Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amazon says 2008 holiday season was 'best ever'

SEATTLE - Online retailer Inc. called this holiday season its "best ever," saying Friday that it saw a 17 percent increase in orders on its busiest day — a rare piece of good news in a season that has been far from merry for most retailers, including online businesses.

Amazon customers ordered more than 6.3 million items on Dec. 15, compared with roughly 5.4 million on its peak day last year, the company said. It shipped more than 5.6 million products on its best day, a 44 percent rise over 2007, when it shipped about 3.9 million on its busiest day.

The company did not provide dollar figures and wouldn't say whether the average value of orders had changed, and the jumps it reported Friday are in line with increases Amazon has seen since it started releasing the figures in 2002.

Amazon's best-sellers included the Nintendo Wii game console, Samsung's 52-inch LCD HDTV and Apple Inc.'s iPod touch.

Analysts agreed Amazon's report was good news for the online shopping giant, but they were divided over whether the results indicate strength in online commerce in general.

Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said Amazon's experience shows the current economy is favoring discount retailers, both online and offline.

"The Amazon story doesn't surprise me because Amazon has always traditionally been a leader on price, and they're one of the first places consumers go when they're looking for things online," Mulpuru said. "In many ways they're like the Wal-Mart of the online world."

Wal-Mart is one of very few traditional retailers where revenue has risen this holiday season over last.

Holiday sales typically account for 30 percent to 50 percent of a retailer's annual total, but rising unemployment, home foreclosures, the stock market decline and other economic worries led many shoppers to slash their shopping budgets this year.

SpendingPulse — a division of MasterCard Advisors — said its preliminary data show that online sales fell 2.3 percent compared with the 2007 holiday season, while retail sales overall fell 5.5 percent to 8 percent, including sales of cars and gasoline. The decline was 2 percent to 4 percent when auto and gas sales are excluded.

Online shopping may have gotten a boost from winter storms during last two weeks before Christmas, which made travel to brick-and-mortar stores more difficult.

And, although Amazon's orders rose, the company didn't say whether orders were, on average, worth more or less than last year. Spokeswoman Sally Fouts said the company would release revenue results in its fourth-quarter earnings report, due in about a month.

But she said this was Amazon's "best season ever."

Orders to Amazon on the peak day of its holiday season have jumped in the double-digit percentage range for at least the past 5 years, according to data released by the Seattle, Wash.-based company since 2002. Last year, Amazon's orders spiked 35 percent to 5.4 million at their peak, from 4 million in 2006.

Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Scott Devitt said online retailers' sales tend to grow much faster than those of brick-and-mortar retailers, but he said that difference narrowed this year. That's in part because shoppers tend to go to stores for necessities and online for discretionary purchases, he said. And in an economic downturn, consumers focus on their most-needed purchases and cut back on more frivolous items.

Devitt said Amazon benefited from a vast infrastructure that allows for faster, more reliable shipping than most of its online peers offer. He called Amazon's announcement an "extremely positive data point" and said the company is "uniquely positioned to do well in an environment like this."

That environment has left many retailers in a tough position. NPD Group senior retail analyst Marshal Cohen said they will be forced in coming weeks to take still more drastic measures to drive sales and raise whatever cash flow they can.

Amazon's shares gained 34 cents to close Friday at $51.78, a 0.7 percent rise.


AP Business Writer Lauren Shepherd contributed to this story from New York.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Haaretz: YouTube allows Web users to interview Israel's future prime minister

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Last update - 01:36 23/12/2008

YouTube allows Web users to interview Israel's future prime minister

By Oded Yaron, Haaretz Correspondent

The 2009 elections appear to be the first in which the political system has been invaded by the internet and its tools. With more and more resources being invested in Israel in online campaigning, and with politicians' blogs and videos being virally disseminated via email, the influence of the recent U.S. election is apparent.

Now, a Channel 2 news initiative, in cooperation with the popular video sharing website YouTube, is riding the America-style elections trend with a new interactive Web page devoted to the upcoming general elections.

The page, (, invites internet users to upload 25-second videos addressing Israel's political candidates with questions. The page's viewers will be able to vote on the uploaded videos, and the most popular entries will be aired on Channel 2 and answered live by the candidates themselves.

In addition, the project promises that the winning entrants will be invited to the Channel 2 news studio to take part in a live interview with the prime ministerial candidates.

