WSJ has a special technology report on “eight problems facing the industry . . . and how it’s trying to solve them”:
Make Software More Reliable: Today, software glitches are mostly a nuisance. But as computers play a larger role in areas such as utilities and transportation, some critics are demanding companies be held legally liable for the quality of their products. Now, Microsoft is stepping up efforts to make its software is more secure.
Manage TV-Channel Clutter: Couch potatoes have a seemingly infinite choice of movies, sporting events, classic TV episodes and other programs available at a click of the remote. But all this variety seems to have brought more confusion than bliss. Here’s what cable and satellite operators are doing to help customers manage the clutter.
Simplify Home Networking: Want to operate a host of electronic appliances, devices and even utilities from a computer? You’re not alone. But the technology behind home networking still falls short in doing more than just sharing broadband Web access.
Keep Hackers Out: For every new security enhancement developed, there seems to be hackers just waiting to flout it. While there’s no silver bullet for stopping hackers in their tracks, there are steps Internet companies can take to better secure the personal information they hold.
Help Baffled Consumers: Even the tech-savvy need a little help sometimes. As gadgets and PCs grow more complex, mystified consumers are turning to independent troubleshooters to come to their homes and save the day.
Lengthen Battery Life: Not long ago, a two-hour laptop battery was sufficient. But as consumers rely more on portable devices, companies are looking beyond lithium-ion batteries and are embracing fuel cells as the best hope for long-lived electronics.
Get Services to Talk to Each Other: Integrating different corporate computer systems can be a costly, time-consuming affair. Now, most companies are using Web services that can be more easily added onto existing programs to help them better communicate.
Safeguard Confidential Information: Sure, corporate networks are frequently under attack by hackers and ne’er-do-wells looking for holes to the inside. But most invasions of privacy really are the result of mistakes, laziness or improper access given to a company’s own employees. Here’s how companies are acting to safeguard personal data.