throughout the day. "... And so in Vista, I can say the times that my son can get on. For my daughter, she's a bit older and in that case I'll be more flexible, but I can see the activity report, I can go and look at what Web sites she's been going to, I can decide what range of games she can use."

Source: A closer watch over kids online: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Media Companies Discover New Ways to Reach Readers Using Windows Vista Technology: Q&A

Cool... but I'd like to see versions from which I can easily blog 

PressPass: Can you begin by explaining the significance of the media reader applications launched this week?

Wascha: We believe we’re seeing the publishing industry changing. Publishers today want to take advantage of increasing digital consumer demand, which is reflected by patterns of online readership and, in some cases, the loss of print readership. Until now, publishers have been reliant on continuous connectivity. In other words, if you wanted to read a newspaper on-screen, you had to be online, and that was tied directly to the capabilities of Web technology. Now, with a media reader application you can be offline but still have an on-screen reading experience. With the right device, you can read a newspaper on a bus or train on the way to work. And because that experience is more like a traditional newspaper experience, it becomes more and more appealing.

Today, that experience is available on laptops and desktops, but at some point in the future we’ll be able to extend it to cell phones and reading devices that have yet to be invented. We also made sure that the technology works well on ultra-mobile PCs, where the convenience of portability is likely to make media reader applications even more appealing. These Microsoft .NET 3.0 applications are an example of a new breed of rich, occasionally connected products that transcend the limitations of the Web browser to provide compelling and unique user experiences.

Source: Media Companies Discover New Ways to Reach Readers Using Windows Vista Technology: Q&A

Once-mocked Netflix rents 1 billionth DVD - The Boston Globe

My Netflix subscription has already added the streaming feature -- seems to work well, from a quick trial. 

But Blockbuster's challenge hasn't derailed Netflix, which is now shipping an average of 1.5 million DVDs each weekday. At that pace, it will take Netflix about 2.5 years to mail out its next 1 billion discs.

But it probably won't take that long, given how fast Netflix has been growing. Management believes the service will add another 1.7 million to 2.1 million more subscribers this year, leaving it with more than 8 million customers heading into 2008.

Source: Once-mocked Netflix rents 1 billionth DVD - The Boston Globe

Technology Review: The puzzling story of why Microsoft prevents some users from upgrading to Vista

Hmmm...  Well, if someone is willing to pay the Mac price premium (relative to comparable Windows Vista PCs), perhaps a full copy of Vista or Ultimate isn't a price elasticity issue either. 

The price of the virtualization software does not include a copy of Windows. And to get that copy, buyers have to agree to Vista's license agreement -- a legally binding document. Lurking in that 14-page agreement is a ban on using the least expensive versions of Vista -- the $199 Home Basic edition and the $239 Home Premium edition -- in virtualization engines.

Instead, people wanting to put Vista in a virtualized program have to buy the $299 Business version or the $399 Ultimate package.

Macs account for less than 5 percent of personal computers in the U.S., but Ben Rudolph, Parallels' marketing manager, says they nonetheless represent a market he's surprised to see Microsoft present with roadblocks.

Source: Technology Review: The puzzling story of why Microsoft prevents some users from upgrading to Vista

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Al Gore, Rock Star -

I may have to watch the Academy Awards tonight... 

"People ask him all the time what does he attribute his recent success to and Gore tells them 'reality,' " says Larry Schweiger, a friend and president of the National Wildlife Federation, who is a leader of Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, a foundation that seeks to bring evangelicals, hunters, farmers and entrepreneurs to the cause. "They used to ridicule him. They called him a tree-hugger. They don't do that anymore."

Guggenheim explains: "People say to me that Al Gore is so different now. Why wasn't he like this when he ran for president?" Meaning that Gore now appears relaxed, confident, happy, and not stiff, robotic, pinched. "They say Al has changed. But I don't think so. We've changed. The setting has changed. He's the same. When you're running for office, you're a target every moment you are in front of the camera. Now, he's in a different place and we see him in a different way."

Source: Al Gore, Rock Star -

Millions of Videos, and Now a Way to Search Inside Them - New York Times

Interesting -- read the article for more details

Today, owing to the proliferation of large video files, video accounts for more than 60 percent of the traffic on the Internet, according to CacheLogic, a company in Cambridge, England, that sells “media delivery systems” to Internet service providers. “I imagine that within two years it will be 98 percent,” says Hui Zhang, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Mr. Chandratillake’s solution does not reject any existing video search methods, but supplements them by transcribing the words uttered in a video, and searching them. This is an achievement: effective speech recognition is a “nontrivial problem,” in the language of computer scientists.

Source: Millions of Videos, and Now a Way to Search Inside Them - New York Times

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Software Maker Goes Up Against Microsoft - New York Times

Timely snapshot 

One thing that Microsoft has lacked is a hypervisor, the lowest level of software that rests on the hardware and partitions the computer so it can cleanly and efficiently run several virtual machines. Microsoft is developing a Windows hypervisor code-named Viridian. It will be tailored for the next version of the Windows server operating system, called Longhorn, scheduled to ship by the end of 2007. Viridian will be ready shortly after that. “Virtualization, frankly, is a feature,” Mr. Neil, the Microsoft manager, said. “It’s a great operating system feature.”

Source: A Software Maker Goes Up Against Microsoft - New York Times

Patents and technology | A scrap over patents |

See the link below for more details (no subscription required for this article) 

Threats had been more likely to come from small firms that acquire patents with the express aim of launching suits against big rich tech giants. The risk now, with the hefty award against Microsoft, is that many more firms will consider launching similar cases as the potential rewards are evidently so great. Microsoft, for example, has filed a counter-suit against Alcatel-Lucent for infringing its messaging patents. Microsoft has also in recent years been building up its arsenal of patents. That may indicate a breakdown of a system that has helped to deter the big tech firms from fighting each other and that provided the conditions for rapid and wide innovations. On the other hand, making patent law more effective could encourage precisely the sort of innovation that will deliver the next generation of devices, whatever they may be, for music distribution.

Source: Patents and technology | A scrap over patents |

Friday, February 23, 2007

Burton Group Institute: SharePoint and Office 2007 one-day seminar in Boston April 25, 2007

See the page for details; hope to see you there!

SharePoint and Office 2007: New Enterprise Collaboration/Content Opportunities and Risks

Description: Microsoft SharePoint (composed of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) is Microsoft's strategic collaboration and content server, and it has strategic implications -- with both positive and negative potential -- for enterprise planning. As the server-side counterpart to Microsoft Office, and encompassing everything from blogs to enterprise content management, SharePoint has the potential to help organizations more effectively collaborate and manage content. If unsuccessfully deployed, however, SharePoint can exacerbate rather than advance enterprise collaboration and content management planning, with the potential for out-of-control content dissemination and explosive growth in unmanaged workspaces.

This in-depth one-day workshop covers topics including:

  • A SharePoint introduction, including a review of the enterprise challenges Microsoft seeks to address with SharePoint 2007
  • Detailed analysis of SharePoint capabilities, maturity, and limitations
  • Competitive landscape projections, with a focus on the emerging competitive landscape between Microsoft and IBM Lotus

Link to Burton Group Institute

Internet is a reflection of society, Cerf says - Network World

 Timely reality check from one of the people who helped to create the Internet

The Internet is a mirror of the population that uses it, said Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton Cerf said in reference to the proliferation of fraud, social abuse and other online crimes.

