Business Technology News and Commentary - InformationWeek
News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in February 2007
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Something Will Be Lost When Second Life Gets Voice
Commentary  |  2/28/2007  | 
I have to admit I'm not 100% looking forward to the addition of voice into Second Life. I agree that it's inevitable and will make the service easier to use. But the text-based chat currently in use in Second Life adds to its charm, and, paradoxically, makes the service seem more real.

The Importance Of Presence: Taming The Wild And Woolly IM
Commentary  |  2/28/2007  | 
"Presence" is one of the hottest ideas in software these days. Being able to see who's online and how they're connected is a necessary piece of functionality for enterprise networks as "real-time collaboration" (what we used to call "instant messaging" before it went corporate) has become the way to be productive. And for big companies, providing presence has been a security and compliance headache. The latest company to offer help is Sybase iAnywhere. Today it announced mobile instant messaging
Quick Look: Remember The Milk
Commentary  |  2/27/2007  | 
It's not the organized people who need to keep task lists -- it's those of us who are so disorganized that we need some sort of written reminder to keep us on track (and to keep our bosses happy). As a past Outlook user, my inclination is to pair my task list with my calendar. As a current user of Google Calendar, I've been a bit peeved because, with all its advantages, it doesn't have a To Do feature. I'm a lot happier now -- because I found a site with the absurd name of
Three Intriguing Web 2.0 Companies: Jellyfish, Ning, And Dandelife
Commentary  |  2/27/2007  | 
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s fundamentally impossible to predict which Web 2.0 ideas will take over the Internet. That lifts an incredible burden from my shoulders — I used to think it was my job to predict those things. Now I know it’s not my job — and, moreover, it’s an impossible task. So I can just sit back and marvel at the creativity that goes into coming up with various business models. Here’s three we discovered recently, two
Join Us For Our Regular SL Kaffeeklatsch
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
Jon us for our Second Life kaffeeklatsch Tuesday 7 am Second Life Time, at Notre Dame de Caffeine. The subject: Using Second Life for collaboration in SL and real life. For more on Web 2.0 collaboration tools, see this week's cover story, "Most Business Tech Pros Wary About Web 2.0 Tools In Business.".

One Third Of Americans On The Web Have Used Wireless Internet
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
According to a new poll from the Pew Internet Project, one-third of U.S. Internet users have connected to the Web using a wireless network. The survey found that 20% of U.S. Internet users now have wireless networks in their homes. Just more signposts that wireless data, and not just voice, is going mainstream.
Quick Look: The Playaway
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
It may come as a shock to those technophiles who wouldn't be seen in public without their earbuds firmly attached, but there are folks out there who do not own an iPod (or alternate MP3 player). There are even people out there who don't know (or don't want to learn) how to download MP3 files. Most of us would simply leave those benighted souls to their AM radios and clunky CD players -- but at least one company sees them as a possible source of income.
Free At Last
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
I just bought my daughter a laptop. Well, to tell the truth, although I purchased it for her to use, it was actually for my benefit: I was tired of being kicked off my own computer because she had homework that required word processing or access to the Internet. Shuddering at the thought of shelling out hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office -- because though only in fifth grade, she needs PowerPoint as well as Word -- I downloaded the free office suite
When The Walls Came Tumblin' Down At Intel
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
Intel has finally gotten rid of an eyesore that has been a major blight on its operation since 2001, and, no, it's not Itanium.
My FABULOUS Second Life
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | 
I've discovered that Ziggy Figaro, my alter ego in Second Life, is vain. In Second Life, I spend a good deal of time shopping, fussing over my appearance, and figuring out what to wear. In real life, I devote exactly as much effort on my appearance as I need to, and no more. The Web Gets More Like Real Life
Commentary  |  2/26/2007  | is a Web service with a truly brilliant business plan: for 99 cents each per month you can buy all the friends you can afford to leave comments on your MySpace, Friendster, or Facebook page - really hot-looking friends, too, judging from the examples on the sites home page. It's just another example of how a disruptive Web technology can affect economics
Keeping Junk E-Mail Out Of Your Inbox
Commentary  |  2/24/2007  | 
Spam volume is at its highest peak ever, Marshal's Threat Research and Content Engineering Team notes in their latest report. Spam has increased 280% since just last October. If the surge continues apace, 90% of all e-mail will be junk. That's a whole lot of unwanted e-mail.
Ex-Apple Employee's Firing Makes For Great YouTube Video
Commentary  |  2/24/2007  | 
Some say that revenge is best when it is served cold, but for former Apple Inc. call center employee Erik Ott, revenge may be best served about a million times a day on YouTube.
Older Is Better, But Is It Legal?
Commentary  |  2/23/2007  | 
For reasons that are far too complex to go into here (and that make me look far too stupid) I needed a copy of Paint Shop Pro 8 today. I know I've got my install CD around here somewhere, but it's hiding. So naturally I went hunting in Google, and somehow (I'm not exactly sure how, exactly) ran across the trail of It had it and I downloaded it. I was ecstatic. But I also was suspicious.
1983 Datsun Sports Car TV Commercial Features Apple's Steve Wozniak
Commentary  |  2/23/2007  | 
This 1983 TV commercial features Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak plugging Datsun sports cars. The TV commercial hasn't aged well -- the music, announcer's voice, Woz's beard, and his clothes are all goofy. The car looks great, though.

