Content posted in November 2006
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Post Vista: Microsoft Hints At What Comes Next
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
When asked the other day about what's missing from Windows Vista, Steve Ballmer refused to be drawn into the discussion. "I don't choose to go down that path, sorry," he replied. At today's official launch of Vista in New York, however, Ballmer opened up, rattling off a list of things customers can expect to see in Vista's successor.
Lovin' An Elevator -- Or Not
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
New elevators in skyscrapers with multiple banks of lifts don't have buttons inside them -- instead, you punch in your destination while you're calling the elevator, and the controlling computer directs people to cars that are going to floors that are close to each other.

2007 Vista Sales Pegged At 90 Million
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
Cooliris: It's A Keeper
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
I've been using Cooliris for about a day now, and my verdict so far: it's a keeper.

Cooliris helps you check out a page to see if it's worth visiting. Cooliris is a browser plug-in that lets you mouse over Web links and get a pop-up window that shows the Web page on the other end of that link. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

Visit Google's Super-Secret Experimental Playground: Searchmash
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
Searchmash is Google's site for experimenting with new features in its core search business.

Visiting Searchmash, you're confronted with a mostly-blank page, with a logo, and a one-line text entry field inviting you to type a search query.

Enter a query and you get a single page that shows search results, with side-panels showing search results in images, blogs, videos, and Wikipedia.

Future Tech
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
First, a confession: Like a lot of tech enthusiasts, I'm a long-time science fiction reader (and a sometime science fiction writer), and so articles that describe new inventions, technical gadgets, or future possibilities always catch my attention.
Convert Videos
Commentary  |  11/30/2006  | 
The free Any Video Converter for Windows lets you convert between many video formats.

If An IT Manager Finds Kiddie Porn On The Company President's Computer, Should He Call The Cops?
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
That's a question posed to the New York Times's "The Ethicist" column. The columnist, Randy Cohen, has a completely insane response: The IT manager should remain silent.

The questioner writes: "I am an Internet technician. While installing software on my company's computer network, I happened on a lot of pornographic pictures in the president's personal directory, including some of yo
Watch Out for Oracle BPMS
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Oracle has one of the most widely used BPEL tools on the market, but so far they haven't shown up in Gartner's business process management suite (BPMS) magic quadrants. That should change soon. Recall that Oracle did an OEM deal in July with IDS Scheer for the ARIS Process Design Platform. At the time I speculated this had more to do with keeping up with SAP, but that's apparently not entirely true.
Ancient Computer Reveals Unexepected Technical Sophistication
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
The Antikythera Mechanism -- a device from ancient Greece dated between 150-100 B.C.E. -- has been examined with modern imaging technology and, according to researchers, the device shows "an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period."
TechCrunch Has The Perfect Headline -- "Presto: Because Computers Scare Old People"
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
TechCrunch looks at the Presto, a printer with an Internet connection designed so that computer-phobic people can get access to e-mail and Internet photo-sharing. The target market, notes TechCrunch: Old people the elderly senior citizens (Note to editor: I'm stumped. I can't think of an inoffensive phrase here. Sorry.)

Web 2.0 And The Ajax Challenge
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Web 2.0, and in particular the Ajax technology that often embodies it, has the technology world abuzz. Ajax facilitates more interactive Web sites that deliver a better user experience. With Ajax, Web-based software makes data retrieval transparent to the user, so software behaves more like it's running locally.
Best Comments From The IW Blog Community
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Our community participants speak out on the World of Warcraft French connection, Microsoft's litigation threats against Linux users, Apple's possible tablet PC, and employees Web surfing on company time.

Gingrich: Government Needs To Limit Free Speech
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
WCSH6 in Portland, Maine: "Gingrich Says Government May Have To Limit Speech In Terror War: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used a New Hampshire event dedicated to freedom of speech to say the United States will have to re-examine that constitutional right as it fights terrorism." He reportedly singled out the Internet as a channel that needs "a different set of rules."

