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I.T. Quote of the Week February 7, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Humor, Information Technology, Random, Software, Technology, Web.
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One of my co-workers sent around a link to an article about Google Apps new “team edition” and that Ars Technica article said this about how I.T. managers might view it:

gold doubloons

“IT administrators tend to fervently dislike the sudden appearance of unapproved applications, even if said software package promises world peace, actually delivers all those free iPods, and periodically spits gold doubloons out of the CD-ROM drive.”

That is funny! I hate it when one of my computers spits gold doubloons out of the CD drive slot.

Microsoft Releases Open Source Exchange Server February 3, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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Zimbra logoNow, that’s a headline that you are unlikely to read any time soon. Though, if Microsoft is successful in their $44 billion bid to purchase Yahoo then something will have to change if Microsoft isn’t going to make that headline a reality. Why? Because last year Yahoo bought Zimbra for $350 million and now owns and supports Zimbra, the open source Exchange-server-compatible e-mail system

If Zimbra is truly an open source product and if it is in direct competition with Microsoft and their Exchange server product, then will Microsoft kill Zimbra as soon as the Yahoo acquisition becomes final? Can they kill it? Will they provide an open source alternative to their commercial product? Will they support and improve Zimbra as an alternative to their flagship e-mail server product? What do you think?

“Zimbra” and the Zimbra logo are trademarks of Zimbra, Inc.

Will Microsoft abandon Vista? February 3, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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Msoft Windows LogoMany corporations have held back and not upgraded to Microsoft Windows Vista, instead choosing to continue to use the stable and highly compatible Windows XP operating system. This has significantly hurt sales of Vista. Then, several months ago a CNET article reported that Microsoft agreed to allow users to down-grade their Vista computers so they could run Windows XP.

A recent survey by CDW shows why users have not upgraded. Some of the reasons not to upgrade to Vista included the hardware requirements, the way in which Vista is a memory hog, incompatibilities with existing Windows applications (which run fine on XP), security holes, and the lack of any significant advantages over Windows XP. Some people are hoping that Vista’s first service pack (SP1) upgrade will solve some of the problems, but most have already decided to stay with Windows XP and are looking forward to XP’s next service pack (SP3).

When I read this article by eWeek I couldn’t help but wonder if Microsoft was ready to give up on Vista and move on to the next version of XP, referred to as Windows 7. They have released less-than-stellar versions of Windows operating systems before. Do you remember Windows ME? In some ways, Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 never really took off like Windows 98 or XP. Some organizations (including where I work) stayed with Windows 98 until Windows XP was released. We totally skipped both Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 as the standard for the PC’s in offices and computer labs. Now, we must decide if we will do the same with Windows Vista.

Since I work at a college, many of our I.T. decisions are tied to the academic year. We lock in an operating system in our computer labs for the entire year, not making any mid-year changes. When Windows Vista was released last year, we quickly determined that much of the academic software used in our computer labs would not run properly and so we couldn’t upgrade to Vista until the academic software was made compatible with Vista. Our assumption was that one year would be ample time for the vendors to update their products (it’s just a simple re-compile, right?). Well, we are more than half way through the year and we are still waiting for updates to many of the academic programs we use in the labs. That’s a problem. We’ve been reading articles about the number of organizations that have resisted the proposed upgrade path and stayed with XP as their desktop OS standard. Then, we begin to see rumors that Microsoft will be emphasizing the next version of Window XP, known as Windows 7, you can’t help but wonder if they are having flashbacks to Windows ME.

How long will it be until Microsoft announces the end-of-life date for Vista? I predict it will be years. After all, there are millions more users running Vista than were running Window ME at its peak. It took Microsoft a couple of years before they announced the end of that product line. I expect the same for Vista. Until they have a solid upgrade path in place (i.e. released Windows 7) they can’t give the impression that Vista isn’t a viable solution. After all, they need users to update to something if they are going to maintain a revenue stream.

The most surprising statement from the eWeek article came in the last paragraph. They wrote,

For now, whether Microsoft likes it or not, XP, and not Vista, is the Windows those businesses will continue to use. And the companies that want to move on to a truly better operating system? They’ll be moving to Linux or Mac OS.”

OUCH!

Is this a WordPress.com image bug? January 21, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Open Source, Software, Weblog, WordPress.
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MySQL Logo 2Last week I wrote this blog post about Sun’s decision to buy MySQL. I included an image of the MySQL logo as part of that post. Only, today it’s an image of an infant in a high chair! Huh?

