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News Editor

Content delivery with a twist

Mar 24, 20034 mins
Enterprise Applications

Plus: Poetic justice for spam scammers.

Having the boss deliver a weekly taped message to every worker’s PC might make sense in your organization were it not for the fact that viewing the thing in bandwidth-poor remote offices would be so painful that not even a bored secretary would watch.

Same goes for distance learning, training-on-demand and myriad other hogs that oink-oink-oink their way around your network until the screaming from IT and the rank and file gets so loud that someone pulls the plug and orders everyone into a meeting room.

It doesn’t have to be this way, say the folks at Bandwiz , a Framingham, Mass., start-up that this week emerges from three years of development to begin hawking Bandwiz DistributeIT. The server software is designed to shoot your porky packages of data – CAD-CAM files, multimedia presentations, spreadsheets – hither and yon through “intelligent routing.” No new hardware is required. It uses the network you’ve already got in place, and, through the wonders of peer-to-peer technology, the PCs that sit on those remote desktops.

Bandwiz promises that its software will prove more secure and more compatible with enterprise network infrastructure than the content-delivery network offerings from Akamai and Digital Island. As for caching hardware pushed by vendors such as Cisco and Network Appliance, Bandwiz maintains that gear is simply too expensive and labor-intensive to be feasible for many organizations.

The cost of DistributeIT is not inconsiderable: $150,000 for the server and $1,000 per site.

“What’s the return on investment?” asks Bandwiz exec Dan Sapir, anticipating everyone’s question of the day. “If somebody’s using it.”

What he means is that DistributeIT will not only give companies the oomph to deliver large payloads in a timely, efficient and secure manner, but its reporting and analytical features let the corporate brass know that the material is being accessed and for how long. In other words, if somebody’s using it.

Sapir says he believes that Bandwiz has carved out a unique approach to content delivery, but he also recognizes that it won’t be long until competitors follow suit.

“We have a window of about a year,” he says.

Which isn’t a whole lot of time when you’re peddling something new, especially given the state of the economy . . . not to mention the fact we’re at war.

Poetic justice for spam scammers

Two weeks ago I recounted a conversation with a State Department IT security guy who told me about U.S. embassy personnel in Nigeria routinely intervening to rescue Americans who traveled to that country to claim money promised by the notorious scam artists who send us spam every day.

Well, it turns out that those embassy workers are not the only ones trying to get between these con artists and their gullible prey.

A March 19 story in The Wall Street Journal tells of a handful of Web site operators who are turning the tables on the spam scammers. In a nutshell, these people have taken up a hobby that has been dubbed scam baiting. The idea is to engage the scam artists in an ongoing exchange of e-mail and phone calls in order to waste their time and money, and, on a more basic level, yank their chains.

A quick look at some of the scam baiters’ collections of correspondence shows two things: The baiters have way too much time on their hands; and there is apparently no limit to the abuse spammers will take when they are under the illusion that they have a live one on the line.

It’s fun reading if you have a moment. Here are three examples of the genre:, and

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