News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in March 2007
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Copyright: Fair Use Is Your Friend
Commentary  |  3/30/2007  | 
Nine out of 10 people would probably tell you copyright is all about big companies maximizing their revenue from the content they own at the expense of the consumer. (The 10th person would tell you copyright is a cornerstone of our American way of life, but he'd turn out to be lawyer for the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America). In fact, copyright is as much about your right to make fair use of copyrighted content as it is about the "intellectual property" of corporations. For 11
Dell Linux Still Won't Kill Windows
Commentary  |  3/30/2007  | 
Bruise it slightly, perhaps. But seriously, would you or your company buy a Linux PC from Dell this year? How much would you pay for support?
Could The iPhone Destroy Apple's Reputation?
Commentary  |  3/30/2007  | 
MarketWatch columnist John Dvorak argues that Apple should just make the iPhone a reference design and move on. Why, you may ask, would Apple want to walk away from the hottest mobile device in years? Because it isn't equipped to handle the demands of the nonstop mobile phone market, that's why.
Microsoft Describes How Virtual Earth Was Built
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
You want to know what the definition of "cool" is? It's sitting in the front row of a hotel meeting hall, watching a demo of Microsoft Virtual Earth on the 12-foot display in the front of the room, as the camera plunges from the sky to swoop and soar around detailed digital models of the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the streets of Philadelphia. Even cooler: Listening to John Curlander, general manager of Microsoft Virtual Earth, explain how it was built.
Yahoo And Microsoft Fight For Mobile Search While Google Pushes For The Entire Third Screen
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
I have finally settled back into New York after a jam-packed visit to this year's CTIA Wireless in Orlando, Fla. One of the big stories in the wider media that, surprisingly, didn't generate much insider buzz at CTIA was the on-going war to capture the emerging mobile search market.
$1 Million Or Bust
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
Chris Massey is on a cockamamie quest to make $1 million this year.
Gambling With The Internet
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
When Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which forced online gambling companies to adhere to federal and state gambling laws, it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary to assume that the reason for the crackdown was the attempt to protect compulsive gamblers from descending into a morass of debt via their home computers. But, like many other "sin" regulations, the real story is a lot more complex -- and money has more to do with it than morals.
Is SAP Imploding?
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
Shai Agassi brought something fresh to SAP. Young and dashing, he could engage an audience of customers from a stage with the savvy of a marketing exec, yet he was foremost a very smart technologist.
Microsoft Research Provides Sneak Preview Of 'Boku' Programming Environment For Kids
Commentary  |  3/29/2007  | 
A Microsoft researcher on Wednesday demonstrated Boku, an educational game designed to help children as young as five years old exercise their brains by doing programming. Boku is a cute little cartoon robot head with big, soulful eyes who hovers over a cartoon grassy field.

Jeff Hawkins, Who Invented PalmPilot, Says He's Figured Out How The Brain Works
Commentary  |  3/28/2007  | 
You can't complain that Jeff Hawkins is falsely modest. Hawkins, whose last triumph was inventing the PalmPilot, claims to have solved the greatest problem in 60 years of computer science. He says he's figured out how the human brain works, and has built a model in software, with practical applications imminent. Not only that, he says he's released a lot of the code in open source.

Network Games That Change Their Users Lives, And The World, For The Better
Commentary  |  3/28/2007  | 
Game designer Jane McGonigal has a vision for a new generation of network games that will pull players away from their lonely consoles, and get them out in the world, interacting with each other and changing their own lives, and society, for the better.

Photos Of The $100 One Laptop Per Child Laptop
Commentary  |  3/27/2007  | 
I was able to get my hands on the One Laptop Per Child $100 laptop at the O'Reilly ETech conference today. I took pictures, and they came out great -- take a look for yourself below the fold. The OLPC looks like a toy, with its hard plastic enclosure, soft plastic keyboard, bright colors, and handle. But it's a fully functional computer, designed for children in the emerging world.

