Bits and Bytes

Here's a scoop for you from Research and Markets out of Dublin, Ireland: "Perhaps there has been no wireless technology that has the potential to change the world as much as RFID," the market researcher says in a recent press release. "This simple technology usually does nothing more than recite a serial number on request. Yet, when combined with other technology such as real-time databases, the technology can reduce costs, eliminate deaths, and allow a bar patron to purchase a drink with nothing more than the wave of a hand." If you haven't pegged your Hypemeter by now, you can always read the company's report, "RFID Tags and Chips: Changing the World for Less Than the Price of a Cup of Coffee."


In the March 1995 issue of ADT, Ian Hayes, founder of Clarity Consulting, wrote in a feature titled "Application Management Via Insourcing, Outsourcing," that after years of carte blanche growth, IT is facing the same pressures as the businesses they support. "Increase effectiveness or be replaced!" Hayes exclaimed, and went on to describe the benefits of outsourcing and its "cousin, insourcing, which strives to implement many of the methods used by outsourcers using internal staffs."

In "Automation Saves Time; Tools Gaining in Capability," The Standish Group analyst Sandra Taylor noted only 16.2 percent of app dev projects in mission-critical, client-server environments are delivered on time, within budget, and with all the requested features. The solution, she noted, is automated test tools with GUIs.

Jim Edgemon, a manager of an IT service bureau of two electric utilities, described an emerging genre of software configuration management tools that could be deployed by "geographically divergent MIS teams." In "Between Developers Closed by C/M for Teams," Edgemon noted "some SCM vendors are using commercially available RDBMs [to build] an architecture accessible from SQL and 4GL tools."


If you live in or happen to visit Boston, Chicago or San Francisco, call a "cybercab." Interactive Taxi and PeerDirect, a division of Progress Software, have hooked up to launch an Internet portal that passengers can access from the backseat of taxicabs.

Passengers can retrieve news from major national and local outlets, see local listings of events, make restaurant and show reservations, buy movie tickets and pay their cab fare with a credit or debit card. Portal gazers can access a variety of other information, and non-information, such as advertisements.

Internet access is via cellular networks. PeerDirect's data synchronization and database replication technology will give users the sense they are accessing the Internet at broadband speed, according to the company.


For the first time, anyone with Internet access anywhere can use The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site to review documents in the official trademark application file, including all decisions made by trademark examining attorneys and their reasons for making them.

The system, known as Trademark Document Retrieval, offers the public an advanced electronic portal to PDF viewing, downloading and printing of an array of information and documents for more than 460,000 trademark applications totaling more than 8 million document pages. As new applications are filed, they will be added to the database. The USPTO expects more than 300,000 application files will be added annually. Over the next five years, the remaining paper files of approximately 1.2 million active trademark registrations will be converted into digital format for TDR access, USPTO says.


This year, look out for the aggressive spread of viruses and worms to handheld devices, cell phones, wireless networks, and embedded computers such as those in car and satellite communication systems, says IBM in its newly released 2004 Global Business Security Index Report.

According to the report, written by IBM's Global Security Intelligence Services team, worms and viruses wreaked havoc on corporate networks in 2004. E-mail worms such as Bagle, Netsky and Mydoom led the pack in the number of variants and overall impact. During the latter part of 2004, virus writers stepped up their attacks on PDAs and other mobile devices.

IBM's Global Business Security Index report includes an early view of potential trends in 2005:

  • Mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones are the new frontier for viruses, spam and other potential security threats. Bluetooth and other wireless technologies that connect mobile devices pose new exposures for hackers to target.
  • There appears to be no end in sight for identity theft. Phishing attacks that use spoofed e-mails and fraudulent Web sites designed to deceive recipients into divulging credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers, etc. will continue to plague businesses and consumers.
  • Malware writers are getting smarter and are employing software development practices to spread destructive software.
  • Botnets will likely move to instant messaging networks for command and control of infected systems.
  • There will likely be an increase of eavesdropping and denial of service attacks carried out remotely against VoIP networks could cause significant damage for enterprises.


If you're trying to bolster information security for the sake of your company's customers, the latest news may put you more at ease. Identity theft occurs more frequently offline, at least among the victims who know their criminals' identities and methods they used, according to the 2005 Identity Fraud Report, released by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research.

"Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought," the BBB says. The most frequently reported information source used to commit fraud was a lost or stolen wallet or checkbook. Computer crimes accounted for just 11.6 percent of all known-cause identity fraud in 2004; half of them stem from spyware.


In case you weren't aware of it, we thought we would pass along word that spam is increasing. According to, spam as a percentage of total e-mail messages rose from 87 percent in January 2004 to 93 percent in January 2005. The company, which markets spam filtering tech, says a steady rise in spam through 2004 indicates that spam will continue to grow in 2005 in spite of attempts to legislate it away.


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