WordPress 2.2 and a Revamped Google?

WordPress 2.2 was recently launched with some decent improvements, although the touted tagging feature is not among them. Not a big deal – people who really want tagging are probably using a plugin for it (UTW anyone?) and there’s talk that they’ll make the tagging feature play nice with UTW when it does come along. I don’t mind waiting a little while for that. I’d rather wait and have it work properly, than have it now and break all my tagging.

Aaron Brazell posted his habitual 10 Things You Should Know About WordPress 2.x for version 2.2. Among the features I’m more interested in are the native widgets (guess I’m going to have to go update some themes…), the plugin sandbox and the preview link (as opposed to the iframe it currently resides in). I’ll be taking some time this long weekend to upgrade the backend here. Speaking of which, I’ll probably (finally) get around to resurrecting the development blog as well. I see people going there for the theme demos and getting shafted – sorry about that.

Did Google redesign their homepage a bit recently? I normally frequent the Google Canada page but today I inadvertently typed in google.com instead and was greeted by a different layout than I’m used to (not that it took any length of time to figure out how to use 😛 ). Is this old news?


Speaking of Google, they announced they’ve redesigned Analytics as well, hopefully to make it more useful than it is in its current state, at least for me. My account hasn’t been upgraded yet.

Microsoft and Yahoo Sitting in a Tree…

The on again, off again rumours of a possible Microsoft/Yahoo! merger has Wall Street pretty confused. Yahoo’s stock soared over 18% in early trading today but ended up only about 10% after a Wall Street Journal article cited that talks were completed without a deal. Who really knows though?

What I do know is this. A combination of Microsoft and Yahoo would be a logistical nightmare. It’s one thing to acquire and integrate small, focused companies, which is what both Microsoft and Yahoo have had a history of doing. But an integration of over 11,000 employees at Yahoo into Microsoft’s 70,000+ isn’t nearly the same thing. On top of the sheer number of employees, there’s also the issue of the extreme similarities between many of the two companies’ products and departments. You can be certain there would be a lengthy period of time of pure madness, which I’m sure Google would take advantage of. Really, the only thing that makes sense in this whole rumoured deal is the combination of statistics – Microsoft and Yahoo together would present a decent force against Google in the search and online advertising space, in terms of market share. It remains to be seen if such a combination would even be able to retain that market share through the initial integration process. I highly doubt it. The amount of product shifts would be a severe inconvenience to their customers.

This is especially apparent in the fact that Microsoft hasn’t done a merger/acquisition greater than the $1 billion range. Ever. Microsoft has focused on acquiring small companies that have a focused product line that either helped start a new business section within Microsoft or bolstered an already established department. For a company the size of Microsoft, growth has been surprisingly organic. This is unlike many other technology companies, that have relied upon big mergers and acquisitions to grow to where they are today. A purchase the size of Yahoo would be a radical departure from Microsoft’s past ways. (And perhaps that’s just what they need…)

Corporate culture and direction also plays a big part in acquisitions and mergers. Yahoo has been slowly turning from a search engine company to a media/social/content company. Their more recent acquisitions clearly point in this direction (del.icio.us, Flickr, Konfabulator, and MyBlogLog). Yahoo’s a little more ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ than plain ol’ Microsoft. A combination of the two would have been like IBM acquiring Apple. It would be an auto cap on Yahoo’s culture and status. Despite all the initial complaints, especially when Yahoo acquired del.icio.us and Flickr, they’ve done an admirable job of letting the services run free and progress in their respective directions (although I’m sure there’s a little birdy whispering to them in the background).

I have severe doubts about the possibility of this merger. Aside from the immediate benefit of pleasing shareholders, Yahoo really doesn’t have too much to gain. I believe they have the capability to compete with Google on their own, even if it is with a minority of the market. The logistics problems are just too great to create a more capable competitor to Google. On the other hand, the possibility of an in-depth partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft (a joint venture in the search/online ad space perhaps?) seems to have legs. Who knows, a search/ad spinoff from both companies could be better placed and more flexible in the rapidly changing internet industry.

I’ll admit it, I’d like to see a huge tech merger if only to contemplate the scope of such a deal…

Morning Tech Reading Mar 30

Lenovo, a Chinese company purchased the desktop and laptop business from IBM quite some time ago. The idea was to enter the worldwide market with a strong brand quickly. They did so for $1.25B. Fast forward to the present. The US government wants to purchase about 16,000 Lenovo computers. Okay, a big order, but what’s the big deal? Well, recently the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission has requested that Lenovo be probed into concerns about placing spy equipments into those computers. After all, the big red machine (no, not Russia anymore) is out to get the Americans.

Now, the United States appears to pride itself on competition, the free market, and capitalism. Yet when the government gets involved, it seems like all this gets thrown out the window instantly, without second thought. The Dubai ports deal was just another example of America’s recent barrier against what they apparently stand for. Read it and decide for yourself.

The Other Side of the Lenovo Spy Probe

Speaking of politics in tech business, this one comes from the corporate politics side. ATI Technologies uses ULi chipsets for its peripherals chip (South Bridge which provides things such as SATA, USB, etc). NVidia recently purchased ULi and is announcing that they will stop production of the chipsets ATI has been using. Of course, it would be awfully weird for nVidia to continue producing chipsets for a competitor, but nonetheless, it really puts the pressure on ATI to produce a good south bridge of their own, and soon.

Nvidia Accused of Pressuring ATI’s Chipset Business

On that note, ATI annouced its earnings for its second quarter. They came in quite a bit above analyst estimates, but net income dropped around 40% from the same time last year. Sales of lower margin chipsets pushed down those earnings despite a rise in overall revenue to $672.4 million. Stock’s up strongly in pre-market trading.

ATI Tech 2Q Profit Falls 40%

One stock that definitely isn’t up, but is falling in pre-market is Google. With recent worries about growth rates and earnings-per-share, Google’s stock probably didn’t need the announcement that they would be issuing another 5.3 million shares of stock. This only serves to dilute the stock, infusing more equity into the market, which in turn causes everyone else’s stock to be worth slightly less, assuming earnings and such remain the same. It’ll be interesting to see if Google can still hit its earnings estimates even with this sale to the market (worth around $2.1 billion!). The stock’s down around $10 pre-market.

Google Plans to Sell Another 5.3M Shares

[tags]Lenovo, US Government, nVidia, ATI, Google, business[/tags]


Yesterday was possibly the slowest work day yet. It was quite unbelievably boring. Lunch came and slowly rolled by and after what felt like hours and hours, I look up at the clock to see that it was only 2:30. I don’t know what it was exactly, but it felt like that day would never end.

After work, I went to a Google information session. It was just a guy standing on a stage talking about random stuff Google. It wasn’t all that informative and I only caught the latter bit of it. I did manage to catch all of the Q&A. I actually got to cram a question in there, about the municipal wireless initiative Google has been taking. Generally the answers to questions were pretty uneventful as well. Any really technical question I could have asked would’ve sounded dumb as can be. Any financial inquiries would’ve been quickly shut down or dodged. The presenter was clearly a well-versed PR person here to generate hubbub. I have to admit, he was a pretty cheeky guy. I chuckled a couple times at least. And the hubbub was definitely there. The placed was pretty much filled, so you’re talking about, oh 300-400 people I’d say, if not more. Everyone was clearly enthralled by the big Google signs everywhere. I even managed to take a few shots.

Google presentation
A big Google cake

[tags]google, co-op[/tags]


Gmail is Down! (yes, with a capital D) This is the first time I’ve run into this… So the chat isn’t working, but I got that error message when I tried to send an email as well.

Gmail's down?!