Teams from around Northern California gathered this week at the University of California at Davis for the FIRST Robotics Competition, an event in which high school engineers design and build robots that must complete technical tasks throughout the games. (More details after the jump.)
The U.S. Constitution makes a point of guarding against tyranny through a series of checks and balances. The software market, it turns out, is no different.
Or, rather, it could turn out to be that way. Windows has stood alone for more than a decade as the dominant operating system for personal computers, and it had a growing lock on the server too. But then Linux happened, and Apple's Mac OS X is increasingly spoiling the Windows party (though some recent data suggests that Microsoft's "I'm a PC" marketing may have actually paid off).… Read more
Reading through The Wall Street Journal's interview with Mozilla chair Mitchell Baker, I was struck by her suggestion that (gasp!) we finally have a competitive browser market again:
Of course, that's not comfortable. It will be uncomfortable when there's some feature and we say wow, we should really have that too, but it's also the case … Read more
Linux guru Keir Thomas, in a blog post for PC World, argues that the Linux distribution and Mozilla's Firefox browser have forgotten themselves in the rush to popularity. Or, rather, they've forgotten their core values which, in both cases, translates into forgetting the importance of end users.
I can't agree.
Thomas' biggest complaint about Firefox is that it has slowed down, which seems an odd complaint, given how much faster Firefox 3 is (and Firefox Minefield is mind-numbingly fast).
But his complaints about Ubuntu seem even wider off the mark:
It seems there will be almost no … Read more
A German company has introduced a "wearable" fuel cell that uses direct methanol fuel cell technology, doing away with the weighty mechanical components usually associated with generation of electrical power.
SFC fuel cells took top honors in the U.S. Department of Defense's Wearable Power Competition last October against stiff competition from a host of big-name competitors. But it's not the only game: companies … Read more
Mozilla Foundation's Mitchell Baker describes Firefox, the open-source Web browser, as "an anomaly."
While most Microsoft competitors lay down and die when Microsoft claims 90 percent or more of a market, Mozilla has fought back to earn more than 20 percent of the browser market.
Despite this success, Baker believes that government, and in the European Commission in particular, has a role to play in further leveling the playing field. As she notes in a recent blog post, government entities would perhaps have less relevance but for the antitrust activity that resulted in Microsoft's dominant market … Read more
Is Microsoft the last holdout on an outmoded way of doing business, or is it the vanguard for intellectual-property licensing schemes that herald a new age of competitive cooperation?
Horacio Gutierrez, a friend and vice president of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft, believes that it's the latter and argues that the best way to ensure true interoperability while simultaneously competing is through patent cross-licensing arrangements:
At the heart of these business arrangements is an honest recognition of the value of the intellectual assets that drive innovation. Such arrangements strike a balance between intellectual-property incentives that encourage, recognize, and … Read more
After nearly five years of planning and fighting with local cable and phone companies, the Lafayette Utilities System opened its fiber-optic broadband network for business.
The utility began offering service this week, according to the Lafayette, La. local newspaper, The Daily Advertiser. A small number of customers already have phone, TV, and Internet service. And beginning Friday, LUS will begin marketing the service to customers in the first phase of the roll out. LUS plans to roll out service gradually in three phases and expects to offer a triple play service to all residents throughout the city by 2011.
The … Read more
CNET News has posted a fascinating joint interview with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and EMC's Joe Tucci. Despite partnering vigorously in several areas (including content management and virtualization), the two companies have discovered that an overriding partnership makes sense--and money.
The interview provides insight into how open-source companies will need to interact with Microsoft going forward: compete with Redmond in one's particular application space but partner with Microsoft as a platform or complementary application.
This isn't to say it won't sometimes be uncomfortable. Tucci notes that even the best partnership will have areas of overlap that … Read more
In a recent CNET interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Ballmer calls out two "primary forces" for Microsoft in the enterprise: Oracle and Linux. These are the things that keep Microsoft's Ballmer up at night.
It's odd, then, that neither Red Hat nor Novell seem to be doing much to take Microsoft on directly, except in the Unix-to-Linux competition with Windows that either Red Hat or Microsoft is winning, depending on whom you ask.