Stories by Tom Yager

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Mobility's end game

    It's like the browser wars all over again: Two vendors are battling to win the hearts, minds, and debit cards of users and developers. The browser wars were really platform wars, based on the assumption that the browser would be the nexus through which users would access data inside and outside their company's walls. The battle hymn is sounding once more, only this time it's a ring tone. I'll get to the connection between the browser wars and the enterprise mobility race at the end.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Motorola's savvy spin-off

    During the last recession, few suffered as much as Motorola. After layoffs and other painful cuts, many expected the company to sell or shut down its semiconductor business. But Motorola chose a smoother path, spinning off its semiconductors as a separate company called Freescale Semiconductor.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Consolidation in a small package

    I held a Research In Motion BlackBerry 7100T recently. It's a feature-rich phone with a gorgeous user interface that happens to do email. Earlier, I'd been talking with Nokia about its 9300, a mobile messaging device you can also use to make phone calls. Then, I also rented an Avis Assist unit. It guided me unerringly door-to-door through a bizarre maze of highways and streets on a cheap, monochrome Motorola phone.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Itanium is Intel's future

    Intel racked up some serious karmic debt when it schemed to run Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) out of the PC processor business. Xeon now languishes in Opteron's shadow, which strikes me as just desserts for some nasty business. Now is a good time for Intel to send up some mea culpas and grab some focus. Instead, Intel is pursuing a reactive strategy.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: The unwelcome gift of Java

    Major vendors are getting better at donating source code to the public. But by and large, companies engage in code charity in safe and limited ways. They incorporate existing free code into their commercial products, giving their nonproprietary enhancements - sometimes along with equipment, software, and support - back to the projects that created the free components. Commercialisation creates jobs for hungry developers as consultants, authors, trainers and, in rare occasions, employees of the companies that take the code commercial.

  • Analysis: Is AMD the new Intel?

    You just gotta love a Cinderella story. Advanced Micro Devices is the hardscrabble kid who came to Silicon Valley with a dollar and a pack of Luckies and ended up in a building with its name on top. AMD's rapid rise from startup to US$5 billion semiconductor powerhouse is, as Humphrey Bogart's English teacher once said, the stuff of which dreams are made.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Nocona pulls a fast one

    As a Xeon, Nocona is a honey of a power boost: fat cache; fast clock speed; smaller, denser die; and faster front-side bus. Intel’s engineers busted hump to make Nocona Intel’s best Xeon CPU. It’s a shame that this laudable effort will be overshadowed by the last-minute inclusion of EM64T, Intel’s 64-bit extended memory architecture. The Nocona EM64T-equipped server CPU, and its desktop counterpart Prescott, are precisely the “64-bit instructions strapped to 32-bit CPUs” that Intel warned against when Pentium 4 Xeon was launched.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: The mighty Mac

    The quiet time forced upon us by the recession gave us all an opportunity to do some window shopping — to consider technology that we weren’t prepared to buy and to ponder the new solutions we could craft with it. That put new client and server platforms on IT’s radar. The Mac client platform is a good place to start any examination.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Microsoft’s new rules of engagement

    Most enterprise development tools vendors have remarkably little interaction with developers. That grows from two principles that guide the tools market: Developers don’t make buying decisions, and it’s impossible to make any two developers happy. For PR’s sake it’s a good idea to create a forum or a newsgroup for developers to complain to one another, but for sanity’s sake, don’t let anyone from the company participate in it.

  • The visible SAN from Apple

    I recently had a talk with Apple Computer's Tom Goguen, director of server and storage software, about Xsan, the software-based SAN solution that Apple's putting out in the fall for US$999 per server. I went into the discussion knowing what a SAN is, but after about five minutes I felt like I was in short pants and learning my ABCs.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Make spam wait

    I respect the great thinkers devising antispam solutions based on intelligent protocols and brilliant mathematics. (And by spam I refer to all unpleasant email such as worms.) I also believe that although this research will improve security for those who choose to apply it, science won’t be enough to eliminate spam. We need patient, diligent, and ruthless mail servers.

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Tough equation to solve

    There is a logical disconnect between this election year's political spin on the recovery, the rosy economic statistics, and economic reality. Despite the full recovery that has been projected for IT, America's most highly prized high-tech jobs are disappearing, sucked into the transoceanic cables and satellite beams that wire the world together.