Commentary
Content 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.
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?
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.

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.
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.
Microsoft Continues Its SaaS March
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
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.

SAP's Pain Equals CIO Gain?
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
In essential physical therapy, short-term pain might be unpleasant but it's also an indispensable prerequisite for long-term health. So yesterday when SAP's new CEO said that offering the company's core ERP products in a SaaS model will end up "hurting our margin, and hurting our stock," I hope he wasn't saying SAP will try to wait out -- or worse yet, try to ignore -- the inexorable forces of
IBM Launches New Cloud Computing Services
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
IBM has announced new services aimed at helping businesses take advantage of cloud computing. And small- and midsize-business owners that have been thinking about making the leap to the cloud will be most interested in the industry-specific consulting service that assesses the cost of building a cloud.
Google SearchWiki Must Die
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Google's SearchWiki must die. It's a fine idea, allowing people to re-rank search results and comment on them. Viva democracy.
HTC: We're Gonna Sell 1 Million G1's In 2008
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Forecasts for sales of the first Android phone from HTC have been all over the map. HTC now says demand is so strong that it is doubling the number it originally projected to sell.
Readers Weigh In On GM Bailout
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
I recently provided some examples of how the death of GM or another automaker could impact the IT industry. Boy, I hit a nerve. Readers e-mailed me and posted comments at the blog, and their feelings on the topic ranged from the furious to the frightened.
Thanksgiving Memory: Those Who Came Before Us
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
The following is a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal published on Nov. 22, 2000.
"In 1864, a coal miner, Elias Williams, lit the fuse to a blasting cap and was hoisted to the top of the shaft. Just as he reached light, the bucket he was in broke. He fell back to the bottom of the shaft hard, breaking bones and knocking away his breath. With just enough presence of mind remaining, he grasped a handful of dust to smother the sputtering fuse, inches from the
If You've Got Questions, Google Has The Answers
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Confused by the plethora of services that Google has made available to mobile phones? Can't figure out which version works with your device, or if your device is even supported? Google intends to give you a helping hand with its newly launched Google Mobile Help Forum.
Crisis Survival Kit: 5 Ways To Build Your Brand
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Cost cutting is the top priority for most business owners right now. Yet, extracting maximum value from efforts is just as important as slashing expenses. That's particularly true with marketing efforts that bring in new business and keep your business brand fresh in customer's minds.
Samsung Adds Its Omnia To Verizon's Smartphone Lineup
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
With just three days before Black Friday, the phone manufacturers and network operators are rolling out the new phones in furious fashion. The latest? Samsung and Verizon Wireless jointly announced the Omnia, Samsung's Windows Mobile 6.1-wielding, TouchWiz-toting, touch screen titan.
Is Blockbuster Still A Brand Without Its Stores?
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Blockbuster is rolling out an on-demand device (and service) that lets its customers rent videos without visiting stores. I wonder if anybody will care.
To Remain Viable, Palm Plans to Cut Positions
Commentary  |  11/25/2008  | 
Remember Palm, the company that helped to define the smartphone market? While many may have forgotten about the company in the midst of all the hoopla about Apples iPhone and Googles Android, Palm still has a sizable customer base. The company plans significant moves to try and retain that base.
(Not So) Stupid Linux Netbook Tricks
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
Having trouble with a netbook running a locked down -- and perhaps dumbed down -- Linux distro? Check out a series of articles the show you how to unleash the hidden power of your pint-sized PC hardware.
ECMHUB.com Offers A One-Stop Resource For ECM Information
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
With so many sources for content management industry information -- print, news sites, RSS feeds, podcasts -- it can be tough to know where to wade into the flood. The launch of ECMHUB.com, the ECMInstitute's new portal, hopes to change that.
Can't Migrate Virtual Machines Across Different Chips? Red Hat Can
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
I had just finished moderating a Webinar, my first, on how enterprises architect their virtual environments. One of the takeaways was, beware of the impulse to migrate virtual machines. They have to go from like to like, when it comes to server chipsets. And the first headline I saw afterward declared that information obsolete.
4 Tips For Cyber Monday Profits -- Plus 3 For Your Own Shopping Savings
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
As more people count on Cyber Monday for big deals on holiday shopping, smaller retailers face stiff competition from big-box stores. We have some tips on how to attract and keep online customers, as well as ideas on ways to rack up big savings yourself.
Gen Y Employees: Your Future--And Your Biggest Threat
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
Our excellent sister site Dark Reading has summarized three reports about a group representing the latest in in-house IT security threats: they don't know or don't care about IT security policies, they're heavy users of cutting-edge technologies, and they care more about securing their home PC than their work PC. They're your Gen Y employees, and they're your future.
Opera Offers Its Mini Browser To The Android Phone
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
User of the HTC G1 Android phone haven't had much choice of which browser to use with their devices. That all changed when Opera Software recently made is Opera Mini browser available in the Android Market.
iPhone MMS App In The Works
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
It appears that the iPhone may get the ability to send and receive picture messages after all...but not from Apple. A Swedish company called Mobispine is working on an MMS application that would be available through the iPhone Apps Store. Too little too late?
IBM Buys An Entire Corporation To Enhance Server Virtualization
Commentary  |  11/24/2008  | 
IBM's M&A activity during the current economic crisis shows the importance of server virtualization.
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