Commentary
Content posted in August 2007
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Does Privacy Matter?
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Donald Leka, CEO of New York-based TransMedia, maker of the Glide online media sharing and storage service, believes consumers care about privacy.
Why Does Microsoft Get Smacked For Doing The Right Thing?
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Microsoft endorses a third-party software product that helps customers "create a secure, auditable, and compliant enterprise environment" -- that's a good thing, right? Not so fast! A colleague of mine says that, conversely, it's simply another wacky chapter in what he calls the ongoing "Through The Looking Glass" saga of Windows Vista.
Hired Guns: CIO Consultants
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Temporary CIO talent can be a quick fix, but is it worth it in the long run?
SaaS, Mashups, And The End Run On IT Departments
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
In its early days, one of the hottest selling points for software as a service was "you know, you don't really need your IT department to do this." SaaS vendors have to be more subtle these days. But end-user mashup tools could raise some of the same questions of how much end users should do without IT's help.
Blocking The Ad Blockers: Formula For Success?
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
A Web site owner is protesting a Firefox plug-in, Adblock Plus, that blocks advertisements. He's doing it by blocking all Firefox users from his site, whether they're running Firefox or not. It's a gutsy move. As Microsoft with its Windows Genuine Advantage screw-up this weekend reminds us, nothing builds relationships with your customers quite like giving the impression you're calling them al
Report: Google Apps Worth a Look by Small, Midsize Businesses
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Small and midsize businesses should keep an eye on Google Apps. "It's just starting and it will get better," says an analyst who recently penned a report about Google's hosted desktop apps
5 Keys To Social Networking Success
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Investors are flocking to fund social networking startups. How can you identify a good investment? Here are five key characteristics, backed up with real-world examples.
Is Unlocking The iPhone Really Going To Change Anything?
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
The last five days or so have seen a spate of announcements from basement-dwelling geeks all around the planet who claim to have unlocked the iPhone. Some have used hardware and software mods, others have just used software. What does
A Clean New Internet?
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Sometimes, when things aren't going your way, the best way to handle things is to simply walk away. At least, that's the philosophy being followed by the Japanese communications ministry, which apparently intends to build a new Internet.
Refurbished Equipment Redux
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
We raised some questions about the quality of refurbished devices in the Over the Air blog recently. True to form, a tidy little survey shows up after we publish saying that refurbed units just aren't that good.
Of BI, Crème Brulee and Chocolate Mousse
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Just back from vacation in France and was wowed by something unexpected: BI for waiters! When the waiter showed up to take our order, he wielded a kind of pen-computing/Palm device, not a pad of paper. I had never seen this before - at least not in NYC-area restaurants. At my enthusiasm, the waiter proudly declared "C'est nouveau!"… "it's new!" Imagine the possibilities: When I order mousse au chocolat and it's sold out, the waiter can proactively recommend an available alternative - cr
Coming to Your Cell Phone: Ink-free Printing
Commentary  |  8/28/2007  | 
Remember the tantalizing promise of the paperless office? I'll believe it when I take delivery of the personal jetpack I've been waiting for since childhood*. But the idea of an inkless printer is almost as close as my next mobile phone.
Did Apple Hurt Its Loyal Customers? Or Bravely Resist Software Bloat?
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Computer users complain continuously about software bloat, so you'd think we'd applaud a vendor's efforts to simplify and slim down a popular application. That's what Apple did with iMovie '08 -- but it's got some of Apple's most loyal users squawking that Apple turned a once-powerful application into crippleware.

Going Green Is Big Business - Not Small Business
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
It seems counterintuitive, but apparently corporate America, not small and midsize companies, is leading business efforts toward environmentalism. So says Kevin A. Fletcher at GreenBiz.com, citing all the typical barriers like lack of time, resources, funds, and staff, not to mention green expertise.
What's The Rule For Embedding Open Source Software?
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
I just talked with two CIOs who have different takes on embedding open source software in their companies' products. One sees it as standard practice, the other approaches it like a snake in a bag.
Where's the Beef in Acer's Gateway PC Buy?
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Like the Wendy's customer asked way back when: where's the beef in today's $710 million takeover of Gateway by Taiwanese computer maker Acer? Sure, the deal makes Acer the number 3 PC-maker in the world, pushing past mainland China's Lenovo (which got that big by swallowing IBM's PC business). I just don't think it's likely to have an immediate impact on small and midsize computer buyers.
