VAR Business State of Technology 2002 and 2003

For VAR Business’s annual State of Technology 2002 issue, I managed, edited, assigned, and wrote a couple of the pieces too. This was the first time VAR Business had such a special printed supplement. I also organized, with the help of the XChange conference group, a special series of conference tracks that was coordinated with the editorial in the print issue, and an awards ceremony for the winners.

I did something similar for the State of Technology 2003 issue. The series continues to the present and has proven to be quite popular.

Dealing with email separation anxiety

We have become email addicts. And when we aren’t within email range, many of us start to twitch, just like an addict without their fix. I asked several people at our Breakaway Xchange conference in San Diego this week what do they do with emails when they are vacation. The depressing consensus was that even then, most still regularly check email. Many had developed interesting habits to try to avoid exposing their fellow family members to this nasty habit: doing it late at night or in the early morning hours when the rest of the brood is fast asleep. Or staying back while the family does some fun activity so the emails can flow uninterrupted. This is a Good Thing?

The problem is the daily email load that we have come to operate under: it doesn’t really matter how many messages a day you get. If you are away for a week or two, you can’t relax thinking about how many messages are piling up in your inbox, waiting for your perusal when you return.

You can read the entire essay here.

Filtered email issues

George Carlin once had a bit about the seven dirty words that couldn’t be said on TV: if only our email systems were as discrete and predictable about the nature of their censorship. Indeed, I can almost guarantee that if I include certain words in this message (such as viag–, -orn, make -oney -ast, or any of Carlin’s seven choice words), many of you won’t ever get this email.

The trouble is that spammers, virus authors (or whatever deriding term you would like to use to call the scum that create these annoyances), and others have become too clever at creating their garbage. And in the ever escalating war of technology, email filtering products have become too good at cutting off legitimate messages, just because they contain the equivalent of Carlin’s list.

You can read the entire essay here.

Chasing email phantoms

Most of you know by now that I have begun working at VAR Business as their Technology Editor, and it is nice to be back inside a magazine and working with the great people there. But I did you know that I also am still with Infoworld? It came as a surprise to me too. And the funny thing is, no one at Infoworld knows either.

No, I am not talking about actual gainful employment: the last time I did any freelancing for Infoworld was about four years ago, when I wrote various reviews for them on eCommerce server software. But I am still on the magazine’s email list (or at least, I was earlier this week): Just send me mail at and it will get delivered to me without any problem within a few minutes.

I mention this not to embarrass the folks at Infoworld, or even to embarrass their IT department, but to prove a point: how many organizations really weed out their internal email address lists when they cut staffers? Probably not many of you. It is a nasty job, especially if your HR department doesn’t directly maintain the corporate email directory.

You can read the entire essay here.

The digital home still needs a hub

Last week’s announcements were the first salvos in the expansion of the mere home PC beyond just computing purposes. The sexy Apple iMac, Microsoft’s Freestyle and Mira technologies and delivery of the latest Sony Vaio desktops all portend great things for the well-connected home. The trouble is, while each of these efforts have some promise, all are ultimately doomed to failure.

You can read more about this here.

Finding the Right Co-Location for Your Web Server

The trouble with optimizing your Web server location is that the Internet isn’t easy to pin down. It isn’t like you are trying to open up a store on a downtown street or near a freeway exit. The fact that your public can be located anywhere in the world and on any network is just one small part of the challenge. Other issues include hazy definitions for such terms as backbone, peering point, primary providers, and network access points. It would help if these were commonly understood and used by the majority of people you talk to, but they aren’t.

This article was written back in for a great online pub called 8Wire that is sadly no longer with us. Luckily the HTML lives on here.

Buy my book now!

It is hard for me to get back to writing these essays after the events of the past month, but I’ll try. On a personal note, I want to thank those of you who took the time to email me and ask about my health and safety — the number of messages in the past several weeks from all over the world has been very touching and important for getting me back on track. The day of the attacks I was scheduled to appear on TechTV’s Silicon Spin show — that show was finally taped and aired last night. And my
Home Networking Survival Guide book
is finally out in both physical and online stores: the link will take you to Amazon.

If you don’t want to buy the book, you can read my column here.