1. “Vista Lands in the U.S.,”PC World, 11/30
Microsoft Windows Vista: The OS Has Landed
It’s finally here. Five years in the making, Windows Vista, the long-awaited successor to Microsoft’s previous client operating system Windows XP, has begun to ship. While the software giant launched the business version of Vista this week, consumers will have to wait until Jan. 30 for the retail release. Microsoft is hoping that users will rapidly move to Vista as well as the new version of its desktop applications suite, Office 2007, but industry analysts are not so sure, predicting the bulk of Vista business deployments won’t occur until 2008.
2. “HP Faces Expanded Civil Lawsuit in Spying Case,”Computerworld, 11/30
Hewlett-Packard must be wondering if it can ever shake off its boardroom scandal. Just when things had seemed to quiet down, the company’s facing a shareholder lawsuit related to the scandal that’s just been expanded to also include allegations of insider stock trading. The amended complaint accuses Mark Hurd, HP’s chairman and chief executive officer, and seven other executives of selling US$41.3 million of HP stock at inflated prices just before the company first revealed the spying scandal in early September. HP called the lawsuit “baseless” and plans a vigorous defense.
3. “U.S. Agency Recommends E-Voting Paper Trail,”InfoWorld, 11/30
As questions continue to be posed about both the security and reliability of electronic voting machines, a U.S. government agency has added its input into the debate. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a paper recommending that the government require touch-screen e-voting machines to include some means of independent auditing such as voter-verified printouts. Some 15 U.S. states have been using e-voting machines, and there were scattered reports of problems with the devices in the Nov. 7 U.S. nationwide midterm elections.
4. “Google Answers to Be Shut Down,”CIO.com, 11/29
The search giant plans to terminate Google Answers, a service it launched four years ago for users willing to pay to have their questions answered online by a team of 500 researchers. Google gave no reason for its decision, but commentators said the service never matched the popularity of a rival free offering, Yahoo Answers. Some observers noted Google Answers had been going downhill for a while, with the company apparently not notifying users when their questions had been answered.
5. “Intuit to Pay $1.4B for Digital Insight,”
Accounting software vendor Intuit is hoping to extend its reach further into online banking services through its planned purchase of Internet banking services outsourcer Digital Insight announced this week. Once the deal closes in the first quarter of next year, Intuit plans to more closely tie the workflows in its software to the services provided by Digital Insight. The ultimate aim is to make online banking more personalized so it more closely resembles other online businesses such as Amazon and eBay, according to Intuit.
6. “Desktop Virtualization Could Usher In Employee Hardware Ownership,”Computerworld, 11/29
An intriguing side effect of more companies looking to virtualize their IT desktop environments could see firms shift responsibility for hardware ownership to their employees, according to analyst firm Gartner. Provided laptops meet an employer’s stated memory and processing power needs, the company may give its staff money to buy their own laptops and put the burden on them to arrange hardware support. Desktop virtualization is appealing to many firms, Gartner said, because the technology approach can help ease PC management and improve security.
7. “New Microsoft Antipiracy Tool Coming Soon,”
In hopes of stemming the flood of complaints that continue to dog its controversial antipiracy tool, the software giant is releasing a revamped version of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Notifications. The tool is supposed to flag whether users are running pirated or counterfeit copies of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. However, many users have complained that the software often mislabels their genuine copies of the OS as pirated. In the new version of WGA Notifications currently being rolled out worldwide, Microsoft has introduced a new “indeterminate” category for XP copies that haven’t proved they’re genuine but aren’t known to be using a pirated license, together with advice for users on how to remedy such a situation.
8. “Commerce Department Extends .Com Contract With VeriSign,”
The U.S. Department of Commerce has given the go-ahead for VeriSign to continue operating the .com domain for six more years in spite of concerns around pricing and security voiced by other domain-name registrars. The existing .com contract with VeriSign was due to expire toward the end of 2007. There have been calls for the .com contract to be put up for competitive bids, but VeriSign and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Internet’s technical infrastructure, contended that no other company could take over the huge .com domain.
9. “Oracle Open Identity Protection Project Launched,”CIO.com, 11/29
The database, applications and middleware vendor has come up with a new project that grew out of its own efforts to integrate identity and access management technologies it acquired through a number of purchases of different companies. The Identity Governance Framework is an attempt by Oracle backed by the likes of CA, Novell and Sun to develop specifications to share identity data across heterogenous applications.
10. “Early Astronomical ‘Computer’ Found to Be Technically Complex,”
The New York Times, 11/30
It appears as though we need today’s leading-edge technology to truly comprehend the workings of ancient technology. Although pieces of an instrument, the so-called Antikythera Mechanism, have been in the possession of scientists for more than a century, they had yet to fully realize the complexity of the device, which dates back to the second century B.C. Using high-resolution imaging systems and 3-D X-ray tomography, researchers have determined that the instrument was able to calculate astronomical information with surprising technical sophistication.
-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)
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