Do The Math: EU E-Mail Tax Doesn't Add Up
Comes now that a French MEP is proposing a tax on SMS and e-mail messages as a way to partly supplement the European Union's general fund. Every time I hear one of these proposals, I have to wonder if people have even done the math on this stuff.
Vista Secrets: Read 'Em If You Can
Microsoft has re-released a 300-page guide to Windows Vista that was posted and then pulled in April. But even though there's now a link to it, Microsoft still seems to be working pretty hard to keep it a secret: it's available in two formats -- a 60-megabyte Word file, and an XPS file. (A what file?)
Iranian Nuclear Crisis More Than Just Fun And Games
The Iranian government claims its nuclear program is for the production of energy -- peaceful purposes only. The U.S. government claims Iran is secretly working on nuclear bombs for its long-range missiles. America and Iran both say they'll go to war over the issue. Doesn't the conflict sound like the basis for a really fun game?
Here's A Twist: Workers In India Fear Outsourcing
There's an old Dilbert cartoon in which the pointy-haired boss is asked if he believes in irony. His reply: "No, I send my shirts to a service." If you don't believe in irony, here's a story that will convert you. It's about a group of workers in India that's holding protests against...outsourcing.
Painful Privacy Lessons
Since the theft of a disk containing names, social security numbers, and birth dates for more than 26 million veterans from the home of a Veterans Affairs data analyst was made public last week, the outcry over the agency's failure to guard the privacy of what are effectively its most valued customers has continued non-stop. VA Inspector General George Opfer confessed at a Senate hearing last week that supervisors of the VA d
VoIP Difficulties Don't Seem To Improve
Back in October 1998, I co-wrote a cover story for Network Computing on VoIP in the enterprise, introducing the technology to our readers and describing some of the deployment challenges that admins should watch for. What's interesting is that every time I've gone back and reread that article, I've expected to find it completely outdated, with most of the early problems resolved and newer challenges in place. But instead I keep
Hot Apps: SkyMap Pro 11
Explore heavenly bodies (of the celestial kind) with awesome power, speed, and intuitive ease of use.
Throw Away The Spreadsheets
While tossing all spreadsheets wouldn't be practical, it's good advice in the area of planning and budgeting. That's where stand-alone spreadsheets have become the biggest obstacle to making the business process a better management tool, according to Ventana Research.
Is Wikipedia Dead, Or Just Pining For The Fjords?
Nick Carr says it's dead, as the community encyclopedia has put in place a tightening series of controls on who can contribute content.
He notes that one of the kinds of restrictions is named "in good Orwellian fashion, 'semi-protection,'" which blocks unregistered editors and editors with very new accounts from editing a page.
"The end came last Friday," Carr writes. "That's when Wikipedia's founder, J
Do You Want To Be Part Of Microsoft's Revolution?
There's been a lot of hoopla about the simultaneous announcements of Microsoft Vista Beta 2, 2007 Microsoft Office Beta 2, and Longhorn Vista Server Beta 2. In fact, there's been so much coverage from all the various online and print media that I've been tempted to find myself a beta blocker. (Sorry--a little health care humor there.)
Apple Wants iPods To Keep Pace With Listeners
A patent application published today suggests that Apple is planning iPod software that plays songs to suit the pace of listeners' activities.
"[T]he invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of
Carnegie Mellon Tackles Data Center Operation Costs
Coming up with new approaches to battling the rising cost of operating enterprise-class data centers will require effort from throughout the IT industry, as well as from outside sources such as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The university this week opened a new data center that will provide computing resources to the institution and its students and serve as a research lab that will target issues related to
People Use Word Because They Use Word
I've been puzzled as to why people would choose to write in Microsoft Word--or any word processor--if the text they're producing has little or no formatting. Well, I got my answer, and I fear that, alas, it's less interesting than I had hoped:
People use what they're used to using.
Now you're thinking: Well, duh.
