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Blue Hats vs. Red Mond

The now annual BlueHat Security Briefings, where Microsoft invites top security gurus to test Redmond's wares and learn how to secure, just ended, and I'm dang sorry I missed it (of course, being severely security challenged, I didn't rate an invite).

Sessions ranged from exploiting the Web and securing ASP to making apps that run on Windows core technologies safer. One of the more exciting speakers was Johnny "I hack stuff" Long, an expert on using Google for exploits.

Here's what you missed.

And here's what Redmond folks have to say.

'People-Ready': Thank You Captain Obvious!
"Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer today outlined the company's vision for how people, armed with the right software, are the key to driving business success."

Thus began a press release posted late last week on Microsoft.com. Think about that for a second. Does that have any meaning whatsoever? Did Microsoft do a survey and discover that businesses are run by robots, computers and house plants? It's almost as if they called a press conference before they had any idea what they were going to announce, and some marketing flunky looked at all the humans in the room and tossed out the 'people' idea.

Microsoft is so in love with this nonsense that it is spending half a billion dollars on an ad campaign. Does 'people-ready' mean anything to you, or is it pure unadulterated drivel? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

IT Jobs: Hirings Finally Outnumber Firings
The IT job market is almost as flat as a run-over Texas armadillo, according to Robert Half Technology. Eighty-four percent of CIOs surveyed plan no change, while 4 percent plan to slash, burn or otherwise boot IT workers out the door. There is a sliver of good news: Twelve percent of CIOs hope to actually hire more people this year. Also good news for many of you, the No. 1 skill in demand is Windows administration.

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Hiding Behind Anonymity: Cowardice or Free Speech?
There's a bill in New Jersey you may have heard about where anonymous forum posts would be outlawed, or at least ISPs would be held liable for any harm these posts may cause.

Free speech types jumped all over this, simplistically arguing that we should all be free to say whatever we want, without having to own up to it. The bill is a blunt and perhaps wacky sword, but isn't there just a shred of logic here? We have slander and libel laws that make it illegal to lie about someone and cause them harm. Of course, these laws assume that the libeler/slanderer can be identified. With anonymity one can libel and slander till the cows come home (tax-evading, gluttonous, foul-smelling cows -- I can say this because cows can't sue…I hope).

Is it fair to let anonymous posters say whatever they want -- with no legal recourse? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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