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May 26, 2010

Microsoft to Sales Partners: Sell Hyper-V Along with VMware

Filed under: Computers,Microsoft,Technology — techobuzz @ 9:35 am
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Courtesy: Virtualization Review

Nice find by Alessandro Perilli at Virtualization.info. He came up with a “call-to-action” written by David Greschler, Microsoft director of Virtualization, that appeared on the company’s partner network channel, and talked about the strong competition VMware is throwing at Hyper-V. Bottom line: Despite the heaping helpings of hype, Hyper-V is not capturing the hearts, minds, or pocketbooks of Microsoft’s sales partners at the expense of VMware.

That swishing sound you hear is VMware CEO Paul Maritz rubbing his hands together with glee.

In support of Microsoft’s new “Virtualization Partner Profitability Toolkit,” Greschler begins, “Every partner knows about the great opportunity to sell virtualization technology and services. For a while, that meant one thing: working exclusively with VMware.

“Times have changed.”

Greschler goes on to cite the relative affordability and technical prowess of Hyper-V compared to VMware, while noting that IDC says Hyper-V “continued its ascent” in Q4 09, growing 215% year over year.

But then the tenor changes dramatically when he goes on to declare: “Nearly every VMware partner we talk to recognizes that Microsoft is a major player in virtualization and tells us they would like an opportunity to build a virtualization practice that includes both VMware and Microsoft.”

While this is not tantamount to raising a white flag, it is a stark, public acknowledgement of VMware’s deeply embedded pre-eminence.

The Virtualization Partner Profitability Toolkit, which is available on the Microsoft Partner Network, includes a “profitability modeling tool” in the form of a interactive spreadsheet designed to depict the advantages of adding a Microsoft practice to their business.

So what will Microsoft partners find if they dutifully use this tool? According to Greschler, “As much as we’d like to tell you otherwise, if you plug the numbers in to look at your work on a project-by-project basis, the numbers could favor VMware. But if you take a practice-level view, and look at the numbers over the long term, the tool is likely to show partners making far more money with Microsoft.”

The company says that claim is true because Microsoft virtualization offerings are “three-to-five times” less than VMware, a claim that VMware would hotly dispute, arguing that while Hyper-V is free, customers have to buy it along with an operating system, and they have to manage it, neither of which occurs free of charge.

At any rate, in conclusion, Greschler declares, “The takeaway from all this is pretty simple. If you’re just selling VMware today, then you are in the VMware business. If you want to be in the virtualization business, look at building a virtualization practice where you’re technology-agnostic and offering more choice to customers.”

If you are one of those customers, you probably won’t be hearing this particular call to action.


May 25, 2010

One-Step Bitly URL Shortening from the Address Bar

Filed under: Computers,Technology — techobuzz @ 9:02 pm
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Courtesy: Steverubel

There are loads of extensions and bookmarklets that create shortened links from long URLs, but the bit.ly and j.mp services don’t need them. Add them with a slash before the URL in your address bar, and you’re good to go.

Web PR enthusiast Steve Rubel shared this tip, directly from bit.ly’s management, on his personal stream site, and it’s a good one. Simply add one of those two services before your URL—j.mp/https://techobuzz.wordpress.com—and you’ll quickly redirect to a page with the shortened version of your link ready to be copied or posted to a social network. Handy stuff for keyboard devotees, the add-on-averse, and for when you’re working from a browser that’s not your own.

February 28, 2010

Snackbot serves up some human-robot interaction… and snacks

Filed under: Computers,Technology — techobuzz @ 3:50 pm
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If you’re a student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) who is left gasping for breath when forced to drag yourself away from your studies to get a snack, rejoice! A CMU team has created a robot that is designed to deliver snacks to you. But the appropriately named Snackbot is far more than a vending machine on wheels. It is designed to serve as a research platform for the study of long-term Human-Robot Interaction and packs a healthy helping of technological goodies, including a laser navigation system, sonar sensors and a stereo vision camera for eyes.

Snackbot is the culmination of two years of work by an interdisciplinary team including faculty members, undergraduates and doctoral students in the university’s Human Robot Interaction Group. About the size of a small person, Snackbot rolls around on wheels and is intended for both fully- and semi-autonomous operation. Initially orders for snacks will be made through a website or IM service, but other ordering options are expected to evolve as the field trials of Snackbot progress.

Snackbot’s head features a Bumblebee 2 stereo vision camera acting for eyes and a 3 x 12 LED display for the mouth that is programmed with a series of animations that show verbal and emotional feedback in the form of lip shapes, colors and movement. Although the robot doesn’t have functional ears, the team added ears to the head design to let customers know that Snackbot could hear them.

Aside from providing that 3 o’clock sugar fix, Snackbot is designed to assist research into robust autonomous operation in office environments. It will enable the team to study multi-sensor fusion algorithms for perception, reasoning about dynamic spaces, communicating with people through verbal and non-verbal mechanisms, and planning with incomplete information.

The research includes enabling the robot to navigate through congested areas in a socially acceptable fashion, detect individual people, recognize when someone it knows approaches and autonomously learn to recognize new objects. It will also support behavioral science research on such topics as personalization and people’s relationships with interactive objects.

Read more @ GizMag

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