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What does it take to be a top influencer in the technology world?

What does it take to be a top influencer in the technology world?

The editors at eWeek and sister publications CIO Insight and Baseline put their heads together to pick the 100 Most Influential People in IT, starting on Page 16. The criteria for selection: a track record of success, wide-ranging influence, the ability to effect change and a level of engagement in developing new technologies.

Many people on the list have used their influence to bring about change not only in the world of business but also in the world at large, recognizing technologys massive potential to help improve the living conditions and futures of the disadvantaged.

Senior Editor Peter Galli reports at eWEEK.com that Microsoft has announced a $3 Student Innovation Suite, including operating system and productivity applications geared toward students and governments in emerging countries. Some will see this as a great humanitarian effort, while others will argue that Microsoft is trying to cloak its plans for world domination—and open-source oppression—with good intentions. (Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols does just that in his column "Microsofts $3 Anti-Linux Weapon" at eWEEK.com.)

My first thought was that this suite would be a good fit on the $100 laptop—the brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte, leader of the One Laptop Per Child initiative and No. 9 on our top influencers list. But a discussion with Microsoft Watch Editor Joe Wilcox revealed that Microsoft and the One Laptop Per Child organization seem to be at odds with each other. For more from Joe, go to www.Microsoft-Watch.com.

Oh, well. Maybe Googles Docs & Spreadsheets and its new presentation application, announced April 16, will find their way onto the laptops and into the hands of those who will benefit from the systems. One app the $100 laptops are running is the open-source Sugar, which Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza checks out in a slide show at eWEEK.com.

Speaking of laptops, how many USB ports are on your users systems? Well, take that number and multiply it by your users security savvy to determine the chances of sensitive company data being lost or stolen through USB storage and other devices. There are fixes beyond gluing the drives shut, and eWeek Labs Andrew Garcia reveals them starting on Page 29.