Smartphone Users Have Longer Workdays, Make More Money, And Want More Time Off
Commentary  |  2/23/2007  | 
According to new findings from researcher Digital Life America, smartphone users work longer and earn more money than those who don't use such devices. The study found that 19% of smartphone users work more than 50 hours a week and that their average household income is $94,000 a year, roughly 50% higher than the U.S. national average.
Does Web 2.0 Add To Information Overload?
Commentary  |  2/23/2007  | 
My efforts to adopt Web 2.0 collaboration tools within InformationWeek last year were thwarted by a very simple question. I suggested we move a lot of the administrative stuff for to the Basecamp project-management tool. But a colleague put up a roadblock by asking, "Mitch, wouldn't that be just another thing I have to remember to check?"

How I'm Making Enemies In Second Life
Commentary  |  2/22/2007  | 
I've had two major interviews in Second Life go badly on me, and I'm still trying to figure out why. I handled them exactly as I do my real-life interviews, and I mostly don't have these problems in RL. It's apparent that the rules are different for SL interviews -- but how? And can the needs of RL and SL be reconciled, or should I brace myself for further conflict?
Using Second Life For Disaster Preparedness Training
Commentary  |  2/21/2007  | built a realistic simulation of a small town in Second Life, complete with detailed restaurants and a complete hospital. Then they blew the whole village up real good, as well as inflicting pestilence such as a smallpox epidemic, in order to help train emergency personnel in disaster preparedness. View a 16-minute video overview of the tabletop simulation below.

If The Stork Brings Babies, What Brings Digital Cameras? A Trade Show
Commentary  |  2/21/2007  | 
Judging from the volume of press releases, more digital cameras than babies have been born in the month of February. They're popping out all over -- even General Electric is introducing a line of silicon snapshooters. The reason is the Photo Marketing Association International's upcoming annual trade show in Las Vegas March 8 to 11. And the cream of this year's crop may have been introduced yesterday -- a 10-megapixel Nikon, the new Coolpix P5000.
Intel Inside ... Health Care? You Should Care.
Commentary  |  2/20/2007  | 
When one vein starts to whither, you gotta tap around for a healthier one. Intel's latest initiative aims to bring its PC expertise into the hospital, with lots of friends in tow.
My Unsuccessful Quest To Replace Microsoft Office For My Mac
Commentary  |  2/20/2007  | 
It looks like I'm going to be buying Microsoft Office for the Mac after all. I had hoped to avoid it -- not because I'm anti-Microsoft, which I'm not, but rather because I just wanted save the hundreds of dollars that Office costs. However, I was unable to find a suitable substitute among all the alternatives I tried.

What Will Become Of The YouTube Universe?
Commentary  |  2/20/2007  | 
If you've spent any time on YouTube, or on any of the other video sharing sites that are now so incredibly popular, you'll know that a large percentage of the clips available have at least some copyrighted material in them. In fact, a good percentage are completely copyrighted. Surprised? Of course not. Not unless you've been hiding in an art film theater for the past 10 years.
Second Life Kaffeeklatsch Series Gets Off To A Brisk Start
Commentary  |  2/20/2007  | 
This morning's kickoff kaffeeklatsch in Second Life was a success, with a small but high-quality group gathered to discuss doing business in-world, and drink virtual coffee (as well as a bit of absinthe). Join us Friday morning at 10 a.m. EST (7 a.m. Pacific time) when the suggested topic will be managing growth. People are signing up by the thousands -- can Second Life keep up?

