News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in May 2007
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Child Sex Crackdown Causes Problems For LiveJournal
Commentary  |  5/31/2007  | 
The venerable online community LiveJournal stirred up a storm of controversy when it attempted to delete sex-themed discussion groups in the name of protecting children, and accidentally deleted legitimate literary sites and at least one psychological support journal.

Should Companies Hire People With Black Marks On Their Internet Histories?
Commentary  |  5/31/2007  | 
An international retailer finds a great candidate to head up its store in Shanghai. But a bit of last-minute Googling turns up information about political activism against the Chinese government. Should she still get the job?

The Razor-Blade Strategy
Commentary  |  5/31/2007  | 
Have you heard about the razor-blade strategy (also called, according to Wikipedia, the "bait and hook model")? The idea is that a company sells you a razor for next to nothing -- or gives it away for free. Great deal, right? You get the razor, and the manufacturer gets to sell you high-cost razor blades for the next few years (or, at least, for as long as you use the razor), making a lot more than was inv
You Can See Steve Jobs' House On Google Maps
Commentary  |  5/31/2007  | 
There has been a lot of fanfare this week for the new Street View feature on Google Maps, a function that gives users a 360-degree view from the streets of select cities. Now users are reporting seeing all kinds of things, including Steve Jobs' house.
Fax Mistaken For Bomb; Director Detained For 'Shooting A Pilot'
Commentary  |  5/31/2007  | 
Yelling fire in a crowded theater ain't what it used to be. Consider the latest case of a perceived threat gone wild, which took the form of an ad faxed by a bank. One recipient in the Boston area took it to be a bomb threat, resulting in the evacuation of local stores the other day.
Linden Lab Plans Stability Improvements, Web Hooks, And Face-Lift For Second Life
Commentary  |  5/30/2007  | 
Linden Lab is working on improvements to Second Life to vastly improve Web integration, scalability, stability, and the beauty of the world, according to CTO Cory Ondrejka.

Just Because My Avatar Wears Black Socks With Sandals, That Doesn't Make Me A Middle-Aged Second Life User
Commentary  |  5/30/2007  | 
I got a call the other day from a guy who wanted to talk to me about middle-aged Second Life users. I was insulted by the implication that I'm middle-aged, and would have told him so, except I had to rush off the phone or I'd miss Matlock.

Is Second Life Just A Big Chatroom?
Commentary  |  5/30/2007  | 
Intel's launching a series of presentations for developers in Second Life puts the virtual world to its best business use, as a platform for conversations with customers. And yet it got me thinking: Is Second Life just a big chatroom?

Apple Beware: Microsoft Awarded Web Phone Patent
Commentary  |  5/30/2007  | 
Could Apple's iPhone be at the mercy of a patent just granted to Microsoft? Could be, judging by U.S. Patent 7,225,409, "Graphical User Interface For A Screen Telephone," which was awarded to Microsoft on Tuesday. More potential worries for Apple: The patent isn't just for a phone, but for the underlying softwar
Mobile Web Turns Into An Escape From Corporate Firewalls
Commentary  |  5/30/2007  | 
A few months ago I reported how mobile Web use was growing, particularly in the U.S. In the U.K., employees are flocking to toilets to use the mobile Web. Why? Because it's a fast and easy way to escape the prying eyes of IT managers and corporate firewalls.
The Walrus Bucket Internet Meme, Seriously
Commentary  |  5/29/2007  | 
The Internet has become so important to society that its role in the transmission of memes may be the crucial fact of our age. Therefore it is absolutely vital to one's position in the social order to understand and be current with Internet memes. Don't you think? Which is why you should pay a great deal of very careful attention to the Walrus Bucket Saga. Because if you don't know about it, you'll be ou
Linux Supporters Arrogant? You Be The Judge
Commentary  |  5/29/2007  | 
Never one to shy away from a good argument--the mark of the employed blogger is a very thick skin--I'd like to continue the debate kicked off by my recent post, on Dell's decision to offer PCs equipped with Ubuntu Linux. My tepid post, in which I gingerly chided Dell for not caveating its Ubuntu offerings up the wazoo, while at the same time complimenting the previously direct-sales-only PC powerhouse a
Is Sex In Second Life Harmful?
Commentary  |  5/29/2007  | 
As I worked on our report on sex in Second Life, I wondered: Is all this gettin' cyber-sweaty harmful? I decided it depends on the circumstances. But I know many of our readers will say it's just plain wrong. What do you think?

