1. Editor's Note: Beat That Traffic Jam; Apple's Music Stranglehold 2. Today's Top Story: - Oracle Beefs Up Data Warehouse Technology 3. Breaking News - Microsoft Issues Tool To Block IE7 Auto Updates - New Certification Sets Professional Standards For Outsourcing Experts - New Skype For Mac Moves To Beta - Analysts: Mercury Acquisition To Bolster HP Software - Video Game Connects To Apple iTunes - Office 2007 Ribbon To Be Tweaked - Microsoft Seals VPN Deal, Immediately Cuts Prices - TiVo To Help Advertisers Reach Ad-Zapping Consumers - Home Office Users Lead Consumer VoIP Charge: Study - Motorola Unveils Its Thinnest Mobile Phone - Microsoft Opposes Net Neutrality Plan On Its Proxy - Review: Napster And Rhapsody For OS X And Linux? Sort Of 4. Grab Bag: RAZRs And Movie Downloads - Motorola Unveils Updated Generation Of RAZR Phones (Top Tech News) - BT Announces Movie Download Deal (BBC News) 5. In Depth: The Latest In Chips - Are Chips Getting Too Hot To Compute? - AMD To Offer Four Cores For Less Than $1K - IBM Changes Its Server Software Pricing For The Dual-Core Era - Chip Price War Helps Customers, Hurts Intel And AMD - Analysis: New Chips Give Intel Upper Hand In Price War 6. Voice Of Authority - Apple's Copy Protection Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Business 7. White Papers - Understanding Business Intelligence And Your Bottom Line 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day: "The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal." — Mark Twain
1. Editor's Note: Beat That Traffic Jam; Apple's Music Stranglehold
How many times have you had this experience: You're driving along the highway, either in a highly congested area or a road you're not familiar with, and you hit a traffic backup that leaves you effectively parked for, say, an hour. You curse the road, the cars around you, your fate. You ponder how useless radio traffic reports are, since they only help you if they occur—and how unlikely is this?—five minutes before you need to jump off that road at a particular exit and take an alternate route. Perhaps you've considered the Internet's potential to solve this problem in the distant future. Well the future may be here sooner than you think, courtesy of Google's addition of traffic data to Google Maps.
Here's how it works: Users download Google Maps to their mobile phone and select a "show traffic" option that delivers up-to-date data. When they request directions, they'll see expected drive time and likely delays on a particular route.
We're looking to review this service in the near future and welcome any reader comments, experiences, or even your own reviews in the meantime. We'd be thrilled to serve as a forum for readers' experiences with new products and services such as this. Also, feel free to suggest major traffic routes where you'd like to see this tested; if possible, we'll accommodate in order to deliver the most real-world conditions possible.
Other highlights of today's coverage:
Gary Lust, a recruiter with Houston-based Geoweb Staffing, offers another reminder of the importance of business skills among IT professionals. He urges IT professionals to keep themselves competitive by acquiring accounting or other finance-oriented skills that will help them understand and make business cases for IT projects. He also notes that public speaking and personal interaction skills will be vital to future career growth. Lust goes so far as to assert that strong business skills are more important than strong tech skills in winning a job in today's environment.
Apple is sticking it to the consumers who have bought iPods and the business partners who own rights to the music they download, opines Internet celebrity Cory Doctorow. All the while those iPod cash registers keep ringing. A few of Doctorow's more provocative assertions:
"Apple has already demonstrated its willingness to abuse its monopoly over iTunes players by shipping 'updates' to iTunes that add new restrictions to the songs its customers have already purchased," he says.
Customers have already voted with their wallets against Apple's anti-copying and digital rights management practices. "P2P file-sharing of infringing music is the fastest-adopted technology in the history of the world...the customer has decided, by and large, to avoid Apple's lock-in by not buying anything at all—they've joined the majority of Internet users in deciding that copyright infringement is your best entertainment dollar," Doctorow writes.
What's your take on Apple's level of control with the iPod? Do you feel victimized by Apple? Or are you blowing off Apple and the media companies and just downloading/copying music that infringes on digital rights?
Microsoft Issues Tool To Block IE7 Auto Updates In earlier updates, large numbers of corporate customers running Automatic Update were caught unprepared by demands for a download blocker. This time around, Microsoft wants to give enterprises ample time to deploy the blocker toolkit so that they can test IE7 on their timeline.
Microsoft Opposes Net Neutrality Plan On Its Proxy A showdown is looming, with Microsoft trying to block a shareholder vote that would force the vendor to explain its stance. Microsoft fears broadband providers would block access to its content and has sought legislation barring those extra charges.
Peter Gorenstein With 'Orb It!' Peter looks at software that allows users to listen to or watch media stored on their home PC remotely via cell phone, PDA, or another PC.
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4. Grab Bag: RAZRs And Movie Downloads
Motorola Unveils Updated Generation Of RAZR Phones (Top Tech News) The CDMA version of the KRZR, available to Sprint and Verizon users, also includes EV-DO for high-speed data transmission, GPS service capabilities for turn-by-turn driving directions, and external touch-sensitive music playback buttons. Both versions will be available worldwide by the end of 2006.
Are Chips Getting Too Hot To Compute? Contrary to popular belief, the impact of high temperature on a chip design isn't among the most immediate concerns for advanced IC design, according to a Texas Instruments executive.
Analysis: New Chips Give Intel Upper Hand In Price War Intel's early adoption of new technologies means it can make chips cheaper and choose to either boost its margins or keep its prices low to pressure AMD, industry watchers are saying. With no new products until the middle of next year, AMD will have to keep its prices low to hold on to its gains.
Understanding Business Intelligence And Your Bottom Line While many BI vendors want you to think their pricey, industrial-strength solutions are absolutely necessary for the small and midsized business sector, Sage Software's research shows otherwise. Since all SMBs can benefit from BI tools, this paper provides a way for them to determine what tools they really need to help their bottom line.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.