A few thoughts on a very busy week and what I’ve read

As noted on twitter, how frustrating and exciting a week can be, all at once.

New marketing (and here), rumours of “hitting M3”, more Microsoft updates to daylight saving time and time zones, and watching the water level drop, ending yesterday with the Company Meeting at Safeco field and working on our efforts to improve product quality and customer satisfaction, and finally cleaning up email today.

I’m glad the weekend is here, and to celebrate, here’s a brief list of items I completed reading on the bus.  On Monday, I will provide an update on favourite MSDN and TechNet blog posts, but for now, enjoy you’re weekend.

Patient Power – Forbes.comMatthew Herper 08.21.08, 6:00 PM ET Forbes Magazine dated September 15, 2008 Emily Schaller “If you are told you have an incurable disease, you might be motivated to help find a cure. “Inspired by the CFF’s success, patient groups with an entrepreneurial bent have become the drug industry’s new power brokers. Medicines for blood and bone cancers have reached the market faster because of their efforts. A hundred more patient-group-backed drugs, one-twentieth of all the medicines in development, are in human clinical trials for Parkinson’s, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and a litany of cancers. These patient power brokers will give drug companies $90 million this year, 13 times as much as in 2000, according to Thomson CenterWatch, a research firm that analyzes clinical trials. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has 50 drugs in development, including 11 in clinical trials. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is working with 30 drugs, up from none in 2000,…”

WowWee’s $300 Rovio robotic sentry ships this month – Engadget — The Rovio — one of WowWee’s finest if we should say so ourselves — is finally ready to roam around domiciles and keep baddies at bay. First announced (and spotted) at CES 2008, this long-awaited robotic sentry is up for pre-order right now, and it comes packing a 640 x 480 webcam to stream back live video in MPEG4 format. Furthermore, it can snap stills, head out on a customized patrol route and avoid obstacles with its infrared sensor. Get ready — this sheriff’s rolling into your town next Friday for $299.95.

Green, You Say?: Majority of US E-Waste Gets ‘Recycled’ in Asia, Where Recycling Is Often Non-Existent — A new report by the US Government Accountability Office is claiming that the majority of US E-Waste recycling services should reconsider dumping our 20 million plus pounds of waste on Asia, where it’s cheaper but also less effective. Many of the major electronics manufacturers (Samsung, Sony, Best Buy, more) have been proudly rolling out recycling services in greater numbers over the last year or so, but the new information confirms that tons of recycled e-waste never makes it to the actual “recycling” part, at least as far as US standards go

Microsoft: Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” Ad Beats Seinfeld (But Not Hodgman)— 5:14 PM Fri Sep 19 Phase 2 of Microsoft’s Windows ad campaign debuted tonight during The Office, and the latest work by ad agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky definitely beats the crap out of those (ill-fated?) Gates/Seinfeld ads when it comes to making a point. The point is simple: Not all PC users look like John Hodgman. Some are even sexy beasts. It’s easy to spot Deepak Chopra and Bill Gates affirming their PC-ness, but I think I also saw A-Rod Tony Parker and Eva Longoria too. You guys have a look and fill in the gaps, because there are a lot of celebs and specialists showing PC pride here. I only wish it didn’t open with that poor bastard Hodgman lookalike—the message is damn loud and clear anyhow. Update: Windows’ 15-second “I Wear a Suit” video below…

Apple security not ready for enterprise prime-time | Zero Day | — Guest editorial by Andrew Storms Last week Apple proved that they are not ready for prime time enterprise relationships. Apple has tried to position the iPhone as enterprise-ready, but this last round of software updates demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt how far they have to go to understand the enterprise mentality. On September 9th, Apple released updates to some 20 security vulnerabilities that included updates to QuickTime, iTunes and other software. On September 12th, Apple released iPhone version 2.1, which was intended to fix 8 security holes and repair 3G connections problems. On September 15th, Apple released updates to OSX that includes fixes to nearly 70 security problems. On September 16th, Apple released updates to Remote Desktop, again fixing more security problems.

