Archive for the ‘Business & Industry’ Category

Revenge of the Windows 7 SKUs

Posted on February 3rd, 2009 in Business & Industry, Windows | No Comments »

Just when you thought it was safe to Install the greatly simplified Windows 7…. Oh not so fast! ZD Net is reporting there will be at least six flavors available:

Windows 7 Starter Edition (for emerging market and netbook users)
Windows 7 Home Premium (the main “Media Center” equivalent)
Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging market customers only)
Windows 7 Professional (the business SKU for home users and non-enterprise licensees)
Windows 7 Enterprise (for volume licensees)
Windows 7 Ultimate (for consumers who want/need business features)

Additional reading on this subject can be found at….

Dwight Silverman’s reporting on Microsoft’s many SKU’s and his experience loading Windows 7 on Netbooks.

Story from Engadget, complete with Screen Shot.

Change is the name of the Game

Posted on November 11th, 2008 in Business & Industry, Tech & Science | No Comments »

While my blog postings tend to avoid anything political, I can not help but to mull over what the next four years of a new administration mean for the tech world.

Throughout the campaigns virtually all the candidates exploited the power and reach of technology, from Ron Paul to Hillary Clinton. Whether via SMS or Web 2.0, there is no doubt that this (finally) was the year that the Internet and mobile devices really played a part in the outcome of a national election.

President Elect Barack Obama’s campaign got this from the start. The web, with its host of social networking sites and viral videos, was a game changer for Obama. Barack Obama and his supporters found a direct and pointed way to connect with our fast paced cyber enabled lifestyles.

Truly remarkable is the way that people opted in for this digital content. Regardless of how you voted, there is an eagerness among citizens nationwide to see if this spirit of transparency, immediacy and connectedness will be a hallmark of the comming administration. Are we witnessing the perfect nexus of technology and politics? Has the Internet matured to the point where it is a reliable, and in some cases the primary from of communication for citizens of the United States of America? (read: reached critical mass of mainstream users.)

An encouraging indicator of this is the newly launched http://www.change.gov/ web site. If there was such a site back during the Clinton to Bush transition, I never saw it. And it’s not a partisan observation to say this has less to do with politics and more to do with evolving technologies and the mainstream adoption, no make that expectation, of web communication vehicles.

I for one am very hopeful that technology initiatives like this and others we saw during the campaigns are the beginning of a more interactive form of government – perhaps one by the people, for the people and of the people.

VMWare Goodness – no make that Greatness!

Posted on October 2nd, 2008 in Business & Industry, Internet & Networking, Linux/Unix, Windows | No Comments »

I’ve been an ardent VMWare user and proponent for some time. But only recently have I had the opportunity to work with the VMWare flagship product, ESX Server. Let me just say…. Oh Good Lord!

Disclaimer: ESX is not for everyone, it is first and foremost a dedicated server product; not something you are going to load and play around with on a desktop pc. And until more recently, it has been a rather expensive endeavor, recently however, with the introduction of a freeware option (ala VM Server and Player), that has changed. VMWare ESXi is now free to use, and boosts the same Core Hypervisor as its costly big brother ESX. There is even an upgrade path to the fully licensed version, should you require the full VI3 management suite. If you have the datacenter class gear, and are in need of a full time Virtualized platform I can not stress enough how wonderful a solution ESXi is. I’m presently deploying ESXi on Dell servers (on select new models it is even available as a flash based boot module – for no charge!)

If your needs do not necessitate full time data center VM operations, you still should look at the latest incarnation of VM Server. Version 2.0 just went golden, and after playing with it on both Linux and Windows platforms the last week, I am equally impressed. Be forewarned, if you are a current VM Server 1.X user you are in for a shock – the new web based interface can be a little disorienting at first, but new and better functionality awaits. Just as before this product is completely free and absolutely suitable for production use.

Virtualization is unquestionably the wave of the future, both in servers and even on the desktop. If you have been waiting to dip a toe into the VM waters, wait no longer – with these new offerings from VMware now is the time to Virtulize!

