Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

October 1, 2007  3:47 PM

Overheard: Web 2.0 programming

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
web-20-programming.jpg “A very important aspect of XProc is that it will be a standard and have multiple (hopefully) interoperable implementations. This should pave the way for an explosion of applications of XML pipelines.”

Erik Bruchez, XML pipelines: XPL and XProc

October 1, 2007  2:30 PM

Overheard – Vista, the walking dead of the operating system world

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
stephen.gif “Vista has turned into the desktop operating system no one wants, and even Microsoft is beginning to get it. Today, I think of Vista as the zombie operating system. It stumbles around, and from a distance you might think it’s alive, but close up it’s the walking dead.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Night of the Living Vista

Stephen writes: There are many reasons why Vista is doing the zombie stumble. Microsoft has and continues to mislead customers about how much PC is really needed to run Vista. Even some of Windows’ most loyal users are finding that its poor performance, lousy software support and pathetic driver support is too much to stomach. And, last but never ever least, if XP isn’t broke, why “fix” it with Vista?

Now you might think some of this is legacy backlash. People don’t like change. They’d rather use Windows 2000 than XP, Windows 98 SE than 2000,and Windows ME more than…well, OK, no one liked ME. But I’ve been through these cycles many times before. This is different… I can’t think of a single reason to switch from XP to Vista. I’m not talking a good reason, I really mean any reason.

September 28, 2007  12:25 PM

Overheard – Road to Riches

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

china.jpg “To tempt farmers in China into high-tech territory, Lenovo executives explain, they have tried to make their machine easy to use, cheap, and robust. But its key feature, they say, is its software, dubbed “Road to Riches,” that helps peasants search for agricultural information that will boost business.”

Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor

ThinkPad? Think Lenovo.

Also think China. And software called Road to Riches. What a name!

Todd Crowell writes, “Lenovo has been working steadily to become China’s first global brand. Two years ago, it changed its name from Legend to Lenovo (an invented word from Latin novo, meaning new) specifically because Legend was too common and already trademarked in the West.

In acquiring the IBM computer division, Lenovo gained the ThinkPad laptop and the ThinkCenter desktop, two of the best-known brands in the computer industry. Lenovo’s strategy is to link its name with the better-known products, until they become synonymous in the customer’s mind.

“There will be no doubt that ThinkPad is made by Lenovo, just like iPod is made by Apple,” says Deepka Advani, Lenovo’s senior vice president and director of marketing. The products will be produced under the IBM logo for five years. As the Lenovo brand becomes better known, the company will eventually drop the IBM logo and sell them as Lenovo brand ThinkPads and ThinkCenters.


September 27, 2007  2:24 PM

Overheard – Hitachi math

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
barry_burke.jpg “As with any Hitachi announcement, this one comes with more than its fair share of misleading assertions and what I’ve come to refer to as “Hitachi Math” – a modernistic form of algebra that arrives at irreproducible results that also have the unique property of having absolutely no bearing on reality.”

barry a. burke, the storage anarchist

September 27, 2007  12:00 PM

Overheard – Enterprise 2.0

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
bernard_lunn.jpg “The coming wave of online emergent business networks is the real Enterprise 2.0 story. The impact on a large company from using blogs, RSS and wikis is not significant when the real guts of the business is locked into legacy ERP, SCM and CRM systems.”

Bernard Lunn, Read/WriteWeb.com

September 26, 2007  4:15 PM

Overheard – Computer industry

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“The computer industry is like women’s clothing — except it’s more fashion-driven.”

Lawrence J. Ellison, Co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation

September 26, 2007  1:12 PM

Overheard – A Robot in Every Home

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Think of the manufacturing robots currently used on automobile assembly lines as the equivalent of yesterday’s mainframes.”

Bill Gates, A Robot in Every Home

September 25, 2007  5:02 PM

Overheard – robotics

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“You know mobile robots have moved beyond the novelty stage when they are embroiled in that classic business action: A fight over trade secrets.”

David Brooks, Granite Geek

You may not be aware that iRobot, the company famous for making Roomba, also makes robots for the military. (I have a Roomba, by the way and I would get another one immediately if something ever happened to this one.) A former employee at iRobot went off to Chicago to start his own business, which he called Robot FX — and now the sparks are flying!

On his blog, David Brooks reports that the Chicago-based robot firm (Robot FX) is charged with swiping proprietary information about the military robot that iRobot was developing. It seems that both companies were in the running for a $200 million military contract.

