Overheard: Word of the Day


January 10, 2008  3:15 AM

Overheard: Microsoft is hot on viral marketing

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Extreme Makeover–Server Room parody. I just wish it was funnier.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Br1WUSEwGwc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

January 10, 2008  3:05 AM

Overheard: Mommy, why does Microsoft want us to buy a server?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/YNHwgnpzY9w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This children’s book parody is a viral promotion for the Windows Home Server campaign. The author, Tom O’Connor, and his PhD are bogus. The small print on the title page explains that he’s made up. Whoever did write this deserves credit, IMHO. Very clever. Yes, that’s me reading the book.

The campaign is indicative of unusual creative approaches by big advertisers as they seek to break through in cluttered categories like technology. Among the most popular are so-called viral campaigns, so named because they are intended to be passed from one computer user to another with an endorsement implied by such personal sharing.

Stuart Elliot, What Next, Having the Office Christmas Party at Home?


January 10, 2008  1:08 AM

Overheard: Don’t use gMail for business

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
david-airey.jpg I’ve read in the comments on other websites that I deserved what I got, and that to use Google’s free GMail service for anything business-related is naive.

David Airey, WARNING: Google’s GMail security failure leaves my business sabotaged

Mr. Roger’s mother told her little boy that when bad things happen, look for the helpers. If you have a few minutes, read through David Airey’s nightmare experience. A cracker hijacked David’s business domain name and then tried to sell it back. It seems the evil-doer had access to David’s email and timed the hijack with David’s vacation. Very scary story.

Then come back and read about the helpers. David’s story has a happy ending and the world is a friendly place.


January 10, 2008  12:06 AM

Overheard: Microsoft buys out FAST in hopes of nailing down enterprise search

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
paul_mcdougall.gif With its planned $1.2 billion acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer, Microsoft is looking to become a player in one of tech’s next big growth markets — software that lets business users quickly troll through the reams of unstructured information that’s locked away in corporate databases.

Paul McDougall, Microsoft’s Fast Search Bid Puts Heat On Google, IBM

Enterprise search “is for workers tomorrow what Internet search is for consumers today — an indispensable tool that helps them quickly find the information they need,” said Microsoft Business Division president Jeff Raikes, speaking Tuesday on a conference call.

And it could be a gold mine for the first big vendor that gets it right.


January 9, 2008  11:08 PM

Overheard: Who gets to be the copyright police?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
brad_stone.jpg Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

Brad Stone, AT&T and Other ISPs May Be Getting Ready to Filter

All this talk about the future responsibilities of ISPs reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been saving all the pieces and putting them together in various ways, but the picture always turns out the same. Tiered Internet Services.


January 9, 2008  4:46 PM

Overheard: Wireless charging demo’d at CES

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cellphone.jpg Imagine walking into a room and your phone suddenly beeps with a green LED flashing at the corner indicating a wireless charging source is available in the vicinity. Your handphone/iPod/moblie device then asks you to allow/deny charging. You press “ALLOW” and your phone is wirelessly charging.

Techie-Talks, CES: Showcasing the best of wireless charging

YES! I love technology.


January 9, 2008  3:26 PM

Overheard: FBI gets confused by their phone bill just like the rest of us

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ryan-singel.jpg The FBI routinely failed to pay telecom companies promptly for providing phone and internet lines to the FBI’s impressive domestic surveillance architecture — resulting in at least one phone company cutting off a foreign intelligence wiretap until the FBI paid its bill,

Ryan Singel, FBI Wiretap Cut Off After Feds Fail To Pay Telecom Spying Bills

Ironically, it seems that some of the problems stemmed from the FBI’s inability to decipher and keep track of the charges on their phone bills. Welcome to the real world.


January 9, 2008  1:35 AM

Overheard: John Jilly becomes Mozilla CEO – no plans to go public

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
john_lilly.jpg As in a relay race, the key to a successful enterprise is often the hand-off, a change in leadership at the top.When it’s messy the whole company can suffer. It can die or be taken over. When it’s done right the chief operating officer slides into the chief executive’s chair, the old CEO waves buh-bye, and there’s not much to see.

Dana Blankenhorn, A clean hand-off at Mozilla

Dana is right. This does seem to be one of the smoother hand-offs.  John Lilly is now the CEO at Mozilla, the developer of the open-source browser Firefox. The New York Times did a good job covering the politics of the hand-off, although the photo they ran makes him look ridiculously young. The announcement was made on John’s blog.


January 8, 2008  10:27 PM

Overheard: Inattentive blindness

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

The last few days I ‘ve been looking at how to improve the whatis.com definition pages on the search sites so visitors who are interested in diving deeper into a topic can do so without having to search around.

There is related content located on the right-hand side of each definition page, but I find myself ignoring that side of the page and the clickthrough numbers are telling me that lots of visitors are probably not seeing the information that’s there.

I came across two interesting videos explaining why I fail to notice the right-hand side of the page and thought I’d share them with you. The concept the videos examine is called inattentive blindness or perceptual blindness. It’s not only why we’re able to block out banner ads on web pages, its also why we miss things that could be useful too.

Do you have a suggestion for how to improve our definition pages — besides getting rid of the ads? :-)   I’d love to hear your ideas. Email me at mrouse@techtarget.com  or drop a comment at the end of this post. Thanks!

Video #1: Count how many times the lunch box gets passed.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/LBL2SbRj5CA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Video #2: Students participate in an experiment. View video by clicking here.


January 8, 2008  5:22 PM

Overheard: Why do we need Search Wikia?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
saumil-mehta.gif Search Wikia’s primary innovation will be to tie a user’s social network – that is, information about the user and their friends – into search results. The idea is that a user and their friends share a common set of preferences and that using that information makes search results more personalized as well as more relevant.

Saumil Mehta, Search Wikia launches: Will it threaten Google?

Saumil wrote earlier: We’ve tested Grub, the service’s way of crawling the Internet’s web sites to collect data. Grub is a “distributed search crawler,” so named because it lets people download a software to do the crawling from their own computers, thereby letting thousands of people contribute to the process. It is intuitive and easy to use. However, large questions remain about the ability of Search Wikia’s approach to scale to the entire Web.

I spent some time last night poking around Search Wikia. I’ve read a lot of articles. Saumil did a good job of connecting the dots about how it’s supposed to work — but I still don’t see why we need it. Can someone explain what I’m missing? The part I really don’t understand is why they’re asking visitors to contribute a mini-article or definition for the search results page when they could just pull in the first paragraph from a Wikipedia entry.


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