"If you stand in front of a mirror and you don't like what you see, it does not help to fix the mirror," Cerf said.

Source: Internet is a reflection of society, Cerf says - Network World

Google Operating System: Security at Google

 See the post for some excerpts and the PDF link below for the full Google white paper.

To prove to the potential customers of Google Apps' business edition that Google cares about security, they released a white paper titled "Comprehensive review of security and vulnerability protections for Google Apps" (available as PDF).

Source: Google Operating System: Security at Google

Tech Giants Tussle: HP Vs. IBM -

 Timely reality check from Forbes


Link to Tech Giants Tussle: HP Vs. IBM -

Microsoft 'Casino' Search Interface Built As Google Desktop Killer - OneView, Web Search, Business Software Services - CRN

The Google/Microsoft competitive scope expands... 

Another source said Microsoft decided to offer Casino as an add-on like Internet Explorer, rather than as a Vista feature, to avoid any wrangling with the U.S. Justice Department, which is overseeing the antitrust consent decree against the Redmond, Wash., company.

However, it's clear that Microsoft is taking the search and business software services battle very seriously.

"Google is quickly moving into the enterprise software space, as well as preparing business software services, such as storage and e-mail," Microsoft said on its Web site last month in an entry about Casino. "Google is using its reputation in Web search to enter the enterprise market for intranet and desktop search. Google has the potential to both commoditize some of our core revenues and to lock us out of the new growth in online services."

Source: Microsoft 'Casino' Search Interface Built As Google Desktop Killer - OneView, Web Search, Business Software Services - CRN

Microsoft Hit With $1.52 Billion Verdict in MP3 Suit -

Nowhere near over... 

Development of MP3 technology was led by engineers at Bell Laboratories and Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, drawing on patents Bell held on methods for compressing data. (Bell Labs later became a part of Lucent). Microsoft said it paid Fraunhofer $16 million to license the technology.

In April 2003, Microsoft joined the case through a "declaratory action," a suit against Lucent that asked for a ruling that Microsoft and its customers didn't infringe any claims and that the patents Lucent asserted weren't valid. The patents are being reviewed in six separate jury trials in San Diego. The decision yesterday was the first.

Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy general counsel said the verdict is "completely unsupported by the law or the facts." He said Microsoft will respond by asking the court for relief to set aside all or some of this verdict. "If we don't get relief from the trial court then we will definitely appeal this verdict," Mr. Burt said.

Source: Microsoft Hit With $1.52 Billion Verdict in MP3 Suit -

Microsoft Loses Big In MP3 Patent Suit -

I have a hunch this will come back to bite Alcatel-Lucent before they can collect any money from Microsoft or other firms that have licensed the technology. 

About 400 companies have similar licensing agreements with Fraunhofer, according to Thomson Technology, a San Diego company that identifies itself as the "licensing representative of MP3 patents and software of the Fraunhofer Institute." Those companies include Apple, Creative Technology, Real Networks, Palm and Samsung.

Alcatel-Lucent and its lawyers would not say whether they plan to target more companies, but Desmarais signaled that others using the audio-file technology could be vulnerable.

"For anyone who implements the standard, the same arguments would apply," he said.

Source: Microsoft Loses Big In MP3 Patent Suit -

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Subscription-based Google Apps for businesses ready | CNET

Yet more details on Google Apps 

The new edition also includes a guarantee of 99.9 percent uptime for Gmail and application programming interfaces that businesses can use to migrate data, enable single sign-on and do other integration. A free version targeted at educational institutions, Google Apps Education Edition, offers the same features as the premier edition except for the storage size. There is also Google Apps Standard Edition, which is free, but lacks the features of the premier edition.

Source: Subscription-based Google Apps for businesses ready | CNET

Serious flaw in Google Desktop gets fix | CNET

Okay maybe not a PR gold star for Google this week after all... 

It does not appear that anyone actually took advantage of the vulnerabilities and made attacks on Google Desktop users, both Watchfire and Google said.

However, Google Desktop is still vulnerable to these cross-site scripting attacks, Allan said, because of the "poor architectural decision" to include a link from Google Web servers to the Google Desktop user's PC.

"The three vulnerabilities were fixed. We also recommended to Google that if there was not a link between and my machine, then (the hacker) would not be able to connect to my computer. We believe they should remove that link or give consumers a choice as to whether someone can connect from the public Internet to their computer," Allan said.

Source: Serious flaw in Google Desktop gets fix | CNET

A Google Package Challenges Microsoft - New York Times

PR gold star to Google this week, but in many ways it could be pulling a Netscape, with ironic stimulus/response actions from Microsoft in the near future...  

By comparison, businesses pay on average about $225 a person annually for Office and Exchange, the Microsoft server software typically used for corporate e-mail systems, in addition to the costs of in-house management, customer support and hardware, according to the market research firm Gartner.

Google said initial customers of Google Apps would include a unit of Procter & Gamble and, a pioneer in the business of delivering software as an Internet service.

“We are in the process of phasing out Microsoft Office and Exchange from our company,” said Marc Benioff, the chief executive of and a frequent Microsoft critic.

Source: A Google Package Challenges Microsoft - New York Times

Personal Technology -- Nokia's Marriange to Small Computers Still Has Its Problems.

 Walt Mossberg on Nokia's latest gadget -- the link below is to the no-subscription-required version of the column

But, like the 770, the new N800 is a good example of how hard it is for a company that grew up in one business to migrate successfully to another. I can't imagine many people carrying around this device. For one thing, the N800 is a tweener -- smaller than a laptop, but too big for a pocket. It's 5.7 inches long, 2.95 inches wide and 0.5 inch thick. It weighs 7.27 ounces. The iPhone is smaller and lighter.


We won't know until June whether Apple has been able to successfully invade Nokia's turf and make a decent cellphone. But so far, Nokia is struggling to go the other way.

The N800 Internet Tablet, $399, has a touch screen.


Source: Personal Technology -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.

Google Further Tests Microsoft's Domain -

Meanwhile, while Google tries to have it both ways (going for desktops while continuing to assert it doesn't mean to directly challenge Microsoft Office): 

Chris Capossela, vice president in Microsoft's Business Division Product Management Group, plays down any worries about competition from Google. "My biggest concern is making sure people see what we've done with Office 2007," he says.

Source: Google Further Tests Microsoft's Domain -

Apple, Cisco Reach Accord Over iPhone -

In fewer words, I suspect, Apple iPaid. 

In a joint statement, Apple and Cisco said they will explore opportunities for making their products work better together "in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications." The companies said other terms of the settlement are confidential, declining to comment further.

Source: Apple, Cisco Reach Accord Over iPhone -

Google aims at Microsoft, IBM with business software - The Boston Globe

 Google makes its much-anticipated play for the desktop -- it'll be interesting to see if it gets market traction.   Free trial until April 30th.  See this page for a handy summary of the free standard edition and $50 premium edition.

Jumping into a new market, Google Inc. is unveiling a product today to compete with Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. in the multibillion-dollar business of providing e-mail, calendar, and other tools on corporate computer desktops.

The Web-based product, called Google Apps Premier Edition, also will include word processing and document sharing, instant messaging, and Internet voice capability. Google will offer it to large companies for $50 per employee [per year], host the applications on its own servers, and provide a service guarantee for its customers.

Source: Google aims at Microsoft, IBM with business software - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cisco spends $135 million on XML firm | CNET

The competitive dynamics continue to shift...

