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windows-7Naming of Windows Operating Systems comes back full circle with Windows 7.  Windows started with 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, then moved to 95, 98, 2000 then to XP and Vista. However, unlike the first few times, this time the number does not really correspond to the real version no. of Windows (which is actually 6.1). It is just a number.

There have been many theories and speculations on the reasons for the name and yes, I have my theory too (read on). A while back, when Microsoft VP Mike Nash announced that Windows 7 will in fact be the final name, he also justified the decision on why the name was chosen…

“The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows.  We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or “aspirational” monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.  And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense.  Likewise, coming up with an all-new “aspirational” name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.”

Perhaps the real reason for the shift in naming convention might be related to pure marketing. Microsoft wants to get the focus away from its “Vista” disaster and position the new operating system as something totally new and different (although it is based on the same code base as Vista which is windows version 6.0). 

So, here is my theory just to add to the naming controversy – the naming is based on numerology – Why?

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network_attacksSlightly over a month ago, it almost seemed like the real-time world came to an end when Twitter went down from a denial of service (DoS) attack. Most other services like Facebook, livejournal and even Google to some extent bore the brunt of the attack. Folks addicted to real-time streams were left twiddling their thumbs while rest of the world kept speculating on the origins, the hows, and the whys of the attack. Very few, however, talked about  whether the attack could have been prevented or mitigated and what lessons if any were learned.  The ‘how can we prevent it’ question also came up in a recent conversation I was having with someone. Given that every business today sells something online (either products or services), the recent DDoS attack carries significance for all.

Not with a bang, but a Twitter

Not with a bang, but a Twitter

DDoS, if you are not familiar, is Distributed Denial of Service where the hacker takes control of  several computers like yours and then launches a concerted attack on the victim.  (slow internet connection without much activity? – your computer is probably being used by a hacker).

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Last week I was listening to the CEO of Circuit City Jim Marcum and executives from FTI Inc., the consultants to the company managing Chapter 7 and the restructuring process, talk about how and why Circuit City went bankrupt. The decline of Circuit City of course did not happen overnight nor was the crash in the real estate market and the global economy the only reason behind its fall (as mentioned in their disclosures). The external events, however, did accelerate the collapse of the company and make its recovery from bankruptcy almost impossible. (If CC could have raised approx $500 – $600 million in DIP, they would have made it. I believe CC got very close but the tight credit market made it difficult to get the final $100 million or so it needed.)

What led Circuit City downhill was years of mis-management, wrong investments, lack of collaboration between different units and mis-understanding of the market. More importantly what was really surprising was that despite investing heavily into their IT infrastructure (approx $200 million annually) and having all the crucial data needed for analysis on their fingertips, the executives could not take advantage of it. Looking around, I realized that this situation is not unique to Circuit City at all but is a problem that many corporations (mainly non-software) face today.

So what is the right amount of investment in IT and Why do companies fail to leverage their investments?

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Ah, finally figured I should steal a few minutes from my schedule to discuss how my panel on “Virtual Organizations” went at the MIT CIO Conference. You can read a review about the panel and the conference in general on Dr. Irving Wladawsky’s blog but here is my take on it. Some of you must have read my previous blog post titled “From machines to humans – How virtual are we getting?“, a preview post for the panel where I talked about the role of  Virtual Organizations, how its role is expanding to connect everything from supply chains to end-customers and the myriad opportunities that it can enable if deployed properly.

While that is all very relevant, as I sat through the panel at the CIO conference, I realized why this topic is so encompassing from every angle, why it is so complex and why it requires a deep strategic analysis by CIOs. Simply speaking we can broadly analyze this topic from technology, business and cultural perspectives.

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that is Web 2.0. Although being one of the organizers at the MIT CIO Conference I shouldn’t be critical about a panel but I could not resist posting this article. I was sitting in a panel on Enterprise 2.0 today at the symposium and I need to respectfully disagree with the distinguished panelists on what Enterprise 2.0 is. I was getting really frustrated when the panelists kept talking about platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, about how organizations should break down the barriers and leverage these platforms, ultimately getting onto the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon. All the while I was sitting there and thinking to myself…. Are you guys kidding me? So you are telling me that if a Boss fires an employee tomorrow, he is going to do that through his Tweet or Facebook status or his blog? Or for that matter instead of sharing information within or collaborating within, I would expect my employees to sign on external websites and then hope that they’ll get their technical information there?

Hell no! These platforms which are Web 2.0 and NOT Enterprise 2.0. can be leveraged by companies to their advantage in specific functions and in specific scenarios but that does not make these platforms Enterprise 2.0. For example efficient mining of data from these social media platforms as explained in my previous blog post can be used for marketing & sales especially by B2C companies and specifically by the business development teams in those companies. If I were a B2B company with employees focused on coding up the next big algorithm, I would never ever encourage them to spend their time on these social sites during work hours. If any executive did so (as some do by claiming to be tech friendly) it just results in decreased employee productivity and is detrimental to the organization. That information and time spent on social sites is of no use at all and does not add to company’s bottom-line.

So the question is “What is Enterprise 2.0”?

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