Stories by Peter Moon

Pick your battles in the PC world

We had cause this week to ponder the tension between personal computing and business governance. Oddly enough, it was three shades of red that set the mental ball rolling.
A mid-sized firm of our acquaintance has a logo in three hues of red. For years their outsourced printers have produced newsletters, brochures and posters that carefully create the shades exactly as their designer intended.

Written by Peter Moon08 Nov. 09 22:00

Windows 7 killed off my key apps

Microsoft desperately wants us to love Windows 7. And running on a machine with no other software, we do. It's also adorable on a PC with all-Microsoft applications. But the more non-Redmond programs you rely on, the less loveable computing's new kid is.
For months we have been trialling the pre-release version on a test machine, and there's no denying that version 7 is sweet. It's better organised and more nimble than Vista ever was. Since Bill Gates needs the money and we don't, we readily shelled out $380 for the Pro version and took the leap of faith of installing it over Vista on our main machine.

Written by Peter Moon01 Nov. 09 22:00

Twitter's small but perfectly formed

First, business people were asked to come to terms with the world wide web and email. Then we had to get our minds around MySpace and Facebook and blogging. Now along comes Twitter, current king of the microblogging tools.
At least a couple of times a day we're asked what it is and what it's for.

Written by Peter Moon11 Oct. 09 22:00

Microsoft in limbo as XP refuses to RIP

Back around 1980, Yamaha killed off its classic twin cylinder XS650 motorbike after a record production run. Its refusal to die naturally was quite an embarrassment as the company tried to convert buyers to a faster, flashier, modern four-cylinder rocket. Microsoft faces the same dilemma with Windows Vista. XP just won't go away.
In July, analyst Forrester Research reported that after 18 months in the marketplace, Vista had snared less than 9 per cent of the desktop market in larger enterprises. Microsoft debated the significance of that statistic - but last week XP dug in its fingernails harder as the company yet again extended the deadline for no-name PC builders to cease offering XP as an option.

Written by Peter Moon14 Oct. 08 22:00

Making lots of unwanted connections

Thousands of BlackBerrys are exposing thousands of networks to hacking and hardly a soul in business knows about it. The problem is revealed on an official support page that rates the security hole 9 out of a possible 10 on the industry standard Common Vulnerability Scoring System.
For years, Adobe Acrobat documents have been getting smarter. In this context, smart means the ability to run scripts that do clever things. But recent versions of BlackBerry Enterprise Server have allowed hackers to harness the smarts for their own purposes. A malicious Acrobat document viewed on a BlackBerry can open access to your office network.

Written by Peter Moon21 July 08 22:00

Possibilities for a Microsoft-free PC life

This year offers rich pickings for enterprises that are unprejudiced against open source software. Along with Sun Microsystems' acquisition of Virtual Box emulation software - a rival to VMware, the heavyweight champion of computer virtualisation - we're excited by forthcoming updates of OpenOffice Suite and Thunderbird email client.
Let's nail the jargon right now. A virtual computer is like a play inside a play. It looks like a PC, it behaves like a PC, but it's really just a computer program. So you can back it up, run it from a network, ship it over the internet and do all the other things you can do with software. The great thing is that if the whole system explodes, you can load a back-up onto virgin hardware and you're in business again.

Written by Peter Moon29 Feb. 08 22:00

Swiss army knife for the visual mind

Awhile ago, they wheeled a psychologist into the office, with a questionnaire presumably designed to detect which of us is craziest. The diagnosis did touch on one interesting trait: the different ways different people like to receive information.
MindManager, now up to Version 7, is for people who like it visual. A mind map is just a diagrammatic way to present an idea or project, with a central theme radiating linked thoughts and actions. People have used it to brainstorm on butchers' paper and whiteboards for decades, and pop psychologist Tony Buzan has built a career around mind mapping as a learning tool.

Written by Peter Moon06 Dec. 07 22:00