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Computer Games, Money, And Sex -- Everything You Want Out Of Life

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Everything You Want Out Of Life: Computer Games, Money, And Sex
2. Today's Top Story
    - Does Software Consolidation Stifle Innovation?
    - IT Culture: Too Safe For Comfort
3. Breaking News
    - Vista Ultimate May Put Millions More In Microsoft's Coffers
    - Apple Seeks Patents For Bottom-Loading Disk Drive
    - Dell To Take Midnight Orders For Vista PCs
    - Hacker Opens Crack In High-Def Movie DRM
    - Dancers, Broadway, And A Bill Gates Bash? It Can Only Mean One Thing
    - Why Microsoft's Keeping XP Home Alive Until 2014
    - N.Y. Biometric Scanners Spark Union Cries Of 'Geoslavery'
    - Massive 720-Square-Mile Wi-Fi Net In Michigan To Serve Urban And Rural Users
    - IBM Releases Software Development Kit For Java 6
    - Maine Lawmakers Refuse To Implement Real ID Act, Call For Its Repeal
    - Google Defuses Google Bombs
    - Symantec Reports New Zero-Day Word Bug
    - Apple Fixes Wi-Fi Flaw From 2006
    - Pentagon Readies Ray Gun
    - New Linux Group To Tackle Legal, Standards Challenges -- And Microsoft
    - Microsoft Rivals Claim Vista Violates European Antitrust Rules
4. In Depth
    - The Trouble With Customers And Their Data
    - Banks Start To Embrace Concept Of Financial Supply Chain Management
    - Ready For Your Close-Up
    - Linux Levels The OS Field?
5. Voice Of Authority
    - YouTube Simpsons Subpoena Spotlights Copyright Insanity
6. White Papers
    - Virtualization In A Nutshell—A Virtualization Overview
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing." -- Johnny Carson


1. Editor's Note: Everything You Want Out Of Life: Computer Games, Money, And Sex

Pity me, my job is such torture. I've been spending a lot of the last week explicitly, and with the enthusiastic support of my managers and colleagues, doing an activity that gets people fired from most rational jobs. I've been messing around with computer games. Specifically, the virtual world known as Second Life.

I've been keeping a journal of my virtual adventures on the InformationWeek Blog, so you can follow along.

I kicked things off two Fridays ago with an interview with Corey Bridges, co-founder of the Multiverse Network, describing how virtual worlds are becoming mainstream.

Monday was my first-ever solo visit to a virtual world, as I logged in to Second Life for the first time. My first impression: I find my first life pretty confusing already. Also, my hair looks terrible.

In my second, longer visit, I encountered a sentence that you just don't ever hear in real life: "Your clothing is still downloading."

Next, I took a detour into the real world to interview one of the best science-fiction writers ever to wield a word processor, Charles Stross. Stross has done a lot of research on virtual worlds and has great ideas about them; his novel Halting State, to be published in October, is all about a robbery in a virtual world, taking place about a dozen years in the future.

I returned to Second Life to do my first two interviews with SL players. I did the interviews in chat, inside the game, and discovered to my surprise that my first interview was with a virtual exotic dancer and the second was with a charming and friendly person (they're called "avatars" in SL) who, in real life, has Asperger's syndrome.

I then talked to my friend John Kusters, who poured cold water on my evolving theory that virtual worlds are becoming mainstream. John doesn't think that's likely, even though he himself is an avid World of Warcraft enthusiast.

Next, I expressed my frustration with horrendously slow response times in SL, after removing my pants in public and discovering I have no genitals.

I interviewed SL's first authentic celebrity, Anshe Chung, who says she's made $1 million on virtual real estate.

And through it all, I recount my uncomfortable encounters with cybersex, which seems to be surprisingly common in SL.

So there you have it: sex, money, and computer games. Everything you want out of life. Go forth and read.

Are virtual worlds the next big thing? Or are they just a fad? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Blog and let us know.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Does Software Consolidation Stifle Innovation?
The software industry is quickly settling into a gang of four: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Where will the next billion-dollar competitor come from?

Related Stories:

IT Culture: Too Safe For Comfort
InformationWeek Research finds many IT shops are overly cautious when it comes to experimenting with new technology. It's time to get back to innovation that drives business.


3. Breaking News

Vista Ultimate May Put Millions More In Microsoft's Coffers
The software maker's revised premium editions' share estimates prompt a rosy prediction by one analyst.