Ballmer sets a new (and potentially much later) retirement date | All about Microsoft | — Last time CEO Steve Ballmer offered a tentative timeframe as to when he might retire from Microsoft, he put the date at ten years or so from now (around the time his youngest goes to college). But now there’s a new date. And Ballmer may be sticking around a lot longer than many are thinking, or, in some cases, hoping. According to scuttelbutt from Microsoft’s annual employee meeting, which was held in Seattle on September 18, Ballmer told attendees that he is going to stay on at Microsoft until Microsoft’s search share exceeds Google’s. Ballmer’s retirement reference is in the comments section of a new blog post on the company meeting by Mini-Microsoft.

Microsoft’s pulls its new community manager from the press corps | The Open Road – The Business and Politics of Open Source by Matt Asay – CNET News — This past week Peter Galli accepted a job as the newest member of Microsoft’s open-source team, focused on community relations. According to an internal email sent out by Robert Duffner, Microsoft’s senior director of Platform Strategy.

Talking Business – Stuck in Google’s Doghouse –, By JOE NOCERA Published: September 12, 2008 A few days ago, Dan Savage had his lawyer send a nine-page, 4,000-word letter to the antitrust division of the Justice Department. Mr. Savage, 59, runs, a business-to-business Web site that acts as a directory, listing — and ranking — hundreds of thousands of companies that sell industrial products. According to the letter Mr. Savage submitted to the Justice Department, Google at first gave him nothing but encouragement, even naming Sourcetool its AdSense site of the week at one point. By May 2006 — with the company barely six months old — it was making around $115,000 a month on $653,000 in revenue. According to Mr. Savage, his biggest expense was paying Google to advertise against search terms, which was costing around $500,000 a month.

Best of the Web 2008 on businessweek — Cough ’em up. Which Web sites are saved in your Favorites? Once again, BusinessWeek wants to know the sites you consider most valuable when it comes to getting informed, making money, having fun, and building your own online tools. We’ve also brought back a hit from last year, The Most Influential People on the Web, and added a new category: Best Newcomer. To vote for a favorite site, click on a category at right. Choose from last year’s top five, or write in one of your own. As ever, many sites fit in more than one category, so vote in all that apply. We’ll share results in a late-September special report. Polls closed Sept. 12.

When System Restore Doesn’t Restore — What do you do when your backup harddrive fails, then System Restore doesn’t restore your system as expected? This week has been yet another reminder to me that I have not thought through or planned out a back-up strategy that really works for me. What’s your back-up strategy?

Microsoft Education: Download free posters for your class — They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We think they can inspire even more. You can download and print this poster, or if you send us your name, education institution address, and e-mail address we’ll send you a full-size poster—no charge—for your classroom.

gapingvoid: “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards”: “good ideas have lonely childhoods” – The first chapter of Hugh’s upcoming book is called “Ignore Everybody”.

The Hidden Costs of Cheap PCs, by Dan Costa, 10.31.07 “Sure, $500 will get you a decent system, and another $100 will get you a cheap LCD display. But don’t put that credit card away just yet. If you want to do something with that PC, you will need to keep on paying. If you want Word and Excel, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 will run you $149. Photo editing with Photoshop Elements costs another $99. Protecting your system from viruses with a suite like Norton 360 will set you back you another $50. And keep in mind that after a year your virus definitions will expire, and you will need to pay another $40 every year afterward to keep the definitions up to date.”

PC World – Don’t Send That E-Mail (Read This First) — Keep your messages out of the trash with these do’s and (especially) don’ts that will get them read. Steve Bass Jul 18, 2007 1:00 am Email Print RSS 1 CommentBuzz up! 13 Yes 7 No Recommends Are you guilty of sending annoying e-mail? Of course you are. That’s because what you think is cool can drive someone else (probably me) up the wall. I have a handful of examples in my recent “Hassle-Free PC,” “E-Mail That Gets Your Message Across.” I sometimes seem to write more than I should [no fooling.–Editor], so here are a few ideas I had to leave out of the print column.

Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls — Excellent decisions don’t often happen by accident. In this excerpt, the authors highlight the elements—and the masters—of effective action Throughout our lives, each of us makes thousands of judgment calls. And, as we rise to positions of leadership, the importance of our judgment calls is magnified by their increasing impact on the lives of others. Despite the implications of the word “call,” the judgment calls that leaders make cannot be viewed as single, point-in-time events. Like umpires and referees, leaders do, at some moment, make a call. But unlike umpires and referees, they cannot—without risking total failure—quickly forget them and move ahead to the next play. Rather, for a leader, the moment of making the call comes in the middle of a process.

Kill Commercials From Recorded TV – Solutions by PC Magazine, 09.12.07 Total posts: 5 by Rick Broida SLIDESHOW (4) Slideshow | All Shots Half the joy of owning a DVR is quickly skipping past the commercials in recorded TV programs. But it’s an imprecise, manual process: You have to reach for the remote, press the fast-forward or skip button, and try to land at the exact moment your show resumes. If you miss, mad bursts of fast-forwarding and rewinding often ensue. A smart DVR would skip the commercials automatically, whizzing you from fade-out to fade-in in the blink of an eye. Alas, TiVo’s not that smart. Neither is your cable company DVR. But if you use a Windows Media Center PC to record your shows, you can turn it into the smartest DVR on the planet.

Environmental Monitoring – Solutions by PC Magazine, by Matthew D. Sarrel, 9/12/2007 AIM Health Size: 1,800 full-time employees Challenge: Automate environmental monitoring of data centers and wiring closets >Solution: APC NetBotz Results: No hard ROI numbers, but company has averted temperature- and power-related outages Erick Murphy, business continuity administrator Tennessee’s AIM Health provides business solutions to health-care organizations (both care providers and insurance companies). The company simplifies information management and analyzes claim data to prevent overpayment. AIM occupies two buildings in Tennessee and one in Wisconsin, and it collocates a server cluster at an off-site facility. Tracking ingress and egress—plus temperature, humidity, and airflow—in the company’s data centers and wiring closets was a time-consuming task.

Beyond WEP: Beef Up Your Wi-Fi Security – Solutions by PC Magazine, 9.12.2007 – “Wireless security is not just for experts anymore. Sure, there are still a few Wi-Fi newbies around who leave their networks wide open, but it seems more and more have finally decided to enable WEP (wired equivalent privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi protected access). Good for them! Unfortunately, hackers use simple tools to break WEP encryption. Even WPA passphrases, which are much stronger than WEP passwords, can be foiled. The following security measures go beyond the basics, placing moats and drawbridges around your network instead of a Sphinx that will let through any old visitor who answers a riddle correctly.”

Tim Wu, Freedom Fighter (businessweek) — November 8, 2007, 12:01AM EST His wireless-phone manifesto was the inspiration for Google’s new mobile-software strategy, which includes the Open Handset Alliance by Spencer E. Ante

Web Smackdown – Alexaholic – Google | Fast Company — By: Alyssa Danigelis An addictive tool reveals who’s watching what. The hottest little site on the Web right now may be “Wonderfully simple,” raves one blogger. “A nifty tool,” says another. That’s ironic, since all Alexaholic does is show which other sites are hot. It happens to do that very well.

Numbers: You’re swimming in them (Fast Company) — Swivel, a new startup, lets users upload, compare, and contrast data–from iPod sales to wine consumption–to make sense of the world. A Web 2.0 story in charts. By Michael A. Prospero, December 2007 Issue 113

Owning a remote-controlled home, just like Bill Gates – December 1, 2006 — Bill Gates’s smart home cost $113 million. Now you can have the same kind of remote control over your dwelling for as little as $10 a month. By Michal Lev-Ram, Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter March 15 2007: 12:23 PM EDT (Business 2.0 Magazine) — Bill and Melinda Gates’s “smart home” in Medina, Wash., cost an estimated $113 million to build – but that’s pennies compared with what consumers are starting to spend every year on making their homes smarter. Thanks to a host of new, lower-cost home automation technologies, cable operators and telecoms are targeting the average homeowner with cheap bundled subscription services, often controlled from their cell phones.

Tags: articles, what I read, Microsoft, blogs (to 091208)

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