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Laptops--Do We Really Need 'Em?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Laptops—Do We Really Need 'Em?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Disaster Readiness Puts Tech Tools To The Test
    Related Stories:
    - Empty-Handed: Could Business Travelers Hit The Road Without Their Trusty Laptops?
    - Lighten Your Load: Leave The Laptop Behind
    - How To Prep Laptops For Airport Security
    - Poll: Are Heightened Security Hassles Making You Rethink Business Travel?
3. Breaking News
    - Businesses Struggle Under Growing Weight Of E-mail
    - Freddie Mac Looks To Move On From Accounting Fiasco
    - Bot Builds Spam-Spreading Zombie Army
    - New Chip Design Promises Terahertz Processors
    - Gartner: Free Vista Upgrade Coupons Unlikely
    - Microsoft Buys $3.8 Billion In Shares, Shifts Buyback Timing
    - With Boeing Gone, Vendors Eye In-Flight Connectivity Void
    - Talk Of Multimedia BlackBerry Stokes RIM Shares
4. Grab Bag
    - Why Is Linux Successful? (EarthWeb News)
    - In Terror War, Phone Sales Raise Alarm (USA Today)
    - The Safest iPod On Your Block (The Unofficial Apple Weblog)
5. In Depth: Apple
    - Apple iPod Rules, But Rivals Are Ramping Up
    - Lawyers Weigh In on Apple Pod Fight
    - Apple Runs Fans Nonstop To Cool MacBooks
    - Apple Fixes Vulnerability In SAN Software
    - Apple Admits Rules Violations At Chinese iPod Plant
    - Security Firm Disclaims Mac Hack Demo
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Taming The Wireless E-Mail Beast
7. White Papers
    - Systems Management On Demand—On Premises Vs. On Demand
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast; the chicken was 'involved,' the pig was 'committed.'" -- Unknown


1. Editor's Note: Laptops—Do We Really Need 'Em?

Ask business travelers if they're willing to do without their laptop computers, and they'll say "No."

Unless they're from New York or Philadelphia, in which case the "no" is preceded by a string of expletives that'll blister the paint off a Chevy Camaro.

Business travelers believe they need their laptops to get work done on the road. Ask a business traveler which they'd prefer—cut off a hand or give up the laptop—and most business travelers would go for the hand. After all, they can still type with the other hand.

But is the laptop really necessary?

The recent terrorist arrests in England and the security clampdown that followed have made it tougher for business travelers to get their laptops on the plane. Every airline terror incident since the early '90s has made it more difficult to bring laptop computers and other electronics on board. One day soon, it may become impossible.

And even if the security regs don't change, are laptops really necessary?

Laptops are huge fiduciary risks for companies that deploy them to workers. Thieves stole a laptop and hard drive from the home of a Veterans Administration worker in May, along with 26.5 million records containing confidential information on veterans and their spouses.

The laptop itself represents more than a thousand dollars in hardware and software costs riding around on the shoulder of an employee who likely doesn't have securing that device as the topmost concern on his mind.

And who the heck wants to schlep a five-pound brick across the country anyway? The only reason we do it is because there's no alternative.

In the wake of the recent security scare, IT departments and business travelers are looking for alternatives, and we're here to help. Reporter Sharon Gaudin looks at how business travelers and IT departments are planning for the possibility of doing without their laptops, and then she shares her thoughts about the subject in a blog entry. David DeJean looks at tools available today to let you leave the laptop behind. And Patricia Keefe speculates about how a laptop ban on planes might have a ripple affect on other industries (Tish's speculation was featured in our daily newsletter last week).

Also, Elena Malykhina writes about how possible requirements to check electronics might affect demand for ruggedized laptops and other equipment, and K.C. Jones has tips on getting your laptop ready for airline security.

Are security hassles making you rethink business travel? Take our poll and let us know, or leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog.

And for the opposite perspective on the whole issue, check out our March feature on how to make a laptop computer your one and only PC.

Of course, you don't have to go up in an airplane to face an emergency. Reporter Larry Greenemeier looks at two exercises by emergency services dealing with problems on the ground. Strong Angel III is a test of technology and techniques for coping with a simulated disaster, including viral outbreaks and terrorist attacks, right where I live here in San Diego. And at Synthetic Portland, local officials, academics, and business leaders discussed a model for data sharing during an emergency. Larry contributes his $0.02 about airline security and Strong Angel III on his blog post.

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


2. Today's Top Story

Disaster Readiness Puts Tech Tools To The Test
Can thumb drives, mash-ups, and RSS improve our ability to react in emergencies? The organizers of two disaster simulations hope to find out.

Related Stories:

Empty-Handed: Could Business Travelers Hit The Road Without Their Trusty Laptops?
Increased airport security is pushing some IT managers to rethink whether road warriors really need to have laptops in tow. And if it saves money and airport hassles, these plans could go into effect sooner than later.

