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Where Gutenberg Led, Google Follows

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Where Gutenberg Led, Google Follows
2. Today's Top Story
    - DRM Stripper Launched For Apple's iTunes 6
3. Breaking News
    - They're Baaack! Hackers Renew Windows 'MS06-040' Attacks
    - MySpace Users Mourn At MyDeathSpace
    - 'Browzar' Keeps Web-Surfing History Private
    - OpenOffice Suite Gets Font Freebies
    - Brief: Microsoft Posts New Virtual Server Beta
    - New Security Threat: 'SMiShing'
    - iPod 'Video Game Rocker Chair' For Sale
    - Former Brocade CEO Pleads Not Guilty
    - Analysis: Gateway Seeing Renewed Interest, But Challenges Loom
4. Grab Bag
    - Films That Come Over The Net Don't Come Easy (NY Times - reg. required)
    - Wal-Mart And Apple Battle For Turf (BusinessWeek)
    - HP Scientists Help Defend Ink Patents (Ars Technica)
5. In Depth
    - Analysis: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
    - Review: Antec TruePower Trio 650 Power Supply
    - Review: What's New In Internet Explorer 7 RC1?
    - Pocket Anti-Spyware
    - Review: SwiftPage Facilitates Mass E-Mail From Your Outlook Desktop
    - Review: Pure Digital Point & Shoot
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Verizon's 'Charge-At-A-Whim' Plan
7. White Papers
    - Data Protection For Small And Medium-Sized Businesses
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." -- Ray Bradbury


1. Editor's Note: Where Gutenberg Led, Google Follows

When you've been in the tech business for more than a few years, you develop loyalties to certain companies, sites, and products. This is why when I saw the recent coverage of Google's new venture to offer free book downloads, I bristled. Most news stories about the service tout the revolutionary aspects of the project, which "makes it possible for people to store books on their computers and make copies" rather than simply read the text online.

Neat. Except that Project Gutenberg has been doing the same thing since before Windows—or even DOS—was a glint in Bill Gates' eye.

I've been downloading straight text copies of out-of-copyright books and stories for years now, from authors such as George Orwell, Charles Dickens, and a multitude of others. I would transfer the books to my PDA and read them on the subway, on the plane, or while waiting for a meeting—anywhere I needed something to read and didn't want to add too much weight to my already overloaded shoulder bag.

Now Google has made headlines by doing much the same thing—except instead of volunteers scanning books, putting them through Optical Character Recognition (OCR, and creating text files that anyone can pick up, Google is simply creating PDF files. You'll have exact copies of the pages of the pages in hand. On the plus side, that means you get copies of those neat old illustrations and interesting typefaces. On the other hand, you get the yellowed pages, torn corners, and huge file sizes that result from stuffing, say, a copy of Bleak House into PDF format. (I'm not kidding here—Gutenberg's plain-text version of Dickens' classic novel is 1.91 Mbytes. A PDF version offered by Google Book Search is 5.9 Mbytes.

Of course, if you have the latest, greatest $600 phone-plus-PDA at your fingertips with a 2 Gbyte memory card, that may not mean a whole lot to you. But think of this: Even with snazzy bleeding-edge technology, which will be easier to read? A PDF of a book, or straight text that lets you change the size, font, or even color of the lettering? To me, the answer is obvious.

In most ways, I'm a huge fan of Google and its online applications. In our recent article "Is Google Still The Ajax King?," fellow reviewer Preston Gralla and I found that in most categories, Google's online apps tower over its competitors. But making old novels and obscure tomes available to the masses isn't really what Google Book Search is all about—despite its hype about how unlike in the Bad Old Days when "access to large collections of books was the privilege of a wealthy minority," Google is opening up the wonderful world of reading to us underprivileged peons. It's about introducing the idea of reading books online and via electronic media so that Google can eventually become the funnel through which books and other printed materials are accessed for sale. Or not—either way, Google's advertisers will be there.

Of course, Google isn't really introducing the idea of reading online. It's just that nobody seems to remember that.

What do you think? Am I overdramatizing what's actually a fairly minor situation? Is Google actually doing us a favor that I'm too dense to recognize? Or is this yet another profit-making company repackaging something that's already available, but not as well-known? Let me know at my blog post.

Google's e-book announcement is part of a busy week for Google. On Monday, Google disclosed its plans for its long-awaited office suite, with the first components due this week. These kinds of Web applications are eagerly anticipated by users, despite security concerns. Also this week, reporter Tom Claburn takes you behind the scenes at Google for a look at the IT strategy that makes it all work.

