December 2005 Archives

App acceleration is food for thought - Computerworld

Invite to dinner six executives from the top application acceleration vendors and the discussion starts flying fast. Speeding things up is what these guys do for a living.

Dealing with myriad software protocols, application quirks, internal politics between network and application engineers, and the hurdles of data security and service reliability were all issues occupying the minds of executives from Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Crescendo Networks Ltd., F5 Networks Inc., Foundry Networks Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. who joined Network World's editors for dinner at the Interop show in New York last week.

Speeding applications on unreliable networks is definitely a pain point, but I believe it's part of a much larger issue of addressing the shortcomings of HTTP over the "public" internet as an application architecture: speed, performance, manageability, authentication, authorization, and security. In the end, all of these things have to be addressed. My question is who assembles all the pieces first (and figures out how to sell them to the application providers)?

President defends secret wiretapping | CNET News.com

Secret prisons, torture, secret spying on citizens...it just gets better and better. Don't believe for a second that any of this makes us safer. It just makes us more like the kind of society we abhor.

Globetechnology: How a terror group cloned Ted Rogers' cellphone

Bad risk management, bureaucratic bungling, crappy customer service, and terrorists: this wireless security story has it all.

AppleInsider | Morgan Stanley: consumers seek more iPods than cell phones this holiday

Big upside in iPods, retail, and halo effect-driven purchases of laptops and notebooks; also driving Apple opportunities in the living room. The future looks good for Apple.

Bonus tidbit? Apple execs seem to hint that they've got the mobile/handset space in their sights.

AppleInsider | Report: Apple to unveil light-weight notebook models in '06

Yahoo! buys del.icio.us, and they immediately implode. Coincidence? Anyway, until they're back, I'm posting (untagged) quick hits here, like this one about micronotebooks from Apple: a 3-pound 12" model and a 14" that weighs just a pound more.

Apple May Be Holding Back The Music Biz

Which brings us to a grand irony: Apple, which launched the digital music revolution, may now be holding it back. Critics say Apple's proprietary technology and its refusal to offer more ways to buy or to stray from its rigid 99 cents a song model is dampening legal sales of digital tunes. "The villain in the story is the iPod," says Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster Inc., which sells both subscriptions and downloads. "You have this device consumers love, but they're being restricted from buying anything other than downloads from Apple. People are bored with that."

Still, Apple will continue to take flak. That's because an army of companies has rolled out new ways to provide music -- from legal peer-to-peer sites to established players such as Real Networks Inc. and Napster that offer all-you-can-play subscriptions for a monthly fee. The thing is, very few work with the iPod. "I have half a million subscribers who would love to use an iPod with my service," says Napster's Gorog.

A mostly crap article with an eye-catching headline; the main critic of Apple's affect on the digital music business is, surprise, a competitor.

Note to Gorog: call me crazy, but with Apple set to sell 40 million iPods in 2006, I'm not sure the half million Napster subscribers you bring to the party is going to get you an email from Steve.

Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet - The Boston Globe

AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. are lobbying Capitol Hill for the right to create a two-tiered Internet, where the telecom carriers' own Internet services would be transmitted faster and more efficiently than those of their competitors.

The proposal supported by AT&T and BellSouth would allow telecommunications carriers to offer their own advanced Internet video services to their customers, while rival firms' online video offerings would be transmitted at lower speed and with poorer image quality.

AT&T and other telecoms want to charge consumers a premium fee to connect to the higher-speed Internet. The companies could also charge websites a premium to offer their video to consumers on the higher-speed Internet. That could mean that a company like Yahoo might have to pay AT&T to send high-quality video to AT&T subscribers.

The telecom companies said that since they are spending billions of dollars to build new fiber-optic networks that can carry more data, they are entitled to give their own offerings the bulk of Internet bandwidth, and to charge others for higher-speed access.

''When costs are being driven into an equation, they have to be recovered somewhere," said Bill Smith, chief technology officer of BellSouth. ''Why do fundamental business economics not apply to the Internet?"

"Fundamental business economics?" OK, try this fundamental economic proposition on for size, Bill: without the free content from sites like Google or The New York Times, or the free infrastructure like HTTP or SMTP, or free technology like HTML or XML, BellSouth's network wouldn't be worth much at all.

In case you were wondering, BellSouth saw profits of $4.8 billion for fiscal 2004, an increase of a little under $1 billion from FY2003. You can see why Congress needs to help them with their "cost recovery" program.

WSJ.com - Hollywood Rewrite: Viacom Outbids GE To Buy DreamWorks

Nevertheless, Viacom's 11th-hour steal epitomizes the reasons why Hollywood can be a difficult place for a management-intensive company like GE to succeed. In a movie industry that values relationships and high-stakes bets, industrial and financial behemoth GE puts a premium on rigid return-on-investment calculations and a deliberate timetable. While Viacom schmoozed Mr. Spielberg and made things easy by not sweating small deal points, neither Mr. Immelt nor NBC Universal Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Wright directly solicited the support of the famous director.

They must have left off the ironic quotes around "succeed," because it seems like GE did exactly the right thing by refusing to invest when the payoff wasn't even remotely clear.

If succeeding in Hollywood means overpaying for a studio that's too expensive to be an indy, but too small to be a major player, then GE is probably happy to fail its way to the top.

Ah. A good broadside always makes me feel better. Sorry for the extended absence, but I've been saving my writing for my employers.