Lighten Your Load: Leave The Laptop Behind
It's getting harder and harder to get electronics through airport security, but don't fret: Take advantage of technologies that let you leave your laptop behind and still be productive on the road. We show you how.

How To Prep Laptops For Airport Security
Security providers offer a few tips for travelers flying with electronic devices.

Poll: Are Heightened Security Hassles Making You Rethink Business Travel?


3. Breaking News

Businesses Struggle Under Growing Weight Of E-mail
From in-box overload to lawsuits, e-mail can deliver a nasty bite. Get control of it before you're a victim.

Freddie Mac Looks To Move On From Accounting Fiasco
The world doesn't stand still while a company gets its house in order. While Freddie Mac was putting out fires, it was missing opportunities. Now it's bringing IT work in-house and replacing custom and proprietary code with off-the-shelf software.

Bot Builds Spam-Spreading Zombie Army
Mocbot downloads a spam proxy Trojan in its bid to create a net of infected machines that will spew spam on a large scale.

New Chip Design Promises Terahertz Processors
Proponents of the new Ballistic Deflection Transistor technology say it will produce computers that are faster, more powerful, and more efficient at using power.

Gartner: Free Vista Upgrade Coupons Unlikely
Gartner seems to be trying to put the brakes on the notion that Microsoft and PC makers are thinking about offering free Windows Vista upgrade coupons.

Microsoft Buys $3.8 Billion In Shares, Shifts Buyback Timing
The world's largest software maker expects to buy about 155 million shares at $24.75 each. Shares rise 2% on Nasdaq.

With Boeing Gone, Vendors Eye In-Flight Connectivity Void
The cancellation of Boeing's Connexion in-flight Internet service could leave travelers left to choose from among less expensive, but relatively low-tech replacement services, like text messaging and e-mail access.

Talk Of Multimedia BlackBerry Stokes RIM Shares
Reports say the "BlackBerry Pearl" may have a camera with a built-in flash and zoom, as well as music capabilities.

All Our Latest News

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4. Grab Bag

Why Is Linux Successful? (EarthWeb News)
It was at the right place at the right time, built on the right platform (the 386-based PC), using the right collaboration tool (the Internet), and development had the right leadership, according to a panel of Linux experts. Also, the effort had the right leadership and marketing, provided by Linus Torvalds: "Here's this nice young man wearing sandals and with a funny accent, as opposed to other people that weren't quite as nice," says Jon Maddog Hall of Linux International.

In Terror War, Phone Sales Raise Alarm (USA Today)
The arrests and release of five young Arab-American men who bought hundreds of cell phones in the Midwest show broader concerns about wireless technology in an era of global terrorism.

The Safest iPod On Your Block (The Unofficial Apple Weblog)
Formed from a single piece of machined aluminum, the iTank nano weighs 3 oz., costs $45, and all but guarantees you'll be pulled aside at airport security.


5. In Depth: Apple

Apple iPod Rules, But Rivals Are Ramping Up
Cell phone makers are getting into the game, ramping up production of handsets that can store and play downloaded music.

Lawyers Weigh In on Apple Pod Fight
Legal experts debate whether Apple's aggressive legal approach to protecting its trademark will help it or hurt it.

Apple Runs Fans Nonstop To Cool MacBooks
The company deals with a rash of customer complaints about noisy and overheated notebooks. And this isn't the first heat issue for the MacBooks.

Apple Fixes Vulnerability In SAN Software
The company said an attacker with write access to an Xsan volume could create a denial-of-service situation affecting all computers connected to the file system. However, most users use Xsan in a standalone environment.

Apple Admits Rules Violations At Chinese iPod Plant
Apple scrambles to downplay reports of forced labor at a Chinese iPod factory, but it appears some rules were broken. The company is promising an immediate correction.

Security Firm Disclaims Mac Hack Demo
SecureWorks did a demo at the recent Black Hat conference showing how it could hack into a MacBook. Now the company has posted a disclaimer on its site to make it clear that the MacBook was modified.


6. Voice Of Authority

Taming The Wireless E-Mail Beast
Elena Malykhina says: E-mail is said to be the No. 1 application used by office workers everywhere. But e-mail can also be the No. 1 headache for IT administrators, considering large companies receive millions of e-mail messages a week--a topic that my colleague Paul McDougal and I explore in our upcoming "E-Mail Beast" feature. Now with wireless e-mail on the rise, companies have twice as many headaches. The good news is technology vendors are coming up with tools to make wireless e-mail more manageable.


7. White Papers

Systems Management On Demand—On Premises Vs. On Demand
Learn how to gain immediate ROI, reduce IT capital expenditures, and free up your IT staff to focus on core business initiatives. TriActive enables low-cost access to a full spectrum of integrated systems management solutions—all available on demand and accessible anytime, anywhere.


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