Stories by Mark Gibbs

  • Google Chrome: Redefining end user computing

    One of the most profound changes in how computing services are being delivered is the use of the Web as a frontend for just about everything. We have seen this transformation in the thousands of software as a service (SaaS) offerings that have appeared in the last few years that now cover the entire spectrum of applications from corporate accounting through to video editing (something that just a few years ago was hard to imagine becoming a reality).

  • On excellence and best practices

    One of the consequences of the pressures of 21st century business is that while we all talk a good game about excellence, what we usually get and give out is nothing of the kind. Moreover, the bigger the organization and the more money involved the less achieving excellence there is and the more talking about it that goes on.

  • Ensuring you get pizza with sync tools

    How often have you had to repeatedly copy files from one place to another either to create a backup or to synchronize two locations, and finally resorted to writing some dumb batch files to do the job? Of course, as your batch files have no real intelligence, you could well find your ad hoc solution has failed you.

  • Looking for swine and the data society

    Oh great. First the *&%$#@ %$#*%& on Wall Street sinks the financial systems of the world, we create a national debt that's as big as ... well, the national debt, and now we have the beginnings of what could turn out to be a swine flu pandemic (do pigs just call it the flu?). As a precautionary measure, perhaps we should commit porcine genocide and have bacon with every meal.

  • Security: The ugly business

    Security is an ugly business because when you have a problem there's rarely an elegant, straightforward solution. What you usually wind up with is a solution that's just "good enough." I recently learned of a great example that nicely illustrates this point.

  • Generating regexes and Gmail filters

    Before I launch into my main thrust (a word that must be pronounced with a rolling "r") I have to direct you to a work of near genius, txt2re, an online regular expression code generator.

  • Vista: IT loves it, hates it

    Last week I suggested that the IT world, particularly when it comes to marketing, is crazy, and I cited as evidence Microsoft's recently announced US$10 million plan to use comedian Jerry Seinfeld to hawk Vista.

  • Seinfeld and Microsoft: more proof that IT is crazy

    The IT world has a certain level of craziness that is remarkable, and nowhere does it show up more than in how various companies market their products. I have all sorts of examples to illustrate this, but given that I have limited space I'm going to concentrate on what I consider to be the 800-pound gorilla of marketing crazy: Microsoft.

  • Vista vs Darwin

    Over the last few months it has become clear that you readers really don't like Microsoft Vista much. I have yet to get feedback from a reader along the lines of, "All my prayers have been answered." I haven't even received a comment like "it's not that bad." If your collective response to Vista has been unenthusiastic to date then I'm guessing it is not going to be getting better any time soon.

  • Military insecurity

    The Internet is just shy of its 20th commercial birthday. Given that, and the fact that the Internet is based on technologies that are open, well-documented, and well-understood, you'd think that all serious enterprises that connect their e-mail systems to the Internet would be capable of ensuring their security and protecting their assets.

  • Trend Micro sucker punches Barracuda

    Intellectual property, or IP, in the form of patents is, in theory, how we reward those who break new ground, explore strange new technologies, geek out new algorithms and new gadgets, and boldly go where no techie has gone before. In practice, the whole field of IP has become a complete mess with patents being awarded for things that no sane person would call "novel" -- once a key requirement for patentability.

  • Slaves to the browser

    The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines slavery as "submission to a dominating influence," while Wikipedia notes that "slaves -- are ... compelled to perform labour or services." I mention these definitions because I believe we have become enslaved by badly designed Web-based user interfaces.

  • Gearhead: Virtualization mojo

    I know you know this but I'll say it anyway: <a href="">Virtualization</a> is the hottest ticket in the IT biz. But some people don't understand there are multiple ways to virtualize a computing environment.

  • The how, why and where of future IT

    What will your IT department look like in, say, five years? This is an important question, because we're at the beginning of an array of major changes in the how, where and why IT is done.