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Volume 3, Issue 220:  Wednesday, June 27, 2001

  • No New Big Thing"
    Washington Post (06/27/01) P. E1; Musgrove, Mike

    This year's PC Expo in New York has gathered far less interest than in previous years, mostly because users see few new pieces of equipment that could make their lives better. Gartner Dataquest vice president Charles Smulders says most consumers who need a PC already have one, adding that the industry was not successful this year in reaching the 30 percent to 40 percent of the U.S. public still without a home computer. Dell Computer, the world's No.1 PC maker, did not even make an appearance at the show. PC sales, which grew 28 percent in 1999 and 11.6 percent in 2000, are now expected to shrink 11 percent this year, says Smulders. Other computing device makers at the PC Expo tried to make an argument for portable computing, although Palm CEO Carl Yankowski, a keynote speaker at the event, is facing a 53 percent drop in sales during the company's fourth quarter. Compaq's iPaq handheld announced its 1 millionth shipment at the expo, a bright spot for the beleaguered PC maker.

  • "...And [We'll] Wear Our Computers on Our Sleeves..."
    USA Today (06/26/01) P. 6E; Swartz, Jon

    A slew of innovative wireless gadgets are slated to appear in the near future. For example, Charmed Technology's infrared badges are able to exchange information wirelessly with conference attendees. Dieceland Technologies has developed a disposable wireless phone with pre-paid minutes. In fact, wireless appliances will soon become part phone, videophone, Web browser, pager, and game machine. "Consumers will snap them up," says Michel Mayer of IBM's Pervasive Computing division, which is working on such devices. They will become smaller as well--Orang-Otang Computers, for example, hopes to create a line of wireless, wearable computers, cameras, and other devices. Bluetooth will allow wireless devices to interact with each other. Eventually, experts say, wireless devices will be so pervasive that homeowners will be able to use cell phones to turn on the dishwasher and air conditioning.
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  • "INS to Grant Immigrants Some Grace"
    Washington Post (06/27/01) P. E1; Bredemeier, Kenneth

    The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will soon give laid-off foreign workers holding H-1B visas more guidance on how long they can stay in the country to seek another job. INS spokesperson Eyleen Schmidt says the agency is responding to the concerns of a number of immigrant worker groups by establishing a firm limit on how long foreign workers can retain their status in the country after losing the job that brought them to the United States. As it stands now, laid-off H-1B holders have only 10 days to find another employer to sponsor their visa. Some advocate groups have asked for as much as a six-month grace period, but the INS' Schmidt says the final regulations will be laid out in August, with firmer guidance by mid-July.

  • "Apple Hires Open-Source Leader"
    CNet (06/26/01); Shankland, Stephen

    John Hubbard, the main force behind open source stalwart FreeBSD, has been hired by Apple Computer to work on its OS X operating system. On Monday, Hubbard announced on a FreeBSD mailing list that he would now concentrate his efforts on Darwin, the open source technology on which OS X is based. "The FreeBSD product line has reached the stage where I feel comfortable taking a job that allows me to focus more on Darwin," wrote Hubbard in his posting. Apple's move is part of an attempt to profit from open source technologies. Apple's OS X mixes proprietary software with Darwin's open-source programming. OS X is the first revision of the Mac's operating system since its 1984 launch.

  • "What's Ahead for...E-Mail"
    Wall Street Journal--Technology (06/25/01) P. R8; Frangos, Alex

    Web-based email is poised to take off in the corporate market, some experts predict. In contrast to systems that tie workers to their desktops and cost companies in maintenance and hardware, Web-based email allows enterprises to enable more of their employees to access their email more of the time. New Web-based email products from Microsoft, Lotus, and Novell promise faster upload times than previous Web-based email releases. David Ferris of Ferris Research reports that although corporate Web-based email use is currently decreasing to about 1 percent of total email use by year's end, new releases will begin to win back users disenchanted by the problems of older programs. Other experts continue to point out that Web-based email can help companies avoid expenditures on desktop email upgrades, save administration costs, and allow employees to access their accounts remotely. However, IDC research director Mark Levitt says Web-based email will never replace the corporate desktop system, although he does admit that it is a perfect solution for on-the-go workers such as sales agents, flight crews, and other mobile workers.

