Friday, April 29, 2005

Surprise, The French Like To Talk About Themselves

Ross Mayfield at Many-to-Many has a post about how the French just love to blog. He seems surprised. I'm not. In fact, I'm pretty sure France pioneered the concept of sharing minute details of your life with everyone.

Instant Messaging Standards?

I stumbled upon an article the other day that mentioned Sun Microsystems latest IM offering is going to support the eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). It looks like the hope for an IM standard is starting to become more reality (we have been waiting 3-4 years)! XMPP was approved in January 2004. If the major public IM vendors (AIM, MSN, Yahoo) implement this standard and embrace interoperability, users will be able to talk to anyone on any service, including your own private company wide IM server, using the same client. I fear that will be slow to happen if ever though. There are few benefits for the public vendors.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

New AIM, Yahoo, MSN Worm

There's a new IM worm out that affects Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and AIM. Symantec identifies it as W32.Velkbot.A. McAfee calls it W32/Sdbot.worm.gen.j. It hasn't spread far yet but it's something to look out for.

This one uses the pretty standard "trick someone into clicking on a link" social engineering tactic to spread. You'll get an IM that contains a link to a "pictures.php" page on a website as well as a randomly specified email address. Clicking on these links will install a trojan horse, rendering you defenseless against the oncoming hordes. But there's hope. Use the Symantec link above to remove.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More Growth in the IM Market

The Radicati Group issued a press release yesterday discussing their new study on various forms of messaging. Instant messaging figures prominently in the report as does email in its various incarnations. From the release:

In regards to instant messaging (IM), the study shows strong growth in both corporate and consumer IM use. The IM Management segment of the market, which develops products to manage, archive and secure IM systems is poised for particularly strong growth, growing from $39 million in 2005 to $118 million in 2009.
This market is growing a bit slower than people were predicting a few years ago but it's coming along pretty nicely. Also, here's some more news on the compliance side for very large companies.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Don't Forget, Texas Is Bigger Than France...

We don't make any secret of the fact that we're responsible for Effusia Business Messenger around here (see the link on the right and, oh yeah, the name of the blog). So we're happy to announce a new Effusia partner, S3 Technologies.

S3's been providing IT services with a focus on security to lots of small to medium businesses in San Antonio, Texas. So if you're in business down that way, check them out for all your networking needs and maybe toss in some secure IM while you're at it.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Come And Get It! Hot Steaming Content...

eWeek has an article about RSS in the enterprise. From the article:

"More and more companies are starting to use internal content distributed in the form of RSS," Reinacker [CTO of Newsgator] said. "Having this content delivered internally in a secure manner is really kind of the sweet spot for [enterprises] right now."
I've come late to the whole syndication game, but it's a great example of a simple technology that allows very cool things to happen. (Though I'm irritated at the competing formats. I don't know for the life of me what Atom provides over RSS' various flavors.) Those companies with bustling intranets would do well to leverage one (or two, or three) of these syndication methods to get their information out efficiently.

Also, the article mentions Rojo (beware when visiting that link as Rojo apparently is Spanish for "blindingly red background") which provides an RSS aggregator with some network effects built in. It seems they're going to be offering the ability to annotate and share feeds and items which is a feature sadly lacking in my dear bloglines. I'll be taking a look if I can find an invitation somewhere. Anyone got one handy?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Yep, Still Right

This just in from trusty google alerts:

IM and its derivatives should not be dismissed as just another range of communications channels that need to be regulated, as there is quite a complex set of operational and business issues that need to be addressed...

Regular usage of unauthorized IM services is far more widespread than most organizations believe. The provision of protection facilities lags way behind, and until the problem is properly addressed organizations will be vulnerable to further security threats.

This apparently comes from Butler Group, for whom I cannot vouch. However, I couldn't have said it better myself (and didn't).

It's Axiomatic: The Brits Love GMail and We're All Pack Rats

In this loving pean to gmail, the BBC discusses how people are filing away emails as a sort of "personal database" of communication, phone numbers, etc. I think if IM had better archiving facilities, it could capture this information as well (and more quickly). There's a lot of unstructured (and structured, for that matter) information out there folks. How are we going to tie it all together?

And on a side note, this article contains the term "Googlettes" which apparently describes new Google services. Correct usage:

"E-mail is a way of interacting not just with others, but also with yourself, " says Mr Harik, who is director of Googlettes (new Google services). "You want to remember something, so you send it to your mailbox."
Sometimes I think Google is getting too cute for its own good. Especially when you consider that their fully fed and massaged New York engineers say things like " it's axiomatic that we have several radio-controlled blimps".

Distractions, Distractions?

Though they're a little late to the game, there's a good introductory overview of the pros and cons of IM for business here. I would have liked to see more discussion of product offerings focused on internal IM instead of just hitting the big 3 public clients (with Novell getting a brief nod).

Interestingly, there's a quote from a "Systems Coordinator" at People Magazine saying

“Instant message use may lead to decreased productivity, especially for those individuals that are using it more for personal conversations.”

Personally, I think this is a pretty short-sighted view. I don't think IM brings decreased productivity so much as it brings an increase in communication in general. All of that communication may not be business oriented. I see IM as more like a low-intensity long-term conversation than a productivity-sapping distraction. It's a different mode of sharing ideas and there will be those that really do abuse the system but on the whole I think it's an improvement over the (more disruptive) alternative forms of communication such as phone and face-to-face, etc.

Update: There are other sources of brain-atrophying distraction at work.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

They've Ruined Email...

They've made email a minefield and now they're going after your IM.  Preston Gralla over at the O'Reilly Network has a post on the rising threat of instant messaging worms.  With some clever social engineering and technical exploits,  malware authors are finally using the ubiquity of IM to distribute their nefarious goods.  In addition to being a pain to consumers and adding to virus scanner bloat, this has big implications for corporations that aren't securing their IM.  I predict we'll see a rash of IT departments cutting off IM altogether.  This isn't the right solution though as IM has too many benefits and it's too entrenched at the grassroots level.  I hope cooler heads will prevail and the IT people will see the light on corporate-grade IM.