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12/15/2005
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IT Clunkers We Have Known

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: IT Clunkers We Have Known
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft Patches Critical Bugs In Internet Explorer
    Related Stories:
    - Microsoft, MCI Plan VoIP Service
    - Microsoft Ships Lightweight Communications Client
3. Breaking News
    - Cisco Leaps Into Network Management
    - 100 Million Mobile E-Mail Users In Four Years, Exec Predicts
    - VMware Partners With Mozilla On Virtual-Machine Player
    - Obsolete Computers Are Piling Up And The EPA Should Act, GAO Says
    - Green PC Comes With Disposal Coupon
    - Biometric Readers Fooled With Fake Fingerprints
    - Integration Promises Still Haunting Oracle
    - Feedburner Service Adds Tags, Links To RSS
    - Honda Turns Asimo Robot Into Speedy Errand Assistant
    - Toshiba Delays Next-Gen HD DVD Debut In Japan
    - Container Store Breaks Out Demand-Forecasting Software
    - Massachusetts Open-Doc Champion Cleared
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
    - 'Secret Santa' Exchanges Made Easier Online
    - Italian Internet Cafes Must Record ID
    - HarperCollins Will Create A Searchable Digital Library
5. In Depth: E-Mail Security
    - E-Mail Spills Corporate Secrets
    - Don't Overlook Internal E-Mail Monitoring
    - Blogger, Movie Studio Spar Over E-Mail List
    - Risky Employee E-Mail Habits Threaten Business
    - Coalition Reports Wide Adoption Of E-Mail Authentication
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Outsourcing Has Paved Way For GM's India Push
7. White Papers
    - Buyer's Guide For Federated Identity
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Experience is the name that everyone gives to their mistakes." -- Oscar Wilde


1. Editor's Note: IT Clunkers We Have Known

The holidays are often a time of reflection, when thoughts turn to joys and sorrows of years past. So naturally I've been thinking about some products that were introduced to ITers with great fanfare, only to meet, shall we say, with less than success in the market.

I sure hope that HP's new videoconferencing system fares better than some have in past years. Videoconferencing is one of those things that should do really well, given how expensive and how little fun travel has become. Back in the day when flying was a giant airborne party, with newfound friends buying drinks for each other and generally whooping it up in the smoking section in the back of the plane, employees used to really want to be the one chosen to go to a particular conference or represent the firm at a given function. But not anymore; geez, most airlines these days don't even hand out mystery meals in cabin class, which is a shame because at the very least it gave seatmates something to talk about. ("What do you think this is?" etc.)

Given all this, and given how most well-adjusted adults have an aversion to being frisked on the security line, you'd think videoconferencing would be the method of choice for collaboration in this techno-decade. But this technology, along with videophones, has pretty much bombed out from widespread usage. True, video systems in years past had problems with jerky pictures that made everyone around the table feel like they had a giant joint case of morning sickness. And sure, it's got something to do with meeting people in person and shaking their hands, etc. But I think that the biggest clunker factor here has to do with not wanting to have to dress up like a TV anchorperson every time we go to work. ("Hey, Jones, got a minute? Fujiyama in Tokyo would like to have a word about that sushi project...") Excepting the people in the executive suites who are always expected to have that freshly blow-dried hair thing going, most of the rest of us are lucky to have matched socks and clean, um, shirts on a daily basis. You know what I'm talking about.

Other less-than-widespread products of days gone by:

  • Diskless PCs: In a world where we want all our "stuff" with us at all times, to paraphrase George Carlin, is it any wonder that a tech gadget that put us on a forced diet wouldn't do so well?

  • Then there are the products that, while they have a devoted following in a specific industry or two, never quite made the huge dent their manufacturers hoped: IBM's OS/2 operating system, Banyan's Vines, pretty much anything by Xerox outside of printers and copiers all come to mind here.

    To read more about this, to comment, or to suggest other ill-fated wares, check out my blog entry.

    Johanna Ambrosio
    jambrosio@cmp.com
    www.informationweek.com


    2. Today's Top Story

    Microsoft Patches Critical Bugs In Internet Explorer
    Microsoft on Tuesday released two security bulletins that patched four vulnerabilities in its Internet Explorer browser and one in its Windows 2000 operating system. Two of the vulnerabilities were tagged by Microsoft as "critical."

    Related Stories:

    Microsoft, MCI Plan VoIP Service
    A test run is planned for next week, with widespread availability set for next year--but at first only outbound calls will be allowed.

    Microsoft Ships Lightweight Communications Client
    The goal is to allow non-Windows users to stay in touch with their colleagues via instant messaging. The client is built using Ajax, or the popular Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, model.


    3. Breaking News

    Cisco Leaps Into Network Management
    With what it deems a more granular approach to network management, Cisco's Network Application Performance Analysis suite will compete with offerings from Network General, NetIQ, and others.