Can History Survive The Internet?
Commentary  |  5/29/2007  | 
The Internet is a wondrous place indeed. Besides all the practical benefits that are too numerous (and obvious) to mention here, there are few limits to where your imagination combined with Web technology can take you.
My Week In Second Life: A Total Klutz Tries Out Building
Commentary  |  5/26/2007  | 
When I started in Second Life a few months ago, I wrote regular updates of my personal adventures. I got out of the habit of doing them, even though people seemed to enjoy them. But now they're back -- I'll do 'em every Saturday.

FeedBurner Deal Puts Google Closer To Controlling Online Publishers
Commentary  |  5/25/2007  | 
If Google finally pulls the trigger and closes its proposed deal to buy FeedBurner, it will be one step closer to having all the tools its needs to control online publishers. Do you feel that hand near your throat?
Linden Lab Makes It Official, Lays Out Road Map For Deploying Voice
Commentary  |  5/25/2007  | 
The company plans to start testing voice on the "main grid" -- the main Second Life service -- in "the next few weeks," according to a post on the Official Linden Blog.

Driving Toward Solid-State Drives
Commentary  |  5/25/2007  | 
One of the more interesting conversations I had at Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) last week in Los Angeles was with two guys from Samsung. They talked about their company's push into solid-state memory as an enhancement -- and eventually a replacement -- for rotating hard disk storage on computers. Samsung isn't the only manufacturer working to develop plug-compatible flash memory-based storage. In January the five largest drive makers -- Samsung, Seagate, Fujitsu,
Join Us For Our Second Life Kaffeeklatsch -- Let's Talk Sculpties
Commentary  |  5/24/2007  | 
Join us in Second Life Friday for our regular kaffeeklatsch to discuss technology and business issues in Second Life and real life. For this session, let's talk about a major new feature introduced to Second Life Wednesday: "sculpties."

Linden Lab Needs To Bring In Professional Management
Commentary  |  5/24/2007  | 
Linden Lab is a wonderful company that's working miracles every day. But it doesn't have experience managing a booming business, and that shows. It needs to bring in people who know how to take a company from emerging startup to billion-dollar giant.

Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale Talks About Identity, Anonymity, And Preserving Freedom In Second Life
Commentary  |  5/23/2007  | 
I talked at length with Philip Rosedale, founder and CEO of Linden Lab, about anonymity and identity in the virtual world, and what the company would do if China or some other authoritarian nation demanded to know the identity of one of its users.

Zoho Launches Notebook Beta
Commentary  |  5/23/2007  | 
Hosted software provider Zoho this week at Interop launched its new multimedia writer, called Zoho Notebook. So, is it any good? Zoho first showed off Notebook at DEMO but didn't release a public version until yesterday.
Why People Still Use Microsoft Office: Saving Time And Peace Of Mind
Commentary  |  5/23/2007  | 
Reader Alex Wieder writes to describe why people pay for Microsoft Office -- saving time and peace of mind. His letter suggests something I'm coming to suspect: That Microsoft's Office monopoly persists on inertia and could well disappear in a few years as OpenOffice.org and other alternatives become more attractive.

Linden Lab Delaying Voice In Second Life For 'A Few Months'
Commentary  |  5/22/2007  | 
In an abrupt turnaround, Linden Lab, which develops and operates Second Life, says it'll be "a few months" before voice is available in the service. Until very recently, Linden Lab was saying voice would be available tomorrow (Wednesday).

Why Pay For Microsoft Office When OpenOffice.org Is Free?
Commentary  |  5/22/2007  | 
I've given NeoOffice, the Mac port of OpenOffice.org, a workout recently, editing and annotating word-processing documents, printing them out, and sharing the files. It's got me wondering: Why do otherwise sane people pay for Microsoft Office?

Join Us For Our Regular Kaffeeklatsch In Second Life
Commentary  |  5/22/2007  | 
Join us at 6 p.m. Pacific time/Second Life Time today for our regular InformationWeek/Dr. Dobb's Journal kaffeeklatsch, where we discuss technology and business issues in Second Life and real life.

