Commentary
Content posted in January 2006
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IE 7 Beta? It's Not Quite 'Just Click Here'
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Microsoft really wants the IT pros to check out the just-released Internet Explorer beta. It's got checklists of stuff you should run through on the download site. But if you're just an average Joe Tirekicker, be prepared to jump through some hoops to get the beta up and running on your system. Not big hoops, just enough annoyance to make you think maybe you don't need to bother.
What Are The IT Giants Afraid Of?
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
More Guidance On Regulations
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
We can all use a little guidance when it comes to identifying how regulations will affect our business processes and IT environments. The hard part is figuring out how compliance requirements change based on geographic variables and vertical markets. And such guidance is starting to emerge. Two directories/guides were recently announced; both are free after registration, but only one is currently available. The Object Management Group (OMG) and the OMG Regulat
Independent Software Training Blues
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
At least one business intelligence software instructor and a user group are throwing accusations at BI heavyweight Business Objects, claiming the company takes a hard line with independent organizations that teach users about its software.
Are You Happy With Your Job?
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Low federal turnover rates, coupled with little demand for IT jobs at the federal level, means there aren't a lot of options for would-be job-hoppers.
What Bush Might Say About Health Care In Tonight's State of the Union Address
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Besides the war in Iraq, another hot-button topic that President Bush is expected to give a lot of attention to tonight in his State of the Union Address, is health care, including its spiraling costs and the coverage that millions of Americans lack.
The Need To Freeze Out The Bad Guys
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Security visionary Eugene Kaspersky sees Internet crime as tomorrow's biggest threat.
WinCramped
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
I don't usually cover security-related news here without, of course, an Open Source angle of some sort. But so many fans of open-source software use Winamp -- and so many use it constantly, as part of their daily routines -- that today's zero-day, attack-and-exploit report could be devastating. And now that a patch is available, the best way to prevent the very real possibility that an attacker will turn you
What Are The IT Giants Afraid of?
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Congressional subcommittees and caucuses are often annoying and self-important, and probably no one attends at least half of their hearings save for the panel members themselves, their staff and the people called before them to testify about whatever. Nonetheless, in an atmosphere infused with constant references to exporting freedom, democracy and other rights,
Don't Look Now, But You're A Blogger
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Studies show most Internet users don't maintain a blog, and even fewer keep an RSS feed. There has been plenty of buzz around blogging over the past two years but, as some observers have pointed out, blogging is just writing that's shared with others using software that makes it all very easy.
The Data Deluge
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
It's true, what some technology analysts say: If data runs too rampant and widespread, it might as well not even exist. If you can't tame it, you can't channel it into intelligence.
Five Things You Need To Know About VoIP
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Thinking of moving to VoIP, or you've already made the switch? Here's some of the things you need to know about efficiency, security, scalability, and how VoIP can help make your company look cool.
Sour Grapes And Cheap Whine
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Last week, I discussed the growing momentum Nicholas Negroponte and the One Laptop Per Child project have built lately, especially given the United Nations' .formal endorsement of the project in Davos last Thursday. This week, the other side of the story is emerging -- and it's possible that we may yet see a Certain Unnamed, Very Large Company try to undermine the project, even though OLPC is progressing to the point where such behavior looks increasingly malicious and petty. According to John
Favorite Firefox Extensions
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Take A Byte Out Of Cybercrime
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Favorite Firefox Extensions
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Other people play Minesweeper or Soduku or alphabetize their Rolodexes. When I'm looking to procrastinate, I mess around with desktop productivity software. Firefox extensions, in particular, are good for endless hours of work avoidance. Here's some of the best I've found recently:
RFID Connects U.S. Outsourcing With India And China
Commentary  |  1/29/2006  | 
Savi Technology Inc., a privately held company that generated revenue of approximately $90 million in 2005, is working with retail companies and ship-vessel operators to build out an international supply chain. This supply chain is enabled by radio frequency identification technology (RFID). The goal is to gain access to real-time data transmitted from the RFID tags on containers in transit to make split-second decisions that could redirect cargo in transit. The application will become more va
Extension Addendum
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
I've received some great feedback on my Firefox extensions article; judging from the number of people reading it, this is just as popular a topic as it has always been. Some readers have emailed asking whether these are my own favorite extensions, or actually my picks specifically for beginning Firefox users -- as I'll explain, it's more the latter. I have also have received two other questions (so far) that I figure enough people will want to
Oracle's Wedding Gift: Siebel Ends On A High Note
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
Oh, the irony. After three quarters of anemic earnings, Siebel Systems pulls a rabbit out of the hat just days before its shareholders are set to vote on Oracle's acquisition of the CRM software maker. Revenue through the roof. Profit up the wazoo. License sales at nearly pre-dot-com-bust levels. Larry Ellison must be feeling pretty good about himself about now.
Feedback
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
Sun Scores First 'Defensive' Open-Source Success
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
By making Solaris open-source code, Sun Microsystems has staged the first successful defensive open-source maneuver. I call it the scorched earth approach to open source. Like a smokejumper in front of a forest fire, Sun set a backfire to consume the fuel before the conflagration could reach it.
Oracle's SOA Push
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
The database giant Oracle wants to give its customers one-stop shopping for SOA solutions. The open question remains whether its customers are ready.
Hands Off My Internet, Mark Cuban!
