In January 2002, Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates kicked off the software maker's Trustworthy Computing Initiative with a companywide memo, telling employees that "there are many changes Microsoft needs to make as a company to ensure and keep our customers' trust at every level -- from the way we develop software, to our support efforts, to our operational and business practices."
Security problems continue to plague users and corporate customers in the software industry as a whole, but Microsoft has made great strides and set the standard in many aspects of how software should be designed, developed, secured, and supported.
Microsoft did not take the first steps on this road willingly; the software giant was pushed and prodded by hackers, security researchers, and virus writers. In 2001 the double blow of the Code Red worm and Nimda convinced Microsoft that efforts to secure its products were not working. Read more...
The company also said it may repeat the slow-down in the future.
Firefox 9, which Mozilla released Dec. 20, has yet to be completely "unthrottled," or offered as an update to all users, according to notes from a company meeting last week.
Like other software vendors, including Microsoft and Apple, Mozilla can offer upgrades to a fraction of its users rather than to everyone at once. The practice is designed to ensure that download servers aren't overwhelmed, and to prevent bugs -- if there are any in the update -- from reaching all users.
Firefox 8, the edition that launched Nov. 8, 2011, accounted for 40% of all versions of Mozilla's browser five days after its release, and broke the 50% mark 18 days after it shipped, according to usage statistics from Irish metrics firm StatCounter. Meanwhile, Firefox 9 accounted for just 7% of all editions of Firefox five days after its debut and required 24 days to reach 50%. Read more...
People now receive on average 110 emails per day, according to a study from research company Radicati. My own figures suggest the European trend is nearer 70 emails.
Whatever the precise number of emails you receive daily, the chances are it's still far too high and you end up failing to process them all properly.
Add to this problem the expectation of 25 per cent of business users for an email response within an hour, and it's little wonder that last year held its usual share of email disasters.
For example, in June the Information Commissioner fined Surrey Council £120,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act by sending sensitive emails to the wrong people. And of course famously we had the mother-in-law's email to her future daughter-in-law which, while not involving business email, highlights how quickly hate email can go viral.
Then we had the Blackberry Crumble server problems in October, which left many users bereft of email and climbing up the wall in frustration.
These are just some of the more prominent email disasters, some of which have cost organisations dearly. In addition over the past year I have seen organisations losing up to 75 minutes per day per person simply through trying to process too much unnecessary email. Read more...
Google has once again been accused of underhand business tactics, this time by OpenStreetMap. The not-for-profit organisation published a light-on-detail blog post alleging that Mountain View was "moving and abusing" the mapping outfit's data.
However the very same post appears to have been completely debunked by an OSM sysadmin, who claims to have first uncovered the issue.
"Preliminary results show users from Google IP address ranges in India deleting, moving and abusing OSM data including subtle edits like reversing one-way streets," thundered the organisation that creates free editable maps.
"Two OpenStreetMap accounts have been vandalizing OSM in London, New York and elsewhere from Google’s IP address, the same address in India reported by Mocality," the group alleged.
As we reported last week, Mocality's CEO produced evidence that showed that his Kenya-based business listings startup had been misrepresented by Google employees who lied about their biz relationship with Mocality.
Now, OSM is making a similar claim, despite failing to provide any evidence to back up the allegation. Read more...
Microsoft has unveiled a "state of the art" file system for the next 10 years that builds on NTFS.
Named Resilient File System (ReFS), Microsoft's latest baby will be delivered with Windows 8 Server and become the foundation of storage on Windows Clients.
ReFS will be used with Windows 8's Storage Spaces, a feature in Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 Client that pools storage for use by different machines. Storage Spaces and ReFS have been designed to complement each other as components of a "complete storage system".
"We believe this significantly advances our state of the art for storage," Windows storage and file system development manager Surendra Verma wrote Monday on the Building Windows 8 blog. Verma wrote:
We will implement ReFS in a staged evolution of the feature: first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume. This is the same approach we have used with new file systems in the past.
NTFS was introduced by Microsoft in Windows NT in 1993 and has penetrated deep into computing. Verma and his boss, Windows group president Steven Sinofsky, stressed that ReFS does not replace NTFS and that it builds on the existing system. ReFS reuses NTFS code responsible for the Windows file system semantics, Verma said. Read more...
The Amazon Web Service (AWS) Free Usage Tier now includes up to 750 hours of Windows Server 2008 R2 without having to pay the hard-to-catch cloud-fluffer anything.
Amazon is targeting developers – especially .NET heads – starting up anything that might turn into bigger paying customers once the devs' applications take off and grow.
