Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

January 9, 2009  3:42 AM

Overheard – Move over Second Life. Web Alive has come to town.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Lenovo unveiled a virtual world called eLounge, which is powered by Nortel’s recently announced virtual world platform, web.alive. Lenovo appears to be using this venue as a social and interactive platform for providing information on their products and services — notably, their laptops.

Dennis Shiao, Review: Lenovo’s eLounge Virtual World

When I woke up this morning, I felt like I’d been out late to a party at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Unfortunately, I was still in upstate New York surrounded by snow.)

You see, last night I went to virtual trade show hosted by Lenovo. They are using a platform called web.alive. It’s Web-based and like nothing else I’ve experienced in browser-based virtual world software. I actually felt as if I had been at the conference, meeting people, looking at laptops and Lenovo’s new netbook. The only thing that was missing from the conference experience were the free pens and the chance to enter a raffle.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Second Life. I’ve probably installed it and uninstalled it at least five times over the past year. I’ve been to virtual events at Cisco and IBM. Second Life for business is interesting, but nowhere as exciting as what I experienced last night at Lenovo’s virtual store.

There’s something different about web.alive’ platform.  For one thing the navigation is intuitive and it only takes a first-time visitor a few minutes to figure out how to get around. You don’t see avatars standing around with their heads down and arms out — wiggling their fingers as they type on some invisible keyboard.  That’s what happens when you visit a business site in Second Life — everyone looks like zombies.

At Lenovo’s eLounge, however, you see energetic people walking around with their heads up. You can talk to the software developers, you can talk to the Lenovo sales representatives or you can talk to other people who’ve wandered in and are marveling at the experience of being in this rather wonderful virtual world. And if you’re not all that social?  You can just wander around and eavesdrop. The experience feels real.

I’ve been to other virtual trade shows on line. They’re interesting, but they’re flat.  Literally flat, clickable images. And the experience is flat.  Here’s a tour of AMD’s virtual trade show last year, for example. It’s nice, but it’s so…last year. 🙂

The architects at web.alive are on to something big. And they’re marketing it to the right audience — business people whose budgets are tight — who need to collaborate — who want to stay on the cutting edge.

If you have a few minutes today I strongly suggest you stop by Lenovo’s virtual store.  You’ll view the virtual environment as a Web page after you download and install a small browser plug-in.

I think you’ll be surprised, not only by the high quality graphics and the amazing audio, but by the real feeling of community you’ll experience.

January 8, 2009  3:44 PM

Overheard – 2009, the year of the netbook

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Just as General Motors must wean itself off lumbering SUVs, so may Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Toshiba, et al., be forced, to some extent, to wean themselves off high-profit notebook computers.

Brooke Crothers, Intel warning casts cloud over CES

Netbook is the big buzzword this year at CES. I remember having what vendors are now calling a netbook about ten years ago.   I couldn’t load any software on it, but I could access email and the Internet. At this very moment, I can’t remember what it was called — but I remember getting it at Circuit City and using it in the classroom with WinGate as my proxy server. (For several years, WinGate was the bane of my existence.)

On a totally unrelated note, Jeopardy is celebrating its 25th anniversary with host Alex Trebeck by filming 11 episodes at CES. You have to love a show that gives quizzes and penalizes contestants for not using the words “what is….” 🙂

January 8, 2009  1:42 AM

Video – The tradeoff between notebooks and netbooks

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

AMD VP Pat Moorehead talks about some of the limitations netbooks have.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ax6GYgXhCl8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

January 7, 2009  4:46 PM

Overheard – Apple chucks DRM but you’re still tied to their hardware

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Downloads from iTunes are still in the AAC file format regardless of whether they are DRM-free. The AAC file format is only compatible with iPods/iPhones and a limited number of other devices. So consumers who buy downloads from iTunes are still restricted to where they can play that music regardless of whether it’s DRM free or not.”

Ben Drury as quoted in Apple iTunes tracks go DRM-free

I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t have an iPhone or iPod. I like having a radio on my MP3 player so I use a tiny player by Insignia.  If I want to download something from the iTunes store, I use a third-party tool to convert the file from AAC to MP3.

So when I heard yesterday that Apple was ditching DRM altogether, it caught my attention.  Would that make it easier for me to buy content from the iTunes store? Could I synch up my little Insignia player and not have to stop and covert file formats?

