The Digital Signage Insider

News from the tech front, and how it relates to FireCast

Published on: 2004-02-26

I ran into two interesting articles this morning while reading the news online.

At WireSpring, we're always on the lookout for two things: 1. Enterprise-level management software that's ready to make its way into the consumer world, and 2. Technology that lets Windows users utilize Linux better. Today, I read articles that discussed both.

First, I came across this article, about IBM's foray into so-called Autonomic Computing. In a nutshell, IBM is looking for ways to let computers -- servers, in particular -- manage themselves, preemptively solve problems, and isolate hardware faults. IBM has been working on this project for several years, since the beginning of the so-called Eliza project. This is interesting to me, and I always try to keep up with the latest advances in this area because FireCast kiosk and digital signage software uses many of the same techniques to self-manage as well. Our FireCast OS Linux-based operating system uses self-healing technology to monitor hardware, manage disk space and CPU cycles, and report and fix problems proactively. This technology is rarely used on the desktop, where a human being can interact with the machine, see what's wrong, and fix it, but it is hugely important in the context of kiosks and digital signage, where there might be hundreds or thousands of devices spread out across a wide area.

The other interesting article that I read this morning was from a tech publication that is normally a bit over my head, but the headline caught my eye. Getting people to write applications for Linux is not the easiest thing in the world if they're coming from a Windows environment. And while I would estimate that over 90% of FireCast kiosk software users write their applications using web technologies like Perl, PHP and HTML. Every once in a while, though, we come across somebody who needs to have their Visual Basic application work on our system. And in those cases we generally have to tell them to manually port the app to a different language, or else pay us to do it. But it looks like progress is being made on that front as well, if this article is correct. I can't say that I'm familiar with RealBasic, but if it does what it claims, we'll be first in line to try it out and recommend it to customers looking to leave the Windows environment.

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