by CIO Staff

Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week: IBM Speeds Chips

Feb 16, 20076 mins
Computers and Peripherals

1. “IBM Speeds Chips With DRAM Memory,”, Feb. 14

IBM is going to use the smaller, more efficient memory of DRAM instead of SRAM to double microprocessor performance next year. SRAM will be used as the embedded memory cache built onto its chips, so that each chip will store data in one-third of the area and use one-fifth the electricity for standby power compared to SRAM. Applications that need multicore processors will benefit greatly from the technology change, IBM said, including networking, image-intensive multimedia, gaming and those that need to move a lot of graphics.

2. “Gartner CIO Survey Results Underscore Importance of Business Expertise,”, Feb. 14

More than ever, CIOs need to focus on developing expertise about their companies’ business objectives, an annual Gartner survey concludes. The survey of more than 1,400 CIOs worldwide found that 86 percent say innovation is critical to success, but just 26 percent say that innovation processes are sufficient to achieve goals. Those who approach innovation as a “structured process” and who also fully understand the business objectives of their company will be able to better differentiate themselves and their IT departments, the study concluded. They also need to consider recruiting IT staff internally, tapping the talent within their own companies, rather than routinely recruiting from other IT departments, Gartner said.

3. “Outsourcing Could Hit IT Jobs in Some Metro Areas, Study Finds,”

Computerworld, Feb. 15

As many as one in five programming, software engineering and back-office jobs could be eliminated over the next few years in some U.S. cities because of offshoring, a report from the Brookings Institution found. Twenty-eight metro areas with 13.5 percent of the country’s population could lose between 2.6 percent and 4.3 percent of jobs to service offshoring, with the highest losses hitting Boulder, Colo.; Lowell, Mass.; San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; and Stamford, Conn. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles could face losses of 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent of service jobs. Las Vegas and Riverside, Calif., won’t have more than 1.5 percent of their jobs going offshore, with Las Vegas especially needing IT workers, Brookings found.

4. “Word Targeted by Hackers Again,”, Feb. 15

Has your company finished with this week’s Microsoft security patches yet? Just in time for news that Word and Office are being targeted by hackers again. Office 2000 and Office XP are affected by a vulnerability in which attackers could create a Word document that could allow them to control a computer remotely if a victim opens the document. Security experts said it’s no surprise a security bug would become known so soon after Microsoft released its latest patches, including six for Word, because hackers like to have the maximum time they can before a vulnerability is patched. Microsoft doesn’t usually deviate from its monthly patch schedule (and February has fewer days after all …).

5. “Microsoft, IBM in Slap-Fight over OpenDocument Formats,”

Network World, Feb. 14

This was quite the Valentine’s Day story. In an open letter on its website, Microsoft accused IBM of trying to subvert Microsoft’s efforts to standardize its document format in an attempt to destabilize customer choices. Referring to “a lot of hype” and “smoke and mirrors obfuscation,” the letter said that rival IBM leads a campaign to subvert OpenXML standardization at the International Organization for Standardization. The letter was written by Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft, and Jean Paoli, general manager for interoperability and XML architecture. IBM on Monday released its Open Client Solution, an Eclipse-based cross-platform desktop client that includes a document editor supporting the OpenDocument Format, but not Microsoft’s OpenXML. That apparently is what drove Microsoft to post the open letter.

6. “Intel to Stay With Wi-Fi in New Centrino Platform,”

PC World, Feb. 14

Weeks shy of releasing its new Centrino notebook platform, Intel said it isn’t going to provide wireless access with a high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) module from Nokia, but is going to rely solely on Wi-Fi. Intel believes that notebook vendors won’t want to pay what it costs to justify investing in HSDPA for the next Centrino, code-named Santa Rosa. Instead, it plans to use HSDPA, which is popular with mobile-phone vendors, in a future release.

7.  “AT&T Teams with Microsoft for Web Conferencing,”

Network World, Feb. 12

AT&T and Microsoft have developed AT&T Live Meeting, a new Web-conferencing service, providing a set of collaboration tools and functions for businesses of all sizes. Customers can broadcast applications, presentations and documents in real-time to conference participants worldwide. The service also allows live audio conferencing.

8. “Biometrics to Ease CIOs’ Cell Phone Concerns,”

InfoWorld, Feb. 14

AuthenTec, which develops biometric fingerprint technology, wants to decrease the size, power consumption and cost of touch-powered sensors to make them more appealing to handset manufacturers that are reluctant to add advanced security features to their wares. CIOs would like to put productivity applications on employees’ mobile phones, but won’t approve of that because of the possibility the phones will be lost or stolen. Less expensive biometrics, using fingerprint sensors, could quell that concern, the company said during the 3GSM show in Barcelona this week.

9. “Vendors Form Open-Source Consortium,”, Feb. 14

Ten open-source software vendors have teamed to create the Open Solutions Alliance, a nonprofit consortium whose aim is to push the adoption of more open-source technology use by businesses. OSA members say they want to resolve open-source software interoperability issues, as well as work with open-source independent software vendors, systems integrators and the wider open-source community to find ways to develop better integrated and easier-to-use software stacks. The first priority will be to define tools, frameworks and best practices, the group said.

10. “New System Kills Worm Outbreaks,”

Techworld, Feb. 14

Researchers at Penn State University have developed a technique they call Proactive Worm Containment that they say can stop Internet worms within milliseconds of an outbreak. Their system focuses on the frequency of connections at the packet level and analyzes how many connections are being made to other networks instead of relying on signatures to identify an attack. A huge issue with worm attacks is that they spread extremely quickly, making it difficult to stop them once they take off. To avoid identifying traffic patterns that aren’t actually worms, the researchers said they use algorithms to double-check when a worm is suspected. A host identified as spreading a worm is then disconnected from the node to which it’s attempting to connect and spread its damage. While the technique wouldn’t be of as much use with slow-propagating worms, the researchers noted that those aren’t the ones that cause such vexation in the first place.

-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

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