News & Commentary
Content tagged with Infrastructure posted in July 2006
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Radio Killed The MP3 Star?
Commentary  |  7/31/2006  | 
Imagine free music available 24 hours a day -- not .99 cents -- which you can choose according to the musical style. Better still, the music is accompanied by commentary identifying what it is, and random contextual information, as well as occasional breaking-news, podcast-like audio feeds. It's called "radio."
Linksys Releases Wireless-N For Small Businesses
News  |  7/31/2006  | 
The local area network product line uses the 802.11n wireless draft specification, designed to better handle bandwidth-hungry apps like video and VoIP. Still, there's no assurance they'll work with other products using that spec.
New Cisco Suite Takes On Complicated Regulatory Issues
News  |  7/31/2006  | 
One product in the Cisco PACE suite, Network Compliance Manager, provides reports on compliance and changes and allows administrators to make bulk configuration and password changes.
Analysis: Is The World Ready For Open-Source Networking?
News  |  7/28/2006  | 
Vyatta, Sourcefire, Groundwork, and the Asterisk IP PBX represent the open-source push for networks. They're gaining traction, but it could take years to make significant headway.
Apple's Copy Protection Isn't The Problem
Commentary  |  7/28/2006  | 
Cory Doctorow, noted sci-fi writer and Boing Boing editor, marshals a strong argument against digital rights management in InformationWeek. But his assertion that there's no good DRM oversimplifies an issue that's best framed in compromises rather than absolutes. Apple's DRM has benefited the public and the music industry. It
Skype Releases New Toolbars For Office, Outlook Express, Thunderbird
News  |  7/28/2006  | 
People can make VoIP calls from directly within popular applications, including Microsoft Outlook Express and Internet Explorer.
Brief: Linksys Rolls Out Two VPN Routers
News  |  7/28/2006  | 
Both routers are said to be designed for the special networking and security needs of small business.
Digital Music: Rent Or Own?
Commentary  |  7/27/2006  | 
For music lovers, the advent of the iTunes online music store has been an incredible boon. The ability to legally download individual tracks from a huge catalog at 99 cents a pop is delicious (and a little dangerous for your wallet).
In Search Of A Low-Cost Wireless Internet Camera... That Works
Commentary  |  7/27/2006  | 
Hawking Technologies announced yesterday a new, $129.99 wireless video camera that features automatic router configuration and URL setup. The proof, as always, is in the pudding. But that price and that feature (auto config and setup) sound pretty earth-shattering to me. For years, I've been looking for a good wireless Internet camera that's inexpensive and easy to set up. Is that so much to ask?
VoIP Call Quality Takes A Nosedive: Survey
News  |  7/27/2006  | 
VoIP call quality has taken a nosedive over the last 18 months, with nearly 20% of VoIP callers experiencing unacceptable voice quality, according to a survey done by Brix Networks.
Open-Source Darwin Fades
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
According to a message posted on the OpenDarwin.org Web site, the self-named attempt to build and maintain an independent open-source implementation of the operating system beneath Apple's OS X has come to the end of its road, with some of the blame being laid squarely on Apple's doorstep. This follows on the heels of a blistering editorial in Daemon News (a BSD news site) by OpenDarwin team memb
One Laptop Per Child Hits Resistance In India
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
The well-intentioned One Laptop Per Child initiative has always faced the question, "Buy technology, or spend more on teachers?" Reports out of India suggest that country will choose people.
Microsoft Seals VPN Deal, Immediately Cuts Prices
News  |  7/26/2006  | 
As its security portfolio expands, Microsoft knocks 25% off the list price of VPN appliances and software to spur demand.
Map That Traffic Jam
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
How many times have you had this experience: You're driving along the highway, either in a highly congested area or a road you're not familiar with, and you hit a traffic backup that leaves you effectively parked for, say, an hour. You curse the road, the cars around you, your fate. You ponder how useless radio traffic reports are, since they only help you if they occur--and how unlikely is this?--five minutes before you need to jump off that road at a particular exit and take an alternate route
The Myth Of The 'Flying Car'
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
It's the fantasy of every frustrated driver who's ever been caught in traffic: to push a button, take off, and soar above the gridlock like an airplane. But don't hold your breath. You'll never "drive" a "flying car."
Spiceworks Introduces Free, Ad-Supported IT Management Software
News  |  7/25/2006  | 
Now that Google has proved the viability of ad-supported online software and Microsoft is reluctantly following suit with Live service, it's possible companies will soon see more ad-supported applications like Spiceworks.
Abra Kadabra! Here's Another Photo Magic Trick!
Commentary  |  7/25/2006  | 
Here's a neat (and low-cost) trick: Make 3D prints using your existing camera, existing printer and standard printing paper. Sounds like magic, doesn't it?
