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12/22/2005
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Unrelated, Swirling Thoughts

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Unrelated, Swirling Thoughts
2. Today's Top Story
    - Google Gets $1 Billion Stake In AOL
3. Breaking News
    - Firefox 1.5 Stability Problems? Readers And Mozilla Respond
    - IM Worm On MSN, AOL, ICQ, And Yahoo Plants Rootkit
    - Symantec Antivirus Software Open To Attack
    - Sober Worm Tricks Pedophile Into Surrender
    - Workers Coping With NY Transit Strike By Telecommuting
    - Tough To Prove Can-Spam's Impact, FTC Admits
    - Oracle Shifts Pricing In Favor of Sun's New Eight-Core UltraSparc
    - IBM Acquires Bowstreet
    - RIM Chairman Decries 'Dishonor,' 'Mistrust' In Patent Case
    - Music Publishers Ready Major Push Against Online Copyright Violators
    - Study: Most Online Holiday Shoppers Happy Campers
    - Blinkx Links Video To iPod
    - U.S. Universities Loosen Grip On Tech Rights To Keep Vendor Grants From Going Overseas
    - Tokyo Stock Exchange Execs Resign Over Botched Systems
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
    - Slacker Dot-Com (New York Times, reg. required)
    - Hackers Break Into Computer-Security Firm's Customer Database
5. In Depth: RFID
    - RFID Means To Foil Ticket Counterfeiters In China
    - Symbol Expands With Country-Specific RFID Products
    - SmartAdvice: Managing RFID Processes
    - Item-Level RFID Tagging Aims To Curtail Counterfeiting
    - RFID Market To Reach $3 Billion By 2010
6. Voice Of Authority
    - E-Convenience: A Willingness To Pay
7. White Papers
    - Case Study: Fortis Bank Belgium's Business Intelligence Solution
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Heirlooms we don't have in our family. But stories we've got." -- Rose Chernin


1. Editor's Note: Unrelated, Swirling Thoughts

It's probably because of the holiday season, or at least I'm hoping it is, but I can't seem to focus enough to write an entire column on one topic. ("With visions of all the stuff she still has to do before Christmas dancing in her head," etc.)

Instead, I'm going to share a few thoughts about several stories.

- Up first: the sad situation at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where several top execs--including the president--have resigned because of systems failures. Other executives are facing salary cuts. We'll likely be hearing more about this story over the coming weeks, including the exact nature of the glitches. As unfortunate as this whole mess is, I have to applaud the sense of personal responsibility. I mean, could you see that happening here in the United States? I seriously doubt it.

- Next up: Web sites exist to allow people to send E-mails to themselves in either a few years or 30 years hence. I have to admit that my first reaction was much like that of Paul Saffo, the famous futurist, who's quoted in the story as saying the whole notion is kind of "sad." And hey, if anyone would be into this kind of stuff, you'd think he would. The more I thought about this, though, the more I say--why not? Is it any stranger than the dozens of yellow sticky notes many of us midlifers have on our PCs that most of our great-grandparents would think a little odd?

- Finally are the comments of RIM chairman James L. Balsillie, who talked about NTP's misuse of the patent and legal systems while throwing around words like "dishonor" and "mistrust." No less than the judge in the case has castigated both parties--and these are my words, not his--for being giant stupid-heads about the whole matter. Please. I think there's more than enough "dishonor" to go around.

As always, feel free to respond or read more at my blog entry.

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


2. Today's Top Story

Google Gets $1 Billion Stake In AOL
Google gets a 5% stake, will continue providing search for AOL, and will be able to sell search advertising directly to advertisers on AOL-owned properties. The two companies will also make their instant-messaging networks interoperable.


3. Breaking News

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.

IM Worm On MSN, AOL, ICQ, And Yahoo Plants Rootkit
The new worm poses as an invitation to a Christmas-themed Web site.

Symantec Antivirus Software Open To Attack
The bug, which could result in a completely compromised machine, remains unpatched, although Symantec has issued an advisory.

Sober Worm Tricks Pedophile Into Surrender
The "good guy" in this case: the Sober.z worm, one of several November variants whose message claimed to be from law-enforcement agencies in the United States or Germany.

Workers Coping With NY Transit Strike By Telecommuting
Vendors for teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and remote-access tools are stepping in to help former commuters work from home.

