Commentary
Content posted in March 2009
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MySpace-CitySearch Deal Puts More Pressure On Retail Businesses
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Retailers, restaurants, and other businesses who serve the public are already scrambling to figure out how to deal with online review sites like Yelp, Angie's List, TripAdvisor, and others. Now social networking giant MySpace has upped the ante by cutting a deal with Citysearch.
The End Of Encarta
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
This week, Microsoft announced the end of Encarta, its multimedia encyclopedia that started life as a CD-ROM-only product offering way back in 1993. Back then, even a CD-ROM drive was a novelty. A lot has changed in the intervening years, including Internet resources like Wikipedia that tap into the collective knowledge of the world.
Netbooks vs. Smartphones
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
I started my day swapping messages with an IT manager who thought InformationWeek missed the mark with our cover story on smartphones, because he thinks netbooks are the answer for his road warriors. We discussed how quickly the two devices might converge. Now I end the day reading about how Hewlett-Packard's testing Google's Android cell phone operating system for use on netbooks. Convergence ahead.
A Last Look at Open Source BI
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Open-source BI and I have come to a parting of ways. OS-BI capabilities, reliability, and support have matured. Commercial OS-BI vendors now compete with BI market leaders. That competition now appears to focus primarily on solutions and on the cost and community advantages open-source-reliant business models can (and do) offer. I will, however, take one last look, a snapshot of the state of the market, before I take my leave of the topic...
The TomTom Dispute: No Bang
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Kinda saw this one coming. TomTom and Microsoft have settled their whole dispute out of court -- leaving, as various pundits have observed, the whole MS-vs.-Linux issue still in legal limbo. That is, if there even is such an issue.

CTIA: Shock Jock Stern To Talk Up The Palm Pre
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Looks like Palm wants to get the word about its forthcoming smartphone, the Pre, to as many people as possible. As such, it has tapped famed radio disc jockey -- and noted Treo addict -- Howard Stern to give its device an on-air interview.
Boeing Lands $17B Outsourcing Deal From India
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Although it has a subsidiary called Boeing India and just opened an advanced technology center in Bangalore, Boeing has landed a $17 billion outsourcing deal to deliver 100 airplanes to Indian airline companies over the next several years. No comment was available from the Obama administration on the Indian economy's decision to ship some of "its jobs" overseas.
Google Yanks Tethering Apps From Android Market
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
It looks like Google is exerting some control over a few applications in the Android Market. It recently pulled a tethering application for Developer Distribution Agreement violations.
Cloud Interoperability? Amazon And Microsoft Play Nice
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Amazon and Microsoft--both of which declined to sign the newly published Open Cloud Manifesto--yesterday said they won't lock customers into their respective cloud services.
Detroit Free Press And E-Reader Startup Announce Partnership
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
The Detroit Free Press, which "delivered" its first online-only newspaper yesterday, has announced a partnership with a Silicon Valley startup, called Plastic Logic, that's developing an e-reader. Is this the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between newspapers and e-reader companies?
CTIA: Samsung Officially Trots Out Its Wimax Tablet
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
First spotted last week, it appears that Samsung is going to fess up to its Wimax-enabled Mondi Mobile Internet Device. The Mondi boasts some impressive specs, but will it sell?
Making Sense of Network and Systems Management Data
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Small and medium businesses now have a wide variety of tools to collect network and systems management information. The challenge has become sifting through all of that data to pinpoint the source of any bottlenecks. One vendor has tried to address that problem.
Nehalem Launch Emphasizes Upscale Drift Of Commodity Servers
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Question: When is a commodity server no longer a commodity server? Answer: When the system is so darn powerful it can run your data center. That's the deal with the latest crop of server CPUs, including Intel's Xeon 5500 unveiled on Monday, and AMD's upcoming six-core Istanbul. It's all of a piece with my theory that processing power has become ubiquitous, and figuratively free.
BI from the SAP Customer Viewpoint
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
It struck me that the SAP Netweaver BI & Portals conference keynote was perhaps too visionary for where attending SAP customers are today in terms of their BI initiatives. Many are primarily writing ABAPs for reporting... Even Business Objects Web Intelligence is a major leap forward for them...
Software Vendors Get An F For Mobile Preparedness
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
With most CIOs planning or building out enterprise-wide mobile strategies, you would think enterprise software companies would be rushing to lead the charge with suitably broad product roadmaps and strategies of their own. But, as my colleague Mary Hayes Weier points out in her excellent news-analysis package, you would be wrong.
Microsoft CTIA Announcements
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Microsoft is at CTIA this week and they will be making a few announcements today - nothing Earth shattering as Windows Mobile 6.5 has already been announced and Windows Mobile 7 is the worst kept secret out there right now, but there are a few interesting items for mobile device users.
