Profile of Alice LaPlante
News & Commentary Posts: 90
Articles by Alice LaPlante
Job-finding tips from IT pros who were pink-slipped, but survived to work another day include aggressive networking and skills training.
Here's a year-end list of our favorite mobile gear, gaming accessories, security devices, money-saving green gadgets, and a few surprises, each for under $100.
Newbie game developers are finding invaluable tips and tools on Kongregate, Addicting Games, Flash Game License, Gamasutra and other Web sites.
Webmasters to celebrities Jeff Bridges, Ben Stein, Harry Shearer, and Lord of The Rings star Ian McKellen reveal that heading off -- or squashing -- tabloid rumors is just as important as SEO, compelling content, and server uptime.
One-person companies are earning upward of $1 million in revenue annually. How do they do it? With high-speed Internet connectivity, mobile apps, automation, and a little help from their customers.
Anyone following the controversy over whether voting machines promote or threaten our ability to determine who, exactly, has won a particular election was probably not surprised by the initial results of California's review of voting systems released last week. The question is: will this latest evidence that such machines can be easily manipulated force much-needed changes before the next major election?
More news that the already controversial municipal Wi-Fi projects are getting bogged down by technical, administrative, and political challenges came in the form of reports that the Wireless Silicon Valley project is in big trouble.
Sitting in a London theatre last week waiting for the curtain to rise, we were startled to hear the loudest cell phone ringtone we'd ever heard broadcast over the theatre's loudspeaker--quickly followed by another, then another, then another until there was a virtual cacophony of conflicting bells, whistles, snippets of Europop and Beethoven echoing through the hall.
Sunglasses, check. Bathing suit, check. Camera, check. Laptop-that's a double negative.
Yes, I'm doing that increasingly rare thing: having an untethered, nontech vacation. No electronic leash for me for the next two weeks. I'm even leaving my cell phone at home (what the heck, it wouldn't work where we're going anyway).
I've spent the last few weeks researching an article on H-1B visas, and it's been both illuminating and painful to dig underneath the press releases of high-tech firms, lobbying groups, and politicians and talk to the individuals directly affected by how many H-1B visas are issued -- and how many of those guest workers actually get green cards.
It was just our luck: We got caught in the worst travel delay nightmare of the year. My family was flying from all over the United States to Washington, D.C., for a funeral. Although long expected, such things are never easy; on top of the emotional turmoil, of course, we were all wrestling with the many logistical issues: securing baby sitters and animal sitters, putting off pending work and social commitmen
What do you want first, the good or the bad news?
With the goal of ending this editor's note in an upbeat way, let's start with the, er, less reassuring results of a recent undercover investigation by Daily Tech about whether Internet sites that routinely evaluated hardware were accepting payola in exchange for reviews.
It's always informative to look at our most heavily trafficked stories to see what topics you're most interested in. No, it's not a scientific survey, but it certainly provides pretty powerful anecdotal evidence of what technologists are currently buzzing about. And judging from our numbers, you're rather obsessed with Linux--Ubuntu Linux, to be precise.
Just yesterday, the superintendent of our school district sent an e-mail to all parents detailing how two men attempted to entice a 12-year-old girl -- who was one block from her school -- into their van. In our extraordinarily safe community where parents hover over their children like chickens over new-laid eggs, this was huge news. No one can stop talking about it. An artist rendering of the two men already has been plastered throughout town. Yet very few of the parents I've talked to are awa
Having just finished an article on so-called online "influentials" based on the notion that 10% of the population unduly influences the other 90% in what to buy, wear, eat, etc., I decided to finally read The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, and found myself wholeheartedly buying into his premise that the consolidati
One myth of the blogosphere is that anything goes. After all--or so conventional wisdom says--that's what distinguishes bloggers from their colleagues in traditional media. Because they aren't hampered by timid editors, journalistic conventions, or even manners, they provide the public with unfiltered access to important events and opinions in a way that is both powerful and empowering. Indeed, the recent storm of hysteria over the proposed Post a Comment
An anecdote: I finally agreed to buy my pre-teen daughter an iPod (after making her jump through hoops to convince me she wouldn't immediately lose it). As part of our due diligence, I set her on a Web quest to research our purchasing options.
