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Taking a second look at the news so you don’t have to

It Isn’t Going Away… But IT Jobs Are

These days it’s difficult to pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, or even, say, open a copy of Queue, without encountering the “O” word: outsourcing. Gartner recently predicted nontrivial cutbacks in the domestic IT labor force over the next five years, mostly as a result of outsourcing IT services, claiming that 60 percent of IT departments will cut their workforces in half by 2008.

But it may not be all doom and gloom. As IT services move offshore, Gartner foresees a concurrent rise in the value and prominence of business processes jobs onshore. So, while many lower-end jobs will go, opportunity should increase in areas such as BPM (business process management). So will we all evolve into BPM specialists to survive? Only time will tell, but we’re already working on our new tag line—Queue: Architecting Tomorrow’s BPM.



GHz Goes Bust

Intel has been a steadfast champion of Moore’s law, racing through the ’90s with faster and faster microprocessors. While clock speed does not necessarily equate to the transistor-based processing power described by Moore, Intel saw it as a fitting gauge—and a great marketing tool. As compelling as that metric is, Intel may have shot itself in the foot by focusing so hard on it. The company recently abandoned plans for its long-awaited 4-GHz processor, apparently because the engineering effort needed to bring it to market was not worth the investment.

The failed 4-GHz effort is emblematic of Intel’s shift in focus to less-glamorous determinants of processing power. The latest generation of Intel chips, for example, while stuck at 3.8 GHz, will possess a whopping 2 MB of L2 cache. Of course, Apple (Motorola and IBM chips) and AMD have done this all along, which is why their slower clock-speed processors could always compete with the Intel speed demons. With megahertz devalued, what will people brag about now? L2 cache? Multicore? 64-bit? They just don’t have the same ring to them, do they?



Trojan-Spyware Deathmatch

The ongoing—and seemingly endless—battle to rid our desktops of worms, Trojans, and spyware has taken an interesting turn. If one of the latest Trojans, Downloader.Lunii, is any indicator, malware programs are now turning against their fellow legionnaires of doom. In a bizarre gesture of apparent benevolence, the Lunii Trojan actually finds and deletes processes and files used by common spyware and adware programs.

Of course, there’s a price to pay. Ever true to its nature, Lunii compromises infected PCs by modifying Windows configuration files and downloading remote files. We knew it was too good to be true. But need it be so? Imagine a world where truly benevolent viruses “infected” our systems and then healed them of malicious viruses. Hey, isn’t that kind of what The Matrix was about?



Desktop Search Madness

Having trouble keeping track of your ever-growing collection of exotic bird-call MP3s? Never fear, the software giants got ya covered. Google recently released a beta version of its desktop search tool, simply named Google Desktop Search. Hot on its heels are Yahoo, AOL, Apple, and, of course, Microsoft, each of which has its own new desktop search product in the works.

Google’s first-to-market advantage and search-engine cachet give it amazing leverage in this desktop search war. But what we really want to know is: Will it have ads? Some claim that Google can benefit from maintaining an ad-less desktop search by using it as a means to drive traffic to their ad-full Web search. That might be true in the short term, but considering Google’s main revenue stream comes from keyword and now content-sensitive ad placement, there’s no reason to think it will leave our desktops alone for long.



Originally published in Queue vol. 2, no. 9
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