The dominance of Microsoft's Office in the marketplace would be logical (if frustrating, to those that think that competition breeds better products), if it was simply a matter of developer seats. After all, Microsoft deployed hundreds, and then thousands of engineers to develop and evolve its flagship app over the last 25 years. How could anyone expect a less well funded commercial competitor, much less an open source project, to equal Office for features, performance and interoperability with other office suites?
At the same time, people keep trying - a lot of them. Not just long-established competitors, like Corel, with the venerable and estimable WordPerfect office suite it bought from Novell, open source projects like OpenOffice and KOffice, as well as projects launched by much larger players, such as IBM (Lotus Symphony) and Google (Docs).
WordPerfect aside, most of these offerings disappoint when it comes to round tripping documents with Office users, although many provide perfectly fine alternatives for stand-alone use, particularly by those that don't need to create the most complex business document.
The funny thing is, though, that the quality of the result, and even the ability to interoperate in a world dominated by Microsoft's Office, doesn't necessarily equate to the depth of the resources of the developer. Now isn't that an interesting observation?
Why did perennial litigant Rambus, Inc. settle with the European Commission?
Certainly the most watched standards-related legal conflict of the decade involves the participation of memory technology vendor Rambus, Inc. in a working group hosted by standards developer Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) in the early 1990s. The fame (or notoriety) of the conflict arises in part from the importance of the conduct at issue (did Rambus set a "patent trap" for implementers of the standard that emerged from the working group?), and in part from the seemingly endless string of law suits that resulted from that conduct some fifteen years ago.
Most of these suits were brought by Rambus against vendors that refused to pay royalties when they implemented the standard, but these suits almost always resulted in vigorous counterclaims against Rambus, brought by those same implementers. And investigations into Rambus's conduct were also brought by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, and by the European Commission in Europe. A separate string of cases related to alleged price fixing and other improper conduct by other vendors that participated in the same working group, which ended in record settlement amounts being paid by those vendors to the regulators.
If you haven't heard the words "smart grid" before, that's likely to change soon. That's especially so if you live in the U.S., where billions of dollars in incentive spending is pouring into making the smart grid a reality. As you might expect, since I'm talking about it here, the smart grid will rely on standards to become real. A whole lot of standards, in fact, and that's a problem
Those of you who are subscribers to my free standards eJournal Standards Today know that I've dedicated each of the last several issues to one of the many multi-billion dollar initiatives that the Obama Administration has launched that are heavily dependent on standards - which in many cases do not yet exist. Each initiative is also of great complexity, and will need to rely on a level of cooperation and collaboration that does not natively exist in the marketplace. That's certainly the case with the Smart Grid challenge, and that's what the latest issue of Standards Today is all about.
Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. electric power delivery infrastructure served our nation well,… This once state-of-the-art system brought a level of prosperity to the United States unmatched by any other nation in the world. But a 21st-century U.S. economy cannot be built on a 20th-century electric grid. A Vision for the Modern Grid, National Energy Technology Laboratory, for the DOE, March 2007
For decades utility companies and environmentalists alike have known that more dramatic and economical advances in energy policy could be achieved through energy conservation than by any other means. By utilizing techniques as simple as buying more efficient appliances and better insulating our homes we can lower our dependence on foreign oil, release fewer greenhouse gases, and savemoney as well, all at the same time. For almost as long, utilities have promoted the concept of “demand side management,” and sought to enlist the aid of consumers and businesses to shift electricity usage to low-demand times of the day, with the potential benefit of avoiding the need to build expensive new power plants.
I am an avid, lifelong, reader of newspapers in general, and of the New York Times in particular. And I'm a staunch believer in the essential role of an independent press in a modern democracy. I’m also the owner of a Web site that serves over a million page views a month, some of which display short extracts of news articles, with links back to the full text. On occasion those links lead back to stories appearing at the Web site of the Times.
So why am I trying to kill my beloved Times and its worthy brethren?
Before Linux.com went dark late last year, it was one of the most visited open source news aggregation and discussion sites. As you may recall, word got this March that the Linux Foundation had taken Linux.com over, and was committed to making it bigger, better and richer than before. Further to that goal, it set up "Ideaforge," to tap the developer and user communities to learn what they in an on-line resource to make the Linux ecosystem more successful and satisfying for all involved.
After months of effort behind the scenes, and some pretty impressive Web design, the Linux Foundation delivered on that promise last night. What you'll find there is something that's different from anything that's ever existed before - an interactive, growing, feature and content rich resource that can help you hone your skills, find a job, assemble a Linux-based system, and, of course, access the most up to date news, blogs and ideas about open source software in general, and Linux in particular. What it's all about can be summed up in just six words: For the community, by the community. And if you read this blog, that includes you.
It was an interesting trip, in all, providing a cascade of often starkly diverse images. How varied a range? On the natural grandeur list, I would add spectacular sunsets, wildernesses of soaring, broken redrock, and broad vistas of pristine desert.