AT&T COO Shows Off The iPhone At CTIA
Commentary  |  3/27/2007  | 
Just in case you thought the iPhone wasn't hanging out at CTIA, think again. During today's keynote addresses, the iPhone made a rare public appearance. Like a silver screen diva from Hollywood's golden age, the iPhone is a source of public hysteria wherever it goes.
Death Threats Force Designer To Cancel ETech Conference Appearance
Commentary  |  3/26/2007  | 
Designer Kathy Sierra abruptly cancelled her appearance at the O'Reilly ETech conference here in San Diego this week, after receiving graphic and sexual death threats that made her afraid to leave her house, she wrote on her blog today.

Gates, Jobs Go Head-To-Head In "I'm A Mac" Commercial Parody
Commentary  |  3/26/2007  | 
This humorous video pits Microsoft's Bill Gates and Apple's Steve Jobs against each other in a parody of the "I'm a Mac / I'm a PC" TV commercial. Cute. Watch it below the fold. Contains some mild foul language.
Faster Chipsets? It's About Time
Commentary  |  3/26/2007  | 
Lord knows, getting any kind of breakthrough innovation in the computer hardware sector is like working at Dunkin' Donuts ... so many variations using pretty much the same materials again and again.
The Ascent Into Hell, Postponed
Commentary  |  3/26/2007  | 
Most U.S. air travelers -- almost 70% of them, according to a 2005 poll by USA Today -- breathed a collective sigh of relief late last week when the Federal Communications Commission decided to extend its current ban on cell phone use on planes indefinitely.
Tiny Apps For Linux On Slow Hardware
Commentary  |  3/26/2007  | 
Linux has a well-deserved reputation for running well on less-powerful hardware than it takes to run Windows, and articles like How To Revive An Old PC With Linux offer lots of good advice. It's a great, no-cost way to get started with Linux. And here's what you'll need next: a great list of tiny, ultra-light-weight applications that will give you maximum computing for minimum footprint on you
The Web Just Wants To Be Rude
Commentary  |  3/25/2007  | 
The response to a recent blog post of mine has set me wondering just why it is that the first impulse of people who don't like what you write on the Web is to sling personal invective, mostly in the form of semi-literate screeds littered with curse words. The apparent answer: The anonymity provided by the Internet experience encourages a kind of online version of road rage.
'Garbage Social Networks' -- Does That Mean Twitter?
Commentary  |  3/25/2007  | 
The subject line in my email caught my eye immediately: "Thursday -- Garbage Social Networks, E-Flex, and More!" I've been playing with Twitter, and I thought, "Yes! I know just what that means!" It turns out I was wrong: the writer really meant social networks for people interested in reducing the volume of their trash. But I think my version is more interesting, because it explains the incredibly rapid devaluation of social networking as a concept. We really have sunk to the level of garbage s
The Daily Show Looks At The Viacom Lawsuit Against Google's YouTube
Commentary  |  3/23/2007  | 
"The Google guys will be like, yo, check it out, we just put another gold-plated rock-climbing wall in our office. We're CRAZY rich!" Watch the video below the fold.
Furnishing The InformationWeek Office In Second Life
Commentary  |  3/23/2007  | 
I spent some time yesterday furnishing InformationWeek's office -- or, should I say, bureau -- in Second Life. Read on for a photo of our little office, and some discussion of how it came to pass.

Jott Helps Keep Track Of To-Dos When You Can't Write 'Em Down
Commentary  |  3/23/2007  | 
I'm so excited I could just plotz -- I actually had a chance to field-test Jott yesterday and it worked like a champ. Jott is a new service that lets you phone in and record a 15-second sound bite, which it transcribes using speech recognition and then e-mails the text back to you. I used it to record an idea while I was driving to the dentist, and by gosh I had that e-mail waiting for me when I got back to my desk.

How Should We Tax Property In Virtual Worlds?
Commentary  |  3/22/2007  | 
My colleague Tom Claburn has a clever and informative article on how virtual property should be taxed in online games and worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life. Indiana law professor Leandra Lederman says virtual property should be taxed like fish -- when it's sold, not before.

