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BEST OF ECT NEWS

Think Like a Hacker – The Best Scanning Tools

A curious change has come over the image of computer security in the last few years. Whereas headlines once screamed the exploits of allegedly evil hackers, the story now is all about bad code -- unpatched software, poorly secured firewalls and computer passwords left in plain sight. The hackers are not the real culprits; the security holes are ...

PRODUCT REVIEW

Test-Driving Assistive Technologies

I'm writing this article on my computer with a pen input tablet, forsaking the usual speed and ease of the keyboard to see how the other 14 percent lives. I'm referring to the 39.5 million Americans over age 5 with some kind of disability, acording to the 2000 U.S. census. When I broke a bone in my right hand recently, I was suddenly thrust into that other world. I decided to explore the state of assistive technologies and see how well I would get along...

PRODUCT REVIEW

A Second Look at Apple’s 17-Inch PowerBook

This year has seen a lot of ink spilled over Apple's PowerBook line of computers, in particular the high-end 17-inch model. Critics drooled over the unprecedented size of the laptop's screen and the elegant and relatively lightweight case, to say nothing of the sex appeal of the polished aluminum finish ...

PRODUCT REVIEW

The Blind Spot in Apple’s Brilliant iSight

Every once in a while you get a taste of what the Internet would be like if it were left to a few private enterprises. One glaring example is the deplorable state of instant messaging, which, in part because of balkanization, has failed to reach the level of popularity enjoyed by plain old e-mail. Another is the paucity of high-speed DSL and cable Internet connections, which demonstrates how major service providers create islands of connectivity. It seems that private enterprises, left to their own devices, have a tough time supporting the ubiquitous and open connectivity that has been the hallmark of the government-funded Internet throughout its 30-year history...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Think Like a Hacker: The Best Scanning Tools

A curious change has come over the image of computer security in the last few years. Whereas headlines once screamed the exploits of allegedly evil hackers, the story now is all about bad code -- unpatched software, poorly secured firewalls and computer passwords left in plain sight. The hackers are not the real culprits; the security holes are ...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

How Much PC Does IT Really Need?

2003 was supposed to be the year of the PC upgrade. Last fall, as analysts fretted over a PC market that had lain fallow for two years, observers counseled that the coming year might prove rosy, with an upgrade cycle driven by, among other catalysts, a new version of Microsoft Office ...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Supersizing the SAN Without Breaking the Bank

Signs of the times follow patterns. In the fat years of the 1990s, we heard a lot about supersize drinks -- and ballooning IT budgets. In the present belt-tightening environment, the FDA is forcing food makers to disclose harmful "trans-fat" content -- and the SEC is forcing onetime high-fliers to open their books to scrutiny. ...

OPINION

Veritas Software’s Secret Sauce

And so we come to the end of an era. When EMC announced on July 8th that it would buy software firm Legato Systems for $1.3 billion, it was the most potent sign to date that hardware innovation and systems engineering no longer define the warp and woof of corporate computing. Software has taken over. ...

OPINION

Could Cisco and Sun Make Strange Bedfellows?

Here's an ad I'd like to see in the online personals. "Established $118 billion networker seeks respected microcomputer company for technology integration, product fusion, customer rollup. Must have own intellectual property, stable income, smart staff and a desire to conquer the enterprise networking market. Startups need not apply." ...

OPINION

Selling to Skeptics in a Tech Downturn

Here's a day in the upside-down life of a CIO: She reads a bunch of news articles about deflation on the train and gets depressed about the economy, then takes a phone call from a pollster and tells him she's not planning any new technology buys. Later, near the end of the day, she tells her staff to enter an order for a bunch of Gigabit Ethernet cards. Such is the quixotic landscape in which tech is struggling to make a comeback. Economic data show modest signs of recovery, but the outlook of many tech buyers remains sour.

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

P2P Goes Corporate

Peer-to-peer technology may have pulled off the greatest disappearing act of the post-dot-com era. Once heralded as the second coming of the Internet, file-sharing giant Napster was sued out of business, and many of its descendants, such as Kazaa and Morpheus, are under fire from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). ...