Apparently not. And some wouldn't have it any other way.
Anyone who has ever posted anything on a site with respectable traffic has been on the receiving end of what is, at best, mean-spiritedness, and at worst -- well, much worse.
Anyone who downloads music or videos from the Internet should read David DeJean's analysis of copyright laws, how they affect you, and how to enjoy creative works without breaking the law. Really good stuff.
Far from slowing its growth, a government crackdown on online gambling has sent many sites offshore and many others underground. But it's a good bet that Internet poker will remain a booming industry.
Most U.S. air travelers -- almost 70% of them, according to a 2005 poll by USA Today -- breathed a collective sigh of relief late last week when the Federal Communications Commission decided to extend its current ban on cell phone use on planes indefinitely.
On the heels of further bad news about Vista--the latest being that Adobe now says it has no plans to issue updates to the current versions of its products to ensure Windows Vista compatibility--comes a backstabbing by Microsoft's former pet poodle, Robert Scoble.
News is trickling in that the three-week-early shift to daylight-saving time was not the disaster many feared. Perhaps it was all the advance ma
Everyone in the tech industry remembers the spring of 2000. Yep, that year.
Flowers might have been blooming, snow melting, trees beginning to turn green, but most of us simply didn't notice. In my neighborhood, that time was mostly memorable for the number of moving vans that pulled up to houses of formerly prosperous engineers and software developers, and which carried their belongings off to Tempe, Portland, Nashville, and other parts unknown. (Of course, other well-heeled profession
I just bought my daughter a laptop. Well, to tell the truth, although I purchased it for her to use, it was actually for my benefit: I was tired of being kicked off my own computer because she had homework that required word processing or access to the Internet. Shuddering at the thought of shelling out hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office -- because though only in fifth grade, she needs PowerPoint as well as Word -- I downloaded the free office suite Post a Comment
Google, Google, Google. Lately, it's been all Google, all the time. And our readers can't seem to get enough of it.
In case you haven't yet done so, get thee to the article by longtime Dr. Dobbs Journal editor Mike Swaine on the future of operating systems. With his usual wit and technical acumen, Swaine dissects the current "identity crisis" that operating systems seem to be going through, pointing out that although--with the advent of subscription/service and hosted models--people have been predicting the end of the des
Preston Gralla has been around the technological block more than a few times. An amazingly prolific author, he has written more than 35 books that explore, explain, and enlighten--using plain-spoken and easily accessible prose--the intricacies of a broad range of technologies.
Companies as varied as Toyota, Dell, Sears, and Adidas have all established bulkheads in the 3-D virtual world called "Second Life." Is this influx of brands an exciting precursor of how we'll be conducting business very soon, or the ultimate exercise in corporate flat-footedness?
What do Brussels and Des Moines have in common? An apparent determination to keep Microsoft's competitive instincts under control that goes far beyond what Washington had the belly for.
My 11-year-old daughter and her friends already are addicted to a virtual world. Called Club Penguin, it's for tweens, who create avatars--of course, they don't call them that--who are (quite naturally) penguins. Through their penguin alter egos, the kids can chat, build, and furnish houses (which are igloos, of course), and work at various jobs to earn money that they can spend on penguin clothes, furnishings for their igloos, and other goodies dear to the hearts of that species, er, age group.
Cost of upgrading to business versions of Vista: $199, $299, or $399, depending on which edition you choose.
Cost of staying with Windows XP? Apparently priceless.
That's one logical conclusion based on the stories that InformationWeek readers are clicking on fast and furiously these days.
The long dragged-out battle over net neutrality took a decisive turn last week. Anxious to push through the largest telecom deal in U.S. history by the end of the year, AT&T made some serious concessions to the critics of its proposal to buy BellSouth. Most notably, the telecom giant assured members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it will not discriminate--either positively or negatively-
For all the discussion of Google, Yahoo, and other major search engines in the IT trade press as an increasingly essential business tool, use of the technology to search the Web is still the unquestionable domain of consumers.
