Walk the dinosaur

Friday, March 30, 2007
Microsoft’s latest zero-day problem speaks volumes
Chris Linfoot
As the softare vendor warns of a possible snafu in the way its software handles animated cursors, Linfoot looks back. “Iremember when I first saw Windows NT (was it version 3.11 or version 3.5?). It was a revelation. There was the familiar Windows 3.11 user interface in all its glory, but the cursors moved! And there was a choice of lovely new cursors too, to make the experience of animated cursors fun,” he writes. “Perhaps the strolling dinosaur has the makings of a fitting metaphor for Windows as it stumbles along, unchanging and unaware of the meteorite hurtling towards it.”

Dell’s accounting woes are just the beginning

As the company tries to account for irregularities in its financial reporting (and possibly restating earnings), Georges Yared sees other problems. “Dell has bigger issues to grapple with though. First and foremost is Hewlett-Packard Co. capturing market share from a struggling Dell. Dell may have to resort to pricing pressure to try and recapture the lost share. This will bode poorly for already thin gross margins and of course, operating margins,” he writes. “Dell has its old CEO and founder, Michael Dell, back at the helm. It will take him a few quarters to figure out the right strategic moves before Dell regains its mojo.”

Red Hat’s numbers show promise
Open Sources

The major distributor earned US$400M in FY 2007 revenue, up 48 per cent over the previous year. Sales were up 41 per cent over Q3, but profit in Q4 decreased to $20.5 million, or 10 cents per share, from $27.3 million, or 13 cents per share, in Q3. Profit was pulled down by higher operating expenses, which were up 66 per cent to $77.1 million, from $46.5 million in the same quarter last year. Not bad, Matt Asay notes. “Very good numbers, but the profits are of concern. Red Hat has always run such a tight ship – I can’t imagine that the company is significantly deviating from that. Perhaps the sales required more travel to convince shaky customers to re-up,” he said. “All in all, very impressive. Some wonder why I’m a Red Hat fan. It’s because the company delivers. It executes.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Deepfish pus MS right in the browser experience with you
As Microsoft announces a way for mobile users to navigate Web pages, Long Zeng points out an early area for concern. “(DeepFish) first renders a image of the webpage you request, scales it down to fit the resolution of your device, then sends it down to you. Opera MiniIf you want to read or interact with certain parts of the webpage, you’ll have to zoom-in to render the real page. What this means is that between you and any Web server, lies Microsoft,” he writes. “Opera has a similar service for its Opera Mini browser where it resizes and optimizes images when you access any webpage through their browser. Both of these techniques carry significant performance enhancements, but also legal and ethical issues.”

TJX breach calls for a new level of corporate candor
Jaime Chanaga
The retail giant admits to at least 46 million credit card numbers that may have been compromised over a period of 18 months, though the full scope of the breach may never be known. Either way, it would make this the biggest data theft in recorded history. “That’s a candid admission, one I’m sure is not easy in this day and age of rampant litigation. However as a former Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), I’m grateful that TJX has the courage to be an honest corporate citizen in admitting their errors publicly and taking very public steps to correct their technical IT security deficiencies,” Chanaga writes. “While most companies would be running for cover wishing the news story to go away, TJX has been candid with details on their investigation and corrective steps to ensure this never happens again within their organization.”

Linux is not for the desktop newbie
Meandering Passage

In response to a colleague’s post on Dell’s decision to run Linux on laptops, Earl Moore offers some thoughts on open source. “I take it as a serious responsibility when I recommend a computer to a non-tech friend. I ask a lot of questions and try to judge their knowledge and main use of such a machine in order to make the best recommendation possible. Part of the reason for this is that I value the friendship and I don’t want to let a bad experience with a PC endanger it and the other part is that I know that if there is any problems with what I recommended I will feel obliged to help them find a resolution,” he writes. “In the past I’ve recommended Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, but I’ve never recommended Linux to a “non-tech” friend, and I still wouldn’t today.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
SAP without Shai Agassi would be unexpected
A Wall Street Journal report that the ERP giant’s technology group president and the architect of its NetWeaver middleware platform is set to leave surprises Jon Franke. “If true, SAP is obviously in for a huge shake-up in its management team and probably needs to rewrite Kagermann’s succession plans,” he writes. “I wonder how Léo Apotheker feels right now.” Late in the day, SAP confirmed Apotheker, head of marketing, will now serve as deputy CEO and that a new executive council will be formed.