Podcast Picks Part II

Posted on May 14th, 2008 in Apple, Business & Industry, Gadgets, Internet & Networking, Linux/Unix, Tech & Science, Windows | No Comments »

As promised, I’m back with part two of my personal podcast selections.

Grammar Girl – http://grammar.qdnow.beta.libsynpro.com/rss

If your reading this blog post there is a good chance you are a blogger yourself, in which case this cast is a must for you. But regardless how you use the English language, Grammar Girl has helpful tips for you. Each installment of GG is quick and to the point, focusing on all kinds of grammar usage issues.

Linux Action Show – http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheLinuxActionShow

Begin tired old Cliché: “If you only listen to one Linux Podcast, this should be it!” Chris and Bryan are not only incredibly insightful and up on all the latest happenings surrounding the Open Source community, they put on one darn entertaining Podcast.

And if you want all the casts put on by this resourceful duo (like the afore mentioned CastaBlasta) you can subscribe to the unified Jupiter Broadcasting Feed at – http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/?feed=rss2

Linux Basement – http://feeds.feedburner.com/linuxbasement

Great Tutorials, Fantastic close-nit community and as if that is not enough, you get and Open Source Song every episode! Yes, you heard right an OSS “Song” performed by the ever talented Chad Wollenberg, host of the the Linux Basement.

Slashdot Review – http://slashdotreview.com/wp-rss2.php

Don’t have time to sift through all the great content on Reddit, Digg, Slashdot or a myriad of others, no worries, Andrew McCaskey does an amazing job editing and reading them to you. Under 15 minutes and you are up to date with the day’s tech/geek news.

Super Average Podcast – http://feeds.feedburner.com/SuperAveragePodcast

Looking for a great down to earth spiritual talk show? The interestingly named “Super Average Podcast” is a weekly round table of four everyday guys from different walks of life, talking about what faith means to them.

This WEEK in TECH – http://leoville.tv/podcasts/twit.xml

Leo Laporte, nuff said! Ok seriously if you have not ever heard of the “Twit Army” this is the Leo’s flagship podcast – part punditry, part news, part interview show, and plenty of random thoughts, This Week in Tech features a weekly round table (guests change from show to show) discussing the state of all things tech.

This will have to do for now, but you have gobs of stuff to listen to now, so find some new podcasts already.

XM + Sirius together at last, too Little, too Late

Posted on April 9th, 2008 in Business & Industry, Gadgets | 1 Comment »

After years of lobbing and backroom shenanigans it appears that there is yet another mega-wedding in the near future for the two (and only) satellite radio providers – so much for that antitrust stuff hu? It’s ok, while many are busy crying fowl about the monopolistic implications of the merger or how bad for the consumer this deal will be, I’m still left with the question, when, if ever will I subscribe to satellite radio?

My skepticism has little to do with the low level of satisfaction most have with terrestrial radio offerings, but rather how many people have already abandoned listening to the radio all together, favoring instead off-line content on iPods or streams directly to their portable devices (I.e. Cell phones or notebooks.) It’s this plethora of great digital content that can be played back regardless whether you are in front of your computer at the office on the go in the car, or out for a jog, Digital Music, Podcasts and even Video are all just a click away. Comparing this content delivery methodology to the aging passive radio model leaves me scratching my head as to whether I care if it comes from terrestrial or satellite!

If the competition from alternative media was not threatening enough, satellite radio has to overcome marketing and financial problems. Considering that neither XM or Sirius had a thriving successful (profitable) business on their own before the merger; it is rather foolish to believe that now manacled together they will be a drastically different creature. Besides, redundancies and the sheer volume of technical and logistical challenges to be worked out internally make communicating a unified, consistent and easy to understand model to customers and potential new users next to impossible. This will be a tall order, especially as employee moral is certain to be tepid at best, and layoff or consolidation fears ripple through the company.

And what of hardware incompatibilities? Programming and channel changes? And of course there is the cost – both for new devices and recurring monthly. No thank you, I think I’ll stick with my podcasts ;)

Good Cheap Hardware, the Wisdom of a Child and Wireless Woes

Posted on March 3rd, 2008 in Business & Industry, Linux/Unix, Windows | No Comments »

As a parent of three teenagers it seams like every time I turn around I’m paying for something, couple this with the fact I’m turning into a real miser these days – and I’m all for any bargain I can find! With this in mind, it was less then thrilling when my son came begging for a new notebook for his birthday, but after a couple of weeks of working mom and myself over, we succumbed to the pressure, and off to the Best Buy we went.

