News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in December 2005
Small Victory In Battle Against Kiddie Porn
Commentary  |  12/30/2005  | 
When Dutch credit-card processor Vorotel cut ties with Bigfunhouse, the online payment site that provided access to Webcam pornography closed, a small victory was won in the war against Internet child porn.
Moore's Law: 1965-2015, May It Rest In Peace
Commentary  |  12/29/2005  | 
The demise of Moore's Law is in sight. Well, maybe not Moore's Law itself, but the end of the ability of the silicon chip to double computing power about every two years--Moore's Law--is a decade away.
Rumor: TiVo To Announce DirecTV, Dish Partnership At CES
Commentary  |  12/28/2005  | 
A rumor is circulating online that TiVo will announce at the upcoming CES show next month in Las Vegas a partnership with DirecTV and Dish Network over mobile content. The idea is to unite on a standard for supporting content that can be viewed on portable devices.
Why IT Execs Should Turn A Blind Eye Toward TV Shows Streamed To Desktops
Commentary  |  12/27/2005  | 
Now that Yahoo has begun streaming whole, commercial-free CBS sitcoms, it's worth a moment to pause and consider the impact of the growing influx of video--not to mention podcasts and multimedia blogs--on the workplace. My guess is, there's a surprisingly large number of people who spend large chunks of their work days squeezing in every possible minute of entertainment they can. And that can mean only one th
'Intel Inside' Out
Commentary  |  12/27/2005  | 
India's The Economic Times reports that Intel's longstanding tag line "Intel Inside" will be dropped next month after 14 years of use, according to unnamed insiders. The company will roll out a new logo and possibly a new advertising campaign.
Rumor: Microsoft to Buy Opera
Commentary  |  12/23/2005  | 
Rumor has it that Microsoft plans to buy browser rival Opera - a Norway-based company that makes a small browser with a big cult following. Opera denies the rumor.
Motel 6's Jump Into Podcasting: The Light May Be On, But The Download Is Still Hard To Find
Commentary  |  12/22/2005  | 
One of the numerous attributes of podcasting is its accessibility. It's the rare example of a technology that everybody can understand--The News Show's hilarious report Wednesday about how few people on the street can tell you what podcasting is notwithstanding. That's one of the big reasons it's growing so fast. The media (InformationWeek being a clear example) has picked up on how easy it is to do, and how simple it is for users to make use of. And increasingly, non-media companies are testing
Blog Confession Leads To Jail Time For Teen
Commentary  |  12/21/2005  | 
How dumb can some bloggers be? That's a question 18-year-old Blake Ranking is pondering as he faces five years in prison and 10 years on probation for causing an accident that killed one friend and severely injured another. "It was me who caused it," Ranking confessed in a blog three days after the October 2004 accident.
Can Apple-Intel Live Up To Pre-MacWorld Hype?
Commentary  |  12/20/2005  | 
People just can't wait for the new year to see what is going to come to fruition in the much anticipated partnership between Apple Computer and Intel. An announcement of the first Intel-enabled Apple product is expected at MacWorld January 10. And while the rumor mill is buzzing, it could also be most inconsequential happening of the year in terms of impact on the commercial or enterprise market.
If You Use The Internet, Times' Child-Porn Story A Must Read
Commentary  |  12/20/2005  | 
The article by Kurt Eichenwald details a new side to the Internet's great shame of child pornography. It describes a 13-year-old boy who posted Web-cam pictures of himself online in an effort to meet friends, and found child predators instead. From a beginning where a man paid him $50 to sit with his shirt off in front of his Web cam, he moved to selling naked images of himself and worse.
A Rearview Mirror On Steroids
Commentary  |  12/20/2005  | 
A small California company called Crimestopper plans to unveil at the Consumer Electronics Show next month a rearview mirror called the NavPro NP3000 series mirror that features an embedded 4.5-inch LCD display and GPS electronics. In addition to providing GPS directions, the small screen will show live video from a camera in the bumper whenever the car is going in reverse. Pricing has not been announced.
Rumor Patrol: High Cost Of Consumables?
Commentary  |  12/19/2005  | 
Last week I ran a review on this page of two color laser printers aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. The reviewer liked the low price and "commendable feature set" of the HP Color LaserJet 2600n (although he liked the Lexmark C522n a little better overall). A reader liked the look of the LaserJet, too, until he found a link to a rant about its consumables costs on the Web. He wrote a note that finally reached me, and I spran
Legit Firms Aid And Abet Teen-Run Porn Sites
Commentary  |  12/19/2005  | 
At age 13, Justin Berry began a five-year Net business selling images of his body for gifts and cash, at times fostered by some of the Internet's most respected and popular companies. Now, the Bakersfield, Calif., 19-year-old is working with the FBI to go after thousands of adults who encouraged him and other youngsters to perform sordid sexual acts in front of their Webcams and from behind their closed bedroom doors.