A good day for Mitch Kapor, one of the Reactivity investors. 

The Reactivity product is a specialized piece of hardware that combines software to help companies deploy, control and increase the amount of XML traffic they have throughout their network. The Reactivity XML Gateway software helps companies support and provision new XML-based Web services, and the Reactivity XML Manager software provides real-time visibility and analysis for companies using XML services, according to Reactivity's Web site.

Cisco isn't the only company buying XML appliance start-ups. A year and a half ago, IBM, a longtime Cisco partner, bought a small company called DataPower, which also makes appliances to help companies deploy and manage XML Web services. Computer chipmaker Intel is also in this business with a company it bought in 2005 called Servaga.

Source: Cisco spends $135 million on XML firm | CNET

Clearwire snags AT&T plum: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Never underestimate Craig McCaw... 

Clearwire will pay $300 million in cash to acquire a large swath of airwaves from AT&T to roll out wireless broadband Internet in the U.S.

The deal comes as the Kirkland company is gearing up for an initial public offering that could raise up to $575 million.

The airwaves are necessary for a nationwide network based on WiMax technology.

Source: Clearwire snags AT&T plum: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Viacom Deal Will Allow Its TV Clips on Internet - New York Times

Maybe they should have called it "Joust," as in a wedge between networks and Google/YouTube 

Viacom, the parent of networks like MTV and Comedy Central, which produce the types of programs that are ideal for watching on the Web, said yesterday that it had reached a deal with the Silicon Valley start-up Joost to distribute video online.

The agreement came a little more than two weeks after Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips of its programming.

Source: Viacom Deal Will Allow Its TV Clips on Internet - New York Times

Portals - Cable TV's New Aim: Free Us From Tangle Of Boxes and Remotes

 It'd be great to be able to not have a 1:1 relationship between display devices and set-top boxes

The new technology, with the cumbersome name of OCAP, for Open Cable Application Platform, is software that behaves like an operating system that runs on digital cable set-top boxes and other devices. OCAP, then, is to set-top boxes what Microsoft Windows is to computers. Adding a new feature, like the ticker, is an easy task regardless of the cable system. That ease is expected to spark a flurry of creativity among software companies, as new applications will no longer have to be tailored to fit separate cable systems.

Even better, manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung and LG already have designed OCAP TV sets that will eliminate the need for set-top boxes, the scourge of many a home-entertainment center. With OCAP TVs, scheduled to be available as early as this year, users just have to attach a cable and the set will get video-on-demand, advanced program guides and other interactive features from cable.

Source: Portals -

TV Industry Clouds Google's Video Vision -

Detailed snapshot of recent efforts and current status. 

Four months after snatching YouTube away from rival suitors for more than $1.7 billion, Google Inc. has encountered a bigger challenge: finding allies in the television industry.

With television executives up in arms about the unauthorized posting of TV shows on the popular online video site, Google is searching for a way to dial down the tension. It sees that task as vital to YouTube's profit potential.



Source: TV Industry Clouds Google's Video Vision -

Google Docs Tops Among Top Earners - News by InformationWeek

Interesting snapshot -- see the article for more details, demographics, etc. 

Google owns the market for online productivity applications, thanks largely to the affinity shown by upper income individuals for free software.

Since October 2006, Google Docs & Spreadsheets has captured the lion's share of traffic to online productivity applications, according to statistics released today by audience metrics firm Nielsen//NetRatings.


Despite the growing popularity of online productivity applications, Stewart doesn't see Google or other online office app providers threatening Microsoft anytime soon. "Eventually, Web-based productivity tools could become as widespread as traditional software from companies like Microsoft," he said, "but they clearly have little to fear in the immediate future, given the relatively low penetration numbers that we're seeing."

Source: Google Docs Tops Among Top Earners - News by InformationWeek

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Surgeons who play video games more skilled: study -


Video game skills translated into higher scores on a day-and-half-long surgical skills test, and the correlation was much higher than the surgeon's length of training or prior experience in laparoscopic surgery, the study said.

Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before.

Source: Surgeons who play video games more skilled: study -

Microsoft's rivals hope it prevails in limiting scope of law: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Strange days indeed -- read the article for details 

U.S. software makers and Web-site operators will find themselves in an unusual position this week: rooting for Microsoft.

Companies that normally focus on thwarting the world's largest software company stand to benefit if it defeats AT&T in a U.S. Supreme Court case that may give software makers new protections from patent lawsuits on exported products.

Source: Microsoft's rivals hope it prevails in limiting scope of law: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Wake up to the 'daylight-saving' bug | CNET

At the moment, both Outlook and Notes are showing the hour offset for 3 weeks on my PCs... 

Microsoft and other software makers have created patches to make their products ready for the switch and have filled Web pages with tips for customers. IT pros and consumers alike have to apply those updates. Otherwise, they will have to deal with electronic clocks that may be off by an hour, for three weeks starting March 11 and again for a week in the fall, when they go back on November 4 instead of October 28.

Source: Wake up to the 'daylight-saving' bug | CNET

Flame First, Think Later: New Clues to E-Mail Misbehavior - New York Times

Interesting snapshot: 

Flaming has a technical name, the “online disinhibition effect,” which psychologists apply to the many ways people behave with less restraint in cyberspace.


This work points to a design flaw inherent in the interface between the brain’s social circuitry and the online world. In face-to-face interaction, the brain reads a continual cascade of emotional signs and social cues, instantaneously using them to guide our next move so that the encounter goes well. Much of this social guidance occurs in circuitry centered on the orbitofrontal cortex, a center for empathy. This cortex uses that social scan to help make sure that what we do next will keep the interaction on track.

Source: Flame First, Think Later: New Clues to E-Mail Misbehavior - New York Times

Monday, February 19, 2007

More and more, you can't go by appearances when you're surfing sites: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

Read the full article for a timely reality check.  Also consider reading Infotopia (especially the chapter on wikis, blogs, and open source) for analysis of why things are only going to get worse, especially with blogs (and other blog-like channel types).

Lurking behind every twist or turn of the Web is the shadow of fakery. The Web is the most intimate of mediums, a format that allows you to enter from the privacy of your bedroom the privacy of others' bedrooms — including those of people who would spit if you tried to approach them on the street.

Through the Web, you can sort through a colleague's favorite songs and see what articles your neighbor is reading (on

But the Web's honor code — the idea that what you are seeing is direct and real, that for every open ballot a one-user, one-vote principle will prevail — is every day being subverted.

Two recent developments threw into relief the potential for treachery behind every Internet corner.

Source: More and more, you can't go by appearances when you're surfing sites: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times

New Weapon in Web War Over Piracy - New York Times

A reality check for people who believe copyright is opt-in 

As media companies struggle to reclaim control over their movies, television shows and music in a world of online file-sharing software, they have found an ally in software of another kind.

The new technological weapon is content-recognition software, which makes it possible to identify copyrighted material, even, for example, from blurry video clips.

The technology could address what the entertainment industry sees as one of its biggest problems — songs and videos being posted on the Web without permission.

Source: New Weapon in Web War Over Piracy - New York Times

JetBlue’s C.E.O. Is ‘Mortified’ After Fliers Are Stranded - New York Times

A painful communication/collaboration lesson for JetBlue

David G. Neeleman said in a telephone interview yesterday that his company’s management was not strong enough. And he said the current crisis, which has led to about 1,000 canceled flights in five days, was the result of a shoestring communications system that left pilots and flight attendants in the dark, and an undersize reservation system. Until now, JetBlue and its low fares have enjoyed overwhelming popularity and customer satisfaction ratings.

