Commentary
Content posted in January 2008
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VMs On The Edge
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
What started as a basic VM test has taken on a life of its own; it looks like we'll be walking the virtualization talk, pushing a VM host out near the edge of my production network. Wish me luck ...
The Coolest Thing I Saw At DEMO
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Every year at Demo there's one presenter that captures my imagination and actually seems to be providing something that I will find useful. This year, while Skyfire showed off the beta of an intriguing new mobile browser and BitGravity displayed its power new network platform for high-definition video, the choice was easy: Silobreaker.
Life After CIO
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Gail Farnsley, CIO of Cummins, is leaving her post to create and oversee a new technology education effort at Purdue University. So there is life after the CIO position, after all.
CIOs Uncensored: IT's New Agenda: Cut Off Nose, Spite Face
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Budgets were trending upward, but recession worries may have put the kibosh on that.
ELT vs. ETL: Much Ado about Something
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
There's no doubt that ELT - yes, that's extract-load-transform (also called "pushdown") not conventional extract-transform-load (ETL) - is now a mainstream capability. Informatica's inclusion of pushdown optimization in the recently released PowerCenter version 8.5 brings ELT the legitimacy it deserves... I fully expect pushdown will be come a new frontier in the battle for ETL supremacy.
How many iPhones does it take to change a light bulb?
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
The answer is: I don't know. But when I get one, I'll let you know. But there are other riddles regarding the iPhone. One is... where are they? Apple says that it has shipped 3.75 million iPhones by the end of 2007. At that time, the only authorized telecom company for activating those iPhones was AT&T. However, AT&T reported activating just under 2 million iPhones.
Join Us For GridTalk With Futurist And Science-Fiction Writer Karl Schroeder
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Join us in Second Life and on the Internet Friday at noon Pacific time for a live Q&A with Karl Schroeder, a futures researcher, blogger at WorldChanging.com and science-fiction writer.
Build-A-PC Chronicles: Reviving A Dusty Old Case
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Embarking on a PC construction project is the opposite of building a new relationship. With the latter, the first flush of discovery is the fun part. In contrast, gathering up all the components for the computer is an expensive drag. Nothing is less enticing than picking out a case. The difference nowadays is that the PC's enclosure used to be an afterthought. Now, with hot-running modern processors, it's cri
Dirty, Sexy Data Centers
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Solar and wind technologies are as popular as Tom Brady and his sparkling choppers. Everybody wants some. Sadly, the green initiatives investors should be pushing for even harder are as glamorous as snaggle-toothed Nanny McPhee: data center efficiencies.
So Open Source Is Mainstream -- Now What?
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
This may not be "the year of Linux on the desktop" -- and who knows, maybe it is -- but there's little to no question that this is a pivotal year for open source as a mainstream economic phenomenon in the tech world, as my colleague Charles Babcock has indicated.  My big question is: what next?

Yeehaw For Open Access! C Block Reaches $4.6B Reserve
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Today, the FCC's 700-MHz auction got really interesting. The C Block, which spans the entire country in two 11-MHz pairs, met its FCC-mandated reserve price of $4.6 billion. This means that the winning bidder must provide open access on a portion of its network to any compatible device. Google gets what it wants, but is it
Apple Users Are Smug Control Freaks, Says Study
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Researchers from Internet ad network Mindset Media say the Mac guy in the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercial is typical of Mac users: superior, self-satisfied, control freaks, perfectionists, politically and socially liberal -- and satisfied with their purchases.
Best Laid Plans, Or Cables...
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
On Tuesday night, two unrelated undersea cables in the Mediterranean were cut within hours of each other, disrupting Internet and phone service to Egypt and, more significantly, to India, the call center capital of the world.
The Recession is Coming! Quick, Start Hiring
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Anyone who follows news on the economy knows the picture isn't great: a volatile stock market, a mortgage crisis, a credit crunch. If we were living in Paul Revere's day, we'd probably eventually see a man on a horse racing through our towns and cities shouting, "A recession is coming! A recession is coming!" Still, we get it. So, how should smaller businesses get ready for the inevitable?
