Commentary
Content posted in July 2007
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Open Sources, Open Notebook: Why Oracle Should Worry
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
Will open source databases make incursions into Oracle? Not likely. That's the view that extends far outside the circular towers of the Oracle campus. Consider, then, the experience of Jason Weiss, software architect at national florist supplier FTD. He thinks Oracle should be worried. Actually, he said, "terrified."
CIOs Uncensored: What Are The Requirements For Being A CIO?
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
An advanced degree in CIO studies might help. Here's a modest (business) proposal.
Should Google Buy Yahoo?
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
Robert Young at Publishing 2.0 argues that Google needs to face facts and finally kick down for Yahoo. Why would Google pay for a second rate search engine and a bunch of Web 1.0 apps?
Can Google, The FCC, And AT&T Turn Wireless Carriers Into Dumb Pipes?
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
As my colleague Eric Zeman pointed out earlier today, Google is ready to bid in the FCC's upcoming auction of 700-MHz spectrum. Google is using its clout to push for an open access plan to spectrum, something that could turn the wireless carriers into dumb pipes -- and Google into one of those pipes.
$28 Million For An Old Idea-Part 1
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
You have to admire the chutzpah of startup Palo Alto Networks. The company has raised $28 million to sell a "next-generation" firewall based on ideas that are 20 years old.
Google Has $4.6 Billion Ready For FCC Auction
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
Google has been issuing statements over the last several weeks about the upcoming FCC 700 MHz auction. This morning, it formally declared its interest in participating in the auction if the FCC sticks to Chairman Kevin Martin's open a
Whole Lotta Shaking Going On at Visual Sciences
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
If you're a Visual Sciences customer (i.e., HBX and Visual Site analytics, Publish CMS, or the former Atomz Search), you'd have to be a bit concerned by yesterday's report that the company is actively considering "unsolicited inquiries" to be acquired... the company's earnings failed to meet its earlier guidance, despite top-line revenue growth.
Verizon Wireless Kinda Sorta Stabs Qualcomm In The Back
Commentary  |  7/20/2007  | 
Not that it had much choice in the matter. With the ITC's ban on importing 3G chips from Qualcomm mere weeks from taking effect, Verizon needed to take steps to ensure it could continue to sell new phones. So it struck a licensing deal with Qualcomm competitor Broadcom.
Apple Gains PC Market Share
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
Is Your E-Mail Program Too Boring? Why Not Combine E-Mail With Video Gaming?
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
The guys at TechCrunch pointed out what has to be the silliest looking application ever: 3D Mailbox. 3D Mailbox combines e-mail with 3-D graphics. Think of it as Outlook meets
Case Dismissed: IT Worker, Fired After Reporting Child Porn, Vows To Fight On
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
Dorothea Perry, the help desk technician who got fired after finding and reporting child pornography on a law professor's workplace PC, has suffered another setback. A state court judge has dismissed Perry's wrongful termination suit against New York Law School.
Is Amp'd Mobile's Gig Coming To An End?
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
According to AP reports, Verizon Wireless is really ready to pull the plug on MVNO partner Amp'd this time. Verizon says Amp'd is using $370,000 worth of Verizon's services every day and that Amp'd will have just $9,000 in the bank by Monday. Time to dial Amp'd down to "0"?
Why I Really Need A Mac To Enjoy My iPhone
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
After weeks of waiting, I finally got my hands on my very own iPhone. Playing with my iPhone has been so much more satisfying than using my neighbor's iPhone. I have one big problem with my new toy, though. It doesn't sync very well with my personal PC.
Square Off: Most CIOs Deliver Business Value, Even If Housekeeping Is A Bear
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
Toromont Industries CIO Mike Cuddy doesn't buy the claim that IT departments aren't generating new ideas.
Video: Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' Re-Created In 3-D In Second Life
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
This hauntingly beautiful video shows construction of a 3-D re-creation of the famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh. The soundtrack is the lovely "Starry, Starry Night," by Don McLean. I think everybody will like this video, but you can appreciate it a little more if you've actually done some building in Second Life.

