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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

This blog has been superseded by the mrontemp blog
Location: Ontario, California, United States

Sometime audio artist. Email comments on this blog to the gmail account mrontemp.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

And the businessman carried the bomb onto the plane

Carmi Levy has written a press release.

Press Release Source: Info-Tech Research Group

Exploding Laptops Pose Potential Hazard for Air Travel and Personal Safety says Info-Tech Research Group
Wednesday June 28, 3:46 pm ET
Personal Computing Industry must Address the Issues

LONDON, ON, June 28 /PRNewswire/ - Incidents of computer batteries erupting in smoke, fire and even explosions have caused numerous laptop recalls within the last year and pose a threat to personal safety by users especially during air travel, Info-Tech Research Group stated today.

"The most recent event we're aware of involved a Dell laptop exploding and bursting into flames at a business meeting in Osaka, Japan," said Info-Tech's Senior Analyst Carmi Levy. "The potential for an in-flight incident of this nature when travelers are using battery power for portable PCs certainly exists. Everyone worries about covert explosives being taken on board planes, but what about the average laptop that could be just as dangerous?"

Recalls related to computer batteries overheating have been issued by at least three computer equipment manufacturers within the last year. Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced a recall of some 15,700 HP and Compaq notebook computer batteries in April this year after 20 reports of batteries overheating. Dell announced a recall of about 22,000 of its notebook computer batteries in December, 2005. And Apple Computer recalled 128,000 batteries shipped in its PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 laptops in the spring of 2005.

"The propensity for these devices to explode has been known for some time, and regulatory bodies and manufacturers need to turn up the heat on solving these issues rather than using recalls as a band-aid solution," said Levy.

Info-Tech is urging vendors to be more proactive in their approach to the issue of overheating laptops to avoid a future catastrophe.

"Computer vendors need to ensure more rigorous testing of batteries before deploying them in their computers and should be working closely with safety organizations to raise the bar on regulations for the industry," said Info-Tech's Levy.

About Info-Tech Research Group

With a paid membership of over 20,000 worldwide, Info-Tech Research Group (www.infotech.com) is the global leader in providing information technology research and analysis to the mid-sized enterprise market. It is North America's fastest growing full-service IT analyst firm.

Source: Info-Tech Research Group

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hewlett Packard Americas Partner Conference

I am currently in Las Vegas, Nevada, attending the Hewlett Packard Americas Partner Conference. The sessions are generally valuable (although 2 1/2 hour sessions can be excruciating), Mark Hurd spoke well last night, and John Fogerty is scheduled to appear this evening.

No new technical announcements here, but you can certainly pick up on HP's emphases, including their views on the competition: IBM, Dell, Sun, and others. In one session, one of the attendees talked about Xerox in the printer market, and some of the financial incentives that Xerox is reputedly providing to sell its printers.

Yes, financial incentives. This conference is about selling stuff, gaining market share, gaining margin. Good stuff.

Obviously HP wants its partners to sell the whole HP portfolio, and will adjust its incentives accordingly. Even if it means fewer partners:

Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd said HP will give channel partners whatever resources it takes to beat Dell, IBM and other rivals, but in the future he sees the vendor going to battle with fewer but more loyal partners.

"We are looking for aggressive help, and we'll get just as aggressive as we possibly can to go to the marketplace and win in these strategic battlegrounds," Hurd said late Monday in a keynote address to 1,200 solution providers at HP's Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas. "We need you. We need your help. There's virtually nothing we wouldn't do short of illegal or unethical to help you go to the marketplace and win."...

In response to a solution provider question on where he sees HP as a company in three years, Hurd said, "I hope we would be leading in most efficiency categories. I hope we are [in a] three-year evolution of the trends and strategies I have described ... and the channel, if it is not doing the same percent of business, doing more.

"But at the same time, I would like to see higher attach and higher loyalty indexes coming out of our channel," Hurd continued. "If that means for us to coalesce around fewer channel partners, I'd be fine with that. If you look at our aggregated list of channel partners, we almost have as many people that call themselves partners as we have employees in the company. We want to put more energy behind key partners that really want to rally behind us."

