CIO Watercooler: New jobs, free Windows and Weaselboy

Who's getting the best CIO jobs? Check out the latest roundup of IT news you should know.

This just in -- Gartner analysts are doing their best Nostradamus once again -- just yesterday identifying important IT trends for 2006 and beyond. At least three of them are definitely worth a CIO's attention, and unlike the famed French astrologer, they don't predict anything too scary:

1. The job market for IT specialists will drop 40% by 2010, and IT "versatilists" will be in demand. These are IT pros with several specialties. The scariest thing about this prediction is the word (is it even a word?) "versatilist," which really chafes my spellchecker.

2. A Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) revolution -- $11 billion large -- is headed for the insurance industry by 2008.

3. SOX will continue to slow investigations and adoptions of new technologies through 2008.

Some of the stories covered in November include AMR's report that SOX compliance spending will hit $6 billion in 2006. Another hot story was (and is) a "Travelgate," centering on the Massachusetts CIO who is daring to dump Microsoft. We also examined whether CIOs should brand and market their IT departments -- like a pair of Gap jeans -- to show the rest of the company how great they are.

Now here's a Web-wide look at other news fodder -- the best of the rest -- that might come in handy on your next trip to the water cooler (unless you had to ax the water cooler because of compliance spending).

No lap left behind. OK, so it's not exactly the laptop of luxury, but it will make computers accessible to more children. MIT Media Lab chairman Nicholas Negroponte says his nonprofit organization will have low-cost laptops (about $100) ready for schoolchildren in poor countries this time next year. You crank it up via a handle on the side – and the laptop runs for about 40 minutes. It runs on Linux -- and that could add to the platform's street cred.

Money for nothing and Windows for free? Free Microsoft desktop applications! I can hear a collective "whatEVER," but they're really thinking about it, according to CNET, which got a peek at some internal MS documents that indicate Gates and company are thinking about a plans for ad-supported versions of desktop offerings and possibly the Windows operating system.

Hurry up and wait. Wondering what to do about Microsoft Windows Vista? Stop wondering. Start waiting. Gartner analysts said wait until 2008 before considering this a must-have item.

Amount the scams netted? $2.7 million. Number of years in prison? Six. Being forever known as "Weaselboy"? Priceless. Say goodbye to Peter Francis-Macrae. He's going away for a while. The 23-year-old Brit -- part spammer, part thug and all weasel -- earned six years in prison for selling bogus .eu domain names and threatening to kill anyone who ratted him out. Macrae's nickname: Weaselboy. Sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon character --with sharp teeth and a nasty temper.

Scratch off RFID. Not since the first scratch-n-sniff perfume has scratch news been so exciting -- researchers at IBM said they've developed RFID tags that can be scratched off like a lottery ticket. This would allow a consumer to remove an RFID antenna from, say, a new shirt, thus getting rid of that Big Brother smell.

I am woman, hear me run the IT department. Gartner held a semiannual meeting for Brazilian female CIOs in November. According to Lone de Almeida Coco, vice president of Gartner EXP Latin America, the number of women CIOs in Brazil is increasing and has gone from 30 to 70 in the last couple of years.

Didn't we call it CA anyway? Don't call it Computer Associates International anymore. Just call it CA from now on. We've had a lot of practice at this -- from KFC, to FedEx to P. Diddy, to just plain Diddy.

IP security fears. Are CIOs worried about the security of IP networks? Absolutely. Are they forging ahead with the technology anyway? You bet. London-based analyst firm EIU found that more than 66% of 236 surveyed global CIOs and CEOs believe network security is a big concern when it comes to switching to a totally IP network. But the same number is going to roll out the tech regardless.

I fudge, therefore I am. If they were to make it a sitcom, they could call it "Absolutely Fraudulent." Security firm TSSI Systems surveyed workers in the U.K. and found that about half fessed up to forgery, a quarter admitted fudging their educational qualifications, and 10% had committed some kind of low-level identity fraud. It's unclear how many of these people hang with Weaselboy.

CIOs on the go

  • Nasdaq CIO Steve Randich will resign effective Dec. 9 to take a similar post at Citigroup. Nasdaq senior vice president Anna M. Ewing will take over for Randich.

  • Barclays Capital has named Philip Freeborn the new managing director and CIO, effective in January.

  • Ace Hardware has appointed Michael Elmore, the former CIO of Pep Boys, as vice president of IT.

  • Catherine Szenczy is the new senior vice president and CIO of MedStar Health.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of California has appointed Elinor MacKinnon its new CIO.

  • BJ's Wholesale Club has named John Polizzi senior vice president and CIO. He succeeds Roland LaFerriere, who will retire after 31 years with the company.

  • John G. Grimes has begun his job as CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense. President George W. Bush nominated him in June.

  • Cognos has announced that Business Objects veteran Claudio Silvestri will join the company as CIO, effective December 5.

  • Twila M. Day begins her new job as vice president and CIO of Sysco Dec. 1. Day previously served as vice president of IT.

  • Juniper Networks has appointed Alan Boehme CIO. He will report to the company's CFO Bob Dykes.

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