That might be tough, given that Gartner estimates that half of the PCs in companies today can't run Microsoft's new operating system.

Wes Wasson, vice president of worldwide marketing at Citrix Systems, suggests that you "can manage the roll-out of Vista saner" by distributing it virtually to desktops from centralised servers. He says Citrix's Desktop Server 1.0, available this week, will let CIOs "rethink how Vista can get to users." With Desktop Server, Wasson claims, IT can customise delivery of Vista to end users, whether they need simple access to applications or are hard-to-please power users who push the operating system to its limits. Desktop Server starts at $75 per user per year. Might be a bargain if you value your sanity.

‘Applications don’t just break -- they degrade over time.’

And that's much worse, says Amal Chaudhuri, president of SignaCert. You immediately notice when an app fails, he says, but a decaying one is "insidious," slowly becoming less secure, losing performance and falling out of compliance. Chaudhuri explains that apps degrade as changes are made to the underlying infrastructure, such as the operating system and drivers, and the application itself.

Protect yourself, he advises, by keeping track of all the "signatures" -- that is, configurations and states -- of the various infrastructure components so you can see how they have changed. SignaCert Global Trust Services does just that, he claims. It combines an online service that maintains a database of 80 million signatures of all commercial operating systems, drivers, databases and the rest with an appliance that you install in your data centre. The appliance monitors changes to your environment and lets you compare them with a known time when an app was running at peak levels, so you can return to that state if necessary. Subscriptions start at $99 per year per server.

SignaCert change monitoring will be integrated in the next release of the Solaris operating system, which is due early next year, Chaudhuri says.

Old webcasts and podcasts ...

... won't just fade away. Ever wonder what happens to online broadcast events after they're over? Not much, actually. According to Tom Masotto, vice president of business development at ON24, which produces webcasts and podcasts for companies (including IDG, the parent of Techworld), 80 percent of the people who watch them do so live, with the remaining 20 percent catching them in the following week. After that, the virtual events vanish into the bowels of corporate web sites.

Masotto thinks that's a pity, since there's still plenty of good technical and business information in them, not to mention the usual exhortations to buy something. And so, ON24 this week is unveiling Insight24, a Web site where you can find more than 1,000 rich media presentations on dozens of topics -- everything from systems management to servers and operating systems to outsourcing. Masotto says any company can submit an event, but ON24 vets each webcast for appropriateness. Drop by for a screening, but bring your own popcorn.

Rich media ...

... you can't escape it. Certainly not in the future, says Bill Joll, CEO of On2 Technologies, which is 22 numbers away from and no relation to ON24. That's because of the availability of both vast amounts of user-generated content and advanced video-compression software such as On2's VP6 technology; Adobe Systems has licensed the technology for its Flash video products. And if the US Government's FCC approves the release of unused broadcast spectrum for the transmission of high-speed Internet services, online video will pervade everything from your cell phone to the back seat of your car.

Joll argues that the "next breakout of the video phenomenon" will arrive when companies like yours sustain online communities of customers who use video to relate their experiences with your firm's products and services. He thinks brand identification by consumers through rich media will evolve "into a different type of social networking."

Correction: CCV adores ...

... Series A investments. Through a spokesman, Mike Fitzgerald, managing general partner of Commonwealth Capital Ventures -- quoted on 26 March as "eschew[ing] most Series A investments" -- says that 75 percent of CCV's venture funds go to such companies.

Oops. Apologies to all. So, if you lack revenue and customers but have a great idea, you can knock on his door after all.