And at the opposite end of the spectrum, I might begin with the sights that greeted me when I crossed the Colorado early in the trip, and threaded my way through the 27th Annual Laughlin River Run, a meet that draws over 40,000 leather-clad, mostly aging bikers to what Motorcycle-usa.com calls, “one of the more popular events on the West Coast rally scene, packing bikini contests, custom bike shows, demo rides, poker runs, freak shows and tattoo contests into four-days of 24/7 fun.” I can attest to the fact that it also packs in what is presumably one of the largest assemblages of multi-story, inflatable Jim Beam bottle and Budweiser can replicas to be found anywhere in one place.
The southwestern landscape hosts a variety of signature geologic forms, some of which have become iconic as the backdrops for countless western movies. If you should find yourself channel surfing late tonight, a single frame of a mesa, butte, spire or hoodoo will instantly lock you on to the genre, even before the dusty characters ride into view.
The desert rock garden is a less well known type, but it will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time knocking about the southwest, and around Arizona in particular. Unlike the angular, striated spires and hoodoos that erode out of sedimentary formations, rock gardens are more often volcanic in origin than not, usually granitic, and rounded in form, characteristically resembling enormous blowups of the sand dribbles that a child makes at the beach by allowing a slurry of water and sand to slip through her fingers.
Long-time readers will know that whenever I can, I disappear into the desert for as long as I can. Often, the opportunity arises to cadge a lift out west on the back of a business trip, and so it is that I write this in northwestern Arizona a couple days after spending a day in a conference room buried deep within the bowels of the raucus, random, blaring, unworldly nonsense that is otherwise known as the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some of the nonsense worked to my favor, or at least amusement, as my $143.95 room was somehow traded up into a penthouse suite on the 62nd floor of the hotel – a suite that was bigger than the first floor of my admittedly small house, with 18 foot ceilings, a wall of glass behind motorized drapes, bar, living room, two bathrooms (one palatial), four flat screen TV sets (more than I have owned of any type in my entire life), and no coffee maker.
The service the lawyer renders is his professional knowledge and skill, but the commodity he sells is time — Reginald Heber Smith, inventor of the billable hour
Both reviled and ubiquitous, the billable hour is the roach of the legal world — Douglas McCollam, writing in the American Lawyer
Let's imagine that you would like to have your dilapidated, wood-sided house painted. The southern exposure is peeling, the soffits sport dark Rorschach patterns of mildew, and more than a few window sills have that uncomfortably punky feel to the touch that whispers "we're rotting — you must help us." You know that you can't put off facing the music any longer, and hope that the impact on your wallet will be no more painful than absolutely necessary.
So you do what any rational homeowner would — you get some referrals from people you trust, call the folks they recommend, and tell each of them that you'll be soliciting several bids. While you're at it, you also call the painter who, as luck would have it, had dropped a flyer in your mailbox that very afternoon.
Over the next week each housepainter stops by after work, walks around your house, scribbles a few notes, and promises to get back to you with a quote. Within a week, most of them actually do. Like any homeowner would, you select the cheapest, failing to note that it came from the painter you found through the flyer. Soon, the job is done, and he drops by to collect the agreed upon amount. Pleased, you pay him on the spot.
What a nice, logical system, especially for the buyer. You know just what you'll have to pay before you commit to pay it, and gain the benefit of competitive bidding as well. You'd be crazy to take on such a large financial commitment any other way, wouldn't you?
Quote of the Day
“What the Federal Communications Commission’s local number portability rule is to telecommunications”
-TechPageOne's Dennis Smith offering an analog for interoperability standards and Cloud Computing
Launch of ‘Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada’ (CARIC) DPN April 23, 2014 - The highly-anticipated Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC) has been launched....A joint initiative of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and CRIAQ, CARIC is a national research and technology network that unites stakeholders from industry, universities, colleges and research institutions; bringing together the best of the entire Canadian industry to identify strategic aerospace technology areas and facilitate collaborative research and development. The network's model is based upon that of CRIAQ, which was unanimously recognized by the aerospace industry as a best practice for collaborative research in Canada.... ...Full Story
NIST Removes Cryptography Algorithm from Random Number Generator Recommendations NIST Techbeat April 23, 2014 - Following a public comment period and review, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has removed a cryptographic algorithm from its draft guidance on random number generators. Before implementing the change, NIST is requesting final public comments on the revised document, Recommendation for Random Number Generation Using Deterministic Random Bit Generators (NIST Special Publication 800-90A, Rev. 1).
