Commentary
Content posted in July 2009
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Veiled: A Browser-based Darknet - Not for Porn, Says HP
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
For those living in a box, Black Hat is currently underway in Las Vegas. The first talk of the day I attended was by Bill Hoffman and Matt Wood from HP's Security Labs. They discussed their browser-based darknet called Veiled. Billy is best known for his web security research while working for SPI Dynamics, acquired by HP, and authoring a book on AJAX security. Matt leads development on HP's Scwaler and SWFScan security tools.
Android Finally Getting Facebook App: Report
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
One of the things Google talked about recently was the need to make its Android mobile operating system more social. It looks like Android is about to take its first step in the "more social" direction with the arrival of a dedicated Facebook app.
Black Hat Podcast: Popularity of Social Nets Puts Spotlight On Dangers Of Cross-Site Request Forgeries
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Today is the first day of the infamous Black Hat Briefings taking place at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas and most of what the attendees will hear today is being presented publicly for the first time by the various researchers in the building. Today, for example, is the day that many researchers reveal their discoveries and exploits but in some cases, they hold back on the tools or details needed to replicate their research until the impacted vendors and organizations have an opportunity
SaaS Under A Cloud Of FUD
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Cloud computing is still a long way from becoming a mainstream technology because of persistent fears about security and reliability that are stoked by entrenched vendors at every opportunity.
New York's Facebook Race Fracas
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
A young aide to a New York City politician joined the long parade of people who've learned the hard way that what you say on the Internet matters. Lee Landor, until recently deputy press secretary to Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, posted comments on her personal Facebook page criticizing Henry Louis Gates and the President, and apparently defending racial profiling
Don't Confuse Health IT Stimulus With Cash-For-Clunkers Program
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
My family's old minivan only has heat, no A/C. And I mean heat even in the summer. It won't turn off. We've spent hundreds (thousands?) of dollars on repairs over the years and don't want to pour any more money into this junk-box. So, the fed's program for trading in a clunker for a more fuel-efficient vehicle comes at a perfect time for us--as long as we don't make a hasty choice that really doesn't meet our family's needs looking ahead. That's the same position many healthcare organizations ar
Rackspace Launches Dedicated Cloud
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
The provider expands its cloud offerings with on-demand virtual machines running on dedicated hardware.
Ballmer 1, Bartz 0 in Lopsided Microhoo Deal
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Yahoo investors are burning their stock certificates to protest the company's search pact with Microsoft, pummeling YHOO down by 12% at one point Wednesday. No surprise there-this is an arrangement where Redmond gets the milk without buying the cow.
U.S. Gov't: Thou Shalt Not Text And Drive At The Same Time
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
It finally happened. With texting-and-driving incidents gaining more and more national media attention, it appears as though the recent VTech study pushed the U.S. federal government into action. Today, lawmakers proposed a national ban on texting and emailing when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Will it work?
On The FAA's Slow And Steady SWIM To Open Source
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
After my talk earlier in the week about open source in health care, I turned to a parallel discussion -- using open source in a federal agency that's long been hidebound by closed-ended legacy systems. Namely, the FAA.

On SPSS and IBM's 'Time to Value' Promise
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
Building good predictive models requires a high degree of expertise and is not something that will become main stream any time soon... As for the IBM Smart Analytics System, the vision is enticing, but I'm skeptical customers will have the degree of flexibility they currently have.
Apple: Jailbroken iPhones Can Crash Cell Towers
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
As part of a legal battle against the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apple submitted comments that claim jailbroken iPhones can lead to denial of service attacks and, furthermore, be used to take out cellular towers and the associated base stations. Pure FUD.
Initial reactions to IBM acquiring SPSS
Commentary  |  7/29/2009  | 
One notable point is that SPSS is more SQL-oriented than SAS. Thus, SPSS has gotten performance benefits from Oracle's in-database data mining technology that SAS apparently hasn't... IBM's done a good job of keeping its acquired products working well with Oracle and other competitive DBMS in the past, and SPSS will surely be no exception.
SuccessFactors Up, Salesforce Down In Analysts' Forecasts
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Maybe it's the law of big numbers, maybe it's marketing, maybe it's execution - but longtime SaaS poster-child Salesforce.com just had one analyst cut his rating estimates for the $1.2 billion company, while another analyst boosted his ratings and estimates for up-and-coming SaaS provider SuccessFactors. Which way are the clouds blowing?