Source: JetBlue’s C.E.O. Is ‘Mortified’ After Fliers Are Stranded - New York Times

In the Internet age, Comcast expands fare to stay relevant - The Boston Globe

 Timely snapshot

As the entertainment landscape changes, cable giant Comcast Corp. is aggressively expanding its offerings to compete against a slew of new challengers, from to Verizon.

The battle to control the living room television -- once the domain of cable and satellite television companies -- is rapidly becoming a free-for-all, as the Internet offers people opportunities to bypass channel-surfing by directly downloading TV shows and movies.

Source: In the Internet age, Comcast expands fare to stay relevant - The Boston Globe

Stop & Shop reports credit data was stolen - The Boston Globe


With help from US Secret Service agents, Stop & Shop Supermarket Cos. executives scrambled yesterday to determine how many consumers may have had their credit and debit card data stolen by high-tech thieves who apparently broke into checkout-line card readers and planted the equivalent of bugs to steal information.

Source: Stop & Shop reports credit data was stolen - The Boston Globe

Sunday, February 18, 2007

IIS 7.0: Explore The Web Server For Windows Vista And Beyond -- MSDN Magazine, March 2007

Useful introduction to IIS 7.0. 

The release of IIS 7.0 coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the release of the first version of IIS, in Windows NT® 4.0. In 2001, four versions later, IIS 5.0 became the most prevalent Web server on the Internet, though months later it fell victim to the infamous Code Red and Nimbda worms. IIS 6.0, released in Windows Server® 2003, was a major rewrite of the server, focused entirely on improving security, reliability, and performance. Since then, IIS 6.0 has proven to be a rock-solid Web server, achieving high reliability and security track records with only a single critical security bulletin since its release (which was not exploitable remotely).

In this article, I want to take the opportunity to present the major reasons why the next-generation IIS 7.0 Web server makes such a big difference to developers and administrators alike-and give you a head start in using many of its new features.

Check Figure 5 in the article (which I annoyingly can't drag & drop into this post, due to Blogger limitations) for a summary of fairly radical simplification relative to IIS 6.

Source: IIS 7.0: Explore The Web Server For Windows Vista And Beyond -- MSDN Magazine, March 2007 eMachines T3604 Minitower - Computers » Desktop PCs

 I don't mean to suggest you rush out to buy one of these; it's more a reality check snapshot on PC prices.  There were several desktops in ads in today's Boston Globe in the $350 range for 512 meg RAM, 120 gig hard disk, DVD/CD-RW (not DVD-W, however), Vista Home Basic, etc.  No monitor for this one, but I saw one print ad for a $350 option with a 17" CRT.

Let's see -- a new (non-upgrade) license for Windows Vista Home Basic is SRP $199.95 ($191.99 at at the moment), and the Works Suite 2006 is SRP $99 (available at a 9% discount at, so that means the PC part of the deal is hovering around $50...

The eMachines T3604 desktop provides essential features for your everyday computing -- all at an exceptional value that won't break your budget. Designed with the reliability of Intel® processing and loaded with Windows Vista™ Home Basic the T3604 delivers an easier, safer and more efficient computing experience. Create documents, spreadsheets and manage home finances with preinstalled
Microsoft Works® and Money 2006 software.
Play DVD movies and burn CDs with your favorite MP3s, digital photos and files with the CD-RW/DVD combo optical drive. With the T3604 desktop you can easily upgrade graphics capabilities to meet your future demands with an available PCI-Express x16 slot. Safeguard your privacy and personal information with a complimentary 3-month subscription of McAfee® Internet Security Suite™.

Source: eMachines T3604 Minitower - Computers » Desktop PCs

FREE BEER - The Boston Globe

I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner.  Read the full article for more details, but don't get your hopes up -- only the recipe and branding are available for free.

Faced with frequent puzzlement over how "free software" could be free if it cost money (and is able to support billion-dollar investments from the likes of IBM, in the case of Linux), Stallman came up with a simple explanation: "think of 'free' as in 'free speech,' not 'free beer.'"

While the line was perhaps odd coming from someone like Stallman (who apparently doesn't like beer), it nicely captured the point that while the product itself cost money, the underlying know-how was free to be shared. The line became legendary among free software and open source advocates and others who thought critically about how to structure the ownership of creativity.

So along came a bunch of Danes who seem to have missed the meeting that made clear this was just a metaphor. "Free as in free software," they explained when rolling out Free Beer, or, as their website now says, "Free as in free speech."

Source: FREE BEER - The Boston Globe

Windows Home Server Blog : Welcome to the Windows Home Server Blog

One to watch -- I think Windows Home Server is going to be a very influential and successful product.  Check Todd Headrick's blog for some posts on product details.  Start with the blog's home page

My name is Todd Headrick and I am the product planner for the Microsoft Windows Home Server.  I have been working on this product for a few years now, and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge about Home Server here on this blog.

The Windows Home Server team is eager to share news, insights and information about our product.  And we're equally eager to hear your thoughts and feedback.  This blog will include contributions from the product management team, development team, support team and the marketing team.  

Source: Windows Home Server Blog : Welcome to the Windows Home Server Blog

AP Man Sues IBM Over Adult Chat Room Firing

Looks like a sad story in this case, but a policy is a policy.   

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

Check this week's BusinessWeek cover story ("Get Healthy -- Or Else") for a tangentially related story -- e.g., smoke and get fired.

p.s. in case you're wondering how I found my way to the "Union and Wallowa Counties' News Leader," The Observer, it's the instance of the story referenced in the AP XML syndication feed.

Source: The Observer: AP Man Sues IBM Over Adult Chat Room Firing

Wikipedia Breaks Into U.S. Top 10 Sites - Yahoo! News

 Sign of the times

Wikimedia Foundation Inc.'s popular Wikipedia online encyclopedia cracked the top ten list of most popular Web sites in the U.S. for the first time in January, according to comScore Networks Inc.

Wikipedia sites ranked ninth with 42.9 million unique visitors last month, ahead of the sites from The New York Times (number 10), Apple Inc. (number 11) and Viacom International Inc. (number 12), comScore reported Thursday.

Source: Wikipedia Breaks Into U.S. Top 10 Sites - Yahoo! News

Google Moves To Checkout Line -

Interesting "co-opetitition" dynamics at Google these days. 

"In this day and age, especially in this industry, it's getting harder and harder to put labels on other companies . . . like competitor and partner," said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy, explaining the firm's relationship with Google. "Sometimes we look at them as competitors and sometimes we look at them as partners. Both are equally legitimate, depending on the situation."

Some analysts say Google's move into Checkout is part of the company's bigger push into e-commerce, a move that could further encroach on eBay's market. Google has a comparison-shopping site called Froogle, for example, which competes with eBay's It also has a service called Google Base, an online classifieds site similar to eBay's Craigslist.

Source: Google Moves To Checkout Line -

» Can Vista’s search poke a hole in Google’s armor? | All about Microsoft |

Works for me -- even on my 2-year-old Dell Dimension 8400.   

One analyst's survey doesn't make a trend. But a Global Equities research analyst said this week that he found "many Vista owners that once used Google's desktop search feature have switched to Microsoft's" desktop search which is built into Windows Vista.

