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IT Confidential: The Woodstock Of IT And Taxes At Deadline

WOW, MAN. IT'S A CITY! Those were the immortal words (or something like them) uttered by Wavy Gravy when looking out over 200,000-plus young people at the original Woodstock concert in upstate New York in the summer of 1969.
"WOW, MAN. IT'S A CITY!" Those were the immortal words (or something like them) uttered by Wavy Gravy when looking out over 200,000-plus young people at the original Woodstock concert in upstate New York in the summer of 1969. I was reminded of that when I heard last week that the Comdex trade show had been canceled, again. Maybe it's a measure of the maturity of the technology industry that lavish displays of product innovation and marketing muscle, which attracted upwards of 200,000 to the annual conference in Las Vegas, are largely a thing of the past. But it was hard to beat the energy and excitement, the interest and intrigue, that Comdex generated. And it wasn't a bad excuse for a Vegas trip. "The $1 trillion information technology industry needs an annual event," MediaLive International, the owner of Comdex, said in a statement on its Web site. Sign me up--and make it Vegas.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Microsoft filed 117 lawsuits in a Seattle U.S. District Court last week against unidentified "John Doe" phishing sites targeting its MSN and Hotmail sites. "Through today's sweep of John Doe lawsuits, Microsoft's legal team hopes to establish connections between phishing scams worldwide and uncover the largest-volume operators," said Aaron Kornblum, a Microsoft Internet safety-enforcement attorney, in a statement. According to the FTC, identity theft was the No. 1 consumer complaint last year, and the National Consumers League said phishing was among the top Internet frauds. Experts estimate that between 3% and 5% of people who receive phishing E-mails click to the bogus sites and disclose some personal information.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK. "The Domain Name System, which helps users find their way across the Internet by substituting user-friendly names for numerical computer addresses, has performed well, but technical and political challenges must be met for the system to continue to operate effectively," according to a report from the National Research Council called "Signposts In Cyberspace: The Domain Name System And Internet Navigation." One twist, according to The Associated Press: Congress authorized the report in 1998. Lawmakers appropriated $1 million for the study of Internet traffic and specified it was to be completed within nine months. "Time got extended," commented a Research Council director, according to AP.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS, PART 2. About 34% of households with Internet access plan to file their taxes electronically, up from 28% last year, according to a Conference Board survey released last week. The survey of 10,000 households also found that more women than men (31% to 29%) prefer do-it-yourself tax software, while more men than women plan to use the Internal Revenue Service's E-file (26% versus 21%). Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center, said in a statement, "As the pros grow in number and continue to outweigh the cons, we can expect more consumers to file online in the years ahead."

Taxes? Darn it, I forgot again! I better fire up the old PC--those lines at the post office at 11:45pm on April 15 can get pretty nasty. Don't be late with an industry tip. Send it to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to share your best Comdex stories, or your worst tax-filing experiences, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


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