Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

a journalist infiltrates terrorist groups

From CNN: Journalist penetrated Islamic extremist groups in Paris.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 11:56 PM

another patent fiasco

It goes like this: 1) Microsoft releases a certain feature of SQL Server. 2) Developers use the feature. 3) Company that has a patent on the feature's technology sues Microsoft. 4) A Judge rules that the developers that were using the feature have to pay royalties to the patent holder ?!?!?.

It's one thing to license a patent, but I can't understand why people using the feature on software that is properly licensed have to pay as well. Clearly, it's possible that I'm missing something here. But it's still really strange...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 10:41 PM

a nice comment

Dan has nice comment on spaces on his weblog. Thanks Dan!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 10:29 PM

rfc: the spaces plugin subsystem and API

As the release of the spaces beta approaches, I've been working (among other things) on the Plugin subsystem/API for it. I've wrote down an initial spec. It would be great to get feedback from those interested (or not!). Leave comments or email me. Thanks!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 12:15 PM

a bit more on that google thing

Thinking more about Google and where it seems to be going... Don points out Google's big brother potential (and linking to this 'Google as big brother' page). His comments are sensible and to the point (as usual with him). Clearly this could be a worry in the future, but I think Google should be given the benefit of the doubt. Also, these potential problems existed before their Pyra purchase, but of course they are more marked now since they have begun to look more and more like Yahoo! (at least in my opinion) and all that it entails. Regardless of their potential threat to privacy, Google has always treated users well, starting with a simple, reliable service that does what it's supposed to do with no fuss. In any case, what we need is a little more competition in this area, from the likes of Teoma. Otherwise, if Google's not around (or if everyone's paranoid about it), who are you going to trust your searches to? AOL Time-Warner? MSN, or in other words, Microsoft?!?. We should just wait and see, but as things stand now Google is an important independent balancing force in the online world, and their work has been beneficial to the web as a whole.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 12:49 AM

more on MS and open source

A News.com article with more comments on the behavior of Microsoft towards open-source and other "platform threats" in general, noting the Stutz memo I linked to earlier. One comment in the article stands out:

Milunovich took an even harsher view, questioning whether Microsoft was truly innovative. "It's not surprising that a technical person would make this observation," he wrote in his research note. "Microsoft has innovated little, however, and owes its success to luck--IBM handing over the PC OS--and managerial excellence in our view. Still, we agree that Microsoft must notch up the innovation component to do well in new areas."
I don't think that Microsoft can suddenly "learn" to innovate. From the beginning, it has been a late-comer, either buying up the competition or copying it. It is a strategy that has served them well, and I doubt that at this point something so ingrained in their organization can really change. Even if it could, MS's focus on "Windows everywhere" puts forth a huge roadblock for innovation. Most if not all new software technologies worth mentioning threaten in one way or another the platform, either from the point of view of replacement (as Netscape and the Web did in its time) or from the point of view of commoditization (as Linux is doing). Microsoft is trapped in what Clayton Christensen called "The Innovator's Dilemma" in his (excellent) book of the same name, from the incumbent's point of view. None of this means that its power or astonishing margins will necessarilly diminish, certainly not in the short run. Microsoft has a monopoly, and it could be milking it for many years to come.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20, 2003 at 12:26 AM

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