Source: » Can Vista’s search poke a hole in Google’s armor? | All about Microsoft |

The Old Guard Flexes Its Muscles (While It Still Can) - New York Times

Timely Google reality check 

Yet it’s also not hard to detect a worrying pattern here for Google — and for those who wish to be Google. The company controls as much as two-thirds of the market in search advertising, by some accounts. That has already caused plenty of worry among print publishers who wonder if the benefit of being on Google’s global platform is mitigated by what happens to their intellectual property once Google’s search engines get their robotic hands on it.

The worry widened to include the titans of television and cable programming after Google’s buyout of YouTube late last year. The buyout raised the possibility that Google would extend that advertising dominance into video — a business that is exploding online and for which advertisers already spend some $60 billion on conventional television.

Source: The Old Guard Flexes Its Muscles (While It Still Can) - New York Times

How Steve Jobs Played Hardball In iPhone Birth -

Interesting behind-the-scenes snapshot. 

Mr. Jobs played hardball. He pointed to statistics showing that carriers' traditional voice revenues were declining. But he also made a compelling argument: He said that Apple could help Cingular capitalize on the Internet, people familiar with the discussions say.

Early on, both sides determined it would be a bad idea for Apple to offer its own cellphone service, leasing access to Cingular's network. Even though Virgin Mobile USA and other startup cellphone operators were using that method with some success, Mr. Jobs was cautious. He viewed the cellphone business as an unforgiving one, where carriers are blamed for network problems and overwhelmed by customer complaints.

Reminder: iPhone (or whatever it may ultimately be called) won't be unique when it ships:



Source: How Steve Jobs Played Hardball In iPhone Birth -

Document Shows Mercury Executives Allegedly Discussed Options Dating -


As part of a years-long scheme to backdate stock options at Mercury Interactive Corp., former executives allegedly altered documents, repeatedly changed the dates of some option grants, and sent each other emails openly discussing the improper practice, according to a court document that has been at the center of a battle over confidentiality in the case.

Source: Document Shows Mercury Executives Allegedly Discussed Options Dating -

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check

Sorry if you dislike the color change; somebody told me last week that the white-on-blue was hard to read. 

Link to Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check

Yahoo's Bid To Think Small

BusinessWeek article about the Yahoo! group that's producing new offerings such as Pipes.  Subscription required for this one. 

Now, Yahoo is trying to tap its inner startup. On Feb. 7 the company released Pipes, a service that allows Yahoo users to combine, or "mash up," data from various Web sites (mixing news feeds from Google (GOOG ) and Yahoo, for example). Even more ambitious is the initiative that gave birth to the idea. Pipes is the first product to come out of Brickhouse, a new division of Yahoo scheduled to launch officially around the beginning of March.

Source: Yahoo's Bid To Think Small

The 21st Century Meeting

Timely BusinessWeek snapshot -- hopefully we'll all be spending less time on planes in the near future. 

The effect is to create an illusion of seamlessness between the viewer and the viewed. Hewlett-Packard's Halo system and Cisco's TelePresence 3000 use massive 50- to 65-in. high-definition screens to show people sitting behind a conference table that's identical in color and shape to the one used by the viewers. Polycom, a longtime leader in conventional conferencing equipment, started selling in January its own advanced lifelike system, only bigger and more elaborate, with 8-ft.-wide screens. That sense is reinforced by advanced audio that lets everyone talk at once without canceling out any voices. Get up and walk across the room, and for those on the other end your voice travels with you.

Source: The 21st Century Meeting

Still Can't Beat A Post-It Note

 BusinessWeek review of the HP TouchSmart IQ770 (the picture below is from HP's site.

I still believe there's room for a home information-and-entertainment center of this sort, but to reach a mass market, the system has to be smaller, cheaper, and above all simpler. This application calls for a software platform other than Windows—a nimbler and quicker one with fewer capabilities and greater ease of use. In the end, the TouchSmart is just too much of a good thing.

HP TouchSmart IQ770 PC

This one may be headed for the 3Com Audrey "appliance" hall of fame, but I doubt it'll be in part because of Windows Vista, as the reviewer suggests.

Tangent: I installed Vista Ultimate on a two-year-old Dell XPS 8400 with a gig of memory yesterday.  I didn't have much to lose, since this was the PC that had a hard disk crash several weeks ago.  I reinstalled Windows XP from the original PC factory restore CD, and then installed Vista Ultimate from a DVD (the PC wouldn't boot from the DVD; I would have otherwise skipped the XP step).  Works great -- much more responsive.  The Vista installation process was very effective at finding drivers etc.; it just worked...

Source: Still Can't Beat A Post-It Note

Friday, February 16, 2007

Why Vista's DRM Is Bad For You -

Another alternate reality piece from Forbes.  Perhaps Forbes should abandon all forms of copyright on its own content in order to further protest DRM. 

In the meantime, the only advice I can offer you is to not upgrade to Vista. It will be hard. Microsoft's bundling deals with computer manufacturers mean that it will be increasingly hard not to get the new operating system with new computers. And Microsoft has some pretty deep pockets and can wait us all out if it wants to. Yes, some people will shift to Macintosh and some fewer number to Linux, but most of us are stuck on Windows. Still, if enough customers say no to Vista, the company might actually listen.

Source: Why Vista's DRM Is Bad For You -

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . Appeerances Can Be Deceiving | PBS

Read the full article for some timely speculation from Cringely 

Here is what I think is happening with the Apple TV hard drive. I think sometime this summer Apple will ship a firmware upgrade for the Apple TV and it will suddenly gain an important new capability. That's when the Apple TV becomes a node on the iTunes peer-to-peer video network.

If the Apple TV is plugged in it is turned on. Did you notice that? That means the hard drive will have at least the capability of running 24/7. Now envision a BitTorrent-like file distribution system that is controlled primarily by iTunes, rather than by you or me. A centrally controlled P2P system is VERY powerful because it allows for the pre-positioning of content.

Source: I, Cringely . The Pulpit . Appeerances Can Be Deceiving | PBS

Has open-source lost its halo?

Timely Computerworld reality check. 

Is open-source still a grassroots social movement made up of idealistic underdogs trying to revolutionize an amoral industry? Or has it become a cloak used by IT vendors large and small to disguise ruthless and self-serving behavior?

Some observers argue it’s the latter. Despite occasional protests from oldtimers -- the heated backlash against the Microsoft-Novell détente, for example -- open-source has become so co-opted by mainstream IT, so transformed by "accidental open-sourcers" simply looking for a better business model, that it’s lost its cherished moral edge.

Source: Has open-source lost its halo?

What's In A Name? -

Appparently Forbes is in a race to become The National Enquirer of the business press, with "reporting" like the following.  I talk with IBM Lotus enterprise customers on a regular basis, and I haven't seen anything this extreme.  Makes me wonder if the author has actually spoken to a Notes user lately, and/or used the product since early 1990s.

Lotus Notes is far and away the most horrible software on the planet. Sure, people grumble about Microsoft products. But that's nothing compared to how people feel about Notes. People hate Notes. As in, they want to change jobs just so they can stop using it. I'm pretty sure there are shrinks who have built practices around it. I get desperate e-mails from people whose companies have been acquired by IBM, saying that of all the bad things about having to work for IBM, by far the worst is having to use Notes.