Funding Innovation Where It's Incubated
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
For the kick-off session at its annual faculty summit in Redmond, Wash., last week, Microsoft convened a panel of tech leaders and educators to wax philosophic about hot IT topics of the day: declining federal research spending, job competition from India and China, and why the United States can't attract kids to math and science. There's been a lot of ink spilled about those shortcomings of American competitiveness lately. But this confab had an ace in the hole. Sitting on a stage between Mic
Vyatta Takes On Cisco With New Open-Source Router
News  |  7/24/2006  | 
But an open-source product is no better than those working on its code, and that number is much larger for a company like Cisco than it is for Vyatta and the small open-source routing community.
Two Digital Camera Magic Tricks
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Software developers have figured out how to "stitch" together or combine images to do "magic tricks" with your digital photos.
Did Intel's New Processors Fuel AMD's ATI Acquisition?
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Advanced Micro Devices could have stayed on its current path and likely continued to gain share in the x86 processor market. But on Monday, AMD executives rolled the dice and made one of the most costly acquisitions in semiconductor history by adding the graphics processing capabilities of ATI Technologies to its portfolio.
Coming Real Zune Now?
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Microsoft, which obviously didn't learn any lessons at all from the failures of the "buzz marketing" that sank its Origami "ultra mobile PC" gizmo, has unleashed a strange (as in odd . . . very, very odd) Web site that may sink Zune, the media player it confirmed it will unleash on a breathlessly awaiting world later this . . . uh, should I say "year" here, or the way things have be
What If You Could Google Objects, Not Just Words?
Commentary  |  7/21/2006  | 
Right now, you can google any word or combination of words. But what if you could google actual things or objects? UK designer Callum Peden has come up with a product idea for Google. It's just an idea, but a really good one.
Social Bookmarking For Cheapskates
Commentary  |  7/20/2006  | 
Social bookmarking sites like Digg where users vote on the quality of links -- the best rising to the top -- are transforming the Web-using experience. They do this by harnessing the power of public opinion to vet, filter and rank "content." Now -- at last -- someone has harnessed the power of the Web 2.0 to discover and rank great deals. Call it social bookmarking for cheapskates.
Skype Announces Four VoIP-Over-Wi-Fi Phones
News  |  7/20/2006  | 
The phones will allow Skype users to use any Wi-Fi network to make free calls to landline phones, as well as low-cost calls to mobile phones.
Group Wants U.S. Gov. To Reveal Who's Asking For H-1B Workers Now
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Should the U.S. Dept. of Labor provide public access to a government database that purportedly contains information about employers planning to hire H-1B workers for fiscal 2007, which starts on Oct. 1, 2006? Kim Berry, president of advocate group Programmers Guild, says he wants U.S. tech workers to have the chance to more fairly compete for jobs that might otherwise go to foreigners. U.S. workers should have the opportunity right now to look at requests employers have made to the DOL to fill
The 'Drama Queen' of Software Installations
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
I have installed a lot of PC software. A LOT of software. Back in the day it was a piece of cake: copy the EXE file, add it to your path statement, maybe edit a little parameters file, and you were good to go. Windows, of course, changed all that. The typical Windows installation has become a production worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, with the blessings and curses of the license agreement, the shriek of your hard drive as temp files are copied, directories initialize, cab files spring into being, r
Spammers Trying To Do To Blogs What They Did To E-Mail
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Blog comment spam -- advertising slipped into the "comments" section of blog entries -- has been around awhile. It tends to trickle in. Various schemes exist to combat it, but most blogs are completely unprotected. Though the mainstream press hasn't noticed, there was a radical increase in spam over the weekend. Who's doing it? And why the sudden increase?
Vonage Denies Spyware Charges
News  |  7/19/2006  | 
Vonage denies that it uses spyware to deliver its advertising, as charged yesterday by spyware researcher Ben Edelman.
Thanks, Uncle Sam. I'm Wasting More Time Filling Out Your Forms
Commentary  |  7/18/2006  | 
Americans, on average, spend nearly 29 hours a year filling out forms--on paper or online--required by the federal government.
Microsoft, Nortel Link Arms On Video, Voice, Messaging Strategy
News  |  7/18/2006  | 
Microsoft desperately needs agreements with telephony vendors like Nortel to get its communications software into offices everywhere.
Vonage Ads Delivered Via A Dozen Spyware Makers: Report
News  |  7/18/2006  | 
Anti-spyware researcher Ben Edelman, in his most recent newsletter, charges that Vonage advertising appears in ads from at least a dozen sources he identifies as spyware makers. He also says there's plenty Vonage could do to stop the practice.
The Postcard Has Finally Been Licked
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
The postcard -- a photo or graphic on one side with a note and addressing and postage on the other -- was patented in 1861 by John P. Charlton. Since then, tourists and holiday makers have been sending them back home to friends and family to share their experiences abroad. Oftentimes, vacationers reach home before the postcards do. Now, after 145 years the postcard's days are numbered, thanks to a new, free, and very cool Web 2.0 alternative. Sorry, Charlton.
