January

VIRUS SPAM

You’re probably getting confusing messages in your inbox. They’re a side-effect of the MyDoom virus, but they’re not directly generated by the virus at all. Instead, they’re “nondelivery” reports advising you that a message from you couldn’t be delivered. Or they’re responses from another computer’s antivirus program warning you that you sent a virus. […] continued

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VIRUS UPDATE

The “MyDoom” virus is getting lots of headlines. It’s the worst virus in history! 100 million infected messages! Large companies brought to their knees! It’s the end of the Internet! It’s the end of civilization as we know it!

Nah. It’s an e-mail virus. It sends messages with attachments that run programs that do bad things. […] continued

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MSN TOOLBAR

Microsoft gets irritable when anybody else dominates anything related to technology, so it’s no surprise that it is planning an assault on Google. The first bullet was rolled out today – the MSN toolbar for Internet Explorer, similar in appearance and functionality to the Google toolbar. (Even the download page looks similar.) Here’s an article about the new MSN Toolbar. […] continued

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PAPERPORT 9.0

Much to my surprise, I had a good experience with the new version of Paperport today. Many of its prior failings have been cured.

Paperport is an inexpensive document manager. Small businesses and consumers can scan documents and use Paperport to keep them organized and accessible. It has a link to Outlook, to attach a document to an e-mail message; a link to Word that performs OCR on the document and converts it to editable text; and other links for printing, faxing, opening a scan into an image editor, and the like. […] continued

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BROADBAND UPDATE

When Comcast turned on Internet service in Sebastopol, it looked like a maneuver to put pressure on its negotiations with the city of Santa Rosa. It must have worked – after long delays, Comcast and Santa Rosa announced a deal today that will make broadband cable service available to Comcast subscribers in Santa Rosa. […] continued

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AOL INSTANT MESSENGER ANNOYANCES

AOL’s new 9.0 software continues to underwhelm me – I have yet to meet a computer that seems happy about having it installed. Too many times I’ve seen slowdowns and crashes where AOL 9.0 seems pretty clearly to be the culprit.

On the other hand, AOL Instant Messenger was always reasonably harmless – free, no requirement that you have an AOL subscription, a little cute but acceptable. […] continued

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SIGN OF THE TIMES

Kodak announced it will stop selling traditional film cameras in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, a startling sign of how quickly consumers have adopted digital imaging.

Kodak’s name still evokes a strong image, which is why this move carries such symbolic weight. It’s a sad story, though – a reminder that Kodak is in the process of being rendered obsolete and management has appeared to be incapable of reacting to a changing market. […] continued

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ADS, POPUPS & BROWSER HIJACKING

For several months, the most frequent complaint from my clients concerns programs surreptitiously installed on their computers that have hijacked their browser home page, taken over the browser’s search functions, or that are displaying incessant popup windows.

I encourage you to visit the web sites linked below and read the background information about adware, spyware, and browser hijacking. […] continued

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COMCAST HIGH SPEED INTERNET IN SEBASTOPOL

Comcast turned on its high-speed Internet service in Sebastopol a couple of days ago. I called yesterday afternoon and a rep dropped off the installation kit at 9am this morning. I’m running on a true broadband connection.

The moon turned blue. Hell froze over. Pigs are flying outside my window. […] continued

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CURRENCY IMAGE DETECTION

From the “Interesting Things To Know” Department:

According to a post on the Adobe forums, the latest version of Adobe Photoshop has the built-in ability to detect that an image is of American currency and prevent you from opening the file. Apparently it will also do this with Euro notes. Reportedly the latest version of Paint Shop Pro has the same restriction. […] continued

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REALPLAYER 10

Real announced a heap of new products and services today, including enhanced quality audio and video streaming and a new player, RealPlayer 10. They promise that it is less intrusive and obnoxious.

There is no evidence that those promises are true. What I’ve read so far is that nothing has changed. […] continued

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GOVERNMENT VIOLATES PRIVACY PLEDGE

Here’s a chilling article about a government agency deliberately violating a promise not to publish e-mail addresses of people commenting on a proposed government regulation – for no reason except that it’s inconvenient to honor the promise. Spammers harvest e-mail addresses listed on web sites, so the government is assisting in inundating 10,000 people with junk mail. […] continued

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NEW BRUCEB CELL PHONE NUMBER

Late last year, the cell phone carriers implemented “number portability” in one hundred cities across the country.

Sonoma County is number 114 on the list. We won’t be able to keep our cell phone numbers when we change carriers until sometime this summer.

AT&T coverage seems to be getting worse. One theory is that AT&T coverage is deteriorating while AT&T converts its towers to its new GSM system – leaving fewer and fewer towers for its existing customers with TDMA phones. […] continued

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APPLE GRIEF

The Press Democrat’s business pages frequently feature fawning coverage of Apple’s press releases, while attacking Microsoft at every opportunity. Today it was a long article about the exciting! MacWorld! show! in San Francisco! this week!

Never forget that Apple’s market share is currently two percent and falling – for good reason. […] continued

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CHEAP DVD PLAYERS

The Seattle Times has an interesting article about the ultra-low priced DVD players on the market. No-name DVD players were available on sale before Xmas for under thirty dollars, and they’re still under forty dollars if you look around.

Surprisingly, the article concludes that quality and performance are perfectly good, on a par with the name brand players selling for twice as much – which might have been assembled on the same factory line with the same parts. […] continued

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