IPhone 3G, DNS Flaw, VMware Ouster

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Apple stole the IT news show yet again this week with the Friday launch of the iPhone 3G in 22 countries. But there was other news as well, including warnings that a DNS vulnerability really is serious and the ouster by VMware's board of cofounder and CEO Diane Greene.

1. Apple's worldwide iPhone 3G rollout is under way, Software problems mar UK iPhone 3G launch and Continuing coverage: Apple launches the iPhone 3G: With cheers in Japan and some jeers in London because of software compatibility problems that caused problems activating the phones, Apple's iPhone 3G launched in 22 countries Friday, ending a week that had been ripe with reviews, analysis and words of warning and praise about the greatly anticipated new smartphone. As of press time for this weekly news roundup, activation problems continued during the U.S. launch because of a glitch related to the iTunes server. Some early buyers were miffed about those issues.

2. Patch domain name servers now, says DNS inventor and Internet bug fix spawns backlash from hackers: A Domain Name System vulnerability reported earlier this year is among the most serious uncovered to date in the DNS architecture and should be patched immediately, said Paul Mockapetris, the inventor of DNS. Some in the security community have questioned how problematic the cache-poisoning flaw really is, so Mockapetris added his voice to the growing chorus of those urging that patches be applied immediately. Products from some 80 vendors are affected by the flaw, and various of them have begun releasing patches. "The time to fix is now. The clock is ticking," Mockapetris said. The flaw was publicized this week by researcher Dan Kaminsky, who set off some in the community because he didn't provide technical details to verify the bug.

3. VMware ousts founder, hires ex-Microsoft bigwig: In a surprise move, virtualization pioneer VMware ousted cofounder and CEO Diane Greene, replacing her with Paul Maritz, a former Microsoft executive who retired from that company in 2000 after a career managing the development and marketing of various products. He went on to found cloud-storage vendor Pi. VMware, which is primarily owned by EMC, has faced increasing pressure from competitors, including Microsoft.

4. Dear Sir or Madam: Lottery scams proliferate: More and more scammers try to dupe victims with e-mail scams that might appear to be legitimate messages from companies such as Microsoft or Yahoo, as well as banks. The scams are proliferating because they work -- and for those among us who scratch our heads about how that can be, the ruses have taken in a couple of Nobel Prize winners, showing that even smart people can be snared.

5. IT spending tight at investment firms: The global credit crunch, spurred by the subprime mortgage crisis, is having an increasing ripple effect on IT spending at financial-services firms in particular. "The subprime debacle is going to be a catalyzing factor in how we think about technology in the industry," said Larry Tabb, CEO and founder of the Tabb Group, speaking recently at a securities industry conference.

6. ACLU files lawsuit to challenge surveillance law: The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups focused on civil rights filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, signed into law by President George Bush the same day as the lawsuit filing. The law, approved Wednesday by the Senate, allows the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies to spy on people, including U.S. residents who talk to people who live overseas and are suspected of having connections to terrorists. The law includes a provision granting limited immunity for telecommunication companies that allegedly participated in the NSA surveillance program before it had any court oversight. The groups contend the law violates the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure.

7. Intel set to launch Centrino 2 next week: Intel is expected to release Centrino 2, the next version of its mobile platform, on Monday. It will be the first major Centrino upgrade since the first launch in 2003, and will feature Core 2 Duo chips, support for 802.11n wireless networking and WiMax, among other improvements.

8. Sun lays off approximately 1,000 employees: As part of a planned workforce reduction that was previously announced, Sun followed through this week by laying off about 1,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada. The company has said it will lay off 1,500 to 2,500 employees worldwide. Future cuts are expected in other regions.

9. Good incentives boost data-center energy efficiency: Employee incentive programs and automation tools developed in-house have helped Microsoft decrease data-center energy consumption. The company was among those sharing such tips and tricks at a data-center efficiency strategy conference hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

10. How Microsoft's Patch Tuesday affects business processes and security: A whole IT industry has been built around Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday, which was started in October 2003 in response to customers who wanted to get patches in an organized way. Patch-management and security consultants, along with a thriving services sector, have sprung up since the advent of Patch Tuesday.

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