Tough To Prove Can-Spam's Impact, FTC Admits
It's nearly the second anniversary of the federal Can-Spam Act, and the Federal Trade Commission acknowledges that it can't prove the legislation has had any effect on junk mail volume.

Oracle Shifts Pricing In Favor Of Sun's New Eight-Core UltraSparc
The new pricing structure will put Sun Fire T1000 servers "on a comparable footing with low-end AMD, Intel, and IBM Power servers," according to a Sun official.

IBM Acquires Bowstreet
The move will help IBM expand its SOA offerings.

RIM Chairman Decries 'Dishonor,' 'Mistrust' In Patent Case
James L. Balsillie accuses NTP of abusing the system while waving the threat of a shutdown of the popular BlackBerry service in front of millions of U.S. customers.

Music Publishers Ready Major Push Against Online Copyright Violators
The Music Publishers' Association plans to send "cease and desist" letters to commercial sites that offer unlicensed print music, among other actions.

Study: Most Online Holiday Shoppers Happy Campers
As of Dec. 9, which marks the first six weeks of the season, online consumers spent $3.4 billion on clothing and apparel, or 17% of total sales, the study also found.

Blinkx Links Video To iPod
Visitors can search the company's database of professional and amateur video and podcasts. Content can then be uploaded with "one click" to an iPod or other player.

U.S. Universities Loosen Grip On Tech Rights To Keep Vendor Grants From Going Overseas
An agreement between four IT vendors and seven major universities means intellectual property created by their collaboration will be made free to all.

Tokyo Stock Exchange Execs Resign Over Botched Systems
After two computer failures, the exchange's president and two other executives have stepped down. Pay cuts loom for other top exchange officials.

All our latest news

Watch More News

In the current episode:

John Soat With 'The News Train'
Microsoft releases test version of Vista, Mac ends IE support, and more.

Stephanie Stahl With 'Non-Commodity Status'
Steven Bandrowczak, CIO of Lenovo, gives his take on whether a PC is a commodity.

Elena Malykhina With 'The Four Days Of Interop'
The highlights of Interop sung to the tune of the "12 Days Of Christmas."


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

Implementing Web Services
Examine how more than 100 companies plan to integrate SOA/Web services into their infrastructure in this recent InformationWeek research brief.

Expecting A Raise?
Should you get a raise in 2006? Learn how your pay compares to that of your peers with our free and confidential online tool. Featuring more than 20 job functions and tracking IT compensation across 20 metropolitan areas, InformationWeek Research's 2005 IT Salary Adviser makes it easy to compare your salary and compensation.

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


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

Slacker Dot-Com (New York Times, reg. required)
Kevin Smith, writer-director of cult movies "Clerks," "Dogma," and "Chasing Amy," is also an Internet entrepreneur, presiding over a little empire of six Web sites devoted to his films and passion for comics. He views the sites as a way to keep in touch with his fans, whom he describes as "overeducated, underemployed slacker college kids like my two 'Clerks' characters and generally myself."

Hackers Break Into Computer-Security Firm's Customer Database
Guidance Software--the leading provider of software used to diagnose hacker break-ins--has itself been hacked, resulting in the exposure of financial and personal data connected to thousands of law enforcement officials and network-security professionals.


5. In Depth: RFID

RFID Means To Foil Ticket Counterfeiters In China
The technology will help the host of an upcoming tennis tournament begin issuing tickets five months before the event instead of the usual one-month advance sale customary in China.

Symbol Expands With Country-Specific RFID Products
Although the majority of its sales are in the United States, Symbol will begin to build more products for companies in Europe and in Asia-Pacific, with help from up to 7,000 development and channel partners.

SmartAdvice: Managing RFID Processes
Among the tips: use the adoption of a new technology to inspect every related process and make changes. This might take a bit longer than alternative approaches, but in the long run it's really how to dent the bottom line.

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

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.


6. Voice Of Authority

E-Convenience: A Willingness To Pay
The situation with EZPass on the New Jersey turnpike is further evidence that consumers are willing to pay, in this case even more than they used to for convenience. It's the computerization of commerce at its best, Eric Chabrow explains.


7. White Papers

Case Study: Fortis Bank Belgium's Business-Intelligence Solution
Fortis Bank Belgium, the largest financial institution in Belgium, needed to develop a data warehouse to manage and analyze an immense amount of data for commercial advantages. Learn how Sybase IQ, combined with Business Objects' reporting tool, enables users in the different Fortis departments to make more and more complex ad hoc queries.


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