News & Commentary
posted in November 2008
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Oh Boy, A Survival Kit For The Holidays
Commentary  |  11/30/2008  | 
Welcome to the silly season, when marketers decide their company's products make great holiday gifts. As InformationWeek's Master of Disaster, I get e-mail from all sorts of folks who think I should say nice things about their products in this here blog. Sometimes they try just a little too hard to make their products topical.
Up Next: BI on Social Networks
Commentary  |  11/30/2008  | 
It's time for the BI community to treat social networks as the business-intelligence resource they are. The recent "Motrin moms" clamor and response to Mumbai terrorism prove networks' value. The value of the information that flows through these networks is indisputable. A deeper challenge is next on the agenda: optimizing that flow by better understanding the networks themselves.
Looking At Twitter As A News Source
Commentary  |  11/29/2008  | 
If you are into online technology, you've certainly heard of Twitter by now. It seems many tech blogs can't get enough of how great Twitter is. The scene reminds me a bit of Facebook about 18 months ago. Apparently there's nothing Twitter can't do. In addition to people sharing that they just rode a horse; watched a video; cleaned their apartment; ate a hamburger or took a shower, now Twitter is being utilized as a key news source.
Twitter In Controversial Spotlight Amid Mumbai Attacks
Commentary  |  11/29/2008  | 
Never before has a crisis unleashed so much raw data -- and so little interpretation -- than what we saw as the deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, unfolded. Amid the real-time video feeds (kudos to CNN International), cell phone pictures, and tweets, we were able to keep abreast of what seemed to be happening, and where it was going down, all the while not really knowing those other key, canonical components of journalistic information gathering -- namely, who or why.
Microsoft Loses Internet Ground, Or Not?
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
As Microsoft continues its struggle for relevance in Internet services, the latest numbers seem to tell a confusing story. Depending on the headline you read, Microsoft is either treading water or losing ground to Google. A closer look at two takes on the Microsoft search share show that it's a half-full/half-empty situation with a worrisome long-term trend.
Taking The First Steps With Drupal
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
O'Reilly Media, in conjunction with two of the authors of its forthcoming Using Drupal book, is presenting a webcast titled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Drupal but were Afraid to Ask" on Friday, December 5.
My First Open Source Project
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
I started an open source software project a couple of weeks ago, sort of. It's about as minor as something like this gets -- at least for now. But even at that scale, it's become a learning experience.

Nokia Gives Up On Japan, Starts Shipping Its Touch-Phone
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
Some interesting news out of Finland this week. First up, Nokia announced that it will cease making mobile phones for the Japanese market. Second, the touch-based XpressMusic 5800 is now shipping in some markets.
Cisco's Off Switch
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
Cisco is shutting its doors to any employees who aren't "business critical" for four days, starting Dec. 29. It's supposed save money, but I think it'll cost its brand.
Mozy Sez: Back The F:\ Up!
Commentary  |  11/28/2008  | 
At least the T-shirts they're giving away at backthefup.net do. As the site says, "Screw Klondike® Bars, What Would You Do For A Back The F:\ Up T-Shirt?" Turns out what you have to do is something that promotes EMC's Mozy backup service, like writing a blog entry.
India's Outsourcers Undaunted By Mumbai Terror Attacks
News  |  11/27/2008  | 
Nasscom said the country's software and services companies remain fully operational.
Top Content Management Sites
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
FierceContentManagement last week published their list of the Top 10 content management websites. While compiling a top 10 list of this sort is always tough - what you leave off is usually just as controversial as what makes the list - I can't find fault with anything that they've included.
Down To Business: Google's Schmidt: An Economic Solution Is Within Our Grasp
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
He calls for bold government-supported R&D and infrastructure programs, starting with energy and extending to other tech sectors. But how far should the government reach -- and meddle?
Researcher Trims Forecast For LCD-TV shipments
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
Given the seriousness of the global economic slowdown, iSuppli lowered its 2008 forecast for LCD-TV shipments by 6%.
