Stories by Frank Hayes

  • The R word

    Merrill Lynch says we're already in a recession. Is that relevant? Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs say a US recession this year is now unavoidable. Is that relevant?

  • The eight hot-button issues to watch in '08

    Ready for 2008? Budgets may tighten up, but IT's challenges will just keep growing: security problems, virtualization technology, legal issues, users who can't be stopped and that worrisome baby-boomer brain drain. Here are eight hot-button issues to watch out for in the coming year:

  • Attention, Shoppers

    Now it's crunch time. This is the most punishingly high-pressure part of the year, with immovable December deadlines marching ever closer. Nerves will be frayed, stupidity will flare up, and you need to give your people all the help and support you can.

  • A culture of convenience

    Google is getting rid of its 2038 cookies. That's the year 2038, when Web browser cookies created by its Web sites over the past decade were set to expire. From now on, Google's cookies will only last for two years from the date of your last visit to a Google site.

  • Microsoft goes into the furniture business

    And now, the Microsoft coffee table. Don't kid yourself; Microsoft is going into the furniture business. The product it recently unveiled under the name "Surface" isn't a technology, a reference design, a user interface, an application, a PC or an appliance. It's furniture. And yes, that really is the business Microsoft intends to get into.

  • Customer disconnect with automated services systems

    We hate automated customer service systems. That's the key finding of a recent study by Accenture. Understand, the study didn't look at how well we like acquiring, installing, integrating, operating and maintaining customer service automation. It was about how well we like being on the receiving end. Short answer: We don't.

  • FRANKLY SPEAKING: Software town

    Software prices will eventually fall to zero. The open-source software movement has already started that commoditisation." That pronouncement came from MIT professor, Michael A. Cusumano, at a recent Silicon Valley conference called The New Software Industry.

  • Frankly Speaking: HP: nothing new

    HP has made a startling discovery. Last month, an HP marketing executive announced that "IT as we know it is really over" and that, going forward, HP won't be in the information technology business. No, from now on, HP will be in the business of "business technology". Or, as one industry analyst explained it, HP intends to shift from selling IT products to solving business problems.

  • Frankly Speaking: Is it a case of HP 4 no more

    What now for the HP Four? You've already seen the headlines: this month, a Silicon Valley judge dropped all charges against former HP chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, and three other defendants in the HP pretexting scandal, in which news reporters and HP board members were spied on and impersonated as part of an ill-conceived effort to stop leaks to the media.

  • Hard data

    No theory is ever as good as lots of real-world data. So here, based on lots of real-world data, is what you should do to minimize problems with hard disk drives: a) burn them in rigorously; b) replace them as soon as they start throwing errors, especially scan errors; and c) retire them before they turn three years old. Oh, and d) remember that none of those measures is a substitute for regular backups.

  • Trust isn't security

    In Lancaster, last week, the county coroner was brought to court in handcuffs. A grand jury indicted Dr. Gary Kirchner, charging him with giving out his account name and password for a county Web site that contained confidential police 911 information. What kind of information? Names of accident victims and police informants, medical conditions, witness accounts, autopsy reports and not-yet-substantiated accusations. The site was the access point for real-time data generated and used by firefighters, ambulance crews and other emergency responders.

  • The Salesforce platform dream wants to be the next Internet. No, that's not the way the company describes its plans. But a year ago, Salesforce rolled out AppExchange, a website for on-demand applications built by other vendors but running on top of Salesforce's own software. This month, the company launched a preview version of Apex Code, a Java-like language for building those apps. Salesforce executives say they want Salesforce to be a platform, not just a software-as-a-service product.

  • Santa's on his way

    "What's with all the penguins this year?" Santa wondered aloud. The North Pole workshop was certainly full of the tuxedoed birds pushing around carts full of half-finished toys and nudging wrapped packages into his big sack. There were usually a few of them around the place, but nothing like this.

  • Frankly Speaking: Putting the blame on Charlie

    Maybe we've been going about IT security the wrong way. Security guru, Bruce Schneier thinks so. At the recent Hack In The Box conference in Malaysia, Schneier told the crowd technical security measures have proved to be not enough -- it's time to apply economic pressure. For example, banks will only get serious about identity theft if they're legally liable for unauthorized withdrawals, and software vendors will take security seriously only when they can be sued for loss because of buggy software.