There is more evidence that the IT spending freeze has thawed. IBM Business Consulting Services this week released the results of a survey of 456 top industry executives, the results of which confirm the attitudes reported elsewhere: that business leaders are loosening the purse strings on technology budgets with an eye toward revenue growth. The finding confirms a shift in attitude away from the severe cost cutting of the previous three years.
"They named their new search engine Google, for the biggest number they could imagine. But it wasn't big enough. Today Google's a library, an almanac, a settler of bets. It's a parlor game, a dating service, a shopping mall. It's a Microsoft rival. It's a verb. At more than 200 million requests a day, it is, by far, the world's biggest search engine. And now, on the eve of a very public stock offering, it's cast as savior, a harbinger of rebirth in the Valley. How can it be so many things? It's Goooooooooogle." Read the full article at Wired.com.
from CNET News: "Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules for utility companies that seek to offer Internet access through their electricity grids. The FCC hopes its rules for broadband over power line (BPL) will help jump-start the use of the grid network to deliver high-speed Net access to U.S. households, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. "
I was having a conversation recently with a group of product managers on the topic of broadband over power lines. Imagine if the power company delivered broadband to each home FREE. Overnight, everyone is wired. How would ubiquitous broadband affect our product offerings? Would free broadband attract people to one power company over another, in this age of privatization? Would it be an incredible differentiator? Or would it be something that all vendors must offer, like the hotels? That is, would we assume that broadband is available from any power company? And just to make it fun, what if they also put a WiFi antenna on every power pole? Now we have the makings of upsetting the entire traditional infrastructure? VoIP would blossom in no time, and the phone companies would be irrelevant. The phone companies would have to learn to compete on something other than dial-tone and cell coverage. What if you dialed '0' for tech support? Or what if the broadband provider backed up all your data to a secure, encrypted offsite location. Even your dad or sister could do system backups and restores.
How would broadband everywhere affect the products that you offer?
It's amazing what people find on the internet! A blogger pointed me to this Harvard survey of word pronunciation. 30,000 respondents are plotted by area of the U.S. to determine regional dialects. Check out the Dialect Survey Results.
My Sony-brand TiVo hard drive died this week. On Monday I ordered a replacement drive from WeaKnees. It arrived on Friday. Their Self-Install upgrade kit included a new hard drive, the appropriate torx screwdrivers, and complete, detailed upgrade installation instructions. In fact, they warned me in advance that I might get an error on startup-- which I did--and described exactly what to do. I was up and running in just a few minutes. Overnight, TiVo updated the software and the programming guide. Now I just have to set up my Season Passes of all my favorites shows. If you have a TiVo (and you should), check out WeaKnees.com.
PS. As much as I love Sony's designs, their hardware quality has much room for improvement. A dead hard drive in TiVo, a bad battery in my VAIO, a failed DVD player, all within a year of purchase.
Office 2003/XP Add-in to Remove Hidden Data. With this add-in you can permanently remove hidden data and collaboration data, such as change tracking and comments, from Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint files." Read more online at the Office web site.
Seth Godin comments, "It seems as though virtually all of the problems of the Net stem from this one flaw, and its one I've riffed on before. If we can eliminate anonymity online, we create a far more civil place. How hard would it be to do?"
Jacques Murphy writes, "One of the top jobs of a Product Manager--and I've never seen it on a job description--is to make the product gain momentum. When you make it gain momentum, it catches up to competitors that were ahead, and eventually pulls ahead of the pack. Leading to a more profitable product and a more successful company." Read more in Faster! Gaining Product Momentum.
The New York Times offers State of the Art: For iPod, 6 Flavors of Flattery: "So far, Apple's iPod is by far the best seller among high-capacity players. You can't stand in a public place without seeing a pair of those telltale white earbud cords pass by; for once in its life, Apple gets to find out what it's like to be Microsoft. The iPod's success has spawned an entire industry of iPod cases, iPod accessories, iPod software--and now, inevitably, iPod imitators. The rivals come from electronics makers (Samsung) and from fellow computer makers (Dell, Gateway), as well as from veteran music-player makers (Rio, Creative Labs, iRiver). "
Pragmatic Marketing instructors LOVE the iPod for its clean design and seamless integration with the Windows component and the web-based store. From a marketing standpoint, it will be interesting to watch if the public buys the iPod for its elegance or of they will succumb to the siren song of "Just as good but cheaper, " as they did with Windows.
Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You--Powers Of 10: Interactive Java Tutorial: "View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons."
The Future of Computing, Part 1--OSNews.com: "What will happen to Software, Hardware, the Companies and Technologies involved and how these are developed. I for one think there will be big changes to come, some for the better, some for the worse." Nicholas Blachford gives an interesting view of trends in technlogy.
Trade Shows: Measuring ROI: "It seems that the necessity to exhibit your product at trade shows is one of those trying truisms in the software industry. Like press releases and advertising, manning a company booth at trade shows is considered de rigueur for a marketing plan." Read more in this article by Jacques Murphy.