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Making Sense Of Conflicting Information

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Making Sense Of Conflicting Information
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft Releases Metafile Patch Early
    Related Story
    - Sober's Attack May Be Nothing To Sweat
3. Breaking News
    - 'Google Pack' Software To Fuel Googleplex
    - ITAA President Quits, May Run For Senate
    - Microsoft, MTV Target Apple iTunes
    - IBM Lotus Opens Up WorkPlace Client
    - CES Reporter's Notebook: Mobility And Media Built Into Devices
    - Grokster To Users: 'You Are Not Anonymous'
    - Windows-Based Treo Smart Phone Arrives
    - 1 In 10 Now Use Mozilla's Firefox
    - Microsoft Confirms Dropping Chinese Journalist's Blog
    - Nanotech Becomes Part Of Clothing
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
    - Owners' Web Site Gives Realtors Run For Money
    - Geeks In Toyland
5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Technology
    - Visual Tour: Microsoft Windows Vista Begins To Get Real
    - The Trouble With Firefox
    - Review: Password Management: Grief Relief
    - Ride Along: Anatomy Of A Break-In
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Searching For Conscience In The Tech Industry
7. White Papers
    - Choosing An Automated Communications Provider
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently." -- Agnes de Mille


1. Editor's Note: Making Sense Of Conflicting Information

As my colleague Patricia Keefe noted in her daily podcast yesterday, one of the more frustrating aspects about covering the technology industry is trying to make sense of often dueling information sources. Journalists aren't experts, usually; that's why we interview others for their opinions and their particular filter on the "facts" at hand. But how to cover something when the supposed experts can't, or don't, agree?

This got me thinking. If it's hard for those of us who are merely writing about any given contentious topic, I can't imagine how tough it must be for IT-ers who have to make an actual decision based on this information.

So, my question: How do you do it? What factors do you take into account, who do you ask, and where do you turn for advice? I doubt that dartboards or coin tosses come into play because often these are bet-your-job types of decisions that can definitely come back to haunt if they don't work out well.

Two sets of stories come to mind here. One is the high number of vulnerabilities found during 2005 in Linux and Unix relative to Windows--a three-to-one ratio, according to CERT. Countering this is an interview with a guru who says that all is just ducky with Linux security, thank you.

The other whiplash-inducing story of recent vintage was the issue around the Microsoft WMF bug and whether to use an available third-party patch from Hexblog or wait for the official Microsoft fix. (Late Thursday afternoon, Microsoft released its patch.) There were plenty of opinions on both sides of this issue, and I won't repeat them here.

Which leads back to my question: who or what to believe? Please weigh in, or read more about the various issues discussed above, at my blog entry. Mostly I'm interested in your methodology for problem-solving (as opposed to which solution you came to, but of course it's fine if you wish to share that, too).

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


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft Releases Metafile Patch Early
Microsoft released the patch for the zero-day Metafile vulnerability on Thursday, five days ahead of its previously announced schedule.

Related Story:

Sober's Attack May Be Nothing To Sweat
As the Sober worm attack approaches, some analysts say hackers have been scared off their intended infection campaign.


3. Breaking News

'Google Pack' Software To Fuel Googleplex
A pack of upcoming software programs expected to be announced by Google at CES is viewed as fundamental to the company's vision.

ITAA President Quits, May Run For Senate
Harris Miller all but declares run for Virginia seat held by Republican George Allen.

Microsoft, MTV Target Apple iTunes
Microsoft and MTV Networks have unveiled a joint music service that will take on Apple Computer's market-leading iTunes music store.

IBM Lotus Opens Up WorkPlace Client
Hoping to broaden the appeal of its WorkPlace software into new markets, IBM has promised support for the Open Document Format in the next release of its WorkPlace Managed Client, due the first half of this year.

CES Reporter's Notebook: Mobility And Media Built Into Devices
Among the myriad announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show that started Thursday in Las Vegas were those in which new types of mobility and media capabilities are being built into mobile devices.

