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Software Pirate Receives Longest US Sentence

A US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, handed down the longest sentence in US history for software piracy, sentencing Nathan Peterson, former owner of iBackups, to 87 months in federal prison. The average sentence over the past six years has been 22 months, according to industry trade group Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). Peterson pleaded guilty last December to charges that he sold illegally copied software from companies including Adobe Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Symantec Corp. The 27-year-old from Antelope Acres, California, has agreed to pay US$5.4 million in restitution, an amount equal to what he earned from the illegal sales of software valued at over $20 million. According to SIIA, iBackups sold pirated software over the Internet, claiming it was "backup software" (legal copies of software to be used by the software licensee for backup in case of system crashes), but it is illegal to resell such copies."

RSA Conference Europe 2006 Arrives in Nice

The European installment of the RSA Conferences—widely considered among the industry's important information security conferences—will be held 23-25 October at the Acropolis in Nice, France. RSA Conference Europe 2006 will cover more than 50 sessions, daily keynotes, and pre-conference tutorials across seven class tracks designed to address issues critical to information security in Europe.

Keynote speakers will include industry leaders, practitioners, technology experts, and government officials. Symantec Ireland, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, and VeriSign are included in the conference's 50-plus exhibitors. For more information, visit

Cisco-Microsoft Announce Joint Architecture Interoperability

Shedding some light on their new security architecture, Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have released a white paper detailing how Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) and Microsoft Network Access Protection (NAP) will interoperate.

The white paper (, according to Cisco, describes how embedded security features in Cisco's network infrastructure will integrate with Microsoft's Vista operating system now, and with the future version of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn. Customers will be able to start implementing the Cisco NAC-Microsoft NAP solution when Longhorn becomes available in the second half of 2007. The two companies have announced a limited beta program to begin later this year.

The joint architecture allows communication and policy enforcement across Cisco NAC and Microsoft NAP, enabling an end-to-end solution to be built around the Cisco and Microsoft interoperability.

Enterprise Management

For Budget Benefits, Find and Replace Aging Assets

IT veterans are encouraging a simple audit of offices, desktops, and hardware to reveal budget-saving potential for the enterprise, according to a recent Computerworld article.

The article ( viewArticleBasic&articleId= 9002877&pageNumber=1) suggests that outdated equipment, technologies, and processes should be scrapped in favor of newer, smarter ideas that save money and improve efficiency. The ideas are budget-friendly because they reduce drain on help desk resources, increase valuable storage and office space, and produce savings through volume licensing. For example, a newer server that is compatible with existing enterprise systems can yield significant cost savings in terms of streamlining operations and consolidating resources, in addition to the licensing advantages.

Other examples of what to remove and what to insert:

  • Find filing cabinets; replace with document scanners.
  • Find floppy drives and CDs; replace with thumb drives or DVDs.
  • Find individual desktop printers; replace with shared, centralized printers.
  • Find CRT monitors; replace with LCD monitors.
  • Find older technology; replace with newer systems (that is, newer server versions).


Vista Security Features Draw Warning from EC, Fire from Rivals

The European Commission has warned Microsoft Corp. that tying new security features into its Windows Vista operating system could violate EU antitrust laws, according to recent reports. Microsoft responded to the warning by first suggesting that an antitrust ruling could delay Vista's ship date in Europe, but later requesting detailed boundaries from the EC to avoid the conflict altogether.

According to CNET ( Vistas+European+battleground/2100- 7348_3-6116354.html), Microsoft wants specific guidelines for what it can and can't do. The Commission, however, rejects that responsibility, placing the onus on Microsoft to comply with EU competition rules.

Microsoft is also battling with its competitors over the desktop placement of Vista's Windows Security Center, a ZDNet article reports ( software/0,39020381,39283471,00.htm). The security center pops up on desktops to alert users to troubles with their security tools.

Firms such as Symantec and McAfee want Microsoft to alter Vista so their products can easily replace the security center on the desktop, according to the report. Microsoft defends the product as a protection when no other security center is enabled, the report says.

European Commission Expands Intel Probe

Reuters reports that the European Commission has broadened its ongoing antitrust investigation into Intel to include whether the company pressured Europe's largest computer retailer into not stocking devices containing chips from Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices, according to an EC spokesperson. In July, AMD filed a complaint with Germany's antitrust office that claimed the company did not have access to Media Markt, a German chain of more than 360 stores in 11 countries.

Intel and AMD are the sole makers of the central processing unit chips at the heart of the more than 500 million Windows PCs worldwide, according to the Reuters report, but Intel has been able to maintain a roughly 80 percent market share.

Other antitrust suits in the US between the two chipmakers are ongoing.

Personnel Management

Consultant Describes Four Steps to Better IT Hiring

In a Baseline interview with veteran IT consultant Scott Alan Miller, IT reporter Kim Nash lists four keys to a successful hiring process that will attract loyal, long-term employees rather than those looking for a "40-hour-a-week diversion from the pleasures of life" ( article2/0,1540,1999297,00.asp).

