Commentary
Content posted in January 2009
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A Long-Term Windows Vista Test Drive - Living With The Much Maligned OS
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Even as the hype machine turns to Windows 7, many businesses are still conflicted about whether to embrace Windows Vista. Well, I took the plunge a while ago, and here's what I learned.
In Defense Of Michael Arrington
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Love him or hate him, the man behind TechCrunch is a force to be reckoned with. But did he deserve a real spit in the face? I should hope not.
Toshiba Reaches Out To Smaller Businesses With Price Drop
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Toshiba has dropped prices on its notebook computers aimed at the small- and midsize-business market, so you can pick up a new laptop for as low as $529.
Google To Tackle Net Neutrality Head On
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Today Google unveiled a new tool that can be used to determine if an Internet connection is being slowed or throttled by the Internet Service Provider. Measurement Lab is an open platform that Google expects will be used by researchers to gauge just how well the Internet is working.
Satyam's Crisis Will Spawn New Outsourcing Models
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
In the past, IT services vendors often resisted terms clients tried to include in their offshoring contracts. But in the aftermath of Satyam's financial fraud mess, outsourcers will be more willing to bend on client demands, especially if they're anxious to pick up work from Satyam's ex-customers.
The Duh And Huh Of The BlackBerry Storm Launch
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Verizon's fourth-quarter 2008 sales and profit results benefited from its BlackBerry Storm product launch, but I'm not sure the long-term impact will be so kind.
Cloud Computing: The Ultimate Recession Technology
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
The recession is hurting everyone ... or is it? This could be the break out year for cloud computing vendors who are ready and waiting for a flood of businesses to embrace low cost, no investment, no management computing in the cloud.
House Squashes DTV Delay
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
In an interesting turn of events, the delay of the transition to digital TV -- which looked all but a certainty early this week -- has been put on hold by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Paul Krugman On The Problems Of Turning Broadswords Into BlackBerrys
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize laureate and columnist for the New York Times, takes a look at the Merchant Princes series of science-fiction novels by Charles Stross, finding in them powerful parallels to real-world economics -- the problems of moving medieval societies into modernity.
Cleaner Ways To Clear Snow
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Another January day in New England. Another several inches of snow. Faced with choosing between fume-spewing snowblowers and back-breaking green options (shoveling or letting the ice accumulate) I have just one question: Where are the snow-clearing robots?
Cloud vs. SaaS For Small Business
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
A new survey shows small business is shy of the cloud. At the same time, a SaaS provider that focuses on SMBs is growing fast. Does SaaS resonate more than "cloud"?
Gartner on Emergency IT Cost Cutting
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Gartner held a webinar today on emergency cost cutting in IT, featuring Kurt Potter. Gartner's been talking with a lot of their customers about the impact of the recession. Most are not in dire straits, but they are seeing some who are having to deploy emergency measures. There are lessons to be learned from the squeezing being done...
Startup Supports Lucene Open-Source Search
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
The lack of commercially available support and training have been a bit of a hindrance to acceptance of the open-source Apache Lucene search engine in the enterprise, but that's starting to change. This week, fledgling services company Lucid Imagination officially arrives on the scene to offer commercial-grade support, formal developer training, and certified, tested versions of Lucene.
Opera Mini For Android Graduates To Full Release
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Android users spoke and Opera listened. Today, Opera announced that its Opera Mini 4.2 for Android software has graduated from beta status and is now a full build. Lots of new goodies are on board.
What CIOs Want From IT Vendors
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
In hard times like these, businesses are looking to slash costs -- so should CIOs beat on their vendors relentlessly for price cuts? It's a tempting short-term alternative, but it's probably not the right strategy. The next wave of leaders among IT vendors will be those that offer innovative programs to share some of the current risk in return for a bigger slice of future rewards.
We Have Met Linux, And It Is ... Us?
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
The Linux Foundation's "We're Linux" video contest is the newest attempt to get Linux a little airtime alongside both Windows and the Mac. A fine idea in theory, but I'd like to submit a few notes about why this sort of thing is a lot tougher than it looks.

What Will It Take For Smaller Businesses To Convert To SaaS?
