Business Technology News and Commentary - InformationWeek
News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in May 2006
Do The Math: EU E-Mail Tax Doesn't Add Up
Commentary  |  5/31/2006  | 
Comes now that a French MEP is proposing a tax on SMS and e-mail messages as a way to partly supplement the European Union's general fund. Every time I hear one of these proposals, I have to wonder if people have even done the math on this stuff.
Vista Secrets: Read 'Em If You Can
Commentary  |  5/30/2006  | 
Microsoft has re-released a 300-page guide to Windows Vista that was posted and then pulled in April. But even though there's now a link to it, Microsoft still seems to be working pretty hard to keep it a secret: it's available in two formats -- a 60-megabyte Word file, and an XPS file. (A what file?)
Iranian Nuclear Crisis More Than Just Fun And Games
Commentary  |  5/30/2006  | 
The Iranian government claims its nuclear program is for the production of energy -- peaceful purposes only. The U.S. government claims Iran is secretly working on nuclear bombs for its long-range missiles. America and Iran both say they'll go to war over the issue. Doesn't the conflict sound like the basis for a really fun game?
Apple Against The Rest Of Us
Commentary  |  5/30/2006  | 
The company that made media history with its classic "1984" Super Bowl commercial is acting suspiciously like an organization out of the George Orwell novel it was based on. Yes, I'm talking about Apple's attempts to force online publishers to disclose their sources of confidential information.
Playing Video Games Could Prove Beneficial To Your Health
Commentary  |  5/25/2006  | 
Before you have that laparoscopic surgery, let's hope your physician played a video game.
Apple Wants iPods To Keep Pace With Listeners
Commentary  |  5/25/2006  | 
A patent application published today suggests that Apple is planning iPod software that plays songs to suit the pace of listeners' activities. "[T]he invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of
Carnegie Mellon Tackles Data Center Operation Costs
Commentary  |  5/25/2006  | 
Coming up with new approaches to battling the rising cost of operating enterprise-class data centers will require effort from throughout the IT industry, as well as from outside sources such as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The university this week opened a new data center that will provide computing resources to the institution and its students and serve as a research lab that will target issues related to
Podcasting Really Is For The Masses
Commentary  |  5/24/2006  | 
Many of the readers of Desktop Pipeline are small to midsize business (SMB) owners, and as such have entrepreneurial natures. What that means is that you are more apt to take risks, more likely to embrace new technology and, in general, are just more fun to be around than, say, someone from Enron. All kidding aside, it makes a certain degree of sense that small businesses in particular would be faster adopters -- if not early adopters -- of technology than big companies because there's not the s
Terrorist Connections: Find Them Yourself
Commentary  |  5/24/2006  | 
There's little doubt in my mind the NSA is actively mining huge stores of data and performing social network analysis to produce complex maps of terrorist networks in the hunt for al-Qaida. And if it does it right, it could see some success. It's not like social network analysis of al-Qaida hasn't been done before, even by yours truly (though I admit I don't think I've ever caught a terrorist).
IT Analysts Duke It Out In Cyberspace. So Why Should You Care?
Commentary  |  5/23/2006  | 
Pay attention: There's a free-for-all happening among IT analysts. Currently controlled by a handful of major analyst houses--which suck up 80% of a market that rakes in $2 billion a year in revenues--the industry is being turned upside down by a swarm of upstarts that are using blogs, podcasts, and open online forums to propagate their opinions about vendors, technologies, and products. So why should you care one iota about this turf war?
Make Free Skype Calls With Regular Phone
Commentary  |  5/23/2006  | 
A gadget called the Skype USB to RJ11 Adaptor lets you make and receive free Internet VoIP calls using your regular home phone -- and your cell phone. The device plugs into your PC's USB port, and has a place to plug in your home phone. Once you set it up, you can use your home phone to make free calls to anywhere in the world.
Get 'Lost' With Game Coming Next Year
Commentary  |  5/22/2006  | 
It had to happen. By next year there should be a PC and video game based on the ABC TV series, "Lost." The French company Ubisoft announced today a long-term licensing deal with Touchstone Television that allows the game developer to create a "Lost" game in its awesome Montreal studio.
Hey Dell, What Took You So Long To Offer AMD?
Commentary  |  5/18/2006  | 
It was almost anticlimatic when the announcement came in under the radar Thursday that Dell would break with its long-standing policy of selling Intel-only computers. The confirmation came tacked on to another disappointing Dell quarterly financial report, which perhaps speaks volumes on why the move to AMD was finally made.
Maybe They Could Spell It 'Serch'
Commentary  |  5/18/2006  | 
Microsoft's rebranding of everything in sight as "Live" reached new peaks of frenzy this week when it announced a desktop search application called Windows Live Search. Only problem was, it already has a Web search called Windows Live Search.
