Last week Salesforce.com introduced its new support concept dubbed "The Service Cloud." I have to say it makes a lot of sense both as a product direction and as a business decision. The announcement is in line with many of the business initiatives that the company has made over the last decade in that it is a leapfrog event. The service and support niche is pretty well populated with traditional companies that deliver major league call centers as well as smaller companies that provide most call center functionality over the Web, and some that do both. Whatever the case --but especially at the enterprise level -- introducing another vanilla call center solution would not have generated the excitement or revenue that Salesforce needs. You could say with a lot of justification that the call center market is mature. However, this is not to say that it is in decline or that there is no real money to be made there any longer. Maturity in this circumstance simply means that adding another … [Read more...] about Salesforce and the Service Cloud
I wanted to write a piece about the wisdom of crowds for a long time, but I needed a clip from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" to make it work. After a lot of procrastinating, I went to YouTube, did the hard work of reviewing all of the Python clips and found the right one. There is no limit to the effort I will make to write a piece -- this research was physically demanding and my sides still ache. If you are a Python fan, you might want to review the clip for sheer fun, and even if wacky British humor is not your cup of tea, watching the clip will enhance your understanding of what I am going to say. So, go ahead, take a look. I will wait. Really, it's OK -- there's a recession on and I have the time. It's a little over four minutes. OK, welcome back. If you cheated and just forged ahead without the benefit of Michael Palin and the gang, the clip is a medieval mob scene in which the mob, convinced that a woman is a witch, asks permission from the local knight to burn the witch at … [Read more...] about Crowd Wisdom
"Guilty" on all three counts was the finding of the Virginia jury on November 3 in the nation's first felony spam prosecution. The greatest shock was when the jury returned a sentence of nine years against Jeremy Jaynes when many on the jury did not even know what spam was prior to the eight-day jury trial. The result has prompted debates on electronic message boards and other media outlets around the world. Jeremy Jaynes, who ran his spam operation under the alias "Gaven Stubberfield," was one of the top 10 worst spammers in the world when he was arrested in December 2003, according to spamhaus.org. He was most notably known for his bestiality-porn spam and the alleged footage of adult film star Jenna Jameson and pop icon Britney Spears making out. This alleged footage was used to lure traffic to an adult Web site via his spam operation. So What Is Spam? Spam is commonly referred to as unsolicited bulk e-mail, and for those who have e-mail accounts, you surely have seen it on a … [Read more...] about Prosecutor Explains Why Spammer Sent to Slammer
The market for local commerce has been the holy grail for Internet companies since the dawn of the modem. However, that market has been more like "Monty Python And The Holy Grail." The missing link for local commerce hasn't been the Web, it's been four things: Web usage as everyday "utility" The growth of mobile The inefficiency of "old-fashioned" advertising such as newspapers, radio and TV Time-shifting (I'll explain more later) In the old days -- when TV shows such as "Friends" ruled the air -- viewers had no choice but to tune in at the appointed hour, gnash their teeth during commercial breaks, and then go about their lives. Perhaps read The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times the next morning for the "news." The Web was a newbie back then. Huggies and all. Few relied on it. The only mobile experience you had was walkie talkies. Hoo haa. Copy that? After 17 years of commercial Web, the preponderance of mobile phones (everybody has one), the reliance on the Web for … [Read more...] about Groupon, LivingSocial and the Holy Grail of Commerce
This occurred to me last Thursday when first-quarter PC sales came out. Apparently, sales are up 21 percent year-over-year and HP retook the lead from Apple in this segment. In this report, Apple's numbers include iPads, and sales for iPads collapsed in the first quarter. This got me thinking of the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the cart is picking up dead bodies during the Black Plague and one "corpse" not only isn't dead but feels like dancing. It also got me thinking about almost every other trend when we said the prior technology was dead and it wasn't. On the corporate technology side, mainframes were dead in the 1980s. Now, three decades later, System Z, which is a mainframe, is IBM's most profitable product. Blu-ray was going to kill off DVDs, but DVDs continue to outsell Blu-ray by a significant margin, and both are being displaced by streaming. PCs were going to be wiped out by thin clients in the 90s, but few people have actually seen a thin client PC … [Read more...] about The Un-Death of the PC
Every time the "PC is dead" topic comes up, an old Monty Python movie comes to mind, and I'll bet you can guess which one. PCs are on almost every desk, and the installed base is measured not in the hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands -- it is measured in the hundred millions. Brian Krzanich, Intel's latest CEO, last week announced a massive layoff tied to the company's missing its quarterly numbers, and once again the alarm sounded. Was the PC is dead, or was Intel's miss just another new-CEO mistake? (There have been a lot of those of late.) It is becoming really clear to me that there definitely needs to be a class for new CEOs that covers the fundamentals -- at least -- but what I'm finding incredibly annoying is that the industry responsible for analytics and artificial intelligence doesn't seem to be very good at doing causal analysis. I don't think the PC is dead today any more than I did six months ago, but I am becoming concerned that a lot of folks who depend on … [Read more...] about Why Is the PC Industry Trying to Kill the PC?