The prerequisite, Nash says, is reducing dependence on traditional approaches that scan resumes for education, experience, and the right acronyms. Crucial to a successful hire is finding an "elite technologist" who is truly passionate about technology, and that takes time.

The four keys are:

  • Candidates who have technology structure setups at home. This indicates that IT is not just a job; it's a hobby that is fueled by a love of the field.
  • Find a candidate who writes code. Experimenting with languages shows curiosity and a willingness to learn.
  • Certifications. Getting certified in new technologies shows interest in current trends and products, and demonstrates a forward-thinking mindset. Certifications also expose employees to other professionals who might be equally as passionate about technology, and can promote innovation.
  • Look for candidates who do volunteer work; perhaps some one who has consulted for a non-profit or community organization. This reveals a positive character and an ability to work under varying conditions.

Essentially, the best IT hiring happens when managers look for the right kind of person, not just the right kind of skills, according to Nash.


Time is Now to Learn Programming Languages

Many IT companies have more work than they know what to do with, but have a hard time finding programmers who know the right code. The best job candidates are sometimes the ones with the most languages under their belt, according to an survey ( article2/0,1895,2016415,00.asp).

Deborah Rothenberg writes that, unlike the past when knowing two or three languages was enough to land and hold a lucrative programming position, today's most valuable programmers should know several—in fact, the more the better. The survey of IT recruiters and Web developers yielded the following list of languages that can either add to a programming veteran's resume or provide a good foundation for new entrants in the field:

  • PHP. Widely used for Web development.
  • C#. An essential part of the .Net framework.
  • AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). High demand for AJAX programmers due to its steep learning curve.
  • JavaScript. Used in millions of Web pages and easy to learn.
  • Perl. Powerful for processing tons of text; used in Web server programs.
  • C. Important stepping stone for learning Java or C# because of common syntax.
  • Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Recent increase in use and easy to learn.
  • Java. Critical for non-Microsoft programmers.
  • Python. Used extensively by Google and academics; syntactically simple.
  • VB.Net (Visual Basic .Net). Some say that's where all the work is.


New Acrobat 8 Gets Flash-y

Adobe Systems Inc. has introduced the newest version of its popular Acrobat software, Acrobat 8, scheduled to ship in November. As a result of Adobe's merger with Macromedia, Acrobat now incorporates Flash and also contains a direct line to Acrobat Connect, a version of the former Macromedia Breeze software.

Connect will enable Web-based conferencing using PDF documents that can be edited, reviewed, and commented on, all in a live environment. This feature should be useful to the enterprise, since users have long clamored for such functionality, according to Don Fluckinger of ( article2/0,1895,2017049,00.asp? kc=PZPDFEMNL091906EOAD).

PDFzone reports that in addition to a more relaxed, stripped-down user interface (with fewer buttons than Acrobat has had in recent memory), there are other production-enhancing features in version 8 that should make workers' document management more efficient:

  • Users who fill out forms in Reader can now save form data to a hard drive and export the data for reporting.
  • Form field recognition turns a scanned PDF form or layout into a live document, and makes suggestions for live fields and buttons.
  • "PDF packages" enable several PDFs and other native files from other applications to be bundled together, while maintaining security through Acrobat password protection. The packages also maintain the individual documents' digital signatures, an improvement over prior versions.
  • Additional upgrades include faster large-document conversion times, Lotus and Outlook email-to-PDF conversion, and a redaction tool to permanently erase data from documents.


Red Hat Stacks Up Against Open Source App Competition

The effects of Red Hat Inc.'s acquisition of JBoss are beginning to materialize with the introduction of the company's first integrated open source application stack, Red Hat recently announced.

The Red Hat Application Stack includes end-to-end support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Application Server, JBoss Hibernate, and open source databases including MySQL and PostgreSQL. The stack is available through a Red Hat Network tiered-subscription model that offers software, support, updates, and upgrades. An annual basic-level subscription starts at US$1,999 for a single server, according to the company's Web site.

The company expects that Red Hat resellers and JBoss partners will find that the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware technologies provides their customers a strong foundation to realize the benefits of open source, as well as a low-cost on-ramp to service-oriented architectures.


Motorola to Buy Symbol for $3.9 Billion

Motorola will dive deeper into business-oriented mobile computing by purchasing wireless device manufacturer Symbol Technologies for US$3.9 billion, the mobile phone giant announced recently.

Symbol is a leader in end-to-end mobile enterprise products, such as rugged mobile computing, advanced data capture, and RFID. "Everything is going digital," says Motorola Chairman and CEO Ed Zander, "and everything digital is going mobile. This transaction significantly advances Motorola's enterprise mobility strategy and is consistent with our focus on building on our already strong intellectual property portfolio and extending Motorola's seamless mobility leadership."

According to Motorola, Symbol will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the company and the cornerstone of Motorola's Networks and Enterprise business. The deal is projected to close in early 2007, pending regulatory and other approvals.

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