News & Commentary
posted in July 2009
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Windows 7 Gets Auto-Upgrade Switch
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Microsoft's Windows Anytime Upgrade program lets users migrate to a premium version of the OS with a mouse click.
Piracy Verdict Gets Student Fined $675,000
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
The verdict, $22,000 per track, is far less than the legal maximum the jury could have levied.
FCC Enters Google Voice Debacle, Investigating AT&T And Apple
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Wow. Today, the Federal Communications Commission launched a formal inquiry over Apple's removal of the Google Voice application from the iPhone Apps Store. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Apple and Google looking for answers on the matter.
Set Top Shipments To Top 200M By 2013
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Many consumers are interested in a set-top box that connects to their PC and Internet.
Google Woos Business Users With Billboard Ad Campaign
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
The company that made Internet advertising what it is today has decided to promote Google Apps using really big display ads by the highway.
Microsoft Hosts Windows Mobile Developer Camps
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Microsoft will be hosting a number of developer camps for its WIndows Mobile platform in the coming weeks in at least six cities around the world. If you develop apps to sell or work on them for your enterprise, you might want to check these events out. The targeted platform is Windows Mobile 6.5.
Too Many Collaboration Platforms
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Chatting in the lounge of our Global CIO virtual event this week, one CIO raised his concern about having too many collaboration platforms. A wiki here, e-mail alerts there, a SharePoint group there, and pretty soon the discussion's fragmented, and IT has a bunch more platforms to support.
VoloMedia Granted Patent For Inventing Podcasting
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
But blogging pioneer Dave Winer, among others, says there's plenty of prior art contradicting VoloMedia's claims.
Amazon Kindle E-book Deletion Prompts Lawsuit
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Amazon angered customers when it remotely deleted two books in from Kindle e-book readers without notifying their owners.
Apple Fixes iPhone SMS Vulnerability
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Moving to close a hole revealed at the Black Hat security conference on Thursday, Apple has released iPhone OS 3.0.1.
When Online Marketers Betray
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
One day soon, some marketing company is going to go too far in its quest for short term gains, and betray our real identities to one of its customers. Or it will turn out that one of them has been doing it all along for years.
Firefox Passes One Billion Downloads
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
The Mozilla community is celebrating Firefox's success with online and offline events.
iPhone OS 3.0 Leads To Wi-Fi Use Surge
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
AT&T says it saw a 41% increase last quarter in iPhone connections at wireless hotspots.
Verizon Apps Store: No Bandwidth Hogs, Please
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
A Verizon Wireless spokesperson has indicated that the company plans to block applications that draw a lot of bandwidth from its V CAST Apps store. What, you thought Verizon was going to be more "open"? This and the Great Google Voice Debacle prove that "openness" is a fallacy and the walled gardens never came down.
In Case Of Disaster, Turn To Cloud
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Disaster recovery is one of those eat-your-spinach topics: not glamorous, not fun, not appealing but good for you. A new report predicts that cloud computing will transform the backup, recovery, and business continuity markets and hit the sweet spot for many SMBs.
Shuttle Glides To Safe Landing
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Endeavour completes 16-day mission with spot on touchdown.
New Ubuntu Support Plans Built For Small-Biz Users
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Ubuntu wants to win over more small-business Linux users with a new set of targeted, low-cost desktop tech support packages.
HTC Lowers Revenue Forecast
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
The smartphone maker is feeling the heat from a downward trend in handset pricing and from China's delay in rolling out its 3G network.
UK Government Tries Twittering By Committee
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Reading about U.K. government guidelines for participating in Twitter, I'm reminded of a joke: A woman says to her workaholic husband, "We need more spontaneity in our marriage. Surprise me!" And the man says, "Great idea, honey! Why don't you prepare a list of ways that you'd like me to surprise you spontaneously, and then we can schedule a meeting to discuss it!"
ReviewCam: Video Publishing Magnified
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Magnify is a hosted solution for managing and publishing video on the web. It shares many of the traits that similar, competitive solutions have, but it's got two features that caught my attention. First (and this is a small one), it auto-tweets any new video you publish; second (and this is a big one), it lets you integrate your video with video on other public web sites. We've captured some of the nuances in a ReviewCam video.
Apple To Patch iPhone Security Flaw [UPDATE]
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
According to U.K.-based network operator O2, Apple plans to distribute a patch for the iPhone's SMS security flaw as soon as this weekend. What's not clear is if the patch will be only for O2's customers or if Apple will update all iPhones. Update: iPhone OS 3.0.1 released to fix the flaw!
Motorola Plans Low-Cost Android Phones
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Motorola says it will use Google's Android platform to make smartphones at feature phone prices.
SPSS Is Not the Story; IBM's Vision for Analytics Is
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
The media and my fellow analysts have been breathlessly touting IBM's acquisition of SPSS ($1.2B) as some sort groundbreaking to a new era of analytics. I don't see it that way... If anyone thinks the acquisition of SPSS marks IBM's serious entry into analytics, they've been sleeping...
iPhone Smackdown: TechCrunch's Arrington Versus Forrester's Colony
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I hate to dive into the traffic-trolling antics of TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, but I will (and not just because I'm chasing clicks, too). In his post about why he's abandoning the iPhone, he's apparently coming around to the view I've espoused for years. Namely, there are better options out there. He's opting for an Android; I say Blackberry's better.
Google's Global Dominance
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
While Google's search share of 60% in the U.S. will certainly be tough for Microsoft and Yahoo to attack, the challenge in many other major countries around the world will be even more daunting: Google's worldwide search share is 67%, according to ComScore.
