Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

March 5, 2009  4:04 AM

Overheard – Real ID is a real mistake?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Real ID creates the largest single database about U.S. people that has ever been created. This is the people who brought you long lines at the DMV marrying the people at DHS who brought us Katrina. It’s a marriage we need to break up.

Tim Sparapani, as quoted in National ID Card Rules Unveiled

Real ID is back in the news.  Secretary Janet Napolitano (Department of Homeland Security)  is looking at cost effective alternatives…the most controversial of which is an “enhanced” driver’s license with RFID.  It’s making big waves with privacy advocates who see the technology being used for nefarious purposes.

March 4, 2009  12:43 PM

Overheard – Kindle is a platform, not a device

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Amazon’s expansion of Kindle to the iPhone makes me wonder if we’ll soon see Kindle as not just a device, but as a full-fledged publishing platform.

Nick Mediati, Amazon Brings Kindle to iPhone

Back in 2007, there was a lot of speculation about Apple going head-to-head with Amazon by creating their own “Safari Pad” reader to compete with Kindle.   How very smart of them to PARTNER with Amazon instead. I think Nick Mediati has hit on something important — especially after seeing how very easy Amazon has made it to publish on Kindle. Kindle is a platform, not a device.

My prediction? Short stories will become popular again. Teachers will publish third grader’s stories on Amazon so Mom and Dan can download and send to Grandma.  Nicole Lee compared the reading experience on both devices.  Check it out.

This is just one more reason why Apple is so smart. You see, the key to the iPhone’s popularity is not just its “cool” factor — it’s how well it plays with others.  And that’s a lesson that Apple is using to win the browser wars.

Industry watchers Net Applications recently reported that Safari owns 67 percent or the market share for  mobile browsing.

With the recent release of Safari 4,  Apple is finally making some progress drawing the PC desktop crowd away from IE and Firefox. How are they doing it?  By promising them speed. The official press release states that Safari 4 “executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3.  Safari quickly loads HTML web pages three times faster than IE 7 and almost three times faster than Firefox 3.”

March 2, 2009  10:01 PM

Overheard – Waste not, want not

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Toyota installs IT only when two conditions exist: the human process has been improved as much as it can without the technology, and the technology is proven and reliable.

Kent Blumberg, Lean IT – what comes first, technology or waste reduction?

A lot of companies are paying lip service to “doing more with less” and banging the PR drums that they’re “embracing the principles of lean manufacturing.”  As far as I’m concerned, it’s just more sign that the role of the CIO is morphing into that of Chief Process Officer.

February 27, 2009  5:03 PM

Overheard – Virtualization sprawl is like ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“When we started out with virtualization, we thought, ‘VMs are easy and cheap, so let’s go. Let’s create as many as we need.’ We ended up with several hundred more machines than we actually needed.”

Chuck Brust, as quoted in Virtualization users beware: Sprawl is real

Today’s Word of the Day is virtualization sprawl.   It wasn’t such an important consideration when VMs were just used for testing, but now that we’re finding VMs in production, vendors are scrambling to come up with tools that allow administrators to monitor and manage VMs more efficiently so that virtualization remains cost-effective. The holy grail? A tool that allows the admin to see and manage both physical machines and VMs from one dashboard.

Every time I read about virtualization sprawl, I’m reminded of the Start Trek espisode The Trouble with Tribbles. Click – new server.  Click- new server.  Click – new server.  Will the exponential propogation of VMs will eat any profits we might have gained from moving to virtualization?

February 26, 2009  1:23 AM

Overheard: American market soft on robots

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
lanceulanoff.gif If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall Roomba with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn’t have sold more than ten units.

Lance Ulanoff, Why can’t American consumers handle the future that robotics is willing to offer?

Yesterday CNN had a short article about the RG3, a new robot lawnmower for golf courses.  One of the challenges in developing the mower was figuring out how to ‘teach’ the robot boundries so it would know when to stop mowing.  According to Scott Jones, RG3’s navigation system uses a combination of ultrasonics and infrared to triangulate its location within a perimeter that’s created by four beacons.  Basically, it works like Roomba, my favorite robot of all time.

I’ve had Roomba for four years now — yet when I talk about how it starts itself up each day at noon, cleans the entire downstairs and then puts itself back on the charger, people look at me like I’m making it up.

I don’t get it.  We Americans are perfectly willing to accept that our telephones can be used to view movies, listen to audiobooks, play games and send and receive mail — but when it comes to believing that a robot can be more than a toy, we’re skeptical.


