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Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 05:48 AM CST
Friday, January 04 2008 @ 06:24 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fifth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All product names used below are registered trademarks of their vendors.
Chapter 5: Open Standards
One of the two articles of faith that Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn embraced in drafting their evolving Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) was this: products built to "open standards" are more desirable than those that aren't. Superficially, the concept made perfect sense – only buy products that you can mix and match. That way, you can take advantage of both price competition as well as a wide selection of alternative products from multiple vendors, each with its own value-adding features. And if things don't work out, well, you're not locked in, and can swap out the loser and shop for a winner.
But did that make as much sense with routers and software as it did with light bulbs and lamps? And in any event, if this was such a great idea, why hadn't their predecessors been demanding open standards-based products for years? Finally, what exactly was that word "open" supposed to mean?
To answer these questions properly requires a brief hop, skip and jump through the history of standards, from their origins up to the present. And that's what this chapter is about.
Friday, December 28 2007 @ 12:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fourth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 4 – Eric Kriss, Peter Quinn and the ETRM
By the end of December 2005, I had been blogging on ODF developments in Massachusetts for about four months, providing interviews, legal analysis and news as it happened. In those early days, not many bloggers were covering the ODF story, and email began to come my way from people that I had never met before, from as far away as Australia, and as near as the State House in Boston. Some began with, "This seems really important – what can I do to help?" Others contained important information that someone wanted to share, and that I was happy to receive.
One such email arrived just before Christmas in 2005. In its entirety, it read:
Enjoy reading your consortiuminfo blog ... keep it up.
Happy New Year,
This was a pleasant and welcome surprise. Until the end of September, Eric Kriss had been the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance, and therefore Peter Quinn's boss. Together, they had conceived, architected and launched the ambitious IT upgrade roadmap that in due course incorporated ODF into the state's procurement guidelines.
Monday, December 10 2007 @ 07:05 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the third chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
This chapter was revised at 8:30 AM on 12/11/07, most significantly by adding the "Lessons applied" section.
Chapter 3: What a Difference a Decade Can Make
In 1980, Microsoft was a small software vendor that had built its business primarily on downsizing mainframe programming languages to a point where they could be used to program the desktop computers that were then coming to market. The five year old company had total revenues of $7,520,720, and BASIC, its first product, was still its most successful. By comparison, Apple Computer had already reached sales of $100 million, and the same year launched the largest public offering since the Ford Motor Company had itself gone public some twenty-four years before. Microsoft was therefore far smaller than the company that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had formed a year after Bill Gates and Paul Allen sold their first product.
Moreover, in the years to come, PC-based word processing products like WordStar, and then WordPerfect, would become far more popular than Microsoft's own first word processing (originally called Multitool Word), providing low-cost alternatives to the proprietary minicomputer based software offerings of vendors like Wang Laboratories. IBM, too, provided a word processing program for the PC called DisplayWriter. That software was based on a similar program that IBM had developed for its mainframe systems customers. More importantly, another program was launched at just the right time to dramatically accelerate the sale of IBM PCs and their clones. That product was the legendary "killer app" of the IBM PC clone market: Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet software upon which Mitch Kapor built the fortunes of his Lotus Development Corporation.
Sunday, December 02 2007 @ 02:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the second chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained last week. The following is one of a number of stage-setting chapters to follow. Comments, corrections and suggestions gratefully accepted. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 2 – Products, Innovation and Market Share
Microsoft is the envy of many vendors for the hugely dominant position it enjoys in two key product areas: PC desktop operating systems – the software that enables and controls the core functions of personal computers - and "office productivity software" – the software applications most often utilized by PC users, whether at work or at home, to create documents, slides and spreadsheets and meet other common needs. Microsoft's 90% plus market share in such fundamental products is almost unprecedented in the technical marketplace, and this monopoly position enables it to charge top dollar for such software. It also makes it easy for Microsoft to sell other products and services to the same customers.
Microsoft acquired this enviable position in each case through a combination of luck, single-minded determination, obsessive attention to detail, and a willingness to play the game fast and hard – sometimes hard enough to attract the attention of both Federal and state antitrust regulators. Early on, Bill Gates and his team acquired a reputation for bare-knuckle tactics that they sometimes seemed to wear with brash pride. Eventually, these tactics (as well as tales of Gate's internal management style) progressed from industry rumors to the stuff of best sellers, like Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire.
