1. Editor's Note: Spawn Of Wikipedia 2. Today's Top Story - D.C. Law Firm Claims IBM Worker Hacked Its Computers Related Stories: - Phishers Beat Bank's Two-Factor Authentication - U.K. Companies Must Protect Customer Data Even If Outsourced Overseas 3. Breaking News - Microsoft Extends Ancient PCs' Lives - Vendors Hoping The .Mobi Domain Will Help The Mobile Web Not Stink - Judge Dismisses Antitrust Complaint Against Google - 34 States Sue DRAM Companies For Price Fixing - Intel CEO To Staff: Upper Management Layoffs Address 'Slow And Inefficient Decision Making' - Yahoo, Microsoft Test IM Interoperability - Cell Phone Could Prevent DWI (That's Dialing While Intoxicated) - Social Networking Sites For Businesses Set To Take Off - IBM Releases Security Tool To Fight Denial Of Service Attacks, Worms - Review: Intel's Conroe Vs. AMD's Dual-Core Athlon 4. Grab Bag - Stuck Pig (Wired) - Dr. Google Sends Pain Relief (Marketing Pilgrim) - How To Hack A Hybrid (Business 2.0) - A Visionary Seeking To Connect The World, Wirelessly (NY Times - reg. required) 5. In Depth: The OpenDocument Format - Google Joins OpenDocument Format Alliance, Backs Office Standardization - Microsoft To Cooperate In Building Office OpenDocument Support - Delay Sought In Mass. Office Software Implementation - IBM Bets Big On Open Source In Next Release Of Lotus Notes - ISO Approves OpenDocument Format 6. Voice Of Authority - Doing H-1B Math, In Dollars And Sense 7. White Papers - How To Keep The Web Safe And Productive For Your Business 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day: "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." — Albert Einstein
1. Editor's Note: Spawn Of Wikipedia
So can commoners—as the British like to refer to those not of aristocratic birth—be trusted? That's the question that two of the founders of Wikipedia appear to have asked themselves recently. And they seem to have come up with radically different answers.
Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales last week announced a new wiki dedicated to election information. Called Campaigns Wikia, the site—like Wikipedia—invites any and all to participate in an egalitarian online community. In this case, the wiki is intended to foster grass-roots discussion of all things political.
On the other hand, Larry Sanger in late May unveiled the beta version of Digital Universe, which is, in effect, a portfolio of portals leading to expert-approved content—in particular, specialized encyclopedias compiled by acknowledged authorities in various fields. Expert is the key word here. Sanger has apparently turned his back on the wide-open philosophy of Wikipedia.
Indeed, Sanger made his opinion of the weaknesses of Wikipedia known more than a year ago in a widely disseminated article titled "Why Wikipedia Must Jettison Its Anti-Elitism." In it, Sanger pointed to two serious problems plaguing his former pet project: the public perception of Wikipedia as a flawed reference guide, and the presence of "difficult people, trolls, and their enablers."
Wikipedia is, of course, either glorious or notorious—depending on your perspective—as the Web encyclopedia that's editorially open to anyone with an Internet connection. That includes experts possessing relevant facts about a topic, but also unqualified contributors who post erroneous information, or—worse—are attempting to advance an agenda.
Events that have called the accuracy and trustworthiness of Wikipedia into question include a hoax entry reporting that John Seigenthaler, a respected journalist and former aide to Robert Kennedy, had a role in the assassinations of Robert and John Kennedy; and anonymous deletions of references to the accomplishments of pioneers in the podcasting arena by fellow podcasting innovator Adam Curry. (After being outed, Curry apologized profusely.)
There are even a number of watchdog Web sites—most notably, Wikitruth and Wikipedia Review—that are dedicated to scrutinizing Wikipedia and reporting on its flaws.
To be fair, Wikipedia has tightened rules for postings on controversial topics. And it has established an Arbitration Committee that has the power to oust the more dubious members of the community.