Apple Seeks Patents For Bottom-Loading Disk Drive
Potential benefits include the ability to build a thinner notebook.

Dell To Take Midnight Orders For Vista PCs
The computer maker recommends consumers stick to systems with dual-core or quad-core processors.

Hacker Opens Crack In High-Def Movie DRM
Authorities may take legal action against whoever posted decryption keys that allow code compromises in Blu-ray or HD DVD formats.

Dancers, Broadway, And A Bill Gates Bash? It Can Only Mean One Thing
The consumer launch of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system will be an all-day extravaganza in New York City.

Why Microsoft's Keeping XP Home Alive Until 2014
The announcement matches a policy already in place for the business-oriented Windows XP Professional.

N.Y. Biometric Scanners Spark Union Cries Of 'Geoslavery'
The planned rollout of hand scanners in New York City government agencies has unions worried that the technology will be used to track and control the workforce.

Massive 720-Square-Mile Wi-Fi Net In Michigan To Serve Urban And Rural Users
When completed at the end of this year, the Washtenaw Wireless hotspot will likely be the largest Wi-Fi network in the Unites States in terms of coverage area.

IBM Releases Software Development Kit For Java 6
Support for the programming language includes Linux and AIX for computers running on x86 chips as well as 32- and 64-bit PowerPC.

Maine Lawmakers Refuse To Implement Real ID Act, Call For Its Repeal
The resolution charges that the Real ID Act of 2005 would place an unfair financial burden on states, threatens privacy, and leaves citizens vulnerable to identity theft.

Google Defuses Google Bombs
Notable victims of Google bombing have included George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, Tony Blair, Rick Santorum, and John Kerry.

Symantec Reports New Zero-Day Word Bug
The bug, which affects Word 2000, lets hackers execute their own code with the same privileges as the user.

Apple Fixes Wi-Fi Flaw From 2006
Apple has patched a vulnerability in its Mac OS X AirPort Extreme driver that was made public in late November.

Pentagon Readies Ray Gun
The Defense Department is preparing to deploy its version of a stun gun based on gyrotron energy beam technology.

New Linux Group To Tackle Legal, Standards Challenges—And Microsoft
The group's formation is an acknowledgement that Linux can't afford to divide its resources for funding, legal defense, and standards, since problems on any of those fronts could weaken the operating system's advancement.

Microsoft Rivals Claim Vista Violates European Antitrust Rules
Elements of Vista violate a 2004 European Commission finding that Microsoft's bundling of applications and operating systems is anticompetitive, the group charges.

All Our Latest News


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InformationWeek To Go
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Managing Security Complexity
Managing information security is growing in complexity in response to more types and more frequent attacks. Examine how more than 2,000 technology and security professionals are managing this complexity and protecting mission-critical systems in the ninth annual Global Information Security survey, a joint research project between InformationWeek Research and Accenture. Use this research to benchmark your security practices and build a road map for the future. Read more about this research.

-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth

The Trouble With Customers And Their Data
The cost of customer data breaches is increasing, and the financial services industry is trying to reconcile the price of protecting that data with the increasingly disconcerting ramifications of security lapses.

Banks Starting to Embrace Concept Of Financial Supply Chain Management
Globalization is driving banks to examine new ways to cater to corporate clients, including financial supply chain management.

Ready For Your Close-Up
It can be hard for insurers to quantify the specific financial benefits of investments in customer analytics. But the competitive advantages enabled by improved customer insight are countless.

Linux Levels The OS Field?
No longer bogged down in proprietary, noninteroperable environments, insurers must carefully consider the complex array of open source choices they now have.


5. Voice Of Authority

YouTube Simpsons Subpoena Spotlights Copyright Insanity
No, this isn't another legal tussle or media mess involving O.J. or Judith Regan. It's a Web copyright battle touched off by that overrated weekly animated series starring Homer and Marge. And, as with most copyright disputes, the online data path leads directly to YouTube.


6. White Papers

Virtualization In A Nutshell—A Virtualization Overview
Among the leading business challenges confronting IT managers today are cost-effective utilization of IT infrastructure, responsiveness in supporting new business initiatives, and flexibility in adapting to organizational changes. Read how virtualization allows skilled IT managers to deploy creative solutions to such business challenges.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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