Back in 2008, your editor was chatting with one of his wife's academic friends, a pretty well-known expert in politics. (Yes, your editor does sometimes take a break from talking sports to have a halfway substantive discussion about something important. But not often.) We were talking about the upcoming presidential election and discussing the fact that Barack Obama had endured a fairly bad month of August.
"Doesn't matter," this wise gentleman said. "Nobody remembers what happens in August." More
Posted by Lee Pender on August 04, 2011 at 11:57 AM16 comments
IT pros, have you caught a rogue employee stealing from the company, divulging competitive secrets or engaging in some other form of malfeasance? Have you been able to use your IT skills to sniff out and put a stop to sketchy activity inside your company? If so, I'd like to hear from you. I'm doing a story for our sister publication, Redmond magazine, on IT heroes -- folks who have used their tech savvy to bust wrongdoers. If you're one of those people or know a good story about one, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below (we won't reveal your e-mail address; confidentiality absolutely guaranteed, as always).
Posted by Lee Pender on August 01, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments
Most of us remember Frank Costanza's greatest creation: Festivus, the holiday "for the rest of us." Festivus was for folks who were tired of the traditional December rat race and wanted to do something different, something...less joyful.
But why are we mentioning Festivus in July? Well, because we're in the Festivus spirit thanks to Google+, the social network "for the rest of us." What follows is my own take on why Google+ might be a social network I actually stick with, so I won't be using the obnoxious royal "we" to refer to myself in this post. And, as Frank Costanza would have wanted, I'm giving this entry a Festivus theme. More
Posted by Lee Pender on July 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM6 comments
So, Microsoft threw down the gauntlet this week, challenging Google Apps for real this time with Office 365, an online, hosted version of the omnipresent Office productivity suite. What will follow will be a battle royale for...what, exactly?
That's the real question here. Before we ask who will win the hosted-applications war between Microsoft and Google, we have to determine exactly what the spoils will be for the victor. We're not convinced at this point that hosted applications have won enough people or businesses over for the battle between 365 and Apps to be for much more than bragging rights at this point. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM5 comments
Whitey Bulger went down this week. After years of searching for him (with various levels of effort, evidently), the FBI finally caught one of Boston's most notorious gangsters. Just a week after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup (yes, we found another reason to mention it), the city is abuzz again.
At this point, let's be clear: We're not comparing Nokia to Whitey Bulger. Not at all. Not in any way. All we're saying is that it's always a shock when a big name goes down -- a name that seemed forever immune from whatever might cause its demise. We've seen this in the technology industry: Wang, Digital, Compaq (among others). At one time or another, they were all powerhouses, seemingly untouchable. Until they weren't. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 24, 2011 at 11:57 AM3 comments
It has been a big week for the FBI. For one thing, the bureau finally nabbed Whitey Bulger. But also this week, in a story probably more relevant to most people, the FBI broke up two huge alleged "scareware" rings.
You know what scareware is, of course, and if you know anybody who has fallen victim to it, you know what an expensive menace it can be. So, we were very pleased this week to hear that some Latvians will probably be coming to the United States for a little unplanned vacation. Hopefully they'll stay for a while.
Posted by Lee Pender on June 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments
Yes, we're fully aware of the irony here -- or, at least, we think we are. Google Apps has unseated Microsoft's productivity suite at a company with about 8,500 employees, in part because the firm in question, McClatchy Newspapers, found that Microsoft's BPOS was, indeed, a POS. (Office 365, we suppose, never had a chance.)
So, that's one fairly large customer -- by cloud-suite standards -- that has made the relatively cutting-edge decision to move its operations to Google Apps, a new and arguably disruptive technology floating in the cloud. And that customer is...yes, a newspaper chain. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 22, 2011 at 11:57 AM1 comments
Ah, Skype is learning from Microsoft already. The company, based in one of the smallest countries in the world (Luxembourg), reportedly axed a bunch of executives this week.
Why? Because by doing so, Skype can get rid of these folks before its buyout deal with Microsoft closes and therefore avoid paying the execs money they might have received in stock options after the deal closed. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM1 comments
Everything to everybody -- that's what Windows just about has to be. Or, at least, that's the way Microsoft sees its flagship operating system. But if information that's leaking about the forthcoming Windows 8 is any indication, the "everybody" Microsoft is trying to attract now is more likely to use a tablet than a PC. Unfortunately, the software monolith would still like for users to employ the same OS on both types of devices.
We've already said here that Windows 8 looks like a great OS for tablets but doesn't seem so hot for PCs. New details leaked about the OS seem to reinforce that take. Windows 8 will evidently include a virtual keyboard (one that works by touch, not by mouse clicks as the current Windows virtual keyboard does), as well as SMS support. Could the OS be more tablet-focused? More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 20, 2011 at 11:57 AM3 comments
First, a non sequitur, but there's no way we're not going to mention your editor's favorite professional sports franchise, the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, today. This party was 39 years in the making, and it's going to rage for a while. (Vancouver, on the other hand, needs to cool it.)
Anyway, while we're discussing winners, let's talk about Windows Phone 7. See? We told you it was a non sequitur. Well, that's not entirely true. WP7 is not a winner. It's very much a loser for the time being. But that might not always be the case. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM15 comments
There is hardly a more tangled web anywhere in business than the one that industry analysts weave in the technology market. Yes, they're smart. (Well, most of them are, anyway. We won't tell you which ones probably aren't.) Yes, they do their research. Sure, companies put a lot of faith (and money) into their predictions.
But if there's one thing industry analysts undoubtedly are, it's conflicted (and we're not the first to notice this by any stretch). The very companies they comment on in the press and whose performances they routinely predict are the same companies that give them boatloads of money for advice and, well, analysis and predictions, we suppose. So, there's a conflict of interest built into every statement an industry analyst makes, although we at RCPU do believe that the overwhelming majority of them do all they can to be objective and credible. It's in their interest, after all, not to show bias. We think. More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 13, 2011 at 11:57 AM8 comments
Yes, we still do this. People still e-mail your editor, and he still runs their e-mails in newsletter entries and blog posts. Oh, sure, folks can post comments directly on the blog site (which is great) or Tweet with abandon (if they must), but old-school e-mail and traditional reader feedback live on.
We start this edition with thoughts on Windows 8, which we at RPCU think looks great for tablets but not so appropriate for PCs. To our great surprise, several readers wrote to...agree! Writes Glen: More
Posted by Lee Pender on June 08, 2011 at 11:57 AM1 comments