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3/20/2006
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What's Wrong With This Picture

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: What's Wrong With This Picture
2. Today's Top Story: Microsoft
    - Microsoft's $500 Million Message: People Are The Business
    Related Story:
    - Bill Gates Mocks MIT's $100 Laptop Project
3. Breaking News
    - New Trojan Ransoms Files, Demands $300
    - Mac Runs Both Windows XP, Mac OS X
    - Review: Accoona, Google Alternative
    - Prosecutors: Child Porn Ring Featured Live, Streaming Video
    - Visa Debuts RFID-Enabled Payment Card
    - Brief: Alltel Acquires Wireless Assets For $455 Million
    - Skype Client Moves To J2MEE
    - Brief: Microsoft Working On Developer Platform For Windows Live Mail
    - Gartner Calls Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile PC A 'Tweener' Gadget
    - 'Largest Wireless Network' Planned For Arizona
    - Glide Looks To Improve Safety For Social Networking
    - Congress Expected To Show Its Hand On Online Gaming
4. Grab Bag: PlayStations And Xboxes
    - PlayStation 3 Delay A Blow To Sony's DVD Plans (The Age)
    - Animals To Populate New Game For Xbox (Washington Post)
5. In Depth: Security
    - Adobe Warns Of Critical Flash Flaw, Drive-By Downloads
    - Microsoft Office Bug Could Result In Drive-By Downloads
    - Apple Misses Bugs, Offers Fix
    - McAfee Update Breaks Hundreds Of Apps
6. Voice Of Authority: Social Networking
    - There's More To Social Networking Than Hype
7. White Papers: Performance Management
    - Enterprise Performance Management: A Framework For Optimizing Network And Application Performance
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"An optimist is the human personification of spring." -- Susan J. Bissonette


1. Editor's Note: What's Wrong With This Picture

Bill Gates this week mocked--yes, mocked--the $100 laptop computer, or One Laptop per Child initiative, intended to benefit people in developing countries. "Hardware is a small part of the cost" of computing, he asserted, among other criticisms of the concept. He's right at one level: One of the really big costs is overengineered, memory-hogging, security-challenged software. Since such a lightweight, $100 system won't likely have the horsepower to run, say, Windows Vista, Gates obviously has an axe to grind. The comments are especially ironic coming from a philanthropist with a focus on "bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community."

That wasn't the week's only example of dubious statements and achievements:

* A truly odd entity, referring to itself as a "blank check" company, raised $150 million in an initial public offering, with a promise to make technology acquisitions with the funds. Maybe those who invested know something I don't, but this is a colossal leap of faith in a firm with little more than marquee leadership. Couldn't that same leadership have come up with the kinds of fresh, original product ideas that otherwise have been lacking in recent years?

* A bogus press release slipped by Google News' automated story- and source-selection system. The release said its 16-year-old author had been hired by Google to work on security flaws in Google's Gmail service. Anyone who spends time on Google News--especially those of us in the online information business--can't be surprised by this development. There are any number of bizarre, misplaced "selections" right alongside the legitimate ones on any given day.

As a counterpoint to these developments, here's one example of good news: U.S. and Canadian law enforcement cracked an international child porn ring that streamed video of children being molested over the Internet. The Internet, unfortunately, has made this material all too easy to distribute and access. Let's hope this is a tangible step toward elimination of this filth.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: Microsoft

Microsoft's $500 Million Message: People Are The Business
CEO Ballmer says security and usability of its upcoming products are the focus of the company's R&D efforts.

Related Story:

Bill Gates Mocks MIT's $100 Laptop Project
After demonstrating Microsoft's newest mobile computer, Bill Gates suggested the Google-backed MIT project should instead create "a decent computer where you can actually read the text, and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type."


3. Breaking News

New Trojan Ransoms Files, Demands $300
The Trojan archives 44 file types with a ZIP library, then password-protects the files and deletes the originals. But some have discovered the password needed to free the files.

Mac Runs Both Windows XP, Mac OS X
A pair of Californians figured out a way to dual-boot an Intel Mac with both Mac OS X and Windows XP, winning a $14,000 prize. But the technique isn't for beginners.

Review: Accoona, Google Alternative
The latest search engine to hit the Web, Accoona offers additional business info and a nice filtering ability. But is that enough?

Prosecutors: Child Porn Ring Featured Live, Streaming Video
The international ring offered child molestation on demand, live on Internet video, prosecutors say.

Visa Debuts RFID-Enabled Payment Card
Use of "contactless" devices for retail has been slower to catch on in the United States than elsewhere around the world.

Brief: Alltel Acquires Wireless Assets For $455 Million
The assets, which include 2 million new subscribers in the Carolinas, were purchased from Palmetto MobileNet LP.

Skype Client Moves To J2MEE
EQO Communications' move will allow users of some 150 million mobile phones to see the presence status of their buddies, send and receive text messages with other Skype users, and do other things.

Brief: Microsoft Working On Developer Platform For Windows Live Mail
The toolset will let other vendors make their software compatible with the new mail edition.

Gartner Calls Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile PC A 'Tweener' Gadget
In a recent analysis, Gartner Inc. said the device was too big to be a personal digital assistant and too small to be a useful notebook.

'Largest Wireless Network' Planned For Arizona
Three neighboring cities of Gilbert, Tempe, and Chandler will create a single network that all residents, visitors, and businesses can use, as opposed to deploying three separate, incompatible mesh networks.

Glide Looks To Improve Safety For Social Networking
TransMedia is adding parental controls, digital rights management, and user preferences in an effort to improve the safety of its social networking and file sharing service.

Congress Expected To Show Its Hand On Online Gaming
Some lawmakers want to ban online gaming outright; others want to regulate it along the lines of casinos and other comparable offline activities.

All Our Latest News

Watch More News

In the current episode:

John O'Soat With 'Irish Up'

Elena McMalykhina With 'Parading Around New York'

Mitch Wagner With 'The Leprechaun In The Lightbox'


4. Grab Bag: News You Need From The Web

PlayStation 3 Delay A Blow To Sony's DVD Plans (The Age)
Sony has stunned the consumer electronics and video game industries by pushing back the worldwide launch of its anticipated PlayStation 3 to November.

Animals To Populate New Game For Xbox (Washington Post)
Microsoft aims at younger customers with title and marketing tie-ins.


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


5. In Depth: Security

Adobe Warns Of Critical Flash Flaw, Drive-By Downloads
Users are urged to update immediately to the patched 8.0.24.0 edition of the Flash player.

Microsoft Office Bug Could Result In Drive-By Downloads
Microsoft patched flaws in Office that could allow attackers to strike users who simply visit malicious Web sites.

Apple Misses Bugs, Offers Fix
Apple is sending out its second security update for Mac OS X in as many weeks, including follow-up fixes to bugs thought to have been patched on March 1st.

McAfee Update Breaks Hundreds Of Apps
For over five hours Friday, McAfee's anti-virus software erroneously flagged hundreds of legitimate executables as a malicious virus, leading some customers to quarantine or delete the offending files and render applications such as Microsoft Excel inoperative.


6. Voice Of Authority: Social Networking

There's More To Social Networking Than Hype
I must confess to some skepticism about social networking. Like many caught up in the hype, I joined a social networking service last year. I then proceeded to not use it.


7. White Papers: Performance Management

Enterprise Performance Management: A Framework For Optimizing Network And Application Performance
The Enterprise Performance Management framework takes a systematic approach to managing the combined performance of enterprise applications and network resources.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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