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Katrina Makes Life Difficult In The Big Easy

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Katrina Makes Life Difficult In The Big Easy
2. Today's Top Story
    - Web Readies For Hurricane Katrina
    - Storm Hampers Long-Distance, Cell Services
    - IT Helps States Brace For Storms
3. Breaking News
    - Microsoft Begins To Test Delayed Windows File System
    - Cool Chips Are Hot
    - Finding Profits In Podcasting
    - FBI Reveals 16 More Suspects In Zotob Worm
    - Suspected Zotob Hacker Also Wrote Mytob Worms, Security Firm Says
    - Judge Orders Apple To Pay Up For Bad iPod Batteries
    - Messing With Biometrics, On Purpose
    - Cisco Upgrades Switch Operating System
    - New Wisconsin Lab Is Dedicated To RFID
    - Alleged Spyware Creator, Buyers Are Indicted
    - New Apps Keep Google Pushing Beyond Search
    - Wikis Make Collaboration Easier
    - When To Wiki: How To Decide If It Makes Sense For You
    - Primer: Making A Mesh Of Your Wireless LAN
4. In Depth: China
5. Voice Of Authority: Scary Security
6. White Papers: Smart Sales
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Money is the opposite of the weather. Nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it." -- Rebecca Johnson

1. Editor's Note: Katrina Makes Life Difficult In The Big Easy

Perhaps there isn't a meaningful business-technology parallel to the hellacious scenario that unfolded Monday in New Orleans, although I did once attend a Common AS/400 user conference at the newly convertible Superdome. As Hurricane Katrina unleashed her fury along the city's cobblestone streets and left several residents stranded on their rooftops, people were more concerned with escaping with their lives than making sure their data was backed up. Of course, with last year's hurricane season being one for the record books, businesses and government agencies in the Southeast have certainly been through this, or something close to it, before.

Last Friday, I wrote a blog entry to alert people to a story I'd written weeks ago about how businesses and government agencies in the Southeast were using technology to prepare for this year's hurricane season. We knew the story would run just as hurricane season hit its full stride, but we had no idea how timely it would be.

I focused on areas hardest hit during the 2004 hurricane season--Florida and Texas. For the most part, people were happy to talk to me about the work they'd done applying technology to keep the lights on and ensure the safety of people in the storms' paths. My story highlights new processes Florida's Department of Management Services put in place to keep its citizens safe, a new pilot program in Florida's Miami-Dade County that will ultimately push emergency information out to citizens' cell phones, and the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management's use of modeling software to better understand the impact of hurricanes on the state's 634 miles of coast, which include 10 seaports.

Just how far does one have to go to escape the eye of the storm, and how much are managers willing to spend on technology and contingency plans they hope they'll never use? Over the past several years--thanks to 9/11, the 2003 blackout, and the 2004 hurricane season--as far away and as much money as it takes. Society has become too reliant on technology to take Mother Nature lightly.

For additional information and perspective on Katrina, check out Boing Boing's roundup of New Orleans blogs, Webcams, and other Web resources. You'll also find information about how you can help the storm's victims.

For more of my perspective on Katrina and disaster preparedness, read the rest of this note as a blog entry.

InformationWeek fervently hopes that all our readers--and everyone--in Katrina's path stays safe and dry.

Larry Greenemeier

2. Today's Top Story

Web Readies For Hurricane Katrina
As Hurricane Katrina lashed New Orleans and the central Gulf Coast with winds that blew off parts of the giant Superdome's roof, charities geared up for relief efforts by posting appeals on their Web sites.

Related Stories:
Storm Hampers Long-Distance, Cell Services

Cell-phone service was spotty and long-distance callers got busy signals as Hurricane Katrina knocked out key telecommunications hubs along the Gulf Coast.

IT Helps States Brace For Storms
What have federal and local government agencies done since last year's fierce hurricane season to improve the technology they use to better prepare for storm emergencies? One example: The FAA's Emergency Operations Center is using a combination of technology and management strategy called "mind mapping" to make better use of information it collects and better organize its staff and prepare for emergencies.

3. Breaking News

Microsoft Begins To Test Delayed Windows File System
Microsoft released an early test version of WinFS, a Windows file system designed to make it easier for applications to share data.