Click This To Salute The Passing of The Co-Inventor Of The TV Remote
Commentary  |  2/16/2007  | 
Couch potatoes everywhere - get up and stand at attention. Robert Adler, the co-inventor of one of the most beloved and fought over pieces of technology known to modern man, has died. He was 93. While not really what he wanted to be remembered for, Adler probably knew there was no denying the impact of the lowly television remote control device, nor did he feel one twin
Book Vs. Scanner
Commentary  |  2/16/2007  | 
I like to think that I'm an organized person, but I'm really not. My basement is nearly drowned in piles and piles of books that are in great need of organization. However, every time I go down there to start, I'm overwhelmed by the prospect. So when I got to review the Flic Scanner Media Organizer -- a package containing a small, handheld scanner and three applications from for tracking music,
A Frustrating Couple Of Days For A New Mac User
Commentary  |  2/16/2007  | 
Lately, I've been gnashing my teeth and swearing at my new best friend, the Mac. It's been behaving in a decidedly un-Mac-like manner. I've been having trouble getting it to do what I want it to do.

Join Us For A Kaffeeklatsch In Second Life
Commentary  |  2/16/2007  | 
Join us in Second Life Tuesday at 7 am for the first in a regular, twice-weekly series of kaffeeklatsches to discuss the top technology news and trends of the day, co-hosted by InformationWeek and Dr. Dobb's Journal.

Join The InformationWeek Group In Second Life
Commentary  |  2/15/2007  | 
I've gone and created an InformationWeek group in Second Life, so if you're "in-world" (as we happenin' Second Lifers say), join up to be informed about all the exciting things that InformationWeek is doing in Second Life.

Why Some U.S. Citizens Still Can't Get Broadband
Commentary  |  2/15/2007  | 
Over the past few decades, the citizens of these United States have had to become used to the fact that, when it comes to technology, we are falling behind. Our cars, TVs, phones, PCs, and other gadgets are more likely to come from an Asian or European factory than from a U.S. facility -- and let's not even talk about who is doing the tech support for our computers. Now it looks like we can't even keep up with Internet access.
Why My Deep-Seated Moral Principles Prevent Me From Putting Microsoft Office On My Mac
Commentary  |  2/14/2007  | 
I decided the other day that I'm going to strive to avoid putting Microsoft Office on my new Mac. Like many users, I have a deep-seated moral principle preventing me from deploying this Microsoft product. The principle is: I don't want to spend $300 if I don't have to, especially since I only use Office once or twice a day.

Paying Even More For Your Cell
Commentary  |  2/14/2007  | 
According to an article in the New York Times, marketers have their eyes on our cell phones. Apparently, they say, it won't be long before we will have to wait through a 15-second advertisement before we get to check our email or send a message. (So far, nobody is talking about having to listen to ads before making a voice call -- yet.)
Another Windows User Brainwashed Into The Apple Cult
Commentary  |  2/13/2007  | 
You wouldn't know it from all my kvetching, but I'm actually happy about making the switch from Windows to the Mac. However, if you're thinking about making the jump yourself, you should know that it's an enormous pain in the neck at first.

Second Life's Linden Lab Punctures Its Own Hype
Commentary  |  2/9/2007  | 
Linden Lab appears to be taking steps to puncture the hype bubble surrounding its creation, Second Life, providing realistic statistics on how many people are actually using the service, and debunking claims that the Linden Dollar tokens used in SL are a kind of real currency.

Second Life Crashes My Mac
Commentary  |  2/9/2007  | 
There are few things more frustrating than getting a new computer and finding out that it might need to go back to the shop right away. My six-day-old Mac runs flawlessly except for one thing: After I've been running Second Life a while, the Mac crashes hard, locks up, and throws up an error message that says it needs to be re-started.