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your engines.
The next generation of Microsoft's flagship operating system (Vista), office productivity suite (Office 2007), and e-mail platform (Exchange 2007) will be officially unveiled this week. The event is hugely significant for Microsoft; its desktop and server products accounted for 82% of the company's $44.3 billion revenue last year. That's one big cash cow.
Today is Cyber Monday (or Black Monday as those possessing a darker outlook on life call it) and although there's ample evidence that the popular belief of it being the busiest online shopping day of the year is myth rather than reality, no one disputes that by this date, Web-based browsing for holiday gifts is in full swing.
My eleven-year-old daughter loves Wikipedia. Just loves it. Give her an assignment that requires research, and that site is her first stop. And no matter how much I have cautioned her, she takes everything she finds there as gospel truth.
As Winston Churchill so famously declared, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
He could well have been talking about the long-predicted death of software.
The first meeting of the United Nations' Internet Governance Forum, or IGF, began yesterday in Athens and is promoting a very worthy agenda. Some of the critical issues to be discussed include: Who has access to the Internet? Who has control? What are the best ways to combat spam, phishing, and child pornography? How can we protect freedom of speech online--especially in cou
A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reflects strong disagreement over whether technology is good for humankind.
Interestingly, the 742 handpicked "technology thinkers and stakeholders" who responded to the survey were largely in agreement about the ways that technology will evolve. But they contradicted each other about how this evolution will impact society in 2020.
Time Warner seems to be finally putting its six-year-old AOL merger debacle behind it, thanks to recent aggressive moves to promote a new Web strategy.
The most striking thing about Aaron Ricadela's excellent article about the future of Windows was the dramatic discrepancy between what Windows is and what it could (must) become.
Many business travelers--and I'm one of them--spent the weekend scratching their heads over the inability of Boeing to make a go of its Connexion in-flight Internet access service.
The last seven days were hopping for Google watchers. Indeed, judging from the company's frenetic pace, it won't be long before Stanford has an endowed chair of Googleology--which has as much chance of being located in the law school or sociology department as in the computer science building.
Whatever happened to the "12 tenets," announced just 10 days ago, that were supposed to help a seemingly humbled and repentant Microsoft assume a more ethical stance toward allowing competition? Could it be that its self-imposed 12-step program has already failed to cure Microsoft of its monopolistic impulses?
Listening to last week's lively audio debate on net neutrality between Vint Cerf and Dave Farber, I was struck (again) by something.
Net neutrality. What a terrible name for such an important issue.
Pretty much anything about Vista makes for a surefire hit with InformationWeek readers. Take "Top 10 Windows Vista Hits And Misses." Or "20 Questions About Windows Vista." People can't seem to get enough of Vista, Vista, Vista. Which bodes well for Microsoft's next-generation operating system, right?
So can commoners--as the British like to refer to those not of aristocratic birth--be trusted? That's the question that two of the founders of Wikipedia appear to have asked themselves recently. And they appear to have come up with radically different answers.
It's not like Microsoft had much choice in the matter. Even Brian Jones, an Office program manager, admitted in his blog that it was government demands that pushed Microsoft to finally do it (after he made some snarky comments that the firm hasn't seen much demand for it from corporate or consumer customers).
What I'm talking about, of course, is Post a Comment
If you don't plan to jump on upgrading to Windows Vista right away, you've come to the right place. Our top story for this week is Fred Langa's terrific article showing you how to completely rebuild, repair, or refresh an existing XP installation without losing data--and without having to reinstall user software, reformat, or otherwise change or destroy your PC's setup.
Should employers be entitled to look up their prospective hires' profiles on MySpace.com and other social networking sites? Or has an important line been crossed--both ethically and legally?
A career counselor at New York University, who routinely deals with recruiters from major corporations, said dozens of companies were checking out social networks and personal Web sites before deciding who to hire, according to a
Tips for getting the same deals on IT products and services as companies that can buy in bulk.
