The Search Is On!
Microsoft is serious about keeping up with Google. It's not just a matter of
money (in this case, billions), but more an issue of pride. If Google beats
Microsoft in search, it legitimizes all of Google's other efforts.
Microsoft -- which, I understand, does much better in search in places like
Europe -- is revamping
Live Search. Instead of tricky new techniques, Microsoft is improving the
basics, increasing the amount of sites it searches for matches. It also features
new fuzzy approaches that better understand how badly we spell and gives us
what we want anyway.
To his great credit, Bill Gates has been thinking and talking about fuzzy search
and natural languages interfaces longer than some of us have been alive.
(So how old are you? I'm looking for the oldest and youngest Redmond Report
readers. Here's a hint: My dad, mom and youngest son all read this newsletter.
Send your age and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- relatives are welcome to write in, as well!)
Advocates for "green" IT focus on efficient hardware, using virtualization
to put more apps on fewer servers (the old power-supply-per-app equation) and
making sure PCs and laptops have proper power management.
Now the Green Data Project is
suggesting you look at the data itself. The idea is that we store a lot of data
we don't really need, and then back up and archive all this junk. Disks, arrays,
NAS boxes and SANs all take power, and the more we can reduce the growth of
these devices (scaling back may be an impossible task), the more we can contain
How do we green our data? First, we have to take control of what we store,
setting policies and training users so they aren't just saving junk they'll
never need. Then, IT has to intelligently archive data that's rarely used, but
important to keep.
What should we do about storage needs that are spiraling out of control? Share
your thoughts at email@example.com.
XP Run Extended
Consumers haven't had much to say about Vista. They just head on down to Wal-Mart,
buy a new machine with Vista and go home to compute.
IT is a tougher lot. You guys are waiting for Vista to prove its compatibility,
performance and ease of learning.
IT (even in my own company) is sticking to XP. Microsoft is getting this message
and -- like it has done so many times with so many products -- is extending
the life of XP. (Anybody remember how many lifelines Microsoft threw NT's
In this case, XP will be sold for an extra five months, or until the middle
of next year. My guess? XP will get several more extensions while Vista gets
a service pack or two.
While critics may say soft Vista sales are bad news for Microsoft, keep in
mind what's being sold instead -- not Linux or Mac OS, but XP!
How long should Microsoft keep selling XP, and what are your Vista plans? Let
us all know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excel Flunks Basic Math
If you were in IT in 1994, you probably remember Intel's huge Pentium recall
because of floating point math errors. The errors seemed tiny on the surface
(Byte magazine estimated an error every 9 billion calculations), but
a small error carried across a massive set of spreadsheets and other apps equals
big, big problems.
Today's Excel has
a similar problem but since this is software, not processors, fixing this
bug shouldn't cost the $200 million or so that Intel shelled out.
Microsoft says that Excel can produce an error when calculating a problem that
should return 65,535 or 65,536 as is its result. Somehow, Excel adds 34,465
(or 34,464) and gives 100,000 as the sum. Weird.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.