1. “Google Unveils Office Rival,”
Macworld, 8/28. The search company took the wraps off its Google Apps for Your Domain Web productivity software bundle this week. Although the hosted package features Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Page Creator, Google didn’t include its much-talked-about Writely word processor or its Spreadsheets applications. To provide an offering really capable of trading punches with Microsoft’s Office suite, Google also needs to come up with an alternative to the software giant’s PowerPoint application.
2. “Oracle Continues PeopleSoft 9 Rollout,”
Network World, 8/28. The database and applications vendor continued its gradual release of pieces of its PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 applications suite, Oracle’s most substantial revamp of the suite since acquiring PeopleSoft in January 2005. PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 9 is an integrated suite of analytic applications to help businesses better match company data and resources to their operational goals. Oracle released the CRM portion of PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 a few weeks ago. Next up will be the financials portion of the application suite due out in September, followed by human resources by year’s end.
3. “AOL 9.0 Accused of ‘Badware Behavior,’ “
CIO.com, 8/28. The StopBadware.org consortium admonished AOL’s free client software this week for exhibiting what it said were badware proclivities. The group established to combat malicious software issued a report stating that the free version of AOL 9.0 interferes with computer use, meddles with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and its Windows taskbar, and engages in deceptive installation. StopBadware.org stopped short of officially labeling AOL 9.0 as badware since AOL has been taking steps to address the consortium’s concerns. In particular, AOL has confirmed that there is a design flaw in its uninstaller software.
4. “Brocade Ex-Execs: ‘Not Guilty,’ “
San Jose Mercury News, 8/31. The first executives to be charged as a result of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into companies’ stock options awarding practices have pleaded not guilty. Greg Reyes, the former chief executive officer of Brocade Communications, and the storage networking vendor’s ex-head of human resource, Stephanie Jensen, are accused of fraudulently backdating the granting of stock options, falsifying records, mail fraud and overstating Brocade’s profits in the filing of false financial statements. The pair is set to face a criminal trial next summer. The SEC has also brought a civil case alleging securities fraud against Reyes, Jensen and Antonio Canova, Brocade’s former chief financial officer.
5. “Google Offers Classics for Free,”
BusinessWeek, 8/31. Not content with making portions of books available on the Web for reading and searching, Google this week ramped up its online books program to enable users to download and print entire out-of-copyright volumes. The search company’s sometimes controversial Books program begun in December 2004 has seen Google reach agreement with a number of libraries and publishers to scan their books, both in and out of copyright. However, some publishers and authors have taken exception to the program and have filed two copyright infringement suits against Google.
6. “U.S. Banks Slow to Embrace Mobile Commerce,”
Computerworld, 8/28. While using a mobile phone or a smart card to pay for food is becoming commonplace in Asia and Europe, the United States is still in the experimental stage when it comes to next-generation payment schemes. The holdup isn’t technological; rather, it centers on the reluctance of U.S. banks to get involved in mobile commerce. Banks appear to be sitting back and letting the likes of eBay and Google blaze a trail in the e-payment arena.
7. “Study: Many Believe Data Thefts Can’t Be Prevented,”
Computerworld, 8/29. With seemingly a new data breach being revealed every day, is it any wonder that 63 percent of respondents to a recent survey say they don’t believe such thefts can be prevented? The Ponemon Institute polled 852 U.S. IT professionals about data security and was surprised by the extremely negative tenor of the responses. Many of those surveyed felt frustrated that they don’t have the necessary tools or resources to enforce data security policies.
8. “Katrina, One Year Later: IT Managers Fight Fatigue, Labor Shortages and Other Problems,”
Computerworld, 8/29. As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina took place, many IT managers in the area devastated by the hurricane 12 months ago are still trying to come to terms with what happened. They are finding it very difficult to deal with the professional and personal challenges caused by the storm, while valiantly putting in place new technologies designed to better protect their operations in future. They’ve brought in electronic data backup to replace tape archiving, added in new communications facilities and improved power-generation capabilities.
9. “Group Hammers Out New Spec for Securing Mobile Phones,”
Computerworld, 8/30. Vendors are hard at work putting the finishing touches on a new set of security standards they hope will herald the dawn of a new generation of secure mobile phones and devices. Companies including Nokia and Samsung are set to unveil the Mobile Security Specification shortly. The move comes after years spent working on the specification that builds on work carried out by the Trusted Computing Group, an industry association that has already created similar standards for PCs, servers and networks.
10. “Algorithm Turns Photos into Digital Art,”
InfoWorld, 8/28. The blink of an eye or other facial movements are being used to create digital art. A group of U.S. and British researchers has developed a software program that uses advanced algorithms to turn facial expressions into what they term “empathetic painting.” The customized digital painting starts with a real photograph of a person that the software then takes and breaks into segments, which in turn are transformed into 3-D brush strokes. Then, when hooked up to a Web camera showing the same individual’s expressions changing, the algorithm reacts by altering the painting, adding darker colors for sad expressions or brighter colors for a smile.
By China Martens, IDG News Service
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