What Intel's Nehalem Servers Mean To SMBs
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
It might seem easy to dismiss Intel's new Xeon 5500 Series processors (code-named Nahelem) as expensive toys for high-performance computing and large enterprises. But despite the launch's concentration on big companies, the new chips also promise to deliver faster, more energy-efficient options at small-business-friendly prices.
Cisco Opens Up Unified Communications And Telepresence To Multivendor Solutions
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
Lack of interopability between vendors' systems has long been a thorn in the side of both Unified Communications and Telepresence. At VoiceCon this week, though, Cisco is moving to let its products work better with vendors -- and that could help spur interest in both technologies, especially among smaller companies.
Mark Turrell CEO • Imaginatik
Commentary  |  3/31/2009  | 
BlackBerry Storm .113 Firmware Said To Be The Next Official Update
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
As seems to be the norm, the BlackBerry Storm got off to a shaky start when it went on sale back in November. It was a bit buggy, and users experienced no small number of issues. Verizon offered a firmware update in early December that fixed many of the major issues. Now, a new update is on the way. Ready for nearly every bug to be fixed?
Time For An Enterprise Mobility Strategy
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
The mobile Internet has arrived for business. Do you have a strategic plan to take advantage of it? Or does your mobile business app strategy begin and end with a policy for what level of manager gets a BlackBerry and whether the iPhone's allowed?
Avaya Vies for Key VoIP Software Position
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Since going private in 2007, Avaya has made it clear that the companys future success would stem more from value added software than on its Voice over IP (VoIP) hardware. One of the key pieces in that transformation is an application designed to make different vendors voice systems work together.
Will Buying New Nehalem Servers Save Your Business Money?
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Spending more to spend less? That's HPs claim for the new line of ProLiant G6 rack, blade, and tower servers. But do Nehalem processors, improved power management, enhanced automation, and seductive financing make it so?
Obama Axes Wagoner And Other Government Silliness
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
The chief executive of a public enterprise that stands to pile up more than a trillion dollars in losses this year is effectively replacing the chief executive of a private enterprise that stands to pile up billions of dollars in losses this year. Does anyone think this is a smart idea?
BearingPoint Sale Could Disrupt Customer Engagements
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Tech consulting firm Gartner is warning clients that the sale of government outsourcer BearingPoint could disrupt work on current projects, such as the rebuilding of Afghanistan's civil institutions.
Will Microsoft's Mobile Strategy Pay Off?
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
I ran across an interesting post at Seeking Alpha that outlines why Microsoft's attempts to make significant headway in the mobile market haven't yielded much fruit and that they've slid back in the past few years. It also argues that the road ahead is going to be tough for MS. Can Microsoft remain a key player in the mobile market?
Cloud Manifesto Lacks Thunder
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
The Open Cloud Manifesto was formally introduced today, an anticlimactic and even embarrassing attempt to rally the computer industry around cloud computing interoperability.
Warning: Bad Men In Black Hats!
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
If there's one criticism of open source you can count on -- one that comes back like crabgrass in the lawn of life, to paraphrase Peanuts's Linus -- it's the line that goes something like this: "Open source means everyone can see your code. Therefore anyone with Bad Things in mind can hack you all the more easily." Here is, I hope, another bullet to the forehead of that myth.

Review: Detroit Free Press's Digital-Only Newspaper Delivery
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
This was the first day that my local daily newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, "delivered" an online-only edition. The execution was a bit clunky and confusing. But after slogging through it, I'm left with a sense of hope that daily newspapers might live on in digital form. I share with you my experience--your local newspaper could be next.
Cisco Blade Will Be Built For Hosting Virtual Machines
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
What was interesting about Cisco's entry into blade servers Mar. 16 was the key role that it expects virtualization to play. It trumpeted its convergence of storage and networking data on the blade. But what about its assumption that the blade will be virtualized?
Storage Startup Turns Many Servers Into One Storage Pool
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
ParaScale software enables a cloud-like system for tier 2 storage and archiving on commodity hardware and Linux.
Annual Strategic Security Survey
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
If it's spring, it must be InformationWeek's Annual Security Survey, where we gather and analyze changes in security practices. Please join the 40,000 security professionals, IT staff, and managers who have participated in this landmark survey in recent years.
Nokia's 5800 XpressMusic Receives Major Firmware Upgrade
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Remember the 5800 XpressMusic? It's the first touch phone from Nokia, and saw a bumpy start here in the U.S., with units pulled from the shelves because of nonworking 3G connections. It later returned, and now gets a major upgrade in key areas such as responsiveness, data speeds, and camera features.