The basic paradigm has been in effect for years. You toil, scheme, cajole, and cogitate, and in exchange you get paid-but probably not in cash. Some bits get altered periodically in a database somewhere, as infinitesimal patches of ferromagnetism on disks or electromagnetic pulses flitting from here to there. Your earnings, your savings, your spending: Virtually all of it is virtual. Money is the most important abstraction human beings have ever devised. And yet that abstraction has not been fully embraced. Decades after money began going electronic, we all continue to cling to cash, a quaint vestige from earlier eras when money meant cowrie shells, giant stone disks, and shiny gold pieces. Of the many things we could do now with technology, getting rid of cash would be one of the more sublime. Anarchists, drug dealers, prostitutes, politicians, dog walkers, and nannies all have reason to prefer cash. How about you? But various factors and factions continue to prop up the cold … [Read more...] about The Beginning of The End of Cash
Steven Cherry: Hi, this is Steven Cherry for IEEE Spectrum's "Techwise Conversations." Earlier this month, The New York Times published a charming profile of an idiosyncratic Australia book publisher, James Morrison. The article, by Times blogger David Streitfeld, contained two irresistible quotes, one by the writer, the other from his subject. Streitfeld wrote: "Now books can be efficiently printed in small quantities, like one copy. Amazon, meanwhile, is happy to do the job of fulfilling orders. The stage is set to allow everyone to become his own Alfred Knopf." Knopf was a prominent publisher in the '20s and '30s. The quote by Morrison was about a particularly idiosyncratic book he had published. It went like this: "The audience for an 1850 book-length Monty Python-style doggerel poem about a socially aspirant sea serpent is probably just me." When I say I found these quotes irresistible, I mean I started down a rabbit hole of wondering two things. First, how exactly do you go … [Read more...] about Is Micropublishing the Death of Publishing-or Its Salvation?
I like to ask my E-Business Secrets readers a simple question once every six months or so. This gives me a type of feedback I might not get from the constant stream of tips on various subjects that I receive the rest of the year. I've set up at the end of today's issue one short question. You simply answer one way or the other. Every reader who responds will receive a gift -- a link to a free, downloadable tool that I've recently found to be immensely useful in my own Web design efforts. When I run a survey such as this one, I like to start by giving you some feedback of my own. In this issue, I list the most popular links I've published in the past half year. This gives you something to reflect upon before you answer the survey question. [ Have a tech story to share? If we publish it, we’ll send you a $50 American Express gift card — and keep you anonymous. Send it to [email protected] | We've all been there: 7 hardware horror stories from the help desk. | … [Read more...] about Answer one survey question and receive a gift
The title of this week's column is stolen from an item I've just posted to my Weblog, with apologies to Monty Python. It's been an interesting week. On Tuesday of last week, I began an experiment to coordinate two sets of Web services: online bookstores, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and online libraries, in particular my own local libraries. The LibraryLookup project, as I'm now calling it, took on a life of its own. On Wednesday I discovered that a simple bookmarklet would do the job. It can parse the ISBN number from the URL of an Amazon, or B&N, or isbn.nu, or other book-related site; issue a query to your local library; and open a new browser window onto the result of that query. I found a list of the addresses of almost 900 libraries that use the same Web-based system that my libraries do, and blogged the corresponding bookmarklets. At a single stroke, one-click lookup from a central book site to the local library was made available to potentially … [Read more...] about Nobody expects the spontaneous integration
I'm blogging live from John Cleese's keynote at SunNetworks. For those of you who don't watch PBS, as John put it, he's very well known in the UK and Australasia for his work on Monty Python, Faulty Towers etc etc. The theme of his talk is that we simply have to acknowledge that mistakes are part of life, and certainly part of the IT industry. After starting off by deciding his role here is to be the court jester and abuse people - he called the audience "geeks" - Cleese has taken us through a discussion of how many people have made mistakes throughout history, from philosophers to inventors and business people. Turning to the geeks in the crowd he said they were smiling at his message because: "The crap architecture (you built) contains major management flaws that only you can fix. Clever, but sly." [ Give yourself a technology career advantage with InfoWorld's Deep Dive technology reports and Computerworld's career trends reports. GET A 15% DISCOUNT through Jan. 15, 2017: Use code … [Read more...] about John Cleese’s day in the Sun
