Business Technology News and Commentary - InformationWeek
News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in February 2008
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World Of Warcraft, The Virtual Playmaker
Commentary  |  2/29/2008  | 
Forget the old business models of enterprise software and services, Vivendi's video games branch just posted one of its best margins ever, all thanks to a bunch of druids, goblins, orcs, elves, and fairies.
Solar-Powered Gadgets Gone Goofy
Commentary  |  2/29/2008  | 
I'm as eager as anyone to see more products that can be fired up with solar power. But some gadgets should never have made it off the drawing board -- they're just too goofy. Like these.
Top 6 Words And Phrases To Use In Internet Discussions To Prove You Are A Jerk
Commentary  |  2/28/2008  | 
Are you a jerk and do you want people to know it? In real life, it's easy to prove you are a jerk: You can talk loudly during movies, cut in line at Starbucks, or tell new mothers their babies are ugly. But on the Internet, it's harder to prove you're a jerk.
Are Online Ads Losing Value?
Commentary  |  2/28/2008  | 
For an industry that saw its revenue rise 25% last year to a record high, the online advertising business is in a bit of a funk. Mostly that's because of Google, which has seen its dominance in Internet ads erode, slightly, and watched its share price slide by 38% in the last four months.
Don't Discount The Threat Of Web 2.0 Terror
Commentary  |  2/28/2008  | 
We've recently seen silly articles hyping the threat of terrorists using virtual worlds and other Web 2.0 sites for recruitment, planning, and training. And we've seen equally silly articles ridiculing the idea. The truth is that Web 2.0 tools are great for terrorism, for the same reasons they're great for legitimate projects. That doesn't mean we should shut down Facebook and Second Life to protect ourselves from instant, horrible death. But we do need to rationally evaluate possible threats.
Congress Tries To Drink Big Oil's Milkshake
Commentary  |  2/28/2008  | 
If Daniel Plainview weren't fictional, he'd be howling bloody hell. Congress on Wednesday passed a bill that would yank $17.65 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and reallocate the savings to fund tax incentives for wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies.
Join Us For GridTalk Friday On The Future Of Motorati Island
Commentary  |  2/28/2008  | 
Join us Friday to look at one of the most active communities in Second Life: Motorati Island. The sponsors, headed by Pontiac, recently turned the island over to the United Spinal Association. Renamed Motorability, it's headed up by Patty Streeter, who will be our guest for GridTalk noon SLT.
Technology And The Big Foot Problem
Commentary  |  2/26/2008  | 
Michael Specter's article "Big Foot," in the current issue of The New Yorker, examines some common assumptions about carbon emissions and how technology is going to have to step on the gas to tackle the climate change problem. It's worth a close read.
If We're Headed Into A Recession, What Will Happen To IT?
Commentary  |  2/26/2008  | 
IT budgets and tech staffs were clobbered during the recession of the early 2000s. But how would they survive this time around? Hasn't most of the "fat" already been slashed, or has much of it returned?
Hockey Fans Turn To Web To Follow NHL Trade Deadline
Commentary  |  2/26/2008  | 
Hockey fans might be getting less work done today than usual, thanks to a combination of Tuesday's NHL trade deadline and the Web.
Virgin Atlantic's Biofueled Flight Plan Is Coco-Nuts
Commentary  |  2/25/2008  | 
A Virgin Atlantic 747 topped off its fuel tank with the oil of 150,000 coconuts and flew from Heathrow to Amsterdam Sunday. The odor of pina coladas hanging over the economy cabin should have been a giveaway -- this idea is a stinker.
Hacker's Poised To Beat Apple's Latest Version Of DRM (aka C.R.A.P.)
