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INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

But Macs Are Slower, Right?

About a month ago, I compared the cost for Apple's desktop, server and laptop products to their nearest Dell equivalents (see Macs Are More Expensive, Right?) and discovered that Macs generally cost less than comparable PC products ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Are Firewalls Useful? And Another Thing…

If you ever feel in need of a lesson in humility, try reading through the TCP/IP RFCs and related literature. I have two questions I have no idea how to answer but rather naively expected that reading this material would help. It didn't, in truth because I didn't understand most of it; so now I'm asking you to explain the issues to me ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

The Security Industry: Where Objectivity Is a Lie

Open source in general, and Unix in particular, appears to be far buggier and less secure than is Microsoft's code in general and Windows XP in particular ...

OPINION

Lies, Damned Lies and Computer Security

During a break in a series of discussions on the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance for Canadian healthcare players, one of the attendees regaled the group with a long brag about how his company's techies had defeated a phishing attack ...

OPINION

Election Risks: Mixing the Cosmic with the Comic

The use of electronic voting in this year's U.S. elections has the makings of the greatest IT-related disaster yet. Barring a miracle, this is a done deal, a disaster unfolding as we watch ...

OPINION

Macs Are More Expensive, Right?

Everyone knows PCs are faster than Macs, but Macs cost more. Right? There are two issues here: cost and performance. Right now I want to focus on the cost side of the myth, leaving performance for another column, possibly in late September ...

OPINION

Attracting Attackers: Windows vs. Unix

Lots of people believe that the reason there are more attacks on Windows machines than on Unix machines is simply that Windows dominates desktop markets. According to their logic, 90 plus percent of the desktops should lead to 90 plus percent of the attacks. The question is whether they are right ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Windows XP SP2 and the Risk of a Linux Backlash

The best method known for getting people extremely angry at you is simply to be right where they're wrong -- especially if you give them any opportunity to read a moral subtext into whatever they're wrong about. It's sometimes okay be a tiny bit smarter than the people you work with, but it's always devastating to working relationships to be proven right if that makes people feel you are somehow morally better than they are...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

The White-Box Industry: Surviving on Poor Accounting?

Last week a dashboard light in my car (a Volvo V70R) came on, leaving me groping for the manual while trying to survive traffic. As it turns out, an "ETS" light is a failure warning from something called the "electronic throttle system," so the obvious thing to do was find a place to pull off the highway and reboot the computer by restarting the car. That worked then, and it also worked a day later when the light came on again...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Sarbanes-Oxley: More Cause Than Cure?

At a working lunch last week I had the misfortune of being seated next to some guy from Boston whining about the misery and risk introduced into his life by Sarbanes-Oxley. I kept wanting to ask him what he thought his job was as a CFO, since all Sarbanes-Oxley really does is establish a basis for legal penalties against financial executives who dishonor the job description by failing to understand, apply and maintain adequate internal financial controls...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

It’s the Homogeneity, Stupid!

Several weeks ago we were visiting my mother in law in Victoria, B.C., just across the strait from Port Angeles and close enough to Seattle to share some of its rain. She's proud of her Scottish heritage and rejoices in her ancestral stereotype when it comes to parting with a nickel. I was surprised, therefore, to hear that she's switched her grocery shopping to a chain rejoicing in the name of "Thifty's," which is anything but bargain basement...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Are Mac Users Smarter Than PC Users?

My wife has a Dilbert cartoon on her office door in which one of the characters says: "If you have any trouble sounding condescending, find a Unix user to show you how." She's a Mac user and they were worse even before they all became Unix users too ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Apple: Up the Market Without a CPU

For the last three weeks I've been talking about the impact the new Sony, Toshiba and IBM cell processor is likely to have on Linux desktop and datacenter computing. The bottom line there is that this thing is fast, inexpensive and deeply reflective of very fundamental IBM ideas about how computing should be managed and delivered. It's going to be a winner, probably the biggest thing to hit computing since IBM's decision to use the Intel 8088 led Bill Gates to drop Xenix in favor of an early CP/M release with kernel separation hacked out...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Grid vs. SMP: The Empire Tries Again

Two weeks ago I looked at IBM's forthcoming cell processor architecture [Paul Murphy, "Fast, Faster and IBM's PlayStation 3 Processor," LinuxInsider, June 17, 2004] and last week speculated about the impact it might have on the x86 desktop [Paul Murphy, "Linux on Intel: Think Dead Man Walking," LinuxInsider, June 24, 2004]. This week, I want to go beyond that and look at the impact the cell architecture will have on the battle for server dominance over the next five years. IBM isn't the only company coming out with a new CPU technology. Sun's throughput computing is as revolutionary and as little understood, despite being closer to realization...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Linux on Intel: Think Dead Man Walking

Last week, I talked about the cell processor expected from Sony and IBM [Paul Murphy, "Fast, Faster and IBM's PlayStation 3 Processor," LinuxInsider, June 17, 2004]. This week I want to think out loud about what happens in the industry if Toshiba launches a PC based on this processor into the Asian market and IBM promptly follows suit with a series aimed at the American and European markets. Such a machine would run Linux, be compatible with most Linux software, and come with a subscription license to a suite of IBM software built around Lotus Workspace...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Fast, Faster and IBM’s PlayStation 3 Processor

Three years ago, IBM, Sony and Toshiba announced a partnership aimed at developing a new processor for use in digital entertainment devices like the PlayStation. Since then, the product has seen a billion dollars in development work. Two fabs, one in Tokyo and one in Fishkills, New York, have been custom-built to make the new processor in large volumes. On May 12th, IBM announced that the first commercial workstations based on this processor would become available to game-industry developers late this year...

OPINION

Computer Glitches and the Windows Mentality

The English language is a great tool. It's expressive, powerful, inclusive, and evolves through the democratic and open-source processes of accepting change on the basis of common usage. Great, but you know what it doesn't have? Enough useable swear words ...

LOOKING FORWARD

Using Tech To Fix Elections: Part Two

This week's column is about the nature of the software needed to go with the elections administration hardware laid out in last week's column [Paul Murphy, "Using Tech To Fix Elections," LinuxInsider, May 27, 2004]. In brief, the idea was to ignore political reality long enough to imagine a system in which:...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Unix in the Data-Center: How To Fail by Succeeding

What would your answer be if a selection team charged with hiring a new CIO to develop and implement an organization-wide "strategic systems architecture" were to ask you what management considerations most differentiate use of Windows from use of Linux? ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Grading the Windows-vs.-Unix Debate

The second largest pile of discardable studies are those whose conclusions derive from a single "big lie" -- an absurd assertion treated as unquestionable truth. This is the foundation, for example, of much of the third-party work offered by IBM in support of mainframe Linux with the pervasive belief engendered by years of exaggeration about mainframe performance setting the expectations that led to Microsoft's apparent embarrassment at having to call IBM on zVM performance [Paul Murphy, "Incredulity, Reverse Bias and Mainframe Linux," LinuxInsider, October 2, 2003].

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