The next Microsoft superstar

Friday, May 11, 2007
Scott Gurthie may be Microsoft’s next superstar
O’Reilly Radar
Following the company’s Mix ’07 conference in Las Vegas, Tim O’Reilly profiles the career prospects of the man leading its Web tools development.”A lot of people in the open source community don’t realize that Microsoft has its own superstars, its own popular heroes, people who are known and idolized by their community, just like Linus Torvalds, or Larry Wall, or David Heinemeier Hansson are by the Linux, Perl, or Ruby on Rails customer base,” he writes. “I’ve been struck by this whenever I’ve attended Microsoft events. John nicely gets across this enthusiasm, this personal relationship with the developer, in his post. It’s important for open source enthusiasts to recognize that the same dynamics occur in other technical communities. And I second John’s assessment: Scott really is an amazing developer and communicator.”

MS uses fear to pursue ad market
Ulocker on Disruption

The marketing guru reviews Bill Gates‘ most recent comments on the future of the ad industry, and sees some opportunities for competitors.”Microsoft approaches such issues from a technology-focussed standpoint, along the lines of “wouldn’t it be great if people could do x?”  And this leaves a wide gap open to smart media companies with a bit of bravery left in them. Two key questions to focus on:

  • Are advertisers looking for new ways to reach people?
  • Are consumers trying to solve new information problems?

Solve either of these problems and you are likely to have a successful media company,” he writes. “A disruptive approach to the advertising business need not be technologically-focussed, as proven by the dramatic success of Metro International, among the fastest-growing newspapers in the world.”

Meet Tungle: Who needs IT?
Alec Saunders.LOG

The Iotum co-founder discusses a new kind of enterprise-class scheduling tool. “Using peer-to-peer technologies, rather than a centralized server, it allows the same kinds of capabilities as an Exchange environment, but without the heavyweight investment in servers and IT infrastructure,” he writes. “Moreover, unlike Exchange, it allows this sharing to occur across the organizational boundary. With Tungle, I can coordinate a meeting with a customer or a board member, not just people inside my company.”

Thursday, May 10, 2007
eBay doesn’t necessarily need StumbleUpon
Following a Wall Street Journal story that the online auction gaint is thining about buying the Canadian Web 2.0 startup, Paul Glazowski wonders if there’s more to the idea than people realize.”Would eBay try to integrate Stumbleupon into its auction system? Would such a combination even make any sense at all? My own judgment says no, and no,” he writes. “I presume Stumbleupon will have naught to do with eBay. It will simply be another moneymaker to expand the bottom line. Nothing wrong with that, of course. If eBay is struggling to continue making year over year profits and can’t raise fees much further, it’s choice to spend some money to make more money elsewhere is to be expected. I only feel eBay’s excess funds would be better spent on items with more relevance to its core business, not a random gem. No matter how shiny it may be.”


You should only need 30 minutes to present at JavaOne
Geertjan’s Blog

A Netbeans experts gives good reviews to the conference’s sessions. “I love the fact that they’re half an hour long, since that’s the approximate length of my own attention span. I wish all talks at JavaOne were half an hour long,” he writes. “Sun really is lucky with a crowd of ambassadors as cool as the Sun blogging community. Give people the room to be themselves and they’ll take the opportunity to flourish. Proof was all around that room last night. Got a little bit drunk on disappointing American beer, but not overly so. (No headaches in the morning, though still jetlag, so now it is 5 a.m.) Only unfortunate part of the evening is that I didn’t get back to the Moscone center, so missed all the remaining sessions, especially ones by Gregg Sporar and Graeme Rocher, which I had been meaning to go to.”


The MS-CareerBuilder relationship explained

After the Redmond giant takes a stake in the job site, Greg Sterling looks at the reasons why. “CareerBuilder wants a strategic alliance with a big Internet player (perhaps as a bulwark against Google and Yahoo!) and the related resources and capabilities (it built site search on FAST’s platform). This may also have been simply part of the package that CareerBuilder negotiated as a component of the extension of its relationship with MSN,” he writes. “Even though CareerBuilder is the leading jobs site, Yahoo!’s newspaper consortium and the persistent Google threat mean that its position is far from stable. Brand equity can degrade quickly online in the face of competition.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Is Rupert Murdoch to blame for the MS-Yahoo! rumour?
BlackFriars Marketing
Now that the merger talks died down, Carl Howe smells a rat, specifically the News Corp. chairman, who recently put in a bid to buy the Wall Street Journal. “You want them to sell for $5 billion — so what better way to make them feel like they are missing out than to create a rumor of a $50 billion media deal for one of their competitors? And if you bought enough Yahoo options and stock ahead of the story, selling those options on the breaking news would allow you to sweeten the Dow Jones bid later. All you would need to do is to find a place to print such a story,” he writes. “Perhaps, the fact that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns the New York Post — the newspaper that broke the Yahoo-Microsoft story — isn’t such a coincidence.”

