Commentary
Content posted in September 2007
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Too Much Of A Good Thing? Relief From RSS Overload
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
RSS readers can reduce information overload, but they also can become part of the problem as feeds add up. Startup mSpoke has an answer to RSS clutter with FeedHub, a new personalization tool that puts a content relevance knob at your finger tips.
Forget The Table, How About A Seat On The Board?
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
With their insights into process, innovation, and technology, CIOs should be better represented on companies' boards. So why aren't they?
Demo Day 1, Part 4: Infrastructure / Enabling Technology
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
OK, it's easy to start falling asleep in the session that follows lunch. If the list is getting boring for you, skip to the end. Very impressive stuff.
Office Politics
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Way back in the '80s, a popular maxim had it that "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM." An IBM salesman probably came up with that one, but in any case it stuck. Reflecting on last week's announcement about the new IBM Lotus Symphony desktop suite, based on OpenOffice.org technology and available as a free download, I'd say it's time for a new maxim: "Nobody ever got fired for perpetuating the Microsoft Office monopoly."
My Linux Broke -- Is It My Fault?
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
One of the adages about Linux that gets passed around a lot goes something like, "It's a great system, but you really have to know what you're doing." The other day, I got a firsthand example of that -- I got bitten by a bug in a package that's readily available in Ubuntu's software repository.
Amazon Kills DRM And Puts iTunes On Notice
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Digital rights management, otherwise known as DRM, died today, at least as far as music is concerned. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who deserves credit for calling for the elimination of DRM earlier this year, may come to regret that the competition has taken his advice to heart.
What Microsoft Could Do With Facebook
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Microsoft's reportedly in talks to invest somewhere between $300 and $500 million for a stake in Facebook. Here's what Microsoft could do with it.
Demo Day 1, Part 3: Games
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
On to the games. It's hard to imagine they pay me for this.
Dilbert Takes On Web 2.0
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
There's a particular Dilbert cartoon making the rounds that pokes good fun at Web 2.0 in general and "folksonomies" in particular... Cartoonist Scott Adams is particularly adept at surfacing (and pillorying) vague but alluring-sounding words like "folksonomy" and "platform" that, yes, we all over-use. But getting Dilberted also represents a certain coming of age...
Demo Day 1, Part 2: Social Networking
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
No time for coffee, we're jumping straight into social networking.
Google's Virtual World Could Be Business Answer To Second Life
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
As if Google isn't pervasive enough, it looks like the search-engine company is planning to launch its own virtual world, which will compete with Second Life, but could be much more valuable to business users in real-world applications.
Motorola Bows WiMax Chipset For Mobile Devices At WiMax World
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
The new wireless modem will help bridge 3G and 4G technologies and eventually find its way into electronics, including mobile phones.
When Employees Leave, Make Sure They're Gone
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Employee resignations and layoffs raise questions about network security and data security. Here are 7 ways to protect your small or midsize business
Demo Day 1
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Blogging from a live event is a new thing for me. What can I tell you during the event that couldn't possibly wait until the end of the day? Probably not much, but I've got a couple cups of coffee in me and I'm surrounded by people doing the same thing, so here goes...
Why Tech Jobs May Fare Better In A Recession This Time
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Why sweat a recession? Because three-fourths of economists say there's a 30% chance or higher chance the U.S. economy will slip into recession, the Wall Street Journal reports , citing its poll of 52 economists. The economists overall peg the recession risk at 36%, up from 28% a month ago.
Is Anyone Really Surprised That Apple Won't Support Hacked iPhones?
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
I'm not. And I don't blame them, either. When you buy an iPhone, you implicitly agree to a legal contract in order to use it. Why should they support you if you decide to break the contract?
Larry Ellison Says 'Just Say No to SaaS'
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Well, it had to happen. Somebody who sells enterprise software had to push back on SaaS. In this case it was Oracle's Larry Ellison. Ellison told financial analysts in a quarterly earnings call last week that Oracle hasn't participated in the software-as-a-service trend because there's no money to be made there.