Read Gartner's Take on Customer Data Hubs
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
One indication that the customer data integration (CDI) space isn't a very mature is that there are only 11 vendors in Gartner's just-released Magic Quadrant. Another indication is that just two vendors, IBM and Oracle, are in the "leaders" quadrant. Two other vendors, Initiate Systems and Siperian, are within striking distance in the "visionaries" quadrant, but most vendors are stuck down in the lower-left, "niche player" quadrant.
National WiMax Network Under Development From Sprint And Clearwire
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
Sprint and Clearwire confirmed rumors they plan to work together on a WiMax network that will reach across the U.S. Though Clearwire has a few dozen WiMax networks up and running in several Western states, Sprint has yet to launch its first test markets. Who will benefit from th
Needleworkers Knit iPhone, Nintendo, And Sew Full-Sized Ferrari
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
Why shell out big bucks for a real iPhone, Nintendo, or Ferrari, when a homemade replica that you knit or sew is just as good in every way? Except of course, for the minor point of being completely useless?

Rich Internet Apps Offline: What a Concept
Commentary  |  7/19/2007  | 
For the two past weeks I've been on a working vacation in Montana, where dial-up Internet access is all there is. No DSL and mountains block satellite connection. A good place to experiment with Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that need to be functional when disconnected from the Internet... I have been cultivating the garden of Google Gears... the browser plug-in intended to enable running Web apps offline.
The iPhone Is Breaking Down The Dual-Mode Access Wall For The Enterprise, Too
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
Tim Ferguson at silicon.com argues that carriers need to do a better job of catering to the enterprise and other business customers. Before that happens, though, carriers need to open up to Wi-Fi and dual-mode smartphones.
10 Rules For Avoiding Identity Theft 'Mistakes'
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
The federal government is trying to clean up its act when it comes to ID theft. That includes lecturing CIOs on the basics of information security.
Collaboration 3.0
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
Are There Really Too Many Linux Distros?
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
How are Linux distributions like digital cameras? It sounds like a joke on the order of, "What's the difference between a compulsive gambler and a revolving door?" (Answer: The revolving door knows when to stop.) But the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that Linux distros are as varied as digital cameras, and for some of the same reasons.
My First Call To AT&T/Apple Tech Support. Yay!
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
So last night I decided to Google something and, rather than trudge upstairs and fire up my PC, I grabbed my iPhone instead. When I tapped on the Safari button it stalled and I was greeted with a "Cannot Activate
How to Get Rich in Software
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
From time to time, CEO's and founders and even venture capitalists ask me for my opinion about how to do this or that, and I always respond the same way: "I've never earned a dime running a software company, why would you ask me?" And it's true. I have the utmost respect for the entrepreneurs and managers who build something from nothing and have the attention span to attend to the details. I can't do that.
Too Many Linux Distros Make For Open Source Mess
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
Remember the 1980s worries about how the "forking" of Unix could hurt that operating system's chances for adoption? That was nothing compared to the mess we've got today with Linux, where upwards of 300 distributions vie for the attention of computer users seeking an alternative to Windows.
Gartner, Open Source, and Microsoft
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
I received Gartner e-mail this week marketing their up-coming open-source summit. Analysts will explain the heretofore anti-establishment open-source movement, albeit without the help of representatives of the communities that lend open source its power and vibrancy. The message contains gems that help further illuminate Gartner's perspective on open source and the larger IT world...
As Expected, RIM Announces Wi-Fi-Enabled BlackBerry
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
Late yesterday, Research in Motion officially announced the newest business BlackBerry, the 8820. What makes it unique is that it includes Wi-Fi, as well as an unlicensed mobile access client so users can take advantage of fixed-mobile convergence services. But that's not all.
MicroStrategy and the BI Breadth vs. Depth Debate
Commentary  |  7/18/2007  | 
While much of the BI market has been busy expanding its solution breadth - acquiring or developing performance management capabilities - one vendor that has stayed focus exclusively on the BI front-end has been MicroStrategy... The company maintains that there is still a lot of work to be done to solve hard problems in the traditional BI space... problems such as impact analysis and regression testing.
Google Finds Mobile Search More Challenging Than Expected
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a search service designed to help consumers find mobile content such as ringtones, games, and other paid content. But the project isn't going that well. It looks like Google has discovered mobile search is tough.
Borders Opens New CIO Chapter
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
The book industry is a fickle one. Ask Judith Regan. Or Cedric Vanzura, who just got written out of the technology strategy at Borders.
Meet The New Boss
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
Yesterday AT&T said it is ramping up and expanding its bundled landline-plus-wireless service -- known as the Unity Plan, which sounds like the latest Iraq strategy from the Bush White House -- to add more rollover minutes and decrease the service requirements on the plan. That sounds great, but a quick look at the week's news indicates that "the new AT&T" looks a lot like the old Ma Bell in terms of crapp
Book Review: IT Manager Battles The Undead In The Atrocity Archive
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
You don't have many IT-manager action heroes in science fiction. Sure, you have a lot of hackers, breaking into networks and subverting authority. But not a lot of science-fiction heroes save the universe in between staff meetings, working the help desk, and rebooting the file server.

