Author
 John Dickinson

Profile of John Dickinson

Blog Posts: 18
Articles by John Dickinson

Farewell -- It's Been Great!

9/27/2005
Creating and running the editorial for Messaging Pipeline has been a fun and interesting time for this technology journalist. Few assignments in my career have been as challenging, and that's the sort of food a journalist needs in order to survive. When I first started, the spam war reached its peak, diverting your and my attention from the amazing progress being made in other more important technologies, such as presence and instant messaging, as well as collaboration and conferencing tools.

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Give Web-Based E-Mail Another Look

9/23/2005
For all the reasons cited by Associated Press writer Anick Jesdanun about web-based e-mail clients--and more--you should all take a look around your shops at the state of desktop e-mail clients. They are nice enough products, have nice features, integrate well with other desktop products, and all that stuff. But they are also pervasive support problems, requiring upgrades and maintenance, hand-holding and the like. And they require you to ma

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Appliance World Is Just Around The Corner

9/17/2005
I'm feeling a bit like I ought to go to Las Vegas for the week. Why? Well, just a week ago I tested the JabberNow instant messaging appliance, and in my blog called on the rest of the industry to follow suit and begin packaging more applications into single-box appliances. And, in the next week, you'll be seeing more appliance announcements here in the messaging space, and I swear to you, I didn't know!

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Let's Hope The JabberNow IM Appliance Is A Trend

9/10/2005
Arrival of the JabberNow instant messaging server from Jabber, Inc. (see Jabber, Inc. Ships IM Appliance) presents a strong signal to the messaging and messaging security industry that it's time to think small if it wants to think big. JabberNow in its smallest configuration can support up to 25 users, can be geared up to interface to IM security and compliance systems, and can also be enhanced to federate via to the AOL Enterprise Fed

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Deadly Communications Failure

9/5/2005
Okay, this isn't about messaging, not per se, but it is about communications and in particular, it's about the failure of any and all communications systems to keep our political leadership in touch with what goes on in this country, and around the world. If these people were in touch with the reality of the world in which they and we live, we would not have a drowned United States city, with a citizenry that is either displaced or dead, today.

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Weep For New Orleans -- Worry About A Wireless Future

9/1/2005
I'm sitting here looking at a map of the levees and flood walls that surround the stricken City of New Orleans -- it is an amazingly complex network of man-made defenses built to withstand moving water, nature's most powerful force. Its extent has enabled the building of one of America's most special cities, and its inherent fragility has enabled that city's virtual destruction at the hands of Hurricane Katrina. And so it is with the wireless networks that we increasingly find ourselves wanting

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Google Talk -- Just Say No

8/26/2005
Google has officially announced that it's in the IM business. Hooray? Some months ago the company put out its e-mail effort, GMail. Hooray, I suppose. It's popular among a few GoogleManiacs, but it's really crappy as e-mail systems go. Hell, you can't even delete a message, a feature about as smart as the original Pascal programming language that couldn't display results or take input. If Google Talk is as good as GMail everyone -- especially AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!-- should just ignore it.

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Stopping The Scourge Requires Internet Citizenship

8/25/2005
In her column, MailFrontier CEO Anne Bonaparte calls on Internet messaging industry leaders to drop their ego-centric agendas and cooperate in the war against spam, viruses and phishing, by implementing both Sender ID and DKIM authentication systems, as well as some sort of sender accreditation system on a cooperative basis. I'd take it a step further and call on everyone to also work with the ISPs to help them throttle the attacks s

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Jason Smathers: Internet Criminal

8/17/2005
Let's think about this a second. Our good friend Jason Smathers sold 92 million America Online e-mail addresses to a spammer for $28,000. Those names generated an estimated 7 billion spam e-mail messages so far, and caused at least $400,000 in damages to AOL. And for that, the judge sentenced him to one year and three months in jail, and a payment of $82,000 in restitution to AOL (see AOL Worker Who Stole E-Mail List Sentenced)

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Strange Bedfellows

8/11/2005
You might think that Individualized Lifecycle Marketing, phishing and other fraud schemes, and a court case that allowed the University of Texas to block unsolicited marketing messages from entering the campus e-mail system, make for strange bedfellows, but you shouldn't. They're connected by a broad, sticky cord of despicable human beings ranging in class from pranksters all the way down to gangsters. Whatever they are, they're slime and nothing more -- all of them!

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And So -- What's Up With The Focus On Fraud?

8/4/2005
We've long been covering plain old phishing attacks, you know those e-mail messages you and your users get that tell you to update your financial information, or check your balances, or give you some other mealy-mouthed excuse to hand off your financial log-in information. On the surface, they look like specialized spam, but those "phishermen's special" e-mail messages are the tip of a very insidious iceberg that includes criminal theft of identity and money from innocent people and from the fin

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Why Focus On Viruses Here?

7/27/2005
You might wonder, as do some of my colleagues here at Techweb, why I’ve given so much space to coverage of ClamAV, the open source anti-virus filter technology. This is, after all Messaging Pipeline, and our focus here is on e-mail, instant messaging, and technology that promotes collaboration through messaging systems. Well, the answer is simple: virus transmission is a messaging phenomenon! In simple terms, we would not have the plague we have today without e-mail and insta

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Two Mergers, Two Circumstances, Two Results

7/22/2005
Acquisitions and mergers are a sometimes-wonderful, sometimes-painful fact of enterprise life, and they tend to happen at two distinctly different times in the life of an industry and in the lives of companies in that industry: at the beginning, and at the end. At the beginning, companies that are growing in related, but distinct arenas of a growing industry can often find growth-giving synergy by merging their technological, intellectual, and manufacturing assets. At the end, companies that are

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Internet Was A Success Amidst London Disaster

7/8/2005
Way back when, on 9/11, I was stunned and disappointed to see the poor performance of the Internet. In the midst of the most major and heinous attack ever launched on U.S. soil, the Internet more or less folded. In contrast to the 24x7 infrastructure that kept television news going, even in the physical midst of the chaotic aftermath of the attacks, the Internet news sites more or less collapsed, and messaging services seemed to all but stop.. About the only Internet source for news was AOL's In

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Damn You, Spammers!

7/4/2005
"That's not worth the paper it's written on!" I don't remember when or why I first heard those words, but surely I was well under ten years old, and it was probably my father talking about some international treaty he didn't like, or perhaps even the dollar bill that his gold-standard-loving heart just plain hated. In any case, the point of the phrase -- which I still occasionally hear today -- is that paper isn't worth much money. But bits transmitted across the Internet are worth even less, wh

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Sender ID -- It Could Get Ugly

6/26/2005
It could get a little ugly out there in the anti-spam world and, as is so often the case, the uglifier of record is Microsoft which on Thursday announced that it would start "enforcing" the use of its Sender ID sender authentication protocol for senders of e-mail messages to Hotmail and MSN Mail systems. In a less avaricious world, that might be a good thing, but last year Microsoft made its desire to co-opt sender authentication by enforcing a patent it has on a part of the way DNS records have

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Hooray! IBM Lotus Moves Notes Into The World Of Presence

6/23/2005
Some months ago, about the time Microsoft announced Office Communicator, I had a conversation with IBM's Ed Brill in which I urged him to push IBM Lotus Notes forward into the new world of presence information and the use of presence technology. "We're working on it," he said, "trust me." I never believe in the promises of any software company, so I just sort of shoveled those words into the back of my mind, and didn't think more about it. But it's beginning to look as if Mr. Brill wasn't kiddin

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