Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week

Apple iPhone and the Enterprise, H-1B Visa Demand, the IE 8 Browser and more...

1. "Analysis: iPhone SDK Release Offers Big Potential for Users, Developers,"

Computerworld, March 7

Apple took top news honors again this week, announcing a software development kit for the iPhone, and that wasn't even the biggest news out of the media event at its Cupertino headquarters. The company also announced iPhone support for Exchange, a huge move as far as enterprise use of iPhones goes. But amid the ballyhoo...

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2. "IT Execs Intrigued but Skeptical of iPhone Corporate Support,"

Computerworld, March 6

"Developers Excited by iPhone SDK, but Questions Linger,"

Macworld, March 6

Some senior IT executives said they're skeptical about Apple's iPhone push into the enterprise because Apple has never focused much on that market. They expressed continued concerns about whether the iPhone has sufficient security and management controls. From their side of the equation, developers, who have been waiting for the chance to write programs for the iPhone, are keen on the news from Apple, but some of them think the company's application distribution fee is high and they worry that smaller developers will wind up with a smaller cut because they won't have as much negotiating leverage. They also are wondering what effect it will have that Apple has the final say on which third-party programs will be available for download.

3. "How to Make the (New) iPhone Work at Work,"

InfoWorld, March 6

Meanwhile, if your company wants to incorporate iPhone use into the mix, why wait? There are ways to deal with data management and security. One caveat -- a big one for some enterprises -- there are lingering security "shortfalls" that have to be weighed in deciding whether iPhones should be allowed for corporate use.

IDG News Service World Tech Update from Cebit, March 7, '08

4. "U.S. Worried That High H-1B Demand May Tempt Some to 'Game' Visa Lottery,"

Computerworld, March 7

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is contemplating regulations to penalize companies that try to get an unfair advantage in the random visa lottery selection process. H-1B visa applications will be accepted again starting April 1 for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 and, as usual, an onslaught is expected. Last year, 123,480 applications came in for the 65,000 H-1B visas that are available. Visas are given based on random picks in a computerized lottery, but companies are increasingly desperate for the coveted visas, which has officials concerned that there may be attempts to "game" the system.

5. "Mebroot Proves Tough to Crack,"

PC World, March 4

The Mebroot rootkit, which infects the master boot record of PCs, is proving difficult to detect, according to F-Secure, the Finnish security company. the master boot record, or MBR, is the first sector of a hard drive that the computer looks to before loading the operating system, so it loads before anything else, making Mebroot close to invisible to security software trying to detect it. Once a computer is infected with Mebroot, the rootkit takes complete control of the PC and can be used for any number of attacks.

6. "Dungeons & Dragons Game Co-Creator Dead at 69,"

Network World, March 5

Gary Gygax, the co-creater of the pioneering role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, died at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, this week, after several years of failing health. In what must surely be one of the most fitting epitaphs ever he once famously said, "I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else." And so it shall be.

7. "Microsoft Debuts IE 8, Aims for CSS Interoperability,"

Network World, March 6

Microsoft released betas of Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 2 and Expression Studio 2 during its MIX 08 conference in Las Vegas. The company hopes that IE 8 will lead to the development of application that look and behave the same across different browsers, including Firefox and Safari. Older IE versions don't support certain Web standards, including CSS and RSS, and IE 8 aims to fix that.

8. "Yahoo Allows Time to Nominate Board Members,"

PC World, March 6

In an attempt to buy more time to keep Microsoft's unsolicited takeover bid at bay, Yahoo amended its bylaws so that directors can be nominated up to 10 days after the company announces the date of its 2008 stockholder meeting. The nominating deadline was next week, but Yahoo is trying to stave off a proxy fight by Microsoft to force Yahoo to replace its existing board with directors who would approve the bid made on Feb. 1. At the time, the offer was worth $44.6 billion, but it now is at about $41 billion because Microsoft's stock price has dropped since the bid was announced.

9. "Data-Leak Security Proves to Be Too Hard to Use,"

InfoWorld, March 6

Even though implementing data-loss-prevention technologies seems like a good idea (a no brainer, right?), some companies that have made that move to protect sensitive information say that it can be difficult to establish enforcement policies that don't cause problems for day-to-day business. In a nutshell: the rules get in the way. That's partly because understanding how companies use data takes effort. Not to mention that it's a complex task to establish governance policies that cover all of the potential areas of data risk. Fortunately, some DLP vendors are responding to those issues, creating more effective policy-authoring tools.

10. "Four Critical Microsoft Patches Loom,"

Techworld, March 7

IT professionals should rest up over the weekend -- Microsoft plans to release four critical security updates next week to patch all of the supported versions of Office. Four isn't many patches, but that might not matter too much in the scheme of Patch Tuesday, given that all of the patches have the highest threat ranking.

IDG News Service World Tech Update from Cebit, March 7, '08


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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