1. Editor's Note: Reviews: Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, And What The Flock Is Up With That New Browser? 2. Today's Top Story - Review: Firefox 2 Takes On IE7 - Review: Flock Offers A Firefox For Bloggers 3. Breaking News - Microsoft Releases New Vista Beta 2 Build - Worm Hits MySpace - Health Care Providers The Latest To Ship IT Work To India - In Depth: Supercomputers Get A Speed Boost From Specialized Chips - Brief: Time Runs Out For Apple Blogging Appeal - Salesforce.com Upgrades On-Demand CRM - Desktop PC Ownership Stagnates, Poll Says - Attackers Let Loose More PowerPoint Exploit Code - Intel Set To Debut Powerful New Itanium Chip - Microsoft To Pull Encrypted Folder Under Pressure - HP Labs Touts Tiny Wireless Chip For Wide-Ranging Use - Yahoo Finance Revises Charts, Chat, Other Features - Top 10 Windows Vista Hits And Misses 4. Grab Bag - For CBS's Fall Lineup, Check Inside Your Refrigerator (NY Times - reg. required) - Top 10 Ways To Motivate Geeks (The Retrospector) - Meet Microsoft's Ultimate Beta Tester (BetaNews) 5. In Depth - Can You Ever Trust A Hacker? UBS Trial Puts It To A Test - In Depth: How Businesses Can Attract The Next-Generation Of IT Workers - In Depth: U.S. IT Unemployment Plunges To 2.2%. But There's More To This Story - The Next Data Breach Could Mean Your IT Job 6. Voice Of Authority - Down To Business: Offshore Infighting 7. White Papers - Closing The 64-Bit Windows Application Gap 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day: "A stupid person can make only certain, limited types of errors; the mistakes open to a clever fellow are far broader. But to the one who knows how smart he is compared to everyone else, the possibilities for true idiocy are boundless." — Steven Brust
1. Editor's Note: Reviews: Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, And What The Flock Is Up With That New Browser?
For months now, Firefox 2.0 has been getting a bum rap because there's really no significant new features in it. Critics say Firefox 2.0 really doesn't deserve to be called 2.0; it's really just an incremental upgrade from the current version.
All of that is true—but largely irrelevant to our review, which describes and praises the upgrades, minor though they are.
Firefox 2.0 will be a must-have for Firefox users. It'll have improved tabs, improved handling of RSS feed subscriptions, a built-in spell-checker (that'll be a favorite for people who do a lot of blogging and participate in online discussion forums), protection against phishing, and better handling of the browser history. None of this stuff will convert anybody from using another browser, but if you're already using Firefox and like it, well, looks like when 2.0 comes out, you'll like it even more.
I'm hoping that when Firefox 2.0 finally ships, we'll see some of Firefox 1.x's major bugs addressed. We wrote about major Firefox bugs 13 months ago, and since then the biggies haven't changed, most notably:
Firefox turns into a fat, slow resource hog when you have more than three or four tabs open, and sometimes for other reasons as well.
Sometimes when clicking on a link in another application, such as an e-mail message, Firefox will take forever to open the page, and during that time the originating application is frozen.
The authors of Flock bill it as a "social browser," which, as a marketing tagline, is just too, too cute. Even Flock designer Chris Messina doesn't seem entirely thrilled with that tagline; in an interview on the Inside the Net podcast, he said he'll believe a piece of software is social when it can buy you a beer.
But stripped of the Web 2.0 marketing baloney, there's some intriguing and promising technology in Flock. It includes a blogging tool to enable you to compose blog posts from within your browser and upload them to blogs on the most popular blogging platforms. Flock also includes tools to integrate with photo-sharing services Flickr and Photobucket.
This whole business of "social browsing" comes down to this: Flock isn't just a tool for reading the Web. It's also a tool for publishing on the Web.
My colleague Barbara Krasnoff did a nice job on her review, but she does give short shrift to a feature I find most interesting about Flock: the way it handles bookmarks. For years now, I've been frustrated by the bookmarking and favorites tools available in Firefox and Internet Explorer. The only way to organize your bookmarks is by folder, and you can only assign a bookmark to a single folder.
Flock offers tools for organizing your favorites by user-assigned keywords, called "tags," and grouping favorites into collections called (naturally enough) "collections." You can search for favorites that share common tags and assign a single favorite to multiple collections. You can also share your favorites using the Shadows and del.icio.us community-bookmarking services.
It's a promising approach, but so far the implementation is pretty poor. Flock is currently in its pre-Version 1.0 beta, and I hope it gets its Favorites management cleaned up by the time it ships.
This whole business of bookmarking and favorites is a pet peeve of mine. Neither Firefox nor Internet Explorer handles bookmarks particularly well—the technology hasn't really changed since 1994, and it's not adequate for the task of helping us stay on top of sites we've visited once and would like to visit again. The rest of the Web has changed almost beyond recognition since then, but bookmarking is stuck in the era when Forrest Gump first said life is like a box of chocolates.
How do you keep track of favorite Web pages on the Internet? Do you use any third-party tools? Del.icio.us? Plain text lists or Word documents? Or are Internet Explorer Favorites and Firefox Bookmarks good enough for you? Let me know at my blog entry.
Worm Hits MySpace The payload redirects users to another site and is not malicious. But in light of the social networking site's rapidly rising popularity, some security watchers are wondering if a malicious worm is the next step.
Intel Set To Debut Powerful New Itanium Chip The latest dual-core addition to Intel's Itanium processor family has 1.7 billion transistors—triple that of its predecessor. It's meant to spur more widespread adoption of Itanium.
Top 10 Windows Vista Hits And Misses In this countdown of where Microsoft has scored and stumbled with Vista, our opinionated writer says yes to the Aero interface and Sidebar Gadgets, no to beefed-up graphics hardware requirements and a tough installation process.
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Top 10 Ways To Motivate Geeks (The Retrospector) "Being a geek myself, I think this is a subject I think needs to penetrate all levels of management in every company that values their geeks. By no means is this a rant, but for the last 10 years I've seen what motivates us and what doesn't. I've seen the managers that just don't get it. I've seen those that understand completely and react accordingly. So, I thought I'd share my observations and see what everyone has to add as well."
Meet Microsoft's Ultimate Beta Tester (BetaNews) BetaNews recently sat down with Microsoft Chief Information Officer Ron Markezich, often referred to as "Microsoft's ultimate beta tester," to get an in-depth look at how dog-fooding helps shape the software that hundreds of millions of people use each day.
Closing The 64-Bit Windows Application Gap A market move toward broader adoption of 64-bit computing is well under way. But these platforms need significantly more applications if they're to compete head-on with the incumbent leaders in the 64-bit marketplace: Unix/RISC and Unix/Itanium. MKS offers a variety of tools for organizations entering into the 64-bit computing world.
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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.