Web Informant #419, 3 January 2006: A New Year, A New Blog




One of my new year's resolutions was to refresh Web Informant. I had several goals:


First, I don't want to ever go dark on you again. Having to give up my weekly (almost) emailings for several months, including the ten-year anniversary of starting this list, wasn't what I wanted to do. So the emails will continue, have no fear.


I also wanted to present my archived content in a more accessible format. Having kept the same site design on strom.com for close to ten years, I wanted to give new readers an easier way to see what I have written rather than plowing through hundreds of pages. Heck, I have trouble finding some of the stuff that I have written myself, and I put those pages up there to begin with!


Third, being back in job-search mode, I wanted something better than a resume to showcase what I know, what I am interested in, and what I can do for potential clients and employers.


Finally, I wanted to experiment with blogging tools and compare the kind of response that I will get from my readers to the private one-on-one communications that I currently get via emails from you.


And after hearing the comments about starting a blog, I figured, why not? So here we go. You can surf over to http://strominator.com, or if you want to subscribe to the RSS feed here:




(Those of you who have been subscribing to my RSS feed on strom.com will get a few reminders to switch over to the new feed. And if any of you know how to code the old page to reference the new I would appreciate a few tips. My HTML is a bit rustyÉ)


So I haven't yet posted a lot of my back catalog, but you'll see a few evergreen stories and essays and reviews of various products. (Who wants to review five year old product reviews? Well, we'll see.) It has been fun to go back into time and pick out some of my favorites. The WordPress blogging tool is pretty solid, and its CMS has a reasonable trade off between feature set and ease of use for my purposes. (I am still tweaking things here and there, but that is a good thing).


In the meantime, think of Web Informant as the collection of essays, the blogged topics, and some kind of notification using email and RSS. Not all of you use RSS yet, and some of you like the emails. Have no fear, we'll be experimenting to find the right balance. I'll continue to send out these emails to my existing list, and even add (or delete) you as you request. The emails will summarize what you can find on my blog.


So here is what I posted over the holidays to the blog:


1. If you want to read an excellent year-end wrap up of tech issues, may I suggest taking a look at what my former TomŐs Hardware news hound colleagues, Wolfgang Gruener and Scott M. Fulton, have done. They have put together what I think is one of the best collections on the yearŐs top stories in review.


From the revival of Apple, the mis-steps of Sony BMG, the rise of the Xbox 360, and the fight over HD DVD formats, this piece makes for a compelling review of where we have been over the past year.



2. Speaking of other things to read, Rich Mironov has restarted his own blog/mailing list that he calls Product Bytes. He has written a very insightful analysis of where open source is going. Even if you donŐt recall the Joni Mitchell 'Big Yellow Taxi' lyrics, it is worth taking a look. As Rich says in his essay, it is only a matter of time before open source becomes another opportunity for "turning into another IPO-driven, VC-backed, competitively focused economic model."



3. Try to order stamps online for the upcoming postage rate hike? Yeah, the USPS.gov site still isn't easy. I thought I would be smart and order some two-cent stamps online and save my time to wait in other lines. Well, it didn't work out that way.


4. Last but not least. I recently did a survey of the major SSL Virtual Private Networking vendors for an upcoming article in CDWŐs inhouse publication. That got me looking at all of the comparative hands-on reviews recently done by Network World and others. So I put together a page of links. YouŐll notice that all of the hands-on reviews omit the Symantec and Cisco products Ń they donŐt seem to find the right time to get their products in front of the reviewers at the leading IT publications.


Nevertheless, you can find my SSL VPN page here along with links to the vendorŐs own sites and my own brief commentary on their positioning.



Hope your holidays went well and best wishes again for the new year.


David Strom

+1 (516) 554 6290 (In Santa Monica, despite the vanity A/C)



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