With the emergence of the Web, of course, the opportunity for widely sharing stories, both real (of which there were many) and apocryphal, exploded. Soon Web sites such as Say No to Monopolies: Boycott Microsoft enthusiastically collected and posted tales of alleged technological terror and dirty deeds. More staid collections were posted at sites such as the Wikipedia. The increasing tide of litigation involving Microsoft, launched not only by state and federal regulators but by private parties as well, generated embarrassing documents. Such original sources were not only difficult to deny, but almost impossible to repress in the age of the Web - and of peer to peer file sharing as well.
Moreover, while Bill Gates and his co-founders rarely displayed the creative and innovative flair of contemporaries like Apple's Steve Jobs, neither were they troubled by the type of "not invented here" bias that sometimes led other vendors to pursue unique roads that sometimes led to dead ends.
Sunday, November 25 2007 @ 02:51 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
For some time I've been considering writing a book about what has become a standards war of truly epic proportions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing, ever expanding, still escalating conflict between ODF and OOXML, a battle that is playing out across five continents and in both the halls of government and the marketplace alike. And, needless to say, at countless blogs and news sites all the Web over as well.
Arrayed on one side or the other, either in the forefront of battle or behind the scenes, are most of the major IT vendors of our time. And at the center of the conflict is Microsoft, the most successful software vendor of all time, faced with the first significant challenge ever to ione of its core businesses and profit centers – its flagship Office productivity suite.
Quote of the Day
“Patents can promote innovation, but a patent is not a license to engage in deception
-FTC director of Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica L. Rich, commenting on the first settlement with a patent "troll" See all Quotes
Latest NewsHDMI INTERFACE WINS PRIMETIME EMMY® ENGINEERING AWARD FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE IN TELEVISIONPress ReleaseHDMI.org
November 27, 2014 - HDMI Licensing, LLC, the agent that licenses the HDMI Specification, today announced that the HDMI interface has been honored with a Primetime Emmy® Engineering Award for engineering excellence in the television community by the Television Academy. The Engineering Emmy Award is given for developments and/or standardization in engineering technologies which either represent so extensive an improvement on existing methods or are so innovative in nature that they have materially affected the transmission, recording, or reception of television. The award will be presented on January 8, 2015 at the 66th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 2015 International CES conference.... ...Full Story
ZigBee Announces New Internet of Things Standard
SmartMeters November 26, 2014 - The ZigBee Alliance, has announced the unification of its wireless standards to a single standard named ZigBee 3.0, which will provide interoperability among the widest range of smart devices, providing consumers and businesses access to innovative products and services.
The new standard impacts tens of millions of devices already using ZigBee standards. The company reports that “all device types, commands, and functionality defined in current ZigBee PRO-based standards are available to developers in the new standard.”...A complete list of standards that have been merged to create ZigBee 3.0 can be viewed at www.ZigBee.org.... ...Full Story
Samsung, LG Forge IoT Standard Alliance to Lead Global Market
BusinessKorea November 25, 2014 - The competition between IT companies at home and abroad for Internet of Things (IoT) standards to dominate the global market is swinging into high gear. In this environment, Samsung and LG Electronics have agreed to unify IoT standards. The deal is expected to become a bridgehead for local companies to set IoT standards.
According to industry sources and the Korea Association of Smart Homes (KASH) on Nov. 13, Samsung and LG have previously competed with each other to dominate the local IoT market using different standards. However, the two tech giants reached an agreement that they will unify IoT standards to commercialize them in the local market so that they can hold a dominant position in the global market. ....
Due to the agreement, after the latter half of next year it will be possible to develop and produce door locks, boilers, lamps, system air conditioners, gas valves, and automated meter reading systems in accordance with standards for wired smart homes. In addition, it will become easier to maintain and improve services.... ...Full Story
New USB standard unlocks 4K HD streaming
BetaWired November 25, 2014 - New-USB-standard-unlocks-4K-HD-streamingThe next generation USB standard debuting next year will enable incredibly fast transfer speeds that could unlock 4K HD media streaming from smartphones to ultra high definition TV sets in teh future.
