Why is a router maker buying Jabber, an open-source AIM clone? Disgruntled network admins (I'm still one in my heart) understand what Cisco's own press release doesn't spell out in English.Jabber isn't just another AIM wannabe. It uses XML trickery to connect to every popular instant message service — AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo — and to let programmers connect it to other services, be they for man or machine. It's already widely adopted by the IT workers whose managers sign the purchase orders for Cisco networking hardware. By building Jabber support into its switchers and routers, Cisco can make it easy for admins to get alerts from their hardware in the same IM window as their buddies. Cisco can also sell companywide IM setups that are closely tied to Cisco network gear for security and monitoring. Cisco recently picked up PostPath, which makes Linux-based email, calendar and collaboration software. I'm sure someone at Cisco plans to bundle Jabber's instant messaging with PostPath's Outlook-like features and dub it a "platform" to compete with Microsoft. But Jabber's main competition isn't Redmond, it's Dulles. Cisco can now offer managers a way to ban AIM from the workplace, or at least to manage it locally with Cisco equipment rather than routing employees' conversations straight to AOL.
Nobody reads terms of service agreements, those legal documents new users have to click a box to say they've read. And the truth is, they hardly matter to anybody but the cyber-rights-now crowd who get worked up by articles on Boing Boing, and the paranoid lawyers at large Web companies who want to avoid money-fishing lawsuits. But sometimes they go far beyond protecting corporate interests into la-la land. Did you know that when you download Google's new Chrome browser, you agree that any "content" you "submit, post or display" using the service — whether you own its copyright or not — gives Google a "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" it? Google's ambitions for Chrome are even larger than we thought; by the letter of this license, Google will own all information that flows through its browser. But Chrome's terms of service are just the latest in a long line of ludicrous legalese.
Apple's new, faster 3G iPhones go on sale in the U.S. tomorrow, but a new store where Apple will sell third-party iPhone applications opened for business today. (Something to do with when the iPhone 3G went on sale in New Zealand. Those international date lines are so confusing!) The apps mostly range from free to costing $10, and you buy them on iTunes like you would an album or a TV show. Here are ten that will crush your last remaining resistance to Apple CEO Steve Jobs's demands.
AOL Instant Messenger—the chat network on which millions of cubicle workers flirt with each other and tip off gossip reporters about their bosses—is down.
We hear that Marcien Jenckes, general manager of AOL's instant-messaging products, was among those cut in today's mass layoffs. The Dulles, Va.-based executive was hired by an executive close to former CEO Jonathan Miller, so this may well have been a purge of the ancien regime, according to a former AOL executive. Too bad: Jenckes's moves in the IM business prompted Forbes to wonder if AOL might actually have a clue. (Well, no, but hope springs eternal.)
Facebook has an AIM screenname. It's not being used for much yet, just sending out invites to join the service from folks who upload their buddy list, but we see potential. Whether or not Facebook will take advantage is something very different. You can already poke and get messages via your cell phone with Facebook Mobile, but very little appears on the site about the new IM interface. At the moment, sending an IM to "Facebook" gets you a boring "if you are not on Facebook, please sign up now" message. Come on Zuckerberg, get it together. This could be a great new way to poke your friends, and we doubt Facebook cares much about a few lost pageviews. Going to my browser to poke Jason McCabe Calacanis is just too much work.
Each Monday, Intern Alexis uses a rigorous scale to rank the happy pair-bonds cemented in the Times wedding announcements. But surely, the Times can't contain all the nuptial bliss to be experienced in the metro area. Ergo, the Post's weddings section, where the couples require a more flexible scale that can take into consideration differences in, say, life experience, and body type.