Music Downloads Take Over At Christmas
Commentary  |  12/19/2005  | 
The BBC and the Financial Times are reporting that music downloads, more than CD sales, will determine which artist will be named number one on the charts at Christmas by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Last year, the organization said, downloads
How To Make A Gadget Gift Great
Commentary  |  12/18/2005  | 
I bravely waded into an Apple Store in a Houston, Texas, mall this week -- it was like entering a cage full of rabid badgers. Holiday shoppers were ransacking the joint for Apple goodies, accessories, software, and most of all, iPods. Not coincidentally, the "record store" next door was almost empty. This holiday appears to signal the inevitable music purchasing shift from disc to download.
Linux Succeeding Everywhere But On The Desktop
Commentary  |  12/15/2005  | 
What ever happened to the "Linux is dead" talk that followed the SCO suit against IBM? In fact, what ever happened to the SCO suit? Linux appears to be not just alive, but living large. IBM has announced it will create a special sales force for its hardware that runs Linux products from partners Red Hat and Novell. A new industry group, Linux Phone Standards Forum, is devoting itself to speeding the adoption of
Needed: A Stronger Commitment To Rebuilding New Orleans
Commentary  |  12/14/2005  | 
I don't want to trade places with Mike Centineo, the director of Safety and Permits in New Orleans. On the one hand, he must struggle to get his vital city department up and running after Katrina, conveying a lot of bad news to homeowners in the process. On the other, he goes home to a heavily damaged structure and faces the same challenges to rebuild as many of his fellow residents.
Ho, Ho, Hold On A Minute!
Commentary  |  12/14/2005  | 
Don't look now, but the holidays are coming. That means it's time to get off your duff and get that gift shopping done. Naturally, we at Personal Tech Pipeline recommend gadgets for all your loved ones this year. By the way, you're not planning to do your shopping at the mall again, are you? We live in an era of incredible toys and life-enhancing products that are extremely affordable (thanks to Moore's Law and price-comparison Web sites) and will be delivered directly to you -- or to the gift
Golly, Was I Too Cynical?
Commentary  |  12/12/2005  | 
Ten days ago I wrote about the state of Massachusetts' reversed its position on rejecting Microsoft Office in favor of the Open Document Format. I've lived in the state long enough to be extremely cynical about Massachusetts state politics -- although I prefer to think of it as "realistic." I am shocked by the latest development in the controversy. The good guys actually appear to have won one. Maybe I was TOO cynical?
Managing Content In An Information Digital Overload Era
Commentary  |  12/11/2005  | 
Having the software tools to manage content across the enterprise, as well as connect with suppliers and customers is becoming more important. I recently caught up with Conleth O'Connell, chief technology officer at Vignette, to talk about how companies will manage and share digital content in 2006. Some emerging trends O'Connell identified were personalizing content management and digital rights management. But the most interesting topic is at the end of the interview. That's where he talks
Help Us Help Ourselves
Commentary  |  12/8/2005  | 
More proof that life extends indefinitely on the internet, is a letter I received out of the blue from a student the other day in reference to a column I had written in 2002. 2002? Lord, what had I written? (Apparently it was assigned reading for some class) Well, it was a lament about the dying throes of customer service and the need for "Trustworthy IT." Today I'd wager that many people, when asked about customer service, wouldn't hesitate to say, "It's dead - stick a fork in it already!" Cert
Windows Live Local Vs. Google Local
Commentary  |  12/8/2005  | 
Microsoft has launched Windows Live Local in beta to try to catch up to Google Local. Check it out. It does some neat tricks, but it's sort of like a cocker spaniel: after you've been through what it can do a few times you find yourself focusing on what it can't do. Of course, I've got to admit, I was wowed by Google Local when it first came out, but it's basically a cocker spaniel, too. In fact, the two services are pretty much separat
Homeland Security Heavyweights Can't Explain Lack Of Data Sharing, Cybersecurity
Commentary  |  12/8/2005  | 
More than four years after 9/11, and nearly three years after the formation of the Homeland Security Department, we still haven't progressed past the problem of data sharing between the public and private sectors. Companies are worried that their closely held information could become public if citizens or the press file for disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act or state
Guys: Never Ask For Directions Again!
Commentary  |  12/8/2005  | 
You no doubt saw Fred Langa's awesome piece on hardcore, advanced trip planning. If you're really serious about off-the-beaten track trip planning, there's no substitute for the specialized mapping and routing sites he talks about. But for everyday getting around -- without asking directions -- Verizon Wireless customers using Motorola's V325 phone have a new option.