The revised document retains three of the four previously available options for generating pseudorandom bits needed to create secure cryptographic keys for encrypting data. It omits an algorithm known as Dual_EC_DRBG, or Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator. NIST recommends that current users of Dual_EC_DRBG transition to one of the three remaining approved algorithms as quickly as possible.... ...Full Story
The Personal Connected Health Alliance Launches with Goal to Improve Health and Wellness through Connected Technologies Press Release PCHA.org April 22, 2014 - The Personal Connected Health Alliance, an international non-profit organization established by Continua Health Alliance, mHealth Summit and HIMSS to represent the consumer voice in personal connected health, formally launched today. PCHA will build upon the global reach, leadership and resources of its founding organizations, to ensure that personal connected health technologies, such as smartphones, mobile apps, sensors and personal health tracking devices, are user-friendly, secure and can easily collect, display and relay personal health data. The Alliance's work will generate greater awareness, availability and access to plug-and-play consumer-friendly personal health technologies that empower people to better manage their health and wellness, anytime and anywhere, in an increasingly connected world....The mission of PCHA is to promote the adoption, standardization and appropriate regulation of personal connected health devices and systems in order to empower individuals to better manage their health and wellness from anywhere, at any time, with stronger links between consumers, their social networks and providers. Additionally, PCHA aims to nurture the technology ecosystem necessary to facilitate “big data” in healthcare. PCHA will continue to develop and publish industry standards for interoperability of personal connected health devices, via the Continua Design Guidelines and certification programs.... ...Full Story
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant characters with an explosive plot line definitely worth a read!!! lizzy.b Amazon.co.uk Reader Reviews April 18, 2014 - Oh boy, I was definitely hooked. When I first started the book I had no idea where I would end up! It seems however that I have fallen hook, line, and sinker for this marvelous book of mystery and cyber-panic. One thing to note is that Updegrove really knows his stuff! I couldn’t believe the attention to detail that has been used in this book and the way that it is described and told to the reader.... ...Full Story
The Apache Software Foundation Announces 100 Million Downloads of Apache(tm) OpenOffice(tm) Press Release Apache Foundation April 18, 2014 - The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice™ has been downloaded 100 million times.
Apache OpenOffice is the leading Open Source office document productivity suite, available in 32 languages on Windows, OS X, and Linux. OpenOffice includes a word processor ("Writer"), a spreadsheet ("Calc"), a presentation editor ("Impress"), a vector graphics editor ("Draw"), a mathematical formula editor ("Math"), and a database management program ("Base"). As Open Source software, Apache OpenOffice is available to all users free of charge; the C++ source code is readily available for anyone who wishes to enhance the applications....Official downloads at openoffice.org are hosted by SourceForge, where users can also find repositories for more than 750 extensions and over 2,800 templates for OpenOffice.... ...Full Story
6 standards that shape open-source cloud computing Dennis Smith TechPageOne April 18, 2014 - Open source, cloud computingAs cloud computing matures, the early stages of open cloud standards are taking shape – partly in response to IT’s concerns for increased security and lockout prevention. Alternately, the discussion continues around whether open source is the answer, especially given the number of firmly entrenched closed cloud players including Amazon, Google and HP....We’ve identified six standards areas that could influence the future of open-source cloud computing:... ...Full Story
XML Entity Definitions for Characters (2nd Edition), and Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 3.0 2nd Edition are W3C Recommendations Press Release W3C.org April 17, 2014 - The Math Working Group has published two W3C Recommendations
* XML Entity Definitions for Characters (2nd Edition). This
document defines several sets of names, so that to each
name is assigned a Unicode character or sequence of
characters. Each of these sets is expressed as a file of
XML entity declarations.
* Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 3.0 2nd
Edition. This specification defines the Mathematical Markup
Language, or MathML. MathML is a markup language for
describing mathematical notation and capturing both its
structure and content. The goal of MathML is to enable
mathematics to be served, received, and processed on the
World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality
for text.... ...Full Story
Can the semantic web revolutionize healthcare analytics? Jennifer Bresnick EHR Intelligence April 17, 2014 - There’s nothing easy about building an analytics infrastructure in the healthcare industry. With data piling up in petabytes every couple of months and few organizations currently capable of wrestling their troves of clinical and financial into an actionable format, the analytics landscape looks hopelessly complicated and prohibitively expensive.
But what if data scientists could help healthcare organizations understand the value and deep interdependence of their data stores in an intuitive manner based on standards and natural language? Jay Shah, Executive Vice President at Octo Consulting, believes that the newly-emerging concept of the semantic web will provide a powerful boost to the problem of organizing and understanding healthcare data by creating new connections and leveraging the latest in cutting-edge data theory.... ...Full Story
SCTE Launches ‘Corporate Alliance Program’ Jeff Baumgartner MultiChannel News April 16, 2014 - In an effort to drive new technology training tools and education programs while also expanding its base of individual members, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has launched a Corporate Alliance Program, naming Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Suddenlink as the initiative’s charter members.
According to SCTE, the new program will focus on the development of training and education for emerging technologies, and offer discounts on individual employee memberships, access to online courses, and seats at the SCTE Leadership Institute programs at the Tuck School of Businesses at Dartmouth and the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.... ...Full Story