This story has been making the rounds of the Int
BitTorrent Raises $25 Million, Ousts Founder Bram Cohen
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
TechCrunch is reporting that BitTorrent received $25 million in funding and ousted CEO Bram Cohen, who created the BitTorrent protocol. The company signed licensing agreements with Warner Bros., Paramount, and others to sell movies and TV shows priced starting at $1 each, and will put its software on DVRs, cable boxes, and wireless routers to allow BitTorrent users to download legal movies or
Cooliris Is The Coolerest
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Cooliris is a browser extension that give you previews of links without clicking on them, by hovering the mouse pointer over the link, then moving your mouse pointer over a tiny little icon that appears when you hover the mouse over a link. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

Cooliris reduces back-and-forths that result from clicking a link and finding out that the page is unsuitable or the link broken.

To get a look at Co
Web 2.0: Ingredients For A Site Makeover
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Can YouTube Help Verizon Wireless' Video Business?
Commentary  |  11/29/2006  | 
Next month YouTube, the popular video-sharing site recently acquired by Google, is going mobile on Verizon Wireless cell phones that use its Vcast service for on-demand video clips. YouTube will benefit from the deal by monetizing its free content, but Verizon Wireless will need to lower the price it charges for its video service if it wants more subscribers to tune in.
TinyURL Comes To Firefox 2.0
Commentary  |  11/28/2006  | 
One of my favorite Firefox extensions has finally been updated for Firefox 2.0. TinyURL lets you make wicked long URLs into short ones, which are easier to e-mail to other people, post to newsgroups, or write down with a pen and paper.

For example: Consider this URL:

Do Apple Advocates Use FUD To Criticize The Microsoft Zune?
Commentary  |  11/28/2006  | 
Jon Lech Johansen, a/k/a DVD Jon defends the Microsoft Zune against misrepresentation and distortions by its critics. Microsoft, he says, is offering features to its customers that Apple isn't offering -- features that give users
French Minister: Stop Outsourcing World Of Warcraft
Commentary  |  11/28/2006  | 
The French are known for guarding their culture jealously, though somewhat ineffectively. American icons McDonald's and Disney were greeted with indignation and scorn upon their arrival in Paris, but both institutions are currently thriving in the country. Now the French are ready to throw down. You can Americanize their palettes and globalize their theme parks, but no one, personne, is going to outsource their video games.
Top E-Mail Security And Productivity Tips
Commentary  |  11/28/2006  | 
ITsecurity has 99 tips for e-mail security and productivity, on subjects including etiquette, effectiveness, and mobile e-mail. Samples: "Don't forward chain letters. Just don't do it," "Rule 1 of email privacy: there is no true privacy," and "Don't use e-mail whe
Or You Could Just Spend $100 For A Chair At Office Depot -- With Authentic Vinyl Upholstery
Commentary  |  11/28/2006  | 
Here's what I'm going to get for myself when I'm a gazillionaire -- this Stokke Gravity Balancing Chair. It sits up like a desk chair or reclines aaaaaaaaalllllllllll the way back, like a, uh, recliner. The price: A cool $2,300.
Exchanging A Thermos Product For A Link
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
I got a nice e-mail from the guy offering to exchange a Thermos product for a link -- he agreed to the trade, and will send the Thermos product to the Broward Partnership for the Homeless. Thanks, Bill.

Best Comments From The IW Blog Community: Microsoft's Big Announcement, Using The Internet For Personal Reasons At Work, And More
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Participants in our Weblog community spoke out on Microsoft's big announcement, the reproduction Altair 8800 kit, using the Internet for personal reasons at work, and foreign workers vs. Americans.

Microsoft's Big Day
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your engines. The next generation of Microsoft's flagship operating system (Vista), office productivity suite (Office 2007), and e-mail platform (Exchange 2007) will be officially unveiled this week. The event is hugely significant for Microsoft; its desktop and server products accounted for 82% of the company's $44.3 billion revenue last year. That's one big cash cow.
Applying Semantic Web Ideals
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
"From the billions of documents that form the World Wide Web and the links that weave them together, computer scientists and a growing collection of start-up companies are finding new ways to mine human intelligence.
Get Ready To Party Like It's 1975
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Altair 8800Hobbyist Grant Stockly is selling reproductions of the Altair 8800 assembly kit. The 8800 was a pioneering personal computer, which users put together for themselves from a kit. Stockly's reproduction includes original and new components. "Every part required to complete the kit is included except the power co
The 'Obvious' Importance Of Tuesday's Supreme Court Case
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
How big a deal is Tuesday's U.S. Supreme Court case, which will explore the "obviousness" test for issuing patents? Consider this observation from an Associate Press article on the Washington Post: That 85 percent to 90 percent of the patent office's work focuses on determining obviousness.
DMCA Exemptions Leave Most Consumers Out In The Cold
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Late last Wednesday, while the rest of us were out shopping for last-minute Thanksgiving essentials, the U.S. Copyright Office let fly with a list of exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The exemptions provide much-needed relief for libraries, the disabled, researchers, and price-conscious cell phone users, but they are framed in excessively narrow terms, and they don't address the chief problems that the DMCA creates for most consumers.