New Certificates And Neo-Nomads
Commentary  |  3/22/2007  | 
The technological revolution -- and let's face it, this is truly a societal revolution -- is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups that are part of the movement. On the one hand, two industry organizations are trying to impose order on the chaos involved in getting support for home technology. On the other, an increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle.
For Sale In Second Life: Amsterdam
Commentary  |  3/22/2007  | 
Amsterdam is for sale on eBay.. It's one of the most popular areas in Second Life. More than that: It is, to Second Life, what Times Square is to New York, or Fisherman's Wharf is to San Francisco. It's one of the first places where newbies go, to look around and check out the scene.

How To Dress For Success At Google
Commentary  |  3/22/2007  | 
Google employee Jason Warner offers some fashion advice on how to dress for success in Google's offices. Apparently, it starts out with the right shoes.
I'm Going To ETech Next Week -- How About You?
Commentary  |  3/21/2007  | 
I do not want to go to the O'Reilly ETech conference next week, because that involves leaving my comfortable desk chair. But those scoundrels at O'Reilly have thwarted me by putting on a conference with a mix of practical business advice and weird philosophical hocus-pocus that I find irresistible. I've been checking out the conference schedule and here's the programming that jumps out at me as most compelling.

IBM Launches Labyrinth, Library For Developers In Second Life
Commentary  |  3/21/2007  | 
IBM launched Codestation, an area in Second Life for developers, providing training, information, as well as a code library and labyrinth where developers can learn by building robots and racing them against each other. Check out the images.
Will That Be Cash, Credit, Or SMS?
Commentary  |  3/21/2007  | 
Bankers, mobile network operators, and retailers have all come together to offer a text message-based payment program to the citizens of Belgium. Unlike near-field communication, which requires a handset equipped with an NFC short-range radio, this program will let every cell phone user complete
Google Denies Google Phone And Stresses Mobile Software
Commentary  |  3/21/2007  | 
So is Google actually building a mobile phone or not? This burning question is keeping mobile bloggers everywhere busy. And just when it looked like Google had confirmed the long-awaited Google Phone, another company executive thi
RIP Wallnote, Not The Only Victim Of Vista
Commentary  |  3/21/2007  | 
Adobe's decision not to upgrade the current versions of its applications for Vista makes it the most visible software maker to struggle with the incompatibilities created by Microsoft's new operating system. But it's hardly the only one. The one I'll miss the most: Wallnote, a nice little Web-based note-taking app that's dying along with Active Desktop.
Simple Web Services Solve Simple Problems
Commentary  |  3/20/2007  | 
We've recently seen a few interesting Internet services focused on doing one thing -- one very small thing -- and striving to do it very, very well. These include the Twitter blogging service, Jott for recording 15-second voice messages and transcribing them using speech recognition, and Remember The Milk and Imified for to-do list management.

Video: Grand Central Phone Service Explained
Commentary  |  3/20/2007  | 
I've been enthusiastically recommending the Grand Central phone service to anyone who listens. It provides you with a single number that you can give out to people, and when they call it rings your cell phone, office phone, home phone, and other phones -- whatever numbers you want it to ring. Grand Central has some other features as well, as David Pogue explains in this humorous video.

Yahoo Takes Mobile Search Wars One Step Further
Commentary  |  3/20/2007  | 
Yahoo expanded the number of handsets that can use its oneSearch service to more than 85% of mobile phones in the United States. The search function is available on Yahoo's mobile web page or through its Yahoo! Go pla
Streaming Mobile Video At Mobile Monday
Commentary  |  3/20/2007  | 
Mobile video was the hot topic at last night's Mobile Monday in New York. Those of you who know me know that I am something of a cynic when it comes to this subject. This is not to say that I don't think that mobile video has a future, but I do think several developments are needed to make it work, including better battery life and enhanced screen sizes. Maybe the
Kittens Say Macs Are Superior
Commentary  |  3/19/2007  | 
This video of a kitten playing with a MacBook has been making the rounds of the blogs. Of course, real men don't watch kitten videos, so of course I didn't watch it. And I especially didn't say "Awwwww."
Work More Comfortably By Magnifying Your Display
Commentary  |  3/19/2007  | 
Last week I confessed that I have become an obnoxious Mac evangelist. A friend who is a Windows user was complaining that he'd misplaced his reading glasses and had to crank up the zoom in Microsoft Word so he could get work done. I commented that the Mac has this really great magnifier built in; it's become one of my favorite Mac features. He told me to go away. But the thing is, the Mac zoom really <
Jott Provides Voice Reminders
Commentary  |  3/19/2007  | 
Jott is a new service that lets you make a note to yourself even when you don't have hands free to write something down. You phone Jott on your cell phone, record a message up to 15 seconds, and Jott will run the message through a voice-to-text application and e-mail you the results.

