January

WEB SITE OF THE DAY

Several years ago somebody was asleep at the switch. The official White House site is www.whitehouse.gov, which is fine and right. But similar names were grabbed by third parties, which has caused nothing but grief ever since. Whitehouse.com is a porn site, which can be an interesting eye-opener for fifth-grade kids doing homework. […] continued

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AUDIOGALAXY AND SPYWARE

“Spyware” is a new term that describes little programs that report on your web surfing to third parties – usually without your knowledge. They typically arrive on your system as an unwanted component tucked in with something you’re installing on purpose. RealPlayer would install a tempting utility to assist you with downloads – and buried in the fine print was a sentence acknowledging that information about the web sites you visited would be sent to RealNetworks. […] continued

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SECURITY UPDATE

Microsoft pledged to focus on security last week in an edict from Bill Gates that might be PR fluff – but not necessarily. Gates has a keen sense of when Microsoft has to turn itself around, and this might be one of those times when the company redefines itself and stays a step ahead. […] continued

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GATEWAY SALES PLUMMET

Gateway continues to fall apart. Steep drop in fourth-quarter sales, another 15% cut in work force, more store closures. The future looks very dim.

Interestingly, EMachines is hanging in there. I thought they’d be bankrupt by this time. It’s no longer a public company – taken private by a board member last year. […] continued

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NETSCAPE vs. MICROSOFT

The media played up the lawsuit Netscape filed against Microsoft a couple of days ago. The allegation is that Microsoft damaged Netscape by preventing the Netscape browser from competing fairly in the marketplace. Presumably the damages are the lost profits from the Netscape browser. I was amused by the assumption that Netscape will be awarded hundreds of millions of dollars (or billions, in some news reports) for its lost profits. […] continued

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INACTIVE HOTMAIL ACCOUNTS WILL BE DROPPED

Microsoft is going to start enforcing its policy of deleting Hotmail accounts if they’re not used at least once every thirty days. If you have a Hotmail account for convenience, check on it every once in a while.

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POLITICS: ENRON AND WHITEWATER

I thought this was a particularly good discussion of the unfolding Enron scandal, well worth keeping in mind as the various players stake out their positions on the front page for the next six or eight months. It begins as a comparison of Whitewater and Enron at the same stage:

“I would argue that Enron is neither worse nor better than Whitewater at a similar stage of development.

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THE NEWS IS OR ISN’T AMBIGUOUS

On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that America Online was in negotiations to buy Linux manufacturer Red Hat – leading to lots of talking heads speculating about the possibility that AOL would make a head-on assault against Windows on the desktop.

Today, America Online denied the reports in particularly vigorous terms. […] continued

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LATEST NEWS IN THE COPYRIGHT WARS

The recording industry is gearing up to sneak copy-protected CDs into the marketplace – audio CDs that would play normally in conventional CD players, but that would prevent you from making copies or .mp3 files.

Philips Electronics stuck its head up today and said that copy-protected discs don’t fit its strict definition of a “Compact Disc,” and maybe Philips will stop the recording industry from using the “Compact Disc” logo – maybe even insist that copy-protected CDs be clearly identified on the outside so consumers won’t be misled. […] continued

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SALE ON BLANK CDRS

If you need to stock up on blank 80-minute CDRs, Amazon has spindles of 50 Fuji CDRs for $14.99, with free shipping. Good deal!

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WHY DSL STILL SUCKS

DSL is in terrible shape. Many people have persistent problems – lines disconnect or go down, tech support is poor or nonexistent, orders are handled slowly. Here’s a good article with some background on how DSL lines work and some theories on why it’s mishandled. And there’s little hope for improvement – now that the Baby Bells have driven DSL competitors into bankruptcy, they’re reluctant to improve DSL service and undercut the huge prices they’re able to charge companies for more expensive broadband alternatives. […] continued

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HOME ENTERTAINMENT HUBS

The home entertainment devices that will be hot next Christmas are taking shape. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, a new company demonstrated the MoxiMedia Center, which combines a cable or satellite TV receiver, a personal video recorder (like Tivo or Replay), a DVD player, and a digital music jukebox, along with cable or DSL access. […] continued

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WALLACE AND GROMIT COMING TO THE WEB

Twelve one-minute films featuring Wallace and Gromit will be available for download this autumn, according to this article. This is the first new Wallace and Gromit material since 1995, and the feature film is apparently still several years away. (If you don’t know anything about Wallace and Gromit, treat yourself to the films, now available on DVD. […] continued

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FLAT PANEL MONITOR PRICES ON THE RISE

According to this article, prices for flat panel LCD monitors were in free fall last year because of an oversupply of glass. The factories have caught up, demand is skyrocketing to match production, and prices are expected to start climbing back up again in the next few months. Darn.

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ONLINE SHOPPING

I went shopping for a new monitor tonight and wound up buying it from an unexpected source. After checking Amazon, Buy.com, CDW, Microwarehouse, Insight, and a few others, I stopped by Dell. I was fascinated to find the same monitor was about $40 cheaper from Dell than any other source – and with a promotional deal for free shipping to boot, another $35-50 swing in the price. […] continued

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