Ubuntu Adds Ho-Hum Features In Latest 'Gutsy Gibbon' Alpha
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Ubuntu, the Linux distro which I've personally found to be somewhat less than it's cracked up to be -- your mileage may vary -- is getting an update.
Don't Fear The Acer-Gateway (And Other Globalization) Grim Reapers
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Taiwan's Acer plans to acquire U.S. PC maker Gateway, a deal some may view as further evidence that the U.S. tech industry is bolting offshore. Despite the upheaval in the domestic tech industry and profession, however, the United States is holding its own as a high-tech center.
Mobile Control For Small Fleets
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Lots of smaller companies have trucks, too. That's where Alltel's new FieldMasterPro service comes in. Designed for Windows Mobile smartphones, the subscription-based service helps smaller companies better manage their field service organizations.
Alltel Lets Managers Be Puppet Masters
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
For the SMB on a budget, the new FieldMasterPro service from Alltel lets managers simplify scheduling and dispatch on Windows Mobile smartphones. It's perfect for control freaks!
The Death of Wikipedia?
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Study Slams Google's SaaS-Delivered Office Automation
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
This article reports on a new Burton Group study warding larger enterprises away from Google's SaaS-delivered office automation solution: "'At just $50 a year per user, Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) hosted office productivity suite could be one of the cheapest mistakes a large business makes.' That's one of the conclusions of a study by the Burton Group, which said GAPE... lacks strong regulatory compliance features and poor administrative tools for user accounts.
Hate Your Cell Phone? Go Ahead And Chuck It
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
On Saturday, the tiny Finnish village of Savonlinna hosted its annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships. The winner, one of 32 male contestants, flung a mobile phone 294 feet to take the gold prize.
Aggregate Knowledge Aims To Be A Mind Reader On The Web
Commentary  |  8/27/2007  | 
Having jumped into the market for Web "discovery" technology last December, Aggregate Knowledge is getting closer to general availability of three new services. Founded by the same guys behind social networking site Tribe.net -- the assets of which were acquired by Cisco in March -- Aggregate Knowledge promises to help companies get the most appropriate products and content in front of Web site visitors.
There's Still Room On The Web For Small E-Tailers
Commentary  |  8/26/2007  | 
It may seem that the giant online retailers have the search engines all locked up and that there's no way smaller companies can get noticed on the Web. But a new study suggests that most of the top 100 e-tailers still don't quite get search engine optimization (SEO), and their failings leave room for other players to gain market attention.
Microsoft Endorses A Fix For Something It Insists Isn't A Problem
Commentary  |  8/25/2007  | 
Vista's User Account Controls prompts are something almost everybody loves to hate. Microsoft has steadfastly maintained that they're a feature that improves the product. But this week, "Microsoft has taken the very unusual step of endorsing another company's product that fixes a problem in its own operating system." The "Through the Looking Glass" saga of Vista continues.
Host Google Ads, Boost Your Page Rank
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
I've been puzzling out a technique, used by sites that machine-aggregate content, that may boost pages' Google rankings. The aggregators stuff their pages with (Google) ads and contextually similar - albeit just similar enough - content. All that pseudo-content surely moves them up the Google rankings. How else to explain the success of the bottom-feeders who exploit others' content in order to sell ads?
Is The Google Phone Ready To Launch In India In Two Weeks?
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
A few weeks ago I blogged that Google was working on a cell phone but, in typical fashion, refused to comment. Now Rediff claims the Google Phone is set to launch in India in as soon as two weeks.
Craigslist: King Of The Hiring Heap
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
You probably already know this, but Craigslist has got to be the greatest gift to hiring managers since the invention of the resume. Large, rich enterprises may fool around hiring headhunters and using the big job boards, but leaner, more cost-conscious companies can do remarkably well with Craiglist -- especially when looking for tech-savvy workers. But be warned, while Craigslist has great reach, you get all kinds of candidates.
What Orkut Really Needs
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Google's software engineers report that they've been busy giving Orkut, the company's social networking service, a face-lift. But perhaps what the site really needs is a new name for the U.S market. It's true that short, memorable domain names are hard to come by, but if ever there was a Google product in need of re-branding, it's Orkut.
Why Waiting On An iPhone Deal In Europe Hurts Apple
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
So now France Telecom, parent company of Orange France, has gone from "Non non" to "Oui oui" on talks with Apple about becoming one of the European carriers for the red-hot iPhone once it (finally) makes its way to the Continent. Leaving aside for the moment the question of which operator(s) will get the privilege of offering the 365-Euro touch-screen wonder, here are three reasons that the long
A CIO's Top Priority: Make The Boss Look Good!!