Business Owners Give Thanks -- For What?
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
A common Thanksgiving tradition is sharing what we are thankful for this year. Given the financial crisis, this is a more daunting challenge than in the past.
On Thanksgiving, Freedom for Some, Fear for Foreigners
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
I hope you will excuse a departure from my BI-focused blogs to a more personal one, but on this Thanksgiving eve, I find myself thinking more about freedom and how fragile it is right now. If you are one of the many foreign-born BI product managers, software developers, or BI specialists I have met over the years, then you will want to read this story...
Samsung Sees Cell Phone Market Squeezed
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
The company joins a long chorus line of handset makers who say the economic slowdown will cut into the growth of the global cell phone market.
Will Oracle And SAP Offer Big-Business SaaS? Sort Of
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
The question has been out there for some time: Will SAP and Oracle ever deliver software as a service to their large enterprise customers? The answer is, sort of.
History Reloaded: Changing The Past To Suit The Present
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
The authors of a new report argue that revisions to the White House Web site reflect a willingness by the Bush administration to whitewash history.
Google Sorts One Petabyte Of Data In 6 Hours
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
According to last Friday's Official Google Blog, the Google Systems Infrastructure Team has sorted a record 1 terabyte of data on 1,000 computers in only 68 seconds, which breaks the previous mark of 209 seconds established in July by Yahoo.
IBM Plunges Into 'Business Event Management,' Helping Define Field
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
The fairly new field of complex event processing sets parameters around a software event and triggers alerts if the rules governing it are violated.
Mac Resellers Launch Black Friday Discounts
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
Best Buy, MacMall, and even Apple itself are lowering prices on Macs, iPods, and accessories.
Apple Allows Some MacBook Videos To Play On External Displays
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
Apple released a QuickTime update that allows standard-definition iTunes movies to play over new MacBooks' DisplayPort to older displays, according to reports on Apple blogs. However, high-def movies are still blocked, which is unfair to owners of MacBooks and other systems by other vendors that use the same technology.
Panasonic, Sanyo Far Apart On Acquisition Price
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
If combined, a Panasonic-Sanyo company would rival Japan's Hitachi, which has some $110 billion in annual sales.
NREL Wood Chips To Power Lab's Silicon Chips
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have taken a major step in launching a "net-zero energy" facility: They lit a road flare and began burning wood chips. No kidding.
Apple's 'Really Fast' Ad Banned In U.K.
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
Apple was asked to drop another commercial for the iPhone 3G that promised the handset could access "all parts of the Internet."
CIO Salaries And The Capitalist's Killer Instinct
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
"Although CIOs are an emerging presence in the executive suite, few IT executives have the business qualifications or capitalist's killer instinct for making money," says executive search firm Egon Zehnder. So what about you: Are you an animal-spirits capitalist or a pay-me-whatever-you-want Milquetoast?
SAP User Group Fires President
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
ASUG, which had been dealing with member complaints about SAP price hikes, said Steven Strout's departure resulted from a "strategic decision" by the board of directors.
MySpace Suicide Jurors Near Verdict
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
The panel has reached a decision on three of four counts of fraud and unauthorized computer access.
Microsoft Helps Whiny Kids Get Their Xbox 360
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
It's Microsoft to the rescue for bratty children who've run out of reasons why their parents should pony up cash for an Xbox 360, economic slump be damned. The Xbox Web site will now generate a customized letter "that proves to the gift-giver in your life why you need an Xbox 360 console." I'm going to put it to the test.
Bell Canada's Takeover Deal In Danger Of Failing
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
An audit by KPMG revealed that it does not believe BCE "would meet the solvency tests" stipulated in the deal.
Apple Needs A Netbook ... Like We Need A Third Elbow
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
There's been talk here and there about how Apple needs to release a netbook-style machine to remain "competitive." It's a bad idea, and a misleading one.

Retailers Brace For Holiday Traffic, Cyber Monday
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
Brick-and-mortar and Web merchants hope for sales boost despite weak economy.
