If Your Budget Ain’t Growing, You Ain’t Pushing

You’ve probably been suffering the last four or five years with Ebenezer Scrooge-type IT budgets. If your finance guys are giving you the hairy eyeball over your modest requests, tell ‘em that IDC is predicting that IT budgets are growing 5 percent this year. And if you really need new stuff, tell ‘em 10 percent.

Microsoft Squeezes Out a New Python
Microsoft has nothing against open-source programming/scripting tools so long as they can be used to write Windows apps. At least that seems to be the theory behind IronPython, a .NET version of the scripting language that Microsoft just released to beta.

IM in the Money
About two years ago IM Logic and a couple others tried to convince me that the security hole opened by instant messaging was a big as Crater Lake and far easier to get to. After my IM-crazy kids’ computer was compromised, I started to listen. So did Symantec, which last week made plans to buy IM Logic. My advice is to choose a single-standard IM client for your shop and protect it the same way you would Outlook.

Google Is Packing
The weekend’s coming and there’s nothing better than a 12-pack (okay, 13-pack) of Google. The search phenom used the recent Consumer Electronics Show to announce Google Pack, a batch of 13 programs that are free for the asking, er, downloading. Excited? It gets better. These programs are truly free, as in they have long been free. With Google Pack you get Adobe Reader, Mozilla, Ad-Aware (which is pretty darn good) and a short-term trial of Norton Anti-Virus (are you starting to feel like you just bought a new PC packed with vendor-sponsored freebies?). The hook is that Google, in its infinite wisdom (cyberspace is infinite isn’t it?) has decided that these programs are actually worth using, and by going through Google, they aren’t that tricky to install. Is it just me or is Google trying to repackage old news as something new?

Google Video Store
Google was the ultimate counter-culture company until folks realized that it has to make money to justify its multi-hundred dollar share price. Then the true radicals turned against it as they did against Microsoft two decades ago. I’m not sure but maybe these agitators are onto something. Besides trying to scan books that writers slaved over and giving them away for free (surrounded by ads of course) Google is also now trying to sell videos on the Internet through Google Video Store. As distasteful as it is, I like the first idea better.

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All Your PC Designs Are Belong to Microsoft
Microsoft held a student contest for the coolest new PC designs, and Prashant Chandra of India won with a pretty sweet portable design with slots for new-wave cards that’ll hold textbooks and so on. The trouble is this new PC probably wouldn’t be qualified to run Windows, as Microsoft and Microsoft alone decides what a proper PC is.

Music Without iPod
Rockers MTV and Microsoft (write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com and tell me which outfit is more square) have a new music service called Urge (or Regurge, I’m not sure which) that’s designed to work with all the coolest digital music players, except for one -- that thing I think is called the iPod. I’m not sure who is at fault here: Maybe Jobs doesn’t want Gates’ tunes on his player or maybe Microsoft actually thinks it can hurt Apple by not allowing its songs on the iPod. Not cool.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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