One word has not been uttered in public during this conference - Carly. But she's still around:

She was the first lady of American business during her 5 1/2 -year tenure at Hewlett-Packard Co. But after a contentious proxy battle with Walter Hewlett and a merger with Houston-based Compaq Computer, Fiorina was shown the door as HP suffered major financial setbacks.

Such a hard fall from the corner office might have been a career stopper for some. Not Fiorina.

More than a year after she was fired, Fiorina has emerged as a sought-after board member, an inspirational speaker at home and abroad and as an author, poised to release a "brutally honest" memoir, Tough Choices, in October.

Perhaps most importantly, Fiorina is building a bridge between Silicon Valley and Washington, hoping to use her contacts in the nation's capital to help the technology industry fulfill its agenda.

Back to the new boss. Hurd and company took great pains to state that the new HP salespeople that they're hiring are intended to complement the channel:

HP (NYSE:HPQ - News; Nasdaq:HPQ - News) today announced that it is bolstering its channel program with increased financial incentives -- in some case by more than 50 percent -- and expanded field sales support to magnify the competitive advantage of its channel partners.

Introduced at the HP Americas Partner Conference, the enhanced program spans HP's businesses. For the United States and Canada, the program increases incentives for the second half of HP's fiscal year, giving channel partners the opportunity to receive a 50 percent increase in compensation for the sales of certain products.

The increased incentives apply to the industry-standard server business -- including the recently announced HP BladeSystem c-Class -- and for personal systems products and services. It nearly doubles incentives for color and multi-function printers.

Additionally, HP is increasing its investment by 20 percent in resources to help channel partners hunt, mine and close business. Channel partners will get more field sales support, including more business managers, sales specialists and system engineers.

At this conference, there are partners, and there are partners. At the top of the chain are the two Platinum Sponsors, Intel and Microsoft. Arrayed below this are the Gold Sponsors, Cisco, Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, and VMware. Plus there are a bunch of Silver Partners, but you have to search to find out who they are. (If you're curious, they're Accenture, AMD, AT&T, Axway, BEA Systems, Brocade Communications, Capgemini, Cognos, Compuware, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Hyperion Solutions, i2 Technologies, Informatic Corporation, Novell, QAD, Sage Software, SAS, SSA Global, Symantec, and UGS.)

P.S. If you want to book John Fogerty for *your* corporate event, go here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Educating the Providers, and the Buzz Crosses the Atlantic

As wi-fi spreads out to more and more places, sometimes the people who run the places don't even know that they offer wi-fi. Take British pubs:

One of the biggest problems to overcome in getting London unplugged and online with wireless internet access will be getting businesses to realise they are actually able to offer it to their customers.

A silicon.com investigation has unveiled widespread ignorance among the staff of London pubs that are offering wi-fi. Although we found the service is often up and running on their premises the majority of pubs contacted by silicon.com said they offered no such service.

In one instance, while compiling our guide to London's wi-fi pubs, we were rudely told that they had no such thing and to get off the phone and stop wasting time. At others our question either wasn't understood or was shrugged off with disinterest. At the Lord Moon of the Mall, part of the Wetherspoon's group, our question was met with a chuckling suggestion that the barman had rarely heard such a stupid question in all his years of pulling pints.

The internet in a pub, whatever next?

Impressively, most Wetherspoon's pubs in London offer wi-fi on their premises, so it seems even more remiss that staff employed by the group didn't know this fact....

Katie Hollier, head of marketing at The Cloud...said part of the problem is due to the fact the hotspot is installed in the ITbox games machines which many pubs have and the unit's manufacturer, Inspired Broadcast Networks, hasn't seen internet access as a marketing priority.

Speaking of games in London, NTN Buzztime has expanded outside of the United States and Canada:

Welcome to Buzztime, the new interactive entertainment system for pubs and hospitality venues.

Recently launched in the UK, Buzztime enables you to play a great variety of challenging quiz and casino games – for free, all day, and everyday.

See Where To Play for your nearest pub, or check out the Hall of Fame for the leaders of each game, and why not register for the Player Plus programme that entitles you to play selected games for prizes.

When I last visted a Buzztime location on this side of the pond, they were promoting a cross-Atlantic challenge on Saturday, July 8. I'll probably be in an airplane when this happens, unfortunately.