Friday, July 22, 2005
Intelius, a Seattle-based background-check company, believes it has come up with a solution, called IDWatch, to help ID theft victims learn they're in trouble much, much sooner. The new service launches today and can be found at www.intelius.com.
Whether your PC is 3 years or 3 days old, it faces the same, sometimes scary security issues. Viruses want to attack your system the moment it goes online, spyware is piggybacking with your mail and trying to slide in along with online ads, Trojans lay in wait at every turn and Phish—perhaps the sneakiest attack of all—smile at you while trying to steal your identity.
There are ways out of this mess.
These tips can show you what to do, help you better understand the threats and be ready with a plan of counter attack.
Most PC games today are not well suited for the dual-core processors that are now on the market -- and will next year become mainstream. There's a lot of history behind this fact. For the rest of this year, both Intel (Extreme Edition) and AMD (FX 57) are saying that best gaming performance will come from the company's fastest uniprocessors. Both companies plan follow-on uniprocessors into 2006, as well.
This uniprocessor-for-gaming argument suggests that a processor split is occuring, since the mainstream is going dual core by next year. I think the future will be the opposite.
By the end of next year's holiday season, game developers will have dozens of game titles out for the next-generation, multi-core consoles from Microsoft and Sony -- or they will be left behind in a dying legacy console market. These developers are now rewriting their game engines to support multiple processors. The smart ones are already planning for more than two processors (e.g., dual core PCs) since the xBox 360 and PSP 3 will have three processors. Moreover, the 2007-2008 products from AMD and Intel are likely to have four cores.
The multi-core games will first intro on the consoles because that is where the marketing dollars will be. But the standalone and online PC gaming markets are attractive enough that I expect many titles will be ported to dual-core PCs by the second half of 2006. This new content, in turn, will fuel dual-core purchases by PC gamers. Looking forward, more processors will allow more game threads to be running at the same time, allowing for real-time physics, motion, and rendering. All we need are the games to be multi-threaded to take advantage of multiple processors cores. And when the games are multi-threaded, even a much faster uniprocessor won't be able to keep up to a multi-processor.
That's the way I see the game ending.
The report found that in businesses with 250 employees or more, 17 percent of the employees were running Mac OS X on their desktop computer at work. In Businesses that had 10,000 or more employees, 21 percent of employees used Mac OS X on their desktop work computer.
Mac OS X Server is also doing well with businesses. Nine percent of companies with 250 employees or more used Mac OS X Server, while 14 percent of companies with 10,000 employees or more used Apple’s Server software."
Please be advised that this is the dumbest, least believable piece of market research that I have seen in years, and I know market research. It should not have been published, and leads me to seriously question the lack of quality control at Jupiter Research.
My logic in debunking this garbage research is simple:
1. There are more business machines sold than consumer machines.
2. The industry counters say about 49 million machines shipped last quarter worldwide.
3. Apple shipped north of 1 million Macs last quarter, and OS X only runs on Macs (and a few Intel machines in the Apple R&D labs).
4. Apple's PC market share over the past year has grown from roughly 2.5% to 3.5%. Dell's market share is estimated at under 19%.
5. So how is it that 17-21% of medium and large business users are using Macs as Jupiter reports? There is not a single CIO in an F1000 company that will verify these munbers.
Now that my rant is over, I can agree that Apple is indeed modestly picking up market share in businesses, and the company's strong performance of late is likely to drive more demand over time. OS X is a viable competitor to Microsoft's Windows and Linux desktops. However, the Mac installed base is more like an order of magnitude smaller than Jupiter reports.
"The T waves for the Sumatra earthquake were captured by underwater microphones located at Diego Garcia, more than 1,700 miles from the epicenter. These microphones are part of arrays known as hydroacoustic stations that are scattered throughout the world's oceans to listen for the telltale sound of an atomic blast."
I heard a brief clip and it really made my subwoofer work.
IBM is almost certainly has as much Java knowledge and expertise as anyone, including Sun Microsystems, themselves. IBM has their own Java Virtual Machine, the development of which should convince any skeptics of IBM's prowess. It's possible IBM could donate their JVM to the Harmony Project, though there has been absolutely no word on this from IBM.
