Tech-Ed Pumps Out the News
This week, Orlando welcomes Microsoft customers, execs and assorted hangers-on
(like the motley Redmond
crew), and as usual there are more press releases
than Orlando area theme parks.
keynoter was Bob Muglia, senior VP of the server and tools business. Muglia's
theme was "Dynamic IT for the People-Ready Business."
I read reports of his speech but I can't for the life of me understand what
Microsoft means by "dynamic." Don't get me started on "people-ready,"
a vacuous marketing term if there ever was one.
Digging deeper, "dynamic" really seems to mean "well-managed,"
and this management just happens to come from Microsoft. When systems are well-managed,
they're easier to change, upgrade, tweak and add services to, so I guess this
could kind of make them dynamic.
We'll be diving more deeply into individual new products in the next few newsletters,
but here's a quick rundown:
- There are new versions of Forefront security, including a unified system
for clients, servers and the edge of the network.
- There was a formal announcement of the name of the next version of Visual
Studio, due next year. Get this: It's gonna be called "Visual Studio
- IIS 7.0 was announced and will be bundled
with Windows 2008 Server Core. This seems like the perfect Microsoft antidote
to the Linux/Apache duo.
Google Strengthens Software Development Hand
Google is dipping its well-heeled toes into the software development market
with a new set of tools that will allow the building of apps
that can actually run offline (gasp!).
The apps are still browser-based, but through Google Gears users can store
the applications on Google's LocalServer, the data in a (you guessed it) database,
and WorkerPool, which handles application management-type duties such as synchronization.
Microsoft Pushes Web Apps Envelope
Critics love to make fun of Microsoft failures, not realizing that what seems
like a weak effort is actually just the beginning of a long slog to greatness.
Take Web apps. Knee-jerk, self-appointed pundits say that Google is absolutely
killing Microsoft in Web software. A Redmond cover story that compared
the two companies' Web software found the battle to be much, much closer
-- more of a draw.
And Microsoft is just getting started. It just released three
new betas of three new tools, including Live Writer, a blogging tool, Live
Messenger and Live Mail (not to be confused with Windows Live Hotmail).
Microsoft Licensing Made Less Hard
Confused about licensing Microsoft software? The first thing you should do is
Braden's Redmond Negotiator column every month.
Next, you can hear the Microsoft take through a new Webcast series at http://www.insidelicensing.com.
The first edition included a snippet from Steve Ballmer, as well as a partner
and an analyst from Forrester, which has also developed an ROI
calculator for Microsoft Software Assurance.
Any information about the confusing world of licensing is good, but always
be aware of the source. For instance, the Forrester ROI calculator tends to
assume that you exploit all the features of Software Assurance. If you use this
tool, make sure all of your assumptions are realistic, and do some side calculations
to account for upgrades that don't ship, problems with upgrades and other glitches
that can destroy rosy ROI predictions.
Have you looked at the Forrester SA ROI tool? What do you think of Microsoft
licensing? Let us know at email@example.com!
Amiga Games: Not Dead Yet
I'm probably the only journalist in North America who still writes about the
Amiga. A month or so ago, I talked about
plans to actually bring
back complete Amiga computers.
Now, UK-based Vulcan Software is bringing
old Amiga games to the PC.
In the '80s, the Amiga was the game machine, and many huge arcade machines
had tiny, stripped-down Amiga 500s inside. My floppy-based Amiga 500 is still
well-protected -- in the bottom of my son's closet!
What Does iTunes Know About You?
Apple may always come off as the good guy, but privacy advocates have discovered
that iTunes songs can include
information about the buyer, including name, e-mail address and more.
The theory is that this information can be used to hunt down the folks that
offer up these tunes on file sharing networks.
So Apple demands that publishers take DRM off music, but uses a secret way
of tracking down people that copy it?
Mailbag: "Surface" Thoughts, Big Blue's Buyback
Last week, Microsoft took
the covers off "Surface," a table-sized, touch-screen computer.
Readers share their thoughts on the new gizmo:
I hate it when I sound like an absolute geek, but what a cool device/concept!
Just the education factor alone...think of the possibilities. And for anyone
out there who has kids, well, think of the games table you could have now
(I dread to think of all the lost Monopoly pieces, playing cards and multi-sided
dice from Dungeons & Dragons).
Good technology is "useable." Great technology is technology
you can use and you don't even have to think about.
I'd like to see a tabletop-sized screen that could be used by draftspersons
(architects, engineers, etc.) to "draw" on more like they did when
they used paper and pencil.
The trouble with CAD systems is that, often, either the image is too
small or you can only view one section of a drawing at a time. If the screen
could be, say, 30 inches by 40 inches or so, the architecture and engineering
field would really appreciate that.
And here's what one reader think about IBM's
current buyback streak:
Given the regularity of investor clamor for short-term, maximum return
on investment, while ignoring the long-term health and well-being of the company
and the overall national economy, I find it encouraging that a behemoth like
Big Blue is buying back controlling interest in itself. This allows for management
to make the long-term health of the organization its priority, rather than
the quick return on investment so many corporations find themselves being
brow beaten into following by stock holders.
There is a balance point wherein investors are rewarded for their faith
in a company, while the company has the autonomy to follow proper strategic
thinking for the long term. Microsoft and scores of other companies do it,
and now IBM is making its way there. As more and more companies see the light
and reinvest in themselves, perhaps we'll see a brighter future return to
American business, along with a more realistic, docile market.
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