Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Charging More for Printers and Less for Ink - New York Times

Another sign of the "greening" of IT (it will be interesting to see how this turns out :-)

Charging More for Printers and Less for Ink - New York Times:

'...Xerox is unveiling a costly solid-ink printer for businesses that will print color pages at the same price as black and white. The printer, which can handle 30 pages a minute, will cost $2,499, about $900 more than laser printers that operate at similar speeds.

The cost of ink to print 14,000 black-and-white ink pages is about $216, in line with the price for a page from laser printers using toner.

But the cost of printing in color will be the same, $72 each for the three ink sticks needed for a wide-color spectrum. Laser toner to print the same number of color pages could cost five times as much.

“That model, pricing color sticks at one-third of black, is going to be disruptive in this industry,” predicted David R. Spencer, president of Spencer & Associates Publishing, which consults for printers and helped Xerox test the new product.

There is no question about which industry behemoth Xerox hopes to disrupt. According to IDC, the market consultants who track industry sales, Hewlett-Packard commanded almost 40 percent of the global market for color laser printers last year, up from 33 percent in 2005. Xerox’s share held steady at 10 percent in that period. And Angele Boyd, an IDC vice president who specializes in imaging and printing, doubts Xerox will gain much ground.

“The bulk of the market still wants low-cost hardware, so it’s not like this will catapult Xerox ahead of H.P., or even help it nip harder at H.P.’s heels,” she said. “But it could help Xerox sustain its position.” ...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

HomePlug's continuing saga of computing anywhere

A nice updated summary of benefits of the HomePlug product (from 10/2007

Magazine Online - Hub Canada

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Virtualization vs. Security - Information Security Magazine

Another nice grain of salt to keep in mind re: TCO of virtualization:

Seven Winners, One Mission - Information Security Magazine: "...People are looking for less footprint and more computing power. On the business side, CIOs are looking at cost savings, then think about security. One side of the market is centralizing with thin, dumb clients, and using hosted software as a service and Ajax applications, dispersing processing power to the edge. The two intersections are never secured. Virtualization is fantastic: it does great things for cost, horrible things for security. But I think we're making progress on this portion of the uphill slant. Look at the classes of problems we have; we haven't eliminated any, we're creating more. Ajax is an example, and we're at odds of how business and technology are approaching these problem sets. We've put all this power in users' hands and we yank it back because we never engineered proper security in the first place. it's not right..."

Change Management/ITIL/Root Causes - Information Security Magazine

Nice perspective on ITIL, and the ideal goal of proactively identifying root-causes for meaningful followups:

Seven Winners, One Mission - Information Security Magazine:
"'...we shouldn't be doing security for the sake of doing security. We should be doing security because we're running a business,' Riggs says. Service management is a Reuters-wide mandate, one spawned three years ago as a regimen of strict best practices based on the popular U.K. ITIL standard. Riggs is also working to integrate IT security as a global discipline into ITIL best practices. 'As a company we've been banging the drum about customer service, and we're pushing hard to ensure things are done in a systematic, disciplined way to make the customer experience even better,' Riggs says. Reuters' customers measure performance in hundredths or thousandths of seconds; latency is not tolerated. Thus it is dogged work tracking a complex environment of real-time data feeds, historical databases and an infrastructure of 30,000 switches, routers and more than 1,300 firewalls. A standardized service management approach is the only logical means of keeping such complexity reined in, Riggs says. In addition, the company has unified operations and security around incident, problem, configuration, change and release management processes. For example, Reuters' security analysts examine every security incident--whether it caused a disruption or not--to understand a root cause of the management behavior that failed and why a service was not resilient. Finding the root cause allows Riggs' team to apply that information elsewhere and mitigate future events. Modeling exercises, meanwhile, allow them to anticipate problems in the event of future incidents or scheduled network changes, which can number hundreds per week.

"You always expect your infrastructure to come under attack. But if it fails, you have to understand the real underlying root cause. Was it a network design problem, a third-party quality failure, capacity overrun or did it fail because of a configuration problem?" Riggs says. "We want to pinpoint this as well as any aggravating factors and triggers...and then see where we may be exposed elsewhere and fix it before it causes customer pain."