Negroponte: Intel Marketing Victim Or Sour Grapes?
Commentary  |  5/21/2007  | 
So Nicholas Negroponte accuses Intel and others of pricing him out of some contracts that would have otherwise gone to his One Laptop Per Child plan? Shocked? You shouldn't be. This is a highly competitive market, after all.
A New Mac User Describes Some Problems
Commentary  |  5/21/2007  | 
Jim Rome writes about Mac drawbacks after switching from the PC. Overall, he likes the Mac, but he has problems with music and the user interface. He also describes how he uses virtual desktop software to manage multiple running applications.

I'm In UR InfurmashunWeeks Splainin LOLcats K Bai
Commentary  |  5/21/2007  | 
LOLcats are the latest fad making the rounds of the Internet. They're pictures of cats doing goofy things, with captions superimposed on the images, spelled out crudely as though the cat himself were doing the typing. They're hilarious.

"Live Free Or Die Hard" Coming To Second Life
Commentary  |  5/18/2007  | 
When I heard they were making a fourth Die Hard movie, I thought that was great news, because I love the Die Hard movies. When I heard Kevin Smith was going to be in it, I thought that was even better, because I love Kevin Smith (even if he did try to sabotage the InformationWeek Web site). And when I found out that Bruce Willis was going to be promoting the fourth Die Ha
We're Taking A Field Trip In Second Life
Commentary  |  5/18/2007  | 
InformationWeek and Doctor Dobb's Journal are leading an intrepid band of explorers on a Second Life field trip Friday -- to the beta grid, where we'll be playing with voice in Second Life. Everybody's welcome, so if you're reading this, join us at noon Second Life Time (which is the same thing as Pacific time in the U.S.).

FCC Gives iPhone Thumbs Up: Guess That Means Apple Will Make The June Deadline
Commentary  |  5/17/2007  | 
The iPhone today was officially approved by the FCC. That's right, Mac fans, you were right and we bloggers were wrong. It looks like your iPhone party will commence on schedule next month.
Protecting Children Online: How Much Can--And Should--MySpace Do?
Commentary  |  5/17/2007  | 
Just yesterday, the superintendent of our school district sent an e-mail to all parents detailing how two men attempted to entice a 12-year-old girl -- who was one block from her school -- into their van. In our extraordinarily safe community where parents hover over their children like chickens over new-laid eggs, this was huge news. No one can stop talking about it. An artist rendering of the two men already has been plastered throughout town. Yet very few of the parents I've talked to are awa
Qualcomm Plans Healthcare And Wellness MVNO
Commentary  |  5/17/2007  | 
Just when you thought the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model might go away, some big giant pulls it back into the limelight. The giant this week is Qualcomm and its play is a health and fitness MVNO. So Qualcomm wants to become a service provider?
Will Mobile Advertising Really Work?
Commentary  |  5/16/2007  | 
Get ready for advertising on your cell phone. According to AOL CEO Randy Falco the mobile advertising market could be worth $5 billion in the next five years. Is this just a move to defend AOL's decision to buy Third Screen Media? And does mobile advertising really have a chance?
Voice In Second Life Gets Two Thumbs Up. Or Claws. Or Tentacles. Or Whatever Appendage Is Appropriate For Your Avatar
Commentary  |  5/16/2007  | 
I had a chance to test-drive voice in Second Life this afternoon and found it to be an outstanding experience, after a few bumps and problems getting started. Read the first-impression review of voice in Second Life.. Voice is going to fundamentally change the Second Life experience, in which communication has now consisted exclusively of text chat, with the sometime addition of out-of-band phone calls and
A Darkness on the Edge of the Universe
Commentary  |  5/16/2007  | 
It hasn't made front pages yet, and it has little to do with "business innovation powered by technology," but an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University has provided the strongest evidence yet that our universe is pervaded by invisible dark matter. It's a discovery that could at once confirm the Einsteinian view of the fundamental laws of gravity, and re-shape our basic thinking about the cosmos.
Welcome to the 21st Century! Leave Your Phone Number Behind
Commentary  |  5/16/2007  | 
This is a first: I just entered the contact information for a new contributor to InformationWeek into my address book, and here's what I put in: His Skype address, his e-mail address, his Second Life avatar name, his Twitter URL, and his blog URL. It feels weird to not have a phone number for the guy -- welcome to the 21st Century, Mitch!

