Heard on the (IT) street

A look at some of the newsworthy moments of 2004, as told from those in the trenches and ripped from the headlines.

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This year saw a number of events that affected IT. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with its harsh penalties for public companies that lack internal data controls, finally kicked in. While patching systems remained a huge problem, mainly because there seemed to be so many holes to fill, it prompted industry leaders to band together to produce more secure software. Outsourcing was one of the most hotly debated issues of the year, and will most...

likely continue to be for the next few years. Microsoft unveiled the massive XP Service Pack 2 to demonstrate its commitment to secure software. And the 18-month battle between PeopleSoft and Oracle left users unsure of the future. Here is a sampling of notable quotes that helped define 2004.

Job woes

"The separation of personal and work life is getting very gray. I have a pager, cell phone and remote access via Citrix and a laptop. The tools that help me while I'm at work also haunt me while I'm not." -- "M.L.," an IT administrator speaking anonymously about why so many in IT aren't happy with their jobs these days. (IT pros bare souls on job woes)

"I've never seen it this bad. If I had a Plan B, I'd execute it right now." -- Ron Milan, former LAN administrator, whose job was offshored. (Feeding the FUD: Silent CIOs can sabotage outsourcing plans)

Microsoft backlash

"Cooler heads will prevail. … The issues are not as big as feared." -- IBM's Nathaniel Borenstein, speaking about the intellectual property issues surrounding Microsoft and the open source community over the proposed Sender ID antispam standard.

(Sender ID not DOA, standards body says)

"It's the whole [Windows product] package that's the crown jewels, and any given piece would be like one gemstone." -- Meta Group's Steve Kleynhans, in response to some of the source code for Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system was leaked onto the Internet on Feb. 13, 2004.

(Part of Microsoft's 'crown jewels' hits the Net)

Certify this

"There are very few other areas in society where people will or would tolerate vendors controlling certification. I'll give you a very quick and easy example: How much would you tolerate it if you had to get your driver's license from Ford?" -- Linux Professional Institute's Evan Leibovitch.

(LPI satisfies demand for vendor-neutral Linux certs)

Out on a limb

"The same can be said about tying cats' tails together and hanging them in pairs over a clothesline. The stronger will survive, but the quality of life of the general population will be permanently mauled." -- Progress Energy's Robert Gannon, noting that the argument that a job crunch will make the United States more competitive is wrong.

"A CEO or a CIO has found it very profitable to send knowledge jobs overseas, but as a U.S. citizen, they may feel it's unhealthy for the country." -- David Gergen, former presidential adviser, discussing the conflict U.S. executives feel about offshoring and the impending push to fund more IT R&D in the U.S.

(R&D investments could help ease offshore pains)

"The hypothesis that offshoring will create jobs will be led by the SMB group, They just want to be able to grow quickly and have to put all that money saved by offshoring back into operations." -- i-Vantage Inc.'s Amit Maheshwari, on why small to medium-sized businesses should look at an offshore model.

(SMB offshoring creating new jobs)

Knitting SOX into the enterprise

"I guarantee they (the government) are going to hang people out to dry." -- Robert Frances Group's Cal Braunstein, reflecting on penalties for violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

(Survey sheds light on spam, SOX spending)

"Many regulations aren't defined, so why would I pay an auditor to do things that haven't been decided yet?" -- SeaBright Insurance Co.'s Skip Borland, explaining why his company was in no rush to spend large amounts of money on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

(SOX auditor talks CIO accountability, red flags)

"I think SOX is more like Y2K every day This is a permanent issue, and most organizations aren't set up to deal with that." -- Grant Thornton LLP's Larry Baye, noting how compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley is a pain for IT -- because it's an ongoing project.

(SOX and the SMB: A tale of two auditors)

Silent killers

"Bluetooth is a silent killer. You can look at someone and not know that they have a Bluetooth device, yet they can still do damage." -- Forrester Research Inc.'s Stan Schatt, noting that Bluetooth devices aren't secure and have no place near the corporate network.

(Bluetooth: Security's 'silent killer')

"It's like charging me more for a gallon of gas because I drive a bigger car." -- SunGard Availability Services' Dave Thorn, in response to while it may only cost a half-million to upgrade to a newer-model mainframe, it could cost a million and a half to relicense the software.

(Software upgrade costs irk mainframe users)

"Have you ever had a bad dream that just wouldn't seem to end? We have -- ours has been going on for 15 months." -- PeopleSoft's former president and CEO Craig Conway, kicking off the user conference by dedicating the first few minutes of his opening keynote address to Oracle.

(PeopleSoft cozies up to IBM, stands firm against Oracle)

Marketing woes

"At what point does that love of the platform prevent you from moving forward. If all they want is ham and cheese and you think there's a market for pastrami, what do you do?" -- Pund-IT Research's Charles King.

(IBM tries to motivate users off AS/400)

"It's like offering life insurance to middle-aged men. I only want to sell it to nonsmokers who exercise and eat right. But there is still a lot of risk out there. The insured guy could be hit by a truck." -- Robert A. Parisi Jr., AIG eBusiness Risk Solutions, which has sold information security insurance since 1999.

(Security insurance may be a smart policy for some)

"Windows isn't being displaced. Our infrastructure is growing, but Linux is what ate the mainframe and the iSeries." -- Welch Foods Inc.'s Carmine Iannace.

(Juice maker squeezes out IT infrastructure savings)

"Microsoft is focused on desktop functions … and IBM Lotus is a process-focused architecture. With IBM's help, we're able to deliver steak at hamburger prices." -- PSC Group LLC's David Hough, on the difference between a Microsoft platform and a Lotus platform.

(Partners shoulder hopes for Domino's future)

"There are lots of possible scenarios. That is a scenario that was put in place, but has been stayed [by the courts]." -- RIM's Mike Lazaridis, on the possibility that RIM could be barred from selling the BlackBerry in the U.S.

(RIM president hails scalability, partners)

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