Grokster To Users: 'You Are Not Anonymous'
Visitors to Grokster now see their own IP address with the warning that it has been logged. Some see this as part of the file-sharing network's bid to settle its legal problems.

Windows-Based Treo Smart Phone Arrives
The phone is based on Windows, but it isn't just a clone of other Microsoft-based handhelds; Palm insisted on being able to customize it.

1 In 10 Now Use Mozilla's Firefox
Firefox came within a half-point of the 10% market share that many analysts have set as the bar to long-term success against Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Confirms Dropping Chinese Journalist's Blog
Microsoft said it was complying with local law when it took down the blog of outspoken Chinese journalist Zhao Jing.

Nanotech Becomes Part Of Clothing
With fabrics on display at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, the idea is to integrate technology into apparel. Everything from light sources to electronic controls for devices such as bar-code scanners, computers, walkie-talkies, cellular phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices is available as part of your clothing.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show


In the current episode:

John Soat With 'Consumer Electronics Show!'
John's at CES in America's playland, Las Vegas.

Paul Kapustka With 'The Setup'
Paul covers setup day at CES and takes a quick look at IPTV and consumer VoIP.

John Soat With 'And Bill Gates' Keynote'
John goes undercover and patiently waits for Bill's keynote speech. Can he keep his eyes open?


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

The Year Ahead
IT budgets will remain tight in 2006, and business-technology professionals will only fund the most important business and technology priorities. InformationWeek Research's Outlook For 2006 report, part of our Priorities series, evaluates budgeting strategies for 2006.

Win A Dell Flat-Screen 32-Inch LCD TV!
Play The Great Scavenger Hunt contest! Here's how it works: Every week in January, we'll post five tech-related questions. Answer at least two correctly, and you'll enter the drawing for an Apple 4-Gbyte iPod nano, as well as the grand-prize drawing for the Dell flat-screen 32-inch LCD TV! Don't miss out on the fun, the prizes, and the cheap laughs that come with The Great Scavenger Hunt!

A Week's Worth Of Dailies--All In One Place
Have you missed an issue or two of the InformationWeek Daily? Or want to check out some recent quotes of the day? Check out our Daily newsletter archive page and get caught up quickly.

-----------------------------------------


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

Owners' Web Site Gives Realtors Run For Money (New York Times--reg. required)
"For Sale By Owner" takes on a new meaning, and new heights, on a Web site run out of Madison, Wis.

Geeks In Toyland (Wirednews.com)
Lego built a global empire out of little plastic blocks, then conquered the wired world with a robot kit called Mindstorms. So when the time came for an upgrade, it turned to obsessed fans--and rewrote the rules of the innovation game.


5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Technology

Visual Tour: Microsoft Windows Vista Begins To Get Real
The December pre-beta 2 release of Windows Vista offers the first true glimpse of the operating system. But it's still missing key elements.

The Trouble With Firefox
Users report high memory usage and freezes in version 1.5 of the open-source browser, but not everyone is having trouble.

Review: Password Management: Grief Relief
With more users, partners, accounts, and platforms, password automation is becoming a necessity. We tested seven password-management products and granted our Tester's Choice to the one with outstanding policy creation and enforcement as well as extensive platform support.

Ride Along: Anatomy Of A Break-In
We went along for the ride as a team of security experts performed a vulnerability assessment--simulating an attack on a Fortune 500 company.


6. Voice Of Authority

Searching For Conscience In The Tech Industry
It's not every day that an employee publicly condemns his company as a tool of state-sponsored thuggery and gets to remain employed, Thomas Claburn says. But on Tuesday morning, Robert Scoble, technical evangelist at Microsoft and the company's most noted blogger, weighed in about a report posted by blogger and former CNN reporter Rebecca MacKinnon that MSN Spaces on New Year's Eve shut down a blog written by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti, a blogger apparently not well loved by Chinese authorities.


7. White Papers

Choosing An Automated Communications Provider
When communicating with your customers, you want to ensure that you're providing the best possible experience. There's a lot to consider, and this white paper points out things to keep in mind.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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