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Network Connection

By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing

My Secret Web Sites

How do I keep up with all this new technology? Well I frequently visit my secret Websites, known only to me and several million other people.  If you promise not to tell anyone else, I'll let you know about them too.

"Slashdot" bill itself as "news for nerds, stuff that matters" and indeed that is an apt characterization of the site.  Slashdot is among other things, an edited compilation of news abstracts which usually reference topical Web sites or commercial news stories.  The focus is anything technological or related to technology.  Lately, slashdot has been a great place to keep up with intellectual property issues, security alerts, and new open source software.  Slashdot leans heavily toward the open source world, but does include news items on commercial hardware and software, with Microsoft topics denoted by an icon of Bill Gates as Borg (if you don't know that last reference, then perhaps slashdot is not for you).  An interesting feature of slashdot is that each story comes with comments by readers.  Not only can you investigate the links yourself, but you can also see what others are thinking about a particular issue or idea.

Among a number of commercial information technology news sites, InfoWorld's is one which seems to provide a range of coverage on computing software and hardware.  It is the online version of the InfoWorld trade publication which is provided at no cost to people (like me) who qualify. Trade publications tend to be supported by the companies they are writing about, so some skepticism is in order when reading feature articles.  InfoWorld's news items do report things in a timely manner and cover some commercial developments more frequently than sites like slashdot. InfoWorld has competitors, such as Information Week  and others, but I've always found InfoWorld to be the most useful.

Newsforge is hosted by the same people that host slashdot.  Like slashdot, newsforge compiles references to articles on information technology topics and in particular open source projects, but does so in a more formal journalistic style.  Newsforge (the "Online Newspaper of record for Linux and Open Source") features articles by Newsforge editors and writers, but includes reader-posted article references as well.  Like slashdot, readers can comment on the stories.

Symantec (you know, the antivirus, etc. people) just bought securityfocus in August, however, the Website still is a useful place to find the latest news, vulnerabilities, or alerts related to virus or computer security issues.  It is one place to look for more information if you read about a virus or system security issue (another is If you read about it in InfoWorld, you can often find the details at securityfocus.

Freshmeat is part of the slashdot/newsforge family and is dedicated to announcing new versions of open source software.  This is most useful for the bleeding edge type who is developing or just wants to keep up with the latest software trends.  It's worth mentioning that the other significant partner of the group is which hosts the project development activities of thousands of open source software projects.

OK. That's all the secrets I can reveal today. Remember, this is just between us and a few million other people.  Don't tell anyone else.