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Would You Rather Buy Things With Your Phone Or Your Finger?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Would You Rather Buy Things With Your Phone Or Your Finger?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Apple Fixes Brand New Mac Pro
    Related Stories:
    - Microsoft Breaks Patch Records
    - Exploit For Worst Bug Of August On The Loose
    - Free Scanner Probes PCs For Critical Windows Bug
3. Breaking News
    - U.K. Airport Sites Change After Terrorist Plot Busted
    - Deadline For Agencies To Secure Remote Data Comes--And Goes
    - Fallout From AOL's Data Leak Just Beginning
    - Wi-Fi 'Blogmobile' Travels The Streets Of New York
    - Internet Activists, Bloggers Shaped Connecticut Senate Race
    - Software Mines Internet To Identify Music Piracy
    - IBM Looks To Dominate Content Management Market With FileNet Buy
    - Gartner Names Hot Technologies With Greatest Potential Impact
    - Google Sees Privacy Threats From Government Intrusions
    - IBM Alliance With University Aims To Make Students Mainframe-, Linux-Savvy
    - Amazon Unveils Search Aid That Helps Customers Find Products
4. Grab Bag
    - Scratch-And-Vote System Could Help Eliminate Election Fraud (Technology Review)
    - Windows Vista And The Future Of Hardware (ExtremeTech)
    - Opinion: Leopard's Top-Secret Secrets (Macworld)
5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech
    - Business Travel In 2010: Biometrics, 3-D, And RFID
    - 6 Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life
    - Review: 5 Top Personal Video Sites
    - Users Beware: Don't Upload That Video!
    - Review: Give The Windows GUI A Face-Lift
    - Review: Shure E500PTH In-Ear Headphones
6. Voice Of Authority
    - If You're Happy And You Know It, Raise Your Hand
7. White Papers
    - Adaptive Power And Cooling Support For IT Systems
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription


1. Editor's Note: Would You Rather Buy Things With Your Phone Or Your Finger?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love future tech. It's fascinating hearing about the ways we'll get around and interact with one another a few years out. That's why I was delighted to edit two future tech features this week.

In "6 Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life," David Haskin investigates ever-improving ways to stay in touch, from cell phones that let you send live videocasts to Internet-connected monitoring devices that automatically transmit patients' vital signs to their medical providers.

"Business Travel In 2010: Biometrics, 3-D, And RFID," by Lee Hamrick, takes a different approach. This fictional narrative imagines a day in the life of a business traveler in the year 2010. Among other things, our traveler receives video mail, uses a fingerprint scanner for flight check-in, and shows a holographic presentation to investors. (My favorite part is Hamrick's re-envisioning of JFK International Airport as a calm, quiet place where cell phone use is confined to designated areas. Wouldn't that be nice?)

These two stories touch on some of the same technologies, but they don't always draw the same conclusions. Haskin's story predicts widespread use of cell phones as mobile wallets. Already taking off in Japan and expected to be introduced soon in the United States, these phones use a short-range wireless technology called Near-Field Communications, or NFC. You wave the phone near a point-of-sale terminal that supports NFC, and it pays for your purchase by debiting your bank account or charging your credit card.

Hamrick, on the other hand, has the business traveler of the future paying for purchases with the touch of a finger. Biometric fingerprint-payment services are already beginning to take off in the United States. You pay by pressing a finger to a scanner at participating stores; as with the wallet phone, these services can either debit your bank account or charge the purchase to your credit card.

I can see advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Both are convenient—you don't even have to remember your wallet when you leave the house. But the wallet phone raises obvious concerns about loss or theft. And as someone who rarely carries a cell phone (mine tends to ride around in the glove compartment so that whoever's got the car can call home to find out what groceries we need), I wouldn't find it any more convenient to carry a wallet phone than a wallet.

To me, paying by finger sounds a lot cooler than paying by phone. But there's also an inherent creepiness to biometric identification—this is your flesh that's being measured by that machine, after all. And it carries a potential privacy nightmare—what if someone manages to hack into a system somewhere and associate your identity with someone else's fingerprint? It's difficult enough to recover from identity theft already.

How would you rather pay for purchases in the future—by phone or by finger? Or is the system we've got working just fine, thank you very much? Weigh in at my blog entry.

Valerie Potter
vpotter@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Apple Fixes Brand New Mac Pro
Five patches for the two-day-old, top-of-the-line computer were with the Aug. 1 security upgrade for several Apple machines.

Related Stories:

Microsoft Breaks Patch Records
Microsoft has already put out as many critical alerts this year as it did in 2004 and 2005 combined—and the year isn't anywhere near over.

Exploit For Worst Bug Of August On The Loose
Security experts said the MS06-040 bug was the worst of the 23 patched by Microsoft this week. Now they say it's being used in attacks.

