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The Distant Vista: Visions Of Heaven From The Gates Of Hades

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: The Distant Vista: Visions Of Heaven From The Gates Of Hades
2. Today's Top Story
    - The Next Windows After Vista Will Demand Radical Rethinking From Microsoft
    Related Stories:
    - Graphic: Microsoft: Who's In, Who's Out
    - Windows Woes Have Microsoft On Defensive
    - Vista's Financial Contribution To Microsoft Less Than Certain
    - Poll: Which of the following changes is most important for Windows if it's to remain viable after Vista?
3. Breaking News
    - Update: AT&T Hackers Devised Elaborate Phishing Scam To Dupe Customers
    - FBI Tries Not To Fumble Its Technology Hot Potato
    - Patents And Open Source Could Face A Time Out
    - Mobile Companies Develop New, Faster 4G Technology
    - Brazil Judge Orders Google To Disclose Users' Data
    - Panasonic To Make Wi-Fi Phone For Skype
    - Smaller Server Vendors Tout New Designs
    - Review: Palisade Systems Protects Against Insider Threats
    - SanDisk Offers 2-Gbyte iPod Competitor For Less Than $100
    - Web-Hosting Vendor Pays Students To Train At Boot Camp
    - Two-Year Extension Of Microsoft Antitrust Deal Sought
4. Grab Bag
    - Saying No To School Laptops (Wall Street Journal)
    - RadioShack Uses E-Mail To Fire 400 Employees As Part Of Planned Job Cuts (Associated Press)
    - RIAA Copyright Education Contradictory, Critics Say (News.com)
    - On Being A Macintosh Girl At Microsoft (MSDN.com)
5. In Depth: Gaming
    - Gaming Computer Vendor Alienware Targets Enterprise
    - EA To Embed Ads In Video Games
    - iPod 'Video Game Rocker Chair' For Sale
    - Online Social Network Plays Hand, Dips Into Real-World Gaming
    - Game Consoles To Power Cancer, Alzheimer's Research
6. Voice Of Authority
    - P-To-P Steps Into The Darknet
7. White Papers
    - The Goldilocks Principle: New Ways To Approach Software Validation
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions." -- Edgar Cayce


1. Editor's Note: The Distant Vista: Visions Of Heaven From The Gates Of Hades

The most striking thing about Aaron Ricadela's excellent article about the future of Windows is the dramatic discrepancy between what Windows is and what it could (must) become.

But to read about the utopian operating system Ricadela so deftly sketched out—secure, small, fast, and Webified—on the eve of when we're expected to implement one that possesses absolutely none of those qualities was extraordinarily frustrating. (I'm frustrated with Microsoft, not Ricadela, who does a terrific job of framing the relevant issues.)

All I could think was: OK, Steve (Ballmer), Ray (Ozzie), and Steven (Sinofsky): I'm glad you're moving in the right direction, but what do we do now?

Every time we have to upgrade any kind of software we have problems. Upgrade an operating system? Oy. Multiply that by thousands and thousands of desktops and you have the dilemma of today's IT manager facing the Vista upgrade monster. He or she has to plan it, execute it, fix all the problems that come up, train people, and bolster the numbers (and morale) of the help desk to prepare for the many, many calls that will pour in. It's laborious and damned expensive, and in the end you have to ask, is it worth it?

Apparently, a lot of people don't think it is.

According to a poll published in early August by Jupiter Research, 50% of companies say they either have no plans to implement Vista or will wait at least 13 months after the operating system is released to do so. Astonishingly, 13% of the companies who responded to the survey had never even heard of Vista.

An ITWire poll from late July also asked enterprises about their Vista plans and came up with even more dramatic numbers: 64% say they have no plans to upgrade at this time.

But back to the article, and to Microsoft's plans to create a "hybrid" operating system that would fuse the online and PC-based software worlds. It was interesting to read Rob Enderle's observation that "Netscape was absolutely right" about the rise of the Web, and that the desktop component of software could be easily "trivialized." It brought to mind Marc Andreessen's famous boast—was it really 11 years ago?—that the Web would reduce Windows to a "poorly debugged set of device drivers."

Clearly with Vista, Microsoft is doing its best to try and prove that prediction false. And Vista obviously delivers much more than Andreessen's scornful dismissal warrants.

But I don't trust Microsoft. I'm not talking here about its ethics, morality, or intentions, but about its ability to execute. That's the critical question. If we can't depend on Microsoft to deliver secure, reasonably bug-free software to our desktops, why should we trust that it can deliver secure, reasonably bug-free services over the Web? And presumably more will be at stake there, if Microsoft makes good on Ozzie's promise to deliver processing power, data storage, and communications bandwidth to enterprises via the large data centers it's building. Imagine all our crown jewels in Microsoft's hands. Does this sound like a good idea?

Well, I've posed lots of questions here but have precious few answers. Do you? If so, respond to my blog entry.

Alice LaPlante
alice.laplante@gmail.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

The Next Windows After Vista Will Demand Radical Rethinking From Microsoft
Microsoft is at a crossroads, and the operating system that follows Vista will likely make a big break from the past.