Commentary  |  1/28/2009  | 
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sure gets a lot of buzz, but that doesn't mean businesses are switching over from traditional, licensed software. What will it take to convince those smaller companies?
Global CIO: An Open Letter To Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
The issue that needs your fresh thinking: the one-size-fits-all, non-negotiable maintenance fees most software companies charge.
'Creative Destruction' Puts Open Source On Top
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Cynics have always dismissed Open Source by claiming that you get what you pay for. There must be a lot of cynics collecting unemployment checks these days.
Content Management Recommendations That Pull No Punches
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
You can barely take two steps on the Web these days without tripping over another "picking the best Web content management system" article, but I came across one published earlier this week on Webdesigner Depot that was particularly informative, funny, and certain to stir some mild controversy.
AISO.net: A 100% Solar-Powered Data Center
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
While many data centers and hosting providers tout their environmental concern by the dubious practice of trading carbon credits and purchasing green energy certificates, AISO.net, a solar-powered data center in Romoland, Calif., is one of only a small number of facilities powered by renewable energy that's generated on-site.
Watch Me Beat The Snot Out Of A Motorola Tundra
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Have you ever wondered just how tough rugged products are? I have, and I decided to see just how far I could push Motorola's newest rugged handset, the VA76r Tundra. Find out if it can survive the heat of a blowtorch.
Oracle's Charles Phillips: You Get What You Pay For
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
A team of InformationWeek editors sat down earlier this month with Oracle president Charles Phillips, a very busy man who has done very few press interviews. I really appreciated his time because I thought Phillips was the best person at Oracle to speak directly to some discontent I've been hearing about the software industry's maintenance fee structure.
Microsoft Woos Obama Administration
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
President Barack Obama has talked a lot about the need for transparency in government, and his campaign, transition team, and administration have used the Internet as a primary vehicle for communicating with citizens. Now, Microsoft wants to help him with that mission, and it's pulling out all the stops.
New Zealand Man Buys MP3 Player, Gets 60 Pages Of Sensitive U.S. Military Data
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
New Zealand's Chris Ogle probably thought it was his lucky day when he scored a used MP3 player cheap. But his luck soured when it turned out to be broken -- and loaded with 60 pages of U.S. military data and personally identifying information.
Will IE8 Reset The Browser Performance Bar?
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
The honest PC user must admit that Firefox is neither as good as widely proclaimed, nor is Microsoft's Internet Explorer as bad. That viewpoint, which is what my personal experience has taught me, has only been reinforced by my recent test of Internet Explorer 8. (I got the IE8 beta by downloading Windows 7, with which it was bundled.
Apple Pushes Out iPhone Firmware 2.2.1
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Along with a number of software updates released today, Apple is boosting the iPhone's firmware version by dot-one to 2.2.1. What does the firmware include?
Swamped By Bad News On Land, Sea, Air
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Throw me a life preserver: I'm drowning in environmental bad news from NOAA, NASA, and academia the world over.
Put Cloud Computing in its Place
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
While many advocate cloud computing, others are weighing the fit within the modern enterprise. Bernard Golden lists five key areas of concern for enterprises considering cloud computing: Current enterprise apps can't be migrated conveniently; Legal, regulatory and business risk; the difficulty of managing cloud applications; the lack of SLAs; and the lack of a cost advantage for cloud computing. All good points, but here's some further analysis...
Should Google Buy Skype?
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
The latest whisperings around the Internet water cooler suggest that Google is eying Skype as a potential acquisition target. Would it be a better corporate overlord than eBay?
White House E-Mail Down
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced at a 1:45 p.m. press briefing yesterday that he was unable to send out the customary week-ahead memo as the White House e-mail system was "not working so well." D.C. reporters got their next e-mail from the White House around 8:30 this morning indicating that the outage lasted most of a day.
Criticizing The OLPC (And Its Critics)
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Jon Evans of The Walrus didn't like the OLPC. He thought it was the wrong tool for the job -- badly engineered, improperly envisioned, and more hype than substance. The OLPC folks didn't take that criticism lying down, but their
Nicholas Carr Redirects Google-Tea Heat To Real Source
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
The always-interesting Nicholas Carr turns the recent kerfuffle about Google searches and tea kettles on its head by focusing on the real issue: "But this isn't really about Google, which is only supplying us with services that we want. It's about us." Whether or not you believe we humans are boiling the Earth (I don't), you'll enjoy Nick's analysis of Google's "moral quandary."
