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Businesses Embracing Firefox As The Other Browser

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Researchers Measure E-Mail's Potency As Business Tool
2. Today's Top Story
    - Is The Metasploit Hacking Tool Too Good?
    Related Stories:
    - Q&A: Why Metasploit Publishes Hacker Tools
    - Poll: Metasploit—Help Or Menace?
3. Breaking News
    - Businesses Embracing Firefox As The Other Browser
    - McAfee, Microsoft Trade Insults Over Vista
    - YouTube Pulls Nearly 30,000 Videos
    - Brief: Google Shares Surge Day After Stellar Financial Report
    - Microsoft Says McAfee 'Inaccurate, Inflammatory'
    - Vista Now Blocks Kernel Rootkit Attack
    - Microsoft Spars With Security Analysts Over IE7 Bug
    - Microsoft Re-Releases Patch For Windows 2000
    - Microsoft Readies Audio-Visual Conferencing Platform
    - Microsoft Expands Life Sciences Effort
    - Dell's Stock Tumbles After HP Reclaims No. 1 PC Spot
    - Analysis: U.S. Elections Will Shape Many Key IT Issues
4. Grab Bag
    - PlayStation 3 To Miss November 17 Ship Date? (Gizmodo)
    - IE7 Vs. Firefox 2: The Memory Usage Showdown (Lifehacker)
    - Microsoft Zune: Doesn't Sound Sweet To Everyone (IT World)
5. In Depth
    - Businesses Apply New Metrics In Measuring IT's Value
    - Techniques For Measuring IT's Effectiveness
6. Voice Of Authority
    - The Internet Explorer 7 Glass Is Definitely Half Empty
7. White Papers
    - Secure Enclave: Security And Resiliency For The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"My wife's jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was." -- Rodney Dangerfield


1. Editor's Note: Researchers Measure E-Mail's Potency As Business Tool

Imagine two workers with the same job—call them Al and Bob, recruiters at an executive headhunting firm. Both rely heavily on e-mail to conduct business. Who would have more success finding executive recruits? Al, who relies on a well-worn list of contacts, or Bob, who not only has his own heavily used contact list, but also participates in a social network? The answer seems obvious: Bob. Now, however, their performance can be measured.

MIT management professor Erik Brynjolfsson and two collaborators drafted a paper entitled "Information, Technology And Information Worker Productivity: Task Level Evidence" that measures the performance of knowledge workers at an executive recruiting firm, much akin to how researchers over the years have measured the performance of assembly line workers producing widgets.

Traditionally, IT organizations use metrics to evaluate internal operations, but the rage among leading companies today is measuring the impact of IT on the business operations. We explore this trend in today's InformationWeek.

According to the paper, in an effort to reveal individual information-worker productivity, Brynjolfsson and his colleagues analyzed project and individual performance at the recruiting firm by using data on revenues, compensation, and project completion rates for more than 1,300 projects spanning five years. In addition, they examined more than 125,000 e-mail messages sent by the knowledge workers over a 10-month span. The researchers evaluated this data with the workers' perceptions of their IT skills, along with their actual use of IT and information sharing. Until he conducted this research, Brynjolfsson didn't think it was easy to measure performance by a knowledge worker.

"For me, it was an eye-opener," he says. "Now with this data, I did a 180-degree turn. Information workers are extremely measurable because with just a little bit of effort, you can track basically all of their communications—their outputs and their inputs—and correlate that with their performance."

Brynjolfsson says there's no correlation between the raw number of e-mails sent and productivity, such as completing a project successfully. But if knowledge workers such as Bob actively engage in a social networking site and connect with other participants within the network via e-mail, their success rate in closing deals is higher than those who don't participate in such webs.

"If A [Al] is just sending a lot of e-mail to his e-mail buddies, but doesn't really connect to other people, whereas B [Bob] has a much broader, more diverse connection, then that was a very strong indicator [of increased productivity]," Brynjolfsson says. "The broader point is that if you look at the structure of the network, it tells you a lot about which kinds of people are more productive and which people are less productive."

Do you have any unusual means of measuring productivity and performance? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog and let us know.

Eric Chabrow
echabrow@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Is The Metasploit Hacking Tool Too Good?
The open source project already offers penetration testing tools and exploit code. Now it's going further, offering eVade-o-Matic, a tool to make it harder to detect exploit code aimed at Web browsers. Has it gone too far?

