Commentary
Content posted in July 2006
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Social Bookmarking For Cheapskates
Commentary  |  7/20/2006  | 
Social bookmarking sites like Digg where users vote on the quality of links -- the best rising to the top -- are transforming the Web-using experience. They do this by harnessing the power of public opinion to vet, filter and rank "content." Now -- at last -- someone has harnessed the power of the Web 2.0 to discover and rank great deals. Call it social bookmarking for cheapskates.
The Slow, Lingering Death Of Win98
Commentary  |  7/20/2006  | 
Is Hyperion Shopping?
Commentary  |  7/20/2006  | 
Some pure-play business intelligence vendors appear to be in a daze these days, as the battlefield gets crowded. Instead of remaining focused on building defenses against an eventual full-scale assault on the market by Goliaths Microsoft and Oracle, vendors Hyperion, Cognos and Business Objects have had to deal with self-inflicted wounds.
The Slow, Lingering Death Of Win98
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Pretty much anything about Vista makes for a surefire hit with InformationWeek readers. Take "Top 10 Windows Vista Hits And Misses." Or "20 Questions About Windows Vista." People can't seem to get enough of Vista, Vista, Vista. Which bodes well for Microsoft's next-generation operating system, right? Well, maybe.
Group Wants U.S. Gov. To Reveal Who's Asking For H-1B Workers Now
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Should the U.S. Dept. of Labor provide public access to a government database that purportedly contains information about employers planning to hire H-1B workers for fiscal 2007, which starts on Oct. 1, 2006? Kim Berry, president of advocate group Programmers Guild, says he wants U.S. tech workers to have the chance to more fairly compete for jobs that might otherwise go to foreigners. U.S. workers should have the opportunity right now to look at requests employers have made to the DOL to fill
The 'Drama Queen' of Software Installations
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
I have installed a lot of PC software. A LOT of software. Back in the day it was a piece of cake: copy the EXE file, add it to your path statement, maybe edit a little parameters file, and you were good to go. Windows, of course, changed all that. The typical Windows installation has become a production worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, with the blessings and curses of the license agreement, the shriek of your hard drive as temp files are copied, directories initialize, cab files spring into being, r
Spammers Trying To Do To Blogs What They Did To E-Mail
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Blog comment spam -- advertising slipped into the "comments" section of blog entries -- has been around awhile. It tends to trickle in. Various schemes exist to combat it, but most blogs are completely unprotected. Though the mainstream press hasn't noticed, there was a radical increase in spam over the weekend. Who's doing it? And why the sudden increase?
Growing Corporate Interest in Web 2.0
Commentary  |  7/19/2006  | 
Microsoft Makes Its Peace With Open Source
Commentary  |  7/18/2006  | 
Last month, I noted in the Linux Pipeline newsletter that Microsoft's new leadership was likely to adopt a far more pragmatic, and positive, attitude towards open-source software. I was right about what would happen, but wrong about the timing: In just two weeks, with two decisions, Microsoft has already largely demolished years of anti-Open Source dogma.
Thanks, Uncle Sam. I'm Wasting More Time Filling Out Your Forms
Commentary  |  7/18/2006  | 
Americans, on average, spend nearly 29 hours a year filling out forms--on paper or online--required by the federal government.
Reviews: Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, And What The Flock Is Up With That New Browser?
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Today we have a review of Firefox 2.0 beta 1 that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser, as well as a good review of a new browser, based on Firefox, called Flock.

For months now, Firefox 2.0 has been getting a bum rap because there's really no significant new features in it. Critics say Firefox 2.0 really doesn't deserve
The Postcard Has Finally Been Licked
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
The postcard -- a photo or graphic on one side with a note and addressing and postage on the other -- was patented in 1861 by John P. Charlton. Since then, tourists and holiday makers have been sending them back home to friends and family to share their experiences abroad. Oftentimes, vacationers reach home before the postcards do. Now, after 145 years the postcard's days are numbered, thanks to a new, free, and very cool Web 2.0 alternative. Sorry, Charlton.
Microsoft Extends Ancient PCs' Lives
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Microsoft Takes Another Step Away From SOHO, Home Users
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Microsoft cut off support for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) last week. It was not a very responsible decision. There are still plenty of PCs running 98 and ME out there, and denying them the protection of security updates will make them vectors of infection for PCs running supported Windows versions in the long run. Microsoft might like to pooh-pooh the issue, but its own actions tell you something about the size of the problem: It felt it had to announce a solution for its corp
How To: Two Screens Are Better Than One
Commentary  |  7/17/2006  | 
Adding a second screen to desktop and notebook PCs is affordable, easy, and quick. Here's how it's done.
Mark Cuban Says The Internet Is Boring. Oh, That It Were So
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
Mark Cuban's recent blog entry pays tribute to the Internet by declaring it boring. It works, and we take it for granted. He compares it to indoor plumbing, with similar dependence and lack of excitement. The thing he ignores: the wireless Web.
Down To Business: Offshore Infighting
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
Is the U.S. services economy doomed or just adjusting to the times? The answer isn't black and white.
From Our Blog
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
Community Feedback
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
IT Confidential: Online Gambling Needs Regulating, Not Electioneering
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
Legislators are bluffing with a flawed bill.
Spawn Of Wikipedia
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
So can commoners--as the British like to refer to those not of aristocratic birth--be trusted? That's the question that two of the founders of Wikipedia appear to have asked themselves recently. And they appear to have come up with radically different answers.
Opinion: Genuine Advantage To Whom?
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
OK, Microsoft, be tough on piracy. But that doesn't give you a right to be disrespectful of your customers.