Nokia Evangelizes S60 At A Blogger Party In NYC
Commentary  |  3/16/2007  | 
Nokia last night kicked off a road show of sorts for its S60 smartphone platform here in New York City. The company threw a party for a select group of bloggers and S60 enthusiasts complete with free food, drinks, and a chance to win an unlocked N95 smartphone. How could I resist?
It's Not The U.S. Patent And Propaganda Office, Is It?
Commentary  |  3/15/2007  | 
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has done a really terrible job the last few years. But just when you think it's surely hit bottom, it sinks even lower. This week Patent Office Director Jon Dudas released a study that says peer-to-peer file-sharing services may be setting up children for copyright infringement lawsuits and compromising national security. What's that got to do with patent
Travel Tools That Let You Leave The Laptop Behind
Commentary  |  3/15/2007  | 
The South by Southwest conference gave me an opportunity to try out travel tools I've been reading and writing about for a couple of years. I found I could easily leave the laptop computer in the hotel room while continuing to write articles and blog posts from the conference. What a big relief for my back and shoulders!

Viacom Vs. Media Fans: No One Wins
Commentary  |  3/14/2007  | 
You know, now that it's out of the theaters, I imagine I'll probably rent the film Letters from Iwo Jima at some point. I've heard it's a great picture. However, if I didn't feel like renting it from Netflix or some similar service, and didn't care about copyright and ethics, I could always go to the Internet and download a copy. You say that Via
The Open-Sourcing Of College Education
Commentary  |  3/14/2007  | 
College education has gone open source: A number of top universities are placing their course materials online, free. No course credit is granted, but self learners can have access to all the same materials as those shelling out tens of thousands of dollars annually. That's great news for IT pros who are either unemployed or looking to acquire new skills and knowledge.
Wal-Mart Joins Uncle Sam On 'Green' Bandwagon
Commentary  |  3/14/2007  | 
Still think this "Green Computing" is a lot of tree hugger blather you can safely ignore? This week, Wal-Mart joins the U.S. government in embracing standards for what a makes an earth-friendly computer. This drumbeat's going to keep getting louder.
I Have Become One Of Those Obnoxious Mac Evangelists
Commentary  |  3/14/2007  | 
To my shame the other day, a friend called me on the fact that I've become one of those obnoxious people who turns every conversation about computers into a Mac-pimping session. Here's an actual instant message exchange:

Is Social Networking Destined To Go Bust?
Commentary  |  3/14/2007  | 
Michael Hirschorn takes an in-depth look at online social networking and predicts that sites like MySpace will soon go bust.
New GPL License Is Coming; Linus Torvalds Wishes It Weren't
Commentary  |  3/13/2007  | 
I was surprised in an e-mail exchange with Linus Torvalds at the depth of his criticism of the next version of the General Public License. I thought his differences with the Free Software Foundation would just fade away. Now I believe that it's not a simple issue to resolve.
Here's a Flash: Solid-State Storage Is Overtaking Rotating Memory
Commentary  |  3/13/2007  | 
Intel has announced its first solid-state drive, a storage device that uses NAND flash memory instead of those oh-so-old-fashioned (and oh-so-fragile) spinning platters in traditional hard-disk drives. It's an idea with a lot of advantages (although price isn't yet one of them). But we'll all be considering flash-based replacements for our laptop hard drives. It's just a question of whether i
Bono's A Fake, But The Green Is Real
Commentary  |  3/13/2007  | 
Maybe it's the change to DST, maybe it's the fake Bono sightings in Boston, maybe it's the approaching St. Patrick's Day festivities, but something green is afoot.
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