Commentary
Content posted in July 2009
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FCC Enters Google Voice Debacle, Investigating AT&T And Apple
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Wow. Today, the Federal Communications Commission launched a formal inquiry over Apple's removal of the Google Voice application from the iPhone Apps Store. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Apple and Google looking for answers on the matter.
Microsoft Hosts Windows Mobile Developer Camps
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Microsoft will be hosting a number of developer camps for its WIndows Mobile platform in the coming weeks in at least six cities around the world. If you develop apps to sell or work on them for your enterprise, you might want to check these events out. The targeted platform is Windows Mobile 6.5.
Too Many Collaboration Platforms
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Chatting in the lounge of our Global CIO virtual event this week, one CIO raised his concern about having too many collaboration platforms. A wiki here, e-mail alerts there, a SharePoint group there, and pretty soon the discussion's fragmented, and IT has a bunch more platforms to support.
When Online Marketers Betray
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
One day soon, some marketing company is going to go too far in its quest for short term gains, and betray our real identities to one of its customers. Or it will turn out that one of them has been doing it all along for years.
Verizon Apps Store: No Bandwidth Hogs, Please
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
A Verizon Wireless spokesperson has indicated that the company plans to block applications that draw a lot of bandwidth from its V CAST Apps store. What, you thought Verizon was going to be more "open"? This and the Great Google Voice Debacle prove that "openness" is a fallacy and the walled gardens never came down.
In Case Of Disaster, Turn To Cloud
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Disaster recovery is one of those eat-your-spinach topics: not glamorous, not fun, not appealing but good for you. A new report predicts that cloud computing will transform the backup, recovery, and business continuity markets and hit the sweet spot for many SMBs.
New Ubuntu Support Plans Built For Small-Biz Users
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Ubuntu wants to win over more small-business Linux users with a new set of targeted, low-cost desktop tech support packages.
UK Government Tries Twittering By Committee
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Reading about U.K. government guidelines for participating in Twitter, I'm reminded of a joke: A woman says to her workaholic husband, "We need more spontaneity in our marriage. Surprise me!" And the man says, "Great idea, honey! Why don't you prepare a list of ways that you'd like me to surprise you spontaneously, and then we can schedule a meeting to discuss it!"
ReviewCam: Video Publishing Magnified
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Magnify is a hosted solution for managing and publishing video on the web. It shares many of the traits that similar, competitive solutions have, but it's got two features that caught my attention. First (and this is a small one), it auto-tweets any new video you publish; second (and this is a big one), it lets you integrate your video with video on other public web sites. We've captured some of the nuances in a ReviewCam video.
Apple To Patch iPhone Security Flaw [UPDATE]
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
According to U.K.-based network operator O2, Apple plans to distribute a patch for the iPhone's SMS security flaw as soon as this weekend. What's not clear is if the patch will be only for O2's customers or if Apple will update all iPhones. Update: iPhone OS 3.0.1 released to fix the flaw!
SPSS Is Not the Story; IBM's Vision for Analytics Is
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
The media and my fellow analysts have been breathlessly touting IBM's acquisition of SPSS ($1.2B) as some sort groundbreaking to a new era of analytics. I don't see it that way... If anyone thinks the acquisition of SPSS marks IBM's serious entry into analytics, they've been sleeping...
iPhone Smackdown: TechCrunch's Arrington Versus Forrester's Colony
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I hate to dive into the traffic-trolling antics of TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, but I will (and not just because I'm chasing clicks, too). In his post about why he's abandoning the iPhone, he's apparently coming around to the view I've espoused for years. Namely, there are better options out there. He's opting for an Android; I say Blackberry's better.
Google's Global Dominance
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
While Google's search share of 60% in the U.S. will certainly be tough for Microsoft and Yahoo to attack, the challenge in many other major countries around the world will be even more daunting: Google's worldwide search share is 67%, according to ComScore.
Netezza Is Changing its Hardware Architecture, Slashing Prices
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
Netezza is about to make its biggest product announcement in years, cutting prices to less than $20K/terabyte of user data, replacing its PowerPC chips with Intel-based IBM blades and making substantial changes in how data flows between the various parts of a Netezza node for a claimed 10-15X increase in price-performance...
The CentOS Shakeup
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
A rift has opened within the ranks of the CentOS project -- a schism between the project's team and its leader that, to me, points up the differences between a "hobby" and a "professional" open source project.

Whacky Graphics at USAspending.gov
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I started this blog entry with the intent of appraising USAspending.gov's IT Dashboard, a new, interactive tool for evaluation of Federal Government IT spending. Unfortunately, graphical issues start on USAspending.gov's main page with one downright whacky graphic. I can't recall the last time I saw a graphic that so distorted the numbers, so I tried to recreate it (and failed). Here's how...
