Rockies Web Site Crashes

Sorry, I'm from Boston, so I can't help but find this amusing. It's the Sox and the Rocks starting the 2007 World Series in Fenway tonight. Just yesterday, though, the Rockies were having a bit of technological trouble with their newfound success.

The computer systems that manage the Rockies' online ticket sales for the World Series, run by Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan, crashed after a huge initial surge -- 8.5 million hits in the first 90 minutes. They sold several hundred tickets before they had to shut down. Paciolan and Rockies reps expected to have the ticket sales site back up by Tuesday afternoon.

This is a big deal, because the only way to get tickets for World Series games at Coors Field will be online, which the Rockies' management feels is the fairest method of distributing the 20,000 or so tickets up for grabs (the other 30,000 seats are for season ticket holders and the teams). Those who don't have access or quick enough connection weren't about to be denied. There was reportedly a small crowd of people lined up outside the Denver Public Library in the freezing pre-dawn waiting to use the library's computers to nail down tickets. You've got to admire that level of fanaticism.

Is the system crash a harbinger of their decline? Do you think it was really a systematic, malicious attack or just hordes of crazed baseballs fans trying to score a ticket? How does your organization handle spikes in Web traffic? Find me way out in left field and let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Takes RIM Shot
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced software that lets you use Windows to manage mobile phones as if they were desktops. System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 lets you deploy applications to phones, control security settings and carefully manage these notoriously tricky mobile devices. Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement at the CTIA wireless exposition going on this week in San Francisco.

This is a direct shot at the market currently dominated by Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the insanely popular BlackBerry device and software. Part of Microsoft's goal for this fiscal year is to sell more than 20 million licenses to its Windows Mobile operating system. There will be new phones that support SCMD Manager 2008 coming out early next year from Palm, Motorola and others.

For its part, RIM has been incessantly boosting what the BlackBerry can do beyond simple voice and text messaging and e-mail. The mobile landscape is shaping up as the next big battleground.

Do you use Windows Mobile? Do you use a BlackBerry? How will you reconcile using both once it becomes more feasible? What's your mobile strategy overall? Catch up with me and let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

One in Six Computers Infected
That's the grim word from Derby, England-based malware researcher Prevx. That stat is based on checks made for active spyware and malware on nearly 300,000 desktop systems over the last 30 days.

Of the 290,647 PCs scanned with Prevx's Computer Security Investigator tool, 45,251 (or 15.6 percent) had an active infection with one or more instances of spyware or other malware. The results of this recent widespread system check, published earlier this week, also revealed that 59.5 percent of businesses running the CSI tool discovered at least one infected PC within their network.

It seems like there's always some new threat against which we have to defend ourselves. How often do you check your systems, and how? What's the general status of your network security? Check in with me at llow@redmondmag.com.

Vermont Gets Cyber-Crime Funding
The state of Vermont is getting some help from the feds to fight computer crime – specifically, crimes targeting children. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will receive a $250,000 grant from the federal Justice Department.

The task force was formed to address increasing Internet use by children and teenagers, and the extent to which child predators use the Internet to conduct their crimes. The multi-agency Vermont task force is charged with public education, law enforcement training and prosecution. The group plans to use the grant to continue its effort and fund a new computer forensic lab. Good news for kids and parents, bad news for the bad guys.

Do you think this type of anti-crime funding should be a federal or state-level responsibility? Do you think law enforcement is doing enough to protect kids? What safeguards do you use at home? Let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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