Business Technology News and Commentary - InformationWeek
News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in July 2006
Radio Killed The MP3 Star?
Commentary  |  7/31/2006  | 
Imagine free music available 24 hours a day -- not .99 cents -- which you can choose according to the musical style. Better still, the music is accompanied by commentary identifying what it is, and random contextual information, as well as occasional breaking-news, podcast-like audio feeds. It's called "radio."
Apple's Copy Protection Isn't The Problem
Commentary  |  7/28/2006  | 
Cory Doctorow, noted sci-fi writer and Boing Boing editor, marshals a strong argument against digital rights management in InformationWeek. But his assertion that there's no good DRM oversimplifies an issue that's best framed in compromises rather than absolutes. Apple's DRM has benefited the public and the music industry. It
Digital Music: Rent Or Own?
Commentary  |  7/27/2006  | 
For music lovers, the advent of the iTunes online music store has been an incredible boon. The ability to legally download individual tracks from a huge catalog at 99 cents a pop is delicious (and a little dangerous for your wallet).
In Search Of A Low-Cost Wireless Internet Camera... That Works
Commentary  |  7/27/2006  | 
Hawking Technologies announced yesterday a new, $129.99 wireless video camera that features automatic router configuration and URL setup. The proof, as always, is in the pudding. But that price and that feature (auto config and setup) sound pretty earth-shattering to me. For years, I've been looking for a good wireless Internet camera that's inexpensive and easy to set up. Is that so much to ask?
Open-Source Darwin Fades
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
According to a message posted on the Web site, the self-named attempt to build and maintain an independent open-source implementation of the operating system beneath Apple's OS X has come to the end of its road, with some of the blame being laid squarely on Apple's doorstep. This follows on the heels of a blistering editorial in Daemon News (a BSD news site) by OpenDarwin team memb
One Laptop Per Child Hits Resistance In India
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
The well-intentioned One Laptop Per Child initiative has always faced the question, "Buy technology, or spend more on teachers?" Reports out of India suggest that country will choose people.
Map That Traffic Jam
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
How many times have you had this experience: You're driving along the highway, either in a highly congested area or a road you're not familiar with, and you hit a traffic backup that leaves you effectively parked for, say, an hour. You curse the road, the cars around you, your fate. You ponder how useless radio traffic reports are, since they only help you if they occur--and how unlikely is this?--five minutes before you need to jump off that road at a particular exit and take an alternate route
The Myth Of The 'Flying Car'
Commentary  |  7/26/2006  | 
It's the fantasy of every frustrated driver who's ever been caught in traffic: to push a button, take off, and soar above the gridlock like an airplane. But don't hold your breath. You'll never "drive" a "flying car."
Abra Kadabra! Here's Another Photo Magic Trick!
Commentary  |  7/25/2006  | 
Here's a neat (and low-cost) trick: Make 3D prints using your existing camera, existing printer and standard printing paper. Sounds like magic, doesn't it?
Funding Innovation Where It's Incubated
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
For the kick-off session at its annual faculty summit in Redmond, Wash., last week, Microsoft convened a panel of tech leaders and educators to wax philosophic about hot IT topics of the day: declining federal research spending, job competition from India and China, and why the United States can't attract kids to math and science. There's been a lot of ink spilled about those shortcomings of American competitiveness lately. But this confab had an ace in the hole. Sitting on a stage between Mic
Two Digital Camera Magic Tricks
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Software developers have figured out how to "stitch" together or combine images to do "magic tricks" with your digital photos.
Did Intel's New Processors Fuel AMD's ATI Acquisition?
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Advanced Micro Devices could have stayed on its current path and likely continued to gain share in the x86 processor market. But on Monday, AMD executives rolled the dice and made one of the most costly acquisitions in semiconductor history by adding the graphics processing capabilities of ATI Technologies to its portfolio.
Coming Real Zune Now?
Commentary  |  7/24/2006  | 
Microsoft, which obviously didn't learn any lessons at all from the failures of the "buzz marketing" that sank its Origami "ultra mobile PC" gizmo, has unleashed a strange (as in odd . . . very, very odd) Web site that may sink Zune, the media player it confirmed it will unleash on a breathlessly awaiting world later this . . . uh, should I say "year" here, or the way things have be
What If You Could Google Objects, Not Just Words?
Commentary  |  7/21/2006  | 
Right now, you can google any word or combination of words. But what if you could google actual things or objects? UK designer Callum Peden has come up with a product idea for Google. It's just an idea, but a really good one.
Social Bookmarking For Cheapskates
Commentary  |  7/20/2006  | 
Social bookmarking sites like Digg where users vote on the quality of links -- the best rising to the top -- are transforming the Web-using experience. They do this by harnessing the power of public opinion to vet, filter and rank "content." Now -- at last -- someone has harnessed the power of the Web 2.0 to discover and rank great deals. Call it social bookmarking for cheapskates.
