FRAMINGHAM (04/18/2000) - The struggle to find qualified IT help doesn't appear to be getting any easier. About half of the 1.6 million IT job openings this year will go unfilled because of a dearth of qualified candidates, according to the results of a new survey by the Information Technology Association of America. Companies with 50 to 100 workers will feel the pinch most severely, the study shows. Technical support jobs will account for about one-third of all new positions in the next year, with companies most anxious to find workers with skills in troubleshooting, customer service, hardware and software installation, and systems operation and maintenance. The association conducted 700 telephone interviews with randomly chosen IT managers and released the results of the study at the third annual National Workforce Convocation held in Chicago last week.

The boardroom is akin to a formal living room for companies, a place to bring guests and show off a touch of elegance. No one likes clutter and messiness in their showplace. To help keep things tidy in the boardroom, Xircom has developed two new portable switches that can connect four and eight users to a corporate network in an orderly fashion. The NetStation 4100 and 8100 feature retractable Ethernet cables for connecting each laptop. The cords, which extend about six feet, wind back into the device when they're not in use. Both NetStations feature a single cord for connecting to wall-based power and Ethernet jacks (the cable splits near the end to accomplish the task). The eight-port 8100 sells for $800, and the four-port 4100 costs $500.

Cabletron Systems Inc. last week said it has established its Digital Network Products Group business unit as an independent entity with headquarters in Andover, Mass. The move is viewed as a way for Cabletron to speed divestiture of the unit. Cabletron officials recently said they are looking to sell DNPG and its NetVantage stackable switching operations to focus on core businesses.

DNPG will be headed by General Manager Bill Burger, who said the unit will continue to develop and enhance workgroup and wiring closet switching products.

DNPG will soon announce the availability of two new modules for its MultiSwitch 900 wiring closet switch that increase the density of 10/100M bit/sec ports and gigabit uplinks.

The company with a perpetual hitch is at it again. After nearly one year of promises, Microsoft is finally planning to open up the last proprietary format in its implementation of Kerberos in Windows 2000. While those formats are intended to make Windows Kerberos interoperable with Unix-based implementations of the security server, Microsoft will require a license for the format, called the Privilege Access Certificate. Users will either have to run a Windows Kerberos server or pay for the bits and bytes to run on their existing Kerberos servers if they want to access Windows applications.

When it comes to the bragging rights over who has the bigger search engine, the current king of the hill is Inktomi. At last week's 2000 Search Engine meeting in Boston, Inktomi's Chief Scientist Eric Brewer said his company has built an index of some 500 million Web pages (or roughly half the Internet). Inktomi will be licensing the ultra-large index to MSN and iWon, with others soon to follow, the company says. The news was part of Inktomi's Gen3 architecture announcement. Gen3 uses new clustering and concept-matching technologies to better analyze large volumes of index data.

U.S. companies see less threat to their businesses from rising dot-com companies than from traditional competitors with e-business capabilities. At least, that's the word from a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of Fortune 1000 companies released last week. The greatest concern companies have in generating e-business revenue is whether they can implement organizational structure quickly enough. Their inability to retain and attract IT workers and the failure of capital markets to recognize e-business achievements were limiting factors in their efforts to create e-business initiatives. To view the report, visit

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