Free Scanner Probes PCs For Critical Windows Bug
The Retina MS06-040 NetApi32 Scanner is available in two versions: one that scans up to 16 systems simultaneously, and another that handles up to 256 PCs.


3. Breaking News

U.K. Airport Sites Change After Terrorist Plot Busted
London-area airports replaced their normal sites with an all-text page that laid out cancellations, warned travelers to stay away from the airports "unless absolutely necessary," and described some of the new security measures put in place.

Deadline For Agencies To Secure Remote Data Comes—And Goes
Aug. 7 marked the date by which federal agencies were to implement a security checklist. Recommendations included the encryption of all sensitive data on mobile devices, among many other procedures.

Fallout From AOL's Data Leak Just Beginning
The fallout from AOL's unintended release of personal search data of 658,000 subscribers could include fines, lawsuits, and changes in law and policy regarding search queries.

Wi-Fi 'Blogmobile' Travels The Streets Of New York
The oversized van is equipped with several PCs for users to communicate with celebrities, and it's all about proving the concept of mobile Wi-Fi.

Internet Activists, Bloggers Shaped Connecticut Senate Race
Bloggers helped push challenger Ned Lamont into the spotlight. And Sen. Joseph Lieberman's Web site went down a few hours before the election—an outage he blamed on his opponents.

Software Mines Internet To Identify Music Piracy
Software from vendor Identity Systems will search unstructured text on the Internet, including e-mails, file directory listings, and search results for peer-to-peer sites, to identify piracy.

IBM Looks To Dominate Content Management Market With FileNet Buy
IBM will continue to develop both platforms, an executive promises, and the FileNet name will live on.

Gartner Names Hot Technologies With Greatest Potential Impact
Gartner says hot technologies include social-network analysis, collective intelligence, location-aware applications, and event-driven architectures.

Google Sees Privacy Threats From Government Intrusions
CEO Eric Schmidt told conference attendees this week that his company has put all necessary safeguards in place to protect users' personal data from theft or accidental release. But he said he still worries about government demands for customers' data.

IBM Alliance With University Aims To Make Students Mainframe-, Linux-Savvy
The expanded curriculum addresses the expected evaporation of mainframe and related skills as baby-boomer techies retire.

Amazon Unveils Search Aid That Helps Customers Find Products
The "Search Suggestions" feature calls for user-submitted recommendations for connecting products to specific keywords.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

Eric Chabrow With 'Technology Wheel'
Cable providers are winning the VoIP war, the makers of Grand Theft Auto introduces "Bully," and more.

Larry Greenemeier With 'Security On A Chip'
Security systems on a chip offer a cheap alternative to firewall and other security measures.

Sacha Lecca With 'Hacking, The Old-Fashioned Way'
Learn how to pick a lock from the masters.


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

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4. Grab Bag

Scratch-And-Vote System Could Help Eliminate Election Fraud (Technology Review)
A new lottery-style scratch card has been developed that might make elections less susceptible to rigging.

Windows Vista And The Future Of Hardware (ExtremeTech)
Whether you ever plan on upgrading to Windows Vista or not, one thing is clear: Its impact on the world of PC hardware will be huge.

Opinion: Leopard's Top-Secret Secrets (Macworld)
Why didn't Steve Jobs show off all of Leopard's new features at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference?


5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech

Business Travel In 2010: Biometrics, 3-D, And RFID
From receiving video mail to having your iris scanned at airport security, here's what the world of business travel and communications might look like in the not-so-distant future.

6 Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life
New mobile technologies are emerging that can change—and even save—our lives. Expect to see these six breakthrough applications in the next year or two.

Review: 5 Top Personal Video Sites
Want to become the next viral video star? Looking for the latest underground video art? We review five of the top personal video sites.

Users Beware: Don't Upload That Video!
Do you like using video sites like YouTube? Better be careful: You might be violating copyright laws.

Review: Give The Windows GUI A Face-Lift
Stardock's Object Desktop 2007 lets you fiddle with the look and feel of Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista to get it the way you like it.

Review: Shure E500PTH In-Ear Headphones
How good are Shure's new E500PTH in-ear headphones? They're "hear your favorite song for the first time" good. They're "what will I listen to next?" good. They create sound so high-quality it's at least as much fun listening to the headphones as it is to the music they're playing.


6. Voice Of Authority

If You're Happy And You Know It, Raise Your Hand
In a survey by jobs board Dice.com, 94% of technology folks said they were as happy in their careers as those proverbial mollusks. If IT folks are so happy, why does Dice.com have a game on its site that lets "Joe the IT guy" turn the sleazy sales guy into a pinata?


7. White Papers

Adaptive Power And Cooling Support For IT Systems
The success of virtually any organization is tied to its resiliency and adaptability. This paper focuses on the critical power and cooling systems that create the foundation for IT resiliency and ultimately dictate an organization's operational flexibility.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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