Netezza Is Changing its Hardware Architecture, Slashing Prices
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Netezza is about to make its biggest product announcement in years, cutting prices to less than $20K/terabyte of user data, replacing its PowerPC chips with Intel-based IBM blades and making substantial changes in how data flows between the various parts of a Netezza node for a claimed 10-15X increase in price-performance...
The CentOS Shakeup
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
A rift has opened within the ranks of the CentOS project -- a schism between the project's team and its leader that, to me, points up the differences between a "hobby" and a "professional" open source project.

Whacky Graphics at USAspending.gov
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I started this blog entry with the intent of appraising USAspending.gov's IT Dashboard, a new, interactive tool for evaluation of Federal Government IT spending. Unfortunately, graphical issues start on USAspending.gov's main page with one downright whacky graphic. I can't recall the last time I saw a graphic that so distorted the numbers, so I tried to recreate it (and failed). Here's how...
EDS Wins Tennessee Medicaid Deal
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
HP tech services subsidiary will upgrade state's health information systems.
1 In 10 Internet Users Buys Virtual Goods
News  |  7/31/2009  | 
Nearly half of buyers report visiting virtual worlds; more than a quarter said they either own an iPhone or play social network games.
Can Wal-Mart Sell The Power Of The Sun?
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I'm a huge fan of Wal-Mart and its passionate commitment to customers and its ability to do things at an unmatched scale and with unmatched efficiency. Even so, I'm not buying an investment advisor's frothy analysis of how Wal-Mart is looking to harness the power of the sun to become one of the country's largest producers - and sellers - of electrical power.
Yahoo's Incredible Change Of Fortune
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Only last year, Microsoft offered to buy the whole of Yahoo for a price of somewhere around $40 billion dollars. This week, Microsoft managed to get the part they really wanted, the search traffic from Yahoo visitors, for almost nothing. What was Yahoo thinking?
Apple Shows Google The Web Hasn't Won
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
The Web may be the platform of the future, but at the moment, Web development technology doesn't provide Google with a way around Apple's ban on its Google Voice app.
Xbox's Project Natal Revamped For Offices?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
The technology behind Microsoft's Project Natal, a future Xbox technology that employs voice recognition technology and uses a camera to recognize gestures and eliminate the need for a controller, could eventually make its way into the business world.
Pirate Bay Tossed Out Of Netherlands
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
The organizers of the Pirate Bay have 10 days to block traffic to and from the Netherlands, or face stiff fines.
Google Docs Gains E-Commerce Option
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Google on Thursday released the Google Checkout store gadget, software that allows any Google Docs user to create an online store and sell items using a Google spreadsheet.
Apple Doubles Time Capsule Capacity, Cuts Pricing
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
Apple added a new model to the Time Capsule line, which combines backup storage with a Wi-Fi base station. The company also cut pricing to the existing Time Capsule.
The Potential of Virtual Desktops
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I've been covering desktop virtualization quite a bit lately; it's a pretty hot topic. After debugging the Matrix for the last 6 months in the InformationWeek Desktop Virtualization labs, I'm trying to free my mind and consider the potential uses of desktop virtualization beyond running MS Office, here's some pretty cool ideas. Gaming companies, listen up.
Is This Verizon's Android Phone?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Well, it looks like the specs and pictures have leaked of the first Android phone to be on Verizon Wireless' network, and this Motorola smartphone looks really, really cool. Hit the jump for details and a picture.
Google Readies Its Book Business
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
As it prepares to become a major digital book seller, Google is striking partnerships with brick-and-mortar stores and trying to dispel concerns.
SAP Demos Commitment To Business ByDesign
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
Enhancements and testing of the software-as-a-service suite indicate that SAP intends to make the offering more broadly available next year.
Student On Trial Admits Sharing Music Online
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
Joel Tenenbaum could face up to $4.5 million in penalties if the RIAA prevails and he is found guilty of illegally downloading 30 songs.
Microsoft CEO Says 'Nobody Gets' Yahoo Deal
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
Steve Ballmer says he was surprised by the market's reaction to the search and advertising partnership but also characterized the deal as "a little bit complicated."
Are Mobile Devices Closing The Digital Divide?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Mobile devices seem to be closing the digital divide. More and more people are getting online with cell phones, but the uptake is really strong with minorities according to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Carriers Respond To Bans On Texting While Driving
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
The four major wireless operators agree that the practice is dangerous, but not all believe national legislation is the best way to solve the problem.
Memory Chip Market Recovering
News  |  7/30/2009  | 
Rising demand and limited supply will boost prices for DDR3 DRAM chips in the second half of the year, iSuppli says.
In SPSS, IBM Gains an Open R & Python Analytics Platform
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I love telling folks that I ran my first SPSS programs in 1976... and that I haven't run one since. SPSS has long since reinvented itself as a predictive analytics vendor but brings other, less-visible assets to the IBM deal including the ability to patch Python and R code into SPSS routines. SPSS's Bring Your Own Analytics is a clear competitive differentiator with benefits for users and the company alike...
Microsoft Is Following Me On Twitter
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I'll admit to experiencing a tiny ego frisson upon reading the email notification that Microsoft News is now following me on Twitter (and since I'll be Tweeting this, I assume someone at Microsoft News will feel the cool pleasure of a python having taken the measure of its prey).
BlackHat Bombshell #2: iPhones And Other "GSM" Phones Open To SMS Hack
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
With one bombshell already having been dropped at the BlackHat Conference (that most implementations of SSL are configured to give up everything including logins, credit cards, etc.), researchers dropped another one today when they demonstrated how the SMS infrastructures of GSM-flavored operators such as AT&T and T-Mobile are hackable to the point that cell phones can be hacked and their users can be tri
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