Can Wal-Mart Sell The Power Of The Sun?
Commentary  |  7/31/2009  | 
I'm a huge fan of Wal-Mart and its passionate commitment to customers and its ability to do things at an unmatched scale and with unmatched efficiency. Even so, I'm not buying an investment advisor's frothy analysis of how Wal-Mart is looking to harness the power of the sun to become one of the country's largest producers - and sellers - of electrical power.
Yahoo's Incredible Change Of Fortune
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Only last year, Microsoft offered to buy the whole of Yahoo for a price of somewhere around $40 billion dollars. This week, Microsoft managed to get the part they really wanted, the search traffic from Yahoo visitors, for almost nothing. What was Yahoo thinking?
Xbox's Project Natal Revamped For Offices?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
The technology behind Microsoft's Project Natal, a future Xbox technology that employs voice recognition technology and uses a camera to recognize gestures and eliminate the need for a controller, could eventually make its way into the business world.
Google Docs Gains E-Commerce Option
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Google on Thursday released the Google Checkout store gadget, software that allows any Google Docs user to create an online store and sell items using a Google spreadsheet.
The Potential of Virtual Desktops
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I've been covering desktop virtualization quite a bit lately; it's a pretty hot topic. After debugging the Matrix for the last 6 months in the InformationWeek Desktop Virtualization labs, I'm trying to free my mind and consider the potential uses of desktop virtualization beyond running MS Office, here's some pretty cool ideas. Gaming companies, listen up.
Is This Verizon's Android Phone?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Well, it looks like the specs and pictures have leaked of the first Android phone to be on Verizon Wireless' network, and this Motorola smartphone looks really, really cool. Hit the jump for details and a picture.
Are Mobile Devices Closing The Digital Divide?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Mobile devices seem to be closing the digital divide. More and more people are getting online with cell phones, but the uptake is really strong with minorities according to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
In SPSS, IBM Gains an Open R & Python Analytics Platform
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I love telling folks that I ran my first SPSS programs in 1976... and that I haven't run one since. SPSS has long since reinvented itself as a predictive analytics vendor but brings other, less-visible assets to the IBM deal including the ability to patch Python and R code into SPSS routines. SPSS's Bring Your Own Analytics is a clear competitive differentiator with benefits for users and the company alike...
Microsoft Is Following Me On Twitter
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I'll admit to experiencing a tiny ego frisson upon reading the email notification that Microsoft News is now following me on Twitter (and since I'll be Tweeting this, I assume someone at Microsoft News will feel the cool pleasure of a python having taken the measure of its prey).
BlackHat Bombshell #2: iPhones And Other "GSM" Phones Open To SMS Hack
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
With one bombshell already having been dropped at the BlackHat Conference (that most implementations of SSL are configured to give up everything including logins, credit cards, etc.), researchers dropped another one today when they demonstrated how the SMS infrastructures of GSM-flavored operators such as AT&T and T-Mobile are hackable to the point that cell phones can be hacked and their users can be tri
Motorola Delivers Profit, But What About Handsets?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Motorola announced its second quarter earnings and surprised more than a few by turning up a profit. This is certainly a positive sign, but Motorola has yet to deliver a winning handset this year. Or last year, for that matter.
Black Hat Researcher Rains On Cloud Computing's Parade With Talk Of Vulnerabilities
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
iSEC Partners partner (and Black Hat researcher) Alex Stamos says there's really no such thing as cloud computing. According to him, it's just a trendy name to take your money. Regardless of what you want to call it though, the vulnerabilities inherent to it are very real. That was Stamos' message in a briefing he gave this morning at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Among the highlights of my podcast interview with him; Salesforce gets a gold star and Windows-based virtual machines are ar
NASA's Next Mission: Cloud Computing
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
As NASA prepares for the return of space shuttle Endeavour and, beyond that, its next-generation Aris moon rocket, NASA's IT experts are thinking about what's next for the agency's data centers. An early adopter of cloud computing, NASA could play a central role in the U.S. government's move to virtualized, on-demand IT resources.
Mac And iPhone Security Issues Mounting
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
New ways to break the iPhone's security and reports of new Mac exploits should serve as a warning to Mac-based businesses not to become complacent.
Down To Business: Are Some CIOs Wearing Too Many Hats?
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
There's no right or wrong approach to setting CIOs' responsibilities, but anecdotal evidence suggests we could be stretching them too thin.
Practical Analysis: Users To Microsoft: 'Win7 Better Be Good'
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
More than 1,400 respondents to our poll expressed their concerns over Win7 and vented their frustrations over Vista.
