New Gates Memo: Information Underload

I am a pawn in yet another well-orchestrated Microsoft PR scheme, this time to promote the idea that Microsoft can out-search Google on the desktop, on the Web and in the enterprise.

The first movement was the announcement of Windows Live Search, now in beta, which can search the Internet, your own hard drive and, with the help of SharePoint, your company's network.

The day the beta was released, Microsoft played the second movement when Bill Gates sent out a memo explaining that we all suffer from information overload (too much junk) and information underload (not enough of the right junk). The answer? You guessed it. Microsoft technologies, especially Windows Live Search.

The crescendo was Gates' speech on the same subject to the CEOs of 100 of the world's largest companies (not sure if Eric Schmidt was invited).

And as a bonus, the very same week Gates showed off the new rev of SharePoint, SharePoint Server 2007, which just so happens to support that smashing idea of enterprise search!

Sure, I tossed some sarcasm into this report (a lot of sarcasm is borne out of jealously), but I have to give Mr. Gates credit. He is the only one, I believe, that has grand visions for the future and the ability to back them up. That is something to be jealous of.

Video Killed the Internet Star
My old boss Bob Metcalfe (besides inventing Ethernet, he was publisher of InfoWorld) publicly predicted that the Internet would ultimately collapse due to a lack of proper infrastructure and unbridled growth in traffic. Every so often others make a similar prediction, but unlike me, they don't credit the father of Internet doom and gloom. Now the big phone companies are complaining that all the free video they are forced to carry will be the death of the ‘Net -- unless they get paid extra to build dedicated channels to carry this stuff. What do you think? Should telcos and ISPs charge extra for that one-hour pro wrestling show you just downloaded? Tell me at [email protected].

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They're Spying on You and ME!
This whole U.S. government spying (terrorist monitoring, in Bush admin parlance) is getting a lot of attention. Some telcos are denying that they willingly hand over records, the press secretary brags about how the feds are only trying to protect us, and every day we learn of new and deeper techniques, including a move to track more domestic calls.

Nothing really upsets me until I learned that the FBI is hoping to hunt down government leaks by poring over reporters' phone records. I try and avoid expressing opinions here, but one of the great things about this country is a free press -- one that exposes wrongdoing, even if it occurs it the executive branch. And these reporters are equal-opportunity exposers, going after everyone from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton. Even more troubling is that high-level government officials themselves leak, so they can decide which leaks to hunt down and which to ignore. Yikes!

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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