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8/22/2005
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Tom Smith
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Microsoft, Google Stir The RSS Pot

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft, Google Stir The RSS Pot
2. Today's Top Story: Worms And Security
    - "Business" Worms Wreak Havoc From Inside
    - Three Different Hackers Behind Week's Attacks
    - Blame Game: Patch Complacency Behind Zotob Success
3. Breaking News
    - Search Engines Find Stolen Identities
    - Geico, Google Declare Victory In Court Ruling
    - Software Will Play Podcasts On Cell Phones
    - Cisco Still Tops, But Juniper Advances In Router Market
    - Customs Computers Out For 5 Hours
    - iPod upsets NAND flash Applecart
    - Philadelphia Chooses Wireless Finalists
    - New Web Site Offers Job Seekers Sign-on Bonuses
    - Ex-Red Hat Execs To Launch rPath
4. In Depth: PC And Chip Directions
5. Voice Of Authority: Zotob: An Avoidable Worm And The Negligence Factor
6. White Papers: Disk-Based Backup
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken


1. Editor's Note: Microsoft, Google Stir The RSS Pot

Microsoft and Google have sparked considerable industry debate by using "different" names for their RSS feeds -- "web feeds" and "feeds," respectively.

For the uninitiated, RSS is Really Simple Syndication, a name for content feeds to which Internet uses can subscribe through various content "readers" and track updates at a wide range of Web sites.

Some in the industry are complaining that Microsoft and Google should exert their considerable influence elsewhere and leave this technology alone. The hue and cry, to some degree, is understandable, given concerns about the ever-expanding influence of these two companies.

Yet, the complaints are short-sighted, given the positive impact these moves can have.

Proponents can talk all they want about the benefits and value of RSS, yet the technology to many, many Web users remains mysterious and dense (and that's why I felt the need to define it above); subscription pages have to spell out in excruciating detail what RSS is, how it works, how to subscribe, and so on. One of the reasons RSS isn't used more widely -- an assertion based on our internal knowledge of the clicks we get from RSS feeds -- is that it's currently too difficult to figure out and too difficult to use.

Indeed, market researcher Nielsen/NetRatings found in a survey of blog readers released this week that 66% either didn't understand RSS or had never heard of it. An additional 23% understood the technology, but didn't use it.

To the nonfaithful, it's all but impossible to look at icons or links that say "RSS" or "XML" and have any clue what a given Web site is offering them. I suspect strongly that if InformationWeek, for example, were to buck the common industry practice of posting icons that say "RSS" or "XML" and instead used "Our content feeds" or "Subscribe to our content," our readers would be much more likely to at least check out our page that explains our feeds. As Web publishers, we should use concrete, simple terms to explain our services to readers. Then, in turn, readers would be less intimidated by an RSS sign-up page and more likely to try out our feeds.

The more simple RSS is -- right down to giving it a label that means something to all manner of Web users -- the more its value can be unlocked for a broader audience. In the end, the RSS die-hards may not like seeing this technology morph into something with a different name, but even they should recognize it would lead to more widespread acceptance.

I'd definitely like your feedback on this important issue, and any input you have on the current stable of "our content feeds" (RSS purposely omitted). Feel free to reply at my blog entry or take our poll on this topic.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: Worms And Security

"Business" Worms Wreak Havoc From Inside
One of last week's dozen or so bots can be called the first "business" worm, agree some security experts.

Related Stories:
Three Different Hackers Behind Week's Attacks

Three authors, or three groups of hackers, launched three separate attacks last week on vulnerable Windows 2000 machines, analysis released Friday by Panda Software showed.

Blame Game: Patch Complacency Behind Zotob Success
Complacent network administrators are partly to blame for the success of this week's bot worms attacks on Windows 2000 machines, a Gartner analyst asserted.


3. Breaking News

Search Engines Find Stolen Identities
The prevalance of identity theft, and the fact that search engines provide links to pages containing personal data, is fueling a debate over whether search-engine companies should be working harder to address privacy issues and whether they should be held accountable for privacy violations.