Yahoo! may not know what it’s in for
Google Blogoscoped

With the promise of unlimited e-mail storage starting in May, Yahoo! has really upted the ante, Philipp Lenssen says. “I still prefer the usability approach of Gmail, but Yahoo Mail Beta was already the second-best e-mail client – and probably the best for those looking to simply replace Outlook – and it looks like it may get even better in May,” he writes. “And then we’ll see how infinite this “infinite” really is – I bet there may be troubles uploading a couple of Zettabytes.”

The Onion was born to tackle online video
Reel Focus

The first day of the humour publication’s news program gets a rave review from Anthony Kauffman. “Far more polished than The Onion AV Club’s new media site — famous for its memorable mash-up of Federico Fellini’s “8 1⁄2” and the Eminem movie “8 Mile” and not much else — The Onion News Network has the look of a professional newscast, with slick graphics and a team of reporters,” he writes. “By far, the funniest of the three segments currently available is “Immigration: The Human Cost,” which shows how a senior president at Lucent Technologies was replaced by an illegal Mexican immigrant, whose “ability to put in long hours without taking vacation” has helped turn the company around.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Adobe’s CS3 is all about the Web tools
UW Development Blog
As the company unveils one of the bigger launches in its history, Jesse Rogers says he’s most interested in Dreamweaver CS3 and Contribute CS3. “I have been using both on campus here for a while and I can say they are both very nice upgrades from the previous versions. Adobe highlights the features of Spry integration for Dreamweaver but I have to say the new CSS based layouts that come with it are going to be the No. 1 hit,” he writes. “The templates are just basic layouts that offer a designer/developer a sound starting point to build a web site. The code is just amazingly simple and full of comments so you can easily understand what is going on. It is sorta what the campus CLF here was supposed to be but with no real style just straight structure.”

At CTIA, talk turns to SMS privacy issues

An e-mail from a colleague brings Bena Roberts up to speed on some Google-related gossip at the annual wireless event in Orange County. “We can’t go it to details but the gist of the conversation is that there are some tricky rules and regulation regarding WAP gateways and the retrieval of mobile phone numbers. This is a hot issue and mobile search companies are unable to completely stop vendors and advertisers from accessing the mobile phone numbers of mobile consumers,” she writes. “So, in more cases than one; when a mobile user browses the web and then clicks sponsored links and surfs around a bit before exiting; it is highly probable that they will receive SMS from that advertiser.”

Best Buy takes on Speakeasy for US$97 million

Kristen Nicole comments on the retailer’s unusual decision to purchase a broadband provider, whose assets include some voice-over-IP technology. “Of course, Speakeasy will compete with front runner Skype and may further debilitate Vonage. Skype has an online store to purchase peripheral equipment for improved use of their service,” she writes. “Best Buy could have the advantage here, as they would be able to provide the service and the equipment in a retail environment where people can ask questions in person.”

Monday, March 26, 2007
Vonage is toast
Technology Evangelist
After the VoIP firm loses a court case in which it was accused of infringing on three of Verizon’s patents, Robert Cringely looks at the aftermath. “Vonage is scrambling, facing a potential liquidity crisis with convertible shareholders and may well be forced into bankruptcy. OR it may be forced into the arms of its opponent, Verizon, which might well covet Vonage’s 2.2 million customers, one of whom is me,” he writes. “The biggest issue in the story is this: The days are probably numbered for almost all VoIP providers that overlay their services atop broadband ISPs. Net neutrality be damned, the local MSOs are preparing to give priority to their packets over others in the event of “network congestion.”

Why wouldn’t Apple want to be at CTIA Wireless Expo?
W4 Network

As the annual telecommunications confab gets underway in Orange County, Calif. this week, Wayne Sutton notices a conspicous absence. “I find the wireless industry is snubbing Apple completely… as if they don’t welcome the competition (though, who does),” he writes. “It’s even more unfortunate to see Apple give a similar response. CTIA would have been a perfect place to live demo iPhone for the first time… considering iPhone will ship only a couple of months after the show.”

Vista naysayers should just shut up

Microsoft is reporting that 20 million copies of its latest desktop operating system have sold in January and February, notes Robert McLaws. “Microsoft hasn’t broken down any of these numbers, so we how no idea how many retail vs. OEM licenses were sold, nor do we know how many were sold of each edition,” he writes. However you look at it, though, “if you’re someone who has been writing off Vista as unimportant, you should probably stop now. Windows Vista is Microsoft’s hottest selling OS ever. They must have done something right.”

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