Good Greif that’s Cheap!

Sometimes a good slap in the face is what a jaded IT guy like myself needs, and the trip to a big box retailer to purchase a prebuilt system, rather then the Fry’s do it yourself approach, was indeed enlightening. Illuminating that is, as to just how clueless the average retail sales guy is; but he was efficient enough to take my money and get us out of the store with a shiny new HP/Compaq. It was a Compaq Presario C751NR to be exact, with decent specs – AMD X2 Mobile chip, 1 Gig of Ram, and an ample 120 GB HD. But the shocker – Out the door under $500!

Just Say No – to Vista that is

On the drive home my son began to question which OS he should run on the new system. Of course it was preloaded with some Vista Home Shit edition, and I suggested that we reload it; figuring on a version of XP Pro. He heartily agreed, say that he (my non-geek son) had heard nothing but bad things about Vista. But he shocked me when he asked, ”Dad, I want that cool looking one you run, what’s it called… Ubeny?” I grinned on both the inside and out, as I corrected him, Ubuntu, to which quickly agreed that was the one he wanted, as it, “Just looks so cool!”

What the Duce? Wireless always just works…

Now at home the hard drive wiped of the vile interloper, Vista, we quickly loaded Gutsy, Ubuntu 7.10 (possibly the most gorgeous release of any distro, I’ve ever used.) Install was uneventful and all the hardware was detected on this very new model notebook, but no WiFi. Not that the Atheros nic was not detected – it appeared in the Restricted Drivers – but just didn’t work. However, after about an hour of searching around on Ubuntuforums I did find a solution (Click here if you are interested.) This was a bit surprising though as device detection has been on of Ubuntu’s strong points.

All and all this has been a Win/Win/Win. Junior has his new notebook and is happy, I got out of the deal relatively unscathed in the pocket book, and perhaps best of all there is one less system out there running Vista.

One SPAMtop per Child: Raise of the affordable Subnotebooks

Posted on February 21st, 2008 in Business & Industry, Gadgets, Linux/Unix, Windows | No Comments »

Thanks to the OLPC initiative’s XO device rolling out to emerging markets, you can look forward to some changes on your desktop even if you never own one yourself.

The Good, The Bad and the Slender?

There is no doubt that getting technology into the hands of impoverished, and developing youths in these markets will empower a new generation to strive for a prosperity that families and whole villages have never know – that’s certainly good. But while this technology is inherently neutral, these new found skills and tools will present individuals with the opportunity to employ them for positive or nefarious purposes!

“The lure of easy money has a very strong appeal”, Glenn Frey mused in the 80’s classic, Smugglers Blues. And while the illicit activity might be different, in the case of these SPAMtop syndicates compared to that of the crime lords on Miami Vice, the motive to exploit hapless users is strikingly similar. Armed with new found knowledge, computing power, free time and an untraceable “mess” internet connection, just mix in some abject poverty, lack of social morals and two bit governments with no principals, ethics or will to enforce local laws, much less international ones, and you have all the ingredients necessary for a new wave of fishing and bot-nets the likes of which we have never seen before.

If you think that assertion is a bit alarmist consider this; they don’t call them Nigerian scams for nothing. Heck forget automated spam attacks as we know them today, these can be detected, intercepted and prevented. But not this new generation of attacks, with this kind of man-power, organized cyber-crime rings can just pay kids with XOs to write personal emails to their unsuspecting marks around the world. Not to be overly dourer, but imagine the pour souls that will be duped by these young scammers with the time and tools to not just email, but build phony web sites, hack credit cards, employ social network sites, even hold IM conversations all with the goal of building up the trust of the victim. Mercy, and we thought the Islamo-terrorist where a threat to Western Civilization!

What about the Slender?

