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12/15/2005
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Productivity And Security To The Max

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Productivity And Security To The Max
2. Today's Top Story
    - Rising Energy Prices Drive Consumers Online
    Related Stories:
    - E-Retailers Step Up Discount Offers
    - Item-Level RFID Tagging Aims To Curtail Counterfeiting
3. Breaking News
    - MTV, Microsoft To Develop Online Music Service...
    - ...As Microsoft's SUS Bug Makes Admins Go Manual
    - E-Prescribing Push Intensifies As Medicare Prescription-Drug Plan Nears
    - Explosive Growth Expected For VoIP Monitoring Tools
    - It's Still 'Employer's Market' For Jobs
    - RFID Market To Reach $3 Billion By 2010
    - Major Internet Search Engines Still Growing
    - Intel's Next-Gen Mobile Platform Promises Efficiency
    - General Dynamics Buys Anteon International For $2.2 Billion
    - White House, Congress Flunk On Cybersecurity, Group Says
    - DirecTV To Pay Record $5.3 Million To Settle Telemarketing Charges
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
    - Tokyo Exchange Struggles With Snarls In Electronics
    - BlackBerry Patent Fight Spooks Some Customers
    - Scientists Question Possible Nanotech Risks
5. In Depth: IT Workplace Trends
    - New Masters Program Could Help Tech Pros Navigate Legal Issues
    - Opinion: Self-Evaluation: How'd You Do In 2005?
    - Tech Careers Need Makeover
    - Fewer, More Versatile IT Pros Needed
6. Voice Of Authority
    - AMD Declares Victory, But Battle Will Continue
7. White Papers
    - Developing A Business-Intelligence Strategy For CRM/ERP Data
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"There's a big difference between busy and real work." -- Tom McGreal, Iowa farmer


1. Editor's Note: Productivity And Security To The Max

My colleague Larry Greenemeier posted a blog entry about Microsoft's plans in the collaboration arena.

This is the part of Larry's missive that stopped me cold: "If Microsoft has its way, you may never again be able to duck another phone call or claim that your company's spam filter gobbled up an important E-mail." In the "new and improved" world that Microsoft foresees for us all, we're going to be able to collaborate and communicate 24-by-7 and never again face a situation where a co-worker is gone for coffee, engaged in a hallway conversation with the boss, or, heaven forfend, taking a lunchtime walk around the building to clear his or her head.

I have to wonder: How much "productivity" is a good thing? Is productivity measured by always doing something, no matter how well it's done, or by achieving something that's actually worthy of doing? Are we now going to have to worry about our computer "watching" us--so now we'll have to "look busy" at all times? Quick, type something!

Microsoft's new tool, called Office Communicator Web Access and introduced at this week's Interop show, is all about group facilitation. That's a large potential market for Microsoft, with its bid to become an even bigger player in the world of enterprise applications. (For more about the company's plans in this arena, check out this Q&A with the head of Microsoft's collaboration software group.)

Just like there are limits to collaboration, I feel there's no such thing as totally foolproof security unless one lives in a locked vault. And even then, it can be harmful to set up an expectation of such. Along these lines, there's an interesting story about something going on in Japan, where technology often debuts long before it's available here. Some children in Yokohama City are wearing RFID chips on their clothing and parents can track the kids as they walk to school. If there's a problem, the kids can press a call button on the tag to alert parents.

What do you think? To read more about these issues, or to comment, check out my blog entry.

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


2. Today's Top Story

Rising Energy Prices Drive Consumers Online
More than half of all consumers plan to make fewer trips to the mall, and 3 in 10 will do more shopping online than in stores, the Conference Board reported.

Related Stories:

E-Retailers Step Up Discount Offers
Online sellers are offering deals a bit ahead of schedule, but nontravel spending is already up 23% over last year--and this, the busiest E-shopping week, has yet to be tallied.

Item-Level RFID Tagging Aims To Curtail Counterfeiting
Vue Technology and Symbol Technologies on Wednesday said they'll jointly develop and offer an item-level radio-frequency identification software and hardware package for retailers and manufacturers.


3. Breaking News

MTV, Microsoft To Develop Online Music Service...
The service, dubbed Urge, will be integrated into the next version of Microsoft's Windows Media Player and will offer more than 2 million tracks for sale individually or as part of a subscription package.

...As Microsoft's SUS Bug Makes Admins Go Manual
Microsoft has run into another problem with its updates, this time a bug in its aging Software Update Services server software that turns previously approved updates into "unapproved."