Here’s what the Boston Globe has to say about the lawsuit. You won’t believe it.

Parties to a lawsuit are required to preserve all evidence in the case. An iRobot attorney contacted Robotic FX attorney Patricia Kane Schmidt by e-mail and FedEx on the day the suits were filed, urging her to warn her clients not to destroy evidence. But documents filed by iRobot say that on the evening of Aug. 17, Ahed, watched by private detectives from Kroll Inc. hired by iRobot, emerged from the Robotic FX offices and loaded several boxes into the trunk of a white Saturn sedan belonging to Hill, the company’s chief operating officer. The next day, Ahed discarded the items in a dumpster in Chicago, not far from Hill’s apartment. Kroll operatives who witnessed Ahed’s actions retrieved the discarded materials, which included electronics components inside a box marked “iRobot,” as well as the empty carton for a new paper shredder. “Most particularly we found a tool that is a confidential piece of technology used by iRobot,” said iRobot attorney Ruffin Cordell. “It appeared that somebody had gotten hold of a replica.” Cordell declined to identify the tool, but said it had been designed by iRobot engineers for use in assembling PackBots.


September 21, 2007  12:53 PM

Overheard – greenwashing

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Au contraire. I’m environmentally-friendly now.”

Tom Fishburne‘s humorous look at greenwashing as voodoo marketing.


Tom Fishburne, a cartoonist whose blog is about “Cartoons, marketing and postcards from London” wrote:

This cartoon idea sprang fully formed from a New York Times piece on the ridiculous lengths that some brands are going to be considered for the Home Depot Eco Options promotion (including, yes, a brand of electric chainsaw). It’s a good example of some of the outlandish greenwashing we’re all starting to see. And, how the issue is not as white and black as the old treehugger/lumberjack dynamic.

September 20, 2007  2:19 PM

Overheard – Grace Hopper

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
grace.jpg “The wonderful thing about standards is that there’s so many of them to choose from.”

Andrew Tanenbaum, quoting Grace Murray Hopper

I would like to nominate December 9th, the birthday of Admiral Grace Hopper, to be our first international IT holiday. Why Grace Hopper, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Anyone whose obituary in Time magazine says “She is perhaps best known for having said “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission” deserves a holiday named after her.

How would we celebrate Grace Hopper Day, you ask? Let’s take a quick look at some of Admiral Hopper’s contributions and see what we can come up with.

Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer in computer science, is generally credited with developments that led to COBOL, the programming language for business applications on which the world’s largest corporations ran for more than a generation. After receiving her Ph.D. in mathematics at Yale, Hopper worked as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943. She went on to work as a researcher and mathematician at the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp. and the Sperry Corporation. Having retired from the Navy after World War II, she returned in 1967 to work at the Naval Data Automation Command. By the time of her death in 1992, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper had left many contributions to the field of software engineering and was arguably the world’s most famous programmer.

But here are some lesser-known facts:

  • The clock in her office ran counterclockwise to remind her that there’s always more than one way to do something.
  • She hated the words “because we’ve always done it this way.”
  • She joked that she created COBOL because she didn’t like to balance her checkbook.
  • When she was a child, she practiced her troubleshooting skills (not always successfully) by taking apart alarm clocks.
  • She called her Admiral’s uniform her “identifier” and used it to remind listeners that every record in a computer must have a unique identifier so it can store data and retrieve it later.
  • During her lifetime, she was a popular TV talk show guest.
  • She chain-smoked unfiltered cigarettes.
  • She liked to be introduced as the “third programmer on the first large-scale digital computer.”
  • She is credited with applying the engineering term “bug” to computing when her team found a moth trapped in a relay of the MarkII computer. It was a joke, but the moth is now in the Smithsonian.
  • She was first asked to resign from the Navy when she was 40 because she was too old. By the time she was 80, President Reagan had to go before Congress once a year to get permission for her NOT to have to resign from the Navy. She is quoted as saying “I seem to be doing a lot of retiring.”

Amazing Grace, as Admiral Hopper was often called, was a colorful woman who might inspire some interesting ways to celebrate a holiday, don’t you think?

I can just see it. On December 9, we’ll all gather together in hyperspace and celebrate (virtually, of course) Grace Hopper Day. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see what your co-workers pick as their “unique identifier.” We can all spend the day troubleshooting and brainstorming new ways to solve old problems.

Here’s Grace Hopper on one of the first David Letterman Shows:

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://youtube.com/v/57bfxsiVTd4″ width=”300″ height=”225″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: