There's no doubt about it - online transactions are going to be huge. We know this because industry pundits say so: 'The next big growth area for resellers is e-commerce.' It has reached the stage when just about everyone is aware of the money-making opportunities with online systems. But, the fact is, very few are actually reaping the rewards.
Blue chip companies are using the technology and most firms are beginning to share information online. But there aren't many confident enough to send money online, no matter what all and sundry predict.
Take a great idea like Pandesic. The company is a joint venture between Intel and SA - two of the most successful firms in technology. The idea is to automate the entire business cycle for small and medium-sized businesses over the internet. If Intel and SAP don't provide customers with enough confidence, it also offers the backing of giants such as Cybercash and Hewlett Packard.
Pandesic started by concentrating on the US, where online business is expected to continue growing. Naturally, it was not expected to be profitable for a few years, but then that's the nature of emerging markets - it is expensive until everyone jumps on the bandwagon, then the wagon starts rolling and the money rolls in.
In this case, however, the wheels have fallen off. Pandesic has lost its chief executive and shelved plans to move into Europe because of poor sales. It seems that outside the blue chip companies - whose accounts are owned by big systems integrators and Vars - few are willing to dive wallet-first into online commerce (see page 18).
Technology and pets do not mix - just ask my father, who once had a nasty experience involving a cat, a cup of tea and a laptop keyboard. But this is not the view in Silicon Valley, where feeding pets with automatic time-locked dishes is seen as normal.
The ideas are flowing thick and fast. A good example comes from just down the coast in Los Angeles, where the city has launched a scheme to implant a microchip into every cat and dog adopted from shelters. It is hoped vets will tag on to the idea, making identification easier and avoiding the need to destroy 50,000 animals each year.
A bad example is the virtual pet day care centre. Virtual pets are a source of loathing for me, but a company here has decided there is a market in minding Tamogotchis for Siliconites. Apparently, some schools and parents were driven to insanity by the incessant bleeping of these adorable virtual pets and banned them. The kids couldn't let them virtually die, but they became so distracting in the classroom that something had to be done.
A crisp manufacturer found it could appeal to kids by offering to look after the Tamogotchis during term-time and even keeps the kids up to date about how the little darlings are getting on.
It's ridiculous but, as long as they are not bleeping anywhere near me, I don't mind.
The internet has done many things to the music industry - promoted videos, spawned fan clubs and even sold CDs - but the recording giants are still concerned. The management of Oasis were so worried about losing all the intrigue surrounding the band's last album release that they threatened to sue anyone who set up a Website infringing its copyright.
But that was last year. The increasing importance of internet CD sales site - CD Now recently went public - is offset by the importance of underground Websites that offer surfers samples and previews of new music, often before release. The latest, Deconstructing Beck, is selling samples like hot, tasty cakes.
It takes apart the music of Beck, who himself is famous for sampling and mixing different styles, and remixes it for a second time. Naturally, Beck's record company hates it, but it is having trouble finding the perpetrator because he or she only uses an email address for contact details.
The internet works in mysterious ways - it hands sales to companies with one hand, and takes them away with the other.
Football history in the re-making
'Some of the crowd are on the pitch. They think it's all over. It is now.' When Geoff Hurst was scoring the final goal in the 1966 World Cup Final against West Germany, the controversy began about whether or not England should have been awarded the goal that gave them the lead.
Now that debate can be settled for good, thanks to an Israeli software company. German newspaper Der Speigel, using virtual replay software from Orad, has re-created the goal in question from old footage using advanced techniques and animated characters.
Happily, I can reveal that the Russian linesman was right. Orad proved, from seven virtual replay angles, that the ball did cross the line and the goal should have stood. Let's hope there is a similar debate about this year's final, after Alan Shearer's fifth against Germany.
Living in La-La land
Eh-oh. The Teletubbies have arrived in Silicon Valley. Hot on the heels of many highly intelligent Brits like myself, the fab four have just begun invading the US. At the moment, the US doesn't know whether to love or hate them - parents have publicly criticised them for not being multi-cultural, but then they can hardly be accused of representing human issues.
It won't be long before we see US Websites along the lines of 'Teletubbies: dangerous subversives or harmless drivel?' and a myriad of fan clubs.
Despite local debate, many Californian television stations expect them to be a hit and have signed it up. Their argument? It's big on the internet, therefore people will watch it. Technology rules here, OK?
Press briefings reveal what will be on the vendor's agenda in Las Vegas next week
Most MSPs will already offer some form of hosted service, and providing management and orchestration of cloud services may be the next logical and smart step in developing their business
Oxfordshire-based reseller reveals it installed an Aerohive WiFi network at Blenheim Palace three years ago
Occasional CRN columnist ponders human need for WiFi, football shenanigans, robot workers and deference