Related articles:
  • Elections 2009 YouTube video sharing page
  • Anti-Defamation League joins YouTube to fight online hate
  • VIDEO / YouTube pranksters have Hitler raving about Obama, Xbox

  • Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    eweek:Ubuntu Remains Best Linux Distribution for Desktops

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Wikipedia goes to Ubuntu/Computerworld

    Wikipedia simplifies IT infrastructure by moving to one Linux vendor

    It's moving 400 servers to Ubuntu Linux from a mix of Red Hat and Fedora

    Todd R. Weiss

    October 9, 2008 (Computerworld) Since the free, online Wikipedia user-created encyclopedia began in 2001, the Linux-based IT infrastructure behind it has been expanded and lassoed together to keep up with the demands of the popular Web site.

    That meant that often it was haphazardly expanded by tossing in a new server with a different operating system each time. Over five years, the servers were running a variety of versions of Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Fedora, making it more complicated to install applications and maintain the servers.

    Soon, that problem will be gone.

    In a few months, Wikipedia will finish a major transformation by moving from a combination of versions of Red Hat products to Ubuntu Linux Version 8.04 on all 400 of its servers that support the Web site.

    The changeover began in 2006 as the growth of the site took off, said Brion Vibber, CTO of the San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation Inc., the nonprofit group that supports the online Wikipedia encyclopedia and other projects.

    We had a mix of things: some Red Hat 9, some Fedora – several different versions,” Vibber said. The group used a custom-scripted installation procedure, but found that having a multitude of versions was more difficult to maintain for its small five-person IT staff around the world.

    The move to all-Ubuntu was primarily done with the goal of “making our own administration and maintenance simpler,” he said. “We decided that we want to standardize on something.”

    The switch has been done over time, starting with caching proxy servers in 2006 and moving on to other servers in segments. Today, the group is continuing to transition its main application Web servers to Ubuntu as part of its regular maintenance schedule, Vibber said.

    Most of the group’s 400 servers are in a data center in Tampa, Fla., while a few reside in secondary data centers in South Korea and Amsterdam.

    It definitely has gotten a lot simpler,” Vibber said. Mass upgrades can be done more easily, and the data center can be managed as a unit, he said.

    We can run the same combination everywhere, and it does the same thing” and runs the same software, Vibber said. “Everything is a million times easier.”

    Related Blogs

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Ubuntu scores major Wikipedia win

    The mixture of Red Hat operating systems was created as Wikipedia quickly grew, backed by a group of volunteer IT people who created it out of what they had available. In 18 months, the original site went from around 15 servers to 200, making maintenance and operations a whole different ballgame, Vibber said.

    Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H., said Wikimedia’s switch from Red Hat to Ubuntu is also likely a result of Ubuntu’s making the enterprise server and consumer desktop versions of its operating systems available for free to all users, with no lightening of the systems for nonpaying customers.

    Red Hat used to do that years ago, but then moved to a model where its free and paid versions differed in some features and abilities, he said. Now the Fedora community Linux project is separate from the flagship enterprise version of the operating system, adding to the factors that must be considered by users, he said.

    The problem with having multiple paid, unpaid and community versions is that a customer then has a menagerie of products that may or may not be as easily compatible, Haff said.

    Wikipedia could just as easily have made the switchover to all Red Hat, but that would have cost more money, he said. “It would seem to me that if money weren’t an issue here, there wouldn’t be anything keeping them from upgrading everything to Red Hat.”

    The collaborative Wikipedia encyclopedia is written by volunteers around the globe. The project includes 75,000 active contributors working on more than 10 million articles in 250 languages, including more than 2.5 million articles in English, according to the group. The site has about 684 million visitors a year. The Ubuntu changes affect all Wikimedia Web sites

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Happy New Year with Israeli Hitech as Reported on BBC

    Collaboration ( from an article on bbc today about Israeli Hightech)

    You can find further evidence of fruitful collaboration on the outskirts of Jerusalem, home to a joint Israeli-Palestinian company,

    The brainchild of serial entrepreneur, Zvi Schreiber, stands for Global Hosted Operating System, a free web-based virtual computer which, as the company puts it, offer users a personal desktop, files and applications "available from any browser, anywhere".

    Uniquely the company operates across the physical and psychological barriers that divide the country, with 40 employees based in Ramallah, and six in Jerusalem. This is not about outsourcing - the employees on both sides are shareholders in the company and are paid competitive salaries.

    Despite the logistical challenges - the only full company meeting so far took place in a petrol station restaurant on the Dead Sea - Ori Weinroth from's Jerusalem office believes the business model "seems to be working smashingly".

