Apple TV torn apart

Friday, March 23, 2007
Apple TV is all about the modding
As the company’s entertainment offering takes off, Richard Heft looks at the possibilites for customization. “I was hoping Apple TV would allow additional codecs, and I have a feeling Apple would love to support them. Unfortunately, Apple can’t ship the Apple TV with codecs such as Xvid. Shipping them would cause problems with licensing and most importantly, keeping the content providers on board with the iTunes platform,” he writes. “However, Apple can make installing codecs as easy as possible in hopes the device will becoming a modder’s dream. Unlike devices like Microsoft’s Xbox, Apple is not selling the Apple TV at a loss, so if people are buying them for the sake of modding that’s only more money in Apple’s pocket.”

A YouTube competitor? This means war!
Inside Google

Following announcement of a rival video sharing service from NBC and News Corp., Nathan Weinberg sizes up the two sides. “The fact is, you may like Google, but Google is bad news for every large internet corporation. It is too large, too scary, too capable of being a threat in other companies backyards,” he writes. “Google has one hit, but in it holds the keys to creating future ones, by designing or buying companies and taking over verticals. It is in the best interest of every Microsoft/Yahoo/AOL/IAC/MySpace on the internet that Google just go away. Superpowers make competition difficult, while a splintered market is great for all to compete in.”

Oracle’s SAP suit puts spotlight on how it treats clients
Blogging Stocks

As the two rivals get set to face off in court, Georges Yared reads betewee the lines. “Oracle has never been known for its customer service. SAP is renowned for its customer service. This is what makes this suit so interesting. This may be Oracle’s attempt to ‘freeze’ the market place for awhile as was a common practice back in the 1990s when competing software firms would sue each other claiming stolen software code,” he writes. “The whole new legal arena of “intellectual property” is interesting. When one engineer leaves a company to join a rival, does the software configuration code in his head belong to him or to his previous employer? It’s a matter of interpretation and whether the judge is listening.”

Thursday, March 22, 2007
A truly mobile worker is location-independent
After meeting a new business acquaintance, Nathan Zeldes is struck by his unusual business card. “No, he didn’t have a card that folds into an Origami rendition of a dodecahedron, or any other gimmick. It was a plain white rectangular card. But it was unusual in what was on it: it had the company logo, my new friend’s name, and his job role. No physical address, and no land line phone number were given; only a mobile phone number, a fax, and an e-mail address,” he writes. “The guy was evidently mobile, possibly a telecommuter, not tethered to an office with an address and a phone extension. He didn’t need them; they didn’t matter; the card bore the only important data in today’s virtualized world – the man’s name, what he did, and how you could get to him in a location-independent way.”

Despite all its integration chores, Oracle is on a roll

The company’s strategy appears to be Keep It Simple, SAP, notes Anders Bylund. “Regarding middleware, Ellison said that Oracle has outgrown BEA Systems but is still trailing IBM’s WebSphere offering,” he wries. “But WebSphere is a complex set of separate tools, which Ellison thinks makes a poor comparison to the unified Oracle Fusion middleware tools — well, maybe not apples to oranges, but at least Granny Smiths to Braeburns. You’ll note how the Fusion name pops up across the various software categories, by the way.”

Novell’s thin-client move may be smart

A blogger named Srlinuxx comments favourably on a partnership between Novell and Wyse. “In a recent chat, the newly appointed Wyse CEO Tarkan Maner described to me how thin clients have, indeed, found a home on millions of corporate desktops,” Srlinuxx writes. “JP Morgan Chase is deploying 50,000 Wyse thin clients. Other true believers include Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, Maner says. In the retail sector, Wal-Mart plans to use 100,000 Wyse thin clients, according to Maner. Now, imagine if a hefty number of those thin clients ran a specialized version of Novell SuSE Linux.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
A Palm buyout might not be so bad
Treo Today
With speculation about a deal with Motorola running high, a blogger named Azizi looks at the bigger picture. “It’s been a long road for Palm, Inc – its history is full of acquisitions, mergers and demergers. Palm CEO announced last year that “companies don’t get sold, they get bought” – which probably meant that Palm would sell if the right buyer came along. “Us Treo fans probably won’t be much affected in the near term. However, Palm being sold (or being bought,) would mean an infusion in cash for Palm to take their products to the next level.”

