Information Systems
in the
College of Business Administration
UM - St. Louis

MSIS 480: Management Information Systems

Announcements and Current Events

See also topic pages
| Intro | E-mail | Surfing the Web | Internet Resources | HTML Primer | Virus Page |
| Year 2000 Problem | IS/IT In the News | Programming | Useful Software Links | IS/IT Publications |

The final exam is now available online.

The project is now available online. The site we viewed Monday in class is JavaScript Sample Code; in particular, we considered Form Validation.

Steve Savis' presentation is now available online.

Articles on Artificial Intelligence, especially with regard to the Deep Blue Chess Game include IBM's articles New York Times coverage of the match and re-match. From Time magazine, How Hard is Chess?, And Now a Word from Deep Blue, Deeper in Thought, Man's Glorious Defeat, and Deep Blue Funk.

IBM ACTION ENCOURAGES WEB SITES TO POST CLEAR PRIVACY POLICIES: IBM, which is the second-biggest advertiser on the Internet, has decided to refrain from advertising on any Web sites that do not post clear policies explaining to visitors of those sites such things as what information about them is being collected and how it will be used, sold, or otherwise disseminated for marketing purposes. IBM is the first large company to link advertising and privacy policy in this way. (Wall Street Journal 31 Mar 99)

For those of you who don't understand Mr. O'Hanlon's example, the story of the Tower of Babel is:

And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, …“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth. —Genesis 11

ARE AGENCIES COOKING THE BOOKS TO SHOW Y2K PROGRESS? In August 1997 the government listed 9,100 "mission-critical" computer systems, and the General Accounting Office judged 19.3% of them to be "Y2K compliant." Since then, 3,323 were dropped from the mission-critical list, even more than the number fixed (3,298). The government now asserts that 79% of its mission-critical systems are Y2K compliant, but that number would be only 55.6% if so many systems hadn't been removed from the mission-critical list. Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Ed Yardeni says, "The pressure will only increase for organizations to define down their systems" in order to be able to claim a higher rate of compliance, but insists: "Once an agency compiles its mission-critical systems, I don't think it should be able to change what's defined as mission-critical as the deadline approaches." (USA Today, 30 Mar 99)

FBI INVESTIGATING MELISSA VIRUS: The cybercrime unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the "Melissa" computer virus that has spread more quickly than any previous virus in computer history (Edupage, 28 Mar 99). The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Centers said it received reports of "significant network degradation and e-mail outages" at major Internet service providers and corporations, including Intel and Microsoft. However, Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates said that the response to the virus has generally shown that the industry's anti-virus capability works well. (Reuters/San Jose Mercury News 29 Mar 99)

Y2K ADVICE: PREPARE BUT DON'T PANIC: Janet Abrams of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion says people should prepare for possible Y2K problems just as they would for a bad winter snowstorm: stock up on groceries, fill the gas tank, and take out a little extra cash (but not too much!) from the bank. "And don't wait until the last minute." Government and industry representatives seem quite confident that there will not be any kind of national crisis over Y2K problems, though Federal Emergency Management Agency director Rita Calvan admits, "We're used to dealing with one incident at a time. What we could have here is a series of several small incidents. If we're all busy, I'm not sure we'll have the resources to respond." (Washington Post 27 Mar 99)

Do you trade stocks online? See this article first.

Got a browser? Cisco Systems says it can make you a more productive worker. See story from New York Times.

GM Recalls Faulty Website ... The company pulled the plug on a contest site Friday after learning that consumers' personal information was being inadvertently leaked in violation of the company's privacy policy. for more details, see Wired News

The Undead: You can find all forms of technology out there if you look for it.

Programming topics for tonight:
Actions upon Unloading a Page
More Actions upon Unloading a Page
Actions upon Loading a Page
Aleration with Writing to the Status Line
Alteration 1 (the book example)
Alteration 2
Alteration 3
Loops 1

The class web pages are available for viewing.

From Edupage this week:

COMPUTER MAKERS JOIN FORCES ON PRIVACY PROBLEM: Computer manufacturers are working together to address the privacy concerns raised over Intel's new Pentium III chip, which is expected to appear in PCs beginning Sunday. The Pentium III includes a unique serial number designed to support secure online transactions, but the fact that it can identify the processor -- and indirectly, the PC user -- has resulted in calls for a boycott of the new machines. Meanwhile, IBM, Dell, Gateway, Compaq and some other major vendors say they will disable the ID in the basic input/output system (BIOS) software that controls basic PC functions. "We know that the BIOS mechanism is completely secure," says Gateway's VP of product management & planning. Computer buyers will still have the option of reactivating the serial number if they so choose. (Los Angeles Times 26 Feb 99)