It's that time again: Time for a new storage format war. Did I hear a collective groan? I bet you can't wait to put all your eggs in one technological basket only to have the format you've chosen fall by the wayside, screaming like the armless, legless knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the Round Table knights to come back and fight. I remember that movie well because I had it on Betamax, then on VHS tape, then laser disc and now DVD. Speaking of DVDs, front and center on stage this week at the Consumer Electronics Show will be the next generation of DVD systems and the contenders are Blu-ray and the High Definition DVD or HD-DVD. As with previous format wars, each side has its supporters. Blue-ray is supported by Philips Electronics, Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. According to Philips, Blu-ray can burn and play CDs and DVDs in three formats and store up to 50 GB of data on a single disk. The opposing group is led by Toshiba and Sanyo. The HD-DVD standard has slightly … [Read more...] about Blu-ray, DVD and the Holy Grail
The other day, my friend Ned's cousin asked Ned what he thought was the best first language for new programmers. The cousin didn't have much computing experience, but at 15 years old the future was looming fast, and he thought programming seemed interesting and that it might be something he could get into. "So naturally," Ned explained, "I told him to learn Scheme." [ What's your take on the best first programming language? Join our discussion. | Also on InfoWorld: "My kid could code that." | Cut straight to the key news for technology development and IT management with our once-a-day summary of the top tech news. Subscribe to the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ] [ Here are 6 skills a solid IT generalist should master, no matter where your life in IT leads. ]Huh?! Scheme? When Ned first opened up the can o' worms of "which programming language is the best," it seemed like a fine opportunity for an argument, Monty Python style. He'd say Perl, someone else would say C++, a third would … [Read more...] about What’s the best first language for a programmer?
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is halfway toward becoming law after the House passed the bill by a vote of 288 to 127 yesterday, rejecting several amendments that would have limited the amount of personal information private companies could share with Uncle Sam. Hey, no big deal, right? In February, CISPA's primary author Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich) shared his views on why CISPA is no threat to personal privacy: We're talking about exchanging packets of information, zeroes and ones, if you will, one hundred millions times a second. So some notion that this is a horrible invasion of content reading is wrong. It is not even close to that. [ For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ] [ Give yourself a technology career advantage with InfoWorld's Deep Dive technology reports and … [Read more...] about The CISPA circus: Send in the clowns
While the world waits for that puff of white smoke and the announcement of a new Defender of the Windows faith, I wanted to take a few minutes of your time and explain how things really look from the trenches. No, I'm not going to tell you how to run a bazillion-dollar company with 130,000 employees and a bewildering array of products. You have enough folks with green eyeshades running around already -- no doubt with a nasty propensity to tell you, "Yes, sir!" [ Windows 8 left you blue? Then check out Windows Red, InfoWorld's plan to fix Microsoft's contested OS. | Microsoft's new direction, the touch interface for tablet and desktop apps, the transition from Windows 7 -- InfoWorld covers all this and more in the Windows 8 Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay atop key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ] [ The InfoWorld review: Microsoft's Nano Server offers mega advantages. | The best new features in Windows Server 2016. | Stay up on key Microsoft … [Read more...] about An open letter to Microsoft’s next CEO: 12 wishes from the Windows faithful
by Erin Monaghan Originating with a small Monty Python sketch, the term Spam is no longer synonymous with an undesirable mystery meat in a blue tin can; it s become undesirable junk mail that clutters your email inbox, cellular phones and other electronic devices. If you don't construct your campaigns properly with your choice email marketing services, the newsletters you worked so hard on are going to end up in the junk mail folder. The CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003) is a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003, requiring national standards for sending commercial emails. The CAN-SPAM Act was prompted by the overwhelming flood of Spam infiltrating people s email. During the 90 s inboxes were inundated with sexually explicit, misleading and deceptive email marketing campaigns selling everything from pornography to lawn furniture. All legitimate email marketing services require their clients to abide by … [Read more...] about What is the CAN-SPAM Act?
