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12/23/2005
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RSS: The Best Technology You're Using After All

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: RSS: The Best Technology You're Using After All
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft, Google Settle Kai-Fu Lee Lawsuit
3. Breaking News
    - Symantec Says Vulnerability Hits 63 Products
    - Ford Computer With Employee Data Stolen
    - Microsoft Will Fight EU Fines
    - Mozilla's Thunderbird 1.5 E-Mailer Closing On Final
    - Mozilla Seeks Filmmakers For Ad Contest
    - E-Carols For Cell Phones In The Works
    - European Commission OKs Oracle-Siebel Deal
    - RIM Reports Profits Up, But Lowers Expected Subscriber Growth
    - 3Com Reports Networking Sales Growth
4. Grab Bag
    - Xbox 360 Photo Scam Still Going
    - Portable Video: It's The Content, Stupid
    - Court Blocks California Video-Game Sales Restriction
5. In Depth
    - Firefox 1.5 Stability Problems? Readers And Mozilla Respond
    - Eh? iPod Earbuds Can Cause Hearing Loss
    - Personal Tech Guide
    - Automakers Embrace The IPod
    - Xbox Photos Fetch Huge Prices On eBay
    - Google Desktop Apps To Ship With Lexar Flash Drive
    - AOL Releases App Suite In Beta
6. Voice Of Authority
    - 2006: One Reporter's View
7. White Papers
    - Virtualization: Top 10 Considerations For Choosing A Server Virtualization Technology
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." -- Mark Twain


1. Editor's Note: RSS: The Best Technology You're Using After All

I was surprised and pleased by the interest sparked by my recent note about RSS and syndication ("Why Don't More People Use RSS Feeds?"). Surprised, because the point of that note was that hardly anybody uses RSS, and that's pretty much the same as saying nobody gives a darn about it. Turns out people do care about RSS--they're just not using it.

Or are they? Officials at KnowNow, a vendor of technology that uses RSS, say that many people use RSS and are unaware that they're doing so. They took issue with a statistic I quoted from Forrester, which found in a September study that only 6% of Internet users are using RSS. KnowNow countered with a white paper from Yahoo that says 31% of Internet users are using RSS--they just don't know it. They're using personalized start pages, such as My Yahoo and My MSN.

Only 4% of users have knowingly used RSS, according to Yahoo, and that's pretty consistent with the Forrester report, and indicates that Forrester might simply have asked the wrong question.

That's pretty encouraging news to RSS advocates.

And that's pretty consistent with our experience with the greater Internet. Ask 100 random people if they use HTTP, POP3, or IMAP, and they'll say, "Huh?" or "I have no idea what those things are" or "No, I'm sorry, I'm lactose intolerant." As them if they use the Web and E-mail and you'll get different answers. And yet those are really the same questions.

Heck, my own father was an Internet addict, but if you'd asked him if he used the Web, he might well have said no. He called it "Netscape," because that's the application he used to access the Web. Even after he switched to Internet Explorer, he still called the Web "Netscape."

I started out that editor's note by saying: "I'm flummoxed why more people aren't using RSS feeds as their primary means of accessing frequently visited Web sites." Strike that. Forget I said it. At 31% of Internet users, that's pretty much the adoption rate I'd expect for an emerging technology that's relatively recent, and kind of difficult to understand. The benefits of RSS are real and significant, but they're not easily grasped without trying it out awhile, and they don't become apparent immediately.

Still, more than two-thirds of Internet users aren't using RSS, and I was gratified to get lots of comments from them explaining why and discussing what needs to happen before they do. I'll include highlights of those comments throughout the rest of this note. Read the rest for those comments, and also to find out how you can get started using RSS. And, as always, we want to hear from you about RSS or any other subjects; leave your comments by following the preceding link.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all.

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


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft, Google Settle Kai-Fu Lee Lawsuit
Microsoft said late Thursday it had reached a settlement with rival Google and former employee Kai-Fu Lee, who went to work for Google. The settlement ends a legal battle that had exposed behind-the-scenes rancor between the companies.


3. Breaking News

Symantec Says Vulnerability Hits 63 Products
The number of products is among the largest ever for a single vulnerability and demonstrates the risk of reusing code in a large group of programs.

Ford Computer With Employee Data Stolen
The data includes Social Security numbers; a letter has been sent to employees urging them to take steps to safeguard their personal information.