The news late last week that Adobe threatened to take legal action against Microsoft unless it stripped PDF support from Office 2007 was the second time in as many weeks that a prominent Microsoft partner rose up against Redmond. (The previous week it was Symantec, which, unlike Adobe, filed an actual lawsuit.)
The company that made media history with its classic "1984" Super Bowl commercial is acting suspiciously like an organization out of the George Orwell novel it was based on.
Yes, I'm talking about Apple's attempts to force online publishers to disclose their sources of confidential information.
Pay attention: There's a free-for-all happening among IT analysts.
Currently controlled by a handful of major analyst houses--which suck up 80% of a market that rakes in $2 billion a year in revenues--the industry is being turned upside down by a swarm of upstarts that are using blogs, podcasts, and open online forums to propagate their opinions about vendors, technologies, and products.
So why should you care one iota about this turf war?
It's the year of social networking. Oh no, wait, that was 2003.
Because by mid-2004, pundits were already predicting the death of what was being called just a passing fad. But social networking couldn't have been quite moribund because people, with great fanfare, pronounced it dead again almost a
Has Microsoft's corporate spam filter malfunctioned? To judge from the recent news, it might have succumbed to one of the most common, er, "offers" making the rounds of mailboxes around the world. You know the one I mean.
Yes, the software giant is determined to supersize itself by building the mother of all data centers (time to buy Cisco stock), Post a Comment
There's no doubt that Apple is flying high.
In addition to muscling a sweet deal with the industry's four largest music distributors (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI Group, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment) to continue selling songs in i
Gartner held its Application Integration and Web Services Summit last week, and a flurry of SOA-related news came out of it.
Top of the list was the news that Tibco now offers a way to deploy quick, "tactical" SOAs through the latest version of its PortalBuilder, which minimizes custom coding and makes it possible to connect new Web services to legacy systems and packaged applications. Then, Post a Comment
We had a couple of terrific how-to features this week for you on SOA Pipeline. The first focuses on security and SOA.
Peter Lacey explains why, if your company is ready to begin implementing a true service-oriented architecture (SOA), you'll need to consider what technologies are used to enable messaging and message processing, and how to secure those messages as they flow through the network and are retained in memory or on disk.
HP last week was the latest major vendor to plunge into the SOA consulting business. The firm has launched an "application modernization" consulting service for enterprises implementing services-oriented architectures.
The news is sobering, if not surprising. According to a recent poll administered by SOA Pipeline, SOA implementations are taking longer than expected, raising more challenges than anticipated, and returning ROI later than desired.
This week, we had a pithy analysis of the recent IBM DataPower deal by Lorrie McVittie, which raised some key questions about how IBM will integrate the DataPower technology into its product line.
We have the results of two surveys from SOA Pipeline for you this week. The first one asked, why consider implementing an SOA? Not surprisingly, more than half of you (53 percent) said you were seeking to lower integration costs. After all, analysts report that the majority of IT budgets these days are going toward integration efforts, and an SOA does promise to enable easier connections between applications and data.
Last week saw further consolidation in the SOA marketplace, as IBM Corp. announced that it had acquired DataPower Technology, removing from the field one of the last independent startups in XML acceleration, since Intel acquired Savega last summer.
If you haven't heard of the SOA Leaders Council, it's something you should check out. It's a collaborative peer-to-peer community of corporate and government SOA users who share their experiences and expertise with real-world SOA implementations. There's not a single vendor in sight. Instead, actual users talk about actual projects--both successes and challenges.
There have been widespread reports that implementation of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) is slower than expected. A new survey of adoption patterns for SOAs and Web services by webMethods appears to back this up, showing that although more than 80 percent of respondents from 500 companies currently deploy Web services, SOA adoption is still "formative."