Crisis Survival Kit: 10 Strategies For Positive Cash Flow
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
In a tight credit market, cash is king and keeping it flowing will make or break your business this coming yet. Here's 10 ways to keep the greenbacks rolling in to your business.
HP's MarketSplash Aims To Bring Big Time Design To Smaller Companies
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
Good design matters. It can help determine how your credible your company appears, which can have a huge effect on sales. But frankly, when time gets tough it's all too easy to think of design as unnecessary luxury. HP is trying to at least make that luxury cheaper with the introduction of MarketSplash.
Lost In Austin (Startup City TV)
Commentary  |  1/27/2009  | 
I arrived in Austin, Texas, today to go talk to IBM, again, about how it's helping make the planet smarter, this time focusing on how Web 2.0 technologies can help companies become more green. I am well prepared for Austin because I was just here in November (editor's note: It was October, Fritz), and I have a photogenic memory (editor's note: uh, photographic, and no).
Microsoft's H-1B Visa Controversy
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
As Microsoft does its first-ever mass layoffs, there are some questions about who is being pink-slipped and how they're being selected. Microsoft has been a vocal advocate of expanding the H-1B visa program that allows noncitizens to work in the United States, arguing that there just weren't enough qualified Americans to take those jobs.
Penguin In Your Pocket: Running Linux On USB
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
How do you make the ultimate portable PC? With the right Linux distro and a USB memory stick, you already have one.
Hard Decisions Loom As CMS Vendors Face Tough Times
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
It's an unfortunate reality that in an economy like this not every content management vendor is going to stay afloat. While many ultimately will make it through, some are certain to be taken over and others simply will be forced to shut their doors.
Wondering About Twitter? So Was I
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
What's the deal with Twitter? Is it the Next Big Thing in marketing? Just a social-networking tool? Perhaps a waste of time? I'm just starting to figure that out and found a few places with useful tips.
Global CIO: Cut Steve Jobs Some Slack
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
If Apple's guiding force wants to take a leave of absence or keep details of his health private, we must realize that some are given special status.
The G1 Gets Multitouch
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
It looks like G1 owners won't have to be jealous of iPhone owners and their pinch navigation, as the Android community has made multitouch possible. Unfortunately, I have a feeling we won't see it in an official way for a long while.
Schwarzenegger's 'Restructuring' Plan Provides Comic -- Not Financial -- Relief
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
Since most of you are slogging through your third or fourth plan to reduce expenses in the past five months, sit back, take a deep breath, and have a laugh or two at some of the approaches the truly great state of California is taking to reduce its $40B deficit. And no, I am not making these up -- they're right from "The Governor's Road Map For More Efficient Government."
Should Camera Phones Be Required To 'Click'?
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
Here's an interesting tidbit. A new bill has been put before Congress that would require camera phones to make a noise or "click" whenever they are used to take a picture. The idea is to make it clear to everyone in the vicinity that the camera phone is being use as a camera. Is this really necessary?
How To Succeed At Twitter
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
As with most things, persistence pays off on Twitter. Just post regularly, a few times a day. Follow people. Engage in discussion. Respond to what other people say. Post whatever interests you if you think it interests other people. Sometimes post what interests you even if you don't think anyone else will find it interesting. Experiment.
New Femtocell From Verizon Wireless Falls Short
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
Verizon Wireless officially introduced a femtocell product to enhance in-office or in-home coverage for cellular voice service. The big problem is, it doesn't offer any sort of boost for 3G data services.
Senator Quizzes Microsoft On Layoffs
Commentary  |  1/26/2009  | 
Microsoft's plans to lay off 5,000 workers have ruffled the feathers of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a long-time critic of the U.S. H-1B visa program. Microsoft, a top 10 employer of H-1B visa holders, has been among the most vocal tech companies over the last several years urging Congress to raise the cap on H-1B visas. Now Grassley is urging Microsoft to furlough those temporary foreign workers first before handing out pink slips to Americans and permanent U.S. residents.
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