Google: A Virtual Video Headquarters Tour
Commentary  |  9/25/2007  | 
Segways, exercise rooms, video arcade games, a gourmet cafeteria. Did you die, or perhaps move to some Western European welfare state? No, you're just an average "Googly" person, who's got the smarts -- and, apparently, the youth -- to work for the search-engine giant. See all this stuff and more on the quick video tour I've put together.
Contractors Are A Security Threat -- Both Active And Passive
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
CIOs have to rely on outside contractors for some IT jobs -- I don't know any who don't use at least a few. And the security problems third parties represent are well documented. But whatever happened to plain, old competence?
Greetings From Demo 2007 Fall
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
I'm in San Diego where the fall Demo conference kicks off tonight. Demo is a unique event in the industry. Over the course of the next two days, 69 startup exhibitors will demonstrate their cool new software, service, or hardware -- or all three, in some cases. They'll all do it on one stage in front of a crowd of a few hundred journalists, VCs, and other industry movers and shakers. So how do they manage to run 69 demonstrations in two days on one stage? It's all about the elevator pitch.
Selling Technology: What Appeals To Customers?
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Software vendor Tibco has commissioned a video series (sans Tibco branding) called Greg The Architect, a hilarious spoof of business technology organizations that's aimed at the software architect.
Is Vista Where You Want to Be?
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
When Vista was released last January, we were told that it was the next great place to be. Eventually, we were told, everyone would be doing Vista. We might as well switch our operating system now or we would be way behind the eight ball.
IBM Eases The Way To Lotus Symphony
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
I'm always pleased when companies respond to the complaints of its user base -- especially when the user base isn't paying anything for the privilege. So while it is gratifying that Apple is offering irate early iPhone adopters $100 coupons, I feel even more appreciative that IBM quickly tweaked its originally irritating registration process for Lotus Symphony.
No Bundled Windows PCs? No Way
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
The Globalisation Institute, a European think tank, wants all computers to be sold without operating systems. Here's why that's a bad idea.
Rumors, Shareholders and Customers
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
I wasn't going to comment on the rumors about Business Objects looking to be acquired, because it seems to be one that resurfaces every few months. If the rumor is true, it runs counter to all the positioning the vendor has been doing since Oracle acquired Hyperion... If Business Objects is in the market to be acquired, what does that suggest about its stated strategy: oops, change in direction?
Customer Contact Reduction: What's Wrong With This Picture?
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Questionable Move Of The Week: Wal-Mart has a program called "Customer Contact Reduction," according to The New York Times. If ever there was a self-fulfilling prophecy, that sounds like it.
DEMO Show Targets Smaller Companies
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
The DEMO show is a great place to learn about brand new companies working on new brand new technologies. And this fall a significant number of the announcements are aimed at small and midsize companies.
Google Poses Biggest Threat To MS Office, Readers Say
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Readers have a lot to say about free/alternative office suites (as in, alternatives to Microsoft's dominant Office product). Presented with a growing list of alternatives, they conclude that Google Docs is a viable threat to Microsoft.
Employers Foiled, News Corp. To Offer Free Mobile MySpace
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Whether you think MySpace is a time waster or a truly innovative social networking platform, it is now going to be available from mobile devices for free.
Halo 3 Reviews Are In: Master Chief Rules!
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Ever since Halo 2 ended with Master Chief promising to "finish the fight" on earth, gamers have been waiting for a sequel to the epic sci fi shooter. The time has come, but has it been the worth the three year wait?
Blyk Mobile Finally Gets Off The Ground
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
The ad-supported "free" mobile service in the U.K. is officially launching today after a long ramp-up period. Blyk is taking the MVNO in a new direction with its free services, but is this business model feasible?
Laptops for Kids, Not for Biz
Commentary  |  9/24/2007  | 
Would you be interested in a rugged laptop that comes with a camera, built-in wireless, flash memory, an open source operating system from Red Hat, a web browser, a word processor, and more, all for about $200?
5 Cool Google Tools You Should Know About
Commentary  |  9/23/2007  | 
Google is so vast that it's hard to keep up. But it's not just search, or even the new Web-based apps, which is extending the tentacles of the search-engine giant into territory beyond the reach of Microsoft. Here are 5 lesser-known but nevertheless interesting Google tools, code snippets, and professional tech training materials.