OPINION

Pretty Cool, Steve, But Where Are the Extra Bits?

On Monday, Apple Computer chief potentate and executive kibitzer Steve Jobs presented Apple's latest high-end computer system lineup, driven by the IBM PowerPC 970 processor and branded by Apple as the G5. The systems surprised observers with speeds higher than what IBM promised when it debuted the PowerPC 970 a year ago. In fact, the hardware adds up to what Apple claims is the fastest desktop computer, leading Jobs to punctuate his trademark marketing pitch at the developer conference with the continual refrain, "Pretty cool, huh?"...

OPINION

Slow Ahead, It’s Longhorn Crossing

Fancy the situation of the computer OEM, stuck selling the same software from Microsoft for the next two years -- software that's already been around for more than a year and a half. We may be seeing a four-year cycle between Microsoft upgrades, certainly the longest I can remember. With PC sales in dollars predicted to be down by perhaps 1 percent this year, it's enough to make a computer OEM wonder: Why don't they just slap that "Bob" software on the thing and call it Win95: Reloaded? ...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

New Frontiers in the Identity Theft War

It seems hard to believe that six years ago, pundits were wondering if people would send their credit-card numbers over the Internet. Some said firmer controls were needed before e-commerce could take off. Then someone else made the brilliant observation that sending your credit-card number to Amazon.com via modem is no more or less risky than leaving a carbon copy of your credit card at the local drugstore. Everyone forgot their reservations, and consumers went on to spend tens of billions of dollars online last year...

OPINION

Here’s to the Next Battle of the Office Suites

It would be a gross understatement to say the Mac faithful are eagerly awaiting a new office productivity suite from Apple. For rumor sites and Mac-focused blogs, the arrival of such software would be a touchstone, a new battle royale in which to turn up one's nose at the leading productivity suite, made by that big software company in Redmond. ...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Google as New Enterprise Superstar

Enterprise search capabilities have evolved much like the known universe. Scientists tell us that it was not until several trillionths of a second after the Big Bang that gravity, matter and antimatter took shape and added complexity to everything. Likewise, although the Internet burst into the mainstream several years ago, many enterprises are only just beginning to consider how world-class search capabilities could benefit their in-house infrastructure...

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Is Broadband Really Changing E-Business?

The United States is a wired nation, but not completely so. Two recent reports paint starkly different pictures of the connectedness of the average U.S. resident. The first, released by Technology Futures of Austin, Texas, states that in 2003, the proportion of American households using broadband of some kind -- DSL, cable or, in some rare cases, wireless -- will surpass 20 percent. More and more people are buying permanent connections to the Net. At the other end of the spectrum, a report published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicates the digital divide is still a concern: One-fourth of U.S. residents do not use the Internet at all, including many people who live in homes with wired connections.

OPINION

IT Staff? What IT Staff?

An oft-repeated supposition when talking about a new software or hardware product is that in-house IT staff can compensate for what the technology lacks. It's often presumed that somebody on staff can patch, tweak, rejigger or jury-rig technology to make it do what it won't do "out of the box." "Any junior programmer can make that work" is a common refrain.

PRODUCT PROFILE

How Apple’s Spam Filter Stacks Up

I won't say I don't receive pitches for the occasional mortgage discount or Vegas vacation, the latest performance-enhancing elixir or anatomical wonder pills. Somehow those untidy and still slightly amusing offenders still wriggle past my defenses. In general, though, I've had good results with a built-in spam stopper in Apple Computer's Mail program, which I've used daily since it was released with the Jaguar update of OS X last year. Amid the frantic hand-wringing over unwanted e-mail, I've heard relatively little mention of this program, so I thought I'd offer my impressions gleaned from nearly 10 months of using the product.

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

How Secure Is Windows Server 2003?

By all indications, Windows Server 2003 is engineered to be more secure than its predecessors. Microsoft has adopted a two-pronged approach to achieving this goal: The company has added several new features intended to boost security, and it has altered the operating system's out-of-the-box settings so that many other features are turned off by default. Will this dual approach help squelch the security problems that have plagued Windows for decades, or does Microsoft still have miles to go?...

How often do you receive an email that you suspect is fraudulent?
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