Microsoft Takes Another Step Away From SOHO, Home Users
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Microsoft cut off support for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) last week. It was not a very responsible decision. There are still plenty of PCs running 98 and ME out there, and denying them the protection of security updates will make them vectors of infection for PCs running supported Windows versions in the long run. Microsoft might like to pooh-pooh the issue, but its own actions tell you something about the size of the problem: It felt it had to announce a solution for its corp
Sun's New Servers Are Tops In Benchmark Tests
News  |  7/14/2006  | 
Opteron-based systems are approaching RISC systems in raw performance
Apple's MacBook: Hot Enough To Fry An Egg
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
No really, it is. At least it sure looks that way from this picture of someone cooking an egg on a MacBook. Unfortunately, the source link provided from the Unofficial Apple Weblog returns a page that doesn't contain the cited post or picture. So perhaps some skepticism is in order. It may be, however, that the site originally hosting the pi
IBM Releases Security Tool To Fight Denial-Of-Service Attacks, Worms
News  |  7/14/2006  | 
IBM Tivoli's Security Operations Manager automates security data collection and analysis, presenting incident warnings in a real-time dashboard and allowing organizations to respond immediately to threats.
Social Networking Sites For Businesses Set To Take Off
News  |  7/13/2006  | 
As MySpace.com shows, people love to talk about themselves. Offering this opportunity to customers will give businesses a competitive edge.
Doing H-1B Math, In Dollars And Sense
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
Foreign tech workers who enter the U.S. with H-1B visas are paid about $25,000 a year less than American workers with the same skills, according to the Programmers Guild, an advocate organization for U.S. tech professionals. And the guild's president, Kim Berry, is hoping that Congress will "correct" current wage rules that are supposed to keep the pay playing field level between American professionals and H-1B visa holders, but aren't. Current regulations have loopholes that allow employers
One Small Step For Bloggers, One Giant Step For Journalism
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Apple won't continue to bully bloggers for the name of the internal source who leaked secret company information to them last year. An appeals court ruled May 26 that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had challenged the Apple lawsuit, told The Chronicle the decision means that bloggers and other online journalists have the same right to protect their sources as t
Wi-Fi More Popular Than iPods: Report
News  |  7/13/2006  | 
Wireless networking is more popular than the ubiquitous iPod, and even more popular than the home telephone, according to a new study by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Revolutionary MRAM Chip Has A Lot To Prove
News  |  7/12/2006  | 
The first commercial magnetoresistive random access memory device retains memory when power is off. That represents a radical change in chip design and use.
Weapons Of . . . Genuine Advantage?
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
I wrote about Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program in my e-mail newsletter (here's an online version) this week, and mentioned that once you click "Install" it can't be uninstalled. But that turns out to be not quite the case.
Spy Photo, Name, Of Microsoft's 'iPod Killer' Leaked
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
We reported here July 5 that Microsoft was working on an "iPod killer" that would be on sale by Christmas. Details are now leaking out about the name -- it will be called the "Zune" -- and its design, according to this leaked photo, will look *a lot* like Apple's iPod.
Where's The Outrage?
Commentary  |  7/10/2006  | 
Are we becoming numb to scandal and controversy? In the world of technology, there's always plenty to go around. Some of the controversy shows up in tech product advertising. A new ad campaign by Sony showcasing a new white Sony PlayStation Portable, depicts a black woman, wearing all black, and a white woman, wearing all white, fighting each other. Some say it's racist, others say it's sexist.
FON Home? Just Say 'No Privacy'
Commentary  |  7/7/2006  | 
I am just enough of a rebel to think FON has a really cool idea with its plan to sell a million WiFi routers for $5 and turn home DSL and broadband connections into a worldwide wireless network. But I'm not quite rebel enough to commit to being a Fonero myself. I'm bothered only a little bit by the criminality. But I'm bothered a lot more by the privacy problems.
eFonica Lets Subscribers Make Calls Without Soft Phones
News  |  7/7/2006  | 
Fusion Telecom has added a new feature to its Efonica Plus voice over IP (VoIP) service called efoLink that will allow subscribers to place telephone calls without using the Efonica soft phone or a session initiation protocol (SIP) enabled device
Researchers Break Down NAC Defenses
News  |  7/6/2006  | 
Researchers will demonstrate new ways to bypass network access control technologies at the Black Hat conference later this month.
Brief: Survey Says Security Is Wireless Networks' Biggest Drawback
News  |  7/6/2006  | 
But worries aren't stopping deployment, the Gartner survey says, with 64% of the 200 respondents saying they're increasing their wireless investments in the coming year.
Intel's $600 Million Clearwire Investment Shows Its WiMax Commitment
News  |  7/6/2006  | 
Intel joins Motorola in backing Clearwire, which owns spectrum to provide wireless broadband connectivity.
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