Riggs has tried to instill that uniformity up and down Reuters' supply chain as well.

"I treat them as a virtual extension of my team, and expect them to behave in a certain way." Riggs says. "That's what I expect of the products they deliver...."

Now playing: Jimmy Buffett - Island

via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 22, 2007

Major Exchange/Outlook Deficiency addressed by "Add Tags to Your Outlook Email Messages, Just Like GMail Labels at Digital Inspiration"

I do not have experience with the specific solution mentioned below. But I certainly see how classic MS Outlook lacks the multiple-tags-per-message feature (and how valuable that can be...)

[Any MS bloggers out there care to comment about how the go-forward on Exchange Server 2007 may or may not help with this? The 15-second scan of the key ES2007 improvements at did not even hint at tagging :-)]

Add Tags to Your Outlook Email Messages, Just Like GMail Labels at Digital Inspiration : "Gmail use the term 'Labels' while, YouTube and other web 2.0 websites prefer to say 'tags' but the basic idea is same - tags (or labels or categories) make it easy for you to filter or search content. Like Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail, Microsoft Outlook uses the concept of folders to organize email messages - the problem with the folder approach is that an email message, task or contact can be stored only in one folder at a time unlike Gmail where you can place an email into any number of virtual folders (aka Labels). Also read: Is Your GMail Inbox Full ? If you are missing tags in Outlook, get Taglocity. It's a Microsoft Outlook add-in that adds tagging feature to your Outlook interface. You can assign multiple tags to your emails messages and quickly filter content in folders based on tag names. Similar to, you can create a tag cloud of your email messages where the varying font sizes help you visualize the number of messages under that tag. Taglocity is available for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 on Windows XP and Windows Vista. There is a free version of Taglocity for Personal Use though it imposes a limit on the number of tags..."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google mojo comes from open source management |

» Google mojo comes from open source management | Open Source | "Google is hot right now. Microsoft circa 1992 hot. Jim Cramer (right) recently began pounding the table for Google stock at $600, and expects it to hit $1,000. It’s already up to $625. Even at that price its market cap of $195 billion is still dwarfed by Microsoft’s $284 billion. It’s not too late for Big Green. So what’s the secret? I think it’s open source management. Google empowers its people to try things out, to put them “in beta.” And it leaves them there even when they’re not pulling their financial weight, because someone else may come along with a Clue, and the cost of leaving a server running is a rounding error...

But you’ve got this immense store of talent at Microsoft, which spends all of its time fighting internal battles in hopes that something might get out the door later. As opposed to the Google Way, which is to throw it on a server and see what people can make of it..."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Way to Find Your Corner of the Internet Sky - New York Times

An update on 1 of the major social bookmarking sites (which was purchased by eBay earlier this year):

A Way to Find Your Corner of the Internet Sky - New York Times: "...A Web service called StumbleUpon has spent the last six years trying to satisfy such a need, perfecting a formula to help you discover content you are likely to find interesting. You tell the service about your professional interests or your hobbies, and it serves up sites to match them. As you “stumble” from site to site, you will feel as if you are channel-surfing the Internet, or rather, a corner of the Internet that is most relevant to you. Web discovery, or search without a query, is still a niche activity, but StumbleUpon’s growth to 3.5 million registered users from 600,000 two years ago suggests it is on a path to becoming more mainstream...."

Securing Very Important Data: Your Own - New York Times

Securing Very Important Data: Your Own - New York Times: "...Parity is sponsoring a number of open software projects to shift more control to the users whose identity data is at risk. One of the most intriguing is called the CloudTripper Project, which is developing a way for individuals to “take their data with them” as they traverse the Web, just as they keep their wallets and checkbooks with them as they move around in the real world. Another project, the Identity Governance Framework, aims to help organizations comply with national and international regulations, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It establishes a new approach for securely sharing and auditing sensitive personal information, and has been widely embraced by major enterprise software vendors as well as providers of identity technology..."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Salesforce, SAP Battle for On-Demand Supremacy

SAP attempts to address the SaaS and the Web 2.0 expectations of the user community, with its announcement regarding "Business ByDesign":

Salesforce, SAP Battle for On-Demand Supremacy:
" officials announced the final piece of the platform, Visualforce, which lets developers build any user interface to any application.

