Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

January 21, 2008  11:50 AM

Overheard: Forget about retaining your top executive talent — focus on retaining your customers!

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
circuit_city.jpg Circuit City (Fortune 500) announced last month that it approved millions in cash incentives to retain its top talent following the departure of several key executives over the past year. Executive vice presidents could claim retention awards of $1 million each and senior vice presidents could get $600,000, provided they stay with the company until 2011, according to a filing with the U.S. Exchange Commission.

SteveB, Circuit City same-store sales fall 11%

Last March Circuit City fired a bunch of people who earned more than $18 an hour. Then they outsourced their IT infrastructure to IBM to cut costs.  Now they’re promising big bucks to top executives that stay. There’s discussion in the blogosphere over whether the days of the big box consumer electronics store are over — and whether the shopper who frequented that kind of store does all their shopping online now. 

I think Best Buy just did it better. Best Buy invested a ton of time and money into training every employee — even the Christmas-time temp. They were smart enough to team up with the Geek Squad. Circuit City is failing because they thought about the product, but failed to think about the end user who would use that product.

Best Buy did it right. They invested in education.

January 19, 2008  7:35 PM

What is IT? Name that tech!

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
What is IT?
Hint: It’s looks and bends like regular paper, but it has power.
What is IT?
Hint: This device works for Wal-Mart in supply chain management.
What is IT?
Hint: This device was patented in 1970. The inventor never made a dime from it.
What is IT?
Hint: A chip like this can be made 64 times smaller than the one you see here.
What is IT?
Hint: You can build a camera with it. Or maybe a GPS tracking device.
What is IT?
Hint: Oh Mama! That Jack of Hearts is a regular playing card.
What is IT?
Hint: These guys are not angels, despite the very expensive technology they’re using.
What is IT?
Hint: You’ll find this kind of low-tech device in a data center.
What is IT?
Hint: This mobile device helped a doctor in New York successfully treat a surgical patient in Argentina.
What is IT?
Hint: The only alphabetical key on this pretend keyboard is the letter “R.”

January 19, 2008  1:06 PM

Overheard: Sun and MySQL — was Oracle behind it?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
john_dvorak.jpg I’m close to being convinced that Oracle wanted to buy MySQL to kill the product, but knew it couldn’t pull off the stunt itself. So it sent in a stooge to do the job.

John C. Dvorak, The Sun-MySQL deal stinks

Let’s begin by putting MySQL in perspective: It’s the most competitive and biggest threat to Oracle Corp., if for no other reason than it’s cheaper, and in many applications, more practical.

It’s used extensively by the open-source community and is the engine that runs almost all the blogging software — including the successful WordPress, which is used as the blogging-content back end for the New York Times, among other large commercial enterprises.

I love a good conspiracy theory. The drama, the suspense, the twisted plot lines — and when Larry Ellison is a main character, it’s even better.

January 18, 2008  3:52 PM

Overheard: Yahoo supports universal Internet log-in

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
open_id1.jpg As more major Web players start to sign onto OpenID–and more casual Internet users start using the standard–there will inevitably be security concerns raised.

Since OpenID has no central repository for identity management, users can choose which sites they trust with their OpenIDs. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to always make the right decisions. Sometime in the not-so-distant future, an incident or two will likely surface that will call into question just what universal standards mean for privacy and personal security on the Web.

 Caroline McCarthy, Yahoo throws weight behind OpenID standard

January 18, 2008  3:02 PM

Overheard: Tiered Internet services — it’s here

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
saul_hansell.jpg Time Warner said on Wednesday that it was going to start testing a new rate plan in Beaumont [Texas] that would limit the amount of bandwidth each customer can use each month before additional fees kick in.

Saul Hansell, Time Warner: Download Too Much and You Might Pay $30 a Movie

January 17, 2008  11:21 PM

Overheard: The ten most interesting data center tours on video

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


I am proud to present the January 2008 WhatIs.com Editor’s Choice Award to the individual creators of the following data center tours. For those of you who like to look under the hood or peek behind the curtain, there’s some good stuff here.

1. CyGem Ltd. Data Center
Jeff Moore takes us through one of his customer’s facilities. He does a nice job pointing out the details.


2. Huawei Data Center
16,000 square meters of high tech real estate that could double as a set for Mission Impossible.


3. Inside NVIDIA’s engine room
An interesting look behind the scenes at NVIDIA back in 2002. Joe Sura does a nice job hosting the tour.


4.CNBC’s graphics SAN
Why did CNBC choose Apple? It’s cost-efficient, of course!


5. Century College Kopp Center
This is a working lab where students hone their data center management skills.


6.Sun’s Project Blackbox
Adam Yates gives a close-quarter tour of a data center in a shipping container.


7. Server room at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory
The Neutrino Observatory, which closed its doors in November of 2006, is still analyzing data — looking for insight into the properties of neutrinos and the core of the sun.


8. Internetwire Communications
This short tour is narrated in German, but I think you’ll be surprised how much you understand.


9. IBM data center in Second Life
This promo-tour explains how IBM is mapping real data centers to a virtual data center in Second Life to look at power solutions. IBM has 8 million square feet of data center space around the world, so lowering the electric bill is a big deal.


10. DRFortress
As I watched this tour, I wondered how a business like this will be affected by cloud computing. Will they be like the local hardware store after Home Depot comes to town?


January 17, 2008  9:21 PM

What is IT? Remote Presence (RP7) medical robot

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


This remote presence robot allows doctors in different geographical locations to teleconference right by a patient’s bedside. Real-time video allows for detailed viewing, examination and digital image capture of human anatomy, bedside monitors and equipment, EKG strips and light box images. The robot, made by InTouch Technologies,  has two-way cameras, microphones and other wireless technology, including joystick-controlled mobility.

January 17, 2008  8:30 PM

What is IT? Telepresence studio

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


Both the HP Halo collaboration studio and the Cisco TelePresence Meeting solutions look a lot like a traditional conference rooms — except the people on the far side of the table are in another studio on the opposite side of the globe. Very Star Trek.

January 17, 2008  7:56 PM

What is IT? The world’s smallest RFID chip

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


These RFID chips are made by Hitachi. The ones in blue have 128 bits of ROM and can store a 38-digit number. They are billed as being the smallest RFID chips and are 64 times smaller than the tiny chip you see on the person’s finger (right). The black line you see in the middle photo is a strand of human hair. Hitachi reps have said they don’t know what they’re going to do with the tiniest chips, which are being called “RFID powder” for now. You can read more about the chips here.

January 17, 2008  7:36 PM

What is IT? The world’s smallest full-featured motherboard

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


This is the world’s smallest full-featured x86 motherboard. It’s designed for ultra compact embedded PCs, gaming systems and appliances. It’s made by VIA and it measures 10cm x 7.2cm. Here’s a review.

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