Take heart, its not all bad. Another positive upside is the recent availability of affordable and innovative mini and micro sized notebooks. In addition to XOs offering, there are Intel’s classmate PC initiative, and the very well received Asus EEEpc, which unlike the OLPC is targeting the retail market directly with a sub $500 all flash based unit. But more then these specific units, there are new incentives to bring down prices on this segment of the market; which has been very pricy in the past.

So the next time you delete a get rich quick scam email or are contacted by a member of a foreign royal family, enjoy it on your inexpensive sub-notebook and just remember to say thanks OLPC!

CES 2008: Product Death Watch

Posted on January 19th, 2008 in Business & Industry | No Comments »

It’s far too easy to chronicle about all the fun new and exciting products at a show like CES so I thought I’d share with you about some of the unreported “failing” products at the show – companies whose strategies and offerings just make you scratch your head and say WTF.

Nero – Dieing ROM

Giving up on it tried and true formula for success, a great burning application, The latest Nero 8 throws every video and audio manipulation and play back tool under the sun at you. When I questioned company reps about the decision to blot the bumblebees out of the once straight forward app, the answer, “we need to differentiate ourselves from the built in burning functions of Windows.” News flash guys, underpowered personal video editing suites are also part of base OS offerings these days too, MS Movie Maker and iLife’s apps come to mind, If you must abandon your core competencies please come up with a better excuse.

WiMax – “WhyMax”

One stop by the Intel booth would reveal two things; 1) The entire show staff were polished, positive and positively jacked up on Caffenie/Zoloft cocktails and 2) delusional enough to believe WiMax is still viable. Guys, maybe you missed the fact that WiFi is here to stay and most major carriers are backing away from metro, much less nation wide mobile, deployments of WiMax. But hey reality is soooo over-rated, can I get some of whatever you guys are on?

Palm – The Circle is Complete

Two years ago I saw the then new and unproven Microsoft Windows smart phone versions of the Treo. I commented to the pleasant Palm rep then this was a sad day and marked the death of the Palm OS, for soon all Palm devices would only be available with Microsoft Mobile OSes. She assured me that nothing could be farther from the truth, and Palm was “committed to both platforms.” This year when asked, company reps proudly proclaimed that while the Centro (the only new Palm OS based phone) is a nice low end offering, all of the companies present efforts are in the Windows Mobile arena.

TiVo – You will be assimilated

Times up TiVo, it was a good run and we will all miss you, but your wild and free single days are over. You had some good times with DirectTV and various Cable companies, but you aren’t getting any younger doll – time to look for a nice suitor and get married. Unfortunately like they say, all the good ones are taken, Vista Media Center is almost there (and already engaged to AT&T’s U-verse), and Apple TVs showing steady improvement, don’t expect them to come a calling. But your still the original UI beauty queen, it will be interesting to see who your knight in shining armor will be.

It’s CES 2008 Baby!

Posted on January 10th, 2008 in Business & Industry, Gadgets, News & Updates | No Comments »

Ladies and Gentlemen, the hour of the greatest tech event on a geek’s calender has come. Its the second week of January which means I’m writing this from the incomparable Las Vegas!

 

This year I was joined by long time friend Marc “Blue-Hair” Ortega – seen below seriously geeking out!

Marc gets his Geek on!

 

So watch for postings in the days to come with updates on products, highlights and lowlights of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

2008 Please be Tech Friendly – Please!

Posted on January 2nd, 2008 in Business & Industry, News & Updates, Tech & Science | No Comments »

 

Happy New Year, and I do truly mean that as January 1st rings in all kinds of wonderful possibilities. Besides the always obvious opportunities for improved diet, fitness and finances I’m praying for a better year in Tech.

 

2007 proved to be an epicly disappointing year when you consider the lack of technical innovation. Don’t go confusing technology “hype” for real advancement. In fact 2007 might actually be one of the more over hyped years I can recall – iPhone or FaceBook ring a bell?

 

But on to better things! 2008 holds much promise for all things good and geeky; to this end I’ll be investigating all that CES has to offer next week, look for some updates on the blog and my picks for devices that are must haves. So cheers, a new year of Tech, I’ll drink to that!