Cool Chips Are Hot
Intel promises chips that consume less power and are easier to manage. The measure of its success will be whether they help companies cut costs.

Finding Profits In Podcasting
Its origin is in Web radio and audio blogs, but companies like IBM, Oracle, and Purina view podcasting as a new medium for hawking their wares.

FBI Reveals 16 More Suspects In Zotob Worm
The FBI delivered the update during a speech to more than 650 cybersleuths gathered in Monterey, Calif., to share the latest tools and techniques for fighting high-tech crime.

Suspected Zotob Hacker Also Wrote Mytob Worm, Security Firm Says
Finnish antivirus vendor F-Secure identified Farid Essebar, 18, who was arrested by Moroccan authorities, as the author of some Mytobs.

Judge Orders Apple To Pay Up For Bad iPod Batteries
A settlement reached in June, now formally cleared by the judge, reimburses customers--at least in part--for replacing defective batteries in the iPod music player.

Messing With Biometrics, On Purpose
Researchers say distorting biometric images enhances security and privacy.

Cisco Upgrades Switch Operating System
Breaking the operating system into modules will improve its reliability, security, and efficiency, the company says.

New Wisconsin Lab Is Dedicated To RFID
The university lab is trying different methods of making RFID work more efficiently, leaving others to debate privacy and implementation issues.

Alleged Spyware Creator, Buyers Are Indicted
The spyware involved in the scheme aimed at tracking their lovers' online activity.

New Apps Keep Google Pushing Beyond Search
Company edges toward multimedia communications platform with Google Talk offering.

Wikis Make Collaboration Easier
Because they're simple enough for nontechnical employees to use, wikis are set to give content-management software a run for its money.

When To Wiki: How To Decide If It Makes Sense For You
A quick guide to help you decide if a wiki is right for your organization.

Primer: Making A Mesh Of Your Wireless LAN
Wireless mesh isn't just for citywide deployments. It's an increasingly popular option when wired connections aren't feasible. Here are the basics.

The News Show

John Soat has 'News You Can Use' in today's episode of "The News Show." Watch The News Show.

In Monday's episode:

Art Wittmann With 'Cisco Satisfies The Faithful'

Tony Kontzer With 'Violence And Video Games'

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

Consultative Insight
Most companies bring consultants in to provide some sort of knowledge transfer to their employees. Compare your company's consulting initiatives and achievements to the practices and successes of 360 of its peers in Consultant Conundrum, an Optimize magazine executive research report.


4. In Depth: China

China Eyes 'Creative' Industries In IP Push
A recent influx of technology-related funding provides a look into where the country is trying to go, miles away from its reputation for low-cost manufacturing.

Novell Announces Expansion Plans For China
The company plans to create a research and development center, open new regional branches, offer local technology support, and strengthen ties with Asian partners.

Yahoo Combines Chinese Operations With Auctioneer Alibaba.com
Yahoo said it would pay $1 billion for a 40% share of Chinese company Alibaba.com and would fold its China operations into the online auctioneer, forming a joint Internet company that would challenge leading marketplace eBay and No. 1 search engine Baidu.com in the growing market

Microsoft Adds To Investments In China
A new venture with a Chinese company could help Microsoft learn more about the market. But CEO Steve Ballmer warned recently that software piracy is holding back Microsoft's revenue in China.

China Confirms Plan To Create $6 Billion Electronics Venture
The country will merge China Electronics Corp. and the China Great Wall Computer Group Co., which make integrated circuits, hard drives, monitors, power supplies, cell phones, and radar systems. CEC also owns chip foundry Shanghai Huahong-NEC Corp. The combined assets will total $6 billion.

5. Voice Of Authority: Scary Security Advice

Business Technology: Security Tips That Will Scare--And Help--You
Security nightmares are swirling all around us--more sophisticated, more malicious, more damaging--and perhaps the next theater in the battle will be industrial networks: energy generation, power transmission, utilities, transportation, telecom, etc. Feel overwhelmed? A great place to start looking for ideas, Bob Evans says, could be InfraGard.

6. White Papers: Smart Sales

Management Intelligence--Put Sales Intelligence To Work
Learn about tools for building applications that range from simple reporting to complex planning and simulation, to make a quick, positive impact in your organization.

7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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