  • "E-Espionage Rekindles Cold-War Tensions"
    Wall Street Journal (06/27/01) P. A18; Bridis, Ted

    Government computer experts recently reported a compromise in security in which Russian hackers stole large amounts of data from Department of Defense computers. Russian authorities, when confronted concerning the break-in, denied involvement, saying they would have not been detected had they been responsible. The incident highlights the new role the U.S. military and intelligence agencies are playing against unseen intruders. The challenge is great: for example, the Defense Science Board contracted Pentagon security experts to hack into other military systems, which they did without being detected 99 percent of the time. The CIA, which is partly responsible for responding to such threats, worries about not being able to distinguish between foreign government intrusions and the actions of individuals. However, CIA intelligence on technology head Lawrence Gershwin admits that the foreign government threat is the far more serious one. Pentagon officials have allotted $3.5 billion over the next seven years for computer warfare projects. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) says the United States is well prepared to launch electronic counterstrikes such as a recent foray into a Russian hacker network to steal data using passwords stolen during a FBI operation.

  • "Patent Adds Twist to Software Lawsuit"
    New York Times (06/27/01) P. C4; Markoff, John

    Intertrust said it would use a newly awarded patent to strengthen an ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft. In April, Intertrust filed suit claiming that Microsoft's Media Player violates its digital rights management patents. Intertrust's latest patent is for technologies that control the transfer of digital content among different devices. Such data transfer--among wireless phones, MP3 players, portable computers, and similar devices--is crucial to Microsoft's .Net and Hailstorm initiatives. The Intertrust lawsuit might be the first of many legal challenges for Microsoft as it tries to link Windows XP to a number of Web-based services. "From Microsoft's standpoint, they have been attempting to extend their influence into the music business, and they want to do it with their formats to get better leverage," says Guernsey Research analyst Chris LeTocq. Microsoft spokesperson Jim Cullinan dismissed the patent as "an act of desperation."

  • "E-mail Overload Taxes Workers and Companies"
    USA Today (06/26/01) P. 1A; Swartz, Jon

    The amount of time the average U.S. worker spends answering email has increased to 49 minutes daily, according to a Gartner Group study, a 30 percent to 35 percent increase over last year. Daily email use could reach four hours by next year, Ferris Research predicts. Several major firms are altering their email policies to combat this trend. IBM is encouraging employees to move from email to instant messaging because messaging is faster and does not put as great a burden on the corporate network. Computer Associates is offering employees an email training session and is also asking them to share files, especially large ones, on its internal network, not over email. Intel is also providing email-training classes for its employees. Tips from these classes include avoiding the use of graphics and attachments, placing the text of a short message in the subject line, and unsubscribing to unimportant distribution lists.

  • "Bush Picks Brookhaven Chief for Top Tech Post"
    Reuters (06/25/01)

    President Bush has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory director John H. Marburger III to become the next director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. At Brookhaven, Marburger, former president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has overseen developments in such fields as biomedical research and nuclear physics, including the launch of the world's largest particle accelerator. Bush adviser Floyd Kvamme, who announced Bush's decision at a tech industry conference on Monday, lauded Marburger, a Democrat, for being acquainted with a wide range of key scientific issues. While noting that the nomination of Marburger would be a key step forward for tech policy at the White House, Progress & Freedom Foundation President Jeffrey Eisenach said the Bush administration is still acting slowly to fill tech-related positions.
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  • "More Countries Tempt U.S. Firms"
    USA Today (06/26/01) P. 3B; Iwata, Edward

    Foreign countries are stepping up efforts to attract investment from Silicon Valley and to persuade U.S. firms to locate new facilities abroad. In the last 12 months, Silicon Valley has greeted 100 foreign trade delegations, including a visit Friday from Indian tech officials. In San Jose, Calif., and at Stanford University, the "Bangalore Road Show" touted the city of Bangalore-- India's Silicon Valley--which is now home to facilities from almost 1,000 foreign tech firms. India boasts a tech-savvy labor pool and investment-friendly laws. Mexico is attempting to attract investment to its "Silicon Sur" region, with President Vicente Fox having met with Cisco CEO John Chambers and fellow tech executives earlier this year. Already, IBM and Hewlett-Packard have opened facilities in Mexico. U.S. tech investment is also strong in Hong Kong, despite that city's conversion to Chinese rule. Hong Kong officials are seeking foreign investment for the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, due to open next year, and have recently reached agreements with several U.S. firms, including chipmaker Advanced Analogic Technologies and wireless firm Renex Technology.