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Call this approach strategic pragmatism or multidisciplinary synchronicity or old-fashioned brown-nosing, but there's lots of common sense in the suggestions offered by reader Danny C.
The CIO's Biggest Headache: Resource Constraint
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
I recently spoke with the CTO of a financial services firm and he told me a chilling tale of how his rapidly expanding firm had been "locked out" of needed data center resources.
UBS Claims iPhone On Pace To Beat Apple's Forecast
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Just in case you were curious, it looks like the iPhone is on pace to beat Apple's internal sales estimate of 730,000 units this quarter. That's a heck of a lot of iPhones.
IBM Employees Might Strike...In Second Life
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
IBM, like other businesses, plunged into Second Life partly in search of a new profit stream. I bet it never considered employees would use Second Life to strike the company.
The iPhone Has Been Unlocked: Apple, AT&T, Deal With It
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
A few weeks ago I asked if it was possible to unlock an iPhone. According to the guys at Engadget, the iPhone has been successfully unlocked. The jig is up.
Apple, The BlackBerry, And Vendors' Obligations To Serve The Enterprise
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Blogger Anil Dash picks up the discussion about why enterprise applications are a chore to use, and what Apple can and should do about it. He says Apple doesn't have a moral obligation to the enterprise, but rather a social obligation.

Jonathan 'Marketing Weenie' Schwartz Offers Lessons For Would-Be Exec Bloggers
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz is being filleted and fried on his own blog right now for changing Sun's ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA. The 277 comments include such subtle insight as "you're a marketing weenie." Name-calling aside, Schwartz provides a good test for an internal blog: Would employees rise to challenge a boss' idea like this? If not, is it worth anyone's time?
CIO As Outsourcing Expert
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
In the ongoing discussion of the expertise necessary to succeed as a CIO, let's not overlook knowledge and experience in handling multiple -- perhaps overlapping -- outsourcing relationships. For some companies, that's the prerequisite.
Enterprise Collaboration Vendor Gets $15 Million For Expansion
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Jive Software, maker of enterprise collaboration software Clearspace, has landed a $15 million investment from Sequoia Capital.
The New YouTube Ads: Is Regular TV Next?
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Google began showing "advertising overlays" on YouTube videos this week. I bet it won't be long before we see something similar on regular television.
Palm, It's About The Experience And Your Experience Is Out Of Date
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
The mobile blogosphere has been abuzz this week with the now notorious open letter from Engadget to Palm. Like my fellow blogger, Eric Zeman, I agreed with a lot of what the letter had to say. But I also think that the letter didn't focus enough on the one key ingredient missing from Palm's mobile strategy: A great u
Google In Oregon: Mother Nature Meets The Data Center
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
I just got back from a week's vacation in Oregon, where the highlights included a hike up Mt. Hood, fishing in the Deschutes River canyon, and a county fair where goats competed in an obstacle course. There also was the magnificent Columbia River Gorge -- and, on the banks of the Columbia, Google's expansive new data center complex.
Move over Linux - IBM's Dumping You for Second Life
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
IT managers in companies of all sizes will need to add Linden Dollars to their budgets if they want to buy virtually from IBM at Second Life.
Blog Blasts Palm, Palm Responds
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
The other day three writers at Engadget posted an open letter to Palm. The letter essentially blasted Palm's inability to produce a truly innovative product in the last few years and laid out steps Palm could take to regain its one-time innovative status. Palm CEO Ed Colligan responded with a blog post of his own.
What Would Linus Do? Torvalds Offers Lesson For Microsoft
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
An interesting interview with Linus Torvalds showcases his thinking about how operating systems should be released, and he's floating a powerful idea Microsoft would do well to heed.
Mobile Technology Makes Beer Taste Better
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
There's something to be said for a pint of your favorite brew. Nothing comes as close to refreshing the soul sometimes as a beer. Heineken's distributors in Ireland work hard to make sure every sip of Heineken you take while on the Emerald Isle tastes as fresh as possible. Here's how mobile technology makes it happen.
Reports: Apple To Unveil New iPods In September, Including 'Fatboy Nano'
Commentary  |  8/24/2007  | 
Apple plans in September to launch up to four new iPods, including a full-screen video model and one nicknamed the "Fatboy Nano," according to reports on Apple Web magazines and blogs. The new hardware will include upgrades to the video iPod. Most or all of the products will use NAND flash for storage, and be based on Mac OS X.

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