The week in review: the best and worst of the week just passed in technology: Friday, January 05, 2007
Good: What's good for Cisco is good for Cisco. Cisco's $830 million of the spam and email filtering company was a much needed move for Cisco's plans to evolve into a true platform company. Spam and email abuse has moved from being rare, to being a pain to now being capable of bringing a company's infrastructure to its knees. IronPort's CEO Scott Weiss saw the potential in building a really strong email defense early on. In an earlier meeting I had with him, I was impressed with his intention to build a really robust enterprise level product and not be swayed with the lure of the consumer market or other hot markets of the moment. If, and this is a very big if, Cisco can integrate IronPort into the Cisco Self-Defending Network framework, the combination would be a very attractive product to the enterprise CIO. In addition to eWeek's article here, there is also an interesting angle about this in Forbes
Better: A terabyte in the laptop. This probably fits into the both better and worse category. Both Hitachi and Seagate are set to introduce 3.5 inch, about $400 disk drives capable of holding one terabyte. That is a lot of storage. The drive vendors will soon allow consumers to walk around with their entire lives stored on their computer. That is also the bad side by the way. Having lots of data in your laptop is very convenient until the laptop gets stolen. Let's hope that the vendors are equally adamant about adding security and encryption features as they continue to add capacity. Click here for the San Francisco Chronicle story
Best: More storage, but this time it is a hybrid. If you can combine a gasoline engine and an electric engine in an automobile, why not combine solid state storage and rotating storage in a laptop? The good new is that you can and vendors will start offering these products within a year. This promises to bring more relief to the hardworking laptop battery (you won't need to keep spinning the drive) at a time when mobile users are still a little wary about their laptop's bursting into flame at inopportune moments. Here is our article on the hybrid storage alliance.
Worst: The plan to have web access in your car from a company called Autonet Mobile. OK, I'm all for ubiquitous web access, but how about a warning not to surf the web and do email while driving? There is nothing more dangerous than a driver behind the wheel of an SUV with a coffee in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Add in web surfing and you are in store for series of traffic accidents where the driver can watch themselves crash in real time via streaming video coming over the web. Here's the BusinessWeek story on turning your car into a hotspot
Passings: The news about the deaths of two technology execs appeared in my email this week. Over the years, I had a chance to meet with both of them and I found them not just astute business execs, but thoughtful leaders that could talk about more than just the latest widget.
Sam Starr, 47, the president and chief executive of Sterling Commerce died recently from an undisclosed illness. Starr really understood the needs of ecommerce for the enterprise. He helped develop Sterling into a company that could take their customers into the fast driven world of international ecommerce in a safe manner without the need to throw out their existing software. He knew where the company was headed, was sufficiently confident not to have to rely on the crutch of PowerPoint and canned presentations and could talk about any number of topics with authority. For the company's release on his death click here
Garry Betty, 49, was instrumental in building EarthLink from a small startup to a telecom powerhouse, died in Atlanta of heart problems associated with cortical cancer. The Georgia Institute of Tech grad was one of the lynchpins of the Georgia technology community. I remember him as president of Digital Communications Associates as well as being at Hayes Microcomputer when that company established the modem networking business. He knew his stuff, but was never overbearing in his knowledge. For the full New York Times obituary, click here
Both will be missed.