Spin Control? Apple Explains Why Jailbreaking Is Bad
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
This is rich. A day after Apple's claims that jailblreaking iPhones can cause catastrophic harm became public, Apple updated its support page to explain exactly why jailbreaking iPhones a bad thing.
Startup Helps IT Bill For VM Use
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Apptio's newest service tackles chargebacks for server virtualization.
Open Source: The Way, Not The Goal
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
I didn't make it to OSCON this year, so I missed out on more than a few nifty events. One was a panel chaired by Matt Asay of Alfresco, where he cited research to show that companies do switch to open source as a way to save money, but that there are other, much larger goals beyond that.

LG's 'New Chocolate' Touts Sex Appeal
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
Today LG confirmed a long-rumored device, the BL40 "New Chocolate". This touch-based phone features a gorgeous four-inch display and more closely resembles an actual chocolate bar than any of its forebears did.
Homeland Security Saves Millions In Microsoft, Oracle Licenses
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
The Department of Homeland Security, in a published update on its ongoing "efficiency review," reveals it was able to save $89 million in software licensing fees by renegotiating contracts with Microsoft and Oracle. Every other federal agency should be undertaking similar reviews.
Windows 7 Boosts Momentum For Microsoft And CEO Ballmer
Commentary  |  7/30/2009  | 
With Microsoft's Windows franchise generating more than $10 billion in operating profit in fiscal 2009 despite the Vista disaster, Windows 7 has become a make-or-break product for Microsoft. So the optimism that CIOs and others have begun expressing for Windows 7 and CEO Steve Ballmer could very well signal a reversal in the giant company's stumbling fortunes.
AT&T Blocks Google Voice From iPhone
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
According to Daring Fireball, the AT&T has pushed Apple into blocking the Google Voice app from the App Store. This is just one more example of the carriers not getting it and trying to impose their petty restrictions on us for fear of becoming a dumb pipe.
Black Hat Researcher Cracks Algorithm For Creating Social Security Numbers
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Though it's not the bombshell that was dropped by Moxie Marlinspike, another researcher is here at BlackHat briefing attendees on how he cracked the Social Security Administration's code for creating social security numbers and how governments and organizations must respond now that SSNs are not secure in their commonly used contexts as passwords and identifiers (includes podcast interview).
Build A Case For A Business Continuity Appliance
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
bMighty's second Business Case Builder is a free downloadable PowerPoint presentation designed to help your company justify the purchase of affordable technology solutions to maximize business uptime.
Black Hat: Fighting Russian Cybercrime Mobsters
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
McAfee and the FBI teamed up at Black Hat to discuss Russian online organized crime. The standing room only presentation was part fact and part hype. With a mission to publicize the FBI's work, Russians were made to be some of the most organized and threatening of all cybercriminals. While this could be true, the connections to American and other hackers around the world were drawn and cannot be ignored.
Apple's Complaints About Jailbroken iPhones Don't Hold Water
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Apple says that unsanctioned iPhone alterations could crash mobile phone networks. I say, "hogwash."
Bombshell From Black Hat: Almost All Implementations Of SSL Are Configured To Give Up Everything
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
No edition of the Black Hat conference would be complete without a few security bombshells; The ones where attendees learn that a huge swath of their digital security -- previously thought to be totally secure -- is little more than a house of cards that, thanks to some Black Hat researcher, just came tumbling down. Here in Las Vegas, Moxie Marlinspike is one of those researchers and he's here demonstrating how SSL is that house of cards. Think your implementation of SSL is secure? Think again.
Global CIO: IBM's Game-Changing Plunge Into Predictive Analytics
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Why IBM's plan to buy SPSS will greatly accelerate the evolution of not only IBM but also that of the entire IT industry.
The Cell Phone Shortfall That Wasn't
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Verizon just reported a big profit dip for the last quarter, and plans to cut 8,000 jobs. It's no news that companies are suffering in this rotten economy of ours, but am I the only one who was surprised that Verizon's results had next to nothing to do with cell phones?
Verizon BlackBerry To Pack Wi-Fi
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
The spies over at CrackBerry said Verizon Wireless will soon be getting the BlackBerry 8530. The great thing about this is that this handset packs Wi-Fi. It's about freaking time.
Untangle Wraps Up Small-Biz Network Security
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
How much would you pay for a security product that is effective, easy to use, and backed by a company that is totally focused on the small-business market? Does "free" sound like a fair deal?
The Top 50 Global Enterprise App Vendors
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Quick: in 2008, in the category of global enterprise apps, whose revenue was almost twice that of its rival's - SAP or Oracle? And if I offered to bet you a year's salary that Sage Group generated more revenue from global enterprise apps than did Microsoft and Salesforce.com combined in 2008, would you take the bet? AMR's list of the Top 50 app vendors offers the answers.
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