I went back to my photo library (in WordPress.com) and confirmed that the MySQL logo image was still there and was still correct. Then, I went back and looked at the image name in my older post and it was correct. But, when I put that logo image into this post, it shows the child, again! Something is very messed up with WordPress.com images! I had to reload the image and name it “MySQL Logo 2” for it to work correctly.

So, what gives WordPress.com? Are you now randomizing photos in the blogs to make things more interesting?Kid photo

Note: When I published this post the MySQL logo image reverted back to what it should be and the child in the high chair disappeared! But when I go to edit it goes back to the kid image. So, I did a screen capture so you can see the kid I’m seeing. Right now it’s switching back and forth for no good reason.

Wacky!

Did you hear the rumor about Apple’s new… January 13, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Mac, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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MacWorld ExpoDon’t you just love rumors about new technology. After all, you can dream about finally getting that product or feature you always wanted, but nobody will create. I think nobody spreads rumors as passionately as Apple users.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not speaking badly about Mac users. After all, I’m typing this blog post on my Mac laptop (Intel). And, I own a couple of iPods and every other member of my family owns at least one iPod, my teen-aged son owns more than one. So, my observations are not from an “outsider” nor am I some Microsoft Windows bigot. I actually see the value of all three of the most popular operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux). And I routinely use all three. But, I must confess that for everyday use; e-mail, web surfing, word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I prefer to use a Mac. It’s just more comfortable and just works. Oh, and I use it for viewing photos and listening to music all the time. Now you know where I’m coming from.

Back to the latest Apple rumors. Have you seen the Apple banners they put up at MacWorld? Like ancient medicine men interpreting tea leaves, Apple fans everywhere are trying to guess what they mean.

I am sending two of my I.T. staff to this week’s MacWorld in San Francisco. Being the weekend before a major trade show dedicated to the Apple Mac you know everyone is making their predictions on what Steve Job will announce during his keynote address on Tuesday. It’s always a big event, but this year it may be even bigger than last year. After all, last year Steve confirmed the shipping date for the iPhone, something they had announced about six months earlier.

This time, the speculation by Fortune magazine is Apple will announce a new sub-laptop. Something smaller than the 12″ screen laptop currently available. Rumored not to have a conventional hard drive, it is supposedly a memory-chip-only (flash memory) computer. If you haven’t already seen it, you should go here to see a regular MacBook Pro that’s been converted by replacing the hard drive with a Samsung SSD (solid state drive). I’m not sure there’s a big market for something like that. I would rather see a tablet Mac, like the IBM Thinkpad tablet, only it runs Mac OS X. THAT is something I could get excited about. Although, according to this article an Apple tablet (aka Newton) is not likely to happen this week.

While I am talking about wishes I have for Apple, I can’t pass on the chance to once again share my wish that they would develop a way for Windows applications to run natively on a Mac (in Mac OS X). It’s technically possible to do, but my guess is that Apple is not willing to engage in all out war with Microsoft and provide a direct replacement for the Windows operating system. That’s my guess. If Apple won’t build in the ability to launch Windows programs in Mac OS X, then I wish they would buy or license Parallels or VMware for Mac and include it with every computer they sell. That way, ALL of their computers can run Windows applications out of the box without buying anything else. I know that you can always buy Parallels or VMware for Mac, but it would be better if it were just part of the operating system with full Apple support.

In a little more than one day we will learn which rumors were on target and which rumors were born out of the imagination and wishes of a Mac fan. I predict most will fall in the latter category.

First day at the technology conference June 12, 2007

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Open Source, Software, Technology.
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Today I attended pre-conference meetings and then the opening events for the technology conference I am attending in Pennsylvania. So far, there have been two surprising discoveries.

First, this past year several of the other affiliated colleges and universities have struggled with staff cuts as they experienced varying degrees of enrollment declines (or in some cases a lack of growth – flattening enrollment). This has placed a great amount of stress on the I.T. departments as they either had positions eliminated or experienced hiring freezes.

Second, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that another school is using Ruby on Rails for some application development. In fact, they used that open source development platform for three different applications they developed in-house. I can’t wait to get my programming staff in touch with that other campus’ programmers who use Ruby. I’m sure they will have much to talk about and may even be able to exchange some knowledge. It is unfortunate that I couldn’t have my programmer(s) here to attend the conference with me. But, that’s a different story…

Tomorrow I give my talk on what CFO’s need to know about CIO’s. I hope it’s well received.

Day one is good. Looking forward to the rest of the week.