The new USB 3.1 standard, which will begin to be integrated into hardware by manufacturers by the end of 2015, increases transfer rates from the current USB 3.0 standard by double. What this means in real-world numbers is that the 4.8 Gbps connection – already rather respectable – will be replaced with a blazing fast 9.6 Gbps connection instead.
The secret is in the USB Type-C connector;... ...Full Story
Net neutrality looks doomed in Europe before it even gets started
Gigaom November 25, 2014 - Here come more leaks, and more reasons to suspect that the European Union is not going to get the hard-won net neutrality law it seemed likely to get just months ago.
After last week’s letter from new European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to his commissioners, suggesting that former digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes’s “Telecom Package” will be pulled and started again as a “Digital Single Market Package”, digital rights group EDRi has published documents that appear to show the neutering of that legislative package’s net neutrality provisions... ...Full Story
VA Cybersecurity Woes Continue, 16 Consecutive Audit Fails
HealthIT Security November 24, 2014 - For the 16th consecutive year, the Department of Veterans Affairs failed its annual cybersecurity audit. The investigation sought to find out if the agency was in compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act, (FISMA)....[the] auditors did tell VA leaders that noticeable progress had been made from the year before. In 2013, the IG found 6,000 specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities and made 35 separate recommendations to close weaknesses. This year, the IG said the list of vulnerabilities had been cut by 21 percent.... ...Full Story
Too many IoT standards, or too few?
EDN Network November 20, 2014 - Interoperability and the easy exchange of data is a major concern in the buildup of the Internet of Things (IoT). To ensure those attributes, a set of commonly accepted standards will be needed. So, do we need to create those standards, or do we already have enough standards and simply need to pick and choose?...it may...be that there are enough standards already out there and what is needed is agreement on which set of standards are to be followed for the IoT. It is equally likely that a different set of standards will be in play for different use cases of the IoT, with applications such as industrial machinery using one set while telemedicine uses a different set. After all, if different types of applications have no need to share their data, then there is no reason to saddle them both with the same set of standards.... ...Full Story
State Council Pledges Support for Development of Cloud Computing
USITO.org Weekly November 20, 2014 - On November 15, China's State Council pledged to accelerate efforts to develop cloud computing innovation as a means of stimulating development of China's information industry.
According to an official State Council statement...China will actively support the integrated development of cloud computing, the Internet of Things and mobile internet. China will also promote online research and design in the education and health care sectors, stimulate innovation in intelligent manufacturing based on cloud computing, and deploy pilot applications to enhance disease prevention, disaster mitigation, social security and e-government.
The statement also indicated that China would support core technological R&D necessary to enable these innovations, and allow the market to play a greater role in pricing information technology products and services. ...Full Story
Interview with OpenStand Advocate Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Turns 25
OpenStand November 19, 2014 - From the beginning, the Internet was built on a set of open development principles, that are now recognized as the OpenStand Principles. As the Internet turns 25 this year, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, sat down to reflect back on the first days of its existence. In the below video, he discusses how far web information has come, and how much more ground there is left to cover.... ...Full Story
Launching in 2015: A Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web
Electronic Frontier Foundation November 18, 2014 - Today EFF is pleased to announce Let’s Encrypt, a new certificate authority (CA) initiative that we have put together with Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, Identrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan that aims to clear the remaining roadblocks to transition the Web from HTTP to HTTPS.
Although the HTTP protocol has been hugely successful, it is inherently insecure. Whenever you use an HTTP website, you are always vulnerable to problems, including account hijacking and identity theft; surveillance and tracking by governments, companies, and both in concert; injection of malicious scripts into pages; and censorship that targets specific keywords or specific pages on sites. The HTTPS protocol, though it is not yet flawless, is a vast improvement on all of these fronts, and we need to move to a future where every website is HTTPS by default.With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Let’s Encrypt CA will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them. Switching a webserver from HTTP to HTTPS with this CA will be as easy as issuing one command, or clicking one button....The Let’s Encrypt CA will be operated by a new non-profit organization called the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). EFF helped to put together this initiative with Mozilla and the University of Michigan, and it has been joined for launch by partners including Cisco, Akamai, and Identrust. ...Full Story