Bowing to blogospheric criticism, Forbes deleted two articles from its Web site on Wednesday, one of which was titled "Don't marry career women."
The article, written by Forbes.com executive editor Michael Noer, included excerpts from a series of social science papers and reported that long work hours for women consistently increase the odds of a divorce but similar jumps in men's work hours often don't.
By itself, summarizing the relatively dry sociology literature probably wouldn't have drawn much of a response. But Noer was intentionally flip, advising in the first paragraph of his article: "Guys: A word of advice.... Whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career." Outrage soon ensued .
Noer's article appears to have been offline for a few hours before it was reposted with a rebuttal written by Elizabeth Corcoran, who works in Forbes' Silicon Valley bureau. Corcoran concluded: "So guys, if you're game for an exciting life, go ahead and marry a professional gal."
"The story about careers was taken down so we could put up a new, enhanced package which includes Michael's original story," Debbie Weathers, director of editorial communications at Forbes.com, wrote in an e-mail message to CNET News.com.
Weathers said, however, she could not explain why a second article by Noer was also deleted but not restored as of 9 p.m. PT Wednesday.
That article was published in February and is titled "The Economics Of Prostitution." It cites a paper on prostitution by two female academics, economists Lena Edlund and Evelyn Korn, and invokes economic theory to analyze the differences between wives and whores.
The paper's language is as stilted as you might expect from academic economists, but well within the economic mainstream Nevertheless, blogs like Gawker.com quickly started suggesting that Noer has "issues" with the institution of marriage.
What next? Well, if critics hate Noer's economic take on things, wait until he starts writing about an article by Gary Becker , a Nobel laureate in economics, that demonstrates cash payments for organs would, naturally, increase their supply and decrease deaths.
Or economist Steven Landsburg's suggestion that spikes installed in steering wheels would decrease accidents . Or pretty much anything that economist David Friedman has written, including his idea in Law's Order of abolishing speed limits, setting a massive fine for accidents, and letting drivers buy insurance that lets them drive a certain speed for a certain amount of money.
With every Google enterprise announcement Microsoft must hear the war drums beating.
Sure, Google owns the search market. And, as a result, the company is the online advertising leader. But Microsoft has all those Windows desktops out there, and owns the corporate market, right?
Well, maybe not for long.
Sure, software as a service and cloud computing don't sound as sexy as free e-mail and pay-per-click, but they are the wave of the future, experts say.
On Thursday , Google unveiled a re-branded Web Security for Enterprise based on the Postini technology it acquired last year. The Web-hosted service protects corporate Web and e-mail users from viruses, spyware, and malicious Web sites, and extends protection directly to remote workers if needed.
This is all part of Google's hosted apps business, but targeted at corporate customers instead of consumers who expect--and get--hosted services for free, at least for now.
By putting traditional desktop applications, e-mail, word processing, and calendars into the cloud, Google relieves corporations of the administrative burden of having to buy hardware, install software, and hire people to maintain it.
This greatly reduces the costs for corporations and allows them to focus on their core businesses. And by beefing up the security of its hosted offerings, Google has removed a large impediment to widespread corporate adoption of its hosted services.
"Securing the current enterprise environment is futile," Philippe Courtot, chief executive of Qualys, which offers security as a service to corporations, said in an interview on Friday. "This is a problem Microsoft should have fixed a long time ago."
With an arsenal of search, Web-hosted apps and the advertising-supported "money-making machine...Google is going to kill Microsoft," he predicted.
Google's offering is compelling for corporations because of the ease with which they can be up and running without any IT headaches, says Nitesh Dhanjani, senior manager and leader of application security services at Ernst & Young.
"Microsoft says 'here's the software.' Google says 'it's already there; we just create the accounts and you can start today,'" Dhanjani says. "We're seeing, from an IT perspective, that in the next couple of years services will move into the cloud, even security services, so Google is really thinking ahead."
Microsoft certainly recognizes this trend. The company turned its FrontBridge acquisition into Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services, which includes security. But the software giant doesn't have a pure, software-as-a-service-based messaging security platform like Google or MessageLabs, says Paul Roberts, senior analyst for enterprise security at The 451 Group.
