Stories by Sharon Machlis

Four online databases let you structure and share your data

There are many popular, low-cost ways to toss text onto the Web, from blogs and Google Docs to social networking sites. Likewise, you can find a lot of sites where you can post photos and videos. But until recently, less attention has been paid to online databases -- and that's a pity, because lots of people besides database geeks would benefit from a bit more structure to their data.

Five free Web apps we can't live without

The current explosion of AJAX-powered Web sites has helped spawn countless next-generation Web apps offering everything from simple to-do lists to complex project management, not to mention the ability to share all kinds of things -- documents, calendar listings, photos, video and more.

Linux text editors: Do any make the grade?

Linux buffs tend to scoff at one of the major reasons that Windows users like me haven't switched yet: We don't want to give up our favorite applications. With countless open-source options, plus a rising number of commercial apps for Linux, their argument goes, we can certainly find a replacement for whatever software we're running on XP or Vista.

Living (and dying) with Linux in the workplace

Are you looking for a Windows alternative for serious office work? Many people are starting to wonder about their non-Microsoft operating system options, especially given Windows Vista's hefty hardware demands, upgrade costs and license restrictions. We've already examined using Mac OS X in the workplace; now, I take a hard look at Linux by using an enterprise distribution exclusively at work. I'm not simply playing with a test machine; I've been using Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10+ day in, day out to do my job as Computerworld's online managing editor in the U.S.

Firefox 1.5 beta released

The Mozilla Foundation Friday released a beta version of Firefox 1.5, the first major upgrade of its popular open-source Web browser since Version 1.0 was released last November.

Monkey see, Monkey do in Web site performance

Students and developers at Google have jointly created an open-source tool designed to better predict the effect on real-world Web site performance if changes are made to things like network infrastructure.

"Arms race" between spammers, spam filters

Spam not only clogs in-boxes and wastes users' time; it often slows the delivery of legitimate e-mail due to the sheer volume of junk passing through corporate servers. And as the "arms race" between spammers and spam filterers keeps ratcheting up, mail delays are likely to worsen as e-mail scanning becomes more complex.

Sasser worm could hit hard

Microsoft issued an unusual weekend security warning Saturday that a worm has been unleashed on the Internet taking advantage of a security hole announced publicly last month. Microsoft once again urged users to install its most recent critical Windows updates.

IBM profits, revenues rise in Q1

IBM Monday reported that profits from continuing operations rose 8 percent to $1.4 billion for the quarter that ended March 31, while revenues increased 11 percent to $20.1 billion, compared with the year-earlier quarter.

Uh-oh: Spam's getting more sophisticated

Just as security experts match wits with hackers, those trying to block unwanted e-mail face increasingly elaborate "attacks" from spammers trying to slip messages through antispam defenses.

Measuring Web site traffic

Web site traffic is measured in many ways, including analysis of server logs and user tracking. Using an outside measurement service is another option. Reported traffic numbers typically include unique visitors (the number of different people who have come to a site) and page views (how many pages have been requested and loaded by a site's visitors in a given time period).


PHP is an open-source, server-side scripting language designed for creating dynamic Web applications. Originally an acronym for Personal Home Page, PHP now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor -- a change made after the scripting language evolved far beyond its home-page-creating origins.