Will Solid State Drives Ever Replace Hard Disk Drives?
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
Not according to In-Stat. Solid state flash drives may be lighter and more stable, but standard optical hard drives are simply cheaper. Solid state drives will only inch their way into about 6% of the PC market by 2011. Guess which types of devices they'll be found in?
Networking Startup, Of Cisco Lineage, Nears Launch
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
XKL, led by Cisco Systems co-founder Len Bosack, is a few weeks from formal launch. The Redmond, Wash., company will bring to market fiber optic networking gear for business networks. It has been a long, long time in coming.
Protecting The Enterprise From Your Own Employees
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
Mobile employees can be a pain in the neck. Whether it's preventing unauthorized use of thumb drives to take files home at night, or keeping tech-savvy workers from skirting network policies, keeping the rank and file in line while online can be a headache. But it doesn't have to be.
Shocker: Mark Cuban Is Right, YouTube Is Doomed
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
It's not often you see something about Mark Cuban where you're inspired to read more, but that was the case today when I saw this just-posted IEEE Spectrum interview with the maverick Mavericks owner.
Intel's Quad-Core Salvo Casts Light On Battle With AMD
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
Intel's announcement that it's going to release a new high-end quad core processor and cut pricing of its existing line up puts competitor AMD in a tough position.
Microsoft Looks to Win the SaaS War on Price
Commentary  |  7/17/2007  | 
Microsoft is gunning for Salesforce.com and plans to declare a price war with a lower subscription price. Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM is Microsoft's answer to on-demand CRM, and subscription rates will be $44-$59 per user, per month... Microsoft may have an upper hand, long-term, because of its sheer size, but price won't be how it wins the war.
Drive Your Mac With Mouse Gestures Using FlyGesture
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
Mouse gestures are a means of controlling your computer by stepping your mouse through a series of movements. FlyGesture is free Mac software that lets you create your own mouse gestures to control the Mac.

To H-1B Or Not To H-1B?
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
CIO Closes Data Barn Door
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
A year ago, Ohio University suffered an embarrassing incident of comprised personal data. Now the CIO brought in to clean up the mess is articulating the measures he's taking to beef up network security. They sound familiar.
Adding Value Beyond 'Free'
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
Spiceworks' customer base has more than tripled since the beginning of the year, from 30,000 to 100,000 users, a testament to the promise of ad-supported software. Its next challenge: Going from free to indispensable.
Why Do You Need Third-Party Software Just To Turn Off Your iMac Display?
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
Turning down or off the display isn't just a matter of saving energy for Mother Earth. It is also necessary to produce a condition known to interior designers as "darkness." And the iMac, for some reason, lacks that most simple of hardware amenities: An on-off switch that controls just the display.

There's A Linux Distro For Every User -- And Vice Versa
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
One common question I get asked about Linux, typically by people who are not themselves users of the operating system, is "What kinds of people use Linux?" The conventional wisdom among non-techies is that Linux is strictly for pros or the tech-geek set. But from what I've gathered, today's Linux users actually break down into four categories.
Twitter Is The Future Of Presence And Collaboration
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
I admit it, I've been spending too much time with Twitter. But as a result of my growing Twitter addiction, I have discovered all kinds of cool things about it.
Overseas Cell Phone Users: More Numerous--And More Courteous
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
Sitting in a London theatre last week waiting for the curtain to rise, we were startled to hear the loudest cell phone ringtone we'd ever heard broadcast over the theatre's loudspeaker--quickly followed by another, then another, then another until there was a virtual cacophony of conflicting bells, whistles, snippets of Europop and Beethoven echoing through the hall.
Twitter As Business Tool
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
It was only a matter of time until bloggers and technologists began touting Twitter as a business tool. I can hear you already: How on earth can a blogging tool that restricts users to only 140 characters be useful for business? The answer is easy: Twitter is a communications tool. If your business needs to communicate, then it needs to Twitter.
AT&T Wi-Fi Footprint Shrinks While Carrier Pushes Wi-Fi Access On iPhone
Commentary  |  7/16/2007  | 
Glenn Fleishman at Wi-Fi Net News reports that UPS has dropped AT&T Wi-Fi service from both The UPS Store and Mailboxes Etc. locations. What's going on with AT&T's Wi-Fi network?
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