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2/29/2008
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Interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

CMP Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Friday, Feb 29, 2008


Editor's Note

Don't Discount The Threat Of Web 2.0 Terror

We've recently seen silly articles hyping the threat of terrorists using virtual worlds and other Web 2.0 sites for recruitment, planning, and training. And we've seen equally silly articles ridiculing the idea. The truth is that Web 2.0 tools are great for terrorism, for the same reasons they're great for legitimate projects. That doesn't mean we should shut down Facebook and Second Life to protect ourselves from instant, horrible death. But we do need to rationally evaluate possible threats.

Salon weighs in with the latest silly article.:

Lately there has been some rather bizarre hype about the potential threat from terrorists in cyberspace. Security specialists have been expressing increasing concern about the potential for mischief with Web 2.0. In particular, during the past six months a spate of newspaper articles have been citing security experts about the alleged danger that terrorists will use virtual worlds for nefarious purposes. Groups such as the U.S. government's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity say they fear that terrorists -- using virtual personas called "avatars" -- will recruit new members online, transfer funds in ways that cannot be traced, and may engage in training exercises that are useful for real-world terrorist operations. They point to existing "terrorist groups" operating on virtual reality sites as an ominous sign.

The threat of terrorists using Web 2.0 is real. The same characteristics that make Second Life and other Web 2.0 tools great for collaboration on legitimate projects make them great for collaboration by terrorists: The tools are inexpensive, they're easy to use, you can use them anonymously and shield your real identity, they're globally available, and they facilitate communications between teams of people.

Faced with the prospect of terrorists using Web 2.0 tools, what should we do about it?:

  • We can put our fingers in our ears and go la, la, la, la, la, la and pretend the problem doesn't exist.

  • We can demonize Web 2.0 tools and virtual worlds, hold shrill government hearings, publish sensationalist headlines, scare the spit out of everybody, create thousands of pages of pointless government regulation, inconvenience hundreds of millions of Internet users, and wantonly violate civil rights.

  • Or we can look into apparent terrorist threats on Web 2.0 sites, while keeping a cool head and letting the overwhelming majority of people continue using the sites for work, play, and -- most definitely -- political dissent.

What do you think? Is terrorism using Web 2.0 a threat? Let us know.

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

Quote of The Day

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." - Author unknown

YouTube Video Of The Day

Today's Video: "Frozen Grand Central" Two hundred people in Grand Central Terminal freeze in place, on cue, for five minutes, confounding passersby.

Seen a great video? Share it with the rest of the InformationWeek community. Just leave a message on our forum with a brief description and the link. We'll highlight the best video of the day in this newsletter.

Top Stories

Microsoft's Ballmer On Windows Server, Yahoo, Linux
How does Microsoft beat Linux? The same way "you beat any other competitor: You offer good value, which in this case means good total cost of ownership," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says.

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Microsoft Launches Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008

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Internet Evolution

The Future of Content Management
The current shift in content management affords everyone the opportunity to publish anything in real time, causing a massive influx of content online. Content management systems, once unique to large companies, are emerging as a standard requirement for almost every business operation that values its online presence.

White Paper

Michael Robertson Debuts SyncWizard Storage Service

The software collects contacts, appointments, music, and documents online and makes it available on PCs, PDAs, and smartphones.

T-Mobile USA Reports Strong Fourth-Quarter Results

The mobile phone company added 3.6 million net new customers in 2007.

Google Readies Google Health

The upcoming service is expected to look similar to Google News and provide links to profile data, medical contacts, health notices, and drug interaction warnings.

Microsoft Eased 'Vista Capable' Specs So Intel Could Meet Quarterly Numbers

A Microsoft exec says in an e-mail that the company lowered the standards for what qualified as "Vista Capable" to help Intel sell graphics chips.

Opera Trades Yahoo For Google In Mobile Browser

Google gains a huge advantage by becoming the default search option on the Opera Mobile and Opera Mini start pages.

ITC Upholds 2G Patent Ruling Between Qualcomm, Nokia

Qualcomm said it will consider appealing the decision and focus on consolidating its other various litigations with Nokia in Delaware this summer.

Microsoft's Ballmer On Windows Server, Yahoo, Linux

How does Microsoft beat Linux? The same way "you beat any other competitor: You offer good value, which in this case means good total cost of ownership," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says.

With $85 Million Infusion, Glam Shines

The women's-interest media company set a new benchmark for the exploding online ad market and set itself up as a potential competitor to Google.

Sprint Offers 'Simply Everything' For $99.99

Despite the excitement of an all-inclusive phone plan, CEO Dan Hesse apologizes for the $29 billion charge related to integrating Nextel's network and spectrum.

Yahoo Fears Microsoft Bid Will Spark Brain Drain

Yahoo says the Microsoft takeover bid may harm its ability to hire and retain employees.

Alternative To Homeland Security's E-Verify System Proposed

Under the NEVA legislation, confirming whether a prospective employee can legally work in the United States would be based on the new hires registry database operated in each state.

Apple Shares Rise On Optimism Over iPhone Demand

Shares of Apple rose more than 4% Thursday amid optimism on Wall Street that the maker of consumer favorites such as the iPod media player and iPhone can weather economic troubles.