GATEWAY 2002: Gateway founder Ted Waitt plans to transform his company into a full-scale high-tech services provider, making the purchase of the PC is only the initial contact point in a long customer relationship: "Three years from now, the majority of our revenue will still come from selling hardware products, but the majority of our earnings will come from service-based systems." In addition to build-to-order PCs, Gateway will offer Internet access and personalized Web services, training, support and software, as well as financing. The company's shift may signal what could be a major transition in the PC manufacturing business toward the pricing system used for cell phones and satellite TVs: the income comes from the monthly contract, not from a one-time sale. "Everyone will move in that direction," says an International Data Corp. analyst. (Forbes 8 Mar 99)

FCC DECLARES ITS JURISDICTION OVER ACCESS TO THE INTERNET: Claiming it is merely resolving a dispute over how local and long-distance phone companies must compensate each other for calls accessing the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that all such calls fall within its jurisdiction as regulator of interstate communications. Some consumer groups are concerned that the FCC ruling will ultimately lead to per-minute charges for Internet access in the future; however, FCC Chairman William E. Kennard says they don't have to worry: "Consumers are used to dialing a local phone number to get access to the Internet, and they are used to paying that access as a local call. Nothing that we are doing in this item will change that." (New York Times 26 Feb 99)

NICHE WEB SITES PLAY TO DIVERSITY: Increasingly, Web entrepreneurs are finding profitability in targeting smaller, more defined audiences with services that could be, but aren't, aimed at the masses. "You have a more diverse set of consumers coming online," says a Forrester Research analyst. "It only makes sense for that diversification to trickle down to financial Web sites." For example, the Gay Financial Network -- founded by the first openly gay member of the New York Stock Exchange -- offers generic information such as the latest commodities prices and market news, but its audience chooses to get that information there because they'd rather support a gay business. The site hopes to register 93,000 users by the end of the year, many of whom can indulge in a more upscale lifestyle than their straight counterparts, because they don't have children to support. "We are targeting a rather wealthy niche market," says the Network's president, who adds that the gay community represents about $560 billion a year in spending. (Wall Street Journal 26 Feb 99)

POCKET-SIZE WEB SERVER: A professor of computer science at Stanford University has created a tiny Web server about the size of a business card and only a quarter-inch thick. Vaughan Pratt developed the device "initially just for the impact... Fifty years ago, a computer with less computational power than a modern pocket calculator filled a whole room, and ran programs consisting of only a few hundred instructions. Today we can fit the extensive software needed to drive a World-Wide Web server into a computer the size of a box of matches." Pratt's server uses a 486 processor and runs the Linux operating system. (Chronicle of Higher Education 26 Feb 99)

Program six shows how to accomplish the task discussed at the end of class. In addition, it is an example of defining and using functions.

We will begin programming with Javascript tonight. In addition to the basic forms of programming, we will learn about input and output statements in Javascript.
Program one: Basic Output
Program two: Basic Input
Program three: Intermediate Input and Output
Program four: Another form of Input: Forms
Program five: Another form of Output: Launching New Windows

Many of you prefer using Netscape Composer to create your pages. I have found some tutorials that can help you work with that product.
-How to Create Web Pages Using Netscape Composer
-Publishing on the Web: How To Create a Web Page Using HTML and Netscape Page Composer
-Netscape Composer: An Introduction
-Making Web Pages with Netscape Composer

Tonight we will begin discussion on the Internet. Netscape provides an Overview, and a timeline of Internet is a point to begin. For a discussion of the growth of the Internet, look at Trend Slides and Hobbes' Internet Timeline.

We will also review a variety of Internet Internet Tools, especially FTP.

ALTAVISTA, INKTOMI GO HEAD TO HEAD: Back in May, Inktomi cut a deal with Yahoo! to replace AltaVista as the popular Web site's search engine, and now AltaVista's getting its revenge, unseating Inktomi from its position as Microsoft's search provider. AltaVista, which is being spun off into a public company by parent Compaq, plans to ratchet up the competition among so-called portal sites, and its latest deal with Microsoft raises the stakes considerably. The "co-opetition" agreement with Microsoft calls for the two companies eventually to develop a network of users across both sites, sharing services like instant messaging and chat buddy lists. (TechWeb 27 Jan 99)