    And some believe this is exactly the kind of creative innovation that could make a contribution towards helping to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

    With economists identifying key challenges including the soaring cost of occupation and a growing "brain drain", companies like G.h.ost that can bring the two communities together are being watched closely by leaders the world over.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Linux Thin Client Report. Growth in Sales

    According to a 2008 IDC report  the Linux thin client market will grow from nearly 1 million units in 2008 to 1.8 million units in 2011. Linux will reach a 30.5 percent share of all operating system shipments on thin client devices by 2011. The ever-increasing market penetration of Linux-based thin clients is due to their ability to lower total cost of ownership, while helping enterprises gain a more secure and flexible computing environment. Additionally, in emerging areas such as desktop virtualization, the operating system used by client devices is becoming less relevant, as long as it is an enabler of virtualization technologies, and not the limiting factor.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    HP wants to be Different?!

    Sorry this article is in Hebrew from themarker: It says that HP wants to be Different and is checking up on Linux too:

    HP רוצה להיות מיוחדת

    מלחמת העצמאות של HP. מחשב ה-TouchSmart | צלם: יח"צ

    החברה מעוניינת לפתח רכיבים ייחודיים למחשבים האישיים, ואף החלה לבחון דרכים להפוך את חלונות ויסטה לידידותית יותר למשתמש. במקביל נבדקת האפשרות לפתח מערכת הפעלה חדשה מבוססת לינוקס

    08.09.08 | 17:42 פז וייסמן
    Microsoft | Hardware | Apple | Software

    חברת HP יצרנית המחשבים האישיים הגדולה בעולם, שוקלת לפתח רכיבים ייחודיים למחשבים האישיים מתוצרתה ואף מערכת הפעלה ייחודית משלה, כך פורסם בשבועון BusinessWeek. המהלך מגיע על רקע חשש מהתחרות של HP עם חברת אפל עקב הגידול המכירות מחשבי המקינטוש והכרסום הפוטנציאלי בפלח השוק של HP.

    "מחשב HP TouchSmart למשל מכיל תוכנה שנכתבה במיוחד עבורו המאפשרת לנהל את כל כלי הבידור בממשק מגע. בפועל המערכת מחליפה את המדיה סנטר המובנה במערכת חלונות"

    על פי הפרסום, HP הקימה קבוצת מהנדסים, שמטרתם לבחון דרכים להפוך את חלונות ויסטה ליותר ידידותית למשתמש. המהלך יעשה כנראה באמצעות הוספת רכיבי תוכנה לוויסטה שיכתבו על ידי HP. אותם רכיבי התוכנה יותאמו לתמוך בחומרה של מחשבי HP, ואמורים לספק חוויית שימוש טובה יותר. יתר על כן, ב-HP אף שוקלים להקים מערכת הפעלה עצמאית מבוססת קוד פתוח - לינוקס. שימוש במערכת הפעלה מבוססת לינוקס יקטין את התלות של HP במיקרוסופט, ויסייע בבידול המחשבים שלה מול אלה של דל או יבמ.

    יצרנית המחשבים דל כבר אימצה את מערכת ההפעלה לינוקס, והיא אף מספקת מחשבים בהם לינוקס מגיעה מותקנת מבעוד מועד (Preinstalled). מלבד דל, גם יבמ הודיעה בעבר כי בכוונתה לפתח מחשב "נטול מיקרוסופט" שיבוסס על קוד פתוח. המחשב יפותח תוך שיתוף פעולה עם חברות הקוד הפתוח Canonical (החברה המפתחת את מערכת Ubuntu Linux), רד האט ונובל. כיום מערכות הפעלה מסוג קוד פתוח נפוצות במחשבים האולטרה ניידים כמו Eee של חברת אסוס.

    HP כבר פיתחה בעבר תוכנות ייחודיות למחשבים מתוצרתה. מחשב HP TouchSmart למשל מכיל תוכנה שנכתבה במיוחד עבורו המאפשרת לנהל את כל כלי הבידור בממשק מגע. בפועל המערכת מחליפה את המדיה סנטר המובנה במערכת חלונות. הצורך בפיתוח תוכנות משלימות למערכת חלונות נובע מהצלחת מחשבי המקינטוש של חברת אפל, שכן אפל הצליחה לבדל את מחשבי המק מיתר המחשבים האישיים בין השאר בזכות התוכנות השונות. לפי נתוני חברת המחקר IDC מכירות מחשבי מקינטוש מתוך כלל מכירות המחשבים במחצית השנה הראשונה של 2008 הינו 2.9%, בעוד נתח השוק של HP הינו 19.2%. אולם מה שמדאיג את בכירי HP הינו שיעור הגידול במכירות של מחשבי המקינטוש. אלה עלו ב25% ביחס לשנה שעברה, בעוד שגידול מכירות מחשבי HP עלה ב7% בלבד ביחס לתקופה המקבילה אשתקד.