Barbara Krasnoff
bkrasnoff@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

DRM Stripper Launched For Apple's iTunes 6
The QTFairUse6 tool requires some knowledge of Python code and isn't as easy to use as FairUse4WM, which targets Microsoft's Windows Media Player. But it does the same thing: break the DRM code.


3. Breaking News

They're Baaack! Hackers Renew Windows 'MS06-040' Attacks
Two security companies say they have detected a significant increase in activity on one of two ports that an exploit against the MS06-040 vulnerability would use in an attack.

MySpace Users Mourn At MyDeathSpace
Inspired by lasting MySpace profiles, a Web site creator fills a niche for remembering the dead with MyDeathSpace.com.

'Browzar' Keeps Web-Surfing History Private
A U.K. startup has launched a customized browser designed to protect users' privacy by automatically deleting cookies and discarding all traces of a Web session.

OpenOffice Suite Gets Font Freebies
OpenOffice.org Premium can be downloaded from the SourceForge Web site, but is available only for Windows. A native Mac OS X version of the suite will be previewed in France in September.

Brief: Microsoft Posts New Virtual Server Beta
New functionality includes support for AMD's virtualization, Active Directory integration, and offline virtual hard disk mounting.

New Security Threat: 'SMiShing'
McAfee's Avert Labs is warning of a new threat from hackers: phishing via SMS.

iPod 'Video Game Rocker Chair' For Sale
A new reclining iRocker, marketed as an "interactive gaming chair," is equipped with remote control and speakers.

Former Brocade CEO Pleads Not Guilty
Gregory Reyes entered his plea Wednesday regarding alleged securities fraud and other charges.

Analysis: Gateway Seeing Renewed Interest, But Challenges Loom
It will be difficult to revive Gateway in the face of stiff competition and thin profit margins in the personal computer industry, analysts say.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

John Soat With 'IT Jungle'
Nine out of 10 used cell phones and PDAs sold on eBay contain personal data, the FBI displays its new counterterrorism database, and 60% of IT workers want new jobs.

Larry Greenemeier With 'Tiger Teams'
Georgia Tech students create security applications for problems of today and tomorrow.

Eric Chabrow With 'Client Servers'
Peter Harrison of Induslogic says employee loyalty comes when workers take pride in the products they build.


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

VoIP Pitfalls
Are you encountering obstacles in your VoIP installation? Learn the three most cited challenges companies face when installing VoIP beyond the pilot stage in this recent report by InformationWeek Research.

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4. Grab Bag

Films That Come Over The Net Don't Come Easy (NY Times - reg. required)
While the idea of downloading movies from the Internet to your computer sounds simple, carrying it out is anything but.

Wal-Mart And Apple Battle For Turf (BusinessWeek)
The retail behemoth isn't happy about the iPod maker's plans to offer movie downloads through iTunes. Has Wal-Mart met its match?

HP Scientists Help Defend Ink Patents (Ars Technica)
Hewlett-Packard cares about ink. It cares so much that it pays 10 employees to run an in-house ink testing lab, looking for examples of patent infringement in products from around the world.


5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech

Analysis: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
When it comes to adding memory, we all have to deal with the cost vs. speed equation. So how much memory do you really need? Our tester got some surprising results.

Review: Antec TruePower Trio 650 Power Supply
If your system is bristling with hard drives and other devices, then you'll need enough power to support them. Antec's latest power supply may be useful.

Review: What's New In Internet Explorer 7 RC1?
Microsoft has released IE7 Release Candidate 1 to public scrutiny. It offers several interesting tweaks, but no major changes.

Pocket Anti-Spyware
A big problem with anti-spyware products is that computers are sometimes too infected to allow software to be installed or downloaded. ParetoLogic has a unique solution in its XOFTspy Portable Anti-spyware, which operates directly from U3 smart drives.

Review: SwiftPage Facilitates Mass E-Mail From Your Outlook Desktop
This service allows you to easily send mass e-mails to everyone in your Outlook address book.

Review: Pure Digital Point & Shoot
This seemed more like those toy camcorders sold to children than a possible contender to record the next family birthday party. But our reviewer was pleasantly surprised.


6. Voice Of Authority

Verizon's "Charge-At-A-Whim" Plan
The Onion recently published a hilarious phony press release from Verizon announcing the company's new "Charge-at-a-Whim" plan in which Verizon charges you whatever it feels like at the moment—as long as the fee is too high and illogical. Well, once again it looks as if real life mirrors satire.


7. White Papers

Data Protection For Small And Medium-Sized Businesses
Backup for businesses is a complex and delicate procedure. Factors such as backup speed, work interruption time, downtime costs, and disaster restore speed, among others, must be taken care of. This document looks at these factors in detail and provides a possible solution for solving them.


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