Google Round Up: Evil Layoffs, Chrome Speed Test, Street Views
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
Here are several short updates on things that Google has been up to. The search giant has been quietly laying off thousands of contractors; its Chrome browser was recently rated as the speediest; and the Street Views user interface gets a revamp.
Sony Ericsson Adds Facebook, Windows Live To Xperia Smartphone
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
Looks like developers have taken advantage of the SDK that Sony Ericsson made available for its Xperia X1 Windows Mobile smartphone. This week, Sony Ericsson added two more panels to the X1's user interface: one for Facebook and another for Microsoft's Windows Live.
Startups Use SaaS To Take On SharePoint
Commentary  |  11/26/2008  | 
Microsoft's SharePoint is the T. rex of collaboration products: big, fiercely competitive, and standing atop the social computing food chain. But smaller, nimbler players are using SaaS to compete against the thundering giant.
Piece Of Cake: Sara Lee Outsources To HP
News  |  11/26/2008  | 
The confectioner is turning to Hewlett-Packard for help with infrastructure management.
Green Jobs In This Economy?
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
The momentum for green jobs seems to be building. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty just introduced his Green Jobs Investment Initiative for the 2009 legislative session. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell is banking on a nearly $12 million investment into alternative clean energy projects to create at least 1,200 jobs. And California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, recent host of an international summit on the issue, has repeatedly thrown his political weight behind clean-technology businesses. But there a
Are Apple Retailers Arming For A Price War?
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Best Buy is getting ready to slash prices on new Macs and other Apple products, and Apple has authorized employees of its own retail stores to match the price cuts, according to reports on Apple blogs. That's bad news for store margins, but good news for Apple fans hoping for some fruity goodness under the tree.
ONEsite: A Custom Social Networking Platform that Supports iPhone Users
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
There are oodles of social networking sites. I'm partial to Facebook and LinkedIn, but there's MySpace and countless others. Why pay attention to another one, ONEsite? Because this is one that your company can build for itself, and use to build brand loyalty and create marketing opportunities.
VMAN Comes To Town, But Virtual Machine Law And Order Still Elusive
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
I've noted that the DMTF.org standards body is not working on a spec for a standard virtual machine runtime, one that could be shared by all vendors. Why not? Because among DMTF members, there's no political will to do so. There is, however, a desire to create a standard VM management interface.
Blockbuster Takes On Netflix, Apple With Direct-To-TV Player
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
To lure customers, Blockbuster is offering the player at no charge for people who rent 25 online Blockbuster movies in advance for $99.
Making Microsoft Office Apps Into SOA Services
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
Tibco and OpenSpan are teaming up to combine functions from Office applications into a new composite that helps automate the business process.
PayPal Adds SMS Authentication Service
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
In a bid to add more security, the online payment company will offer the option of having a unique code sent to the user's cell phone prior to logging in.
Microsoft Continues Its SaaS March
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Nokia's Symbian Acquisition Reportedly On Schedule
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
In preparation, Nokia said it would port its Qt cross-application framework to Symbian in a move to attract developers of other platforms.
Are Netbooks On Your Company's Shopping List?
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
If your company occasionally sends workers out of the office, you might want to consider a having a "loaner" Netbook available to keep them productive without weighing them down. Especially since holiday sales are pushing prices down below $300 on Black Friday.
Death, Taxes, And Open Source Business Models
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
To the eternal list of death and taxes, we might as well add debates about open source licensing and sales. Two recent discussions about licensing and business models got me thinking again about what's suitable to what end, and how to interpret what you see other companies doing as a model for your own work.

Google Pins Gmail Bug On Phishing
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
In response to reported security vulnerabilities in Gmail, Google puts the blame on some users who fell for a bogus e-mail scam.
Opera Mini Gets Update, Lands On Android
News  |  11/25/2008  | 
Version 4.2 of the Web browser can now be downloaded for the T-Mobile G1, improving speeds up to 30%, the company claims.
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