I think the answer right now is “no.”   Besides getting rid of the number of times an iPod or iPhone owner can copy something he’s purchased, I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference for those of us who use Insignia or some other brand of player.  We’ll still be shopping for MP3s at Amazon.

Update: I did find this on the Apple Web site…but it’s talking about CDs.

When you import unprotected WMA files or music from CDs, iTunes saves them as AAC files. Easily convert them to MP3 in a few clicks: Select the song you want converted, then choose “Create MP3 Version” from the Advanced menu.

January 6, 2009  12:37 PM

Overheard – Twitter’s Black Monday

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
I have a feeling we’ll start seeing phishers adding Twitter to their stable of targets in 2009. That’s unfortunate, because it almost certainly means we’ll be hearing the term “twishing” being bandied about this year.

Brian Krebs, Phishers Now Twittering Their Scams

Microbologging service Twitter has had a bad start to the new year. First, members started receiving phishing messages and then some prominent user accounts were hacked.

Is it a right of passage — a sign that Twitter is now deemed valuable enough that bad guys want to expolit it?


More likely it’s just a sign that Twitter needs to pay more attention to security.  Businesses have been embracing Twitter lately. I wonder if this week’s breaches will cool the love affair? I’m guessing yes. Look for “enterprise ready” versions of the service coming to a firewall near you.

December 31, 2008  7:39 PM

Overheard – Millennials and the economic downturn

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

The global downturn has been a brutal awakening for the youngest members of the workforce—variously dubbed “the Millennials”, “Generation Y” or “the Net Generation” by social researchers.

From The Economist print edition Generation Y goes to work

December 30, 2008  3:31 PM

Oveheard – Google Chrome is out of Beta

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
patrizio-andy.gif It’s not too often Google shocks people these days, but declaring its Chrome browser a finished, 1.0 product after only four months was sure one of those moments. Google, the land of the perpetual beta (five years and counting for GMail, three years for Docs), declared the bits golden code after 100 days of public consumption.

Andy Patrizio, Does Google’s Chrome Need More Polish?

Google may or may not have a secret operating system project in the works, one that mimics the interface of the Android operating system for mobile phones, but for PCs. If it does, it would fit with Google’s revised mission statement for Chrome, “to build a browser to give users a better experience of the Web.”

December 29, 2008  12:23 PM

Overheard – Cybersquatting back in the news

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
43.jpg The George W. Bush Library Foundation has retrieved its domain name. A small Internet company had bought www.georgewbushlibrary.com for less than $10 after it expired and then sold it back it to the library for $35,000.

Christopher Beam, answering the question Is Cybersquatting Against the Law?

I thought for sure that cybersquatting was an old dot.com relic, but apparently it’s not. MarkMonitor, a company that specializes in helping companies protect their brands on the Internet, reports that there were 428,617 instances of cybersquatting in the second quarter of 2008. That’s a 38% increase from 2007.

In the largest cybersquatting judgment ever, a federal court in the Northern District of California awarded Verizon $33.15 million. It seems that OnlineNIC had registered 663 domain names that were either identical or similar to Verizon trademarks.

According to the NY Times: OnlineNic registered more than 900,000 domain names similar to some of the world’s biggest companies, including Google, Adidas, the News Corporation’s MySpace, Wal-Mart Stores and Yahoo, Verizon said in court papers. Verizon accused OnlineNic of using an automated process to register the addresses and employing “numerous means to conceal its true identity.”

December 28, 2008  7:12 PM

Overheard – MiFi personal cloud

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mifi.jpg Novatel might be on to something with its MiFi device. It’s basically a rechargeable, portable wireless router that ingests mobile data signals and spits them back out as standard Wi-Fi. The company is calling the technology an “Intelligent Mobile Hotspot,” in case you were longing for some industry jargon.

Doug Aamoth, Novatel intros ‘MiFi’ mobile broadband router

A  lot of the blog buzz about MiFi pitches the idea that with your handy-dandy portable router, you’ll be carrying around a personal cloud of high-speed Internet connectivity that can be shared between multiple users and Wi-Fi devices. I can see it being useful to share connectivity, but I’m a little pessimistic about how the pricing structure for service will pan out.  The label “personal cloud” sounds pricey.

December 28, 2008  5:14 PM

Overheard – Replacing the transistor

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
electron_spin.jpg Controlling electrons — and the “magnetic moment” their spin produces — offers the prospect of breaking away from the transistor, a 1948 invention that is still the main element of computers.

Corydon Ireland, Pioneer in spintronics celebrates birthday

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: