Upon Further Review: My 2005 Resolutions

Opinion: Using Firefox regularly and starting a blog are two of the items on my amended list of New Year's resolutions.

OK, Im amending my New Years resolutions. Long hours being snowbound gets one to thinking. I know its still only January, but changes are needed. No, I havent broken any resolutions yet (eating better and avoiding McDonalds are still tops on my list), but I need to add a few.

Buy a snowblower. I have always sort of sneered at those who rolled out the blower at the first sign of a few flakes. Shoveling snow has always been a kind of fun form of winter exercise for me. But Ive thrown out my back once already this winter, and that was before the latest Storm of the Century dumped 30 inches in my hometown last Sunday, with drifts that buried my poor Accord. If my neighbor, by the goodness of his heart, hadnt come over to blow out the end of my driveway, Id still be shoveling.

Become a regular user of Firefox. Microsofts Internet Explorer resides on more than 90 percent of computers. Statistically, thats a smaller monopoly than a few years ago but still a monopoly. Mozillas Firefox resides on fewer than 5 percent of computers, which makes it a statistical also-ran; however, the growth of Firefox cant be ignored. Its up about 100 percent over the past three months, according to the latest surveys.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about Internet Explorers continuing loss of market share.

Ive downloaded and used Firefox, but up until now, it has not become my "default" Web browser, mostly for lack of ambition on my part to switch off IE. As a result, clicked-on links from Word or AOLs Instant Messenger still open in IE. Using two browsers is like running two word processors: unnecessary.

Firefox performs almost as well, and now that I can use my Yahoo tool bar and bookmarks with it, there are no more reasons not to switch; I can use the Web without worrying about IE-specific Trojans, worms and viruses. Its time to cut the cord.

Think about starting a blog. This one is a little dicey. I dont want to commit to this 100 percent, so I hedged a bit by saying Ill think about it—and I will.

Ive come full circle on the blog question. At first I treated bloggers like owners of snowblowers. (Its an apt analogy, if you pause to consider.) Getting to know some bloggers and becoming a regular reader of a few (but still not getting to Scripting News very often), however, has softened my position a bit. Its not so much that bloggers have cornered the market on news dissemination—they havent—or that theyve reached a sufficient level of maturity; its that blogs attract readers, and if they are updated regularly, they will keep readers. Thats a hard thing to do these days. eWEEK.com and you might see more of them this year.

Have a talk with Carly Fiorina. With a vast user base and quarterly results that are on-again, off-again, the Hewlett-Packard chairman and CEO has, as Ricky Ricardo would have put it, "some splainin to do." Our readers would like to know, and we would like to ask, about the companys enterprise strategy.

Sure, digital cameras, printers and even PCs are cool and trendy. The recent merging of HPs Imaging and PC units is intriguing, but arguments could be made that the move means that the company wont spin off its printing business into a super-growth company or that HP is giving up on PCs. Its interesting in either case, but that still leaves the enterprise business, to which Fiorina seems to give short shrift and which is not nearly as profitable as the rest of HPs business.

Its hard to believe that HP, having swallowed Compaq, which swallowed Tandem Computers and Digital Equipment, cant do more on the high end for its enterprise customers and do it more efficiently and profitably. It was good to see Fiorina last week hosting a Web conference on HP server solutions, but more needs to be done. While IBM is associated with on-demand and grid computing, HPs enterprise "brand" is comparably lacking.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, there were reports last week that HPs board of directors is considering another reorganization, this time involving Fiorina. This year will mark her fifth at the helm of HP, and investors and customers are getting restless. Carly, can we talk?

eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen can be reached at scot_petersen@ziffdavis.com.

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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...