Source: What's In A Name? -

Thursday, February 15, 2007

» John Edwards’ campaign enters Second Life | The Social Web |

Interesting, but I don't think it's going to make much a difference for Edwards. 

It may not be official — yet — but thanks to a grass-roots effort, John Edwards has become the first presidential candidate to set-up-shop in Second Life. Jerimee Richir, whose avatar is called Jose Rote, paid-for and developed Edwards' virtual headquarters, and, on a voluntary basis, is managing the in-world campaign.

Source: » John Edwards’ campaign enters Second Life | The Social Web |

New database company raises funds, nabs ex-Oracle bigwigs - Network World

Ray Lane, Jerry Held, Michael Stonebraker -- one to watch 

Vertica describes its offering as a “grid-enabled, column-oriented relational database management system” that runs on industry standard hardware. It is designed to handle data warehousing, business intelligence, fraud detection and other applications, even in environments with hundreds of terabytes of data. The company says its technology can be used to execute queries 100 times faster than traditional row-oriented relational database management systems.

Source: New database company raises funds, nabs ex-Oracle bigwigs - Network World

NOVELL: Novell Strengthens Workgroup Portfolio with Team Workspace and Real-Time Collaboration Offerings

Novell is OEMing SiteScape's products -- a pragmatic option

Novell today announced the addition of team workspace and real-time collaboration solutions to its workgroup product portfolio. The new offerings will help boost end-user productivity and reduce overall customer costs by simplifying the everyday business activities people engage in to create, share, discuss and manage information. Knowledge workers will be able to easily identify resources based on the expertise of other users, quickly assemble high-performance teams, and efficiently manage and access all aspects of team projects. Managers and team members will be able to work effectively from any location, saving time and travel expenses.

Source: NOVELL: Novell Strengthens Workgroup Portfolio with Team Workspace and Real-Time Collaboration Offerings

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Google Said to Violate Copyright Laws - New York Times

Looks like Google needs to hire a few more lawyers and business development people 

A Brussels court ruled Tuesday that Google had violated copyright laws by publishing links to articles from Belgian newspapers without permission. Legal experts said the case could have broad implications in Europe for the news indexes provided by search engines.

The ruling, which Google said it would appeal, was hailed by some newspaper industry representatives and may also have an impact on a lawsuit against Google by the news service Agence France-Presse.

Source: Google Said to Violate Copyright Laws - New York Times

Technology Review: A More Personalized Internet?

More Yahoo Pipes details 

The tool consists of two major components: an interface, called an editor, where a Pipe is put together; and an execution engine that runs the Pipe instructions. Once a project is saved in the editor, the instructions are saved as a special kind of document on the engine. To run the Pipe, the engine reads the document and then accesses anywhere from dozens to hundreds of Web services--from feeds supplied by Craigslist to geography data on Yahoo Maps. To optimize the response time, says Sadri, the engine parallelizes as much of the execution as possible, breaking up the instructions into chunks that run simultaneously.

Source: Technology Review: A More Personalized Internet?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

European SharePoint Conference 2007 - Day 1 Keynote - Derek Burney

Cool -- Microsoft exec Derek Burney using a SharePoint PowerPoint slide library to share slides from a recent SharePoint event.  Great way to reduce bit entropy...

Link to European SharePoint Conference 2007 - Day 1 Keynote - Derek Burney

A Blogger for Edwards Resigns After Complaints -

Read the article for more context-setting, and check out Infotopia for some insights how blogging can easily go wrong.

Every major presidential candidate has hired one or more bloggers as a way to tap into the network of online activists who can generate considerable buzz, and donations, in a campaign. But many of these bloggers have a long cybertrail that leaves them vulnerable to criticism in the more buttoned-down environment of national politics.

Source: A Blogger for Edwards Resigns After Complaints -

Mexican drug wars find new battleground on YouTube | CNET

 Read the full article for more disturbing details

A spokesperson for YouTube, which is owned by Internet search company Google, said the firm "does not allow videos showing dangerous or illegal acts."

However, videos on the site include the footage of a man being shot in the head in a murder attributed to The Zetas. It has been viewed more than 280,000 times.

The YouTube spokesperson said it was up to users to flag footage as inappropriate, and that all content so marked was then reviewed by the company and could be removed.

Source: Mexican drug wars find new battleground on YouTube | CNET

Teenagers Misbehaving, for All Online to Watch - New York Times

Go figure -- maybe they should get some credit for making it easier for local police to do their job... 

Schoolyard scraps, spectacular skateboard spills, puppy-love quarrels, goofy antics like placing a slice of American cheese over the face of a snoring buddy, and bruising stunts like hurling one’s body through a neighbor’s wooden fence — these and other staples of suburban teenage life have taken on a new dimension as online cinéma vérité. Instead of being whispered about among friends and then fading away, such rites of ridiculousness are now routinely captured on video and posted on the Internet for worldwide perusal, and posterity.

“Teens have been doing inappropriate things for a long time, but now they think they can become celebrities by doing it,” said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Source: Teenagers Misbehaving, for All Online to Watch - New York Times

No News Yet About Next Windows Version

Timely reality check from Paul Thurrott 

So what does all this mean? Although Vista was just recently released, it's only natural for enthusiasts and news sites to be clamoring for information about future Windows versions. After all, Vista slogged through a five-year development process that was full of public mishaps and delays. Microsoft, meanwhile, has promised that future Windows versions will be delivered more quickly. And that, indeed, is the plan. But don't be confused by any news reports you might have seen online or elsewhere. There's been absolutely no new information released about Vienna, Fiji, or any other upcoming Windows version recently. Instead, we're just seeing a Windows community champing at the bit for the next big thing.

Source: No News Yet About Next Windows Version

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Is Now Available: New platform allows developers to build embedded applications for smaller devices using .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio tools.

For times when size does matter 

The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft. This framework is a natural extension of Microsoft’s offerings for creating embedded systems and provides an easy-to-use solution for this type of development. Though it is used on very small devices, the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework provides a managed code environment that brings a strong degree of efficiency and reliability to the realm of embedded software development. More information can be found at

Source: Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Is Now Available: New platform allows developers to build embedded applications for smaller devices using .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio tools.

Peer-to-Peer Goes Corporate -

Interesting WSJ snapshot 

Peer-to-peer technology -- heavily criticized by some for helping illegal music downloading through services like the original Napster and Kazaa -- is coming in from the cold. Companies such as GM, Coca-Cola Co. and videogame publisher Tulga Games Inc. are now using the technology to transmit large chunks of data like video files or software updates, to employees and customers.

The technology, also known as P2P, typically offers an inexpensive answer to the galloping demands that distribution of video, software and Internet telephony are placing on corporate computer networks. Instead of downloading a file from a centralized server, peer-to-peer technology arranges direct connections between PCs, thereby creating a network where files are distributed from one PC to another in the network.

Source: Peer-to-Peer Goes Corporate -

Monday, February 12, 2007

Prepare for Daylight Savings Time Changes in the United States and Canada

Somehow I suspect it's still going to be a chaotic transition... 

Microsoft is committed to making this transition as seamless as possible for our users affected by the new Daylight Saving Time changes. As a service to you and our Customers, Microsoft will be producing an update for Windows products as well as other Microsoft products affected by the new U.S. statute. These updates will be released through technical support channels including Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS), as well as online channels such as Windows Update and Microsoft Update.

