Google Offers Business Search Engine Service

Google announced today that it would be offering its signature search engine as a low-cost service to small Web sites. The service is aimed at the millions of Web sites and intranets that either don't have search engines or are unhappy with the quality of their current search results.

The price for Google's Custom Search Business Edition will start at $100 a year to search and return results for up to 5,000 Web pages. Under this pricing model, larger Web sites may pay Google up to $500 annually to search up to 50,000 Web pages.

This compares to the existing hardware and software solution (a Linux box that has the Google search technology preinstalled) that begins at around $2,000.

Does your Web site or intranet need a better search engine? Find me at [email protected].

IBM Buys Data Integration Firm
IBM is adding real-time capabilities to its data integration software by buying Canadian firm DataMirror for about C$170 million, or U.S. $162.3 million.

DataMirror technology allows organizations to incorporate real-time data integration between all systems that create and store data. This technology helps provide information to support real-time reporting and business intelligence, e-business, disaster recovery and real-time business event detection.

Are you in the market for data integration and protection? I'll listen to your tale at [email protected].

Government Agencies Don't Have Green Outlook
Government agencies in the U.S. and Canada have the lowest level of concern among all industries for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility in their IT departments, according to a recent study from Info-Tech Research Group.

The research and analysis company surveyed over 700 IT professionals in North America during February 2007, and found that 49 percent of industry respondents were "very" or "extremely" concerned, while only 10 percent of government industry respondents felt the same sense of urgency.

Green IT is getting more press and becoming more relevant than ever. Do you have a green strategy for IT at your organization? I'd like to hear about it at [email protected].

Mailbag: Vista Reader Rants, More
Yesterday, Doug asked readers what they thought of Vista. Looks like many of you aren't very happy with Microsoft's latest OS:

How can I say this briefly? Vista is horrible. I've run Vista at home since before it was launched and have a corporate demo unit at the office as we evaluate and test it. Vista dogs on the latest processors with 2GB RAM? Really, it's a joke. How much more do I have to throw at it?

Look, I've been in the IT industry 16 years. I've worked with Microsoft products since the "8088-running-DOS-off-5.25 floppy" days. I'm a MCSE/MCSA, multiple CNE and have so many other certifications from Cisco, CompTIA, Marconi and others I can't fit them on all the walls in my office. I think I'm in a position to judge.

Microsoft should be embarrassed. The glitz and glitter of the Aero interface does not make up for missing features, poor search and lagging performance. Style over substance? Appears so. Vista is no Windows 98 and certainly no Windows XP. I really thought those were huge steps forward. Right now, Vista is a bloated yet crippled mistake. If SP1 doesn't resolve the issues, I really think there should be a revolt. It may be the tipping point for broader use of Apple and Linux desktops in traditional Microsoft shops.

You're right. I was forced to dump Vista and send back a new computer. Why? I'm a photographer, and none of my applications are certified for Vista. As it happens, none of them worked either. All failed in one way or another.

So I returned the computer as unfit for purpose as soon as the vendor could not offer Windows XP. Soon, I'll be forced to change over to Apple and ditch Lightroom in favor of Aperture. Thanks, Microsoft.

I've used every MS desktop and server OS since DOS 1.0a. I used Windows 2, 3 and later. I was a beta tester for NT. I've always been first on the beta lists and have always used the latest and greatest ('til now, that is). And in my spare time, I write for several magazines and have published a few books.

I do not mean to brag, but if there's anyone in the industry, I should be running and loving Vista. But I'm not -- I'm not loving it nor am I running it day to day. Vista has caused me far too many issues. There are several key reasons:

  1. I use VPC a lot in my work -- testing, training and presenting. It may not be the best of the two-horse race, but it's what I use. However, on my 2GB Dell 820 laptop, I can no longer run three 512MB VMs. Trying to run the third gets an out-of-memory error. This works great on XP.
  2. I have several packages that just don't work or don't work well under Vista. The Exchange soft phone (vital for demo-ing the Unified Messaging feature) hangs under Vista. My main mail/news program is TurnPike and this too works poorly under Vista...and despite all my best efforts as an MVP, I can't get decent documentation from MS to help the developers fix the issues. And don't get me started about drivers, or should I say lack thereof. Oh, and battery life on the laptop seems worse.
  3. What idiot (and I use this insult sparingly) changed the properties of the desktop -- or should I say personalized the desktop? Clearly, the PM in charge of this suffers from the "I'm the PM and I can move things around so I will" disease! All show and no value.
  4. It's bigger and not really any quicker than XP.

