Michael Hickins - Authors & Columnists - InformationWeek

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 Michael Hickins

Profile of Michael Hickins

News & Commentary Posts: 178
Articles by Michael Hickins

Innovation, Not Cost, New Cloud Battle Cry

Maybe folks are simply trying to talk themselves out of the recession (which would be a good thing in itself), but it seems like the conversation around cloud computing is shifting from cost-cutting to unleashing innovation.

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Can Open Source Software Save Democracy?

Voting machines and their foibles were catapulted to the top of public consciousness during the 2000 Presidential election, but have gone largely unnoticed in subsequent elections, which is a good thing. The possibility that a widespread glitch could affect a close national election, and the potential for this to undermine democracy, cannot be overstated.

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CNN Bringing iReport Closer

CNN.com unveiled a new site design to reporters Thursday that it will launch on Monday that includes more prominent use of video and a radical change in how it incorporates so-called citizen journalism.

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Is Twitter A Secret Instrument Of The State?

Privately-held Twitter has been closely linked to three incidents that we know of in which the Internet service worked closely with official United States agencies. The first was in Iraq, then Iran, and the most recent in Pittsburgh.

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Twitter Corroding The National Fabric

Acid-tongued Tweets are eating away at the fabric of our national conversation 140 characters at a time. Meanwhile, regrettably to my mind, "Twitter is emerging as a new and powerful political tool."

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Digital Moving Sure Has Changed

How much has changed online in the past three years? My family and I just moved to a new apartment, and much of the move was facilitated by aspects of our digital lives that either didn't exist or weren't ubiquitous enough three years ago to have made a difference.

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Green IT Tries To Get Beyond Abstractions

Executives from Cisco, EMC, Dell and Symantec gathered at the United Nations today as a sort of coda to the climate summit held here last week, to talk about the role IT can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reversing catastrophic climate change.

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Five Amigos Fight The Power

Every time I'm at an airport and I see one of those giant SAP ads claiming that the world's best-run companies run SAP, I wonder how many of the executives those ads are targeting choke on their Dramamine at the reminder of the ungodly implementation cycles, which are matched in gruesomeness only by the dreadful 22 percent maintenance fees charged by the vendor. I wonder if they worry whether they'll lose their jobs over the cost overruns or the fact that the software doesn't allow them to innov

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Iranian Phone Spoofing, Fake Twitter Accounts And Trust

An Iranian living in the U.S. called a friend of mine who lives here in New York and said, "I see on my caller ID that you tried to call me. What's it about?" As you've no doubt guessed from the title of this post, my friend had done no such thing. A few weeks later, the same thing happened with another Iranian living in the U.S.

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GOP: Obama Uses 'Diabolical' Tech For School Speech

Candidate Obama would have known what to do if someone wanted to stop him from spreading his message. His unprecedented use of text messaging, Facebook and other social media supported more traditional communications means (if email can be considered traditional) to propel his campaign.

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A Fact-Based Defense of Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is often nothing more than a faith-based attack on hierarchy and organization, or so it must often seem. It's the gist of a recent piece by the estimable Dennis Howlett that was picked up by noted Enterprise 2.0 evangelist and Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee.

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To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

Just think about this: the National Football League may be more enlightened than New York Times sports writer Judy Batista, who ragged on Donte' Stallworth for posting what she considered a flippant Tweet.

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A New View Of Government 2.0

Government 2.0 has been identified in a couple of ways: one could be really called Politics 2.0, and is best personified by the digital grassroots organizing of the Obama campaign.

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Media Helps Carriers Spread Broadband Stimulus FUD

Where's the so-called liberal media when you need it? Large carriers like Verizon, Qwest and AT&T say they are refusing to apply for broadband stimulus funds because they don't want to accept government "strings" and because they can't "compete" with government, and the national media repeats their charges verbatim.

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Twitter Forty Percent 'Pointless Babble'

Two reports surfaced in the past couple of days that, put side by side, offer an amusing look at Twitter usage, painting it as a playground of the hyperactive and the self-obsessed, doling out wit and foolishness in almost equal measure.

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Is Recession Making Customer Service Worse?

You'd think that with the economy being what it is, companies would be trying just a little harder to hold onto their customers. And the little things, like making it up to customers when you inconvenience them, or adopting opt-in policies for marketing gimmicks, is much less expensive than any new marketing programs or feature sets you can think of.

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When Online Marketers Betray

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.

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Microsoft Is Following Me On Twitter

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).

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SaaS Under A Cloud Of FUD

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.

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Strickling To Incumbent Carriers: Put Up Or Shut Up

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.

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Can Microsoft Win By Channeling Its Inner Burger King?

Microsoft is pursuing the Burger King store location strategy, announcing that it will basically shadow Apple's retail stores with stores of its own. It has doubled down on that approach by snagging Apple's former vice president of real estate, George Blankenship.

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How Microsoft And Habit Abetted Twitter Hack

Unfortunately, we all know a lot more about Twitter's business plans than we'd like, since TechCrunch made the ill-conceived editorial decision to publish the stolen contents of files it received from a French cybercriminal.

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Google Solicits Broadband Plan Ideas

Google is asking us to submit ideas for a national broadband strategy that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by chairman Julius Genakowski, is required to present to Congress in February 2010.

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Michael Arrington Should Step Down

By publishing documents stolen by a hacker, Michael Arrington has proven he doesn't have the judgment necessary to run a news organization. He should have the decency to step down.

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Volunteers Will Screen Stimulus Applications

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is calling for "qualified" volunteers to screen applications for the $4.7 billion it has to spend as part of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus package.

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Will Cyber Attack Promote Einstein?

Government Web sites were subjected to a denial of service attack over the past few days, which may have the unintended consequence of helping the Obama Administration sweep away privacy concerns as it begins implementing a controversial cybersecurity plan.

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Making Sense Of Broadband Stimulus

Vice President Joe Biden is in Pennsylvania today to kick off the Administration's $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program, announcing the release of the federal agency regulations, also known as the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), that set eligibility rules.

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Realizing Government 2.0

One of the most compelling attributes of Web 2.0 is that it transformed the static Interweb from something pushed at us to something that includes our inputs. The coincidence of Howard Dean's intelligent use of the Web, the rise of Facebook in public consciousness and Barack Obama's very technologically-savvy campaign has led to the expectation that Government 2.0 would quickly follow.

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Microsoft Snuffing Windows 7 In The Cradle

Those geniuses in Redmond seem to have decided that we'll pay just about anything to get rid of Vista, even if that means spending $119 to upgrade to Windows 7. By the way, that's $119 per user, not per household.

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An Unhealthy Obsession With Jobs

Apple says Steve Jobs will return to his position as CEO at the end of June. That ought to be enough to quiet rumors to the contrary. But ghoulish reporters, abetted at times by others shedding crocodile tears, are fixating on Jobs' ongoing health crisis like nobody's business.

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TweetDeck On iPhone #NotFail

TweetDeck, the popular Adobe-based client that enhances your Twitter experience partly by, well, keeping you off the Twitter.com site, is now available as an iPhone app.

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Robert Scoble And The New Digital Divide

Robert Scoble thinks that too many people, especially small businesses, aren't benefiting from the fruits of Web 3.0, or Web 2010, "or whatever you want to call it," as he said to me this evening at an event hosted by Rackspace (his blog's current sponsor) at the New York Stock Exchange.

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