  • "(Non)-Profiting From Experience"
    Wired News (06/26/01); Benner, Jeffrey

    During the height of the dot-com boom, several ASPs touted their services to nonprofit organizations. These ASPs claimed that by using the Internet, nonprofits could improve the reach of their message and raise more money. Now, however, the ASPs' excitement has vanished, as have many of the ASPs themselves. In fact, of the money collected by 181 major nonprofits last year, only 1 percent was donated through the Internet, a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy study found. ASPs that survived the shakeout say nonprofits are proving more reluctant to embrace technology than expected. "Adopting any new service requires an investment of time and money," says Compumentor executive director Phil Ferrante-Roseberry, adding that time and money "are two things nonprofits tend not to have." Ferrante-Roseberry cites nonprofits' overworked directors and lack of IT-experienced staff as further reasons why they have shied away from the Internet. However, some ASPs have made in-roads into the nonprofit sector, with Convio having helped Planned Parenthood garner $321,000 in online donations and Kintera assisting the Make a Wish Foundation in San Diego in gaining $45,000 in a six-week effort.

  • "The Layoff Payoff"
    TheStandard.com (06/25/01); Wasserman, Elizabeth; Anderson, Lessley

    As tech firms continue to lose revenues and lay off workers, a marked difference is emerging in how companies arrange severance pay for their laid-off employees. Most notable is the difference between Fortune 500 firms, 64 percent of which have written policies regulating severance packages, and failed dot-coms, many of which did not have enough money to pay layoff victims anything. A recent survey of large dot-coms by Unifi Network and Industry Standard magazine found that the amount of severance pay awarded to laid-off employees was mostly contingent upon the amount of cash the companies had on-hand. Dying dot-coms have little incentive to protect their future prospects for hiring talent once the economy picks up, unlike tech stalwarts such as Cisco Systems, which in April awarded 12 weeks severance pay to 70 graduate students who had been promised jobs. Of the 24 dot-coms surveyed, 19 also included contractual stipulations in return for increased severance packages, enticing laid-off workers to noncompete and nondisparagment agreements in exchange for extra-large severance benefits.

  • "Study: Number of Japanese Surfing the Web Surges"
    Associated Press (06/26/01)

    Japanese Web surfers numbered 32.6 million as of February, up from 19.4 million a year earlier, according to a new report by Japanese computer publisher Impress. The study also found the number of Japanese accessing the Internet via mobile phones alone soared 200 times, from 30,000 in 2000 to 6.5 million. Japan has quickly risen to lead in mobile Internet use because of the popularity of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode phone, which allows users to send email and to browse the Web. The Impress study also found a greater ratio of women accessing the Internet in Japan, showing a diversification and maturing of that market; additionally, one tenet of the Japanese government's economic reforms is to have a broadband Internet connection in every home by 2005.

  • "Study: E-Commerce Drives Internet Services Spending Forward"
    E-Commerce Times (06/26/01); Enos, Lori

    E-commerce will propel Internet services spending through 2005, according to a new report by IDC. As businesses continue to integrate e-commerce initiatives into their offline operations, Internet services revenues are expected to grow from $22 billion this year to $69 billion in 2005. Although the United States will continue to be the largest overall Internet services spender, with at least 40 percent of the global market, Western Europe dominates the Internet services market for the mobile Web. U.S. mobile Internet use continues to lag, but as it grows to nearly $40 billion in 2005, IDC predicts that the United States will comprise 40 percent of that space as well. Despite the predicted rosy future for Internet services, providers have been in a tumult following the dot-com implosion. The past 12 months have seen IBM pay $83 million for Internet consultancy Mainspring, a $347 million acquisition of Proxicom by Dimension Data of South Africa, and mass layoffs by KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

  • "Linux: At a Turning Point?"
    Computing (06/01) Vol. 34, No. 6, P. 12; Leavitt, Neal

    The Linux open source operating system ran on 27 percent of servers shipped last year, International Data (IDC) reports, a clear sign that the software is gaining more credibility in the corporate sector. Firms that have made a major commitment to Linux include Home Depot, Cisco, and IBM, which is spending over $1 billion on the software in 2001. However, Linux still has no real presence in the desktop market, and many potential corporate users are still scared off by its communal design. Many potential users fear that the number of vendors that offer their version of Linux will lead to a fragmenting of the market, in which applications designed for one Linux version will not operate on other Linux versions. Also, few commercial Linux applications are now available, which means that most users must develop Linux programs internally. Moreover, potential users are wary to embrace a system that has no formal global support structure. Linux supporters say some of these problems are overplayed--for example, any competent programmer with Linux experience can make an application work on multiple platforms. Some Linux programmers are currently working on a series of base sets of libraries, which may make potential users more comfortable with the open source model; the areas that the base sets of libraries encompass include application programming interfaces, interoperability measures, and a file-system hierarchy standard.