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In This Issue


Community

Pakistan Censorship
Pakistan didn't win any friends in the InformationWeek community for its blocking YouTube. In a community poll, 72% of responders said that Pakistan and other countries that block the Internet are wrong. On the InformationWeek Forum, "tsrl" said: "The government of Pakistan has the right to police their borders, physically or electronically. If the people of Pakistan do not like the actions of the government, they AND ONLY THEY, have the right to change the situation." What do you think? Take our poll or Leave a message on the InformationWeek Forum -- or both. both!

The latest research, polls, and tools

Virtualization At The Desktop?
Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.

The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.

Latest InformationWeek Blog Posts

Taking Google Sites For A Spin
After seeing the news this morning about the launch of Google Sites, I decided to take the new tools for a spin. I signed up, bought myself a domain name, and went to work at customizing it and setting up users. Just how easy is it?

Suddenly SaaS Is A CIO's Best Friend
As recession looms, fingers are pointing to software as a service as a viable, fiscally responsible option for upgrading application portfolios. Is recession-driven SaaS another notable turning point for technology?

Stonesoft Guards Against External and IntraHost Threats
I spoke with Stonesoft on Wednesday regarding the company's new security solutions for VMware. Intrahost protection, anyone?

Congress Tries To Drink Big Oil's Milkshake
If Daniel Plainview weren't fictional, he'd be howling bloody hell. Congress on Wednesday passed a bill that would yank $17.65 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and reallocate the savings to fund tax incentives for wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies.

Firefox, Or Pigfoot?
One index of success for an open source project is how many other projects are derived from it -- or how many people have created alternate builds of the same project.  Firefox's success has spawned a whole slew of community-compiled editions of the program, and this week I've been living with one of them, code-named "Pigfoot."

Sprint Bests Other Unlimited Plans With 'Simply Everything'
The wireless industry has been waiting for a response from Sprint to all the unlimited plans launched by its competitors last week. Well, now we have it. Today, Sprint announced what is essentially an "unlimited everything" plan for $99. And when they say everything, they mean everything. How will Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile respond to this?

Apple COO: iPhone 'Not Married' To AT&T, Will Always Be Hacked
Speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor's conference in Las Vegas yesterday, Apple COO Tim Cook said that, "Apple is not married to the single, exclusive-carrier model." Whoa. So is Apple's exclusive contract with AT&T shorter than initial projections? And if so, when might other carriers be able to sell the iPhone?

Join Us For GridTalk Friday On The Future Of Motorati Island
Join us Friday to look at one of the most active communities in Second Life: Motorati Island. The sponsors, headed by Pontiac, recently turned the island over to the United Spinal Association. Renamed Motorability, it's headed up by Patty Streeter, who will be our guest for GridTalk noon SLT.

Fireproof Storage? I Don't Get It
Over the past couple of years ioSafe, Sentry, and Schwab have introduced a new generation of backup targets, fireproof storage. A Frankenstein like crossbreeding of USB hard drive or NAS and fireproof safe, they can protect your backups against fire, flood (as they're waterproof, too) and gloom of night. Last Interop our own Steve Hill drove out to the desert with the friendly folks from ioSafe, poured a flammable liquid on one of there NAS boxes and had himself a nice little computer barbecue so they could demonstrate that the data inside laughs at fire. Cool I thought but why?

EMC Boosts Mozy Pro Prices Up To 300%
In an e-mail sent to MozyPro resellers this week, EMC announced new pricing for online backup of servers via its MozyPro division effective March 1. Users that purchase plans under the current pricing will be grandfathered in, so if you were thinking that MozyPro was the right answer for your servers, sign up now. Of course, you also may want to consider another provider, like Intronis Technologies' eSureIT or IBackup Professional, now that MozyPro is in their price range.

Where To Start With ILM
Last week I hosted an ILM (Information Life-cycle Management) video Web cast. One of the questions that came up was "Where do I start with ILM without much risk?" It's a good question.

White Paper

Real-World SOA: Definition, Implementation and Use of SOA with CentraSite
Web services are having a dramatic impact on improving enterprise architecture and application development practices. This paper highlights three sample case studies illustrating how Fujitsu's CentraSite delivers SOA solutions.

Forrester Consulting: Unified Communications Delivers Global Benefits
This Forrester Consulting study shows how Unified Communications (UC) makes it simpler to contact others over any device in any location, enhancing business agility, cutting costs, and boosting employee productivity. Forrester finds that UC is already delivering major savings for organizations around the world in retail banking, manufacturing and education. Download the full report for free.

Software as a Service Research Report
No longer a niche software delivery model, software as a service (SaaS) can help small and midsize companies get access to enteprise-class software functionality without having to commit enterprise-level capital resources. Download the full report for free.

The Internet & the Developing World
The evolution of the Internet has been full of surprises – surprises that have sometimes resulted in radical changes in the commercial landscape, such as the arrival of Amazon, eBay, Google, YouTube, and Skype. Could one of the next big surprises turn out to be linked to developing countries? Read the full report for free from InternetEvolution.com

Job Listings

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For more great jobs, career-related news, features and services, please visit our "Career Center.

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