Related Stories:

Graphic: Microsoft: Who's In, Who's Out
A look at who's in charge in Redmond these days.

Windows Woes Have Microsoft On Defensive
Even as Microsoft execs vow that the Vista delay debacle will not be repeated, observers point out that Apple's OS X is making Vista look dated even before it arrives.

Vista's Financial Contribution To Microsoft Less Than Certain
Although previous versions of Windows have been highly profitable, hefty increases in development, marketing, sales, and other operating costs could put the squeeze on Microsoft's margins.

Poll: Which of the following changes is most important for Windows if it's to remain viable after Vista?


3. Breaking News

FBI Tries Not To Fumble Its Technology Hot Potato
FBI prepares for phase one of controversial sentinel program.

Patents And Open Source Could Face A Time Out
Supreme Court to hear arguments on software patents and open source.

Update: AT&T Hackers Devised Elaborate Phishing Scam To Dupe Customers
Details of the AT&T hack are beginning to emerge. It was pulled off by identity thieves who used a bogus Web site and convincing E-mails in an attempt to fool the telecom vendor's customers.

Mobile Companies Develop New, Faster 4G Technology
4G will download a movie in 5.6 seconds and 100 songs in 2.4 seconds. Mobile telcos hope that 4G will ramp up mobile phone usage in a way that 3G hasn't.

Brazil Judge Orders Google To Disclose Users' Data
The judge says Google must turn over the data for investigations into child pornography, racist speech, and other offenses against Brazilian law, even though the data resides on servers in the U.S.

Panasonic To Make Wi-Fi Phone For Skype
Panasonic's new phone, which provides access to Skype voice mail and call forwarding, will be able to make calls from the home, office, and public Wi-Fi access points.

Smaller Server Vendors Tout New Designs
Vendors including Open Source Systems, Ciara, and VXTech are working on servers that pack big power in small spaces.

Review: Palisade Systems Protects Against Insider Threats
The technology's filtering system can be used to block unauthorized applications such as Skype and instant message clients, as well as dangerous text such as Social Security and credit-card numbers.

SanDisk Offers 2-Gbyte iPod Competitor For Less Than $100
Memory can be expanded up to 2 Gbytes more using a microSD card.

Web-Hosting Vendor Pays Students To Train At Boot Camp
Rackspace Technical Boot Camp is designed to help the company fill a skills gap for staff with Web services skills. Applicants will be paid $12 per hour to attend the 10-week program, and the best will get jobs at Rackspace.

Two-Year Extension Of Microsoft Antitrust Deal Sought
Both parties have requested that portions of the ruling be extended to Nov. 12, 2009, and that the DOJ be given the option of requesting an additional three-year extension.

All Our Latest News


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A Week's Worth Of Dailies—All In One Place
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-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag

Saying No To School Laptops (Wall Street Journal)
Although more schools are giving laptops to kids, such programs are being criticized because of cost and alleged inappropriate use.

RadioShack Uses E-Mail To Fire 400 Employees As Part Of Planned Job Cuts (Associated Press)
RadioShack Corp. used terse e-mail messages to fire about 400 workers, some of them employed for years.

RIAA Copyright Education Contradictory, Critics Say (News.com)
An educational video produced by the Recording Industry Association of America that is scheduled to be delivered to universities nationwide is being criticized by trade and public interest groups as containing misleading statements.

On Being A Macintosh Girl At Microsoft (MSDN.com)
A Microsoft employee who works on the firm's Macintosh team blogs about what it's like to work exclusively on Mac products in the land of Windows.


5. In Depth: Gaming

Gaming Computer Vendor Alienware Targets Enterprise
Alienware execs describe life three months after Dell acquired the company. Best known for turbocharged gaming PCs with science-fictional designs, Alienware now finds that enterprises value its systems for high-performance computing.

EA To Embed Ads In Video Games
Improved graphics and mass market game appeal are also seen as contributing to the ascent of in-game ads, which EA claims will "enhance" the games. It is unclear how advertisers will gauge their ROI from the ads.

iPod 'Video Game Rocker Chair' For Sale
Adonis Furniture Inc., an importer, manufacturer, and wholesale distributor of sofa-bed futon frames and platform beds, has rolled out the world's first "video-game rocker chair" with an iPod-licensed docking station.

Online Social Network Plays Hand, Dips Into Real-World Gaming
The XuQa.com network combines the basics of custom profiles and friends lists with competitive gaming.

Game Consoles To Power Cancer, Alzheimer's Research
Researchers at Stanford University plan to use the cell processor power of PlayStation 3 to perform calculations for the Folding@Home project, which simulates protein behavior to give scientists clues about the disease process.


6. Voice Of Authority

P-To-P Steps Into The Darknet
Matt McKenzie points out that the entertainment industry's open-ended war against online piracy real and imagined has spawned its share of unintended consequences.


7. White Papers

The Goldilocks Principle: New Ways To Approach Software Validation
A new technical information report describes how to apply principles of critical thinking and risk management to produce superior validation evidence.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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