Stories by David L. Margulius

Total system disruption

Two years ago, I wrote a column, " Katrina's total system disruption," that highlighted the complete anarchy in the wake of that storm and argued for smarter predictive modeling to better understand not just the likelihood of extreme environmental events but also the human response to those events. The issue at the time, you may recall, was that a couple hundred thousand people failed to safely evacuate New Orleans, with disastrous consequences.

BEA vs. Peoplesoft: 10 reasons it's different this time

On paper, Oracle's recent US$6.7 billion offer for BEA Systems looks a lot like the hostile bid for PeopleSoft four years ago -- a bad-for-competition, bad-for-employees, bad-for-customers deal designed with one goal in mind: fatten Oracle shareholders' wallets by taking out a competitor.

The end of booth-babe culture?

The Wall Street Journal last week ran a page-one, above-the-fold, front-and-center article on a topic you don't normally read much about: the role of sexuality on the sales side of the IT business.

Should IT care about the credit meltdown of 2007?

Some loud, scary noises have been coming from the stock market recently -- driven by fears about a credit crunch, liquidity, and subprime mortgages. I don't normally write about Wall Street or economic issues, but this week I have to. What's happening isn't just background noise, but something so huge that IT professionals must understand it. This could have major implications for our jobs.

Web 2.0 fosters healthy disrespect

I was talking with some CIOs last week about the impact of Web 2.0 on the enterprise. One of them made the intriguing comment that Web 2.0 -- with all its mashups, syndications, consumable services, and instant gratification -- enables customers to more easily "show disrespect for long-established corporate business processes."

Culture clash at SAP

SAP announced it was acquiring a couple of small software companies this week: CRM vendor Wicom and identity management solution provider MaXware. But the big SAP news is that details of the company's recent turbulence and Shai Agassi's departure are finally starting to come to light.

Intel report reveals company secrets

How transparent is your IT operation? Does the rest of the company know how your budget is spent? Your performance against SLAs? Cost per terabyte of WAN traffic? And if they do, do key outside constituencies such as customers and vendors also know?

YouTube's lesson for the enterprise

When YouTube was founded in February 2005, few thought it would work. Video delivery on the Web was spotty, and previous video-sharing sites had failed miserably. Yet, 20 months later, when Google bought YouTube for $US1.6 billion, the site was a household word, serving more than 100 million clips a day.

What the enterprise can learn from Flickr

Flickr is the ultimate Web 2.0 app -- one of the first to implement tags, RSS feeds, and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML); to offer APIs to third-party developers; to encourage mashups; and to incorporate groups or "lite" social networking into a tool previously viewed as family-centric.

IT must prepare for crisis

The former Soviet Republic of Georgia revealed last week it had foiled an effort by a Russian man to sell 3.5 ounces of weapons-grade uranium on the black market. While not enough material to build a bomb, the incident was a strong reminder that we've been living in a relatively stable period, crisis-wise, since hurricane Katrina -- and that we shouldn't get lulled us into false complacency. Yes, the stock market has been doing well. Oil prices have fallen. And Jennifer Aniston did recover nicely from her breakup with Brad ... But nonetheless, we need to be on guard against potentially disruptive events.

Even in IT, sex sells

Attention all IT marketers: There's no limit to how sexy you can make technology sound, if you put some creativity into it.

Web 2.0 Summit: Long tails, forgotten trails

The Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week was intended as a gathering of the best Internet minds talking strategy, but at times it felt like a big group hug: "Congratulations, we survived the bubble bursting!"

Who has the biggest IT brains?

Back in the 1800s, many educated people became practitioners of the bogus, bigoted "science" of phrenology, which used skull measurements to determine the capabilities of one's brain and the quality of one's character. You may remember -- if you were born in the 1800s or watch a lot of Discovery Channel -- seeing those phrenological drawings of folks' skulls divided into little compartments that specified the function of the parts of the brain within.