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Stories by Ephraim Schwartz

  • Netbooks in the business: Do they make sense?

    With the some of the most recognized names in the high-tech industry -- Intel, Arm, Microsoft, Linux, Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and many more --hyping netbooks as the next big thing, we decided to take a look at a category whose exact definition is still in flux to see how and where they fit into business usage.

  • The incredible shrinking operating system

    From the software concept called JeOS (pronounced "juice"), the Just Enough OS, to hardware concepts like Celio RedFly, an 8-inch screen and keyboard device running applications off a smartphone via a USB or a Bluetooth connection, there are an increasing number of indications that the center of gravity is shifting away from the traditional massive operating systems of the past.

  • Obama can't have a BlackBerry. Should your CEO?

    The press has been all over President-Elect Barack Obama's addiction to his BlackBerry and the possibility that he might have to give it up for reasons of national security. But no one in the media seems to be asking the most logical follow-up question: Is the cybertechnology that can compromise the future chief executive's BlackBerry also a threat to mobile devices being used every day by thousands of senior executives in corporate America?

  • Cybersecurity report offers Obama assorted recommendations

    A congressionally sponsored study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, made public on Monday, recommends everything from the creation of a the National Office for Cyberspace outside the authority of the Department of Homeland Security to maintaining "sufficient manufacturing capabilities" at home to supply components and software that is not dependent on a global supply chain.

  • The XBRL mandate is here: Is IT ready?

    Given all the pressures IT is under, another compliance initiative may seem to be one too many. There is such a mandate: to submit financial reports using XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) tags. How much will the XBRL mandate add to IT's burden? At first, the burden will be small, but it will increase over time -- as will the opportunity to use XBRL for better internal operations, not just for reporting compliance.

  • Profiting from reduced IT energy dependency

    While I applaud any company's attempt to be environmentally responsible and implement "green" projects, I remain skeptical of long-term commitments to green initiatives that don't decrease costs, fatten the bottom line, or polish the organization's image.

  • How IT could have prevented the financial meltdown

    In the coming weeks the feds and the surviving financial services institutions will have the daunting task of unraveling all the securitized loans and other instruments that are hiding the toxic investments. But does the technology exist to do that? And if so, could it have been used to prevent the bad debt from hitting the fan in the first place?

  • Prepaid software: More than a token solution to licensing woes

    I'm writing about Aspen Technology today not because you are likely to ever need its software (unless you own an oil refinery) but because the way the company allows its customers to purchase its smorgasbord of software applications is unique -- so much so that you may want to consider putting a little pressure on your vendors to consider the same.

  • Painful lessons from IT outsourcing gone bad

    As companies look to economize in a weak economy worsened by rising energy costs, it may be more tempting than ever to consider outsourcing your IT -- whether to a cloud-based provider, to a shop in your town, or to a provider in some far-off land. Certainly, outsourcing has worked well for many companies, but it can also lead to business-damaging nightmares, says Larry Harding, founder and president of High Street Partners, a global consultancy that advises company on how to expand overseas. After all, if outsourcers fail, you're left holding the bag without the resources to fix the problem.

  • RFID's new utility in the datacenter

    When you think of RFID, you likely think of the radio tags being used to track items in a warehouse or verify prescriptions in a hospital -- two long-time uses of the radio frequency identification tags.