Apple's MacBook: Hot Enough To Fry An Egg
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
No really, it is. At least it sure looks that way from this picture of someone cooking an egg on a MacBook. Unfortunately, the source link provided from the Unofficial Apple Weblog returns a page that doesn't contain the cited post or picture. So perhaps some skepticism is in order. It may be, however, that the site originally hosting the pi
Are You Using Spreadsheets As BI?
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
If you could peer into the very heart of your operation and learn where you are most- and least - profitable, it's obvious that you'd learn a lot. But figuring out just what makes your business a success, and where you need to turn up the volume, takes at least a little bit of time (often it takes more...) and a commitment to seeing the task through. That's where many businesses fall short. In fact, it's probably one area that separates the businesses that are eeking out a profit from the ones
Skype Gets Reverse-Engineered
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
According to a blog post by Charlie Paglee, a Chinese technology company has successfully reverse-engineered the core Skype protocols. It's clear that the company is a long way from productizing this into something that will "compete" with Skype on a feature basis, but it's an interesting and important milestone nonetheless.
Geronimo Rides, Novell Switches Sides
Commentary  |  7/14/2006  | 
Apache Geronimo is rapidly maturing as an open-source application server and, in its 1.0 version, venturing outside the protected bounds of its previously out-of-view camp. But can Geronimo keep moving and slip past the well-guarded doors to the enterprise the way JBoss did?
Doing H-1B Math, In Dollars And Sense
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
Foreign tech workers who enter the U.S. with H-1B visas are paid about $25,000 a year less than American workers with the same skills, according to the Programmers Guild, an advocate organization for U.S. tech professionals. And the guild's president, Kim Berry, is hoping that Congress will "correct" current wage rules that are supposed to keep the pay playing field level between American professionals and H-1B visa holders, but aren't. Current regulations have loopholes that allow employers
Windows Reactionaries, Unite!
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
Whenever Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, there's always a backlash from people using previous versions. "It's all just a bunch of hype," they say. "Why should I spend a lot of money to upgrade when Windows Me works just fine?"
Virtualization Goes Mainstream
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
Yesterday the server-class VMware Server 1.0 was formally released with the official price of $0. This news follows Tuesday's announcement by Microsoft that the desktop-class Virtual PC 2004 now has a price tag of $0, too, and that the server-class Virtual Server 2005 will also be
One Small Step For Bloggers, One Giant Step For Journalism
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Apple won't continue to bully bloggers for the name of the internal source who leaked secret company information to them last year. An appeals court ruled May 26 that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had challenged the Apple lawsuit, told The Chronicle the decision means that bloggers and other online journalists have the same right to protect their sources as t
Best Bits: Vista And The Hardware Monster, Part 2
Commentary  |  7/13/2006  | 
The path to running Windows Vista on a computer made from parts-bin components seems to come to a semi-happy ending.
Collaborating with "others"
Commentary  |  7/12/2006  | 
Is Google Earth Falling Apart?
Commentary  |  7/12/2006  | 
No. (Cheap, fear-mongering headlines should always be answered "Yes" or "No" to save readers from the certain inanity to follow.) But there's more to it than that. The story begins with an e-mail from a reader who wrote, "Google mapping technology is falling apart." If true, that claim would make an interesting story. Given that a similar report appeared this morning in The Register, stating that Goo
Wi-Fi And The Freeloaders
Commentary  |  7/12/2006  | 
The latest chapter in high-tech rudeness involves a battle brewing between steaming café and coffee shop owners and Wi-Fi freeloading laptop users. The problem is that some laptop users see nothing wrong with turning their corner coffee bars into extensions of their office--if not their actual office. They come in to take advantage of the free Internet access and end up displacing the paying clientele by hogging tables for hours while spending next to nothing. And they think nothing of it.
Beware The Broker
Commentary  |  7/12/2006  | 
Hot Apps: JAJAH For Phone-To-Phone VoIP
Commentary  |  7/12/2006  | 
With charges that range from zero to 2.5 cents per minute and features like integration with your address book, this phone-to-phone VoIP service rocks.
Google Goes Back To Its Wolverine Roots
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
Google has once again proven it's a step ahead. It could have chosen the overcrowded, overpriced Silicon Valley to set up a new center employing 1,000 workers, but it instead chose Ann Arbor, home of co-founder Larry Page's alma mater, the University of Michigan.
Weapons Of . . . Genuine Advantage?
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
I wrote about Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program in my e-mail newsletter (here's an online version) this week, and mentioned that once you click "Install" it can't be uninstalled. But that turns out to be not quite the case.
Spy Photo, Name, Of Microsoft's 'iPod Killer' Leaked
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
We reported here July 5 that Microsoft was working on an "iPod killer" that would be on sale by Christmas. Details are now leaking out about the name -- it will be called the "Zune" -- and its design, according to this leaked photo, will look *a lot* like Apple's iPod.
Why India's Wage Inflation Won't Bring Outsourced Tech Jobs Back To The U.S.
Commentary  |  7/11/2006  | 
U.S. companies outsource to India primarily to save money. But tech wages on the subcontinent are rising at about 15% per year. Many U.S. programmers welcome this news--as Indian salaries rise, it's less likely that their jobs will be offshored. Or so they think. But a conversation I had this morning with the CEO of one of India's fastest-growing outsourcers reveals why jobs sent to India aren't coming back anytime soon.
Google's Gdrive Stands For 'Government Drive'
Commentary  |  7/10/2006  | 
Blogger Corsin Camichel reports sighting Google's Gdrive, the company's long-rumored online storage service, following an expedition into Writely's directory structure. Camichel says he discovered a test page for Gdrive, code-named "Platypus," in the main directory of Google's Writely online word processor. And he kindly posted a
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