In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Who Needs A Free Version Of Works?
2. Today's Top Story
- DoS Attack Feared As Storm Worm Siege Escalates
3. Breaking News
- Hackers Promise 'Nude Angelina Jolie' Pics To Plant Malware
- Congress Pushes For More Tech Education, R&D Programs
- Second Life Voice Set To Leave Beta
- CEO Says Nortel Is In Talks On Potential Takeovers
- Illegal Video-Game Devices Seized In Fed Raid
- Apple iPhone Being Sized For Voice Interface
- Samsung Beats Motorola For No. 2 Spot In Handset Shipments
- Number Of Hackers Attacking Banks Jumps 81%
- CA Sues Rocket Software For $200 Million
- Sony Recalls Digital Cameras That Can Cut Customers
4. The Latest Personal Tech Blog Posts
- Yes, Virginia, Google Is Building A Mobile Phone
- Automakers Can Learn From Computer Industry's Mistakes
- Are Printers Hazardous To Your Health?
- A Service Pack For Vista? Yes And No
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
- Maximize Business Terms Through Enterprise Contract Management
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money." -- Benjamin Franklin
1. Editor's Note: Who Needs A Free Version Of Works?
One of the informal rules of computing, as recognized by most of my friends and colleagues (at least, those who know anything about the subject), is: Thou Shalt Avoid Microsoft Works. The suite, which is presumably directed toward consumers, hasn't been really useful for anything but the most elementary tasks for years now. It's a suite with training wheels.
There are so many alternatives these days that the only question should be how fast you can uninstall Works from your new system. If you need a commercial product but find the multiple versions of Microsoft Office too confusing, there are packages such as Corel WordPerfect Office. If you'd rather not pay anything for your software, there are quality open source apps like OpenOffice. If you don't mind working online, you can choose from individual apps such as Google's Docs & Spreadsheets or an online suite such as Zoho.
With all these interesting apps available, my assumption was that Microsoft would take the hint and allow Works to slowly fade away, to be dug up by curious 6-year-olds who wanted to check out what was on Grandpa's computer or by sociologists studying the phenomenon of dumbed-down software. But I was underestimating Microsoft's tendency to try to keep its properties in the public consciousness.
According to a recent news story, Microsoft is planning to offer a free, ad-supported version of Works in selected countries. So I'm trying to figure out why Microsoft's people would think that scads of eager users would want to download an already low-productivity app with advertising added.
Well, if consumers aren't looking for a less-expensive version of Works, I'll bet Microsoft's hardware partners are. According to the article, Works 8.5 costs about $50; while it probably costs manufacturers a lot less to load it onto their new PCs, it can still add up over several thousand systems. With the ability to load a fully free version of a Microsoft application, vendors can subtract a few dollars from their costs without affecting the perceived value of the product.
So when you get your spanking-new Vista-capable machine next year, odds are that it will include a spanking-new version of Works that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, calendar -- and advertising. Enjoy.
What do you think? Would you pick up a free version of Microsoft Works -- with advertising? Leave a comment at the InformationWeek Blog and let us know.
Congress Pushes For More Tech Education, R&D Programs
The bill authorizes funding of $43.3 billion from 2008 to 2010 for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and education programs at the federal level, including scholarship and grant programs.
Illegal Video-Game Devices Seized In Fed Raid
The illegal hardware, which was made overseas and imported into the United States, played counterfeit games on Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360, and Nintendo's Wii.
Are Printers Hazardous To Your Health?
OK, now you have another reason to stay away from the office: According to the Queensland University of Technology, laser printers can be hazardous to your health.
A Service Pack For Vista? Yes And No
Ars Technica reports that The World's Largest Software Company has released a "sneak peek" of several patches on its Windows Connect download service.
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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.