Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

April 23, 2008  12:20 PM

Overheard: 75% of businesses still block instant messaging

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
infologo_europe.gif According to a report released at Infosec 2008, nearly three quarters of businesses are blocking the use of free instant messaging (IM) applications.

Asavin Wattanajantra, Infosec 08: Businesses clueless on instant messaging

The report says that retail and distribution companies were most likely to block instant messaging, while financial companies were most likely to allow instant messaging ( but they monitor its use).

Ironically, I read the article above the very same day there were blogswarms about Apple adding an instant messaging application to the iPhone — and Microsoft announcing that their Windows Live Messenger campaign has raised $1.3 million so far.

Tom Newton from Smoothwall (they commissioned the report) says that as time goes on, business will have to change. He points out that while today’s network administrators didn’t grow up with instant messaging, today’s kids are skipping right over email and using a combo of instant messaging and MySpace or Facebook to communicate with friends. I can’t argue with that. It’s that way in our house.

So here’s my question: With a whole generation (think consumers) growing up using instant messaging, how come it’s the only major communication service that isn’t interoperable? And might that have something to do with business not “getting it?”

April 22, 2008  9:11 PM

Overheard: Is Wikipedia’s magic repeatable?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
searchwikia.jpg Distributed computing is a highly unusual approach to indexing, but it’s also consistent with Wikia’s participatory model. Regardless of whether or not Wikia’s search engine succeeds, the company’s willingness to experiment with unconventional approaches could spur innovation and change the landscape of the search engine market.

Ryan Paul (July 2007), Wikia acquires Grub distributed search indexing system

It’s been awhile since Jimmy Wales announced the purchase of Grub, a distributed search engine from LookSmart. I thought I’d stop by SearchWikia today and see how they’re doing.

Guess what? They haven’t seemed to have made much progress harnessing the wisdom of the crowds to improve search. The results are still awful. I picked something easy to query. “Oceanic six.” (In case you’re not a Lost fan, that’s the name of the six people audience members already know were somehow rescued from the island. I thought it would be a gift.) Here’s the garbage I got:


It comes back to the same conversation I keep having over and over again — why did Wikipedia work — and can its crowdsourcing success ever be repeated? Looks like the answer for distributed search is “not likely.”

April 22, 2008  4:01 PM

Overheard: Microsoft’s Albany — Population zero

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
richard_koman.jpg While Google Docs is not yet a serious competitor to Office, Google’s recent collaboration with SalesForce.com shows that the threat to Office may come in unexpected ways.

Richard Koman,Albany Is a Step Toward the Future for Microsoft Office

Boy did Richard Koman get that right. He just forgot to mention that the biggest threat to Office is going to come from Microsoft itself.

Big hoopla this week about Albany, Microsoft’s hybrid SaaS response to Google Docs. Microsoft is hoping that by bridging the gap between online Office and desktop Office, throwing in some “security and communication tools” and making the subscription good for three computers, users will pony up a monthly fee to access their Office apps from the cloud.

Monthly fee??? I think they’re dreaming. Microsoft should be GIVING this service away to anyone with a desktop Office license. If anything, the idea of a monthly fee just makes Google Docs and OpenOffice more attractive.

April 22, 2008  1:11 PM

Overheard: Voice is a real-time application

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
brick.jpg The photo is of Martin Cooper demonstrating the first portable cellular telephone on April 3, 1973. Yes, he’s the guy we can all thank for inventing the cell phone.

The phone he’s holding is the classic Motorola Dynatac 8000. (DynaTAC is an accronym for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage.) The phone became available commercially on March 6, 1983 and only cost $3,995! Because it weighed almost two pounds, the phone quickly got the nickname “the brick.”

A younger generation knows the phone as the “Zack Morris phone.” Zack Morris was a teenage character on a U.S. TV show called “Saved by the Bell.” The character, played by actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, was frequently seen with his mobile phone.  Gosselaa recently made a guest appearance on the Jimmy Fallon late-night show and recreated his character.  (The show Saved by the Bell has a cult following.)

April 21, 2008  5:22 PM

Overheard: Redmond is the new Armonk

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
frank_hayes.jpg “15 years ago this month, Lou Gerstner arrived at IBM. When he got there, Gerstner found a company that literally didn’t believe in its own future. The mainframe business — the core of IBM — was collapsing. Other business units were busy trying to turn themselves into stand-alone companies that could be spun off. The big blue ship was sinking, and everyone wanted off.” 

Frank Hayes, Frankly Speaking: Microsoft’s woes are like IBM’s of old

Frank Hayes makes an interesting comparison between IBM in the early 80’s and Microsoft today.

I remember the culture shock of those days. Signs appeared in offices: “The mainframe is dead.” Project managers and programmers were frantic, pitching themselves to whoever held the purse strings. Life in Poughkeepsie, New York would never be the same.  Lifetime tenure at IBM was a thing of the past. People had to prove their worth each and every day. The shakeup was stressful, but it worked. It made the sleeping giant more agile.