"Microsoft clearly sees the light that the Web and the Internet are the OS of the future and that selling shrink-wrapped software isn't going to be feasible," Roberts says.
Peter Firstbrook, a program director at Gartner, summed it up this way: "I wouldn't ring the bells yet, but it is another feather in Google's cap; another service they can offer so that they become more strategic to their customers."
Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has a friendly suggestion for federal regulators: Update your financial disclosure rules for the Internet age, already.
In a blog entry on Monday, Schwartz ponders why public companies like his must issue paper-based press releases or stage "anachronistic" telephonic conference calls every time they want to reveal information considered material to their financial performance.
"I would argue that none of those routes are as accessible to the general public as a this blog, or Sun's web site," Schwartz wrote.
But that's the way the system currently functions under rules known as Reg. FD , or Regulation Fair Disclosure, the CEO said.
So he penned a formal letter last week to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, who himself has openly suggested the need to "harness" the Internet's power to aid American investors.
In that note, Schwartz asked the chairman to clarify that Web postings alone would satisfy the financial rules. He argued that such a change would actually allow companies to be more transparent with their affairs--and to reach a broader swath of interested investors than they would through "proprietary news outlets" that require subscriptions.
No word yet on what the SEC makes of the suggestion--a spokesman told CNET News.com that the agency doesn't comment on such correspondence.
Mozilla hopes to set a world record for the most downloads within a 24-hour period on the day Firefox 3 is released .
The online edition of Guinness Book of World Records does not list a current record for most downloads within 24 hours.
The final release candidates for Firefox 3 are showing a number of improvements, including greater rendering speed, the use of fewer resources, and more baked-in security features than other browsers.
To help Mozilla set a world record, the foundation recommends the following:
Sign up to get the final copy of Firefox 3 on Download Day . Host a Download Day Fest on Firefox 3 launch day at your school, office, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Become a Firefox campus representative and collect pledges from fellow students. Add Mozilla buttons and banners to your site, blog, or profile.
To get people excited, Mozilla has provided a map showing pledges to date along with more details.
Updated at 11:08 a.m. PST.
New York's lawmakers have introduced legislation to keep convicted sex offenders off the likes of Facebook and MySpace.
In a press conference on Tuesday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Joseph Bruno, and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver unveiled details of the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act , a new bill to crack down on the presence of sex offenders on the Internet, specifically on sites where they could get in touch with minors. The legislation aims to restrict convicted sex offenders' Web use, banning them from social networks like Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace.
Under E-Stop, registered sex offenders in New York would have to turn over online identity information, such as e-mail addresses and instant messaging screen names, to the state. Participating social-networking sites would have access to the registry so they could block access, a statement from Cuomo's office explained. In addition, sex offenders who previously had "used the Internet to commit their offense, victimized a minor or who have been determined to be a high risk for committing a new offense" would have their Internet usage restricted by the state's parole board. It would be a violation of parole for a convicted sex offender to change e-mail addresses without notifying authorities within five days.
New York has nearly 25,000 names in its sex offender registry. Cuomo's office has been extremely vocal about social-networking safety for minors, engaging in high-profile legal negotiations with Facebook last year.
Executives at Facebook and MySpace have expressed support for the proposed New York legislation. "We applaud Attorney General Cuomo's leadership, both on this legislation and on the development of precedent-setting social-networking safety principles in which MySpace and 50 state attorneys general recently joined," Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief security officer, said in a statement.
Nigam was referring to the agreement earlier this month in which law enforcement authorities joined up with MySpace representatives to announce an extensive new safety plan. "This bill complements technology we've already put in place to remove registered sex offenders from our community and is a comprehensive approach to protecting Internet users from predators," Nigam continued.
Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, also released a statement: "The E-Stop Act will enhance Facebook's existing use of technology and social rules to build a safer and more trusted environment for its users," he said. "We applaud the leadership of Attorney General Cuomo, Majority Leader Bruno, and Speaker Silver in introducing such effective legislation in the effort to protect kids online."