Commentary  |  2/25/2008  | 
One of the hotter memes over the weekend had to do with a cease and desist letter that the ever-litigious Apple sent to the operators of the Hymn Project. For those looking to remove Apple's copy protection technology (officially "FairPlay," but I call it "C.R.A.P.") from iTunes Music Store (iTMS)-bought content, the Hymn Project has been the go-to site for utilities that have managed to stay one
Join Us For InformationWeek Live Tuesday With Clay Shirky
Commentary  |  2/25/2008  | 
Our guest, New York University's Clay Shirky, will discuss his new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power Of Organizing Without Organizations, which describes how social networks like MySpace and Digg are allowing new kinds of collaborative action.
GM To Sire Hybrid Pony Car?
Commentary  |  2/22/2008  | 
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning received a trophy, a ring, and his pick of Cadillacs for being the game-winning MVP of Super Bowl XLII earlier this month. But he won't be driving his new Caddy anytime soon.
Turning Work Into Play Is No Game
Commentary  |  2/22/2008  | 
It sounds like techno-utopian silliness to say that businesses need to learn from online games how to make tedious knowledge-work more enjoyable. But many knowledge-work jobs are so deadly dull that the typical worker lasts just nine months -- in call centers, for example. Extend that by a few months, and businesses stand to save piles of money, said Byron Reeves, a professor in the department of communication at Stanford University.
Full Nelson: Appcelerator For Rich Internet Applications
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
We just wrote about Appcelerator a month ago -- in fact, it was our Startup of the Week. But we got a chance to talk to CEO Jeff Haynie, who gives a great overview of what this company is doing: letting you build rich Internet applications quickly using standard technology like HTML/CSS on the front end and Ruby On Rails, Java, PHP, .Net and more on the back end.
Documentary Examines Mac Fanatics
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
An upcoming documentary interviews more than 50 "Macheads" in an unsuccessful attempt to figure out what makes the Mac inspire such loyal and fanatical devotion.
Satellite Strike Marks New Space Race
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
On the list of all-time non-reassuring assurances, today's Pentagon statement about the downing of crippled U.S. spy satellite ranked high.
Obama Would Put A CTO In The Cabinet
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
Barack Obama plans to unveil his IT strategy, which will include making the job of federal chief technology officer a Cabinet-level position. He also wants to mandate open government meetings streamed over broadband and favors net neutrality.
Using Virtual Worlds For Social Therapy
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
Stanford University researchers discovered that users of virtual worlds like Second Life with attractive avatars were more confident in real life.
Is Internet Censorship Doomed To Fail?
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
American companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo help authoritarian governments, such as China, censor the Internet. The companies' defense: Internet censorship is doomed and bringing the Internet into countries -- even censored -- will hasten the day when those countries are open. But critics say those arguments are self-serving and just plain wrong.
Satellite Smithereens Preferable To Graveyard Orbit
Commentary  |  2/21/2008  | 
The U.S. Navy says it is "very confident" it blasted a defective spy satellite to bits with an interceptor missile Wednesday night. Its next order of business, after definitively confirming the strike today or Friday, should be to play up the positive environmental benefits of the mission.
Full Nelson: ClearContext Has a Fuzzy Outlook
Commentary  |  2/20/2008  | 
I'm not an Outlook user, but most e-mail clients I have tried -- and even Outlook back when I used it -- seem pretty self-explanatory, so I'm a little unclear about the need for ClearContext. This product aims to make Outlook e-mail more manageable, more efficient, more automated. Maybe this is just one of those things where you don't know you're missing. Since our company is moving to Outlook in the next few months, maybe I'll have to see for myself.
Report From India: In The Villages, A Tantalizing Morsel Of Broadband
Commentary  |  2/20/2008  | 
The farmers of Brahmanwada, a small farming village I visited this week in central India, use a shared Internet connection called e-choupal to check crop prices, so they can decide if it's worth hiring a truck to take their goods to market. It's an Internet success story. But things got really interesting when I asked them what information they'd like to get online that they can't yet, and the ideas started flying.
Can We Have Affordable Solar Energy By 2050?
Commentary  |  2/20/2008  | 
Last week the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced a list of grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. The goal was to identify what needs be done by the engineering community to help humanity thrive.