Sony: The Company That Couldn't Shoot Straight
Commentary  |  12/7/2005  | 
Well, it looks like the wacky gang at Sony is at it again. Sony BMG Music Entertainment said it shipped 5.7 million CDs with anti-piracy technology with a security vulnerability that requires a patch. No, this isn't the same security vulnerability we wrote about weeks ago. This is an entirely new one, involv
Google Cleans Up A Mess Microsoft Made
Commentary  |  12/7/2005  | 
Google has had its share of problems lately -- the messy backlash over its plan to scan whole libraries of books is still spreading, for example. But it's cleaned up one mess it didn't even make. Last week an Israeli hacker, Matan Gillon, posted his discovery of a bug in Internet Explorer (I know it's not exactly big news that there are bugs in IE, but bear with me, this one gets interesting). He used a malici
Netflix, You Need To Read This Story
Commentary  |  12/6/2005  | 
Information Week has a story about a new, more scratch-resistant CD. A Colorado company called Scratch-Less Disc Industries is bringing out a CD that uses a special polymer, co-developed by General Electric, that's 100 times harder to scratch than the plastic used for standard CDs -- a resistance to abrasion similar to glass, the company claims. Netflix, are you listening? Get with these people right away and for
TV-On-iPod Gets Realer And Realer
Commentary  |  12/6/2005  | 
Don't look now, but Apple is suddenly offering TV shows on iTunes for downloading to and viewing on the new video-capable iPod from NBC, SciFi and USA. It still costs $1.99 per show. (via Engadget)
What's Wrong With Google's Gmail Anti-Virus?
Commentary  |  12/5/2005  | 
Google rolled out a new anti-virus component to its free e-mail service, Gmail. It augments the old protection, which merely blocks any attached executable file, such as those ending in the .EXE extension. The anti-virus technology provider behind the service is being kept secret. Free e-mail with free anti-virus protection. What's wrong with that?
The Wicked-Pedia
Commentary  |  12/5/2005  | 
The blogosphere is roiled over problems with the Wikipedia, where the ideal that letting anybody write or edit anything will increase the amount of truth in the world collected more than a little tarnish last week. It's hardly surprising. The only safe way to treat the Wikipedia, and the Internet more generally, is as propaganda, because the velocity of the information has reduced civil debate to uncivil sabotage.
Podcast: The Declining Number Of Women Seeking Careers In IT Is An Alarming Trend
Commentary  |  12/4/2005  | 
Women comprise about 29 percent of the professional IT workforce. But there is concern among technology companies the number is shrinking, according to Lucy Sanders, chief executive officer at the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Sanders said non-profit organizations, universities and businesses such as Wal-Mart, Cisco and IBM are working to reverse that trend. IBM and Cisco, for example, are sponsoring studies to gather base line data they will use to develop mentoring pro
IBM Can't Win With A Thin Envelope
Commentary  |  12/2/2005  | 
IBM has sent a letter to the head of Massachusett's department of Administration and Finance urging him not to be fooled by Microsoft's PR campaign to promote its Office Open XML as an "open" format, and to continue his predecessor's support for the Open Document Format. My guess is IBM made only one mistake -- all it put in the envelope was the letter.
Why I Hate Microsoft
Commentary  |  12/1/2005  | 
I do not actually HATE Microsoft. I just wrote that headline to get your attention. I even met Bill Gates once and thought he was a really nice guy. Besides, it would be unprofessional of me to be less than objective about a company that I cover day in and day out. And full disclosure requires me to state that over the last 20 years I have received and used copious quantities of free hardware and software from Microsoft (including a special commemorative model of the pistol-grip Microsoft mouse
Message to FCC: Stop Hurting VoIP
Commentary  |  12/1/2005  | 
When the FCC mandated enhanced 911 capabilities for VoIP providers, it opened a potentially anti-innovative can of worms commissioners can't solve with one punitive pen stroke. VoIP E911 is a complex problem with no simple answers, but if the FCC wants to keep the burgeoning industry growing quickly, it should stimulate discussion and aid compliance instead of fixing itself into a scolding pattern.
Microsoft's Ad Plan? It's Classified
Commentary  |  12/1/2005  | 
Is Microsoft's revelation that it is testing a classified ads service conclusive evidence that The House That Bill Built is truly trying to hitch its wagon to advertising revenues? On the one hand, we've got to remember that Microsoft will try anything. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Microsoft is testing a personal solar-powered microwave coffee warmer. But on the other hand, this feels serious. It feels as se

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