But this didn't prevent this month's enormous brouhaha over an...evolving...Wikipedia entry about Ken Lay's death. Among other things, Wikipedia contributors first reported Lay's death as a suicide, then began wildly hypothesizing about the cause of death. The mainstream press gleefully picked this up, pointing to it as an example of the central flaw of the Wikipedia concept.
So what's the right approach? The populist or the elitist? Granted, a political forum is quite different from a knowledge-based portal. The former is actually soliciting passionate differing opinions, while the latter seeks to establish authority and credibility (albeit while still maintaining a collaborative culture).
Still, the different paths that the Wikipedia founders have taken provide a fascinating snapshot of divergent philosophies of Web 2.0.
Those in favor of the Wikipedia approach say that despite unavoidable glitches in the process, the community ultimately rights all wrongs. Supporting their argument, there was a study by Nature last December that found that for every four errors in Wikipedia, there were three in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
But even ardent Wikipedia supporters admit that although it's good as a preliminary research tool, people seeking verified facts should probably get a second opinion on any given query when consulting a truly open forum.
That's where I stand. I find Wikipedia infinitely valuable for giving me basic background information and providing links to other sites. But trust it when composing an article? Not on your life. I want evidence of reputable gatekeepers. I'm therefore looking forward to the evolution of Digital Universe.
What do you think? How far can a truly populist approach to compiling information take us? What are the relative strengths and limitations of a more elitist approach? Let me know by responding to my blog.
Microsoft Extends Ancient PCs' Lives Microsoft introduced Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. Formerly code-named Eiger, the software turns old PCs into thin clients for accessing software running on a server.
Judge Dismisses Antitrust Complaint Against Google Disgruntled ad customer Kinderstart had accused Google of monopolistic business practices, but a federal judge ruled that Kinderstart "failed to allege any conduct on the part of Google that significantly threatens or harms competition."
34 States Sue DRAM Companies For Price Fixing The lawsuits charge that DRAM manufacturers maintained a secret agreement to raise prices from about 1998 to 2002. The suits, which seek unspecified damages and restitution, target Hynix, Infineon, Samsung, and others.
Yahoo, Microsoft Test IM Interoperability Users of Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger will be able to IM each other in a limited test phase, designed to ensure that the networks can handle the combined accounts of approximately 350 million users worldwide.
Review: Intel's Conroe Vs. AMD's Dual-Core Athlon In a head-to-head comparison, the CRN Test Center pits Intel's soon-to-be-released Conroe, the Core 2 Extreme processor, against AMD's top-of-the-line Athlon FX62 dual-core processor. See which one comes out on top.
Can you Hear Me Now? Learn how security issues are impacting companies installing VoIP in this recent report by InformationWeek Research. Use this report to understand the challenges you may face in your deployment and how security concerns can affect your installation, network, and security.
Protecting Customer Data Identity theft is on the rise across the globe. How do your security strategies for protecting customer data stack up? Learn how your peers are protecting customer data and managing privacy issues in the InformationWeek/Accenture Global Information Security Survey of more than 2,000 technology and security professionals.
4. Grab Bag
Stuck Pig (Wired) Successful suspended animation tests have been completed—on pigs. Although cryogenic suspension theory has for decades been the fodder of science fiction, clinical trials on humans may happen as soon as two years from now.
Dr. Google Sends Pain Relief (Marketing Pilgrim) When a blogger penned an entry titled "Dear Google, You're Giving Me A Headache" about his trouble keeping up with all the recent changes to Adwords, someone at the search giant sent him a packet of aspirin.
How To Hack A Hybrid (Business 2.0) A California engineer successfully hacked his Prius by swapping in a lithium-ion batter and plugging a system into the car's 110-volt socket.
Doing H-1B Math, In Dollars And Sense Marianne Kolbasuk McGee blogs on the fact that foreign tech workers who enter the country with H-1B visas are typically paid about $25,000 a year less than American workers with the same skills.
7. White Papers
How To Keep The Web Safe And Productive For Your Business With limited security budgets, IT executives face the challenge of successfully implementing a robust and effective Web security infrastructure without diverting IT staff and resources from other essential projects. Find out why utilizing a managed service for Web security could make sense for your organization's bottom line.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.