What The...?!? Garmin Enters Cell Phone Market With iPhone Look-Alike
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Cell phones must really be the in technology this year. Garmin -- you know, maker of GPS hardware -- has leaped into the cell phone business from out of nowhere with the nuvifone. Announced at an event in NYC last night, this wunderdevice has it all: GPS, 3.5G, W
Dog Food Is Important, But Don't Forget The Dog
Commentary  |  1/31/2008  | 
Long ago, Microsoft verbified the term "dog food" to describe the act of using its own products within Microsoft, as they are being developed. Dogfooding helps developers make sure the product really works the way it's supposed to work, on real computers with real users trying to get real work done. Yet all that focus on the dog food ignores the importance of the dogs.
Continuity's RecoveryGuard Reveals DR Flaws
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Today's large IT environments are dynamic places; applications, volumes, and file systems are added, deleted, and reallocated on SANs on a daily basis. The disaster recovery plan, on the other hand, is updated and tested on an annual basis. As a result, most organizations think their data is better protected than it really is.
Dell + Google = First Android Phone?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
The Gphone has been resurrected and the rumor mills are running rampant with this one. The latest scuttlebutt is that Google is partnering with Dell for the first ever Android-powered handset. According to people in the know, word will be delivered from on high during the Mobile World Congress next month. Is this one for real?
DEMO Update: The Problems With 'Me-Centric' Search
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Among the presenters in the final stretch of the 2008 Demo conference were a pair of companies that are focused on search results geared specifically to the preferences, needs, and personality of the searcher. It was apparent that that's not necessarily such a great thing.
Next-Gen Collaboration Takes Stage At DEMO
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
In the after-lunch lull at Demo 08, a group of companies displayed new sets of collaboration technologies that can transform the way companies connect and collaborate remotely.
Put A Brick In It
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
"IT managers continue to place a premium on system reliability as they grapple with storage capacity concerns," started a press release in this morning's inbox. This was the key (and altogether unsurprising) data point of a vendor survey. Why do vendors bother with these blazing insights into the glaringly obvious?
Web 2.0 Gone Awry: Tracking A Pizza Online?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Alert! Alert! Useless implementation of Web 2.0 Technology in progress. Alert!
Open Source 'Movement' Becoming A Gold Rush
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
I see references to the open source "movement," as if it were a cohesive ideological gathering, like the Labor Movement of the 1930s or maybe the Wobblies. I agree there are certain shared values among open source developers and a favored way of doing things, but I've always doubted the political agenda. After the $1 billion Sun/MySQL deal, however, my doubts have been erased. It's clear there is a movement -- and it's headed toward the bank.
Where's Your Credit Card Data?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
PCI regulations require companies to protect credit card numbers. But first you have to know where they are. Here's what I've learned from retailers and PCI auditors about step one of PCI compliance.
It's The Talent, Not Just The Technology
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Something I've noted in passing about the recent spate of open-source acquisitions -- Nokia and Trolltech, Sun and MySQL AB -- deserves to be expounded on at length.  What's being bought here is not the software, but the talent behind it.  The software is free, or as free as this sort of thing gets.  Talent is priceless.  That's what's being bought and sold here.

Are Enterprises Finally Waking Up To RSS?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
It seems like yesterday I was downloading Newsgator's Outlook-friendly tool to quench my thirst for all the RSS subscriptions I could find.
Dell Ditches Kiosks
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
NPR, Cnet News.com
Amy Winehouse Drives A Top EPA Official 'Nuts'
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
The deputy EPA administrator has used his latest blog to inform the public not about global warming, alternative energy, or carbon credits. Nope, he's ranting that Amy Winehouse's "incredibly self-destructive behavior" drives him "nuts." Huh?
AMD's Bug-Free Barcelona Is Ahead Of Schedule
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
System builders and end-users still troubled over the fallout from the bug in AMD's quad-core Barcelona and Phenom processors can take comfort from some good news. Sources close to AMD tell me that the new B3 stepping, which corrects the problems via a silicon fix, is ahead of schedule and things are looking good. Here are the details.
Consumers Are Not Smart Enough For Smartphones
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
You have one chance to guess what the most-returned gifts were this holiday season. If you guessed smartphones, you'd be right. A new survey from Opinion Research Corp. shows that 21% of gifted smartphones were returned to the store. The reason? Inability to understand the product setup process. Perhaps smartphones aren't ready for prime time after all.