    100 Million Mobile E-Mail Users In Four Years, Exec Predicts
    The prediction, part of a discussion about mobile E-mail's role and growth, hinges on expanding BlackBerry-like devices to places like the factory floor and IT department.

    VMware Partners With Mozilla On Virtual-Machine Player
    VMware on Tuesday rolled out the final version of its free-of-charge VMware Player, which lets users run preset virtual machines built with the company's more advanced products.

    Obsolete Computers Are Piling Up And The EPA Should Act, GAO Says
    More than 100 million computers, monitors, and TVs become obsolete each year, and congressional auditors say EPA should do more to find a cheaper solution to recycle electronics.

    Green PC Comes With Disposal Coupon
    Computer Technology Link has introduced an environmentally friendly PC that uses less energy, has a lead-free mainboard, and comes with an "end-of-life" disposal coupon.

    Biometric Readers Fooled With Fake Fingerprints
    Researchers fooled biometric systems with fake fingerprints made out of Play-Doh nine out of 10 times, demonstrating a weakness of some computer security systems.

    Integration Promises Still Haunting Oracle
    Oracle on Tuesday said it's pushing ahead on promises to deliver tighter integration among applications acquired in a buying spree during the past 12 months. The software maker has certified Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise applications with Oracle Fusion Middleware 10g Release 2 and introduced a middleware suite for PeopleSoft enterprise customers.

    Feedburner Service Adds Tags, Links To RSS
    Feedburner on Tuesday released FeedFlare, a new service enabling publishers to integrate Web services with RSS feeds.

    Honda Turns Asimo Robot Into Speedy Errand Assistant
    Asimo can now speed across the floor at almost 4 mph, carry objects, and automatically perform the tasks of a receptionist, information guide, or delivery person.

    Toshiba Delays Next-Gen HD DVD Debut In Japan
    The company, which had hoped to beat the rival Blu-ray format to market, attributed the problem to the unavailability of Advanced Access Content System digital-rights-management software.

    Container Store Breaks Out Demand-Forecasting Software
    Improving demand forecasting is one of the best ways to reduce supply-chain costs, thus driving higher sales and better margins, a company executive said.

    Massachusetts Open-Doc Champion Cleared
    The Massachusetts state IT chief who promoted the OpenDocument Format over proprietary software from Microsoft had been under investigation about whether he violated state regulations and attended conferences sponsored in part by proponents of open software.

    All our latest news

    Watch More News

    John Soat With 'Don't Blame Me!' In The Current Episode Of The News Show.
    AOL founder wants to undo the Time Warner-AOL merger, China is the No. 1 IT equipment importer, and more...

    Also in the current episode:

    Eric Chabrow With 'IT Health Report'
    Tech is back! The sector is making a return after deep losses early in the decade, but some say the outlook isn't great.

    Peter Gorenstein With 'Mapping The Subway'
    Folks can download subway maps from around the world to their iPods.


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    4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

    'Secret Santa' Exchanges Made Easier Online (Associated Press)
    Participants can create "wish lists" and "do not need" lists, and secret givers can pose anonymous questions like T-shirt size or favorite color.

    Italian Internet Cafes Must Record ID (CNN)
    A new Italian law requires businesses that offer Internet access to the public to ask clients for identification and log the owner's name and the document type. Some say it's hurting business.

    HarperCollins Will Create A Searchable Digital Library (New York Times, reg. required)
    HarperCollins' decision to put all of its book and audio content online is the latest move in the battle between publishers and search engines.


    5. In Depth: E-Mail Security

    E-Mail Spills Corporate Secrets
    Some 6% of workers admitted that they've E-mailed confidential company information to someone they shouldn't have, according to a study released Monday, while 62% said they've used their personal accounts for business purposes to circumvent controls placed on their business accounts.

    Don't Overlook Internal E-Mail Monitoring
    Keeping an eye on your people's E-mail can head off security and compliance violations. Here are three ways you can make a difference now.

    Blogger, Movie Studio Spar Over E-Mail List
    A blogger who posted E-mail addresses for movie executives, producers, and agents has drawn the ire of Universal Studios and set off a debate about what constitutes spam.

    Risky Employee E-Mail Habits Threaten Business
    A new survey shows at-work E-mail usage may be exposing businesses to legal problems, with employees not realizing they're doing anything risky.

    Coalition Reports Wide Adoption Of E-Mail Authentication
    More than 70% of Fortune 100 companies reportedly use authentication protocols.


    6. Voice Of Authority

    Outsourcing Has Paved Way For GM's India Push
    General Motors' announcement this week that it intends to triple the number of cars it produces and sells in India while substantially adding to its labor force there provides another example of how outsourcing will help boost the U.S. economy. Yes, you read that right. Paul McDougall explains.


    7. White Papers

    Buyer's Guide For Federated Identity
    Organizations look to federated identity technologies to link their partners and other constituents without the burden of managing their identities and credentials. Read about Oracle's browser-level federation in COREid Federation, the industry's first standalone, multiprotocol federation server.


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