Peer to Peer

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-05-24 Print this article Print

Peer to Peer Popularized by Napster, P2P software lets users exchange music, files, movies—pretty much anything—without a server sitting in between.
IT: This means war! Anything that uses Napster-like technology must be bad. Again, here, lock down your PCs and notebooks. Create severe penalties for transgressors.
Ruthlessly root out any programs exhibiting peer to peer-like behavior. Set your layer 4-7 switches (aka gateways) to inspect for peer-to-peer-like behavior. Users: If youre illegally downloading music and movies on the company dime, Ive got little sympathy for you. But there are some decent P2P applications that can help replicate key file folders and create shared workspaces. You can always plead ignorance if you get caught. Middle ground: There are some excellent and secure peer-to-peer systems out there that enable workflows that just arent possible otherwise. Groove, developed by Notes creator Ray Ozzie, has been successfully and securely used to aid the Iraqi redevelopment. Dont throw out the baby with the bath water. Social Networks The corporate version of online dating, these sites automate the concept of "six degrees of separation." Users upload their contacts and create a Web of connections—allowing them to reach through their contacts to other potentially useful professionals. Does social networking lead to employees not working? Click here for a column on its impact at work. At best, they can help maintain and grow a network of colleagues. At worst, they become little more than online versions of the high-school cliques. For more details, read my column on having too many fake friends. IT: To protect against your users putting their company contacts up on outside Web sites, lock down access to the following domains:,,, and Or simply let users access only a handful of approved Web sites. User: These sites can be useful—although Im hesitant about sharing my contacts with a third party. To hide your social networking, print out your contacts and connect up at home. Ive found LinkedIn Ltd. best for business. Middle ground: Plaxo and LinkedIn can be very useful to help your employees stay connected and up to date. But before allowing your employees full rein, find out just how secure these systems really are. The last thing you want is for the equivalent of your corporate phone book and sales-contact list to be exposed on the Internet for anyone to snag. But learn from these sites. Perhaps you can set up some sort of social network for your customers or suppliers. Thats what we did, in fact, in our new version of our gaming site. If you want to explore how a social network can bind your customers even closer to you, head over to our prototype. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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