These are frugal times for business, and an organization starting out might have very little money to spend on IT. Even if you're part of an established business, you're probably feeling the pinch.
Stories by Keir Thomas
There are two types of tech support professionals. There's the one who, responding to a call for help, brusquely shoves the individual aside, fixes the issue, then leaves without saying a word. Or there's the type who takes time and understands that computers are something the client simply doesn't get.
The timing might sound suspicious to some observers, but Mozilla has just announced a social networking plugin for Firefox that offers some of the features found in the much-heralded RockMelt social browser, the limited-availability beta of which was announced a few days ago.
Once upon a time it was nice and simple. If you were in charge of corporate IT, you bought Microsoft. Serious quantities of computing power required a different solution, but for everything from mid-level enterprise down to desktops, Microsoft did the job. When it came to smartphones, <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/208491/mobile_os_smackdown_windows_phone_7_vs_ios_vs_android.html">Microsoft's products</a> have never been great but always integrated neatly and were favoured by some although not all organizations.
A little-noted announcement earlier this month could have huge implications for cloud take-up in smaller businesses. Dell has snapped up Boomi, a company that describes itself as a "cloud integrator."
The NASA team behind the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers--the Jet Propulsion Laboratory--has announced a move to cloud computing.
I've have a Kindle 3 for a month or two now, and I can confirm that it's a thing of beauty. The ebook revolution might not necessarily start here, but momentum is certainly building.
The announcement a few days ago of Google's new Chrome OS was simultaneously shocking and expected. It's a typically understated and quietly ambitious move on behalf of Google. It's also proof -- if it were needed -- that Google people are supremely smart. They have their sights firmly set on the future as well as the here and now.
Moblin is an Intel-created open-source operating system for netbooks and, specifically, the kind of people who use them.
As mentioned in my last posting, I'm not a very good Linux evangelist. I don't try and convert family and friends to Linux. Therefore, as surprising as it sounds, putting Ubuntu on my dad's new laptop--as I did a week ago--was the first time I've ever directly converted another individual to Linux.
The commercial sponsor and originator of the Ubuntu project, Canonical, has stepped into new territory with the launch of a storage and sync service called Ubuntu One. In the tradition of open source marketing, this has been a "quiet product launch", and appears to have come from nowhere in the last week or two.
You might think that, as a Linux guy, I spend all my time converting friends and family to Linux. This is an epic cliche of the Slashdot-like Linux people, who will often post a comment like: "I switched my grandmother to Gentoo and she's never looked back! I had to teach her to use the optimization flag when compiling code, but now her system is running sweet!"
I've been writing Linux guidebooks for some time, and it's fair to say that most people who buy my books are Windows users looking to make the leap to Linux (or perhaps just wondering what the fuss is about).
I admit it. I'm impressed. I might have written a wishy-washy review of the <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/162129/ubuntu_904_beta_quick_look.html">beta of Ubuntu 9.04</a>, but now I've had a chance to play with the final release, I like what I'm seeing. I like it a lot. Well done, Ubuntu guys!
So far there have been six alpha releases of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04, due for final release next month, and late yesterday the one and only beta release was made available for download. From this point forward there's a release candidate in mid-April, before the final release is made on the 23rd.