Join Us For GridTalk On Friday With Wagner James Au, Author Of "The Making Of Second Life"
Commentary  |  2/19/2008  | 
Join us in Second Life and on the Web for a conversation with Wagner James Au, author of the new book, The Making Of Second Life, a history of the virtual world, its creators, and residents. The book is a terrific chronicle of a four-year technological landmark and cultural phenomenon.
Once Left For Dead, Magazines Enjoy Web Rebirth
Commentary  |  2/19/2008  | 
In a time of widespread devastation in the magazine industry, here's a bit of cheering news: the Magazine Publishers of America's latest quarterly data shows that in the free-for-all digital-media world, the dead trees guys are actually starting to hold their own with endemic Web properties.
Join Us For InformationWeek Live -- Later Today
Commentary  |  2/19/2008  | 
I'm pleased to report that Microsoft will be joining us at 3 pm Eastern time today for our InformationWeek Live session to discuss the company's big, upcoming server announcements. Microsoft plans to launch Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 on Feb. 27 -- the first server OS upgrade in five years, and the first database upgrade in three.
Join Us For InformationWeek Live To Discuss Microsoft's Enterprise Server Announcements
Commentary  |  2/17/2008  | 
Microsoft plans to launch Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 on Feb. 27 -- the first server OS upgrade in five years, and the first database upgrade in three. The products are the foundation of Microsoft's lucrative servers and tools business. But with Microsoft fallen behind on key technologies for the server products, and challenges from competitors including Linux, can Microsoft maintain momentum?
World's Cleanest Car Vs. World's Cheapest Car
Commentary  |  2/15/2008  | 
The MDI OneCAT may be the cleanest car ever invented. It may also be a smokescreen for the dirt-cheap -- and dirty -- Nano from Tata Motors.
Review: Leopard Grows Up With Mac OS X 10.5.2 Update
Commentary  |  2/14/2008  | 
What's the main improvement in the three-day-old Mac OS X 10.5.2? Increased stability. With previous versions of Leopard, I had to force-quit a frozen application once or twice a day, but with 10.5.2, I haven't had to do it even once. "It just works" is once again a description of the Mac, not just wishful thinking, as it has been since Leopard shipped in October.
Valentine's Day For The Geek In Your Life
Commentary  |  2/14/2008  | 
Valentine's Day is here once more. Scores of greeting card manufacturers, chocolatiers, and teddy-bear makers are frolicking giddily among the hills of green (money, that is), having convinced us again that telling that special someone "I love you" every other day of the year just isn't enough.
Best Buy + Data Loss = Lawsuit
Commentary  |  2/14/2008  | 
Do a search for "I hate Best Buy" and you'll find a growing list of disgruntled customer blog posts and discussion threads. Needless to say, the electronics retailer is no stranger to business practice controversies. The latest tale of woe, however, opens up a whole new can of worms for the company, thrusting it into the arena of data loss.
Join Us Tuesday Afternoon For InformationWeek Live
Commentary  |  2/12/2008  | 
InformationWeek Live this week is all about location, location, location. GPS-enabled mobile devices can give users the information they need when and where they need it. We'll talk with three experts on location-based services about where this technology is today and where it's going.
What Will Microsoft Do With Danger?
Commentary  |  2/11/2008  | 
Microsoft today said it has acquired mobile phone software developer Danger for an undisclosed sum. What does Microsoft plan to do with Danger and its popular line of Sidekick smartphones?
Planned Boycott Of eBay Proves Harm Of Monocultures
Commentary  |  2/10/2008  | 
For the longest time, the term "monoculture" was synonymous with Microsoft. But eBay is probably another monoculture, and given the degree to which it so easily empowers businesses and individuals to engage in e-commerce, it also could be just as harmful, if not more so. Need evidence? You know it's a monoculture when, instead of switching to a competitor, an angry customer's only choice is to join other angry customers in a planned boycott.