  • "Palm Is About to Get Spanked"
    TheStandard.com (06/18/01); Perera, Rick

    Compaq Computer will surpass Palm in quarterly PDA revenue, according to a new report from Gartner Dataquest. Compaq's Windows CE-based iPaq handheld will generate revenue of over $200 million for the quarter ending June 30, while Palm will have revenue no greater than $135 million for its fiscal fourth quarter, Gartner Dataquest reports. Handspring is third with revenue of between $60 million and $65 million for its fiscal fourth quarter. Palm still leads in the number of PDA units sold, but Compaq has surpassed it in revenue because its PDAs have a higher average sale price. Gartner Dataquest says Compaq's iPaq has taken the lead because corporate users want its wireless-messaging applications, such as email and short message service (SMS). Palm's operating system has been stagnant since the company left its parent, 3Com, last year, while the Microsoft operating system used by Compaq continues to advance, with a new release due by the end of this year. Although disputing the actual figures, Palm officials say the Gartner Dataquest study ignores the fact that there are 13 million Palm PDAs already in use, compared with 1 million Pocket PCs, including the iPaq. Palm officials add that email and SMS are available through the most recent release of its operating system and that Palm's new m500 and m505 are doing quite well.

  • "The Web's Last Gap"
    Computerworld (06/18/01) Vol. 35, No. 25, P. 48; Ulfelder, Steve

    To build a bridge across the gap between the latest Web servers and often quirky back-end systems, IT managers are deploying e-commerce servers that have different qualities, although no single product offers an all-in-one solution. For example, Mazda North American Operations chose IBM's WebSphere Commerce Suite Version 5.1 because it wished to create a Web-based catalog that allowed customers to track the availability of auto parts in real time, as well as conduct complete transactions online. A deciding factor was the server's all-Java platform, because Mazda's inventory system, co-created by IBM, is Java-based. Web development consultant Ross Katz says that Mazda's parts-availability inquiry feature was customized so that Enterprise JavaBeans could retrieve the required information; back-end integration with CICS and MQSeries also helped Mazda lean toward WebSphere Version 5.1. Mazda does not use all of the WebSphere Commerce Suite's features, but they give Katz a sense of reassurance that they are there for future use. A study from the Patricia Seybold Group splits the e-commerce server market into three categories: Buy-side servers for procurement processes, sell-side servers to manage key Web-based business processes, and online marketplaces that serve as intermediaries.

  • "More Than for Music"
    CIO (06/15/01) Vol. 14, No. 17, P. 166; Schwartz, Karen D.

    The cost of digital piracy is potentially enormous, with Forrester Research estimating the cost to the recording industry by 2005 at $3 billion. Digital rights management (DRM) has gotten much attention in the entertainment sector, but analysts say the corporate sector is a growing market, as firms seek to protect financial documents, training videos, tech-support manuals, and other content. International Data (IDC) forecasts that this market will be worth $952 million by 2004. Protection comes in the form of encryption, with security vendors providing either online security, usually in the form of encrypted content that is opened by a password, or offline security, in which users must use a "key" to open content from a secure medium, such as a CD-ROM. Vendors of such technology include SecureStreams, Widevine Technologies, Microsoft's Windows Media Rights Manager, ContentGuard, and InterTrust Technologies. Also, several firms, such as Reciprocal Publishing and Magex, act as ASPs in the content security market, providing a range of security services to clients, often using technology from the aforementioned vendors. Although the corporate DRM market is not growing as quickly as some analysts had expected, with many potential clients unsure which vendors and which technologies to choose, one area in which the technology has found willing clients is e-book publishing. Publisher HarperCollins, for example, has turned to Reciprocal and Lightning Source to protect its e-books through encryption technology that can dictate exactly which content can and cannot be copied.

  • "Java Skills in Demand"
    InformationWeek (06/18/01) No. 842, P. 75; Hayes, Mary

    Java programmers are in higher demand within the enterprise sector, a DevX.com survey reveals. DevX.com, a portal site for developers, surveyed 2,600 IT professionals and found a perceived lack of Java aptitude. Only 42 percent ranked themselves highly skilled in the language, although 79 percent said Java was very important. In actual numbers, Windows-based programming languages are still more prevalent in the enterprise. Spirent Communications, which uses Java heavily for client applications because it functions on with a broad range of platforms, is looking for programmers with more general skills first. Spirent senior manager Mike Burk says he is willing to teach Java to C++ programmers, as they usually find it easy to translate their abilities.

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