Unsheathing The Double-Edged Sword Of Black Hat 2009 In Vegas
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
"What I'm about to teach you could land you in jail and destroy your life and family if you choose to use it for nefarious purposes." These words and others like them have been repeated many times in the nearly 50 security classes being given during the training portion of Black Hat, now onto its fourth day in Las Vegas. The "classrooms" here at Caesar's Palace are filled with everyone from self-proclaimed hackers (their badges say so) to digital forensics s
Texting And Driving - Just Say No
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
We've all talked on the phone while driving and it definitely a distraction to fiddle with dialing and have one hand permanently unavailable for driving. Many states have passed laws prohibiting using a cell phone while driving unless you have a hands-free headset. Texting has become more popular, especially with people updating their Twitter or Facebook accounts. Though not illegal in many states yet, texting is far more dangerous than just talking on the phone according to a newly relea
ReviewCam: Glue Sniffs @ Social Integration
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Are you logged into Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? LinkedIn? What about your e-mail? Any Wikis? All at the same time? Are you crazy?! Now, if you could just take your social and business relationships with you around the web, getting and giving feedback, learning and sharing along the way . . . Glue, from two-year-old startup AdaptiveBlue, is just scratching the surface of this concept, and demonstrated its technology in our latest ReviewCam.
Is It Time To Let Your Employees "Bring Their Own PC?"
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
A new Forrester Research study shows how one company has stopped supplying computers to its workers - saving the company money, lightening the IT workload, and making employees happy. Plus 10 simple rules for making it work at your company.
I Want To See Firefox 7.0
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
The Mozilla Foundation has revealed some possible interface changes that might come with Firefox 4.0. The fiddling with tab placement and button functionality is probably smart, but it certainly isn't visionary. I want to see the future.
Strickling To Incumbent Carriers: Put Up Or Shut Up
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
In a small but important victory for public-private applicants, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) chief Larry Strickling told incumbent carriers that they'll have to prove their cases just like everyone else if they want to challenge broadband grant proposals from smaller players.
Verizon Spills Details About The V CAST Apps Store
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Today, Verizon Wireless held a developer conference in San Jose. The big news? An app store is coming, and Verizon is working with RIM, Qualcomm, and others to make it happen.
Sprint 's Latest Acquisition Bad News for SMBs?
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
As competition among cellular carriers intensified recently, Sprint Nextel has struggled to grow its business. The companys future direction may be foreshadowed in its decision to purchase Virgin Mobile USA, however if that is the case, Sprint Nextel services may become less attractive to small and medium businesses.
Medsphere's Open Source Health Upgrade
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
The other day I spoke with Rick Jung, COO of Medsphere, of the commercial open source health care software package OpenVista. Their mission: to get health care providers of all strata to use open source, save a bunch of money, and change the way we do this stuff for keeps.

Cardinal Health's New CIO On Board Of Firm IBM Is Buying
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
It's been quite a week for former Motorola CIO Patty Morrison: first she's named CIO of $91 billion Cardinal Health, and then a couple of days later IBM agrees to acquire SPSS, on whose board she sits, for $1.2 billion. And third, tomorrow Morrison will be a featured speaker at our online Global CIO Summit virtual event: "Driving Business Value and Customer Value in the Global Economy."
Novatel's MiFi Adds GPS, MicroSD And U.S. 3G Support
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Today Novatel rolled out its latest rendition of the MiFi, the 2372. It covers all the major GSM-based mobile networks, including GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSPA. The MiFi 2372 takes things a bit further, however, with added storage capacity and a processor capable of running apps.
Sprint Snags 5 Million More Customers In Virgin Acquisition
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Today Sprint announced its intent to acquire mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile USA. The deal, valued at $483 million, will bolster Sprint's subscriber count by about five million pre-paid users.
IBM Takes SPSS for $1.2 Billion
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
I'm at IBM's research center in Hawthorne, NY, today where a presentation is about to take place on the IBM Smart Analytics System, which is a rebranding of the InfoSphere Balanced Warehouse solutions with prepackacked content such as vertical domain modules and solution accelerators. The bombshell announcement that everybody wants to hear about, though, is IBM's $1.2 acquisition of Chicago-based SPSS...
Enterprises Iffy On Windows 7 Migration
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
Being a big fan of Windows 7, I was surprised to find that there's no mad rush by enterprises to migrate to the new operating system, and that Microsoft's ending of support for XP is the biggest factor in pushing businesses to upgrade. These are the early results of a just-completed InformationWeek Analytics survey on Windows 7, of which I'll offer a partial peek, if you click
Bank Of America To Shut 600 Branches Due To Surge In Online And Mobile Banking
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
After two decades of aggressive expansion in the bricks-and-mortar side of its retail-banking business, Bank of America is reportedly set to close about 10% of its 6,100 nationwide branches as more and more consumers handle their banking needs online and with mobile devices rather than visiting their local branch. My only question is, why have they waited so long?
The Fear of Multitenancy
Commentary  |  7/28/2009  | 
In the world of SaaS and cloud computing there is one single word that will send chills up the spines in IT: Multitenancy... It's the sharing part that gets many concerned... But the chances that data and processes will somehow intermingle... is right up there with lighting strikes and lottery wins.
