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If You Want It Done Right, Do It Yourself

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: If You Want It Done Right, Do It Yourself
2. Today's Top Story
    - Readers Chime In On The Greatest Software Ever
    Related Stories:
    - What's Your Favorite Software Ever?
    - 5 That Almost Made The List Of Greatest Software Ever
    - Poll: What's The Greatest Software Ever?
3. Breaking News
    - Microsoft To Fix Patch That Crashes IE
    - Boeing Dumps In-Flight Internet Access Service
    - Atomic Switch Could Yield Higher-Density Memories
    - Symantec Patches Bug That Allows Remote Control
    - Movidis Unveils Server With 16-Core CPU
    - Red Hat, Novell Spar Over Xen's Readiness
    - Dell Ships First Replacement Batteries
    - Google Coy Over Use Of Facial-Recognition Technology
    - Apple In 'Pod' Fight
    - Despite Dell Recall, Li-Ion Batteries Seem Irreplaceable
4. Grab Bag
    - Old Records Go In, CD's Come Out (NY Times)
    - A Nation Divided Over Piracy (Wired)
    - Waging War Against Click Fraud (BusinessWeek)
5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech
    - 10 Free Ways To Keep Your PC Safe
    - Safety First: Five Firewalls For Your Desktop PC
    - How To Build A High-Class Media PC With Antec's Fusion Media Center Case
    - Best Bits: Perpendicular Versus Horizontal Drive Technology
    - Review: Apricorn's EZ Upgrade For Notebooks Makes Hard Drive Swaps Simple
    - Review: JotSpot's 'Less Nerdy' Wiki Still Needs A Little Work
6. Voice Of Authority
    - A Tale Of Two Trademarks
7. White Papers
    - Online Banking And Consumer Confidence
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso


1. Editor's Note: If You Want It Done Right, Do It Yourself

One of the minor irritations of life today is the amount of software junk that is delivered with a new PC. You know the deal: You bring home your brand-new machine. You place it on your desktop with reverent hands, looking forward to booting up a machine absolutely clean of viruses, spyware, adware—a machine whose Registry is pristine and free of anything that will slow this sucker down.

You plug it in. You turn it on. And you feel your blood pressure rise as you stare at a desktop full of "helpful" icons that indicate your machine has been loaded with scads of crippleware—courtesy of the manufacturer's various business partners, who hope that you'll try out their wares and buy the full, working version.

The result? The next hour on your wonderful new machine is spent cleaning it up: uninstalling the financial app that doesn't import any of your existing files, the image editor that seems geared to the understanding of a 5-year-old, and the music player that urges you to upgrade every five minutes ... It's a mess.

One way to avoid this kind of mishigas is to build your own PC. This not only gives you exactly the machine you're looking for without all the unwanted extras, but it offers you the chance to really learn what makes a computer tick. Bill O'Brien, a friend and colleague from way back, e-mailed me about a week ago to tell me that he'd just assembled his ideal media PC using a sexy new case from Antec and had written up a blow-by-blow. He had been planning to put the article on his blog, but I could get first dibs on it if I wanted.

Yeah. I wanted.

The result is How To Build A High-Class Media PC With Antec's Fusion Media Center Case, which details (in Bill's inimitable voice) what he decided to put in the case and how well all the components worked together. In the end, he's got a media PC that does the job, and does it exceedingly well. It's got the hardware he wants, the software he wants, and it's even got a nice big volume knob so Bill no longer has to grab for the mouse when the neighbors call to complain.

If you're a True Geek, you'll also have to check out Bill's examination of the speed difference between SATA drives with horizontal and vertical recording schemes: Best Bits: Perpendicular Versus Horizontal Drive Technology. And then there's Eric's Hall's examination of how to get a "skinny" version of the Windows XP Recovery Console onto a custom CD so that you can recover from, say, a corrupted system boot record. All very useful stuff for those who know their bits and bytes.

Building and maintaining a really sharp PC takes time, and you don't want to have to deal with interruptions—like employees, or your Uncle Phil, calling to tell you about a worm that they accidentally picked up while surfing through their favorite stamp-collecting sites. You may want to point them to Preston Gralla's rundown of 10 Free Ways To Keep Your PC Safe. You could learn something new—and you'll get links to some effective (and free) security software, anonymizers, and other useful stuff. You could also send them to Serdar Yegulalp's review of Five Firewalls For Your Desktop PC, which examines the five best-known software firewalls from McAfee, Microsoft, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Zone Labs.

(Incidentally, if you've used a lesser-known firewall that blows away anything produced by these guys, let me know—we're thinking of a follow-up and would welcome suggestions as to great firewalls we may not know about.)

So what is the moral of this particular story? That there are no real shortcuts where technology is concerned. If you need a PC right now, this minute, you can go online, choose a machine, type in your credit card number, and get a PC shipped overnight to your office—but you're going to have to deal with the unwanted software that it comes with. (Including, if you're a Linux fan, Microsoft Windows—but let's not go there right now.) If, on the other hand, you are particular about exactly what components and software sits in your desktop case, and you've got the tech smarts to do it, you can still build your own.

What do you prefer? When you need a new PC, do you build your own, or do you have other things to do with your time? Let me know at my blog post.