Microsoft Will Fight EU Fines
Microsoft responded to the European Commission's threat of huge daily fines with some fighting words from corporate counsel Brad Smith, who says, "Every time we make a change, we find that the commission moves the goal post and demands another change."

Mozilla's Thunderbird 1.5 E-Mailer Closing On Final
Thunderbird RC2 fixes several bugs that testers spotted in the first release candidate, but doesn't add any additional features to the E-mail client's toolset.

Mozilla Seeks Filmmakers For Ad Contest
Entries will be judged by a panel drawn from the film, television, and advertising industries.

E-Carols For Cell Phones In The Works
The goal is to have the tunes ready by next Christmas, the vendor says.

European Commission OKs Oracle-Siebel Deal
It's the last hurdle to be cleared, and now the deal can close.

RIM Reports Profits Up, But Lowers Expected Subscriber Growth
Research In Motion, maker of the popular BlackBerry mobile E-mail device, reports that profits in the third quarter rose by a third.

3Com Reports Networking Sales Growth
The increased product revenue helped 3Com narrow its loss. The company reported a net loss of $10.7 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of $48.8 million, or 13 cents a share, for the same period last year.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

John Soat With 'Talk To The Hand'
Research In Motion increases revenue, Palm reports good numbers thanks to the Treo, and more cars are iPod ready.

Larry Greenemeier With 'Secure Thyself!'
Trend Micro's David Michael Perry says online security starts with you.

Ivan Schneider With 'Technology Toys'
Ivan reminisces about the days of ColecoVision.

Sacha Lecca With 'Toy Technology'
What disappears when exposed to air, water, or pressure; costs half a million dollars; and took more than 10 years to develop? A "Zubble."


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

Xbox 360 Photo Scam Still Going (GameSpot)
Unscrupulous grifters trick desperate holiday shoppers into buying pictures of Xbox 360s on online auction sites. The hot holiday item, if one believes the media hype, is the Xbox 360.

Portable Video: It's The Content, Stupid (The Washington Post)
My wife says I'm addicted to TV, and she may well be right. Homer Simpson is my role model and I think Jon Stewart should run for president. But do I want to carry video with me wherever I go, and is the content worth paying for? Those are the questions I pondered while playing with my new video-enabled iPod.

Court Blocks California Video-Game Sales Restriction (Reuters)
A federal judge has blocked a California law that would have made it illegal to sell or rent violent video games to minors, saying he doubted whether such sales could be banned even if the games were proved to cause violent behavior among children.


5. In Depth

Firefox 1.5 Stability Problems? Readers And Mozilla Respond
Firefox users wrote to us detailing their problems with the browser, and we asked Mozilla for some answers.

Eh? iPod Earbuds Can Cause Hearing Loss
Earbud headphones, the type that rest inside the ear, can lead to permanent damage after just an hour of high-volume music in the 110- to 120-decibel range, equivalent to the noise level of a concert.

Personal Tech Guide
Last-minute gifts for the techies on your list

Automakers Embrace The IPod
Automakers are expected to ride the popularity of the iPod and add support for Apple Computer's portable music player in millions of cars over the next six years.

Xbox Photos Fetch Huge Prices On eBay
An eBay shopper from New York paid more than $600 for a photograph of an Xbox, thinking it was the real thing.

Google Desktop Apps To Ship With Lexar Flash Drive
Preinstalled applications on the minidrive, which can hold up to 2 Gbytes of data, will include Google's Picasa, Toolbar, and Desktop Search.

AOL Releases App Suite In Beta
The Triton suite includes E-mail, a Web browser, and instant messaging.


6. Voice Of Authority

2006: One Reporter's View
Tony Kontzer says: We InformationWeek reporters are asked to cover a lot of ground, each with several beats that we track. Keeping current on so many fronts presents quite a challenge, and we typically have to work in a sort of ad hoc rotation, cycling from one technology or vertical market to the next, hoping that we don't miss anything big on one beat while covering another. With that in mind, I thought I'd try to offer some quick takes on what I expect to see on the CRM, E-commerce, storage, and travel fronts during 2006.


7. White Papers

Virtualization: Top 10 Considerations For Choosing A Server Virtualization Technology
The playing field for server virtualization has become crowded over the last few years. Competition is always good for a market as vendors provide better products at more competitive prices. This checklist provides a list of the main considerations and basic differences between the technologies to provide a starting point for technology evaluation.


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