The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 263 - 1 May 2020
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In This Issue
Cybersecurity and Remote Work
Who Will Win the Videoconference Battle?
Wiki Choices
Fighting Spam
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Cybersecurity and Remote Work

Many of us have worked remotely at least part of the time for years, and have learned (sometimes the hard way) to protect ourselves. COVID-19 has caused remote work to explode, and many more people are now accessing their employer's network from a home PC, or conversely connecting a work laptop to non-work-related sites.

Acronis, a company specialized in backup software, disaster recovery, and secure data access, has produced a recorded 80-minute webinar entitled "The COVID-19 Outbreak: What to Expect and How to Stay CyberFit." that starts by talking about COVID-19, then moves on to good cybersecurity practices to follow in this context (to jump to Candid West's talk about this, including 15 specific recommendations, jump to minute 52 of the video). There is some advertising for the company products, but also a lot of good advice, valid even in normal times, on how enterprises and individual users can stay out of trouble.

Who Will Win the Videoconference Battle?
Frédéric Charles wrote an article in his GreenSI blog on the competition between Zoom and the older videoconferencing companies, and how Zoom's explosive growth is forcing others to start innovating again.

The article is in French, but even if you don't read the language, you may want to visit the page to pick up a free copy of Gartner's "magic quadrant" showing four leaders: Cisco (WebEx), Zoom, Microsoft (Skype and Teams) and LogMeIn (GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar).The article discusses the new race to innovate (do we really need a virtual background that looks like MineCraft?) as well as the security issues that have affected Zoom. It was written before the number of 300 million Zoom users had to be retracted: the platform did reach 300 million meeting participants in one day, but since many people now attend multiple meetings a day, the number of unique daily users is lower -- and not really known at this point.
Wiki Choices
The topic of how to organize unstructured information comes back up periodically, both in the corporate context and for individual use by independent workers. This is an area with many competing tools, almost no standards and no interoperability.

At the enterprise level, Microsoft is claiming the territory among users of Office 365 and SharePoint with its Teams product. For individuals users, OneNote is sometimes popular, although it has very limited functionality. Evernote is a powerful alternative. Notion is getting some traction, but the product is somewhat expensive compared to others.

Wikis can be an appealing way to go. For the passive user, the user interface is just like that of Wikipedia, especially for wikis based on the MediaWiki platform, which is available as open source. Dokuwiki is easier for authors (visual editor) but lacks the rich ecosystem of extensions available with MediaWiki, including a LaTeX plug-in for mathematical formulas. And thanks to the success of Wikipedia, there is less risk of ending up with an orphaned product if you choose MediaWiki. Also, if you do not want to install MediaWiki and its underlying database on a server, there are now quite a few installations available in the cloud. See in particular ShoutWiki (free), TMD Hosting ($2.95 a month), or Kamatera Express (from $4 a month).

If you want to run a personal wiki without relying on network access, you can read Slant's product comparison. You typically need to install PHP to run a local web server. This complicates the setup -- you wanted to be a knowledge manager, not a system administrator! The exception is TiddlyWiki, which stores the information in a single (potentially large) HTML file. Your mileage may vary -- read the comparisons and run a pilot project before committing to a solution.
Fighting Spam
Mozilla announced that it is developing a service called Private Relay that will create "relay addresses" on the fly when filling online forms, for example to receive product information or analyst reports. Apple announced a similar service in 2019. Messages sent to the relay address will be forwarded to your real mailbox, but you can go back and delete the address anytime, effectively stopping further solicitations from that provider.

Meanwhile, here is a tip for Gmail users. If your real address is "" you can also use "" -- Gmail ignores the characters after the + sign and sends the message to your normal inbox. But since the "To" address is visible in the header, you can set up filters to automatically file some messages to a particular folder, to delete others without reading them, etc. It does not give you the privacy level of a private relay and won't stop the messages from coming in -- it will just help you automate the spam filtering.
Seen Recently...
"A few years from now firms that accelerated their #DT [digital transformation] right through today's paralysis will be winners, while #digital 'deer in the headlights' firms will be losers."
-- Wayne Sadin, founding member of Digital Directors Network