The San Francisco-based company also announced two new applications, Content and Ideas, that add to its CRM portfolio but appeal to a broad user base that could span departments.

Content provides a raft of Web 2.0 technologies—such as tagging, subscriptions, recommendations—that help users manage unstructured data. Ideas is a service that enables companies to build communities where participants can post and vote on ideas.

By contrast, SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, has taken the fully integrated ERP route when it comes to on-demand.

SAP's newly launched—though not yet available—Business ByDesign offering provides suites for common back-office functions like finance, human resources, CRM, supply chain management, supplier relationship management and corporate governance.

The suite provides the all-important integration with Microsoft's Office environment, and provides newer Enterprise 2.0 technologies like on-demand community interaction and live help links from within the Business ByDesign suite..."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The 10 most important things to teach your users, from TechRepublic

The 10 most important things to teach your users, from TechRepublic:

"...One way to head off at least some of the problems is to educate your users about certain key computing basics. Veteran tech Becky Roberts built a list of 10 things she feels are most critical for users to know, such as how to:

* Provide useful information when reporting a computer problem

* Safeguard equipment and data when traveling or working offsite

* Exercise care and discretion in sending e-mails

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Drive for Data Protection

(several months old but still a nice overview of this important topic):

The Drive for Data Protection:
"...we recommend the establishment of written data-handling policies, backed by policy-based security controls and accountability via reports and logs to ensure against data loss..."

Monday, October 1, 2007

Vendors Tame Virtualization Management Complexity, eWeek 9/07

A fascinating focus on ITIL best practices (and also monitoring) for VMware virtualization. However, the overall ITIL challenge would seem to go way, way beyond just VMware issues [e. g. holistic infrastructure change management, as part of the overall scope of best practices that ought to be enabled via a framework such as HP OpenView, CA Unicenter, IBM Tivoli etc...]

Meanwhile, this planned 4th quarter release by Opalis may be worth watching for (the monitoring tool by eG Innovations is supposedly out already):

Vendors Tame Virtualization Management Complexity: "...automation vendor Opalis Sept. 4 announced its new Opalis Process Catalog for Virtualization, aimed in part at helping IT rein in virtual machine sprawl. 'It's so easy to provision a new virtual machine, they tend to multiply like bunny rabbits. As a result, storage utilization goes through the roof,' said Charles Crouchman, chief technology officer of the Toronto-based company.

The Opalis Process Catalog for Virtualization represents a new chapter in the company's overall electronic IT process catalog book for solving specific problems. It includes automation policies based on ITIL best practices for managing virtual environments. Functions range from straightforward automation of maintenance tasks such as patch management to 'high value processes such as virtual machine life cycle management,' Crouchman said.

The virtualization process catalog includes process flows for both provisioning a new virtual machine and de-provisioning it. 'We can watch the help desk system for a ticket requesting a new VM, sense the ticket has been opened, and we can check that it is in compliance with [rules such as] who can ask for a VM, what kind of VM [is acceptable] and which software you can use on a VM. If it passes compliance, we can immediately provision that VM,' he said.

The product is due in the fourth quarter, although Opalis officials will demonstrate it at VMworld in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, eG Innovations at VMworld will take the wraps off new performance monitoring software that can provide the inside view of how applications are performing within a virtual machine guest.

The Iselin, N.J., company will introduce its new eG Monitor for VMware Infrastructures, which shows in real time the internal and external performance views of what the VMware host sees about guests and what the guests see themselves...."

Philips VoIP841 Skype-and-Landline (dual) phone, HUB Digital Living 8/07

Skype Helps Bridge Distances, HUB Digital Living 8/07:

The dual skype device mentioned below seems to be the one described here by the manufacturer:

"...Skype has partnered with nearly 200 hardware companies to create such Skype-certified products as cordless phones, webcams and mobile handsets that work with the service. For example, the Philips VoIP841 cordless phone (available later this year for $199.99; will let you roam around your home on a cordless device with keypad to make or accept Skype calls. In fact, this phone doubles as a landline too, so one plug on the base goes into the wall's telephone jack while the other plugs into a modem or router (no PC necessary)...."