In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: If E-Mail Is Old School, I Must Be Ancient
2. Today's Top Story
- Survey: 30% Of Businesses Have No Plans To Upgrade To Windows Vista
- Microsoft's Quarterly Earnings Report Due Today
- Microsoft Sued Over Windows, Office, And SQL Products
3. Breaking News
- Attention Cellular Customers: It's Time To Speak Out!
- New E-Mail Scam: Pay Assassins Or Be Killed
- Eben Moglen Steps Down From Free Software Foundation
- Dell Swaps Hard Drives For Flash On More Notebooks
- Banks Hit T.J. Maxx Owner With Class-Action Lawsuit
- Iridium Satellite Phone Per-Minute Prices To Drop To 15 Cents
- Mozilla Extends Firefox 1.5 Support For One More Security Update
- Google, Intel, and Microsoft Fund Robot 'Recipes'
- Verizon Wireless Unveils A BlackBerry For Americans Traveling Overseas
- CollabNet Sells Stake To Former Competitor SourceForge
- IBM Boosts Dividend, Adds $15 Billion To Buyback Fund
- Study Finds You Don't Have To Be Smart To Get Rich
4. The Latest Security Blog Posts
- Pop Quiz: Who's Got Access To The Government's Student Loan Data?
- Data Dumpster Diving, Anyone?
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
- Secure File Access: The Alternative To VPNs
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out." -- David Sedaris
1. Editor's Note: If E-Mail Is Old School, I Must Be Ancient
Don't get me wrong. I have texted, and I can appreciate that the younger generation has found a new way to communicate and stay in touch. And I don't think that just because kids leave out vowels and punctuation it means they're illiterate. But the popularity of texting has some people upset.
An Irish education commission expressed concern this week that texting could harm the ability of the younger generation to learn how to write. "Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing," the commission said.
That may be true. But I also believe that language -- and writing styles -- evolve as times change, and that smart kids will adapt and adjust as necessary to succeed in the business world. So I don't get too worried about kids who spend a lot of their time texting on cell phones.
What I find fascinating in this regard is how quickly new technology can become old. As my colleague Stephen Wellman discussed recently in a blog post, e-mail is now considered an old-fogey form of communications. For kids used to social networking sites, instant messaging, and texting, e-mail is their equivalent of "snail mail," the insult many of us use for physical, hard-copy communications delivered by a real person who visits our home or office most days. If e-mail is old school, I'm starting to feel ancient. After all, I remember when fax machines were a revolutionary new form of instant communications.
Microsoft's Quarterly Earnings Report Due Today
The world's largest software maker reports results today for its fiscal third quarter ended March, with earnings expected to get a boost from about $1.7 billion in deferred revenue from the second quarter tied to software upgrade coupons.
Attention Cellular Customers: It's Time To Speak Out!
Most of us, if not all of us, use mobile devices, whether it's a cell phone, a smartphone, or a Pocket PC. We all pay the monthly fees, the necessary taxes, and sometimes even those obscure charges that show up on our bills. We all deal with dropped calls, "dead zones," and lack of features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 3G. But it's time for us -- the consumers -- to speak out and confront the cellular carriers with our frustrations.
Pop Quiz: Who's Got Access To The Government's Student Loan Data?
It wouldn't surprise me if Sen. Edward ("Ted") Kennedy -- well, his staff, really -- had a bad case of writer's cramp. The senator's office last week alone issued four public statements criticizing the misuse of student data by student loan lenders, guarantors, and other members of that $85 billion-a-year industry. He's also made very specific requests of the U.S. Education Department and certain members of the student loan industry, asking them to explain a number of their recent actions and apparent conflicts of interest. Speaking as someone with extensive experience with student loans, I say, "It's about time."
Data Dumpster Diving, Anyone?
Do you know where your paper customer records are? Better yet, does the state attorney general's office know? As both RadioShack and CVS/Caremark Corp. have found out this year, being in control of the former situation is so much better than ceding control in the latter.
Secure File Access: The Alternative To VPNs
VPNs enable users to securely access a network from remote locations. SSL VPNs, based on the SSL protocol that secures e-commerce transactions worldwide, have gained market acceptance but also have some drawbacks. This paper addresses seamless file access and how to offer a Web interface so that users can securely access files.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.