    בישראל נמכרו, לפי חברת המחקר IDC, במחצית הראשונה של השנה 204 אלף מחשבים, כאשר החדירה של מחשבי המק נמוכה מהממוצע העולמי. בעוד שבעולם נתח השוק של אפל קרוב ל3%, בישראל הוא עומד על 1.8%. מצבה של HP בישראל טוב יותר שכן, נתח השוק של החברה גדול מנתח השוק העולמי שלה. בישראל נתח השוק של HP, לפי נתוני המחצית הראשונה של 2008 הינו 21%, כאשר החברה הציגה גידול נאה של 15% לעומת התקופה המקבילה אשתקד.

    I'm a Mac, I'm a PC & I'm an HP / מאת פז וייסמן

    "בידול זה שם המשחק: אפל הצליחה ליצור מצב בו מחשב המשמש לעריכה גרפית בעזרת תוכנת פוטושופ המריץ מערכת אופן אופיס, כבר לא נקרא PC אלא מקינטוש, למרות ש-PC עושה את אותן הפעולות בדיוק, ואפילו משתמש באותן התוכנות"

    9 מכל 10 מחשבים אישיים בעולם מריץ את אחת ממערכות הפעלה של מיקרוסופט. על שוק המחשבים האישיים נלחמות מספר רב של יצרניות גדולות כמו HP, דל, אייסר, לנובו וגם מספר רב של יצרניות קטנות יותר כמו LG, סמסונג, אסוס ועוד. אחת הבעיות של יצרניות המחשבים היא הבידול - כיצד יוצרים שוני בין המחשב שלהם ובין המחשבים של המתחרים. נכון להיום השוני בין המחשבים השונים איננו טמון כמעט ברכיבי החומרה ובטח שלא במערכת ההפעלה, שכן כל היצרנים רוכשים רישיונות תוכנה ממיקרוסופט.

    התחרות בין יצרניות המחשבים מתבססת על מחיר ועל איכות השירות כמו האחריות וטיב השירות לסקטור העסקי. באופן טבעי חברות מחפשות דרכים בכדי לבדל את עצמן מהיתר, ושהמחשב לא יהפוך לקומודיטי (סחורה אחידה). חברת אפל הצליחה לעשות מהלך מיתוג מרשים בכך שהצליחה לבדל את מחשב המקינטוש ממחשבי ה-PC. אפל הצליחה ליצור מצב בו מחשב המשמש לעריכה גרפית בעזרת תוכנת פוטושופ המריץ מערכת אופן אופיס, כבר לא נקרא PC אלא מקינטוש, למרות ש-PC עושה את אותן הפעולות בדיוק, ואפילו משתמש באותן התוכנות. לכן, אחד הפתרונות היחידים הוא ליצור בידול ברמת התוכנה, בדיוק כמו שאפל עשתה.

    עוד בנושא - מק מול PC: עשרת הסרטונים המצחיקים ביותר ברשת | hp מחזירה לחיים את המותג קומפאק בישראל | תעודת הזהות של מדינת החשכ"ל |

    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    Link to IBM Software Solutions has been enhanced with our Partners at IBM Software Solutions

    Our Partners

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC - Linux

    “The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM Lotus Software, in a press release issues Tuesday night. “ We’ll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry leading solution.”

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Saturday, May 31, 2008

    News on SmartCards

    Article Title: Bihar govt picks Bartronics smart cards

    MUMBAI, INDIA: Bihar government's Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) has selected Bartronics India Limited (BIL), a provider of solutions based on AIDC technologies, to provide smart cards for health insurance coverage.

    The RSBY scheme aims at providing health insurance cover to below poverty line population of the state.

    The cards will facilitate portability of benefits and cashless medical cover up to Rs 30,000 for the unorganized sector worker and his family (unit of five) per annum.

    The scheme will cover over 39 lakh families across eight districts of Bihar and will launched in June 2008. The scheme allows each participating state to cover 20 per cent of their respective districts each year.

