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12:40 PM

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In the United States, there's been much hue and cry about the thousands of tech jobs that have been offshored to India. But viewed in football terms, outsourcing is only in the first five minutes of the first quarter. Get ready for tens of thousands more American IT jobs to head overseas in the next few years.--Paul McDougall

Outsourcing is just wool over the eyes of the stockholders. They can show savings on paper, but in actuality, it costs much more to outsource than what is written on a piece of paper. You mention quality of service. Yeah, right. Help-desk calls take twice as long because of the language barrier. Then you get frustrated users that spend more time complaining about it. Cheap educations in foreign lands don't equate to graduates that can remotely install, set up, and configure a server, then maintain it. They can't see a failing hard drive in a RAID array within a clustered server from halfway across the globe. Wishful thinking.

If you want quality of service, then you need personnel on the ground, in the trenches with your equipment. The company I work for has had record downtime over the last two years because by the time our friends across the globe figure out there's a problem, it's too late. We end up telling them how to fix the problem, anyway. Outsourcing is a fad and will pass. --PhlimPhlam

PhlimPhlam has got it right. Offshore outsourcing is just the current flavor of cooking the books to make earnings look healthy enough so Wall Street feels all cozy and warm. I have no issues with the good people of other countries; after all, they're just making a living, too. It does, however, stand to reason that you can't run a tight operation from across the globe. People on the ground, in the trenches, is the only real way to run a good infrastructure shop. That's just an immutable fact that one day will stop the outsourcing pig in its tracks.

Sure, it's cheaper today, and it makes the P&L sheet look all pretty. But it's not the predictable, tight, precision work that local American boots on the ground can offer day in and day out. The pig, in time, even with its lipstick will start to stink bad enough and things will change. --ShimSham

If most companies are like the one that I work for, Paul is correct. What I saw were people in the IT department serving their own self-interests, not what was best for the company. Finally, management began to bring in offshore workers, and more work was done. Granted everything might not be perfect, but who's to say those that they replaced would've done it any better if they even did it at all?

I don't agree with offshoring being the cure-all, but what are we end users supposed to do? You people fight among yourselves about how to do something, implement your rules and procedures, try to prove among yourselves who's a genius, etc. I thought it was great when we finally got someone on the phone who was friendly and not on some hormone trip or working on their Mensa puzzle between bidding on eBay and checking HP Service Desk for trouble tickets. --Millie


We don't seem to be getting any better at avoiding phishing attacks. According to Gartner, 3.5 million Americans gave sensitive information to phishers in 2006, almost double the prior year's figure. Readers talked about how they avoid being scammed.--Alice LaPlante

I've never been caught by a phishing E-mail or other scam, and I use IE and OE. I also use Mailwasher. Being able to look at the raw text of messages rather than the HTML they force on you does wonders for picking out scams.

But more important than that, I use a very powerful filter. It catches any spelling of any spam word, stops a Nigeria scam within the first three words, and generally keeps anything harmful to me from becoming an issue. It's sitting between my ears and has a highly developed sense of paranoia/cynicism when it comes to online dealings. I'm talking about common sense, with its brother, intelligence. You'd be amazed what happens when you use both. --Jeremy

I have written a small article (more of a snippet) providing a 100% foolproof way of avoiding security breaches caused by E-mail phishing. I thought it was aimed at the novice, maybe the intermediate user, but see now I should broaden the net of exposure. To put it simply: Never, ever, click on a link from an E-mail to go to a site where you will enter confidential information. Type the address (or use a bookmark) to directly access the site through a proven URL you trust. Better yet, call the customer service number of the financial institution or company requesting the information. The bottom line is, phishers are successful for two reasons: ignorance and laziness. --John

I was a victim of eBay. I think it started by getting E-mails that my password changed. I went through all their links, pages, steps, loops of trying to reset my password, and it never worked. Finally, after about six months of E-mailing back and forth, eBay canceled my account. I did get PayPal E-mails, and I mostly ignored them since I knew I never registered there and never had a PayPal account. Now I just browse eBay but have no desire to have an account. --Michelle

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