Geico, Google Declare Victory In Court Ruling
Geico and Google have both declared victory in a court ruling stemming from a lawsuit in which the insurance company accused the search-engine giant of trademark violations.

Software Will Play Podcasts On Cell Phones
Mobile software vendor Melodeo said Friday it is developing software that will locate and download podcasts to cell phones.

Cisco Still Tops, But Juniper Advances In Router Market
Cisco Systems maintains its strong grip on the enterprise router market, but Juniper Networks has come virtually out of nowhere to capture the second-place position, according to a poll of users released Friday by Infonetics Research.

Customs Computers Out For 5 Hours
U.S. Customs computers were down Thursday for about five hours, the agency confirmed Friday, leaving international travelers standing in long lines as agents resorted to primitive processing technology: paper.

iPod upsets NAND flash Applecart
With demand for its popular iPod music player booming, Apple Computer plans to buy as much as 40% of the NAND flash output of Samsung Electronics in the second half of this year, according to market research firm iSuppi Corp.

Philadelphia Chooses Wireless Finalists
Philadelphia has narrowed down to two the number of groups that have been competing to deploy its proposed citywide network and hopes to see the deployment start in October, a city official said Friday.

New Website Offers Job Seekers Sign-On Bonuses
G2Bay.com is offering to split finder's fees with job seekers.

Ex-Red Hat Execs To Launch rPath
The start-up, which plans to support customized Linux distributions, will move it's rPath Linux code to beta in the fall.

All our latest news

Watch More News

John Soat discusses his love for Google in today's episode of The News Show. Watch The News Show

Also in today's episode:

Alexander Wolfe: Microsoft's Hard Place

John Soat: The Week in Review

Eric Chabrow: A Permanent Vacation From IT


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

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 all-new daily newsletter archive page and get caught up quickly.

RFID Struggles
The cost of RDIF deployment is often underestimated as hidden costs such as ERP and database upgrades aren't accounted for. Examine this and other problems facing radio-frequency identification adopters in InformationWeek Research's report, RFID--Wisdom of Pilots.

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


4. In Depth: PC And Chip Directions

Survey: Notebooks Surpass Desktop Sales For First Time
For the first time ever, distributors sold more notebook computers than desktops in a month.

AMD Hires IBM Veteran To Lead Silicon Design
Advanced Micro Devices has appointed Jeff VerHeul, formerly leader of IBM's Engineering and Technology Services business, as its corporate VP of silicon design, a move that emphasizes the close ties between the two companies.

Dual-Core Processors Promise Unprecedented Performance Gains
Intel's dual-core chip introduction promises substantial performance gains and, possibly, changes in software licensing for applications taking advantage of the new technology.

Intel Ramps Up Schedule To Ship Dual-Core Xeon Server Chips This Year
Intel will ship its first full-featured dual-core processors for servers as it anticipates the majority of shipments moving to dual-core by late 2006.

Intel Plans Major Shift In Microprocessor Technology
The company plans to replace its Netburst architecture with a new line that is based in part on the Pentium M, and which is expected to feature multiple computing engines on a single chip, security features, and manageability functions.

Dell Dips In Customer Satisfaction
U.S. consumers put Apple on a pedestal of customer satisfaction, according to a survey released Tuesday. Dell, however, was kicked off its prior perch to put it in a tie with the rest of the PC market.


5. Voice Of Authority: Zotob

Zotob: An Avoidable Worm And The Negligence Factor
The Zotob incident proves that companies have gotten lax with security upgrades and could be heading toward negligence when it comes to network security.


6. White Papers: Disk-Based Backup

How To Evaluate Disk-Based Data Backup and Recovery Solutions
Disk-based backup is becoming the solution of choice: Gartner projects that by 2008, the majority of data restores will occur from disk, not from tape. You need to identify the best solution for your server data backup and recovery needs. Establish your own evaluation checklist, decide what matters most and save time as you assess solutions.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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