Source: Prepare for Daylight Savings Time Changes in the United States and Canada

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: My Little Pony warns me off Linux

Consider the source, but it's an interesting rant anyway... 

Linux is done. Novell made a deal with Microsoft; done. Red Hat forces you to pay through the nose; done. Ubuntu just made a deal with Linspire, and they're shipping closed binary blobs; done. OSDL just shut down and "merged" (read: disappeared) with some other group. IBM's pulling back on the money. Stallman and Moglen are doing everything they can to kill Linux in its crib. Torvalds is job-hunting and will probably end up at Google. Even Google, which is the world's biggest Linux user, is starting to migrate off. The revolution is over, baby.

Source: The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: My Little Pony warns me off Linux

Software Notebook: Internet reunites Leonardo's notebooks


The manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci are renowned for their early insights into subjects as important as hydrology, geography and astronomy.

Of course, we'll never know what Leonardo would have thought of 21st-century computer software. But Microsoft Corp. hopes modern PC users, at least, will be impressed by a free online program from the British Library that lets people page virtually through two of his most significant notebooks.

The British Library program, called Turning the Pages 2.0, uses new Windows graphics technologies to present digital scans of the 500-year-old notebooks on the screen almost as if they were real.

Source: Software Notebook: Internet reunites Leonardo's notebooks

Microsoft Reveals New Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone Software, Improves World’s Fastest-Growing Mobile Operating System: Latest software to feature new messaging

 See the press release for more details

Windows Mobile 6 delivers the ability to view e-mails in their original rich HTML format with live links to Web and SharePoint® sites, which means text and images are displayed as they would be on a PC, and are available from a corporate e-mail server such as Exchange Server 2007, from Web-based accounts such as Windows Live™ Hotmail or from a myriad of other popular service providers. Windows Mobile 6 also includes Windows Live for Windows Mobile, which provides customers with a rich set of Windows Live services. For example, now through Windows Live Messenger, people can chat with more than one person at one time, express themselves through animated figures, quickly send a file or image, or record and send voice notes.

Source: Microsoft Reveals New Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone Software, Improves World’s Fastest-Growing Mobile Operating System

Intel Prototype May Herald a New Age of Processing - New York Times

The multi-core future... 

Intel will demonstrate on Monday an experimental computer chip with 80 separate processing engines, or cores, that company executives say provides a model for commercial chips that will be used widely in standard desktop, laptop and server computers within five years.

Source: Intel Prototype May Herald a New Age of Processing - New York Times

Technology Review: Samsung unveils mobile phone with features similar to Apple's iPhone

Competition is a good thing... 

Samsung said the Ultra Smart F700 also has a full touch screen as well as a traditional QWERTY key pad that slides out ''for users who are not yet familiar with a touch-screen-only user interface.''

The phone can also access the Internet, play music, take pictures, show videos, handle e-mail and share photos, said Samsung, the world's third-largest manufacturer of mobile phone handsets.

Its third-generation (3G) technology is considerably faster than the iPhone's EDGE system, and its 5-megapixel camera outclasses the iPhone's 2-megapixels.

Source: Technology Review: Samsung unveils mobile phone with features similar to Apple's iPhone

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Microsoft: FCC filing doesn't signal a Zune phone

See the post for details and pointers to related stories/filings/etc. 

A newly surfaced FCC filing has created all sorts of buzz today about the possibility of a Zune phone with Internet-based voice capabilities.

However, as some of the coverage notes, the filing itself doesn't mention the Zune. While Microsoft has acknowledged the long-term possibility of a Zune phone in the past, a Microsoft representative said this afternoon that this filing isn't related. Instead, the company says the filing is connected to the FCC's licensing of wireless "white spaces" around the broadcast TV band.

Source: Microsoft: FCC filing doesn't signal a Zune phone

Google Encounters Hurdles in Selling Radio Advertising - New York Times

See the full article for details 

When Google acquired dMarc Broadcasting, a company whose software allows marketers to place ads on radio stations, for up to $1.24 billion early last year, it was seen as a clear sign of Google’s ambitions to extend its dominance over Internet advertising to other media.

Now, there are indications that Google Audio, as the company’s foray into radio advertising is known, has hit some snags.

Source: Google Encounters Hurdles in Selling Radio Advertising - New York Times

Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

Interesting snapshot, although it also includes some questionable assertions about Office (e.g., ThinkFree downloadable version for $49 versus $400 "that Microsoft charges most users for its Office 2007 suite of applications"; the Office 2007 Home and Student Edition, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 2007, lists for $129 on at the moment).

The big advantages of Web-based applications “are remarkably ordinary,” said Mitchell D. Kapor, who founded the Lotus Development Corporation and now runs the Open Source Application Foundation, which is developing personal information management software. He said those advantages boiled down to not having to install and maintain software on your system, and the ability to share information more easily. But ordinary can be good, he added, and in a well-established field like desktop applications, small steps are better than big ones.

“From a business perspective, actually, too much innovation is a liability,” Mr. Kapor said. If a product differs too much from previous technology, it can be an “enormous deterrent” to adoption, he said. “A lot of innovators have run afoul of that,” he added, “and been shipwrecked on the rocks of inertia.”

Source: Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Go-Go Days For Windows On The Go

Interesting milestone 

After years of struggling in the mobile market, Microsoft may finally be making the right connections. In 2006, according to research firm IDC, (IDC ) mobile carriers worldwide sold more Windows Mobile-equipped cell phones than BlackBerry devices. A handful of slick designs created for the Windows Mobile, including Motorola's (MOT ) slim Q and the rounder Dash made by Taiwan's HTC, have helped the software giant. And BusinessWeek has learned that LG Electronics, the world's fourth-largest mobile-phone maker, is developing new Windows Mobile phones slated for launch this year. That means Microsoft will have three of the top five handset makers in its camp.
IDC's estimates of 2006 global market share for mobile phones with e-mail and Web access puts Microsoft's share at 9.8%. BlackBerry devices pioneered by Research in Motion (RIMM ) came in at 7.3%.

Source: Talk Show: Go-Go Days For Windows On The Go 

JBoss founder departs Red Hat | CNET

 Somehow I suspect it's not what Red Hat expected, when they acquired JBoss less than a year ago (June 2006).

As expected, JBoss founder Marc Fleury has left Red Hat less than a year after the Linux seller acquired his open-source Java server software company.

"Marc Fleury has decided to leave Red Hat to pursue other personal interests, such as teaching, research in biology, music and his family," Red Hat said in a statement Friday.

Source: JBoss founder departs Red Hat | CNET

$25 Million to Encourage Cleaner Air - New York Times

Sign of the times 

The British billionaire Richard Branson and Al Gore, the former vice president, aimed for just that on Friday when they announced a $25 million prize to meet possibly the biggest challenge faced by humankind: to reduce the planet’s warming gases that have collected in the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Source: $25 Million to Encourage Cleaner Air - New York Times

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lotus Rock Star | Lotus Quickr FAQ

More Quickr details from Rob Novak; via Stuart McIntyre's Quickr blog 

OK so part of Quickr is QuickPlace.  What's better about it?
You can visit this post to see all of the features that were intended for QuickPlace 8.0 and simply translate them to Quickr 8.0 - the NSF version.  Quickr's NSF implementation of what used to be QuickPlace still is as customizable, has drastically enhanced the user experience, is accessible to external programs with a Web Services interface, and drastically enhanced handling of documents.  Save a file to a Quickr library from Word or Explorer?  Easy.  Check it out, approve it, revise it?  Easy.  You can then go even further and add robust document management capabilities with Quickr's Portal-based document management options, if you need them.  One more thing - you do NOT need to upgrade Domino to 8.0 in order to run Quickr 8.0!  You can deploy it on Domino 7.0.2, so you don't have to upgrade your infrastructure if you're not ready.  Another good reason not to hesitate.