Vodafone Adds YouTube To Live Lineup
Commentary  |  2/9/2007  | 
Vodafone has been busy as it prepares to head into the 3GSM World Congress next week. Earlier this week, it announced a deal to offer MySpace to its subscribers. Then the rumor mill was abuzz with news that Vodafone was in talks with other carriers to launch a new mobile search service. Then Vodafone announced a
Tech Execs Tee Off With The Pros
Commentary  |  2/9/2007  | 
Which of these Internet luminaries has the best golf handicap: Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang, Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy, or software entrepreneur Tom Siebel?
Astronaut-Gone-Wild Incident Highlights 'Sex on Mars' Issue
Commentary  |  2/9/2007  | 
There are taboos and there are taboos, but there are no bigger taboos in technology reporting than writing frankly about either politics or sex. Yet the latter, as spotlighted in this week's astronaut-gone-wild case involving Lisa Nowak, has clear implications for the arena which is this country's crowning technological achievement: Space flight.
Bopping To The Music Of Screeching Brakes
Commentary  |  2/8/2007  | 
Occasionally, when driving in NYC, I play a game that works this way: If I have to do a quick maneuver to avoid hitting some fool who isn't paying attention, I award myself a number of points, depending on the danger level of the pedestrian's behavior. That guy strolling out between two parked cars without looking? Six points. That woman who doesn't feel the need to check the traffic light? Eight points. The music-lover bopping out into Times Square traffic oblivious to anything but his iPod? Ga
Using Second Life For Meetings And Collaborations
Commentary  |  2/8/2007  | 
I admit I was skeptical, at first, about whether it made any sense to hold meetings in Second Life. Getting together a bunch of avatars to discuss real-life business issues seemed to me to be just plain silly. I would have said adding Second Life to a meeting added distractions and brought nothing useful. However, recent conversations with IBM and with an executive at a SL consulting firm have given me some things to think about with regard to the value of meeting in virtual reality.

Vista v. Mac OS X: Round 2
Commentary  |  2/8/2007  | 
Bought a new computer lately? My colleague Mitch Wagner and I have both done just that. Mitch made the leap from PC to Mac, while I -- under a time crunch due to the "expiration" of my existing notebook -- bought an XP-loaded, Vista-capable PC in the days leading up to the late-January Vista launch.
Digital You, Meet Nanny Government and Terrorism Fears
Commentary  |  2/7/2007  | 
Uh-oh. Better stash those TV-equipped glasses. According to Reuters, the state of New York is mulling legislation that would ban the use of iPods, Blackberries, video games and other electronic gadgets while crossing the street. Scofflaws would face a $100 fine, assuming any cops were around to ticket them. Why the fuss? Two or three (depending on your news source) traffic deaths in Brooklyn - all attributed to the victims' use of - and distraction by - electronic devices.
Windows To Mac: A Frustrating Transition So Far
Commentary  |  2/7/2007  | 
My first couple of days as a Mac user, after a quarter-century using Windows and DOS, have been pretty frustrating. But it's not the Mac's fault. When you're used to working on one platform, you get used to doing things a certain way, and it's maddening to go to another platform that has different ways of doing the same things.

Vodafone To Offer MySpace On Cell Phones
Commentary  |  2/7/2007  | 
Vodafone agreed to offer MySpace to its European subscribers. Get ready for hyper-personalization on your cell phone.
Steve Jobs On DRM-Free Media: Right Idea, Whatever His Reasons
Commentary  |  2/7/2007  | 
Has Steve Jobs been cloned? The Apple Inc. chief is being so smart, making so much sense and so many right moves lately that there must be more than one of him. His "Thoughts on Music" think piece published yesterday on the Apple Web site builds on the dazzle of the iPhone launch. It's an announcement that is the beginning of the end of digital rights management systems (
Steve Jobs Takes A Sledgehammer To His Own Monopoly
Commentary  |  2/6/2007  | 
Apple CEO Steve Jobs struck a blow against his own company's monopoly Tuesday, by issuing a public challenge to media companies to start selling their wares without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) at all.

Kodak Pictures Inexpensive Ink
Commentary  |  2/6/2007  | 
I've been following the printer/scanner market for some years now, and one of the industry's dirty little secrets -- well, it's really not that secret -- is the fact that vendors make their money not on the printers themselves, but on the cartridges, paper, and other consumables. Have you added up what you pay in toner and/or ink cartridges a year? Scary, isn't it?
Apple To iPod Users: Stay Away From Vista
Commentary  |  2/6/2007  | 
Apple is warning iPod users to stay clear of Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, warning that the new OS could damage their iPods.
First Impression: Switching From A PC To The Mac
Commentary  |  2/5/2007  | 
Do I look different to you? More genteel? More elegant? Maybe even taller? I just made the switch from using a PC as my primary machine to using a Mac. As a matter of fact, I've spent more time on the Mac in the last day and a half than I've done in the preceding 24 years of using personal computers.
Demo Class of 2006: Where Are They Now?
Commentary  |  2/5/2007  | 
Having just returned from the Demo 07 Conference in Palm Springs, I noticed last year's Demo 06 Conference booklet on my shelf. Flipping through it, I am reminded just how hard it is to start a successful business. Aside from the ringers at the show -- already successful companies such as AOL, CNET, IronPort, and Yahoo -- none of the 69 companies that presented at last year's show has become a household name.
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