While I really want to love Vista -- and I really, really do -- it's just not a must-have product. At the end of the day, given the cost of an upgrade, I can't see the point. I just do not NEED Vista.

I agree with your assessment that Vista (along with third-party drivers) is not quite ready for prime time.

Recently, my girlfriend and I recently purchased a new computer for her father. I spent quite a bit of time researching and thought Vista was ready, but when we went to hook up a Vista-ready all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, we had problems. Printer would work as would the scanner if you used the built-in functionality within Vista, but the management application that came with the printer was experiencing numerous problems. The all-in-one was a Lexmark, but reading information on other sites indicates various problems with other vendors' all-in-ones, also. Might be OK if you bought the item as part of a bundle, but who wants to throw away a perfectly good item you already have or be required to purchase everything at one time?

This experience reminds me of the early days of Windows 95 (when there were quite a few problems with hardware drivers). I would have expected with all the hype of Vista, and with the approximately six months since Vista was released, that issues like this would have been worked out between Microsoft and the vendors. Back in the days of Windows 95, you kind of expected some level of immaturity and interoperability problems as computers were still being mainstreamed into the home market. The fact that these problems persist in the Vista world is ridiculous. Silly me for thinking that Microsoft and the vendors have got their act together.

But not everyone is dissatisfied with Vista:

As a Microsoft Partner and OEM System Builder, I am touting using Vista Ultimate x64 Edition and didn't have a slight problem, either in the installation or with the standard state-of-the-art programs that I am using today, as a software developer and software architect. Vista has made a welcome advancement in the technological world for me, and I'm very impressed with it.

I must admit the hype scared me; I wasn't sure I even wanted it and that hype was from people such as yourself, saying they would stick with XP SP2 flavor until all the bugs were worked out of Vista, even those people that say they won't even touch it until SP1 is released.

So, I'm in astonished that there are so many people who frighten everyone off with their horror stories! I haven't had one single software collision or incompatibility, and I'm running the latest and greatest! Go figure.

I'm running Vista on both my home desktop and my laptop with no issues at all. The desktop is an HP that came with XP Media Center and was subsequently upgraded to Vista Ultimate. The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite that came with Vista Home Premium, also upgraded to Ultimate. Both are running flawlessly. The desktop has a Maxtor 300GB external USB drive attached, as well as a Lexmark 4350 all-in-one printer. It shares the printer and the laptop connects wirelessly and prints with no trouble. Both printer and external drive were purchased before Vista was released and both worked just fine without driver updates.

Just wanted to let you know that some of us have switched and are loving it.

I use swappable drives on my machines so I can run either an exclusively Vista or an exclusively XP machine. Vista outperforms XP in every way. I have not had any problems with drivers, either. I did have problems with some programs before I upgraded to Vista-compatible versions. I have had none since.

And Reed chips in with a gripe of his own -- this time, about OneCare:

As a TechNet subscriber and one who wanted to know if OneCare would be a good thing for our enterprise, I installed a beta on my computer at home. Following that, I was unable to do much of anything including log on as administrator. After numerous completely unsuccessful attempts to gain support for this problem from Microsoft, I gave up and had to trash my installation and move to a new installation.

Indeed, when I spoke to their customer service and support personnel, they didn't even know what OneCare was. I was treated with indifference and a complete lack of concern. I wrote to MS complaining about this and the effect it could have on their reputation if others had the same experience. No response. We will not use OneCare in any way for our enterprise. I have advised everyone to stay clear of this product.

Send us your 2 cents! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.


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