Stories by John Brandon

10 Microsoft research projects

Innovation is not just about cool new products. In technology, the best ideas require a) really smart people and b) lots of funding. For the past 33 years, Microsoft has had both in spades.

FWIW -- The origins of 'Net shorthand

Leetspeak, Internet shorthand, computer jargon for instant messaging -- whatever you call them, initialisms like BRB, LOL and BTW have now entered the public lexicon. (I know a few teenagers who actually say LOL to each other in person!)

The top 10 best-written blogs

A personal diary, the latest tech gossip, new Web sites of note, hypertext links to upcoming Apple products -- there's a blog for just about every topic under the sun, and the quality of these daily journals is all over the map.

Internet suicide and a call for decency posted many weeks ago about the charges against Lori Drew related to the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier in 2006. In the post, which has the subhead that being a jerk isn't illegal, Mike Masnick argues that there is an attempt to prosecute Drew for "something, even if there's little evidence she actually broke the law." In the case, the prosecutors say Drew is responsible for Internet fraud by using a fake MySpace name. It got me thinking: what should be the consequences for Internet use in this way?

What the heck is Mozilla thinking?

I'm continually amazed at how the premier Web properties are willing to share what they are doing. We get to peek behind the curtain routinely. Google and Yahoo both have good lab pages, but there's some seriously experimental stuff on the Mozilla labs page. Here's what they're up to.

Street View: the "privy" in privacy

What responsibility does Google have in terms of your "visual privacy"? Meaning, should they be "privy" to the junk that is laying about my yard, the car in my driveway, the cat in my lawn?

Why the epic fail at will be a major win

Twitter is broken, but that's okay -- every time it breaks, it makes news. Every time it makes news, it squeezes out the competition and makes them look like a pale imitation. Even sites like Plurk just can't keep pace with the Twitter surge: 12 million users and counting.

Google is doing WHAT?

With a skyrocketing stock price, fanboy hysteria and -- most importantly -- really useful products, Google is the prima donna of tech for the new millennium.

Is managed WAN optimization the best option?

A tech-support call starts it all. Why is my application running slow? What happened to my spreadsheet data? Is HQ using a 56K modem to handle traffic for my branch office -- again? The number of calls suddenly increases, and network analysis reveals unforeseen usage spikes at a new marketing location. The dream of data-center consolidation turns into a nightmare.

Disaster planning, mix-and-match style

Disaster planning traditionally focuses on three variables: data center replication, building design and backups. Analysts have maintained for years that the most common "disaster" is outright hardware failure because of faulty data center design, for instance, when the "emergency power off" button is hit, either accidentally or on purpose. Yet, for many enterprises throughout the US, the reality is that recovery plans should be customized for whichever type of major disaster is most likely to occur in any given area.

10 broken technology ideas -- and how to fix them

Sometimes a technology idea is too good to be true. A flexible keyboard, Internet voting and watching feature films on your smart phone are examples. Today, these concepts are still evolving, but they're broken right now. I'll tell you why and what could be done to fix them once and for all.