Hardware Monitoring On Windows
Commentary  |  5/18/2006  | 
In the last post, I wrote about the hardware-level monitoring tools that are available for Linux, and in this post I'll look at the same kinds of tools that are available for Windows. Surprisingly, hardware monitoring on Windows is much more complicated than it is on Linux. For one thing, there's no single extensible sensor engine like lm_sensors on Linux
Samsung Unveils Super Phone
Commentary  |  5/18/2006  | 
Samsung unveiled a super smartphone today at the Korea 2006 Expo -- one that replaces your digital camera, iPod and GPS gadget. Oh, and you can use it to make calls, too.
Hardware Monitoring On Linux
Commentary  |  5/17/2006  | 
For the past couple of weeks I've been blogging about hardware-level management issues, but I haven't really talked about the tools and technologies that can be used to keep an eye on this stuff. This post looks at the tools that are available for Linux (and Unix in general), while the next post will look at the tools available for Windows.
Apple's New MacBooks Are 'Flaky' - Users
Commentary  |  5/17/2006  | 
Less than 24 hours after Apple unveiled its new MacBook laptop, some users have begun reporting that the black matte finish on the notebooks is fragile, literally flaking or peeling off.
Surfing Is From Mars, Support Calls Are From Venus
Commentary  |  5/17/2006  | 
A survey conducted for the Web security company Websense by Harris Interactive says that men surf more non-work-related Web sites than women while at work and spend longer looking at them, and women are far more likely to admit that their PCs are infected with spyware and call the Help Desk about it.
BlackBerry Vs. Laptop: It's No Contest
Commentary  |  5/17/2006  | 
If you could use only one device for an entire day, which would it be: your BlackBerry, cell phone, iPod, or laptop?
Battling Patent Trolls: Four Old White Guys Get It
Commentary  |  5/16/2006  | 
For at least four Supreme Court justices, understanding 21st century business dynamics helped sway their decision to join the rest of the high court in striking down a century-old precedent that all but required an injunction against those deemed to have violated a patent.
Sony Unveils Its 'Ultra Mobile PC'
Commentary  |  5/16/2006  | 
After Microsoft unveiled its Ultra Mobile PC, or "Origami," concept March 9, we witnessed a flurry of new hardware interpretations from a variety of vendors. The basic idea is a mobile device bigger and more feature-rich than a smartphone or PDA, but much smaller than a laptop.
Power Supply Management: The IT Blind Spot
Commentary  |  5/13/2006  | 
As part of building out my testing infrastructure, I've become more involved with system-level management tools and technologies. This effort has proven to be generally useful for overall resource management purposes (and particularly useful for resolving the various heat-related problems that have cropped up), but there are also some significant blind spots in the current crop of hardware management solutions. At the top of the list are system power supplies, which are currently treated as litt
Flash Outgrows The Browser
Commentary  |  5/11/2006  | 
It makes a lot of sense. Adobe is running a project code-named Apollo to free Flash from its servitude as a Web browser plug-in and make it a full-fledged, stand-alone Web application client. Apollo would render HTML and PDF files as well as Flash animations, says an article on C|Net. Web-based apps are pushing the limits of Web browsers, and Apollo would let developers package up applications that would
Xeon Heat Management
Commentary  |  5/11/2006  | 
Last week I wrote about issues dealing with getting some of my older 32-bit Athlon processors to run in a low-power, low-heat mode during idle conditions. As I said then, being able to switch into this mode when the operating system isn't busy is enough to get you most of the way toward decent power and thermal management, although sometimes you need to do some other things, like use better fans or heatsinks. To illustrate just how much extra effort can sometimes be required, I thought I would t
How To Share Camera Phone Videos
Commentary  |  5/10/2006  | 
YouTube, a very popular service for sharing videos, just rolled out today a new service that lets you easily upload your camera phone videos. It's free and easy to use.
How To Get Total Information Awareness (Without Really Trying)
Commentary  |  5/9/2006  | 
The Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project, a massive effort to use information technology to know everything about everyone in the name of national security, was too controversial, so Congress pulled the plug on funding in 2003. (Recent reports suggest that the effort was secretly taken up by the
Microsoft Lap Dog, Ms. Wyne?
