March

NEWSGROUP AND BITTORRENT GUIDES

Many of the best-known file-sharing programs are unappealing now. Kazaa installs so much adware/spyware that it can only be described as a threat. Some of the other peer-to-peer programs are free of adware, but the programs are frustrating to use, especially if you download a song and then discover it’s a fake planted by the record companies. […] continued

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MGM v. GROKSTER

Oral arguments are set in the US Supreme Court on Tuesday in MGM v. Grokster, a case with potentially huge consequences.

File sharing programs are used for downloading music and movies, but they are also used for group collaboration and completely legitimate distribution of software and media. There are exciting things being developed on peer-to-peer platforms. […] continued

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COMCAST SPEED INCREASE

Comcast has just about finished rolling out speed increases to its broadband customers nationwide. Most Comcast connections in the Bay Area got the increase in the last couple of days – download speed in Sebastopol is now 4Mbps instead of 3Mbps. For an extra ten dollars per month, it’s supposed to be possible to obtain 6Mbps downloads, but the customer service reps are not always up to speed about that when you call. […] continued

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DRM OUTRAGE

Here’s an article asking a reasonable question – how long will it take for consumers to become angry at the limitations and cost of downloaded music encumbered by “digital rights management” restrictions? Songs downloaded from iTunes can only be played on iPods; songs downloaded from Napster can only be played on compatible portable devices, currently a very short list indeed. […] continued

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FIREFOX AND SECURITY

Firefox is a perfectly nice piece of software, but it’s getting more hype than it deserves. It’s not the panacea that will keep you safe; it has its own security issues and it will be targeted by the bad guys just as Internet Explorer has been targeted.

Here’s an article that discusses the security problems already identified in Firefox, which currently has a haphazard way of notifying users and issuing updates. […] continued

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FILE SHARING HEADED FOR SUPREME COURT

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on March 29 in MGM v. Grokster, potentially leading to a ruling that could stifle new Internet-based services that have nothing to do with sharing music and movies. Here’s an article about the issues at stake.

Although the music and recording industries act as if the only purpose of peer-to-peer file sharing software is to obtain “pirated” music, in fact there are rich new services in development for collaborating in exciting ways that branch off from file sharing technology. […] continued

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DESKTOP SEARCH

In the last few months several companies have introduced programs to index your files and your Outlook folders and let you find e-mail messages, contacts, or file attachments as easily as you can find something online. It is intoxicating to have the power to find a needle instantly in our oversized Outlook haystacks. […] continued

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OUTLOOK SPAM FILTER UPDATE

If you’re using Outlook 2003, Microsoft released updated junk mail definitions a couple of days ago. Visit Microsoft Office Update to install the update. (If you haven’t gone to Office Update for a while, you should also install service packs or anything else it offers, but keep in mind that you will probably be asked for the installation CD if you have any programs installed from Office XP or Office 2000. […] continued

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TECH SUPPORT HELL

Getting tech support by phone for software and hardware problems has never been easy. It’s getting worse than you realized.

Here’s an article by a smart guy, Charles Cooper, who’s been writing about the computer industry for years. He was unable to install Norton Antivirus 2005 on his wife’s computer and got far enough with the online support materials that he identified the cause – a virus that had infected the drive. […] continued

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BROADBAND DISCOUNTS AND DEVELOPMENTS

There will come a time when high-speed Internet access will be ubiquitous and the growing pains will seem quaint. It can be hard to remember that while we’re in the middle of these odd times.

SBC will sell you DSL for $19.95/month. You have to sign up online with a one-year commitment, and you have to use SBC local phone service to get the low price. […] continued

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