Now who will do that for Microsoft?

April 21, 2008  1:18 PM

Overheard: Internet needs a $130 billion makeover

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cicconi_sml.jpg In three years’ time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today.

Jim Cicconi, as quoted in AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010

Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president-External and Legislative Affairs,  gave an interesting speech at the Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 last week.  First he got people’s attention by saying that the Internet will reach full capacity by 2010 and we need to invest $130 billion to update the infrastructure.  Then he went on to say that private industry should be the fixer, not government.  I agree with him. 

“I think people agree why the Internet is successful. My personal view is that government has widely chosen to…keep a light touch and let innovators develop it. The reason I resist using the term ‘Net neutrality’ is that I don’t think government intervention is the right way to do this kind of thing. I don’t think government can anticipate these kinds of technical problems. Right now, I think Net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem.”

April 18, 2008  1:22 PM

Overheard: Red Hat will not be coming to your desktop

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
red-hat.jpg As a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative.

Desktop team, What’s Going On With Red Hat Desktop Systems? An Update

April 17, 2008  1:18 PM

Overheard: Iron curtain between IT and telecom

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
marc-robins.jpg “Today, we might have achieved voice and data convergence from a technology standpoint, but convergence from a human resources perspective is still a figment of our imagination (if that).

If this situation is as bad as it seems from Tom’s observations, it’s certainly clear that [converging IT and telecom staffs] represents a major stumbling block in achieving the promised benefits of IP communications technology — and that such corporations with departmental ‘iron curtains’ that are deploying these solutions risk wreaking havoc instead of reaping cost savings and workforce productivity/efficiency improvements.”

Marc Robbins, The Convergence Dilemma: Getting IT and Telecom Departments to Play Nice Together

Here’s an interesting case study about how the Department of Central Management Services for the State of Illinois went about converging IT with Telecom.  I have to say, I’m impressed that they not only recognized that moving from a decentralized model to a centralized model would affect their staff members and contractors — they actually addressed the issue head-on in their planning.

“In any transformative initiative like this, people are what make and break the project. You can always solve technology issues because you can think through technology issues. You can’t think through logically and rationally when you relate to people.”

A key challenge in handling people relates to the cultural change. There were shifts in the reporting structure, changes in job profile of people and in some cases there was also a need to relocate. These changes brought in a lot of apprehensions in the minds of people. There was a growing fear and concern regarding their job security, pay scale and the new role which they would be playing. To address these issues, training sessions and orientations were held to familiarize people with the new reporting structures, functions and work practices. Also, there were documents posted across different agencies that answered questions regarding job security, change in pay scale, job relocation and such other.”

April 15, 2008  5:06 PM

Overheard: NFO is the new SEO? A tale of accidental optimization

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
chris_shultz.jpg “The next generation of optimization is taking shape. First it was search engine optimization SEO, next came social media optimization (SMO), and now we’ve got news feed optimization (NFO).”

Chris Schultz, Jason Calacanis Crushes My Facebook News Feed

Chris Schultz’s blog post about Jason Calacanis’ using Facebook to brand his “human-powered search engine” by optimizing his newsfeed on Facebook hit home the idea that when it comes to optimization, we’re still living in the wild, wild west. Chris writes:

I’ve got 99 friends on Facebook but I hear from Jason Calacanis more than anyone. He has turned Facebook into a marketing platform for his human-powered search engine, Mahalo. And he doesn’t pay Facebook a dime for this primo branding opportunity.

The very best part of this post? The comment he got back from Jason.

The reason this all happened was because I was using our Mahalo Share tool (google it) and it puts my delicious bookmarks on Facebook. I didn’t think it would put so many of my bookmarks on other people’s pages. So, I’m going to limit it to my best 2-3 bookmarks a day.

April 15, 2008  1:20 PM

Overheard: Verizon using stance towards net neutrality as a gorilla marketing message

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
matt_buchanan_sm.jpg “Verizon is kinda sorta using their total lack of filtering as an underground marketing thing already, which is especially effective when coupled with FiOS’s insane speeds.”

Matt Buchanan, Will Your ISP F You In the A? Bandwidth Hogs Beware

Interesting post by Matt Muchanan over at Gizmodo about ISP bandwidth management practices.  Can it be true that everyone but Verizon admitted they were managing bandwith? 

 “We don’t manage our network by throttling, slowing or curbing service, either on DSL or FiOS.” In reference to content filtering, we weren’t given a new statement, but referred to earlier remarks by public affairs VP Tom Tauke that it is “reluctant to get into the business of examining content that flows across our networks,” the most pro-active stance against content filtering. However, it’s still no fan of the government stepping in: “These are decisions best made by network engineers and operators—not policymakers.”

Managing bandwidth has a new name, btw.  “Filtering” is out.   So is “throttling,” “capping,” and “curbing.” 

The new name? “Traffic shaping techniques.” Hats off to whoever thought that one up.

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