Source: Lotus Rock Star | Lotus Quickr FAQ

Voyeurism and the future of Internet video - Network World

 Read the article for a Brightcove update

"Voyeurism has sort of emerged as a new entertainment category," Allaire said. "I don't think anyone could have anticipated that. We had reality TV, but this is sort of taking it to the next level. The most popular content is highly voyeuristic, and that's something the Internet allows for on a global cultural scale."

Source: Voyeurism and the future of Internet video - Network World

Good Morning Silicon Valley: Careful -- I made a Coulter-Franken mashup and my machine exploded

I look forward to seeing the full Pipes documentation set 

When someone like Tim O'Reilly calls your new product "a milestone in the history of the Internet," you can bet you'll see a flood of traffic to see what the fuss is about. And that's why Yahoo Pipes, talk of the town at the moment, is too clogged to look at.

Source: Good Morning Silicon Valley: Careful -- I made a Coulter-Franken mashup and my machine exploded

Microsoft Files With FCC To Test What May Be Zune Phone -


A filing that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) submitted Monday to the Federal Communications Commission suggests the technology giant will likely add phone service to its line of hand-held media players, now known as Zunes.

According to the filing, Microsoft and other firms will submit for the agency's approval a prototype of a wireless device that could be used to talk over the Internet. Apple Inc. (AAPL) made a similar filing, although chose a different technology, in advance of announcing its iPhone in January.

Source: Microsoft Files With FCC To Test What May Be Zune Phone -

Pixar Pay Package to Lasseter Included Well-Timed Options -

Generous to a fault?... 

Steve Jobs helped negotiate an employment contract with a top film director that included a large stock-options grant with an especially well-timed date, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The options grant, part of a 2001 employment contract reached between Pixar Inc. and noted animated-film director John Lasseter, carried the lowest share price of the previous year -- on a date more than three months before the employment contract was actually signed. Mr. Jobs, then Pixar's chairman and chief executive, signed the agreement on behalf of Pixar.

Source: Pixar Pay Package to Lasseter Included Well-Timed Options -

Technology Review: The Me Channel

Timely snapshot; includes comparisons with YouTube, Brightcove, etc.  

If you've always wanted to be on TV, but you can't croon sincerely enough to try out for American Idol and you wouldn't fit in with the 24-year-old adolescents on The Real World, a tiny startup called SplashCast may have what you need: a way to create your own shows and broadcast channels, viewable by millions, on the Web.

Source: Technology Review: The Me Channel

Jobs's Music Proposal Rebuffed -

An attempt to penetrate the reality distortion field... 

Bronfman attacked the assertion that anti-piracy technology was the reason that iTunes music will not play on anything but an iPod. "The issue is obscured by asserting that DRM and interoperability is the same thing. They are not. To suggest that they cannot co-exist is simply incorrect."

Source: Jobs's Music Proposal Rebuffed -

In a Search Refinement, a Chance to Rival Google - New York Times

Read the classic Dealers of Lightning sometime for a long-term perspective on Xerox PARC. 

On Friday, PARC is announcing a deal that underscores that strategy. It is licensing a broad portfolio of patents and technology to a well-financed start-up with an ambitious and potentially lucrative goal: to build a search engine that could some day rival Google.

The start-up, Powerset, is licensing PARC’s “natural language” technology — the art of making computers understand and process languages like English or French. Powerset hopes the technology will be the basis of a new search engine that allows users to type queries in plain English, rather than using keywords.

Source: In a Search Refinement, a Chance to Rival Google - New York Times

Wired News: High Security for $100 Laptop

 Interesting case study; see the full article for more details

Krstic's system, known as the BitFrost platform, has only one user prompt (turning on the camera) and imposes limits on every program's powers. Under BitFrost, every program runs in its own virtual machine with a limited set of permissions. Thus a picture viewer can't access the web, so even if a hacker comes up with an exploit that lets him control the program, he couldn't use it to grab all the photos on the laptop and upload them to the internet.

"Applications can no longer run rampant," Krstic said. "Spyware becomes very, very hard. It can't spy on the keyboard. You can only spy on how a user uses their program."

Source: Wired News: High Security for $100 Laptop

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Windows Vista Launch Lifts PC Sales -

Funny that one of the annoying and ubiquitous "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" ads was running in Flash while I was reading this WSJ article...

U.S. personal computer buyers took to the stores to buy new systems in the first week that Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system was available, according to data from research firm Current Analysis, Inc.

The firm said that unit sales of PCs at U.S. retailers for the week ending Feb. 3 jumped 67% versus a year ago and 173% from the prior week, when Vista was not available. The research data also showed that consumers preferred Vista Premium, the higher end version of the software, to Vista Basic, with Premium accounting for 70% of the computer sales in the first week of its launch, the firm said.

Source: Windows Vista Launch Lifts PC Sales -

Yahoo: Pipe in data, then mash it up | CNET

Hype 2.0?... 

The point of Yahoo Pipes is to give people better tools to connect the growing number of structured data sources, Zawodny said.

Initial reactions among technology bloggers are highly enthusiastic. O'Reilly Media Publisher Tim O'Reilly, who coined the term Web 2.0, said Yahoo Pipes marks a "milestone in the history of the Internet."

Source: Yahoo: Pipe in data, then mash it up | CNET

Pipes: Rewire the web

Very interesting -- via Nick Bradbury.  See this page for documentation.  You'll need a Yahoo! id/pw to explore in detail.

Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.

Source: Pipes: Rewire the web

tecosystems » Lotusphere Q&A: Part II, Connections, Quickr and More

Redmonk self-Q&A on Lotusphere news.  Excerpt: 

Q: Speaking of the tagging of assets, what can you tell us about the Quickr product?
A: Beyond the cutesy, Web 2.0ish name - which I’m frankly shocked got by the IBM naming and brand police - Quickr is somewhat interesting. Unlike Connections, I had not seen this product previously and thus have limited exposure to it, but essentially I’d describe it as a Sharepoint-ish like content store with some good Web 2.0 style features to it. If you can see past the too-trendy name, it’s sort of a file system layer that does all the typical content management things, while providing connectivity to rich client tools like Office, Notes and so on. While the press releases mention wiki functionality, I haven’t seen that yet and am not sure how it’s been implemented - call me skeptical on that front.

The most interesting features, from where I sit, are a.) support for the tagging of individual assets and b.) the ability to syndicate to them. In other words, much as you would with Flickr, you can tag any individual asset within Quickr, and also see who else has tagged it and what tags they used. From there, you can also subscribe to an Atom or RSS feed for the asset to track changes, updates and so on.

Quickr is becoming something of a chameleon -- to some it's a leading "Web 2.0" platform, to others, including me, it's a new way to exploit some of the power of the underlying Notes application model and services (and not all that new of a way, since Quickr starts with QuickPlace 8 and some very clever marketing/choreography). 

These are not mutually exclusive, of course...

Source: tecosystems » Lotusphere Q&A: Part II, Connections, Quickr and More