Archive

Can Layoffs Save Hewlett Packard?

Hewlett Packard announced the company would lay off nearly nine percent of its 300,000 person workforce over the next two years, or about 27,000 people. The move is expected to save HP $3 billion to $3.5 billion annually. HP stock went up 5% in response to the news Thursday morning. Research firm Ovum asks "...the key missing piece is long-term company vision and strategy, which hopefully will be revealed to an anxious customer base soon... the question still remains: Just what kind of company does HP want to be next year, three years, five years from now?"

Smartphones Reignite the OS Wars

Smartphones have become the preferred computer of the masses. Sales surpassed those of personal computers in 2010, having grown over 50% per year for several years. Nearly 500 million smartphones shipped in 2011. This radically shifts the terrain in the consumer operating system competition that was, for years, firmly decided in favor of Windows. This article analyzes the New OS Wars.

Codecademy: the future of learning to program?

Six-month-old web site Codecademy claims you can learn programming through its online tutorials. The free modules on JavaScript are now available. The site also allows anyone to post their own programming courses. The site has good funding, but question is: can you really learn programming this way? One blogger enthuses that Codecademy's approach "looks like the future of learning to me," while another slams it saying "Seriously? Wow, bull**** badging and sh**ty pedagogy wins the day in ed-tech investing." What do you think?

VectorLinux 7: Fast, Flexible, and Supported

VectorLinux is one of those useful but lesser-known Linux distros. It's been around since 1999 and I've used it since 2006, off and on, in the role of a secondary OS. Now, with the disruptive changes Ubuntu forces on its user base with each new release, I've found myself increasingly attracted to Vector's stability and convenience. This article introduces "VL" to those who may not be familiar with it.

Is your new HDTV watching you?

HD Guru writes that new HDTVs now have all the hardware (webcams, audio mics, Internet connectivity) and software (facial and speech recognition, etc) to make them ideal for data collection on those watching. Samsung, the article's focus, does not disclose what OS its new HDTVs use, making it hard to judge whether they are secure from hacking. A follow-up article prints Samsung's privacy statement along with evaluation by Gary Merson of HD Guru.

Is Ubuntu a poor standard bearer for Linux?

Two years ago, Linux guru Caitlyn Martin argued that "Ubuntu is a Poor Standard Bearer for Linux" due to reliability issues. She said that "Other distributions have problematic releases but other major distributions do not have significant problems in nearly every release. Ubuntu does." In her follow-up piece "How Canonical Can Do Ubuntu Right: It Isn't a Technical Problem," she explained how "...the problem I am describing is probably rooted in policy or business decisions that have been made..." and she offered specific ideas on how Canoncial could address the situation. Are these criticisms valid today? Does Ubuntu offer good reliability? Does it deserve its mindshare as the representative of PC Linux?

Goodbye, Microsoft! celebrates 5th anniversary

The Goodbye, Microsoft website has been a good source of Linux information for five years, focusing on issues like compatibility, mature computers, performance, applications, light distros, and reviews. The site just posted its Big Board of Linux Distributions, a list that gives you quick info on Linux distros sorted by hardware requirements. Here's to hoping this useful non-commercial website is with us for the next five years.

Tech Company Futures, pt. 2

My previous article analyzed some tech companies and their prospects: Microsoft, Intel, HP, Dell, Oracle, Apple, and Google. This article discusses IBM, Amazon, Yahoo!, Cisco, and BMC Software. The goal is to spark a useful discussion. What is your opinion of these companies? Do they have viable strategies for the future?

Megaupload Users Could Lose Data by Thursday

According to MSNBC, up to 50 million Megaupload users could lose their data by Thursday. They haven't been able to access their data since surprise US government raids early this month. None of these users has been charged with any crime. This continues the US trend towards expanded use of forfeiture laws to arbitrarily seize and/or destroy private property without due process. The US Constitution's 5th Amendment states "No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty or property without due process or law; nor shall private property be taken... without just compensation." The situation raises questions both about the reliability of cloud services for data storage and the end of due process in the United States.

Printers Open to Remote Attacks?

Columbia University researchers claim millions of HP printers could be open to remote attack via unsecured Remote Firmware Updates. Cybercriminals could steal personal information or attack otherwise secure networks. HP agrees there is a theoretical security problem but says no customer has ever reported unauthorized printer access. The company denies some of the claims and is still investigating others.

AT&T Says Customers Agreed to Carrier IQ Software

AT&T has told the U.S. Congress that its customers agreed to host Carrier IQ tracking software on their cellphones in their contracts. You might recall that, after the scandal over warrentless surveillance broke in 2006, AT&T quietly changed their contract for internet service to say that it -- not its customers -- owns all the customers' internet records. Those concerned about privacy might consider whether AT&T merits their trust.

Chrome 15 Surpasses IE8

Only weeks ago StatCounter reported that Chrome pushed past Firefox to become the second most popular web browser after IE. A new StatCounter report says Chrome 15 has jumped into the number one spot, replacing IE8. This is the first time a non-Microsoft browser has led the list in StatCounter's tracking.

Could Google Kill Firefox?

"In Mozilla's recently released 2010 annual report, the foundation indicates that 86% and 84% of royalty revenue came from one contract in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Mozilla separately confirms that Google is its largest contract." Evan Niu at Motley Fool then estimates that of Mozilla's last year royalty revenue of $121.1 million, $101.7 million came from Google. The article speculates that Google might eventually kill Firefox by withdrawing its financial support.

Chrome Surpasses Firefox

A new report from StatCounter says Chrome's popularity now edges out Firefox. It says Chrome has a 25.69% share of the global browser market while Firefox claims 25.23%. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still #1 with a 40.63% share. If true, Google has pulled off quite a feat with a browser they only introduced in late 2008. StatCounter claims to measure browser use rather than just downloads.

Racy Puppy Linux Released

Puppy Linux is a small sub-130 MB distro popular for its high performance, adaptability, and ability to run on older hardware. The project just announced the new Racy Puppy, a version enhanced to run on new PCs. Racy includes Xorg 7.6 and the 3.0.7 kernel. Racy derives from Wary Puppy, a long term support release optimzed for older hardware. Puppy also offers Slacko and Lucid versions, for full compatibility with Slackware and Ubuntu, respectively.