According to the survey, there are two main things standing in the way of SOA adoption--and concern about the technology itself isn't o
Not content to rest easily on the laurels its major announcement two weeks ago that reorganized its software and services portfolio around SOAs, this week IBM added a little more muscle to
its services-oriented architecture (SOA) initiative by signing up
two new partners and broadening its portfolio with new technical capabilities.
IBM Global Service
There's been a lot of blogging lately about the notion that the word "Web" should be dropped from "Web services" leaving only "services" to describe the technology. Jeremy Geelan, of Sys-Con, first raised the issue, quoting a plethora of sources from 19th century philosophy John Stuart Mill to Sun's Jonathan Schwartz and Bill Gates. Among other conclusions he comes to is this one:
Microsoft wants to chain "Web services" to the realm of th
This week, IBM put its money where its mouth has been for quite some time: on service oriented architectures (SOAs).
As part of a massive reorganization of its software and services portfolio, IBM finally announced its long-anticipated enterprise service bus (ESB) that has been in the works for years.
We have the interesting results of two different SOA polls for you this week, each of which sheds light on the way that SOA technology is being implemented in the enterprise.
First, we asked readers if they were depending on smaller, best-of-breed players for their Web services/SOA technologies, or if they were holding out until larger vendors solidified their positions. You told us that most of you (56 percent) have gone with the smaller vendors, as opposed to 44 percent of you, who are waiti
SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) was in the spotlight again last week. An XML-based framework developed by OASIS Security Services Technical Committee, SAML allows companies to securely and automatically share identity information on the Web.
We recently ran a poll to determine how "in the loop" the CIO is about Web services development efforts. We chose to ask about Web services because that's where SOA efforts usually start: at the grass roots of the organization, used to solve sticky integration issues that can't easily be solved by more traditional methods.
What's driving the move to service-oriented architectures (SOAs)? According to Sandra Rogers, program director for SOA, Web services, and integration research at IDC, the good news is that most of it is coming from the IT rather than the vendor community. Compliance is a huge issue, as are new regulations that require process tracking and auditing. There's also a heightened urgency to get control of end-to-end business processes. And then there's the promise of speedy deployment, and the high de
Back in 2002, only 5% of businesses had finished Web-services projects, according to IDC. But over the next couple of years, most organizations will have deployed Web services in one form or another, and the overall market should be worth a whopping $21 billion by 2007.
This week we had a plethora of superb hands-on features on service-oriented architectures (SOAs).
The first one was a review of Axis 1.2.1 by our chief SOA reviewer, Shane Turner. Shane points out that as more companies turn to Web services as a viable means of deploying light-weight, distributed application components, the matter of adhering to accepted standards becomes paramount. One such standard that many companies and organiza
An SOA promises many things -- you can keep using existing applications rather than building them from scratch, they are scalable and robust, and, if designed right, should be capable of "on-demand" response to the needs of the enterprise.
But one of the trade-offs of SOA is reliability, especially with Post a Comment
We have the results of two recent polls from SOA Pipeline for you this week. The first was prompted by Sun's snapping up of SeeBeyond to strengthen its SOA hand; we asked if mergers and acquisitions are good or bad for the industry, and you overwhelming said that they were good. A full 70 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "Mergers and acquisitions are good for the SOA market, they strengthen the resources behind critical technologies." Only 30 percent agreed with the statemen
I've always been concerned about the safety issues of using a cell phone in the car. Is
there anyone who hasn't been shocked at someone driving badly, only to discover that
person had a cell phone glued to his or her ear? I was therefore happy
More than 40,000 new blogs a day join the millions that are already online, and a small but growing number of these are small businesses looking for new ways to reach potential customers.
Welcome to SOA Pipeline! On Friday we officially renamed and relaunched the site in order to better serve you, our readers.
The main reason for the name change is that we feel we can make SOA Pipeline encompass a much broader strategic focus. Service-oriented architectures are where most enterprises are heading right now; Web services provide a way to get there (but not the only way). We feel that the pipeline would be able to focus on the overall strategic roadmap to an SOA, which can include
Open-source applications are winning over enterprise IT departments, and JBoss is one of the firms leading the charge.