Steel vs. Software

In business terms, last weekend's Super Bowl pitted old-style industrial economy against today's information economy. In football, the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, who are owned by Microsoft co-founder and multi-billionaire Paul Allen. Despite Allen's bags of cash, the athletes from Steel City administered a pretty good shellacking. Did you root for Seattle because of Paul Allen (and all the Microsoft connections) or against them? Tell me what and why at [email protected].

Chinese Censorship and US Self-Censorship
I'm really not trying to make this newsletter political, but much of the news these days blends politics and technology. With the Internet so pervasive and companies like Microsoft and Google so powerful, I'd be doing a disservice not to talk about these issues. Instead of preaching, my role is to pose questions -- then you can spout opinions. Besides, half the time I don't know what to think.

One of the big topics these days is censorship. For instance, Microsoft and others have gotten a lot of flak for censoring content in locked-down countries like the People's Republic of China. Recently Bill Gates argued that doing business with China is better than not, and that companies like Microsoft must respect the laws of foreign nations. He also believes that censoring will ultimately fail as folks find ways to get the information out anyway. What do you think? Write me at [email protected].

Meanwhile there's another huge censorship story making the rounds concerning a political cartoon that Muslims found offensive, prompting violent protests at various embassies around the world. Many U.S. newspapers decided not to run the cartoon -- papers that have many times run cartoons critical of other religions like Catholicism and Christian fundamentalism. Is this kind of self-censorship appropriate? Is there a double standard? Write me at [email protected].

Meanwhile, here's what folks on Slashdot think of Bill's comments.

MySpace in the Hot Seat has gotten a lot of press lately and it hasn't all been pretty. On the local side, an 18-year-old boy walked into my town's high school looking for a 15-year-old girl he met through the Web site. That caused quite a ruckus, and just yesterday students were treated to an assembly about Internet safety. More recently, reports surfaced that adult predators in Connecticut have used MySpace to attract and abuse youngsters.

But MySpace has also given glimpses into the criminal mind. Last year when 18-year-old David Ludwig shot his girlfriend's parents and fled with his teenage partner to Indiana, their MySpace profiles let us learn about the couple.

The same thing happened last week when dead creep Jason Robida attacked patrons of a gay bar, fled to Arkansas (loser criminals seem to always head to the Midwest), killed a cop and a woman, and then suffered two well-placed head shots. Robida was also a MySpace user, and his boasts about hatchets and being evil were pretty telling -- would have made great prosecution fodder for a trial if Robida had lived that long.

Can Microsoft Keep Kids Safe?
I'm not sure if Microsoft sees this as a chance to do good or if it's just another market for them to own, but the company has a new initiative that teaches kids to stay safe online. Redmond hooked up with the non-profit group i-SAFE America (whoever came up with this name should be severely reprimanded -- my fingers get all twisted up typing this lowercase-hyphen-uppercase mess) to develop online training for online safety.

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UltraBac Backup Breakthrough
Backup: It's one of the toughest jobs in a major system restore. Your server hardware dies, but you have the data sitting on a backup file. Unfortunately, you can't fully restore without absolutely identical hardware, and you don't happen to have an identical 3-year-old spare lying around. UltraBac feels your pain, and its latest software, UDBR Gold Version 3, promises to restore to dissimilar hardware, even moving an image taken from a single processor box onto a multiprocessor server.

There's Still Time To Win Ten Grand
This is old news but last time I checked no one won the cash. To win $10,000 all you need is a new Intel-based Macintosh and some serious programming chops. The contest is to find a way to run Windows XP on a new Mac without using virtual machines (sounds like a job for assembler to me).

I have a better idea: Have Apple and Microsoft coders do it for us and officially support it!

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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