Whether you think it's wired into the human mind or an inevitable product of society's formation, dualism defines much of our lives: Communism vs. capitalism. Savory vs. sweet. Passing the ball vs. running the ball in football. Everywhere we look, pairs are locked in an eternal battle, presenting us with myriad opportunities to define ourselves by which side of the line we favor at any given time. This may be even more evident in the computer industry where technologies -- competing for our hearts, minds, and checkbooks -- define themselves often by the differences they offer from competing solutions. On one side there is X; on the other, definitively not X. And the fanboys line up, taunting and baiting the other side. Without these battles, without these great arguments and choices, the repositories would have merged long ago and we would have moved on, perhaps with a little less innovation than we might otherwise like. [ The art of programming is changing rapidly. We help you … [Read more...] about 10 battles raging for the hearts and minds of developers
Back in my days as a magazine editor, I published a story about the supposed death of mainframes, wonderfully titled in a steal from Monty Python, “I’m Not Dead Yet.” And whadya know, mainframes still aren’t dead. I was reminded of the whole idea of “not being dead yet” as I started looking at how carriers were making the move to SDN and NFV. I would have thought that the carriers would be wholeheartedly into the prospect of network virtualization. But while there’s a lot of announced commitment, there’s also some hesitation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Carriers have invested a lot into creating highly reliable telecom networks, and no one would blame them if they didn’t want to declare those components dead yet. Let’s start with the optimism, brought to us as always by the research firms. As Sean Michael Kerner reported in Enterprise Networking Planet earlier this month, network-focused Infonetics Research is … [Read more...] about Are Carriers Really Leading the Charge to SDN?
Trouble is brewing in cloud land. Maybe AWS chief Andy Jassy started it all, deriding the private cloud as “archaic” and not really cloud at all. Then Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst told me that public clouds like AWS become “obscenely expensive at scale” -- which, of course, sent public cloud advocates into a frothing rage. [ Cloud computing shares resources never shared before, creating new risks and demanding new security practices. Learn those new security measures from Cloud Security Digital Spotlight PDF special report. | Also on InfoWorld: Mobile app development in the cloud | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing newsletter. ]But not an unstudied rage: As CSC’s Simon Wardley, Google’s Miles Ward, and others argued in response, public clouds like AWS are not, nor need not be, more expensive than private clouds. The opposite is true, they maintain. Expensive mistakes Embedded in Whitehurst’s argument is that while public cloud … [Read more...] about Red Hat’s CEO is dead wrong about the cloud
The ever-increasing density of computer chips has opened up the possibility of countless technological breakthroughs – from an online catalogue of all the world’s great art to monitoring global weather patterns. Oh, and why not also create a PC-like device that will record everything on TV automatically? At least that’s the idea behind a challenge issued in the research and development labs at the BBC, which has led to the unveiling of a prototype personal video recorder (PVR), called Promise TV, that successfully recorded and stored all the shows running for a week on all 12 channels in the UK. With each new development in digital video recording (DVR) – DirecTV, TiVo, and the like – more intelligence has been built into software and guides, allowing for easier navigation and better software-based estimates of what a user might want to watch. But the Promise TV device removes even that modest level of work, since it records every single program on every … [Read more...] about What’s (not) on the Telly?