Stories by Bob Brown

For some promising technologies, it's time to grow up

Virtualization, mobility and open source are among the most promising technologies for enabling companies to become more agile, but these network and IT advances still have a lot of maturing to do, according to analysts at an IT conference in Boston last week.

BOB as an IT industry acronym?

SpongeBob SquarePants is cool, and Bob the Builder isn't a bad guy. I can even root for "Smiling Bob" on those Enzyte natural male enhancement commercials.

Likewise manages mixed Windows/Linux shops

Centeris CEO Barry Crist can rattle off a litany of reasons for why you should give his company's management software a whirl. But perhaps his most illustrative selling point is this: "What if your Linux administrator goes on vacation?"

Making the most of open source

Paul Messias knows a thing or two about stretching a buck, and using open source software is one of his main techniques. As network engineer for the Needham Public Schools in Massachusetts, he is constantly looking to get more for less, given that his budget is lean at US$32,000 a year (notwithstanding the roughly US$300,000 earmarked for network gear for the town's high school, which is being renovated starting at the end of this year).

Just using Google? Don't cheat yourself

In prepping for my meeting this week with Vivisimo CEO Raul Valdes-Perez, I gave the company's Clusty (http://clusty.com/) consumer search engine a whirl (Clusty is a sort of carrot dangled to attract potential customers to the company's enterprise search and recovery technology).

CA exec weighs in on acquisitions

Computer Associates has acquired 91 companies over its history and during the past year or so has spent about US$1 billion on buy-outs, including those of Aprisma/Concord, Netegrity and Niku. Look for more of the same in the months ahead.

Penske's Stephen Pickett

Penske Vice President and CIO Stephen Pickett says one of his children has entered the field he is in, while another did not, telling him: "Dad, there aren't any jobs." As incoming president of the Society for Information Management, Pickett says one of his top goals through the 3,000-member user organization is to make IT an enticing career path again. He spoke last week with Network World News Editor Bob Brown while in Boston for SIM's annual conference.

Conference takes a peek at next generation nets

While no one has forgotten the up and down ride taken by the network industry in recent years, speakers at this week's Next Generation Networks Conference in Boston say there is plenty of reason to be positive about what lies ahead.

Execs tout, question Wi-Fi

Vendors might be furiously trying to exploit Wi-Fi wireless LAN technology, but the consensus at this week's Vortex 2003 conference was that few have figured out how to make a real business of it.