100 Gigabit Ethernet--Impractical and Unnecessary, But Coming Anyway
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Last week, an article in InfoWorld reported that the IEEE was beginning to lay the groundwork for standardizing 100 Gigabit Ethernet networks. While this is an interesting development, and is sure to advance networking science and industry, it's totally unneeded from my perspective.
Your Tax Dollars At Work
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
The developer of a new computer wargame developed by the U.S. Army says he was required to dumb down the enemy forces. "A new video game commissioned by the U.S. Army as a recruiting tool portrays the nation's military in 2015 as an invulnerable high-tech machine," said Wired News..

Gamers on give the title good reviews, but complain about the game being paid for with their tax
Bullying Video Tests Online Free Speech In Italy
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Legal action in Italy raises the question of whether Web 2.0 sites should be held legally liable for content posted to them by users. Italian authorities are investigating Google executives in connection with a segment on Google Video showing students at a Turin school bullying an
Put Up Or Shut Up, Microsoft
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
I can't decide whether Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been acting on some carefully constructed business strategy, or is just off his meds again. But his threats against companies that run Linux are getting old. When Ballmer blustered that "In a sense you could say anybody who has got Linux in their data center today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability," he probably intended to strike fear into the hearts of companies running Linux servers. But instead it was one of those acutely
Can u rd ths msg? Texting 101 For Parents
Commentary  |  11/27/2006  | 
Can you read your children's text messages? If you have trouble deciphering them, you're probably not alone. Many parents complain that they cannot understand the arcane jargon of SMS.
Cracks In The DMCA's Facade
Commentary  |  11/24/2006  | 
Foretelling the future is a tricky business. For instance, last week I wrote here that I wanted the new Democratic Congress to repeal the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (otherwise known as the DMCA). I must have seen something coming, but I didn't get it quite right, because Wednesday the Librari
Keep An Eye On Sales Force Automation
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
For companies looking to extend their customer relationship management software to sales the time is right to look at sales-force automation applications, particularly from those vendors that offer SFA as a Web service. That's according to market research firm Gartner, which recently released its predictions for the SFA market.
IT Confidential: What's Up With The Future?
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
We're headed toward (A) a technological Eden or (B) a wasteland of ashes and goo. And please put your response in the form of a question.
From Our Blog
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
Community Feedback
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
Give The Software Away, Sell The Data
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
he most used camera among Flickr users is the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, according to statistics released by Flickr. The company automatically captures the types of camera used to take photos that users upload. That points to a possible new business model for Web 2.0,
Not Quite Ready To Eat My Words On The Video iPod
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
I got an e-mail yesterday from Philip "Swanni" Swann, president of, who I disagreed with in strong terms in a blog post more than 13 months ago. "Ha ha ha!" his e-mail said. "How does it feel to be eatin' them words now, biotch?"

Actually, no that's not what he said. He was very polite. He said: "After this week's Nielsen dismal report on the video iPod, are you planning an update on your Oct. 17, 2005 criticism of my predicti
SharePoint 2007: Ring In the New… And the Old
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
It seems that the world is almost slowing down a bit as Microsoft readies a final version of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the quite substantial upgrade to a nearly ubiquitous SharePoint 2003. SharePoint is many things to many people, but customers typically deploy it as a lightweight collaboration portal. With this latest version, Microsoft is trying to extend the product's reach. Microsoft has certainly broadened SharePoint functionally, but sometimes "enterprise" means depth
The Treo 680 Is Here
Commentary  |  11/22/2006  | 
The Treo 680 is here, available now with a contract from Cingular for $200 or, unlocked from Palm, for $400. As a Treo 650 user myself, the two most interesting features for me: Internal antenna, and, most intriguingly, the ability to decline calls with a text message, which sounds ever so much friendlier than just hitting the "REJECT!" button and sending the caller to Voicemail Hell.
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