You've Got Mail. You're Fired
Commentary  |  9/23/2007  | 
When I was in my teens it was considered very bad form to break up with a boyfriend over the phone. Email, I'm told, makes the phone break up look classy. So why is it okay to fire someone that way?
The Future Of Virtual Worlds
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Are virtual worlds like Second Life here to stay? My answer is "yes, but." Yes, but virtual worlds are part of a long-term transition which also includes the mobile Internet. Yes, but the result will be a complete transformation in how we think about being "on the Internet" vs. being "away from the computer." Yes, but Second Life might not be the virtual worlds platform of the future.

In The Outsourcing Shuffle, Offshoring's Still Winning
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Some of the more intriguing data points about the InformationWeek 500 concern how many companies are doing offshore outsourcing and using H-1B visas. It suggests the outsourcing shuffle-companies sending work out, others hauling it back in-continues. But while one in five companies have pulled outsourced work back in-house the past year, that hasn't dimmed interest in global IT.
Will Brits Buy Sprint?
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Sprint Nextel shares closed up almost 4% today, fueled by rumors that the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier could be acquired by U.K. fixed-line operator BT Group. Normally, such Internet rumors are worth the paper they're printed on - and Sprint has been the subject of takeover rumors fo
CIOs Uncensored: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
There's a challenge to us all in the final lecture of one computer science professor: Do we nurture creativity and enthusiasm, or squash it?
Tracking The Office Alternatives - From Lotus Symphony To Google Office
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Microsoft Office ain't cheap, but most companies have viewed it as necessary expense for just about every office worker. Lower cost and even free alternatives haven't made much of a dent in Office's dominance. But IBM's new Lotus Symphony may change all that -- for some companies.
Down To Business: Simplify Your Software--Though It Ain't Easy
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
The problem is part inertia, part the lack of confidence in alternative suppliers and products.
Who's The Top Technology Dog: CIO Or CTO?
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
It was one of those heated hallway discussions: What's the role of the CTO, and how is it different from that of the CIO? And who's at the top of the technology pecking order?
Getting Advice From The Brazen Careerist
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Journalists come from motley backgrounds. But I don't think we've ever had anyone writing for us before who played professional beach volleyball. Penelope Trunk has. She's also been a software executive, founded two companies, has been through an IPO, an acquisition, and bankruptcy, wrote a book, and been a professional columnist. Having had so many careers on her own, it makes sense that she specializes in giving career advice.

New Order For Cellphone Charger Chaos?
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
If your company supports multiple models of cellphones and smartphones, you probably have to support an equal number of chargers. But the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) promises an end to that annoying expense.
Larry Ellison Says No To SaaS
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Larry Ellison told financial analysts in a quarterly earnings call yesterday that Oracle hasn't participated in the software-as-a-service trend because there's no money to be made there. If Ellison's observation isn't a red flag to CIOs, than I don't know what is.
Leaping Linux's Patent Hurdle
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
In the wake of my last column, Why Linux Is Already A Success, I got a great many comments and letters from people who agreed completely with my point of view -- that Linux was already a success on its own terms. I did, however, receive a reader comment that added some sobering real-world perspectives.
Let Your Employees Go! (To Their Home Offices)
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
According to a USA Today article, increasingly long commutes and heavier traffic on the roads are compelling more and more workers to start their days earlier and earlier. What is wrong with this picture?
Living Life, Facing Death, And Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
Randy Pausch is a world-renowned computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon and cofounder of the school's Entertainment Technology Center, and in a matter of months he will be dead from the ravages of pancreatic cancer. In his last lecture to the CMU community, the charismatic 46-year-old shared his thoughts on the unshakeable power of imagination, will, and childhood dreams.
Threaded SMS Comes To Symbian S60
Commentary  |  9/21/2007  | 
If you've ever used a Palm Treo or iPhone, you might agree that one of the best features is threaded SMS. Long missing from Nokia devices, S60 developers have finally kicked out a threaded SMS program called Conversations. The beta is free to download starting today.
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