First Coffee for 31 March 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 31 March 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter:”

Eye-opening stuff here in the news this morning:

PHILADELPHIA - The Justice Department is demanding internal files from dozens of Internet service providers and other technology firms as it seeks to defend a controversial Internet child protection law.

The subpoenas are similar to one given to Google Inc., which waged a partially successful battle over the government’s request for millions of pieces of information about search engine requests and Web site domains.

InformationWeek magazine unearthed subpoenas that show the government also demanded information from at least 34 other companies, including Internet service providers such as Comcast Corp. and EarthLink Inc., security software firms and other technology companies.

The subpoenas, which the magazine obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, show the Justice Department preparing for an October trial in Philadelphia over the 1996 Child Online Protection Act. It is not clear which companies are complying, and to what extent.

“That money could be spent so much more wisely on giving software away to parents that are having these problems,” Dan Jude, president of Security Software Systems, said of the litigation costs.

The 12-person firm, which makes filtering software, spent more than 40 hours trying to comply with the subpoena, he said. The company refused to provide some information on proprietary grounds, fearing it could make its way into the court file.

“If that information gets out in the public, we’ve just lost our competitive edge,” Jude said Thursday. The subpoena also sought information the company does not keep, such as customer satisfaction, he said.

Department of Justice spokesman Charles Miller did not immediately return a message Thursday afternoon.

The subpoenas also went to companies including AT&T Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Symantec Corp…

Can you believe that? I mean, what are they thinking? They don’t keep customer satisfaction information? What is wrong with these people? I don’t know what industry secrets they’re keeping under wraps, but admitting that they don’t care about keeping customer satisfaction records is far more damning and destructive than showing anything they could be hiding.

Yesterday I published an article titled “Outsourcing? Watch For These Pitfalls under my mild-mannered reporter alter ego on the TMC site, and today I received an apt correction from TMC’s very own Pop Culture Maven Tracey E. Schelmetic.

Reviewing a recently-published book I had written “There’s a reason Barry Manilow, George Harrison, and Mary Tyler Moore can’t smile anymore without making it painful for us to watch,” the authors write, evidently unaware that George Harrison’s guitar is gently weeping in rock’n’roll heaven these days.

As usual Tracey was a half-step more awake: “I think that author must have meant George Hamilton, rather than Harrison. I never really took George Harrison for a Botox-type guy. As for Barry Manilow, it’s always been painful to watch him. It makes me think of his music, and well... that just stops me from smiling.”

Hey, you know what they say, Trace: Can’t smile without you.

Database Solutions, Ltd., a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendor to the insurance industry, has announced the release of Agent Intelligence Version 3.0 On Demand Software.

Agent Intelligence v.3.0 on demand software includes numerous new features such as a expanded commission system, expanded print functionality and client search capabilities. The company’s Agent Intelligence on demand software has met company expectations, and “the development of AI v.3.0 was strictly based on how the insurance industry manages its business,” company officials say.

Agent Intelligence v3.0 on demand software incorporates features based on feedback from current AI users. Agent Intelligence is built specifically for the life insurance industry.

The Agent Intelligence Technology is a proprietary browser-based software and was designed specifically for the insurance industry to provide backend administration of insurance policies, client tracking and client marketing/selling strategies for an entire insurance brokerage or insurance company.

The company’s family of products includes a comprehensive suite of CRM applications. By automatically tracking all events along the lead development process an agent and/or manager is able to see any weaknesses in an agents selling process. Agent Intelligence is 100% browser based and requires no hardware or software installation.

Sitel Corporation, a vendor of outsourced customer support services, has announced that, due to the continuing investigation of certain irregularities at one of its international subsidiaries and to allow KPMG LLP time to complete their audit of the Company’s financial statements, it has determined that it will be unable to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005.

The company is continuing to work to complete the restatements of its previously issued financial statements for the fiscal years 2000 through 2004 and potentially for each of the three-month periods covered by the interim quarterly reports for the fiscal year 2005 determined necessary as a result of the investigation.

The company intends to complete the restatements and to file all required SEC reports as quickly as practicable but cannot predict a precise date at this time.

Jacada Ltd., a vendor of application integration and contact center products, has announced a contract with GISS, the IT Department for the Social Security of the Spanish Ministry of Labor.

GISS will be using Jacada HostFuse (formerly Jacada Integrator) to improve and simplify processes supported by GISS applications. The project will help Social Security employees to access all of the ministry’s resources and applications and automate cumbersome service and administration processes.

Jacada HostFuse is part of an integration and process optimization platform called Jacada Fusion. The Jacada product will help GISS integrate existing back office systems and streamline the Spanish Social Security’s business processes, improving both efficiency and accuracy.

The fact that Jacada Fusion supports web-services and open application development standards further supports a strategic initiative at GISS to adopt service-oriented architectures.

The contract was signed in conjunction with Selesta S.p.A., a player in the Spanish and Italian IT software market. Selesta S.p.A has recently expanded its partnership agreement with Jacada to supply Jacada Fusion products to the Italian and Spanish customer service market.

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