Windows XP To Windows 7: All WET
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
This week my blogging colleague Serdar Yegulalp has laid out the Windows 7 upgrade options for both XP and Vista. Walt Mossberg laments that Microsoft hasn't provided an "upgrade install" to let users layer a brand new Windows 7 OS over a years-old crusty XP setup. True, but they've provided s
MS Opens Application Submission On Its Application Store
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Microsoft has opened application submission for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store, which is for its Windows Mobile platform. WinMo 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5 will be supported, which means when the store launches, there will be tens of millions of potential customers. To make things interesting, MS is having a "Race to Market" challenge for developers where they will be able to earn prizes, money, fortune and fame.
NEW! Business Case Builder: Distributed Asset Management
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Introducing a brand new service from bMighty.com: The bMighty Business Case Builder on Distributed Asset Management! It's the first in a series of Business Case Builders: free downloadable PowerPoint presentations designed to help you justify investments in key technologies to your company's senior management.
Hybrid Cloud Storage Startup Lands $6 Million
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Egnyte, which blends local and online storage for SMBs, pulled in millions in VC investment today.
Try New Software -- Without Installing New Software
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
A startup firm has come up with a great way to try new open-source software -- without installing anything on your desktop.
What Not To Be: 'Black Hole Cost Center'
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
As the CFO office's liaison for IT--associate VP of IT finance, to be exact--Bill Miller of Nationwide Insurance sees one of his jobs as making sure IT isn't seen as a "black hole cost center."
Verizon's FiOS Customers Get Free Access To Wi-Fi
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
If you are a customer of Verizon's fiber-to-the-home FiOS Internet service, you'll soon be able to access a number of public Wi-Fi hot spots for free. Too bad smartphones aren't supported.
Spiceworks Improves MSP Features
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Network and system management has been a problem for many small and medium businesses. Traditionally, these systems were cumbersome to deploy and difficult to manage. Spiceworks has had some success in this market segment by delivering a free (yes free!) system and recently enhanced its product, so third parties can more easily provide managed services to these businesses.
Google Apps Dashboard Gets RSS Feed
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Google's online services, like those offered by Amazon, Microsoft, or any other company, sometimes fail. Hopefully, failures don't happen often. But when they do, it's helpful to have information about what's going on.
Obama's Twitter Conundrum
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
It turns out the White House doesn't hate Twitter as reported, or at least not as much, or at least not for very much longer.
Hear 12 Top CIO Strategies At Our Online Global CIO Summit
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Want to hear a dozen of the world's top CIOs discuss global strategies, top priorities, and board-level issues? Join us online this Wednesday, July 29, for the Global CIO Summit virtual event for a day-long program that lets you attend the panel discussions, ask questions, meet and network with peers. Click ahead to register and for more info on speakers and the agenda.
Teaching Elephants to Dance
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
In these tough times, even the most change-resistant organizations are reexamining whether past practice should continue to govern standard operating procedures. Government and airlines, for example, spring to mind. I recently saw evidence of this in delivering a BPMN training class to one of the many Federal agencies involved in financial regulation...
New Android Features Appear In Donut Code
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Google has made some more code available for the Android platform. The code brings with it a host of new and interesting features, including support for CDMA devices and a brand new camera user interface. It may not be Android 2.0, but "Donut" looks tasty indeed.
Is This The Right Room For An Argument About Open Source?
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Any discussion about open source that doesn't bristle at least some hairs isn't worth having. That doesn't make the other guy right -- but it does mean nobody's going to learn anything as long as we just pat each other on the shoulder. Some conflict is vital.

Global CIO: An Open Letter To Cisco CEO John Chambers
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Cisco's aggressive moves outside its traditional networking markets hold a lot of potential for it and its customers. But with so much going on, CIOs want and need to know: What business is Cisco in today?
Report: Apple's Tablet To Be Media Focused, Coming In September
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Today, the Financial Times ran an interesting piece on the collaboration between Apple and the music industry to revitalize music sales. Part of the plan is to offer interactive booklets and other content as part of digital music sales. Oh, and consumers will access it all from a new, tablet-style device from Apple that has yet to be announced.
How FriendFeed Will Generate Revenue
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Earlier this month FriendFeed launched the next version of their API service. It got me thinking about how FriendFeed could generate real revenue and become a real-time search leader.
Cardinal Health CIO Davids Replaced By Ex-Motorola CIO
Commentary  |  7/27/2009  | 
Cardinal Health CIO Jody Davids is stepping down from the $91 billion company according to her own plan and will be replaced next week by former Motorola CIO Patty Morrison. Two interesting details around this transition: Morrison will not inherit the other half of Davids' former job - EVP of corporate shared services - and will report to the CEO, which was not the case for Davids.
Wolfe's Den Vlog: Build A Liquid-Cooled Intel Core i7 PC
Commentary  |  7/26/2009  | 
A liquid-cooled PC is like the Hummer of computers, which is why I've always wanted to build one. (Plus, it provides ample thermal support for overclocking.) This latest project came about because I wanted to top my last two quad-core builds -- 2008's QX9770 and 2007's QX6850 box -- and also because I wa
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