The IT Strategy Letter
Doug Kaye, RDS Strategies LLC
February 9, 2004 (Subscribe)

In this issue:

O'Reilly ETech Keynotes on IT Conversations. Through a relationship with the kind folks at O'Reilly, you'll be able to hear and read transcripts of the Emerging Technology Conference keynote presentations on the IT Conversations web site. We expect to post the audio of keynotes by the end of they day on which they're presented. Transcripts should follow within another 24-48 hours. If you want to be notified as soon as new recordings and/or transcripts are posted, subscribe to our announcement list.
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 11:38:08 PM

Digital Democracy on IT Conversations. If you can't make it to hear the terrific speakers at O'Reilly's Digital Democracy Teach-In (or even if you can), you'll be able to hear the presentations and read the transcripts on IT Conversations. Because we'll be recording all day Monday, February 9, the sessions probably won't appear on line until sometime late Tuesday, and the transcripts not until Wednesday. As with our posting of the ETech Conference keynotes, If you want to be notified as soon as new recordings and/or transcripts are posted, subscribe to our announcement list.

And Hear it Live, Today Only! If we can solve a few on-site networking problems (keep your fingers crossed for us) we'll broadcast a real-time audio stream of all of the day's presentations on Monday, February 9, 2004.
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 11:49:22 PM

Joe Trippi Keynote. Joe Trippi, the man whose ground-breaking use of Internet-based campaigning propelled Howard Dean from obscurity to early front-runner, will be the keynoter at the Digital Democracy Teach-In. Former Dean campaign manager Trippi will take Teach-In participants inside the campaign's unconventional experiment in Internet politics, and look at both victories and lessons learned. While Dean may no longer be leading the pack, the other candidates are rushing to emulate Trippi's Internet strategy--as "Wired News" declared yesterday, "Internet politics is dead. Long live Internet politics." Trippi will kick off the Teach-In Monday, February 9, in San Diego. We'll have the audio on line later that day on IT Conversations with a full transcript to follow.
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 2:52:54 PM

Dan Gillmor: 2004 Outlook. His technology column for the San Jose Mercury News usually appears in the Business section, but Dan's self-assigned beat includes a personal blend of technology, economics, law, and civil liberties. He began his journalism career covering economics, but he and two brothers have always been geeks at heart. Although he feels the responsibility of covering tech for the Silicon Valley newspaper, he insists it carries no real power.

In this IT Conversation, Dan gives his views on a broad variety of topics facing us in 2004. Regarding the "copyright cartel," he points out that if we had been in this state 30 years ago when photocopiers became commonplace, "every one of them would have been registered with a serial number, and there would have been some heavy reporting system that prevented anyone from making an unauthorized copy of a piece of text...That sounds like the Soviet Union."

Dan's excited about the convergence of WiFi and VoIP. He already sees rapid growth of higher-bandwidth 802.11g, and anticipates progress on "the glaring lack of security in current WiFi systems." His reaction to SCO's lawsuits over Linux? "Unprintable and unsayable...reprehensible...disgusting." Dan believes that open-source software is ready today for certain corporate environments, but perhaps the most important effect is "that it's forcing Microsoft to get more creative on its extortionate prices." If Thailand can get Windows and Office for only $40, what about other countries and large companies?

But what does Dan consider "one of the really great scandals in the last 10 years?" The "revolving door" of voting officials who go to work for voting-machine vendors. Don't miss Dan's explanation of the problems of the touch-screen voting machines that may well determine the outcome of the U.S. 2004 presidential election. [A new IT Conversation]
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004 8:52:43 AM

Web Services Face Some Growing Pains. "I think I'm the only nonvendor on the panel today, so let me take the contrarian view...There's a great deal of value today in simple Web services, and all of the vendors have great examples of that. But as you go up the complexity stack to more complex applications, you fairly quickly come to a point where you must go beyond [currently defined] standards." [Part of my contribution to a roundtable published in eWeek]
Posted Sunday, February 01, 2004 5:45:27 PM

SCO v. IBM: Should we Worry? "Web hosts are wondering if there is anything to SCO's lawsuit, and how its outcome might affect Web hosting vendors and their customers." -- My January column for The Web Host Industry Review.
Posted Sunday, February 01, 2004 10:39:25 AM

A Great VPN for Travelers. Would you pay $8.88/month to make your WiFi and hotel-room broadband connections secure? And suppose you could configure this in less than three minutes (I'm not kidding!) without downloading a single piece of software? That's what a cool new service does, and I really like it.

I admit it -- I've been bad. I've traveled around the world using WiFi and CAT5 broadband connections in hotel rooms, airports, and coffee shops, knowing full well how easy it was for others to capture my usernames, passwords, and other personal data. I knew I should have been using a VPN.

Now I'm heading to the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference where everyone is connected by WiFi and sniffing is de rigeur. I need encryption; I need a VPN.

I first went out and bought a Netgear FVS318 router for $150 because I knew it could handle a few IPsec tunnels. It took a few hours to get it working in combination with my existing WiFi access point, cable modem, and various devices on the LAN. (The normal setup is a piece of cake; I just have a few oddball config issues here.) But when it came time to connect to my new VPN server I discovered I needed to download a $149 third-party client! Whoa...I thought Windows XP had an IPsec client built in. I guess it only works with a Windows server -- not what I had in mind.

So I looked around and came across HotSpotVPN. It's run by Glynn Taylor, and it's based on redundant server clusters in Virginia and Los Angeles. You just configure your Mac or PC to use its native (not IPsec) VPN capabilities and point it at the HotSpotVPN servers. Your traffic will be encrypted through the tunnel between your computer and HotSpotVPN. From there it travels normally (in the clear or still protected by SSL) to its destination. Works like a charm.

If I'd kept the Netgear FVS318, my throughout would have been limited by Comcast's 100Kbps upstream speed. With HotSpotVPN, I can run pretty much flat out. Power outages at home now can't kill my remote access to the 'Net, and I can spend $8.88/month for almost three years before I pay as much as I would for the traditional solution. [I have no relationship with HotSpotVPN.]
Posted Friday, February 06, 2004 9:20:03 PM

Loosely Coupled--Now Available as a PDF (at a 63% Discount)


  • Entire book: US$14.95
  • Major parts (4 total): US$5.95 each
  • Individual chapters (21 total): US$1.95 each

As an alternative to the hardcopy edition, you can now download my latest book in PDF format at a substantial discount using PayPal or BitPass. From the time you purchase the eBook version, you have 7 days during which you can download the content up to 10 times. The PDF files can be printed, but the text cannot be copied or modified. Review of the Week:

"This book provides an excellent explanation of why companies should be looking at Web services. It approaches the topic with an honest and straightforward description of the problem space Web services are targeted to address and the characteristics/short comings of those technologies as they exist today and as they are expected to evolve. Perfect for IT decision makers who are evaluating how/where Web services fit in their corporate IT strategy."

--James Snell, IBM, author Programming Web Services with SOAP
(Read more reviews.)

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The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by RDS Strategies LLC. Much -- but not all -- of the content is published earlier in Doug Kaye's weblogs.


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"...essential reading for anyone seeking to deploy this technology."

--John Hagel, III,
management consultant
and author of
"Out of the Box"


Read More Reviews of Loosely Coupled