Continued: Top Ten Things the “real” press writes or reports about that make me cringe

The suspense is finally over, 6-10:

6.  TV Technologists
Have you ever tuned to a technology report on TV/Radio, or read one in print that made you question whether your entire career has been a waste of time?  After-all, home networking is too complicated, all you need is a simple desktop firewall to protect your home computer, TCP/IP is safe and secure, IPv6 is here, the robots are coming, and on and on and on.  It gets even worse when they try to explain technology and its implications to an already busy world; two examples are social networking or Google Wave.   Every time I fall into the trap of watching these luminaries, my wife has to remind me that this is for entertainment purposes only.  Take my advice, stick to celebrity reporting and leave the technology to the technologists.   

7.  Cisco
When it comes to Cisco, there are no shortages of opinions, pundants, supporters, and haters.  Over the years Cisco has built themselves into an incredible machine; development, sales, R&D, M&A, and Marketing.  Let’s face it, Cisco is the industry’s Moby Dick; chasing them does no good, fighting them barely dents their skin, disrupting them leads to punitive measures.   However, Cisco is at cross-roads of sort as their core business is under attack by their first viable challenger in years, Huawei.  Additionally, if servers, storage, networking, applications, security, and management truly combine, then they will be vulnerable to attacks from HP, IBM, and more.  The U.S. needs Cisco to succeed, but instead of being mesmerized by their machine, why not remain objective of their vision? 

8.  Lawyers and Judges discussing Technology
One of the scariest yet least discussed challenges facing technology is the legal system.  The speed of technology is outpacing both the U.S. legal system as well as our international counterparts.  Out dated laws and legal decisions are only part of the problem as often times there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the technology itself and its application.   For example, the very thought that the U.S. Congress can regulate the Internet is laughable at best and terrifying at worst.  Perhaps more of us technologists need to become lawyers…LOL.  When lawyers, politicians, and “government officials” opine about technology and its future, I head for the hills and turn the page.

9.  Linux on the Desktop
How many articles do we need about the viability of Linux and how it will revolutionize the desktop?  Do we really need to read about Ubuntu vs. Apple vs. Microsoft?  How about a 10 page expose about Chrome OS vs. Linux?  Have any of these writers actually attempted to use Linux on the desktop full-time?   As “bad” (satire) as commercial operating systems are, they are vastly superior to their Linux desktop alternatives.  Why?  It takes too much work (time) to keep Linux on the desktop working; updates, modifications, compatibility issues, and more.  Furthermore, the average user has no idea what they are doing and often times they will blindly follow instructions posted to a forum without understanding what they are doing to their computer system.  Finally, get Microsoft to release Office for Linux and the conversion becomes infinitely easier while Microsoft collects the billions of dollars of new revenue.

10.  Virtualization
What can’t virtualization do?  Doesn’t it solve fundamentally every computing problem ever discovered?  It renders operating systems useless?  It has solved the compute problem?  Why do I need a laptop or netbook when all I need is a USB stick?  Wait, wait, wait….If virtualization is truly the second coming of “fire” then why did VMware need to by Zimbra?  Stop the sensationalism and let’s come back to reality.  Where are the hard hitting articles about the reality of virtualization?  Management?  How about a shout-out to IBM and the mainframe?

Cisco’s fires warning shots at Google, Microsoft, …

Over the years, we have watched Cisco launch new products with a marketing panache that few companies could match.  However, this week Cisco quietly launched 61 products centered on their ever expanding portfolio of collaboration technologies.  The importance of these announcements cannot be overstated, as we are watching Cisco’s long term strategy unfold before our very eyes.

What do WebEX, PostPath, Scientific Atlanta, Pure Digital Technologies, Unified Communications, and perhaps Tandberg have in common?  They spell out a strategy of collaboration and social networking centered on video and its delivery.  Whether the video, photo, or recordings take place on a hand-held device, a TelePresence conference, or a web camera, or a HD TV, Cisco is providing not only the transport but also the platform (aka software) or portal destination (WebEx).

While WebEx Mail is interesting as it demonstrates Cisco’s commitment to cloud based applications, I am far more interested in Cisco’s other new products namely; Cisco Show and Share, Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Platform, and Cisco Pulse.  Why?  While some have prematurely crowned Google Wave as the collaboration platform of the future, many Enterprises would rather maintain security, control, and freedom from using their employees as a giant pool for advertisement revenue. 

As Google continues to fight for legitimacy in the Enterprise, Cisco is clearly already a dominant force.  Furthermore, WebEx may be the perfect launching and test bed for these new ways of collaborating as it is trusted, reliable, and well refined.  Perhaps Cisco should consider expanding the WebEx brand allowing for a WebEx-I built within an internal cloud?  Perhaps creating a pre-packaged WebEx, Show and Share, and Enterprise Collaboration Platform conveniently hosted with VMs residing in a UCS-B platform, attached to a Nexus via a Unified Fabric, and on and on…

Of particular interest to me is Cisco Pulse as it combines the power of the network with the advantages of search.  Imagine being able to dynamically tag content as it passes through the network allowing users to actually find the information they are looking for at a later time.  If Cisco can add structure and classification to the tagged data, then they certainly have a winner.

Any discussion of the Enterprise is not complete without mentioning Microsoft.  While they have taken steps to shore up their Enterprise products, are they too focused on taking down Google?  Microsoft has the ability to not only innovate but to rapidly deploy those innovations within the largest Enterprises in the world.  In-the-end, Microsoft needs a way to shed the “Evil Empire” crown while articulating a vision that is exciting, bold, and fresh. 

Whether it is by acquisition or internal development, Cisco has never been afraid to disrupt or innovate across multiple markets.  How far will they go to own the next decade?  Will they pursue mobile devices?  Will they truly escape “the innovators dilemma?”

Traditional or Next Generation Software/Application Vendors beware; here comes Cisco.