Surrounding all this is a tense atmosphere which has IBM and many others calling upon Sun Microsystems to fully open the Java source code. Sun resists, tenaciously. They maintain Java needs a corporate steward (themselves) to keep it pure and prevent unauthorized branching. I, personally, appreciate their point. Look at what happened with Microsoft, who developed an unauthorized and partially incompatible JVM, yet called it "Java". It took Sun years and millions of dollars in legal expenses to shut that down with legal actions.
I think Sun's action proves they are a willing and worthy steward for Java. I cannot embrace the notion that everything MUST be open-source. That level of philosophic extremity is beyond me. The defining factor in this case is how open Java actually is. Sun has responded to criticisms of the "Java Community Development Process" by making it easier to contribute code to and the decision making process about which code to include more open to outside input. The Java community is not closed, by any means. It is also not a common open development project and all I can say about this is "so what"?
It is not as if an open source community cannot protect their product. That is not my point nor Sun's. My point is that Sun has already proven themselves as a worthy steward and has all the necessary resources to continue as such. They are obviously willing to change to accomodate the needs of the Java user's community. It is possible branding pressures could keep Java pure, as the advocates of opening up the source code assert. But Sun already has the mechanisms in place to do this (along with enforcing developed and developing standards) and I see no compelling reason to change this. To me it is a case of leaving well enough alone and allowing Sun to modify the development process as they see fit in response to the developers who actually do the work.
Java has some problems. That is not surprising considering the size of the systems that comprise it. Succeeding versions do not have adequate compatibility with previous implementations. Efficiency of code execution needs improvement. Sun is attacking all the problems aggressively, in concert with the development community, though progress has not been as rapid as some would hope. I trust Sun in this, as do many of the Java developers I know.
The kids are all right. Leave them alone.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $10.16 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2005, a 9% increase over the results in the same period of the prior year. Operating income for the fourth quarter was $2.99 billion, compared to $3.13 billion in the prior year. Operating income for the fourth quarter includes $756 million related to legal charges for antitrust-related claims.
Net income and diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $3.70 billion and $0.34 per share, which included $0.05 of legal charges and $0.09 of tax benefits. For the previous year, net income and diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $2.69 billion and $0.25 per share, which included a $0.02 tax benefit.
The company also announced record revenue of $39.79 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005, an 8% increase over the $36.84 billion reported last year. Net income for fiscal year 2005 was $12.25 billion and diluted earnings per share were $1.12, which included legal charges of $0.13 and tax benefits of $0.09. For the previous fiscal year, net income and diluted earnings per share were $8.17 billion and $0.75, which included legal charges of $0.17 and a tax benefit of $0.02.
The earnings call slide show is here.
While client revenues were up 10%, OEM revenues were up 14% and units were up 18%. This suggests the PC industry grew at the high end of Gartner and IDC estimates. Like Intel, Microsoft did not anticipate the robust growth in PC units.
Tools and Servers were up 16%, helped by 20% growth in SQL Server -- an industry standard RDBMS at this point by anyone's view.
Apps were up 11% and information worker (Office) up 3%. MSN was up 1% but home & entertainment was up 22% to $610 million based on robust xBox ecosystem (up 46%). Mobile revenues were up 39% to $97M as smart phones (finally) begin to kick in nicely.
For fiscal 2006 ending June 30, Microsoft projects the following revenue growth by segment:
- Client up 5-6% in a 7-9% global PC growth environment. No Longhorn revenues anticipated until FY 07 -- the 1st beta this summer and GA in second half calendar 2006. The declining revenue per PC reflects, I think, the growth of low-cost versions in developing countries. I believe the decline will be multi-year into the Longhorn product cycle.
- Server & Tools up 11-13% with new Visual Studio, SQL Server, and Exchange versions
- Information Worker up 5-6% but no new Office until FY07
- Applications up 10-11% in a 6-7% overall market growth in apps
- MSN up 2-4% with ads up 20% offset by declining access revenues
- Mobile (garbled and I missed it)
- Home & Entertainment up >50% with the holiday launch of xBox 360 console, games and services -- first in US, Japan and Europe. Note the original xBox will still be sold once xBox 360 is released.
Good tips are in these articles.