Bruce Perens’ BrainShare events shows problems with MS-Novell deal

The open source guru stages a protest of sorts outside the user conference, which draws some commentary from Lawrence Mettler on the wide-ranging agreement they announced last fall. “There is nothing wrong with interoperation,” he writes. “They may not even be anything wrong with many forms of joint marketing arrangements. But, when you contract with others (such as Microsoft) to offer programs and services to your own customers when you yourself (Novell) can not do so, it sticks. And as far as Microsoft is concerned they knew it would stick and that is why they did it.”

ICANN may finally be taking privacy seriously
Tucows Blog

The regulator is reportedly agreeing policy recommendations that will reform the gTLD whois system, Ross Radar reports. “The basic issue at stake is whether or not intellectual property lawyers should continue to have unfettered access to your customer data or not. The usual suspects – the RIAA, MPAA and curiously, Internet heavyweights like Microsoft and Yahoo! say yes, definitely,” he writes. “The upcoming ICANN meeting in Lisbon will certainly see more discussion on these issues, but the recent closure of the Whois Task Force is a great step in the right direction.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
FORTRAN creator’s passing shows how languages have evolved
Mainframe Performance
A member of IBM’s consulting organization, Martin Packer, reflects on the passing of John Backus. “I guess I must be part of the ‘ungrateful peasant generation of computer geeks . . . I never really liked FORTRAN . . . For me, the elegance of other languages biased my view – but that’s to miss the point: FORTRAN preceded them. And with all such pioneers elegance of form is often lacking,” he writes. “FORTRAN was frustratingly restrictive, even by the standards of Assembly languages. But you could get much more done with FORTRAN than with Assembler more quickly. I expect one could’ve called the NAG routines from Assembler – but that would’ve been even more work.”

What about a ‘MySpace Approved’ set of widgets?
Social Networking Watch

Web 2.0 consultant and provider Mark Brooks comments on recent restrictions the popular site has imposed regarding the kind of software tools that can be added to Web pages. “Widget providers make money from riding on MySpace’s coattails. If MySpace clamps down too hard, it will restrict their growth as users shift to alternative, less restrictive social networks. Remember, users went to MySpace instead of Friendster three years ago because they were more empowered; Friendster had nothing in the way of profile customization features. But they are seeing money spilling through their fingers so it must be frustrating.”

Don’t write off blogs just yet

After Bruce Sterling predicts the end of bloggs by 2017 in a speed at the SXSW conference, Alec Muffett offers his retort. “In short, (the blogging phenomenon) will morph and it will sediment,” he writes. “Specific blog search engines will go away, for much of the same reasons that the Semantic Web will never get built – technology will advance to the point where they/it will become indistinguishable from the InterWeb (or InterTube?). It’ll be like breathing.”

Monday, March 19, 2007
Google cell phone seems like a stretch
Geek in Disguise
Rumour has it the founder of of Danger Inc. ( maker of the HipTop cellphone marketed by wireless carrier T-Mobile under the name SideKick) is leading a team at the search engine giant to create a handset of its own. Steve Clayton comments: “My guess is it’s not using Windows Mobile as the OS. In fact my guess is this is not real as I don’t see it as a logical step for Google. Hardware, and phones in particular is a very different business and a pretty tricky one. I’m not sure how this would make sense over and above simply providing Google apps and services on existing devices.”

I’ve walked the CeBIT halls and lived to blog about it!
. . . more semantic!

An exhibitor at the annual conference in Germany discusses what it takes to make the trek around the entire thing. “Somebody told us that taking the whole nine yards means walking almost 10 kilometres. Ok, in the evening without the crowded passages its much easier (except the crowded parties of course). And there CeBIT often offers live music of exceptional quality,” writes Harald Sach. “But before that you stand there at your booth from 9 am to 6 pm, talking to people, explaining and demonstrating your project, making new contacts, taking and planning appointments . . . Saturday and Sunday are the days of the so called ‘Beutelratten’ (meaning non-business visitors that are hunting all possible giveaways and gadgets, gathering all in free giveaway bags that they have to carry around everywhere and everytime).”

Supermicro enters the blade space
IT Pros

Reporting from CeBIT, Ian Murphy discovers an unexpected new rival for HP, IBM and others. “Blade servers have been heavily marketed at the enterprise on the promises of reduced space, fewer cables and increased flexibility that has resonated well inside the data centre. Even vendors such as Dell and Transtec have been targeting the enterprise market with their own blade offerings,” he writes. “This puts Supermicro right up against the established blade server vendors such as HP, IBM and Fujitsu Siemens, and suggests that it is going after the corporate and the SME/Branch offices.”

