1. “Sun’s McNealy: Don’t Restrict Foreign Technologists,”InfoWorld, 1/12. Sun’s CEO and chairman condemned efforts to try and restrict foreign IT professionals from coming to work in Silicon Valley as imposing limits on the brain power U.S. tech companies can draw on. Scott McNealy was speaking at an event that brought together all four Sun co-founders, two of whom are immigrants. Fellow co-founder Bill Joy revealed that Sun had tried to buy Apple and failed to partner with the company on a number of occasions.
2. “Jobs Introduces Intel-Based Mac Laptop, Desktop,” PC World, 1/10. The event that garnered most attention this week was Apple’s unveiling of a new notebook and iMac computer that for the first time will use Intel’s chips at the Macworld show in San Francisco. Experts liked the performance of the new systems which are appearing six months ahead of schedule, but thought they were overpriced. Analysts are also waiting to see if stellar sales of Apple’s iPod music player will ultimately translate into market share gain for its Mac computers.
3. “IBM Leads Program To Improve Patent Quality,” InfoWorld, 1/10. Big Blue, Linux evangelist body the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are spearheading a move to try and speed up the patent approval process and improve the quality of patents. The hope is to lessen the number of high-profile. long-running legal disputes filed in relation to software patents.
4. “US DHS Funds Security For Open Source,” InfoWorld, 1/11. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded a three-year grant worth over US$1 million to Stanford University and software vendors Coverity and Symantec to fund daily security audits and analysis of more than 40 open-source projects including Apache and Linux. By March, Coverity hopes to be running a public online bug database listing the security defects it comes across in the open-source software during its audits. Both Stanford and Symantec will provide advice to the U.S. government agency about how best to develop and deploy applications securely so as to lower the incidence of any attacks.
5. “ITAA Taps Sybase’s Robert Laurence As Interim President,” Computerworld, 1/11. Trade group the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) has a new man at the top following the departure of previous president Harris Miller who plans a run for the U.S. Senate in Virginia. Robert Laurence, a vice president of public sector sales with database vendor Sybase, will lead the organization while it looks for a permanent new president. Miller was ITAA president for over a decade. Last week, Oracle quit the group in part to express its opposition to Miller’s Senate run.
6. “Can IBM Help Cut Your Energy Bill?” CNET News.com, 1/11. Three hundred U.S. households have volunteered to try out a number of intelligent power grid technology projects being developed by Big Blue, Whirlpool and the U.S. Department of Energy. One project will give consumers access to real-time pricing information about their energy costs so they can opt to adjust their usage. In the future, your electricity meter may e-mail you that you’re exceeding your preset monthly power bill budget and the device could then turn down your thermostat automatically.
7. “Troubled Mercury Interactive To Buy Systinet,” Computerworld, 1/9. Software tools vendor Mercury Interactive is hoping to begin putting its troubled past behind it, announcing plans to buy service-oriented architecture (SOA) company Systinet for US$105 million. The move comes shortly after Mercury was delisted from Nasdaq for failing to file its financial reports on time in the wake of an accounting scandal which resulted in the departure of three of the firm’s top executives.
8. “JotSpot Offers A New Way To Use Excel,” PC World, 1/9. Application wiki startup JotSpot is offering a fresh take on Gates Inc.’s spreadsheet with a beta version of its Tracker service. Users can cut and paste an Excel spreadsheet directly onto a secure JotSpot Web site and then work collaboratively on that spreadsheet with their peers. Tracker also allows users to do things with Excel they can’t do with the stand-alone version of the software including the ability to attach files or append notes to a given spreadsheet and have dates or locations listed in the spreadsheet automatically appear in a calendar or map view.
9. “The Great Firewall Of China,” BusinessWeek, 1/12. If Western Internet companies want to do business in China, they find themselves having to agree to the Chinese government’s demands on censorship, be it filtering out words or phrases Beijing deems objectionable or shutting down Web sites containing what the government calls offensive content. China has a vast technology network staffed by more than 30,000 people dedicated to monitor any potential online dissent.
10. “Is Java Getting Better With Age?” CNET News.com, 1/9. Don’t be so quick to write off Java in favor of open-source scripting languages such as PHP and Python. There’s plenty of life in Sun’s programming language yet, according to one of its creators, James Gosling, who believes developers are only a third of the way through exploiting what can be done with Java.
–China Martens, IDG News Service