Well, it's that time again when vendors are gearing up for the next round of technology launches. Of course, this makes my life harder as I try to read their plans - and this week I'm left with more questions than answers.
For example, will someone tell me if Oracle will launch its Field Sales Online (FSO product in a few months, as expected? The company apparently scrapped an internal project for sales-force automation (SFA) recently, and it begs the question of whether Oracle can deliver the FSO goods. The story goes that Mark Barrenechea, Oracle's vice president of front-office application development, promised Larry he would deliver an SFA application internally by the end of August. It didn't happen, and the project is back to square one. No word on how much longer Barrenechea, who came to Oracle from Scopus, will be in the Emerald City.
So what's up with IBM's ViaVoice? I'm told that it's not compatible with the foundation classes that Microsoft is shipping with Visual C++ 6.0. IBM's solution is to replace the current library with the old one on which their product works, but some users don't think this is the right answer, considering other products will write to the new library.
Another company which seems to be making presumptuous decisions about which software you should use is Agfa. A reader tells me that PhotoWise, the software that is bundled with Agfa's digital cameras, automatically sets itself as the system's default application for editing J-PEG files, despite the fact that many other applications also use the same graphics file format. Users accustomed to Adobe Photoshop or any other editing package being launched when they double-click on a file will find this most irritating.
I did get the answer recently to one question: Apple's next-generation operating system, Mac OS X, seems to indicate it is version 10. Internally, however, I hear that OS X actually means OpenStep eXtended, because it is based on technologies Apple got from Next. This might also explain why there is no Mac OS 9. (I'd just assumed the Apple folks can't count.)