Steve Jobs Reassures Employees After Apple Stock Slide
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs sent an e-mail to employees to reassure them that Apple investors will soon recoup their losses, and more, according to a report in AppleInsider.com. "As you can see, we have outperformed many other blue-chip tech companies, including Google," he said. "I continue to believe that our fundamentals -- our remarkable people, our clear and focused strategy, ou
Intel A Green Giant
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Intel is now the single largest corporate purchaser of green power in the United States, according to the EPA.
The State of Green Business: Are You Trying, Smaller Businesses?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
A report evaluating the effort of businesses to get "greener" has just been released and its results are, at first glance, disheartening. But for smaller businesses the "green" possibilities are there.
What Matters Most About Your Job In Uncertain Times?
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Do you expect your paycheck to grow much fatter this year? Maybe you're just glad you get a paycheck, especially with all the gloom and doom about the economy. If that's the case, then maybe other job traits or perks -- besides money -- are moving higher up on your priority list right now when it comes to work.
Silobreaker advances social-network visualization
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
I'm a fan of network visualizations, by which I mean display of interconnectedness mined from disparate sources. The subject matter could be just about anything: witness the collection of projects at Manuel Lima's VisualComplexity site. Social networks inferred from on-line media prove particularly interesting, the sort of stuff you'll find in static form at Jeffrey Heer's and Danah Boyd's vizster site and dynamically in Linkinfluence's Map of the Political Blogosphere, which I wrote about las
Coming Soon: Better Mobile Linux-Powered Handsets
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
This year is going to be a big one for mobile Linux. There are at least two international organizations pushing it forward, and Google is providing a lot of cred to mobile Linux by choosing it as the backbone of its Android platform. Today, Azingo Mobile is the first to of
At DEMO, Re-Rebranded Flypaper Aims To Be The YouTube Of Online Presentations
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
In the process of reinventing itself, Flypaper Studio wants to reinvent the way people create online presentations. And its ambitions go beyond merely giving users the tools to do that; the company plans to host multimedia presentations for everyone to see.
Liautaud Takes the Money and Runs
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
Business Objects announced today that its founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, Bernard Liautaud, has resigned from those roles and will join SAP's supervisory board in June. With the acquisition of Business Objects by SAP all but complete and the BI agenda being set, at best, by committee, Liautaud is heading for the exit (a well-trod path by executives in his shoes), free to enjoy the well-earned spoils of his success.
Debunking the 'Web 2.0' Myth
Commentary  |  1/30/2008  | 
My thanks to our friend James Robertson for pointing to an important UK study that debunks many of the "Web 2.0" and "Google Generation" myths that currently abound. I have bit of a reputation as a cynic, but the Google Generation is something of which I have simply seen no real evidence, despite vendors and fellow analysts arguing loudly about its importance in today's workplace.
vThere: A Fine Model Mashup
Commentary  |  1/29/2008  | 
Sentillion saw a business opportunity, talked to its customers, and mashed up a novel solution to a problem that already had a couple of "answers."
When Superstars Falter
Commentary  |  1/29/2008  | 
If tennis ace Roger Federer were a tech company right now, he might be VMware. Long the dominant player in his sport, he got a nasty dose of reality at last week's Australian Open. Hang on and let me torture this sports metaphor just a little longer -- likewise, VMware got knocked off its do-no-wrong perch
At DEMO, The Pen Is Mightier Than The Cord
Commentary  |  1/29/2008  | 
Like many people, I tend to zone out when I hear the phrase "pen-based computing." Plenty of variations on the concept have been tried, including the LeapFrog Fly, which was aimed at the "tween" market. But when Livescribe showed off its latest version at Demo this afternoon, I was impressed.
Panic Mode: Are CIOs Being Pressured To Cut?
Commentary  |  1/29/2008  | 
What's up with IT budgets? Has all the talk about recession put CEOs into panic mode and increased pressure on CIOs to cut costs? If so, what's on the chopping block?
Full Nelson: Recommind's Enterprise Search On TechWebTV
Commentary  |  1/29/2008  | 
Groupware. Portals. Enterprise search. I'm not saying they're irrelevant, I just sort of forgot about them. Like tricycles, ER, and Oasis; the use of the word "bashful." But they're all relevant in some way (except probably Oasis), especially enterprise search: Witness -- speaking of bashful -- Microsoft's recent purchase of Fast (see video below for a fun perspective from Steve Ballmer at Web 2.0 on Microsoft and search).
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