Motorola Dishes Out The QA4 Evoke Touch Phone
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Today Motorola announced a new handset, and a decent-looking one at that. The QA4 Evoke is a slider that has a full touch screen and brand-new widget-powered user interface. It apes the iPhone and the palm Pre, and is (oddly) bound for the Cricket pre-paid network.
We Need More Storage Than Library Of Congress, CIO Says
Commentary  |  3/30/2009  | 
Kaiser Permanente CIO Phil Fasano says KP's medical-imaging projects have become so massive that they exceed the storage requirements and consumption of the Library of Congress. And those requirements, he says, are still growing.
From 'BI' to 'Business Analytics,' It's All Fluff
Commentary  |  3/29/2009  | 
I was there in Washington, D.C., last week at the SAS Global Executive Forum when Jim Davis gave his much-talked-about, business-intelligence-is-dead, business-analytics-is-the-future presentation. "I don't believe (business intelligence is) where the future is; the future is in business analytics," he said. I thought at the time that it was a little silly.
Verizon Wireless Rep: 'Yep, Netbooks On The Way'
Commentary  |  3/29/2009  | 
After a report suggested that Verizon Wireless would begin selling netbooks, a Verizon Wireless representative has confirmed the company's plans.
Private-Cloud Azure? How About Shipping Azure?
Commentary  |  3/29/2009  | 
Microsoft is hard at work trying to finish its Azure cloud operating system and eventually make the Azure world safe for customer data. With that in mind, it seems a bit premature to worry about whether users can create their own private Azure environments. Microsoft is right to tamp down speculation that Azure will move from service to product any time soon, because it is too soon.
Can This Profession Be Saved? An IT Leader Says Yes
Commentary  |  3/29/2009  | 
An IT leader who also heads up E-commerce shares his views on the initiative and responsibilities business-technology managers need to seize to shake off stereotypes as detached techies. You'll enjoy Bobby Nakanelua's observations on how IT pros can demonstrate that they're valuable teammates rather than roadblocks to be avoided.
Video: Inside Salesforce.com's Tenth Anniversary Victory Tour
Commentary  |  3/29/2009  | 
Something is happening and you don't know what it is, goes the song. Strangely, it's turning out that the Web operating system we all thought would one day challenge Windows and serve as a portal to a universe of online-hosted apps turns out to be cloud computing. I breathed the buzz of cloud's success the other day as I caught up with the New York City edition of Salesforce.com's tenth anniversary, cross-country victory tour, and I shot a video.
The Importance Of Word-Of-Mouth Social Sharing For Startup Success
Commentary  |  3/28/2009  | 
During my corporate days, one of my requirements on every promotion we ran was that there was a way to share the promotion with a friend. For nearly every promotion, sharing was the number one referral to the promotion. The key was to make the act of sharing as easy as possible. Why is word of mouth marketing so important today?
The Next Marketing Gold Rush
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
How One Small Town Is Using Twitter And Other Social Media
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
Following my post earlier this week about why local governments aren't making use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, I found myself in Second Life with the city engineer of the town of LaSalle, Ill, talking about how the government of her little town uses Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Skype and Second Life to better serve their citizens and stay in touch with other small-town officials across the United States and Canada.
Open Cloud Manifesto Revealed
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
The Open Cloud Manifesto, not surprisingly, has leaked out. Though its formal publication isn't due until March 30, the document seems to be one of the tech industry's worst kept secrets.
Is Java On Deck For Google App Engine?
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
While working on the post that I just published about whether data that's stored in the cloud is really safe or not (answer: your mileage will vary), I came across a post from Michael Arrington that speculates on whether Google's forthcoming super secret announcement on April 7th is that Google's App Engine
Facebook And Twitter Tips From People Who Should Know Better
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
Guy Kawasaki and Gary Hamel produced a pair of lists this week offering tips on Web 2.0 usage that widely missed the mark. Hamel published his list in the Wall Street Journal; Kawasaki's is reproduced from a presentation attended by a blogger and Microsoft employee named Don Dodge.
Harrah's Names Tech Chiefs, Sans CIO
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
Harrah's Entertainment, the world's largest casino company and a leading tech innovator, has promoted two execs to succeed Tim Stanley, the company's former CIO and senior VP of gaming and innovation. Stanley, InformationWeek's 2007 Chief of the Year, resigned from Harrah's effective Jan. 31, c
Podcast: Is Your Data Really Safe In the Cloud?
Commentary  |  3/27/2009  | 
Earlier this week, over on InformationWeek's sister site that's dedicated to Cloud Computing -- Plug into the Cloud -- George Crump asked a question that I thought I knew the answer to: Is data in the cloud risky? Crump points to a "


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