IN ORBIT: News snippets

Forrester: The Web will die

Dumb, boring, dusty - are these words that describe the most ballyhooed innovation in decades, and the foundation on which our New Economy teeters? According to technology research firm Forrester Research, that's just what today's Web is.

And not only is the Web cold, clammy and pale, but it is doomed to die, says Forrester. In a recent report the research firm predicts that the Internet will experience a second round of expansion that will move it beyond the browser to become a more interactive and pervasive medium which Forrester calls the "X Internet". In its evolution, the report predicts, it will eclipse the Web.

The X Internet, Forrester says, will be more executable, offering real-time, interactive data through disposable code, or programs that can be used once and then thrown away.

Forrester predicts that during the Internet's next wave of development, fueled by a global Internet backbone and cheap chips, the number of Internet devices will explode from the current 100 million to more than 14 billion.

PDAs threaten data network security

As PDA (personal digital assistant) usage escalates, concerns grow about data network security, according to research company Gartner's Solista unit.

According to Robin Simpson, mobile and wireless consulting group director for Gartner, handheld devices connecting to the network via different methods behind the firewall can create real problems for IT departments.

The issue holds even more

concerns due to a lack of user authentication. "As enterprises develop applications that hook into CRM and ERP applications, more sensitive information will be accessed by, and found on, handhelds; tools to provide security on these devices are a bit slow coming," Simpson says.

However, Simpson believes too much hype surrounds increased virus attacks finding their way into networks via affected PDAs.

"I think software manufacturers are making the problem bigger than what it is. I think to write a virus that can be transferred from a PDA and is then able to do something nasty on a PC isn't likely."

Palm's platform developer alliance manager for Southeast Asia, Gavin Maxwell, cites the major security issues with handhelds as theft and loss.

"There has only been one

malicious application for handhelds to date: the Liberty trojan horse last year (which deleted all files not pre-installed on the PDA). There have been no viruses yet detected for the Palm. The market is a long way behind that of the PC market in terms of the number and types of attacks," Maxwell said.

But according to Forrester, the Net first needs to evolve and users need to move beyond their Web-only thinking. Today's wimpy Web is like early television programming which was just radio with a picture of an announcer, the report's author, Forrester research director Carl D. Howe, said in a statement. The X Internet, however, could make users' online experiences more engaging, like letting consumers shop online using a Doom game interface whereby buyers shoot deals they want, Howe added.

By Kelly Mills, Computerworld Today (Australia)