BTW, here’s some of my other favorite robots…

(If you can’t see the video, allow pop-ups and refresh the page)

BigDog military transport robot

Supply chain distribution robots

Robot playing the flute

Toyota robot playing the trumpet

February 25, 2009  5:31 PM

Overheard – Don’t tell me. Show me.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
If I could give only one piece of advice to technical marketers everywhere, it would be this: Show me, don’t tell me.

Jon Udell, Screencasting tips

Today’s Word of the Day is screencasting. Although the concept has been around since the days when we used Lotus Screencam, Jon Udell is generally credited with coming up with the new name, screencast.

February 24, 2009  3:44 PM

Overheard – A little buzz about buzz marketing

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“We’d give them to the kids who looked the nerdiest. We told them we weren’t allowed to give them out and say ‘The record label would totally freak out if they knew!’ The next day, it would be everywhere on the Internet.”

Damian Kulash, Blend of old, new media launched OK Go

Paul Gillin sent around one of the best examples of buzz marketing I’ve seen in a long time — it’s put out by Disney. You have to try it to see the magic. (Scroll up the Disney page to send it out by email.)

February 21, 2009  5:03 PM

Overheard – The power of XBRL

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Imagine this: Pick up a paper report or spreadsheet and shake all the numbers off it. Got it in your mind? Lots of information piled up on the carpet all over the place? Now try to get those numbers back into the report. Does this ‘50,000’ go against ‘sales’ or ‘salaries? Where did this number come from? What about that footnote? Pretty much impossible isn’t it? But it’s not far off the everyday reality of moving business information around today. That’s the business problem that XBRL solves.”

XBRL: Digital business reporting

Really REALLY good tutorial on XBRL basics here.

February 21, 2009  2:53 PM

Overheard – Google ditches radio

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
The flushing sound you hear is what remains of the $106 million Google paid to purchase the dMarc Broadcasting advertising network back in 2006 at the start of its radio misadventure.David Coursey, Google: Not the King of All Media

There was reason for concern because, as we all know, Google is, was, and shall remain a media company pretending to be a technology company. That is an important thing to remember: Google has yet to create a big moneymaker that isn’t tied to search-related revenue. And I think that business is starting to show cracks as new technology appears on the horizon even as Google’s search results become less useful over time.

Google ditched their audio ads. That’s not the big deal. The big deal is that so many companies are behaving as if they’re buttoning down before the storm. I thought we were already IN the storm.

Each day the earth seems to shift beneath my feet a little as the vendors we work with struggle to get back to their core competencies — and at the same time realign their marketing messages to capture the attention of anyone who’s dropping dollars.

I have this mental picture of farm animals being skittish before an earthquake or the dogs sensing a thunderstorm half an hour before there’s even a cloud in the sky.

Maybe we’re all sensing the cracks in Google’s foundation?

I need to read more about the semantic web.

February 20, 2009  1:14 PM

Overheard – The lady or the tiger

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“If there is a bright side to the current economic crisis, it might be the death of the cool the company, and that would be fine with us. During the dot-com bubble, Silicon Valley companies went out of their way to provide concierge services, gourmet food, ping pong tables, and other workplace perks. They did this to compete for talent, but they also did this to remove any reason someone might have to leave campus.”

Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, The Death of the Cool Workplace

Today’s Word of the Day is going to be Results Oriented Work Environment.   It’s a management philosophy where the first commandment is “Work isn’t a place you go, but something you do.”

When I talk about working at a ROWE,  I’m always reminded of my kid’s pop-up book where the guy is asked to pick a door — behind one door is a beautiful lady that will grant all your wishes. Behind the other door is a ferocious tiger that will eat you up.  (The original story is much more devious.)

But it was the kids’ version I kept thinking about when I was trying to decide whether or not to come to TechTarget.

You see, TechTarget has been a ROWE since it was a start-up. Before I came to TechTarget, I’d never interviewed for a position that didn’t mention how many paid vacation days and sick days and personal days I’d get. It was a little scary to be told “No vacation, no sick days, no personal days…you decide when and how much to work.” Was a ROWE the beautiful lady or the ferocious tiger?

Most days as I tap dance to work, I think I’ve picked the beautiful lady.  Some days as I pry my fingers from the keyboard after 14 hours, I’m sure I’ve picked the tiger. But the tiger is of my own making and even that is empowering.

People can’t believe it when I tell them I don’t have vacations or holidays or sick days.  I just work until the work is done. Of course, since there’s always work to do — and TechTarget was smart enough to hire people who love what they do — my colleagues and I put in more hours, accomplish more work and take less time off than anyplace else I’ve ever been employed.

Once you take away the tyranny of the clock, there’s nothing to stop you from working more.  Brilliant.

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