Friday, March 16, 2007
Cisco isn’t just after the conferencing side of WebEx
Collaboration Loop
In a two-part post, Mike Gotta tries to explain some of the motivation behind the network equipment maker’s latest acquisition. “The media has set WebEx up against Salesforce from time to time as a potential SaaS battle. WebOffice is doing reasonably well from what I hear. WebEx has been trying to build out a partner ecosystem around Connect but might not have had the resources it felt it needed to succeed. Cisco can help with that effort,” he writes. “The WebOffice / Connect platform also provides some rationalization for the series of social networking moves that Cisco has undertaken recently (e.g., Five Across). The social networking technologies that it recently acquired could also be used to further enhance what is offered by WebEx WebOffice and Connect. Cisco can also now offer VoIP/IP Telephony services to all WebOffice users as a future deliverable.”

CeBit offers a launch pad for mobile do-overs
Tech Treks

As the conference in Germany continues, Stephanie Bruzzese notes a new version of the Origami device, this time branded the Q1 Ultra. “Asus also dusted off its Vista-based W5Fe SideShow portable that it initially announced at CES (which I talked about back in January) and re-revealed it at CeBit,” she writes. “But a little time can’t heal this portable’s primary wound–namely, the tiny LCD in the back of the lid (or on top of the laptop with the lid closed, however you choose to think about it). It didn’t sound like a good idea then, and it still doesn’t now.”

Microsoft’s growth plan might be as ‘insane’ as Google’s
Jason E. Shao

The Rutgers University student reacts to a published speech by Redmond executive Steve Ballmer that trashes the search engine’s strategy. “I’m not sure that Ballmer’s rosy picture of Microsoft’s talent matches what Microsoft’s underground bloggers seem to be saying. Although, consensus from many seems to be that when Microsoft went into rapid-hire expansion mode the quality of their employees took a dive,” he writes. “Also, considering how much of Microsoft’s revenue comes from either Windows or Office, as opposed to all of their other business offerings, I’m not sure how much ground Ballmer has to make that kind of comment. If he were at Procter & Gamble…”

Thursday, March 15, 2007
CeBit sets the stage for Commodore comeback
At the annual technology conference in Germany, the company launches a series of machines for gamers, but Evan Blass isn’t buying into the nostalgia. “The truth is that the company which just announced a line of boutique gaming PC’s at CeBIT is far removed from the one that ruled the 80’s and enhanced our droll elementary school days with some therapeutic Rampage,” he writes. “These new workhorses give gamers the chance to personalize their paint jobs through a ‘revolutionary painting process’ that may help you forget that your tower isn’t shaped like the head of an alien. The revived company’s online store will begin taking orders in April, and though pricing structures have yet to be revealed, expect to pay a significant premium for the privilege of bringing Commodore back into your home.”

Titan up close: Microsoft shows off CRM tool

Reporting from this week’s Convergence conference, Dave Hewitt offers a peak inside Steve Ballmer‘s keynote. “The demonstration includes a ‘Resource Center’ that will include blogs, e-mail and other resources needed to operate the CRM system. It can be reconfigured in a live environment and those configurations can be automatically represented in Outlook. This ability drew a warm round of applause from the audience,” he writes. “Over the coming months, much will be made about delivery on this strategy. But one area remains largely untouched – partner relationship management. Many of the attending customers are manufacturing companies using Axapta (AX) and Navision (NAV) as their ERP. To date, Microsoft has been silent on how their PRM needs will be met. CRM, whether Live or otherwise, makes little sense to them.”

ComScore’s new metrics will change Web traffic stats

After protests due to the way Ajax affects the kind of informaiton it publishes, the media monitoring firm makes some changes, Pete Cashmore reports. “They’re now measuring the “average visits per visitor” and unique visitors. They’ve also been fairly apologetic to Yahoo, emphasizing the effect that ajax had on Yahoo’s rank in particular,” he writes. “And the change in positions is pretty startling for the month of February 2007: Yahoo comes first using both visit-based metrics, while Fox/MySpace drops to 6th place in uniques during February 2007. It comes in 7th for average visits per visitor.”

Mesh offers contest for Web 2.0 videos
Mesh Blog

As Canada’s Web 2.0 conference gets ready for its second annual event at the end of May, the organizers put out a call for submissions. “We’re looking for videos that capture the essence of Web 2.0 – whatever that means to you,” writes Rob Hyndman. “It might be an ode on the power of the Web to bring new models of outreach to the world of non-profits and charities. It might be an essay about the Web’s ability to give a global platform to anyone’s creativity. Or something else entirely. Something to remember, though: our goal at mesh is to connect, share and inspire.”

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