Systems revenue grew 15% in the second quarter, compared with the year-ago quarter, to $1.1 billion. EMC's software businesses grew software license and maintenance revenues 23% year on year to $878 million in the second quarter, representing 37% of total EMC revenues. Professional services, systems maintenance, and other services revenue grew 26% year on year to $389 million during the quarter.
High-end Symmetrix revenue only grew 4%. However, a much-anticipated new line of Symmetrix products is expected next Monday, which should spike demand in the second half. Mid-range Clariion storage grew and impressive 32%. EMC and partner Dell are clearly picking up market share. Note that software and services are growing much faster than hardware.
The penalty is death -- of the company responsible. Details of up to 40 million payments cards, including names, account numbers and expiration dates, are believed to have been taken out of a database system run by CardSystems—the biggest such privacy violation ever reported. In June, CardSystems Solutions, which processes credit cards for 115,000 U.S. merchants, revealed it had mishandled customer data by storing data on customers—in violation of Visa and MasterCard's security standards.
Both American Express and Visa are ceasing doing business with CardSystems by October. I suspect MasterCard will follow suit based on what their competitors are doing -- and MasterCard's suddenly increased liability. With nothing to interchange, I cannot see a way for CardSystems to stay in business.
Let that be an object lesson to the CEO's of companies with less than effective internal and external controls. These data privacy violations have got to be taken seriously.
Update: During congressional testimony Thursday, executives from bank and credit card companies involved in the largest credit card data loss ever pointed fingers at a new culprit for gaps in security: the auditors who had certified the credit card processing systems as being up to snuff. Now I've heard everything. Let's blame the auditors for our security problems...and the dog ate my homework.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Jiminy, I just installed 1.05...
There are more browser updates, than antivirus ones anymore
"And my source for this up to date info?" you ask
Courtesy of Bill42 in the chat, filehippo,which has updates for more programs than I use, and just about all the other ones, too. Since I'm an RSS addict (loud and proud about it too lol) filehippo has an rss feed too
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Consider this quote from HP Chief Executive Mark Hurd:
" 'We really like partners that are very focused on HP,' Hurd said during a conference call Tuesday. 'It doesn't mean that they are exclusively focused on HP, but when we go to market together, they are focused on what we call the attach rate and that we enlarge our content of product.' "
So if you go to buy HP products in the future expect to have other, perhaps unwanted, items pushed at you. I don't hear "great package deals" as part of this focus, but maybe they will be. I don't know at this point.
What I do know is that I'm personally turned off by such tactics. However, unless the implementation is so agressive as to be egregious, it can work. For various reasons, mostly having to do with software support for HP hardware, I'm not a big HP fan. So as I gently poo-poo Hurd's strategy, consider the source.
Now that Microsoft's reliability and trustworthiness is in question because of their preferential treatment of Claria/Gator, it is ironic that they may soon be putting out the most capable application in the field, but hindering it's function to suit Microsoft's commercail interests.
- Intel had to cannibalize its motherboard sales to have chipsets to ship to OEM manufacturers. A chipset shortage may continue. Overall, inventories are lower than desirable. It looks like even Intel underestimated the strength of the global computer market.
- Microprocessor units were at a record, but xBox sales pulled average unit price down somewhat.
- Chipset units were higher.
- Motherboard units were lower.
- Flash memory units were higher and at record levels, with lower average selling prices.
- Wireless connectivity units set a record.
- Wired connectivity units were lower.
- The 65 nm process is proceeding better than expected. Samples of microprocessors code-named Yonah, Presler and Dempsey, the company's first 65nm dual-core microprocessors for notebook, desktop and server platforms, respectively, have shipped to OEMs.
- With five new Celeron D processors with 64-bit computing capability for the value PC segment, Intel now has 64-bit capability available throughout its desktop and server microprocessor product lines.
IBM, for their part, would rather you migrate to Linux, and with good reason. As a matter of fact, it's the same reason they won't open the code. Linux is complete. OS/2 open-sourced would not be. Why? Remember who IBM partnered with to produce OS/2? Microsoft, that's who. And somehow I can't see MS going along with this one because some fundamental Windows stuff would be let into the wild.
I guess we'll have to go back to our Angelina Jolie daydreams. This one is full of holes.
We alluded to this on last Sunday's show. Is Microsoft moving individuals and corporations towards upgrading to Windows XP, or will individuals and corporations move to Firefox and stick with Windows 2000?