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
Common Cause has picked up the cudgels for "network neutrality," the idea that the Internet should be an equal-opportunity medium, not for sale to the highest bidder the way Big Telco would like to see it. And I love the way the consumer-advocacy group has gone about it -- with pictures of five telco executives in devil's horns posed against the fires of hell. That's about right. But one of those executives is Mark Cuban, the technology maverick who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Wait, this is a guy
What Changed in 2005?
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
Google's Long March
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
It is very easy to spin Google's decision to censor the search results on its new Chinese Web site as a sellout. If you haven't already heard someone crowing over Google's cold, calculating betrayal of its corporate vow to Do No Evil, don't worry -- you will. Before you buy into this smugfest, however, consider another angle
Keep The Knives Away From Storage
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
Will storage concerns outweigh security this year? It seems like a stretch but that's what a recent survey by Glass House Technologies indicates. According to Glass House's "2006 Storage Budget Survey", 2006 will be a year for holding down costs and that means IT will be wringing out more efficiency from storage architectures. Now, Glass House is a provider of independent services that help organizations solve enterprise storage problems and focuses on in
What Good Is BPM?
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
Have you heard of business process management (BPM)? If you have, that's pretty normal. Have you ever really gotten a clear explanation of what BPM is? If you haven't, that, unfortunately, is pretty normal too.
Tomorrow, The World
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
Almost everyone who learns about Nicholas Negroponte's effort to distribute millions of laptop computers to kids in developing nations has an opinion about the plan. Surprisingly, it's often a negative opinion: If Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) ever appeared on the ballot, I would hate to have money riding on the outcome. Fortunately, that's a non-issue. Negroponte a
Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
Browsing For Alternatives
Commentary  |  1/26/2006  | 
Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
One way to win back some industry kudos might be to more fully embrace the world of open-source software that Microsoft has long been fighting. Perhaps this is one small step in that direction.
Intel-AMD MPU War Over, We're All Winners
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
It's officially time to call an end to the microprocessor war between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. War implies that there will be an ultimate victor and a vanquished, a result that's increasingly apparent will not be occurring any time this decade.
Vista: Exclusivity By Design
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
Hoo boy. If you thought Microsoft Vista was going to be complicated to run on a PC, that looks like simplicity itself compared to writing applications to run on it. At every level from the lowliest device driver to the most complex GUI app Microsoft is putting developers through hoops and tightening its grip. If you're a developer who thought it was tough to compete with Microsoft before, get ready for a whole new relationship: Microsoft as God.
Opinion: Don't Ignore India And Hope It Will Go Away
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
Maybe India and other developing countries will become the centers for future tech innovation. Maybe India's contribution will be limited to low-cost, low-end jobs. But India's tech industry is not going away, and American IT managers shouldn't underestimate it, or ignore it, says Rob Preston.
Web Talk Show To Be Hosted By Cartoon Character
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
Here's something that could only happen on the Internet -- a new talk show in development that will be unveiled later this year will be hosted by a cartoon character. A British-accented baby named "Stewie" from the Fox animated series "Family Guy" is slated to host the new, online-only show.
Google, The Sea Monster, And The Big Whirlpool
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
The headline on today's top story, "Google's Achilles' Heel," references classical mythology. Here's another classical mythology reference that's not mentioned in the story: Scylla and Charybdis. In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster who lived on one side of the Strait of Messia. A whirlpool named Charybdis was on the other side of the strait. Ships passing through the channel had to carefully steer a course between the two hazards. If they went too wrong in one direction, the sea monster g
Behind The Times
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
I know a few professional designers, including some who do user-interface work. As you might expect, they're a pretty tech-savvy bunch -- and they certainly try stay abreast of the latest technology news. And then, on the other hand, you have the developers and design-firm executives quoted in a recent story about Microsoft's new Expression Graphic Designer tools. I don't know what
Is Unix Dead? I Think I Hear It Laughing...
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
Is Unix dead? We debated that issue as we worked on this week's cover story, "What's Left Of Unix?" My answer is no, it's not dead. As a matter of fact, I think I hear it laughing on its way to the bank.
What Disney's Pixar Deal Means For Apple: The MoodPod
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
With Disney set to buy Pixar for $7 billion in stock, there will be two main beneficiaries. The first, of course, is Steve Jobs, who stands to double his $3 billion net worth. The second is Apple Computer.
If Compliance Costs Are Still Rising, Something Is Wrong
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
Analysts and vendors have been telling us Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs should go down each year, but in a recent reader poll, more than half of our respondents claimed they are expecting just the opposite. A third of respondents did, however, expect their compliance costs will go down this year. That tells me one of three things is happening: Either the promised return on investment from tools already applied to the p
Bring The Big Data Thunder
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
In this era of business intelligence application standardization and data aggregation, what could be better than one, super-huge database -- especially if it's a terabyte in size and sits on one PC?
Globalization, Offshoring Are Key To Ford's Turnaround
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
Ford Motor Co.'s plan to cut 34,000 jobs to help restore profitability is just the beginning of the automaker's campaign to ensure its competitiveness in the 21st century. And while labor unions and some media commentators will frame the move as more proof that American workers are being sold out, the truth is more complex--though not by much.
Does An Outside Contractor Help Speed Some Tech Projects?
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
Two transportation-security projects have yielded vastly different results thus far. One big difference is an outside contractor's level of involvement.
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