IE 8 Hits the Streets
While I never downloaded the beta or the final beta (what Microsoft calls a "release candidate"), I've spent countless hours on IE 8 -- mostly talking about it. I think at least 75 Redmond Report readers wrote in about their IE 8 experiences, and their input will drive Redmond
magazine's May cover story.
The browser has a decent feature set, but the test versions -- even the last RC -- were clearly problematic. That's why I was surprised when Microsoft shipped the browser late Wednesday night.
With your help, I've written a draft of the IE 8 cover piece. Now I need the final touches. I need to know if this final rev is stable, fast and compatible. Shoot your experiences to email@example.com. And if you're one of the 75 readers who've already sent me your IE opinions, all the better.
Dark Clouds over Sun Deal
When I first reported that IBM was eyeing Sun in a $6 billion-plus deal, I thought it was a terrible idea. There are too many competing architectures, too much overlap, and Sun would lose its role as one of the last of the big innovators.
Apparently, at least a few people agree, including analyst Dana Gardner (who, like me, used to write for InfoWorld). Gardner sees IBM's only motivation as market share. In my opinion, you're better off building rather than buying market share, which is why I was so against Microsoft buying Yahoo.
On the other hand, Sun's shareholders were huge fans of the deal (at least in the middle of the week) as their stock nearly doubled.
Lame News Story of the Day
I defend the press often. When readers complain of spelling errors, I point out just how many words the average editor processes per day. When they complain of liberal bias, I point 'em to Lou Dobbs or Fox News. When they complain about right-wing talk pundits, I mention Keith Olbermann.
But I can't defend journalists who waste words when there's simply no story. Here's what has me on this tirade: Steve Ballmer recently spoke at a BusinessWeek media event. Somehow, this was construed as the first step in Microsoft buying The New York Times. To some reporters, that little bit of nothing was a big story. Even bigger? Ballmer's adamant denial when surrounded by paparazzi-style journalists after the event.
The new journalist motto should be: "Writing all the news that's not fit to print." Are you a mindless media basher, an unabashed fourth-estate apologist or somewhere in between? Send your thoughts (they don't need to be copy edited) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Turn: IT Gone Good
Two-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a story about IT abusing its power -- blackmailing executives, spying, stealing and sexually harassing.
I'd love to do the opposite, to show where IT uses its power for good. Do you volunteer and use your skills for good? Does your organization itself do good and have IT systems to support those efforts? If so, tell me your tale at email@example.com.
Your Turn: Green IT
Do you care about green technology? Is there pressure to save energy? Have you pushed any green initiatives, such as virtualization? Are there ways to use Microsoft software more efficiently and has Microsoft told you about them?
Help me spread the green word by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: Cisco Does Servers, IBM Courts Sun, More
Doug asked readers this week if they'd ever buy a server from Cisco, now that the company has moved into the server market. Here are some of your answers:
Nope -- I'm very satisfied with Dell, particularly its support. Cisco support doesn't come close. Given past experiences with Cisco training and router systems, well, Dell is better.
IMHO, this is an avenue Cisco to sell its own servers for voice systems rather than HP, which it uses now. I can see Cisco offering a package of x number of blade servers, all encased in a nice, neat, single cage for a complete solution -- at least for SMBs such as ourselves. Hopefully, Cisco will also get to the point of offering virtualized solutions for its voice systems, thus eliminating the herd of physical servers that are now required. Knowing Cisco's pricing, however, I have to wonder how competitive it will be in the server market.
Readers give their own takes on IBM's possible Sun acquisition:
Sun and IBM? Oh, no! I have been a Sun customer for 20-plus years. I thought Ed Zander was the worst CEO until the power of the Schwartz took hold. I have never seen so many bad decisions (i.e., four to one reverse stock split). I figured the best takeover fit was Apple until this week when Cisco decided to enter the server market. Either of these are a better suitor because they would provide the missing parts of the other through the purchase or merger. IBM just wants to destroy its competitors.
Did I also mention that everyone I know in small IT shops just hates IBM? We have all been burned badly. I am sure that during the next buy cycle, we would not buy IBM/Sun even though we are 90 percent Sun and 10 percent Dell right now. Most of our Suns are the X86 systems running Windows Server 2003.
IBM couldn't care less about Sun's server products. No, what IBM wants is Java. For 10 years, IBM has been trying to fight off Microsoft and GUI advances with Java and Web technologies. IBM wants full control over Java and its future direction because even now IBM wants nothing more than to unseat Microsoft (it even recently announced a 'Microsoft-free' desktop: http://tinyurl.com/d7lbrb). IBM has never forgiven Microsoft for the failure of OS/2, and it never will.
Mailbag gets a little political, as Bob wonders about Doug's characterization of President Obama's economic outlook as full of "doom and gloom":
You know, an honest politician is new to you; that is why you are saying he's full of doom and gloom. He is giving an honest answer to the public instead of the usual crap. You're used to that from the last eight years -- get over it and look at the progress for what it is. Get off his back; he is going to save you and the rest of us from the people who have got us into this mess in the first place.
And finally, Microsoft might get its very own bridge out of the stimulus package, but what do you think we should spend it on? Some suggestions below:
First, we should feed all of the starving children, men and women in the United States. Then we encourage all that are helped here in the U.S. to share with all those hungry in the world.
Since my IRA is on the skids, how about an increase in Social Security...or a grant to pay off my house?
In reference to your statement, "Hey, Obama! My driveway needs paving. Can you help a fella out?" That might work. It has all the earmarks of a proper stimulus investment. It helps a small, local business. It would provide employment for a few people for a couple of days. And it would only cost a few grand. The stimulus could fund millions of them.
Sounds perfect to me. Let me know how that works out. My driveway could use a facelift, too.
Tell us what you think! Comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.