INTEL FLIPS SWITCH ON PENTIUM III'S I.D. FEATURE: Responding to concerns by critics that the new Pentium III chip's unique serial number will allow the monitoring of an individual's moves throughout cyberspace, Intel has decided to alter the software so that the ID capability will be turned off unless the customer voluntarily turns it on to make a secure e-commerce transaction. (The original plan was to have the feature turned on unless the user took the trouble to turn it off.) But privacy advocates are not satisfied, and want the ID feature entirely disabled. Deirdre Mulligan of the Center for Democracy and Technology says, "If everybody's demanding it, it's going to be hard for a consumer to say no." (San Jose Mercury News 26 Jan 99)

SUN LAUNCHES JINI: Sun Microsystems has unveiled its Jini 1.0 source code (, which enables any digital device to be networked to other devices, regardless of the underlying software or hardware. The technology sets up basic rules for how to connect to the network, share information and interact with other devices. The Jini 1.0 code includes the full discovery/join/lookup protocol, says Sun engineer Richard Gabriel, but users will have to wait for transactional and security features, which are slated to be added later this year. (InternetWeek 25 Jan 99)

FILTERING SOFTWARE GETS SMARTER: Filtering software used in schools and public libraries has been criticized for cutting too wide a swath in its efforts to screen out obscene or other objectionable material. Such software often can't discern the difference between phrases like "hot teen breasts" and "breast cancer research," sending them both into the cybertrash. Now a company called RuleSpace says it may have a solution: its WebChaperone software is based on an artificial-intelligence engine called the Intelligent Content Recognition Technology, and is designed to differentiate between legitimate content and pornography. The product is geared toward parents, who should be in charge of using such filters, says RuleSpace founder Adrian Russell-Falla. As far as use in public schools and libraries, Russell-Falla sides with the American Library Association, which does not endorse the use of filtering software "that blocks access to constitutionally protected speech." (TechWeb 26 Jan 99)

We will discuss some of the options with e-mail, including
Listservs, such as The MBA Career Services List
Newsgroups, such as Consumers Newsgroup

Netscape provides an overview of newsgroup technology.

We will also look a little at our e-mail page for further hints.

Good discussions of Cookies can be found at the following sites:
Webmonkey's Introduction to Cookies
Web monkey's Introduction to Cookies -- Part II
Andy's HTTP Cookie Notes
What Cookies Can Do For You
Cookie Behaviors
Netscape's Cookie Specifications

We will discuss them briefly in class on Wednesday after you have had an opportunity to do some reading about them.

OOPS -- Y2K BUG TRIGGERS PREMATURE DATA RELEASE: A computer malfunction indirectly related to the Year 2000 glitch triggered a premature posting of the December producer price index (PPI) data on the U.S. Labor Department Web site. The problem has since been corrected, but "It definitely will make us extremely cautious in our testing and heightens the seriousness of testing for Y2K," says the associate commissioner for technology and survey processing at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tuesday's event was the second time since November that the Labor Department has accidentally pre-released economic data that had the capacity to affect markets. The two-day-early release of unemployment figures in November was attributed to human error. (TechWeb 14 Jan 99)

U.S. ONLINE AUDIENCE STARING TO LOOK MORE LIKE AMERICA: A study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicates that the online audience is rapidly changing from an elite computer-savvy group comprised of young, well-educated and affluent males to a more mainstream American group, with middle-aged and middle-income people of both sexes coming to the Internet in increased numbers, as are people with less formal education. Although the 74 million Internet users in the U.S. are still younger, better-educated and more affluent than the population at large, 40% of Internet newcomers never attended college and 23% have household incomes below $30,000 a year. (AP 14 Jan 99)

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, BREAKING-IN'S NO CRIME IN NORWAY: The Supreme Court in Norway has ruled that it's not a crime to try to break into someone else's computer system, because people should expect others to try to invade their systems, and take measures to protect themselves. There is a crime, ruled the court, only if the system is actually breached. The case developed out of an attempt by a computer security company to break into the University of Oslo's computers through the Internet, to contribute to a feature story by the Norwegian state broadcasting network. Apparently the security company mapped holes in the university's computer security, but did not break in, tamper with, or steal any information. (USA Today 13 Jan 99)

The form you will use for your first assignment is the Web Page Evaluation Form

The History of the Internet will help you get perspective on the source of the Internet and how it all works. In addition, you might read E-Commerce: The Next Step for a perspective on where it is going. If you want to learn more about e-commerce, look at The Electronic Commerce Knowledge Base.

On campus e-mail accounts are of the form (where ####### is your student id number).

For an interesting view of the impact of computers, read John Gehl and Suzanne Douglas' recent article, From Movable Type to Data Deluge.

This should be a place you check frequently. There will be announcements posted here (as well as to the electronic discussion group). In addition, it will link to information organized for this class.

Page Owner: Professor Sauter (