Will Wright Demonstrates Spore At NASA
Commentary  |  2/8/2008  | 
Below is a video of game designer Will Wright discussing his upcoming game Spore with an audience at the NASA Ames Research Center. Admittedly, this has very little to do with IT, beyond that fact that it involves computers. But it's fascinating technology and I can guarantee you that once it's released late this year, it will be sapping CPU cycles at my house. Happy Friday.
Nokia To Launch A Windows Mobile Smartphone?
Commentary  |  2/8/2008  | 
The buzz mill is in full swing today. The latest claim to run through the blogosphere this afternoon is that Nokia is in talks with Mircosoft to use Windows Mobile on some of its smartphones. Say what?
Playing The Devil's Advocate About Microhoo
Commentary  |  2/8/2008  | 
Daring Fireball's John Gruber says his gut feeling is that the Microsoft-Yahoo deal would be a disaster, but he notes that it could work out to be a triumph for Microsoft -- but only if Microsoft acts in a very, very un-Microsoftian way.
Mac Tip: Use The Keyboard To Access Menu Selections
Commentary  |  2/8/2008  | 
Here's a nifty workaround for accessing menu items in Mac applications without taking your fingers off the keyboard. The Unofficial Apple Weblog:
The Power Plant In Your Pants
Commentary  |  2/8/2008  | 
Scientists have developed a knee brace that captures energy from a moving knee, much like regenerative braking charges a battery in a Toyota Prius.
Flickr: The Biggest Reason Nokia Should Buy Yahoo
Commentary  |  2/7/2008  | 
In my list of the top five reasons Nokia should buy Yahoo, I left out the most obvious reason of all: Flickr.
Software Model Predicts College Football Recruits' Choices
Commentary  |  2/7/2008  | 
A team of researchers is using SAS Institute's statistical software to predict which college No. 1 football recruit Terrelle Pryor will choose. Earlier this week the prediction model called for him to pick Ohio State; now it's saying he'll likely choose Penn State. Michigan has dropped to his No. 3 choice. Hmm, we'll see.
Solar Decathletes Prep For 2009 Contest
Commentary  |  2/7/2008  | 
Crunches at dawn? Wind sprints on the beach? No. Try hauling photovoltaic roof panels and lifting solar inverter systems instead.
The Top 5 Reasons Nokia Should Bid On Yahoo
Commentary  |  2/6/2008  | 
The entire tech universe is obsessed with Microsoft's attempt to take over Yahoo. The market has been waiting for this move for the last year, so most of the "analysis" coming from bloggers and industry pundits is well-rehearsed and polished, but hardly thought-provoking. Instead of rehashing this debate, I want to start another one: Why isn't Nokia bidding for Yahoo?
Racy Text Messages Turn Detroit Into LOLing Stock :(
Commentary  |  2/6/2008  | 
My, oh my, what a mess in Detroit. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick faces a financial audit, an investigation into potential perjury, maybe an investigation into criminal fraud. The evidence? Smoking text messages.
Fear And Voting -- Online
Commentary  |  2/5/2008  | 
Learn About SOA And Virtualization Later Today At InformationWeek Live
Commentary  |  2/5/2008  | 
Join us at 3 p.m. Eastern time today when we'll be talking with my colleague, senior editor Andy Dornan, about virtualization and service-oriented architecture at the official launch of InformationWeek Live.
A Greener Bowl Game? Super
Commentary  |  2/4/2008  | 
What else ya got? Super Bowl XLII (double extra large!) will be remembered for the stunning outcome on the field (Giants 17 - Patriots 14), not for the NFL's environmental efforts off-field.
Join Us Later Today For The Kick-Off Of The Brand-New InformationWeek Live
Commentary  |  2/4/2008  | 
We're a little more than an hour away from launching our new series of events: InformationWeek Live, a real-time podcast featuring InformationWeek editors and top guests. Today's netcast is primarily a tech rehearsal, but a few of us editors will be there sharing perspective on the top headlines of the day.
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