Fast Forwarding your Business with Instant Messaging

Written by Lee Traupel

Instant Messaging is rapidly becoming accepted inrepparttar business community as a viable communications tool and process - it's faster than e-mail, free onrepparttar 133553 client side, even a novice user can easily grasprepparttar 133554 interface in just a few minutes and it enables remote workers and business partners to "talk" and share files and information effortlessly usingrepparttar 133555 in-place infrastructure ofrepparttar 133556 internet. Its mushrooming in popularity too - according to IDC, corporate and general business users will jump from 5.5M in 2001 to close to 200M by 2004.

What are some ofrepparttar 133557 pitfalls and concerns you need to have when assessing and integrating Instant Messaging ("IM" another biz acronym) with your business processes? Be aware you are sending clear text messages overrepparttar 133558 public Internet - so all IM technology is inherently insecure. Privacy issues can also be raised - these messages are typically archived viarepparttar 133559 IM servers ofrepparttar 133560 company whose services you are using and can be made public at a later date. Anyone with a network scanner may have access to and be reading your messages and if your are downloading files, you need to ensure your anti-virus software is setup to scan these files when you open them.

One ofrepparttar 133561 biggest pitfalls ofrepparttar 133562 technology and process is that it adds another communications layer to your busy day - but you can offset this by selecting or filtering who you communicate with at any point by usingrepparttar 133563 IM interface to block all or selected individuals from "seeing" you when you are online.

Finally, like all things in today's computer industry (or many) each ofrepparttar 133564 Instant Messaging vendors are trying to build applications which don't integrate withrepparttar 133565 other (no surprise here - arrogance has not faded away inrepparttar 133566 business community!). So, you need to assessrepparttar 133567 installed base ofrepparttar 133568 market leaders and make a decision on which company's product you want to utilized - my recommendation would be to review Microsoft's or AOL/Time Warner's products - their installed bases are inrepparttar 133569 200 million users plus when combined (these numbers include consumer and business usage) and they both work well and have user interfaces that are intuitive.

There is one alternative company that is solvingrepparttar 133570 "IM Tower of Babel" issues and claims to integrate well with all proprietary apps by utilizing XML technology, Jabber, Inc., So, if interoptability is important to you then I would recommend assessing their products.

Most ofrepparttar 133571 IM providers including Microsoft are integrating voice communications with their IM clients - you may be able to bypass your local telephone carrier at some point using this technology, but don't bet on it anytime soon - all of those lobbyists here inrepparttar 133572 states need to keep generating fees on behalf of their telecom clients in Washington D.C. We use Microsoft's IM product and we have upon occasion utilizedrepparttar 133573 voice and video features (you must of course have a multimedia setup for your PC and camera) and they do work. Althoughrepparttar 133574 video quality is a little jerky and repparttar 133575 voice is akin torepparttar 133576 old Citizens Band ("CB") radio - your Internet connection impactsrepparttar 133577 quality of both.

Microsoft And Peru

Written by Richard Lowe

Wired magazine recently reported (on July 27, 2002), "Afraid that Peru may adopt a bill decreeingrepparttar use of open-source software in all government systems, Microsoft apparently enlistedrepparttar 133552 American ambassador in Lima to help try to convincerepparttar 133553 Peruvians to killrepparttar 133554 legislation."

Many people have stated they feel it was wrong (even evil) for a US ambassador to "lobby for Microsoft". Playingrepparttar 133555 devil's advocate for a moment, let me askrepparttar 133556 following question: if an American citizen was having trouble in a foreign country would it be okay for an ambassador to help him or her out? What if an American company needed help in a foreign country? Is it okay then? Why would Microsoft be excluded? What isrepparttar 133557 purpose of an ambassador? My understanding is these people exist to furtherrepparttar 133558 goals and objectives of their country: includingrepparttar 133559 government, individuals and companies.

What isrepparttar 133560 job ofrepparttar 133561 US government? To support it's citizens (a government has no other valid purpose). You could argue that supporting corporations directly or indirectly supports citizens.

Ambassadors do not exist to stop wars or make war talk. They exist to furtherrepparttar 133562 goals of a government, and a government exists to furtherrepparttar 133563 goals ofrepparttar 133564 majority of it's citizens. If I owned a company I would totally expect any US government organization to cooperate fully with my business, especially if by cooperatingrepparttar 133565 goals of my country were also furthered.

This bill seems to say thatrepparttar 133566 government wants to use open source for it's systems. This is perfectly fine as a government should use whatever software it feels isrepparttar 133567 best fit for it's goals.

Open source is not a product, it describes an idealized way to develop and maintain a product. Most so called open source is worthless junk that most people would not dare put on their computers. By farrepparttar 133568 great majority of this kind of code is never finished, poorly documented, virtually unmaintained and so full of bugs and security holes that it's laughable.

That being said,repparttar 133569 same is true, of course, of all other forms of software.

Now there are some great open-source products, and when people speak of open source they usually mean something like Apache, Linux, Unix, OpenOffice andrepparttar 133570 hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of tools and utilities available. These arerepparttar 133571 products that have given open source a good name.

However, I have never heard of open source accounting packages, SCADA systems (systems that control water, power and oil systems), factory control systems, military systems and so on. These things are either developed in house or purchased from a company.

Peru may be making an error because they are thinking "open-source means good programs not created by Microsoft". It will be interesting to see what happens when they attempt to find an open source SCADA system to control a hydro-electric dam or an open source payroll system.

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