January’s traditionally a slow month for tech news, with the exception of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, four convention centres’ worth of new gadgets that probably aren’t available in Canada. This time of year is the Network Manager’s Nightmare, with staffers starry-eyed over their Christmas acquisitions and dying to get them onto the company network, a security and support fiasco waiting to happen.
Staffer: Look! It’s running the Android 9.5 Marzipan operating system, it’s got forward-facing, backward-facing and sideways-facing cameras, noise suppression, Dolby THX, it weigh one-ninth of a gram …
Network Manager: Yeah, that’s cute. Here’s your BlackBerry.
As the annual upping of the ante in the BYOD stakes continued, there was news elsewhere in the IT world.
Ex-Nortel CEO Frank Dunn and two other executives were acquitted of fraud charges
* RIM die-hards are, as I write this, turning purple with anticipation as the launch date for the first BlackBerry 10-based handsets approaches. It’s been two years and a precipitous share-price drop in the making, so the prevailing sentiment is: This had better be good. The good news for RIM is that Microsoft didn’t make a lot in the way of inroads into the mobile market with Windows Phone 8 over the holidays, so one potential rock weighing down a RIM recovery is out of play, and the recent porting of 15,000 apps to the platform
can’t hurt. Here’s hoping.
* The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised all Intertubes users to disable Java
in their browsers due to vulnerabilities. “Let’s be honest,” cracks IT Business editor Brian Jackson on Twitter. “We all disabled Java a long time ago because of the constant annoying update requests.” I can haz HTML 5 now?
* On a truly sad note, Reddit co-founder and RSS creator, programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide in Brooklyn, N.Y. The 26-year-old had been hounded by prosecutors for allegedly downloading five million academic journals from a Massachussetts Institute of Technology database with the intention of making the documents freely available. He faced up to 35 years in jail and $1 million in fines for misusing MIT’s network, even though MIT refused to press charges, actively discouraged the prosecutor from pressing charges, dropped a civil action against Swartz when he returned the documents and, ironically, released the journals for free public consumption. MIT president L. Rafael Reif, in a stand-up move, said the institute would investigate the role it played in the tragedy. The prosecution dropped the charges after Swartz’s death, which, while it sounds ironic, isn’t; it’s common procedure when a defendant dies before trial.