I have no crystal ball, but considering that the conventional wisdom is that some who are sticking with Win2k already have licenses for WinXP, it could mean that short of equipment upgrades, Microsoft's decision not to support IE7 on Win2k will boost Firefox useage. If that becomes a reality, look for a version of IE7 that runs on Win2k to magically appear.
REVENUE - BRAND
Total Revenue in the second quarter was down 4 percent year-to-year as reported, but up 6 percent without PC’s. Without PC’s, revenue was up 4 percent at constant currency.
Global Services, which this quarter represented over 50 percent of IBM’s revenue, was up 6 percent year-to-year as reported, and up 4 percent at constant currency. An improvement in short term signings accelerated the growth rate of BCS. Our strategic outsourcing signings were up significantly year-to-year, which will provide a benefit over the longer term.
Hardware revenue was down 25 percent as reported. But, as we just discussed, this included one month of PC’s as compared to three months in second quarter of 2004. Without the PC business, hardware was up 5 percent, and up 4 percent at constant currency.
We had double-digit growth in pSeries, iSeries, xSeries, and storage.
This strong performance was offset by an expected decline in zSeries, as customers anticipated a new product announcement.
Software revenue grew 10 percent as reported, and 7 percent at constant currency.
You’ll recall that the second quarter of 2004 was a challenging environment for the software industry.
This year, we had especially strong performance in the Americas.
Global Financing revenue was down 4 percent as reported, or 7 percent at constant currency, driven by a continued decline in the asset base and yields.
From the press release
Hardware revenues decreased 25 percent (27 percent, adjusting for currency) to $5.6 billion in the second-quarter 2005 versus the year-ago period. Hardware revenues excluding the divested PC business were $5.0 billion, an increase of 5 percent (4 percent, adjusting for currency).
Hardware revenues for the Systems and Technology Group, which was newly realigned to include Retail Stores Solutions and Printing Systems, totaled $4.9 billion for the quarter, up 5 percent. Revenue growth from S&TG eServer products was driven by pSeries UNIX servers, which increased 36 percent, and xSeries servers and iSeries midrange servers, which increased 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Revenues from the zSeries mainframe product decreased 24 percent compared with the year-ago period. Total delivery of zSeries computing power, which is measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), decreased 19 percent. In addition to eServers, revenues from Storage Systems increased 19 percent and Microelectronics decreased 5 percent.
Revenues from Software were $3.8 billion, an increase of 10 percent (7 percent, adjusting for currency) compared with the second quarter of 2004. Revenues from IBM's middleware brands, which include WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, were $3.0 billion, up 11 percent versus the second quarter of 2004. Operating systems revenues increased 3 percent to $592 million compared with the prior-year quarter.
- launch applications 15 percent faster than Windows does
- boot PCs 50 percent faster than they boot currently and will allow PCs to resume from standby in two seconds
- allow users to patch systems with 50 percent fewer reboots required
reduce the number of system images required by 50 percent
- enable companies to migrate users 75 percent faster than they can with existing versions of Windows.
Beta 1 is expected in three weeks. Beta 2 will stretch until mid-year 2006. We should have a lottery as to when the actual ship date will occur.
It was only three years ago that the industry hit 100 million units. It is the stealth, double-digit growth rate that should attract the reader's attention. The whole story is complex, but it is hard to see what going on from a U.S. vantage point. Much of the global growth is coming in developing countries. In mature markets, laptops have overtaken desktops for both consumer and business computing.
Again, I am flabbergasted at the size of the market growth. A 200 million PC market is a big, silent elephant in the corner of the global tech economy. That elephant carries bilions in software, peripheral, semiconductor, transportation and service revenues.
In the U.S., the top five manufacturers in order by market share are Dell, HP, Gateway, Apple (yes, Apple), and IBM/Lenovo.
The $1.9 billion in compensation and benefits savings will be plowed back into the business. My assumption is that future cuts and reorganizations will whack at least another $1.1 billion out of the cost structure.
Both of new Itanium 2 devices run at clock speeds of 1.66 GHz; one model comes with 6 MB of cache, the other with 9 MB. The former will sell for $2,194 in quantities of 1,000 or more, the latter for $4,655.