Barbara Krasnoff
bkrasnoff@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Readers Chime In On The Greatest Software Ever
Our article on the Greatest Software Ever stirred many reader responses from a variety of sources, including one from a writer who has a picture of himself next to the machine that cracked the Nazi codes.

Related Stories:

What's Your Favorite Software Ever?
Mitch Wagner offers his take on the greatest software ever.

5 That Almost Made The List Of Greatest Software Ever
A rundown of the top five other programs that didn't make the list—even though they were very, very strong candidates.

Poll: What's The Greatest Software Ever?
Now it's your turn. What do you think is the best software ever written?


3. Breaking News

Microsoft To Fix Patch That Crashes IE
Despite the patch problems, Microsoft continues to urge people to apply the MS06-042 fixes, since they resolve a number of vulnerabilities.

Boeing Dumps In-Flight Internet Access Service
The aircraft manufacturer pulls the plug on the six-year project after it failed to build a market for high-speed Internet access on jetliners.

Atomic Switch Could Yield Higher-Density Memories
Though they are years away, arrays of atomic-scale devices could provide the enhanced density needed for future memory devices.

Symantec Patches Bug That Allows Remote Control
The vulnerability in Symantec's Veritas NetBackup PureDisk application was called "moderately critical."

Movidis Unveils Server With 16-Core CPU
The server, which was showed off at LinuxWorld, has a 64-bit processor, is reportedly low-power, and has an integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller and encryption.

Red Hat, Novell Spar Over Xen's Readiness
Novell contends Red Hat's warnings that Xen isn't ready are a marketing ploy aimed at Novell's recent release of its Xen-enabled SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform.

Dell Ships First Replacement Batteries
However, the PC powerhouse is telling customers it'll take 20 business days to get a new battery.

Google Coy Over Use Of Facial-Recognition Technology
Ostensibly to be used for its Picasa desktop photo-organizing tool, the technology from Neven Vision could change the way users search for images on the Web.

Apple In 'Pod' Fight
Apple Computer joins Google in seeking to prevent the "genericization" of the name of a flagship product.

Despite Dell Recall, Li-Ion Batteries Seem Irreplaceable
Experts say it's probable that a battery alternative won't be available for years. Instead, users will have to settle for changes in the computer design, such as revamping components, particularly microprocessors, to run cooler and demand less power.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

Jack Soat With 'Technology Is A Battlefield'
First Vista security patches released, recalled Dell batteries may cost Sony $400 million, YouTube suffers an outage, and more...

Elena Malykhina With 'Passwords Are Handy'
SplashData unveils password management on a mobile device.

Larry Greenemeier With 'Firewall Brings A Friend'
Some of the many challenges of managing data encryption.


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

Protecting Data
Identity theft is on the rise across the globe. Learn how your peers are protecting customer data and managing privacy issues in the InformationWeek/Accenture Global Information Security survey.

Do You Access Our Content From A BlackBerry Or A Treo?
Many of our readers do, and we want to ensure that you get the best experience in using our content. So we've created a PDA-friendly version of our news content, with similarly streamlined content pages, that should make the PDA experience a good one. Check out our latest enhancement.
-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag

Old Records Go In, CD's Come Out (NY Times)
Are you over 30? Sorry to hear it. That makes you part of the Transition Generation, those who have witnessed the world's shift from analog to digital recordings.

A Nation Divided Over Piracy (Wired)
Sweden has faster broadband with deeper penetration than just about anywhere in the world. That, combined with the techno-friendly attitude that pervades Scandinavia, allowed file sharing to root deeply in practice and popular culture.

Waging War Against Click Fraud (BusinessWeek)
As fraud undermines faith in pay-per-click Web ads, search engines, advertisers, and Web hosts are wrangling over what to do.


5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech

10 Free Ways To Keep Your PC Safe
You don't have to spend a fortune to protect your PC from viruses, Trojans, phishers, scammers, and snoops. In fact, you don't have to spend a penny.

Safety First: Five Firewalls For Your Desktop PC
It's a dangerous world out there—but which firewall should you use? We rate the five top software firewalls and let you know which is the best.

How To Build A High-Class Media PC With Antec's Fusion Media Center Case
If you're a true media fan and a do-it-yourself technogeek, you don't want to buy some ugly tower white-box PC. Here's how to build a top-of-the-line system in a really snazzy case.

Best Bits: Perpendicular Versus Horizontal Drive Technology
The benchmarks say they're fast—but then why don't they speed up your applications?

Review: Apricorn's EZ Upgrade For Notebooks Makes Hard Drive Swaps Simple
Our reviewer used Apricorn's EZ Upgrade Notebook Hard Drive Upgrade Kit to change out the 60-Gbyte drive in his trusty Toshiba Satellite M35 in favor of a Seagate 160-Gbyte drive.

Review: JotSpot's 'Less Nerdy' Wiki Still Needs A Little Work
The latest version of this innovative wiki combines an Office-like interface with a variety of collaborative online apps. But does this combination really work?


6. Voice Of Authority

A Tale Of Two Trademarks
Google's efforts to halt the use of its name as a generic verb are to stupidity what the Grand Canyon is to soil erosion.


7. White Papers

Online Banking And Consumer Confidence—The Benefits Of Strong Authentication Technologies
How online banking customers are at risk and why the most common authentication schemes in use by banks and financial institutions are not sufficient to protect against these risks.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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