Why Windows 7 Tablets Won't Kill iPad Wed 04 Aug 10

Apple's tablet is for consumers. Microsoft should aim for business users.

Despite previously killing a tablet PC initiative, Microsoft is reportedly feverishly working with its partners on Windows 7-powered tablets. Some think this is an attempt to catch up to Apple by creating an iPad killer.

While I think there may be a place for a Windows-powered tablet, I definitely don't think Microsoft can produce an iPad killer. It's just not going to happen, nor should it.

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Lessons From Apple's 'Antennagate' Wed 21 Jul 10

Sometimes how you handle a problem is more important than the solution.

IPhone 4 bumper Yutaka TsutanoLast week Steve Jobs addressed the antenna issues of the iPhone 4, the so-called "antennagate."

The "-gate" suffix is rather illustrative. The original "gate, Watergate, started out with what is commonly called a two-bit burglary and ended up bringing down a president. Nixon wasn't forced to resign because of the burglary but because of how it was handled and what it revealed.

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Where's My Flying Car? Wed 07 Jul 10

Unlike futurists, IT has to deliver on its possibilities.

Flying car marcus_jb1973 Massachusetts based Terrafugia, Inc. recently announced that it has successfully completed its flight test program for its "Flying Car." Terrafugia hopes to have the first delivery of its beta prototype in 2011.

While Terrafugia's endeavor may very well be successful, it won't be what we felt we were "promised" by all those earnest futurists back in the 1950s up through the dawn of the space age. I'm not knocking Terrafugia. I applaud their efforts.

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Ending Apple's AT&T Problem Wed 23 Jun 10

Steve Jobs needs to get other phone carriers on board--fast.

The Apple-AT&T partnership for the iPhone and iPad hasn't gone exactly as well as planned. AT&T has stumbled more than once. Most recently, there have been problems with iPhone 4 order fulfillment, including indications that customers' private data was exposed to other customers, iPad e-mail addresses were hacked and the on-going problem with dropped calls.

Arguably, some of these problems resulted from the surge of demand when the iPhone 4 came out, but it shouldn't have been unexpected, given the experience with prior product launches. Couple all of this with Verizon's very effective "map" ads, and it's clear that AT&T is not in a good place right now in terms of marketplace perception.

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Driving E-mail To The Cloud Wed 12 May 10

With the right applications, e-mail in the cloud could be a productivity boon.

Autoroute à emails There has been a lot of discussion about companies moving their email systems from in-house operations to a cloud application--in other words, to a hosted platform on a remote server or data center. Much of the talk centers around two topics: cost and functionality.

The cost question explores whether or not going to the cloud saves companies enough money (or any at all) to make it worthwhile. Arguably, large IT shops may be able to provide email services less expensively than using the cloud. For smaller operations, the savings aren't always enough to entice people to take the plunge.

Much of the functionality question deals with whether or not the cloud's calendar/scheduling functionality--as characterized by Google apps--is good enough to replace the in-house Outlook/Exchange standard. As the incumbent, Outlook seems to have the edge. Google hasn't been able to make an overwhelming case yet.

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Keeping Data Safe From IT Snoops Wed 21 Apr 10

How to improve data security and privacy.

Laptop looking truthout A Pennsylvania school district made headlines recently with accusations that two of the district's IT employees were spying on students and took "thousands" of pictures of students in their homes without their knowledge, using the cameras in their school-supplied laptops. The school district contends that the ability to remotely take pictures was a security feature used solely to help locate lost or missing laptops. The situation came to light when the school district accused a student of selling drugs based on pictures taken remotely via the laptop that was assigned to the student, although it had not been reported lost or stolen.

The incident could start making everyone wonder about information technology's role in protecting data and privacy. It begs the question: Who watches the watchers?

IT has the keys to all the sensitive data in your company. This includes not only payroll and personnel records, but also financial records, trade secrets and intellectual property, data regarding pending acquisitions, product launches or other strategic decisions. A rather scary thought if you don't trust your IT folks.

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Taking Control Of Your Technology Wed 24 Mar 10

Why going offline for a day isn't the answer.

Il Castello di San Gaudenzio I just returned from an extended business trip in Europe. While there, I had the opportunity to stay in some interesting hotels, including a renovated castle from the 15th century. The flashback in time gave me a jolting perspective on just how much technology has become part of our lives.

The castle was a reminder of how much simpler (and more difficult) life was back then. Later, while coming back through the international transfers at Heathrow, security decided to do a hand search of my briefcase.

Out came my laptop, followed by the wireless mouse, smart phone, USB flash drives, Web cam, digital camera, GPS, e-reader, noise-canceling headphones all with their associated cables and power adapters. As I stared down at the overflowing bin of gadgets, I was struck by the amount of personal technology we use and how much a part of our daily life it's become--not to mention understanding why my briefcase seemed so heavy.

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An IT Thanksgiving Wed 25 Nov 09

We in IT can be thankful for the iPhone and Windows 7.

My family has a Thanksgiving dinner tradition. Before we start eating we go around the table and everyone expresses what they are thankful for. It is interesting and insightful and not always what you expect to hear. More importantly it makes you stop and think about some of the good things in your life that you may take for granted. Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought I'd write about some of the IT-related things I'm thankful for.

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IT: It's Not Just About Technical Skills Wed 11 Nov 09

Why interpersonal skills may be more important now.

While perusing the online versions of some of the more well-know information technology journals recently, I was surprised to find one that had quite a few stories on the stupidity of users. While these stories ostensibly were presented as humor, they also represent a dark side of IT behavior: The IT guys really are the smartest guys in the room, and users are dumb and annoying.

A closer reading of some of the stories shows the fallacy of this: Users were having problems, and the IT person was more concerned with showing his superiority than in providing customer service. This type of stereotypical behavior has long been an impediment to IT's success and acceptance in the corporate world.

The good news is that this attitude among IT workers isn't nearly as prevalent as it used to be. We've made great strides in improving customer service. These stories, however, show that our job is not complete. There is more to do.

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Who's Watching Windows 7? Wed 14 Oct 09

Microsoft has lots of company ahead of the launch.

Windows7_v_Web A lot of people, myself included, are eagerly awaiting Oct. 22, the day Microsoft will launch its new operating system, Windows 7. As the manufacturer, Microsoft is obviously the one most concerned, but they aren't the only ones with an interest in seeing that it is a successful product launch.

Based on their latest latest earnings reports, operating systems are very important for Microsoft. The reports indicate that client systems, which represent all the various PC operating systems, account for roughly 25% of Microsoft's revenue but about 54% of its income. Microsoft does note that "revenue from Windows operating systems declined reflecting PC market weakness, especially PCs sold to businesses, and a decline in the OEM premium mix."

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