Also available in the Free Usage Tier are another 750 free hours of Linux, along with S3, SimpleDB Elastic Block storage, and Elastic Load Balancer.
The amount of room available for free in Elastic Block Storage has also been boosted to 30GB and I/O requests doubled to two million. Read more...
Trying to follow CES breaking news coverage is like that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy is working in a chocolate factory and the conveyor belt carrying the candies keeps moving faster and faster. It's stressful, confounding and, ultimately, can't be done.
Here's a product. Here's another product. Here are 50 products. The quantity of products introduced is expressed in yards, and even football fields.
Did you read the skinny on skinny TVs and skinny laptops? How about phones that control lamps and air conditioners at home? Android gadgets, iPhone accessories and cameras galore. Most of the coverage focused on what gadgets can do, rather than how we interact with them -- which, to me, is the most exciting news.
Missing in all of the coverage was the Big Story of CES this year: The future of human-machine interfaces has arrived at last.
Futurists -- including Yours Truly -- have been predicting for years that the future of all computing and miscellaneous gadgetry involves the addition of these three user interfaces to our desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone devices:
3. In-the-air gestures
But wait, you say. These interfaces have been around for years. And that's true. But there's a big difference between a technology that's available passively and enjoyed by a few power users, and a technology that's so widespread that it changes culture.
Of course, Apple mainstreamed multitouch interfaces in 1997 with the iPhone. It's attempting to do the same with voice via Siri on the iPhone 4S, with mixed results.
Microsoft has semi-mainstreamed in-the-air gestures with its Kinect for Xbox 360. Read more...
Led by the fast-emerging BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, Apple [AAPL] is crunching into the enterprise market, creating a growing market share with the Trojan Horse of its mobile devices and a fast-growing interest in its Macs.
We need promises that deliver
With Windows 8 the latest Microsoft promise to woo the corporate markets, this is a time of decision. Many enterprise-class tech purchasers are looking at whether it's worth upgrading to the next MSFT OS on strength of the firm's mobile-meets-PC promise, or whether to take on any of the two main alternatives for this dream you see around today: Apple or Android.
Despite my reservations concerning Google's moral prerogative when it comes to the way it created Android (I'm an Apple Holic and do feel the feeling of betrayal between Apple and Google has some good reasons to run deep) it must be said that in conjunction with iOS and OS X, these two big firms have freed the enterprise world from the rubber-clad silvery handcuffs of the Microsoft-based hegemony. And the latter firm's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has been unable to crack the whip to preserve the firm's control of the corporate world.
This isn't just a pipe dream. Think on this:
-- A UK YouGov survey recently claimed iPad usage in business has doubled in the last year.
-- An Aberdeen Group survey points out that 96 percent of businesses have at least one iPad in use.
-- SAP now has at least 3,300 corporate--owned iPhones and over 11,000 iPads -- a move which has reduced tech spend by a significant amount.
That's just Apple's ecosystem. Google still has work to do to deliver a truly credible alternative to Cupertino's lead -- there's over 500 samples of Android OS malware in the market, with Websense predicting this will rise to "thousands" this year. What does that mean?
It means that at this stage, faced with a choice between re-investment in Windows 8 and the subsequent investment in PC upgrade for machines capable of running that OS, or a move to the credible and secure Apple ecosystem, tech buyers face a truly credible choice for the first time in years. Read more...
As major technology websites such as Reddit and Wikipedia prepare to go dark this Wednesday in protest over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and the similar Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) act in the Senate, there are signs that the protests from the technology industry are causing Congress to rethink the two bills. The bills are supported by the entertainment industry and a variety of business groups whose goods are often counterfeited or pirated. The technology sector -- outside of online businesses -- has been conflicted, with the Business Software Alliance initially supporting SOPA but then withdrawing that support.
Many online advocates say the bills would let the government censor and otherwise regulate the free speech and information flow of the Internet and put Internet service providers and websites in the impossible position of acting as police for the validity of services advertised or promoted via their networks, as well as block access to parts of the Internet if ordered by courts to block access to alleged pirates' and counterfeiters' sites abroad. Read more...
The uptake of wireless networks based on 802.11ac is expected to be high when the first products arrive later this year, according to a report from IMS Research.
Over 3 million products with 802.11ac, including access points and notebooks, will be shipped in the first year of availability alone, IMS expects.
"That is a very positive start," said Filomena Berardi, senior market analyst at IMS.
The first products are expected to arrive in stores by the end of the year. Chip sets and routers were demonstrated at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
It won't be long before more laptops are shipped with 802.11ac than without, according to Berardi. The technology will then become more widespread, and in 2016 more than 400 million devices will be shipped.
It's now full steam ahead for the standard, according to IMS. Read more...