Symbian: A Lesson on the Wrong Way to Use Open Source

Nokia hoped to revive Symbian’s importance by reinvigorating its developer base in light of a rush of Linux-based operating platforms like Android and LiMo. It hoped in vain and a lack of source code is the foundation for many its problems.

The Rise & Fall of a Billionaire Technology Hedge Fund Guru

galleon0About 15 years ago, as a young reporter covering the semiconductor industry for a newswire, I met a man called Raj Rajaratnam. At that time he was not only an influential semiconductor analyst at Needham & Co., but also president of the brokerage firm. The Sri Lanka-born analyst was one of the best and he wasn’t shy about letting people know it. Rajaratnam now runs a $7 billion hedge fund called the Galleon Technology Funds.

Earlier today, he was arrested for what is allegedly an insider trading scam involving quite a few people. The charges against him include four counts of conspiracy; he’s also being charged for eight counts of securities fraud. Talk about an ignominious fall for a man who is said to be worth a billion dollars and is ranked No. 559 on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list. Read More about The Rise & Fall of a Billionaire Technology Hedge Fund Guru

How Bandwidth Caps Hurt Your Mac & What Apple Can Do About It


As a responsible Mac user, I usually feel immune from most Internet threats…except for one. Using my Mac exactly as Apple (s aapl) intends it to be used sometimes renders my Internet connection virtually unusable for up to a month, and costs money to fix.

Could this happen to you? It depends on whether your Internet provider has a bandwidth “metering” policy (or “cap”). These caps are one of the most controversial topics for Internet users in 2009, and can put a significant crimp in your Internet use. Recently, Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), who represents the Rochester area, introduced the “Broadband Internet Fairness Act” (H.R. 2902) (PDF). Massa got involved soon after Time Warner Cable (s twc) unsuccessfully used Rochester as a test market for metering. Under this bill, the FTC would have veto power over such caps and thus allow them only under certain agreed-upon scenarios.

In my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, the standard level of cable Internet service has a limit of 3GB of bandwidth per month. Overage is charged $2 per GB. Downloading a single movie from the iTunes store will blow through an entire monthly limit, and even the cable company’s most expensive “premium” service only allows 50GB of bandwidth. In 2009, that’s not really much bandwidth at all.

Once you’ve hit your limit, you have to severely restrict usage until the next month, or face a large bill. Your Apple TV remains stale without its new content, your iMac stops downloading podcasts, and your iPod weeps because it’s sick of the same old music you had last month. Read More about How Bandwidth Caps Hurt Your Mac & What Apple Can Do About It

Green Building Materials Market to Jump to $571B by 2013

Cement and lumber will never be as sexy as an electric sports car, but there are still plenty of business opportunities in developing innovative materials for the growing green building market. A report published this week by NextGen Research estimates the global green building materials market will grow about 5 percent per year to reach $571 billion by 2013, up from about $455 billion last year. The sweet spots in this growth are cement, engineered wood and insulation products.

“This is the way the market is going,” said Larry Fisher, research director for NextGen. “Increasingly when people are forced to make a choice on which building materials to use, they are going toward the more environmentally responsible approach.”

The study assessed the worldwide outlook for the use of greener building products, which the report defined as those having less of an environmental impact than standard building materials. Fisher said the drivers behind the trend were many: shifting attitudes among builders and consumers, government mandates, and the higher prices that green buildings often fetch on the market. The study didn’t look at the prices for green materials relative to their conventional competitors. But Fisher said he believes the cost savings — from recycling waste materials or using less energy-intensive manufacturing processes — in making greener products will often offset higher costs elsewhere in their production. Read More about Green Building Materials Market to Jump to $571B by 2013

How to Expedite Mobile Gmail Retreival in Under a Minute

Is your IMAP Gmail moving slower on your handset than a clogged drain? GearDiary offers a simple and common sense tweak to keep the mail moving much faster: sync only the labels or folders that you really need on your phone. Now that’s a compromise that some aren’t willing to make, and to each his or her own. However, when I thought about it and reviewed the dozens of labels that I have in Gmail, both for work and personal use, I realized that I only hit up a few on my phone. I can always get to the mail in any label in a pinch through a browser on my computer; or on my phone, for that matter.
Long story short: you can always try this method and revert back if you find it too limiting while mobile. Simply log in to Gmail on the web and click the Settings link. From there, click the Labels link and remove the “Show in IMAP” check-boxes for any labels that you don’t hit up all that often on the go. Be sure not to uncheck the standard or default labels for key items like Inbox, Sent Mail, and Trash.
In my example above, you can see that I’m no longer synchronizing the CES 2009 or CTIA labels: those shows are in the past and although I want to keep the mail that’s in them, I don’t need to access it while out and about any longer. Again, this is common sense, but probably not something folks think about: why “clog the sync” with data you really don’t need when mobile?

Simple Bookkeeping, Easy Tax Prep Make Outright Really Shine

As we approach April 15th and tax time, it is normal for us to think about how we maintain our books and evaluate if our current process is working for us.
While there are no shortages of accounting programs available, with varying levels of complexity and pricing, it can be difficult for a small shop to find the right solution. Focusing on ease of use and integration with other web apps, Outright is a great choice for web workers.

IBM + Sun = Good, or Bad, for Green?

Ever since the Wall Street Journal reported last week that IBM was in talks to buy Sun Microsystems for $6.5 billion in cash, the tech media has tried to dissect every potential reason for — and outcome of — such a deal. But little mention has been made as to how it could affect the two companies’ green initiatives. IBM and Sun both have jumped into the green IT fray over the last few years, albeit from different angles. So would a combined company double their efforts in the world of green IT, or halve them?
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Should Google Be Added to the Dow?

A provocative story from Reuters Monday ruminated on which companies are likely to replace Citigroup (s c) and General Motors (s gm) in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Its conclusion: Google and Cisco are the most likely contenders, with Apple and Visa as less likely candidates. It’s a safe bet that those two troubled companies — trading below $2 a share — will get the boot, but does Google belong in the Dow? I think it does for a few reasons.

Noca Launches New Online Payment System

The current downturn is likely to be a tipping point for e-commerce, as thrifty buyers search for bargains on the web. We saw early signs of this trend recently when Amazon (s AMZN) reported great sales performance for the holiday season — quite the opposite of its brick-and-mortar peers’ experience. As online commerce gets more competitive, merchants are going to be looking to find ways to lower their costs.

Noca, a 2-year-old startup based Mountain View, Calif., started by former Visa (s V) executives, hopes to do this by offering a brand new online payment platform that essentially attacks the “processing fees” associated with credit card payments. Taking on the entire credit card establishment and other payment platforms such as PayPal is an incredibly brave move for a tiny startup. Read More about Noca Launches New Online Payment System