Technology by Ben
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
  Microsoft targets Sarbanes-Oxley | CNET News.com: "Microsoft announced further details Wednesday regarding an add-on for its Office software aimed at helping companies comply with new Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules. The Office Solution Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley, set for release in March, is part of a family of specialty software and services packages Microsoft plans to introduce based on its new Office 2003 productivity software. "

Seems to me like there are some really good opportunities for consultants who work with public companies to education those clients and help those clients implement a tool like this.

Here's another interesting link regarding Sarbanes-Oxley: http://www.cio.com/archive/120103/oxley.html

-BMS- 
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
  Microsoft sets time for cyberwatches | CNET News.com: "Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) and its subscription-based MSN Direct service will power the wristwatches, along with other devices to be released in the future."

I saw a demo of SPOT earlier this year at the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond. Nifty devices but they suffer from two big shortcomings, in my opinion.

1. They're read-only. Receiving IM messages on your watch is interesting but if you can't respond to them they are little better than an alpha-pager. Even most cell phones have the ability to receive text messages and respond to them now.

The watch automatically setting itself and containing your contacts and calendar is nice; though my PDA already does all of that AND it lets me add things to my calendar or reschedule them.

2. They're limited to the "major metropolitan areas" and since they're based on FM radio transmissions may suffer from some of the same range and quality of signal issues that FM voice stations suffer from.

Here on Oahu, for example, there are areas on the "back side" of the island where some FM radio stations just can't be received clearly.

What happens if you go thru a tunnel? Does your watch shut off? What if I go to visit my grandparents in central Illinois. They may well be too far from a major metropolitan area for my SPOT watch to work.

All in all I think it's a neat idea and I'd like to see one in action. At the same time I can't really see spending a lot of money for one of these devices when more robust devices are becoming commonplace due to 3G cellular and WiFi Hotspot networking.

-B- 
  BBC NEWS | Americas | US gets access to airline details: "In fact, most of the data passengers give when they buy a ticket or check in at an airport will be sent ahead of them so US customs can assess whether they may be a terrorist or a criminal, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Washington. "

This reinforces something I've said for a long time -- the most powerful weapon in the war on terror is not a gun, but technology. Better information, better intelligence, better data collection and analysis is what is going to lead to marked improvements in safety and our ability to catch and stop terrorists before they strike.

-B- 
A few thoughts on subjects related to technology.

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