Entries by Alan Zeichick

PCI Express goes zoom-zoom

I’ve seen relatively little coverage about yesterday’s approval of the PCI Express 2.0 specification by PCI-SIG, the industry consortium that, well, defines the PCI Express specification. With the introduction of PCI Express (aka, PCIe) a couple of years ago, server expansion cards got a huge performance boost, with the biggest impact on RAID and other […]

Red Hot Chili Pepper #19-1557

Best e-mail of the week so far: A press release from Pantone, a company that sets color standards, telling us that “they” have selected Chili Pepper, which they catalog as color #19-1557, as the Color of the Year for 2007. So, if you go to a paint store, or to a commercial printer, you can […]

Patents fuel the intellectual property wars

Before 2006, only one company – IBM – managed to gain more than 2000 U.S. patents in a single year. But in 2006, five companies broke that barrier: IBM with 3651 patents, Samsung with 2453, Canon with 2378, Matsushita at 2273, and Hewlett-Packard at 2113. That’s a huge amount of patent activity. In fact, according […]

Newly optimistic about CodeGear

Last week, I visited CodeGear — the tools business from Borland, which has been spun off into a wholly owned subsidiary. CodeGear will be evolving JBuilder, Delphi and C#Builder, and will also be introducing some new tools for dynamic languages and for otherwise enhancing developer productivity. You can read some notes about my visit with […]

Presenting the Threading Maturity Model (ThMM)

Threads are breaking out of the server into the desktop and notebook computer – and even in servers, the advent of dual-core and quad-core processors is drastically changing the landscape for applications. To put it bluntly, applications need to be designed, coded and tested to run optimally in a multithreaded environment – not just to […]

Not a smart consumer electronics company

Today, Cisco Systems Inc. sued Apple Inc. over unauthorized use of the iPhone trademark. You see, Cisco’s Linksys division already has a line of wireless VoIP telephones called the iPhone, introduced last month. The press has been speculating about how Apple would handle this situation — rumors about Apple’s iPhone have been swirling around for […]

Nice feedback on my CUA comments

Last Thursday, I wrote my SD Times newsletter column on CUA compliance in general, and Microsoft Office 2007’s lack of CUA compliance specifically. I also mentioned it briefly here in the blog. Some nice comments came in the column, and I followed up with another Zeichick’s Take on Monday that shared ’em with the broader […]

Macworld is fundamentally uninteresting

Apple’s decision to change its name from Apple Computer Inc. to Apple Inc. reinforced my nascent feelings about the company, and by extension, IDG’s independent conference for the Macintosh industry. Apple and Macworld Expo aren’t about computers any more. They’re all about consumer electronics. Sure, in the Macworld North Hall there were a few enterprise […]

Microsoft Home Server: A brilliant idea

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates announced the Microsoft Windows Home Server, designed to serve as the digital hub of the modern house. It’s a great idea, and frankly, it’s about time someone addressed this need. Consider digital photos. My iMac has my camera’s photos. My wife’s Dell has her photos. How do we […]

XML schema for business gets better

Jon Bosak informed me this morning that UBL 2.0 has been approved as an OASIS standard. UBL, or Universal Business Language, is designed to provide a consist way for businesses to share common documents using XML; that is, documents like invoices, purchase orders, catalog updates, transportation manifests, things like that. UBL is an alternative to […]

SanDisk’s $600 solid state disk

While we’re on the subject of storage: don’t forget solid-state drive technology. This week, SanDisk released a 32GB SSD that’s going to cost about US$600, and fits into a standard 1.8-inch form factor. Sure, that’s a lot of money for a 32GB hard drive today. But given the incredible rate of change in flash memory, […]

Terabyte drives, but too late to save Andrew

Andrew Binstock pointed me to this CNet article, regarding the forthcoming introduction of terabyte hard drives from Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Too bad they didn’t ship in December. My, that burger tastes good. Hitachi GST, by the way, is IBM’s old storage division, which Hitachi bought in 2003 and absorbed into their own storage group. […]

CUA compliance and Office 2007

I love the ability generate gorgeous graphics using Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007. But otherwise I’m unimpressed by the software update, and have no plans to upgrade our company to Office 2007 any time soon. One particular issue I have is the new user interface, which replaces the familiar File-Edit menu system (which was Common […]

Standards: It’s the little things

Standards are important. Not only for interoperability, but also for sanity. Take, for example, our two family cars, a Mazda3 hatchback and an Acura TSX sedan. Both are great, peppy cars, and both have five-speed automatic transmissions with a manual shift override feature. There are odd differences between the cars. For example, on the Mazda3, […]