Group Wants U.S. Gov. To Reveal Who's Asking For H-1B Workers Now
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Should the U.S. Dept. of Labor provide public access to a government database that purportedly contains information about employers planning to hire H-1B workers for fiscal 2007, which starts on Oct. 1, 2006? Kim Berry, president of advocate group Programmers Guild, says he wants U.S. tech workers to have the chance to more fairly compete for jobs that might otherwise go to foreigners. U.S. workers should have the opportunity right now to look at requests employers have made to the DOL to fill
The 'Drama Queen' of Software Installations
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
I have installed a lot of PC software. A LOT of software. Back in the day it was a piece of cake: copy the EXE file, add it to your path statement, maybe edit a little parameters file, and you were good to go. Windows, of course, changed all that. The typical Windows installation has become a production worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, with the blessings and curses of the license agreement, the shriek of your hard drive as temp files are copied, directories initialize, cab files spring into being, r
Spammers Trying To Do To Blogs What They Did To E-Mail
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Blog comment spam -- advertising slipped into the "comments" section of blog entries -- has been around awhile. It tends to trickle in. Various schemes exist to combat it, but most blogs are completely unprotected. Though the mainstream press hasn't noticed, there was a radical increase in spam over the weekend. Who's doing it? And why the sudden increase?
Thanks, Uncle Sam. I'm Wasting More Time Filling Out Your Forms
Commentary  |  7/18/2006  | 
Americans, on average, spend nearly 29 hours a year filling out forms--on paper or online--required by the federal government.
The Postcard Has Finally Been Licked
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
The postcard -- a photo or graphic on one side with a note and addressing and postage on the other -- was patented in 1861 by John P. Charlton. Since then, tourists and holiday makers have been sending them back home to friends and family to share their experiences abroad. Oftentimes, vacationers reach home before the postcards do. Now, after 145 years the postcard's days are numbered, thanks to a new, free, and very cool Web 2.0 alternative. Sorry, Charlton.
Microsoft Takes Another Step Away From SOHO, Home Users
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Microsoft cut off support for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) last week. It was not a very responsible decision. There are still plenty of PCs running 98 and ME out there, and denying them the protection of security updates will make them vectors of infection for PCs running supported Windows versions in the long run. Microsoft might like to pooh-pooh the issue, but its own actions tell you something about the size of the problem: It felt it had to announce a solution for its corp
Apple's MacBook: Hot Enough To Fry An Egg
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
No really, it is. At least it sure looks that way from this picture of someone cooking an egg on a MacBook. Unfortunately, the source link provided from the Unofficial Apple Weblog returns a page that doesn't contain the cited post or picture. So perhaps some skepticism is in order. It may be, however, that the site originally hosting the pi
Doing H-1B Math, In Dollars And Sense
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
Foreign tech workers who enter the U.S. with H-1B visas are paid about $25,000 a year less than American workers with the same skills, according to the Programmers Guild, an advocate organization for U.S. tech professionals. And the guild's president, Kim Berry, is hoping that Congress will "correct" current wage rules that are supposed to keep the pay playing field level between American professionals and H-1B visa holders, but aren't. Current regulations have loopholes that allow employers
One Small Step For Bloggers, One Giant Step For Journalism
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Apple won't continue to bully bloggers for the name of the internal source who leaked secret company information to them last year. An appeals court ruled May 26 that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had challenged the Apple lawsuit, told The Chronicle the decision means that bloggers and other online journalists have the same right to protect their sources as t
Weapons Of . . . Genuine Advantage?
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
I wrote about Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program in my e-mail newsletter (here's an online version) this week, and mentioned that once you click "Install" it can't be uninstalled. But that turns out to be not quite the case.
Spy Photo, Name, Of Microsoft's 'iPod Killer' Leaked
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
We reported here July 5 that Microsoft was working on an "iPod killer" that would be on sale by Christmas. Details are now leaking out about the name -- it will be called the "Zune" -- and its design, according to this leaked photo, will look *a lot* like Apple's iPod.
Where's The Outrage?
Commentary  |  7/10/2006  | 
Are we becoming numb to scandal and controversy? In the world of technology, there's always plenty to go around. Some of the controversy shows up in tech product advertising. A new ad campaign by Sony showcasing a new white Sony PlayStation Portable, depicts a black woman, wearing all black, and a white woman, wearing all white, fighting each other. Some say it's racist, others say it's sexist.
FON Home? Just Say 'No Privacy'
Commentary  |  7/7/2006  | 
I am just enough of a rebel to think FON has a really cool idea with its plan to sell a million WiFi routers for $5 and turn home DSL and broadband connections into a worldwide wireless network. But I'm not quite rebel enough to commit to being a Fonero myself. I'm bothered only a little bit by the criminality. But I'm bothered a lot more by the privacy problems.
Why People Hate Those Stupid Apple Ads
Commentary  |  7/6/2006  | 
Apple is taking a lot of heat for its current series of TV and online video ads, which compare PCs and Macs by anthropomorphizing the platforms as two guys. The PC guy is a pudgy, uncharismatic, and unfashionable bore. The Mac guy is a younger, vaguely hipper, healthier looking down-to-earth guy.
Why You've Never Heard Of The Best Phone Ever
Commentary  |  7/5/2006  | 
I recently bought what I believe is the coolest landline phone with the most useful features of any phone out there. It's called the ClearSounds CLC50 Freedom Phone. If you're under the age of 60 and have good hearing, you've probably never heard of this phone. The reason is that it's designed for older people with hearing loss. My own hearing is perfect. But I still love this phone. Here's why.
Virtualization May Be Security Problem, Not Solution
Commentary  |  7/3/2006  | 
Here's another reason rootkits are the scariest technology around. We've heard some good news about virtualization as a promising defense against malware lately, but along comes Joanna Rutkowska to burst our bubble. Ms. Rutkowska outlines what she calls Blue Pill, a virtualization-based rootkit that uses AMD's SVM/Pacifica virt

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