E-Prescribing Push Intensifies As Medicare Prescription-Drug Plan Nears
Private companies lead the way in offering financial incentives to doctors to use electronic prescription applications, but the government is expected to follow with its own plan.

Explosive Growth Expected For VoIP Monitoring Tools
Vendors such as Agilent Technologies, Brix Networks, Empirix, OSiSoft, and Qovia make tools that solve problems or point to bottlenecks, sometimes before they cause poor phone communications.

It's Still 'Employer's Market' For Jobs
It's still an employer's market, according to a poll at an HR-focused Web site, which found that less than 10% of applicants turn down job offers.

RFID Market To Reach $3 Billion By 2010
A Gartner analyst pegs the industries with the greatest opportunities to use RFID as retail, aerospace, and defense, while the health-care, logistics, and pharmaceutical industries will adopt the technology the fastest.

Major Internet Search Engines Still Growing
The biggest change was with Ask Jeeves, which increased search volume 77% and catapulted into the No. 5 spot.

Intel's Next-Gen Mobile Platform Promises Efficiency
Napa, the company's new mobile-computing system, offers significant improvements in power efficiency and performance, including a 28% reduction in average power usage, an Intel executive says.

General Dynamics Buys Anteon International For $2.2 Billion
Like rival defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics wants to lessen its dependence on the military hardware market by pushing technology services.

White House, Congress Flunk On Cybersecurity, Group Says
The Cyber Security Industry Alliance, which includes big-name security companies such as Symantec, McAfee, and RSA, blasted the government's progress in keeping the United States safe from cyberattacks.

DirecTV To Pay Record $5.3 Million To Settle Telemarketing Charges
It's the largest civil penalty ever imposed over a consumer-protection issue, and the message is to mind those federal telemarketing rules, the FTC says.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show

John Soat With 'Microsoft Minute' In The Current Episode Of The News Show
Microsoft releases Internet Explorer patches, enters into a joint venture with MCI, and releases new instant-messaging software.

Also in the current episode:

Ivan Schneider With 'Family Finances'
New software allows head of household to track the family finances in real time.

Sacha Lecca With 'Technology De Toilette'
A look at a high-tech toilet seat. Apparently, Mark Cuban is a fan--he recently invested big bucks in the company that makes the product.


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

IT Security In China
Compare the security practices and investment plans of 700 Chinese sites against the strategies and experiences of 2,540 U.S. companies in InformationWeek's research report, China-U.S. Information Security 2005.

Subscribe To Your Favorite Authors
Are you a fan of Fred Langa? Are there other InformationWeek authors that you view as must-reads? Then check out our all-new authors directory; each author has his or her own page and RSS feed.

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


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

Tokyo Exchange Struggles With Snarls In Electronics (New York Times, reg. required)
Last month, a computer glitch shut down trading on the exchange, and last week a typographical error generated a $330 million loss.

BlackBerry Patent Fight Spooks Some Customers (USA Today)
Some companies in the market for handheld phones are looking elsewhere, even if they originally had considered the BlackBerry.

Scientists Question Possible Nanotech Risks (CNN)
Sure, scientists manipulating matter at the molecular level have improved on hundreds of everyday products in recent years and are promising dramatic breakthroughs in medicine and other industries. But relatively little is known about the potential health and environmental effects of the tiny particles--just atoms wide and small enough to easily penetrate cells in lungs, brains, and other organs.


5. In Depth: IT Workplace Trends

New Master's Program Could Help Tech Pros Navigate Legal Issues
The new degree offering will debut in January 2007 and will help tech pros better understand the business risks and legal aspects in technology transfers and pursuing commercialization of technology developments.

Opinion: Self-Evaluation: How'd You Do In 2005?
Look back at your work year via these questions and see how you score. Do it before you take out that second mortgage, Bob Evans suggests.

Tech Careers Need Makeover
U.S. Chamber of Commerce launches effort to make science and technology more attractive to teachers and students.

Fewer, More Versatile IT Pros Needed
Look outside many companies' IT departments and you'll notice a growing number of key employees with deep IT knowledge.


6. Voice Of Authority

AMD Declares Victory, But Battle Will Continue
Advanced Micro Devices has declared itself the winner of the self-proclaimed "dual-core duel challenge" it issued to Intel back in August. Although the win comes in some respects by default, or TKO, as Intel has declined to be drawn into the skirmish, and is indicative of the growing momentum at AMD, the microprocessor championship belt remains in Intel's grasp. Darrell Dunn explains.


7. White Papers

Developing A Business-Intelligence Strategy For CRM/ERP Data
Read about strategies for building a BI system and an underlying data warehouse for processing CRM and ERP data managed by application packages.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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