Commentary  |  5/9/2006  | 
Memo to Melanie Wyne, executive director of the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC), evidently a Microsoft PR program masquerading as a trade organization: When you get what you want, you are supposed to say "thank you." Didn't your mother teach you any manners? The state of Massachusetts' request for a OpenDocument format plug-in for Microsoft Office is a very reasonable compromise. So why are you doing a very unattractive imitation of a
Bias And The Credibility Of IT Industry Analysts Reloaded, Part II
Commentary  |  5/5/2006  | 
In my previous installment on this topic, I noted that InformationWeek is working on a sequel to its controversial February 6 cover story on the credibility of IT industry analysts. The story won't appear until later this month, but I wanted to share with you some interesting ideas expressed to me in the area
Get A Grip On Athlon Power Utilization
Commentary  |  5/5/2006  | 
Like most systems managers, I have a variety of problems that stem from high CPU temperatures and power consumption. Although I've been pretty successful at getting most of my systems under control, my older Athlon-based systems have proven to be more stubborn, running at a relatively high power utilization level even under idle conditions. Today I got this fixed, and given that the industry is now starting to pay attention to the problem of wasted power an
Bias And The Credibility Of IT Industry Analysts Reloaded
Commentary  |  5/4/2006  | 
InformationWeek's February 6 cover story on the credibility of IT industry analysts is the gift that keeps on giving, primarily in the way of phone calls and E-mails telling me I got it right or wrong. InformationWeek has decided to give back. Later this month, we'll publish our next installment on this subject. But rather than rehash the same old arguments about whether analyst firms have the
Apple's iPod Phone
Commentary  |  5/4/2006  | 
Back in November 2004, Apple filed a patent for an "audio user interface for computing devices" such as "an MP3 player, a mobile phone, or a personal digital assistant." The patent application was just published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent filing adds weight to
The Future Is Now
Commentary  |  5/4/2006  | 
Don't you just love future tech? It's always fascinating to read about the new ways we'll be interacting with technology down the road. Just say the word "nanotechnology," and you've got my full attention. Or "robot." Or "flying car." (Actually, I think flying cars are a terrible idea, but that's a rant for another day.)
Green Grid Another Step Down AMD Path For Dell
Commentary  |  5/4/2006  | 
Despite some analyst reports over the past six months that Dell would soon break its "Intel Only" policy, the company created 22 years ago in a University of Texas dorm room by Michael Dell has yet to ship a system using increasingly popular processors from Advanced Micro Devices. This week's announcement at the World Conference on Information Technology in Austin, Tex., that Dell would join the AMD-driven
Microsoft 'Ware Still Needs Work On Playing Well With Others
Commentary  |  5/4/2006  | 
Two stories point up the trouble Microsoft is having with its transition to an advertising-driven business model. Deep down in the trenches, its software developers haven't gotten the news that Microsoft software has to play well with others. It seems IE7 is still going for the throat of Firefox -- the latest instance occurs when IE breaks Web links in Outlook if it's not the default browser. And Microsoft's Windows Live Shopping site won't work with Firefox at all. The company says it's working
Apple: Bully For You?
Commentary  |  5/3/2006  | 
There's no doubt that Apple is flying high. In addition to muscling a sweet deal with the industry's four largest music distributors (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI Group, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment) to continue selling songs in i
Sun's R&D Chief Gets Out His Magnifying Glass
Commentary  |  5/3/2006  | 
Scott McNealy's decision to cede his Sun Microsystems CEO title to his protégée, Jonathan Schwartz, last week after 22 years at the helm has grabbed most of the computer industry's interest around the storied company. When pressed on how his tenure would differ from McNealy's, Schwartz downplayed any shift in strategy. "The network is the computer," then and now, he said on a conference call with reporters. But an overlooked artifact of the CEO switch is Schwartz's order for a top-t
Blogs And Ethics Can Coexist
Commentary  |  5/2/2006  | 
The Internet for years has been cutting into the circulation bases and advertising revenue of daily newspapers. The dailies have been generally slow to adapt as Web sites offered the timeliest possible news, blogs, and compelling online presentations that featured lots of links to outside and related resources.
A Zettabyte Is One Sextillion Bytes -- Ooh, Baby!
Commentary  |  5/2/2006  | 
Sun has announced that Solaris will be updated with 128-bit file system addressing. Sun is calling it the Zettabyte File System. A zettabyte is one sextillion bytes. How big is that? Enough to address "all the disks currently on the planet," says a Sun guy. Ooh, doesn't it just give you tingles when geeks talk numbers like that!
Kids Online: Where Are The Parents?
Commentary  |  5/1/2006  | 
Just as we wouldn't allow our kids to go into a physical situation where we don't know the players, or what we do know isn't good, we need to follow that same advice and exercise a wallop of good old-fashioned common sense when it comes to online matters, too.
Vista: the 'Anti-Linux'?
Commentary  |  5/1/2006  | 
BitLocker, a security feature of Windows Vista, may serve not just one purpose, but two, according to a post on The Register. BitLocker is Microsoft's catchy name for hardware-based encryption that is designed to protect your data if your PC is stolen. But it may also be designed to keep you from dual-booting Linux, according to the report.

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