Thursday, 09 February 2006

People everywhere are commenting on the press release sent out Thursday by Research in Motion (RIM) earlier today regarding their software workaround that they have ready in the wings, should they lose an injunction hearing in a US court later this month.

Interestingly, the comments lean toward overwhelmingly positive. While I'm certainly glad RIM's doing something in the contingency planning department, and while I truly appreciate RIM's service and excellent devices, I just don't see things as all happy and cheerful and rosy. Call me a stick in the mud, or call me pragmatic. Whatever. I'n not a Blackberry or RIM hater, just someone who's caught in the middle of a problem that many other IT pro's can relate to.

RIM's has this workaround going for some time, and their announcement today comes just a couple weeks before the ruling. Previous reports indicate the judge in the case, if he issues the injunction, might provide a four week buffer before the injection would become active (that's what the complainant, NTP, has asked for, anyhow). That means in about six weeks, every Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and every Blackberry handheld in the United States (maybe everywhere) might have to be updated with a software patch that RIM has yet to describe or provide. Not only that, but there's no indication made as to what versions of the BES software will be upgradeable and when that software might be delivered.

Or - who knows - maybe it will only apply to new devices when they're sold, and not ones already out there. But the servers - well no way to avoid changes there if the injunction is issued.

For what it's worth, I think this whole thing is an unfortunate pain in the backside, one which could and should have been avoided by both sides of the dispute long ago. But now we're stuck here, all of us, and it's no good. Invalidated patents being used to claim intellectual property rights are at issue, and millions of people are potentially impacted.

So I don't know about you, but no matter what happens in the court, this situation represents an expensive, time consuming and complicated set of upgrade circumstances. If RIM wants to do this the right way, seems to me maybe it's time to issue the workaround software now, get it out there in the hands of the people that need to deploy it, and then leverage it if and when it's needed. From RIM's statements, it looks like that should be a viable option:

"BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition is a software update that enables underlying changes to the message delivery system. BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition provides two modes of operation: Standard mode and US mode. When users are outside the US, and receiving service from a non-US service provider, the BlackBerry device operates in Standard mode and there are no changes to the current message delivery system or BlackBerry functionality."

Or at least state what versions of the server software can be upgraded should the need arise, and when. In a world where enterprise change management and production system testing requirements reign, especially on a platform as fundamentally sensitive as the BES system (secure messaging is a critical piece of infrastructure), four to six weeks is so little time as to be impossible for some.

I've carried Blackberry devices now for years, and I've worked with and managed the BES software for just as long. It's not the simplest stuff, and it's something companies rely on for their day to day operations. It's not just a nice-to-have, it's an integral piece of operational infrastructure.

Regardless of who's right or wrong in the legal case, it might just be time for RIM to stop the dancing, get off the floor, and pay the valet to bring the coach. It's getting late, and someone's ride is starting to look a bit like a pumpkin.

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Mobile | Tech
Thursday, 09 February 2006 22:59:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The DualCor cPC running Windows XP Tablet PC EditionRecently, I was approached by DualCor, a company that is working now on the release their cPC product, about serving on their newly-formed board of expert technical advisors. I had a conversation with the company's CEO, Steve Hanley, and was impressed with what they're doing. Their product line is of great interest to me, so I accepted. I'm honored to be on the advisory board and to have an opportunity to provide input as they launch and continue to develop a very interesting product.

I'll probably write on this weblog about the DualCor products - in fact I can't imagine not doing so. I've already written one brief entry about the cPC device (but that was actually before DualCor approached me about their advisory board). Since I'm now on their board and have a formal relationship with the company, I think it's important to say so here - full disclosure and all.

All that aside - I'm truly excited to use the new cPC device. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows Mobile OS on one device. Phone, too. Dual processors, a gig of RAM, and fast, fast, fast...

Learn more at and see my past post here. And there's a c|net video from CES about the cPC here.

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Random Stuff | Geek Out | Tech
Thursday, 09 February 2006 20:23:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 08 February 2006

If you do searches on Google and you ever get "spammy" search results, you can report the offending results to the Google people that deal with just that problem. They have an online form you can use. Since it's hard to find (the form, that is), here you go:

Stop search spam, report a spammer. I wonder if this works for Google Blog Search? Hmmm...

(via Jeremy Zawodny's linkblog)

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Wednesday, 08 February 2006 14:43:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 06 February 2006

Products_hero_serverThe virtualization marketplace is huge, and very competitive. Microsoft has their Virtual Server product and the Virtual PC counterpart, and VMWare's got their VMWare ESX Server and Workstation products, among others.

VMWare has formally announced that they're shipping a free server product, which they are coining "VMWare Virtual Server." It replaces the GSX Server line, and the target audience is developers, testers and IT pros that need flexible environments. It's not positioned as an enterprise-class platform for production server use, however.

You can see a comparison chart that depicts the differences between VMWare's virtualization server products here.

The company also recently released the free VMWare Player, which allows people to run pre-build virtual machines (or if you are technically creative you can also build virtual machines with it, but that's another story).

For any of these VMWare virtualization platforms, there are some pre-built virtual machines also available for download in the Virtual Machine Center.

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Monday, 06 February 2006 13:37:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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My co-worker Mike pointed out an article that's got to make some people more than a little nervous. Imagine if an RFID chip could be embedded in a piece of paper, virtually undetectable.

Well, it can. You can imagine the security and privacy concerns (while marveling at the technical advances). From

"Hitachi was due to present details of the 0.15-millimeter by 0.15-millimeter, 7.5-micron-thick chip on Sunday (Feb. 5) at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

"Paper is typically 80 microns to 100 microns thick, and the chip substrate has been made small and thinned to 7.5 micron to ease application in paper, where it could be used as an intelligent watermark."

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IT Security
Monday, 06 February 2006 13:03:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The Super Bowl commercials are on the web at Google Video.

You can play them all back to back by clicking here. My favorites? Here they are:




  Bud Light
  Hidden Bud Light


And because you have to have the one that makes you turn your head and and say, "Whaaa???"

  Emerald Nuts


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Humor | Random Stuff
Monday, 06 February 2006 00:52:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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