A Civil Society -- Online
Commentary  |  5/15/2007  | 
Back in the old, forgotten days BTW (Before The Web), when screens were green and text was all you had to work with, I spent a couple of years as the sysop of an local online forum called the Women's BBS -- a discussion group where women (and men) could feel free to discuss political, personal, and technical issues without having to deal with the obscene pick-up messages, virulent insults, and other pleasantries that we got from folks uncomfortable with our presence.
Preventing Jerks From Taking Over The Internet
Commentary  |  5/15/2007  | 
Cory Doctorow's latest column deals with a subject that's been on the top of my mind for a couple of months now: Keeping conversation civil on the Internet. When Web designer Kathy Sierra felt forced to cancel a speaking engagement after receiving death threats on her blog, it underscored for me how ugly the Internet has become, and how much I, and oth
McCartney Catalog Going Digital, But Abbey Road May Be At Risk
Commentary  |  5/15/2007  | 
It's a Beatles two-fer Tuesday this morning, with a dose of news sure to interest the over-40 crowd. First up, while the Beatles' catalog still isn't available for download on iTunes or any other music service, EMI has announced that Sir Paul's Wings and solo work will soon be released digitally.
Photo Essay: Things To Do In Second Life
Commentary  |  5/15/2007  | 
Second Life resident Hannah Hannya shares a lovely photo essay illustrating things to do in Second Life. A main source of power for the virtual world is that it's not a game, it's not a 3-D modeling tool, it's not community software. It's a set of software and networking tools that you can use to build games, or 3-D models, or communities, or do a great many other things -- including taking fine photos. Great job,
Internet Age Verification: Why Are We Kidding Ourselves?
Commentary  |  5/12/2007  | 
I've singled out Linden Lab for criticism for its scheme to require users of Second Life to offer proof of age before accessing adult content. But Linden Lab is only following standard practice on the Internet, where operators of porn sites and the government agree to pretend that we can verify the ages of people who access adult content online by requiring them to submit electronic documents.
The Smart Folks At Dr. Dobb's Journal Lead By Example Doing Business At Second Life
Commentary  |  5/12/2007  | 
I've been privileged in my short but intense career in Second Life to be able to look over the shoulders of some of the smartest businesspeople in the virtual world -- the team working for our sister publication, Dr. Dobb's Journal,. John Jainschigg, their online editor-in-chief, is always doing 12 things at once and moves three times faster than a normal person, but I was finally able to sneak up on him and put him in a cage until he told me what DDJ is up to
Jaiku: Like Twitter, But With More Features
Commentary  |  5/11/2007  | 
Jaiku offers an alternative to Twitter that might be more attractive for many users. Jaiku includes built-in tools to integrate external sources of information -- weather, headline news, blogs -- into the stream. It also allows you to set up groups of users, for your friends, family, customers and partners, or anyone who shares a common interest, something that Twitter will likely get but doesn't now have.

Will The CIA Censor Google Earth?
Commentary  |  5/11/2007  | 
Controversy surrounding satellite mapping services like Google Earth continues to grow. This week Vice Admiral Robert Murrett, the head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, told AP that commercial satellite services may need to be edited or censored to protect
Will Black Be The New Green For The Web?
Commentary  |  5/11/2007  | 
Did you know that an all-white Web page takes roughly 74 watts to display, while an all-black page uses only 59 watts? This little piece of information could lead to a revolution in Web design.
No Longer Live, Not On Memorex: The Cassette Is Dead
Commentary  |  5/11/2007  | 
It's official: those mix tapes that used to melt when you left them on the dashboard have been relegated to the dustbin of technological history. A spate of stories out of the UK is proclaiming that the cassette is dead, on the news that Currys, the British equivalent of Best Buy, has announced it'll stop selling them.
The Cutest Video On Installing Ubuntu Linux Done By a Librarian In Washington, Vermont, That You'll Ever See
Commentary  |  5/10/2007  | 
Blogger and librarian Jessamyn West got several PCs as donations, but they didn't have an operating system. So she installed Ubuntu Linux, and videotaped the process. The result is not only the cutest video on installing Ubuntu Linux done by a librarian in Washington, Vermont, that you'll ever see. It's also the only one with a catchy Zydeco soundtrack. Watch it after the jump.

Unlock Your Car Door With Your Mobile Phone
Commentary  |  5/10/2007  | 
Can you really open a car door with a cell phone? According to one story floating around the blogosphere, yes you can.
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