Great cover on January’s ST&P

I love the cover of the January 2007 issue of Software Test & Performance. It has graphics by LuAnn Palazzo, the wonderful art director for that magazine, and text from Edward Correia, the editor of ST&P. Be sure to read the fine print on the can. This is a really strong issue of the magazine, […]

The Novell Sweatshirt Meme

Three decades ago, the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins proposed the concept of a “meme” – that is, a unit of cultural transmission that exists independently of one person, and therefore, can spread around throughout a culture. Some memes are obvious. President Bush referred to himself last April as “the decider,” that is, what we […]

Nominations for the Eclipse Community Awards

Nominations are now open for the Eclipse Community Awards; the cut-off for entries is January 22, 2007. The Eclipse Community Awards, launched last year, are designed to recognize the people and projects that make Eclipse a successful community. There are two categories of awards: * Individuals: ambassadors, contributors, committers and evangelists. * Technologies: best open-source […]

Microsoft PDC coming to Los Angeles

Microsoft has just announced the 2007 dates for its biannual Professional Developer Conference. It’ll be held Oct. 2-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Microsoft PDC is my favorite of their three big technical events; it’s where you get the real deep-dives into their upcoming technology, and their road maps. I’ll be there… I try […]

STPCon registration is now open

We’ve open up registration for the next Software Test & Performance Conference: April 17-19, 2007, in San Mateo, Calif. The first registration “eXtreme Early Bird” date is January 12 — if you register by that date, you can save up to US$470 on the Full Event Passport, which includes the technical conference and all tutorials, […]

"Working with the IT Press"

If you’re going to EclipseCon, be sure to catch my presentation, “Working with the IT Press.” This “long talk” session has just been accepted by the conference program committee. “Working with the IT Press” is an evolving presentation that I’ve been delivering for more than a decade at various conferences and trade shows, and in […]

Happy holidays!

Happy Holidays to everyone! Many religions celebrate their winter holiday with gift-giving. I treated myself to something that’s very silly, but which also makes me nostalgic: a vintage nameplate from the first “real” computer I worked on, an IBM System 370 Model 168 mainframe. I used one of those machines as an undergraduate, before moving […]

Got the SPOT

Thank you, Sun (and Sun’s PR team), for sending me one of Sun’s SPOT (Small Programmable Object Technology) kits. It arrived earlier this week. The SPOT kit contains a couple of battery-powered devices, each with sensors and a wireless transceiver, plus a base station and a Java SDK. You can see all the parts at […]

Oracle’s latest financials

The software giant in Redwood Shores keeps getting bigger. In its most recent financials, Oracle announced that it made US$967 million in profit for the quarter, on sales of $4.2 billion. That represents a 21 percent increase in profit and 26 percent increase in revenue, compared to same quarter last year. Those numbers seem to […]

Binstock on porting from VS to Eclipse

Andrew Binstock has written an excellent blog entry about the pros/cons of porting an existing C/C++ project from Visual Studio to Eclipse. His post was inspired by a tutorial on developerWorks by Priyadarshini Sampath (pictured), Ramakrishnan Kannan and Karthik Subbian, all of IBM. You should read Andrew’s post, but his conclusion agrees with my own […]

EclipseWorld 2007 call for speakers now open

Mark your calendar for EclipseWorld 2007, Nov. 6-8 in Reston, Virginia. Next year’s EclipseWorld — our third-annual conference for enterprise developers, architects and all other IT professionals using Eclipse-based tools and technologies — is going to be bigger and better than ever. We have just opened our Call for Speakers. The cut-off is April 13, […]

Al Shugart, disk-drive pioneer

The sizes and capacities of rotating magnetic media continues to boggle the imagination. I thought that the 60GB hard drive in my old Powerbook was impressive, but this week Fujitsu announced a 300GB 2.5-inch drive. Wow. Meanwhile, you can pick up 750GB 3.5-inch SATA drives for desktops and servers – but it looks like Andrew […]

IDC predicts big Windows Vista success

A study by International Data Corp. — a respected IT market research firm — predicts that within its first year of shipment, Windows Vista will be installed on more than 90 million computers worldwide, and that in the United States alone, Vista-related employment will reach 18% of all IT jobs during that period. The study, […]

Office Open XML: Learn to love it

Ecma, the vendor-driven standards body that used to be the European Computer Manufacturers Association, has rubber-stamped Microsoft’s next-generation document file formats, called Office Open XML. Ecma’s vote places Office Open XML onto the fast track toward ISO recognition. I haven’t delved into the 6,039-page specification itself, so I can’t comment on the technical quality of […]