In the press conference, New York law enforcement authorities expressed concerns bordering on sensationalism, name-checking the hit primetime TV show To Catch a Predator as evidence that children now face far more dangers than they did a generation ago, offline as well as online. But MySpace's Nigam attempted to buoy fears and suggested that the right legal and technological checks can make social-networking sites perfectly safe.
"We often talk about the virtual world of the Internet as separate and apart from everyday life," Nigam said at the press conference. "However, as our teens spend more and more time online this has become a difference without a distinction. Rather than treating the online and offline worlds differently, our goal has been and will continue to be to make our virtual neighborhoods as safe as our real ones."
Kelly, who talked up Facebook's promotion of "a real-name culture instead of a screen-name culture" as evidence of its commitment to safety, agreed that with legislation like E-Stop, social-networking sites will be safe for minors--and then, ideally, they may stop getting targeted as hotbeds of activity for sex offenders.
"We need assistance from govt to identify those individuals," Kelly said.
Plane? What plane? Ever the skeptics, bloggers are doubting whether a videotape released Tuesday of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon will do anything to quell conspiracy theories about what happened on that ill-fated day.
The Department of Defense released the video tape in response to a Freedom of Infomation Act request and related lawsuit brought on by government watchdog group Judicial Watch. The government was apparently waiting for the Zacarious Maoussaoui trial to end before releasing the videos.
"Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement on his organization's site, one of many places online to view the videos.
But bloggers, who note that you can't even make out an airplane in the frame-by-frame clip, beg to differ.
Blog community response:
"Not only does this video show absolutely nothing , but it merely lends itself to the question 'if there were no conspiracy, why would the gov't not release these tapes until now?" -- Shnickens on MySpace
"Basically these videos are the same crap that has been circulated over the past 4 years in various analyses of the attack on the Pentagon. But nonetheless--I'm glad we can finally close the case on conspiracy theories with this conclusive and fully-revealing video! The real question here is: why is the Pentagon's surveillance equipment the equivalent of a camera-phone tied to a stick hundreds of feet away from the very building it's surveying?" -- G7 Welcoming Committee
"This isn't going to calm down the conspiracy nuts though. They can start screaming that the Pentagon delayed these videos so that they could be altered...that there isn't a plane there...that the earth is flat...and that their neighbor had a black helicopter in an underground cavern behind his garage that he only flies at night when there's a new moon." -- Neal Boortz
"Some claim that this 'video' will end the conspiracy theories . However, to be candid, the newly released images raise more questions than answers. For example, it is impossible to see what the object is that strikes the Pentagon...Then, there is still the open question of what happened to the surveillance tapes from other cameras near the Pentagon." -- Notes from the Charcoal Moon
Never mind that there's little-to-no software that can take advantage of four processing cores, Xtreme Notebooks has released the first quad-core laptop in the U.S. With no mobile quad-core parts in existence, the Xtreme 917V Accelerator turns to desktop CPUs, giving you a choice between the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and the Q6700. Pricing starts at $3,359. Other niceties on this gaming laptop/mobile workstation include: a glossy widescreen 17-inch display , one or two Nvidia GeForce Go 8700M GT or 7950 GTX graphics cards, and up to three hard drives in RAID 0, 1 or 5 configurations. It ships with 4.1 speakers , a Webcam, and a hefty 12-cell battery, while giving you the option to add a Blu-ray drive, a TV tuner, and 11n Wi-Fi. You can outfit it with XP or Vista or opt out of a preloaded OS entirely. Xtreme Notebooks quotes a system weight of 12.5 pounds.
It all adds up to an unquestionably powerful laptop, but I'd like to know what the Xtreme 917V Accelerator sounds like when it's cooling a desktop CPU, two video cards, and three hard drives. I retired an old Dell laptop last year that used a Pentium 4 desktop chip; the thing was not what you'd call quiet.
Hopefully, our request for a review unit will be met with a positive response. Ideally, the Xtreme 917V Accelerator will occupy a spot in our labs right next to the diametrically opposed Asus Eee PC .