    Almost every large state government has expressed its intention of joining the scheme and many have already issued tender notices.

    In Bihar, Oriental Insurance Company Limited is spearheading the effort with Medicare TPA Service (I) Ltd. as the implementation partner.

    Monday, April 14, 2008

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    מבצע מחשבים לאביב
    Cleanup for Spring Lower Prices on Lenovo
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    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Yahoo! comes to Israel

    On the Radio I heard this News Today:
    Last update - 02:06 14/01/2008

    Yahoo! comes to Israel

    By Raz Smolsky and Maayan Cohen

    Internet giant Yahoo! is coming to Israel, and not only over the Net. The company is taking its battle for survival against Google and Microsoft to Israel on two levels. It will open a research and development center in Haifa, and will also enter the content side of the business here for the first time through a cooperation agreement with Walla!, which is partly owned by Haaretz.

    Yahoo! is following Google, which set up R&D centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa, as well as establishing a marketing center that also deals in joint content arrangements with Israeli portals. Microsoft, meanwhile, has set up a sales and marketing branch in Ra'anana, as well as R&D centers in Tel Aviv and Herzliya.

    Yahoo! is now negotiating office space in the Matam high-tech park in Haifa; and is expected to open its research center within a few months.

    Google kicked off in the Middle East with its Haifa R&D center in July 2006, despite the Second Lebanon War at the time; the center was its first in the region and only its fourth outside of the U.S. Other well-known companies in the Matam industrial park include Intel, Microsoft, Elbit and Zim.

    Yahoo!'s first foray into the Israeli content market is based on a strategic deal signed with portal Walla!. The goal is to threaten Google's hegemony in the Israeli search market for the first time and the real challenge is to compete in search-based advertising.

    Under the long-term deal signed between Yahoo! and Walla!, the technology and databases will come from Yahoo!, but the search engine will be branded as Walla! Search, the name of Walla!'s present engine.

    Only six months ago there were reports that Walla! was negotiating with Google in the search market, but no agreement was ever reached. Google usually partners with a local search engine by providing the technology and the advertisements, while the revenues are split.

    The joint Walla!-Yahoo! venture will continue using Walla!'s AdVantage platform. This will allow Walla! to continue to manage the advertising itself, and it will receive a higher percentage of the revenues than in a deal that also included advertising, such as Google proposed.

    According to Walla! CEO Ilan Yeshua: "The search and advertising in search results sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, and also in Israel. The agreement with Yahoo! allows us to offer Walla!'s surfers an excellent search product ... for the Israeli user. The agreement will help Walla! increase its market share in the search-based advertising market. The existence of another strong player in the search and textual advertising sector will contribute to competitiveness , both in the search experience and in the range of possibilities available to advertisers."

    Yahoo! and Walla! had previously discussed technological cooperation in the past, but nothing serious came of it. Walla!'s previous management, replaced in 2006, was never willing to allow outsiders to share its advertising revenues.

    Israeli Internet advertising was estimated at $90 million in 2007, 10% of the total advertising pie. Of this figure, search engine advertising took about half, $40-50 million, the large majority of which went to Google.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Linux at Renault:

    Linux News: 12:01 Jan 30, 2008
    Microsoft and Novell Provide Renault With Interoperability
    Under the agreement, Microsoft will deliver to Renault more than 1,000 certificates for priority support subscriptions to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell ( R), as Renault consolidates existing Linux* distributions to SUSE Linux

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    And you thought Java is Dead...!?

    And you thought Java is Dead...!?

    Subject: Java as a language is dead - What now?
    From Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 15:04:12 GMT
    Dear Samuel,
    For years we've heard that Java is dying - that it's a bloated language that
    has served its purpose and is on its way out. But, as the dawn of dozens of new
    programming languages, all written FOR the JVM have proven - Java as a platform
    has only begun to show its potential. To truly harness the power of Java, you
    need more than J2EE programming skills.

    Get them at TheServerSide Java Symposium.


    In 'Boldly Go Where the Java Language has Never Gone Before,' Sun Java Champion
    Geert Bein offers demonstrations of how: Terracotta brings clustering to Java
    apps by distributing the characteristics of the Java Memory Model; Google Web
    Toolkit allows you to write and debug Ajax applications in Java that execute as
    DHTML and JavaScript on the client-side; Google Android converts Java byte code
    to an instruction set optimized for mobile phones; RIFE turns method calls
    into continuations to more
    safely and easily create stateful Web applications and event-based systems.

    Great Escape on DVD

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