The next generation of Itaniums will feature dual processors early next year. HP is the largest OEM customer for Itaniums, basing its Integrity line on the chips. Hitachi plans to use the processors in its upcoming BladeSymphony servers, according to an Intel statement.
IBM's Power and Intel's Itanium are getting most of the R&D dollars for high-end microprocessors these days.
I guess there are issues, to consider, because there is server bandwidth, so feel free to delete this.
Just in case this isn't in today's updates, or is that in August.. ?
Monday, July 18, 2005
Public comments on the draft definitions document are welcome here:
Anti-Spyware Coalition - Comments
The deadline for submitting comments is August 12, 2005.
The good news is that Microsoft AntiSpyware is in beta. By that very designation, that means that no one should be relying on it. It is also free. Since that is the case, I can still say, no foul on Microsoft's part. If anyone is relying on this beta to keep their computer clean, it's their bad, not Microsoft's. Yet.
The bigger question will come when people actually start paying for it. Will Microsoft still give a "pass" to Claria and others?
Until these problems are cleared up, Microsoft AntiSpyware is on my not-recommended list.
The Mozilla Foundation is taking a lot of heat over this from non-English speaking Firefox users.
Well, ahem, not really that rational. It is however an understandable response.
A rational response is wiping the hard drive and starting over. I contend that it will take longer to purchase a new machine than the 40 or so minutes it takes to do a clean install of Windows XP. That doesn't even account for the wasted resources.
If it must be disposed of, take that infested machine to someone who restores them and donates them to those in need. Now that's a rational response.
Kerberos, the popular authentication protocol developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is vulnerable to three serious flaws that could allow an attacker to gain access to protected corporate networks, MIT researchers disclosed late on Tuesday. Unix variants such as Solaris and Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X, and Linux distributions such as Red Hat and Gentoo all contain the affected code. Windows also uses a version of Kerberos, but it doesn't contain the flaw.
The big-iron Unix boxes from HP, IBM, and Sun -- plus everybody's X86 servers running Red Hat Linux AS -- are particularly vulnerable to the Kerberos security flaws because Kerberos is often at the heart of authenticating user log-ins. Thus, enterprise IT professionals would be well advised to install the Kerberos patches to Unix when they become available. The reason for alacrity is that the bad-guy hackers, now alerted to the vulnerabilities, will concentrate on this new avenue into the computer systems of global enterprises, governments, and educational institutions.
The workload for the fixes includes patching hundreds of thousands of Unix servers, which will undoubtedly have to be taken out of 24 x 7 service to reboot the changes.
This is good news for the industry because it creates a cadence for the compauter industry, including; it is bad news because IT professionals can plan on being inundated every patch Tuesday with the patches, which they then have to test and integrate with other (patched) software and the enterprise's applications.
Licensing terms for the Oracle Store Web site now state that, for the purposes of counting how many processors need to be licensed, a multicore chip with "n" cores will be multiplied by 0.75. Oracle will then round up fractions to the next whole number.
For example, if you have a multicore chip with 11 cores, multiply 11 by 0.75, which equals 8.25. Round that up to nine processors, and that's what you'll be paying for.
Notwithstanding the three-quarters rule, Oracle will count only one processor when licensing Oracle Standard Edition One or Standard Edition programs on servers with a maximum of one processor with one or two cores.
For more background and a chart of Oracle's pricing moves, see this IT Jungle article.
The report, announced Wednesday during an international meeting of the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in Luxembourg, followed at least two high-profile incidents this year of what is known as domain-name hijacking—one hitting New York-based ISP Panix and another affecting e-mail provider Hushmail Communications Corp.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
OS/2 was a very strong 16-bit graphical operating system back when Microsoft was clueless. But the vaunted Redmond marketing engine pushed Windows past IBM and Apple in short order. The rest is history -- except for the OS/2 installed base.
OS/2 was a good product which I will remember fondly.
Note the increasing revenue per processor that AMD reported in the latest quarter. Laptop Turion chips will help keep the gross margins up.
In this case, a Nigerian woman was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison for e-mail fraud. You probably got the letter, and I certainly hope you did not respond. She has to return $85 million, but the take from the scam was -- please sit down now -- $242,000,000.
Makes you stop and consider going over to the dark side...