Europe Falling Short Of Tech Investment Goals
A recent report by the European Commission says investment by EU member states in Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) research and job-creation efforts is falling short. According to the press release that accompanied the report last week, "Europe continues to lag behind its competitors, investing about half as much as the US." Furthermore, "ICT [invest
Podcasting Really Is For The Masses
Many of the readers of Desktop Pipeline are small to midsize business (SMB) owners, and as such have entrepreneurial natures. What that means is that you are more apt to take risks, more likely to embrace new technology and, in general, are just more fun to be around than, say, someone from Enron. All kidding aside, it makes a certain degree of sense that small businesses in particular would be faster adopters -- if not early adopters -- of technology than big companies because there's not the s
Terrorist Connections: Find Them Yourself
There's little doubt in my mind the NSA is actively mining huge stores of data and performing social network analysis to produce complex maps of terrorist networks in the hunt for al-Qaida. And if it does it right, it could see some success. It's not like social network analysis of al-Qaida hasn't been done before, even by yours truly (though I admit I don't think I've ever caught a terrorist).
Office 2007 'Shiny,' Says Scalzi
Scalzi has been playing with the Office 2007 beta and loves it. He writes:
I can say at this point that a) I really like the new organizational structure of the features up at the top (the tabs mean you don't have to drill down through several hundred menus to find functionality), and b) I sure hope MS improves its"Publish to Blog" feature, because right now it stinks; I can't get it to play with the Whatever, which
India's Outsourcers Go A Step Further To Ensure Data Security
A concern often raised about offshore outsourcing is data security. The fear is that it may be hard to keep a handle on sensitive customer records if they're stored in servers in far-flung parts of the world like India. In fact, it seems like there are many more security breaches in the United States than offshore--the most recent case in point being the theft of info on 26 million veterans. Still, India's ou
IT Analysts Duke It Out In Cyberspace. So Why Should You Care?
Pay attention: There's a free-for-all happening among IT analysts.
Currently controlled by a handful of major analyst houses--which suck up 80% of a market that rakes in $2 billion a year in revenues--the industry is being turned upside down by a swarm of upstarts that are using blogs, podcasts, and open online forums to propagate their opinions about vendors, technologies, and products.
So why should you care one iota about this turf war?
Make Free Skype Calls With Regular Phone
A gadget called the Skype USB to RJ11 Adaptor lets you make and receive free Internet VoIP calls using your regular home phone -- and your cell phone. The device plugs into your PC's USB port, and has a place to plug in your home phone. Once you set it up, you can use your home phone to make free calls to anywhere in the world.
Identity Crisis (Again)
Here we go again. Yesterday the Veterans Administration (VA) disclosed that vital identifying information for more than 26 million former military personnel and some of their spouses including social security numbers was stolen when a VA data analyst's laptop was taken from his suburban D.C. home during a burglary. VA officials say there is no evidence now that the thieves know what they have in their possession or that any
Open-Source Java: What's It To You?
The real winner with any Java open-source scenario will be Sun, which has been scrambling to lower the prices of its products and services to compete with the likes of Linux and the Wintel crowd.
Get 'Lost' With Game Coming Next Year
It had to happen. By next year there should be a PC and video game based on the ABC TV series, "Lost." The French company Ubisoft announced today a long-term licensing deal with Touchstone Television that allows the game developer to create a "Lost" game in its awesome Montreal studio.
TiVo's Magazine Team-Up Shows Old-Media Arrogance: They're Just Too Fuller Themselves
TiVo's announcement Monday that it's teaming up with old-line magazines like Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, and several other major print brands to create a so-called Guru Guide service for viewers shows that the company and its heavily recycled CEO, Tom Rogers, fundamentally don't get what's driving the new, networked, Internet 2.0 economy. So if I were a TiVo shareholder, which I'm not, here's why I'd be dumping that stock faster than Paris Hilton ditches Greek millionaires