Related Stories:

Q&A: Why Metasploit Publishes Hacker Tools
H.D. Moore, head researcher of hacker organization Metasploit, talks about why it's important to publish security exploits, the organization's relationship to the cops, and more.

Poll: Metasploit—Help Or Menace?


3. Breaking News

Businesses Embracing Firefox As The Other Browser
JupiterResearch has recorded a large jump in the number of businesses allowing Firefox and is predicting that the latest IE7 release might drive even more acceptance.

McAfee, Microsoft Trade Insults Over Vista
The increasingly testy exchange between Microsoft and third-party security software makers stems from Microsoft's decision to wall off the kernel in 64-bit Vista.

YouTube Pulls Nearly 30,000 Videos
YouTube has removed from its Web site nearly 30,000 videos that Japan's entertainment industry said contained copyrighted material.

Brief: Google Shares Surge Day After Stellar Financial Report
Google stock surged nearly 8% the day after the company reported almost a doubling of profits in the third quarter.

Microsoft Says McAfee 'Inaccurate, Inflammatory'
McAfee is one of several security firms concerned Microsoft will wait too long to hand out information they need to protect customers who will use Vista.

Vista Now Blocks Kernel Rootkit Attack
A noted security analyst said Microsoft has blocked the path to an exploit route she demonstrated this summer, but the technique for the fix is itself flawed.

Microsoft Spars With Security Analysts Over IE7 Bug
Microsoft argues that the bug purportedly in IE7 is actually an old, unpatched Outlook Express flaw. Security vendors say it doesn't matter. It still needs to be fixed.

Microsoft Re-Releases Patch For Windows 2000
The fix involves the Oct. 10 update, pegged as MS06-061. Users of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 don't need to repatch the patch.

Microsoft Readies Audio-Visual Conferencing Platform
Microsoft has developed an audio and video teleconference system known as RoundTable that will begin shipping next year.

Microsoft Expands Life Sciences Effort
Microsoft cut deals with several life sciences and software companies for software that helps researchers visualize molecules and run tests of the efficacy of potential drug compounds.

Dell's Stock Tumbles After HP Reclaims No. 1 PC Spot
Dell's stock closed down 6.4% at $23.12 on Nasdaq, the biggest drop in about three months, while Hewlett-Packard added 1.4%.

Analysis: U.S. Elections Will Shape Many Key IT Issues
The winners of next month's congressional elections will decide the future of many important telecommunications and information technology issues, including net neutrality, data privacy, and patents. InformationWeek explains what's at stake.

All Our Latest News


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

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4. Grab Bag

PlayStation 3 To Miss November 17 Ship Date? (Gizmodo)
Sony is in a heap of trouble. First the exploding batteries, and now it looks like that could turn into a cascading problem.

IE7 Vs. Firefox 2: The Memory Usage Showdown (Lifehacker)
"After running Internet Explorer 7 for a full day now and throwing just as many tabs at it as the 'fox, its RAM suck-uppage consistently stayed less than HALF of Firefox's."

Microsoft Zune: Doesn't Sound Sweet To Everyone (IT World)
Microsoft's forthcoming digital music player, dubbed Zune, may make some Hebrew speakers gasp. The name for the device--which will take on the Apple iPod when released later this year—sounds like a vulgarity, specifically the "f" word, in Hebrew.


5. In Depth

Businesses Apply New Metrics In Measuring IT's Value
CIOs look beyond ROI to gauge customer interactions, sales impact, and tech-driven innovation.

Techniques For Measuring IT's Effectiveness
Here are a dozen metrics that some companies are using to track technology's impact on business execution.


6. Voice Of Authority

The Internet Explorer 7 Glass Is Definitely Half Empty
The news that Microsoft has finally released a newer, perhaps less risky version of Internet Explorer should bring a song to my lips and a spring to my step. But my heart is heavy. Why? Because of the nine PCs within my reach, only two will run the newer, safer IE. The other seven run Microsoft operating systems that Microsoft has stopped supporting and won't release a version of IE7 for.


7. White Papers

Secure Enclave: Security And Resiliency For The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise
Focusing on perimeter-based network protection (i.e. firewalls and intrusion detection) is grossly inadequate, leaving networks continuously exposed to attacks from compromised devices. To confront these threats, organizations must have a reliable, end-to-end view of all the assets that interact with the network.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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