JavaOne isn’t supposed to be about the surprises
Java.Net Weblogs

With day two of the conference in full swing, Chris Adamson offers an update. “I was talking with someone earlier in the week and suggested that maybe one reason that JavaOne keynotes aren’t as surprise-packed as, say, Apple’s keynotes, is that Sun’s everyday process is so open and forward-looking that they’re usually not holding back any secrets. True, this leaves less rabbit-out-of-the-hat surprises for JavaOne keynotes, but on the other hand, it means that developers know what’s going on and can make plans around it. Come to think of it, when is Apple’s JDK 6 coming out?” he wonders. “But as I said, the JavaFX focus of this year’s keynote was an unexpected surprise. There’s a sense that a lot of people had heard of F3 — the O’Reilly editors thought it well-known enough to put it in yesterday’s crossword puzzle — but didn’t really know what it did or what value it provided. Perhaps the real novelty was getting this interactive environment onto the small device, which explains the recent acquisition of the SavaJe intellectual property.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
The days of doing everything in Java is disappearing
As Sun’s JavaOne conference gets underway in San Francisco this week, Malcom Davis comments on how it has evolved. “When I first attended JavaOne five years ago, the focus was on J2EE and Web development, with a great number of sessions on JSP, Servlets, Tomcat, Struts and EJB. Today’s JavaOne is still in the mindset of web, but with a focus on the integration of a diverse set of open source technologies. Sessions include Ruby, scripting languages, Hibernate, Spring, and even the discussions of how open source impacting the community,” he writes. “Many of the developers I spoke with have a growing .NET presence in their companies. Many see the .NET tools as faster and easier to develop end-user applications. Sun has been countering Visual Studio with major updates to NetBeans and improvements to Swing.”

Ubuntu Mobile will need a great device

Plans for a handheld Linux OS for this October brings up the issue of where it will run, notes Kevin C. Tofel. “Based on their post title, Engadget’s coverage indicates that this is for smartphones, but I suspect they’re slightly off-base and that the plans are for Internet tablets or handhelds due to the Intel collaboration. It’s too early to tell just yet but remember that Intel sold their PDA and smartphone line to Marvell last year; then again, the lines continue to blur between traditional ‘smartphones’ and Internet-enabled handhelds. We already know that Intel is working on the MID Linux devices; the Ubuntu announcement has me thinking we’ll see even more OS choices in the handheld form-factor.”

Samsung needs to offer more info on the Q1 Ultra

As the industry buzzes about the latest handheld device, Warner Crocker raises some questions. “How are these new A100 and A110 ULV processors going to stack up against the current processors we see in current models? Yes the 945 graphics chips will allow these new UMPCs to run Vista, but what kind of impact will that have on battery life when paired with the new ULV processor?” he writes. “The good news here is that consumers should be able to put their hands on these devices, but will the various models be on display or just the low end entry point? And what about that split keyboard? Yes, the inclusion of the keyboard speaks to the concerns of many, but I have to admit that from everything I’ve seen it doesn’t look like an elegant solution.”

Former Dell employee reflects on MS-Novell partnership
Marketing Hipster

After the direct seller agreed to install Ubuntu on its PCs, custmoers finally seemed happy, writes Cord Silverstein. “Fast forward a week later and hear the boos and people throwing things,” he says. “Dell announced a deal with Microsoft and Novell to promote their version of Linux. So why are people so unhappy? Well, to a Linux supporter, buying a computer with a Microsoft supported OS is like Hitler becoming the head of the United Nations. To many open source fans, Microsoft is the Anti-Christ and supporting anything that Microsoft is involved with will just never happen. I think this is great example of listening to your customers, but not truly understanding them.”

Monday, May 7, 2007
AOL passwords not so tough after all
Security Fi
According to Brian Krebbs of the Washington Post, the 16-character password needed to register for an AOL e-mail account are merely eight characters is disguise.

“How is this a bad set-up, security-wise?” writes Krebbs. “Well, let’s take a fictional AOL user named Bob Jones, who signs up with AOL using the user name BobJones. Bob — thinking himself very clever — sets his password to be BobJones$4e?0. Now, if Bob’s co-worker Alice or arch nemesis Charlie tries to guess his password, probably the first password he or she will try is Bob’s user name, since people are lazy and often use their user name as their password.”


Why mobile devices are over-designed
Mobile Enterprise Weblog
Daniel Taylor attempts to explain the disconnect between the people who design mobile devices and those who actually use the gadgets.

“I don’t claim to know what every user wants. But our industry has numerous vocal technophiles. What’s missing is the people I meet every day. I’m talking about IT managers who are overwhelmed by confusing technology. And I’m talking about users who give up when things get hard. Give up. Stop using. Ignore the feature. Just use the phone to make telephone calls. That’s what users do. We need to stop throwing technology (and technical explanations) at customers. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. And we need to stop letting engineering suffice for product development.”


News Flash: Linux popular with nerds
And perhaps not too many others. Hardly a revelation, as noted here by Wired magazine’s business blog, but Linux is still the domain of the hardcore technies and still not all that welcome in the average home.

“A survey performed by the Novell-sponsored openSUSE project confirms that while Linux may be touted as the platform of choice for Third World schoolchildren, in reality most of its users fall squarely into the Slashdot demographic.”


Desktop Linux in the enterprise: Beyond the pipedream
Information Week
Speaking of Linux, Nicholas Hoover revisits the open source in the office debate.

“The question is whether Linux is really ready for corporate desktop use. InformationWeek recently carried a comparison of Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux for the desktop, and found that Ubuntu was up to common daily tasks, while Vista is still more complete as a desktop operating system. Generally, when I’ve asked corporate IT managers about their thoughts on Linux desktops, the first response is that hardware support and software compatibility is still too spotty for Linux to take off beyond a few computers within the IT department. Meanwhile, while most people have experience and therefore some level of comfort with using Windows, even Linux users (and Linux fans) I’ve spoken to have their complaints about how much work it takes to be a Linux user.”


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