NAPSTER ALTERNATIVES

Now that Napster has gone, other services are slowly coming up to speed for file sharing. It’s a slow process – the record companies have successfully created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia. Here’s an article about AudioGalaxy, a new service that operates similarly to Napster. It sounds like it’s on the verge of being overwhelmed by new users – and more importantly, I can’t imagine that it will be around for more than the blink of an eye before the record companies turn their doberman attorneys loose. […] continued

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MICROSOFT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HOTMAIL SPAM

Oh, this is a nasty one. According to this article, Microsoft sends information about its Hotmail subscribers – email address, city, and state – to InfoSpace, an Internet white pages service. InfoSpace then combines this information with the subscribers’ telephone numbers and home addresses. The result is a user database that spam advertisers use to generate junk mail. […] continued

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MICROSOFT’S PLAN TO SELL OFFICE XP

If you’ve been reading the tech news, you’ve seen references to a controversy about “Product Activation” in Microsoft Office XP, and more controversy over a new licensing scheme for large companies called “Software Assurance.” This article is a good summary of the various methods Microsoft has cooked up to increase sales of Office XP. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP INTRODUCTION

Windows XP is four months away, but it will make such a big splash that you should be coming up to speed on it now. This seventeen-page analysis of XP covers everything from system requirements and new features to backup/restore capabilities and networkability. The article is easy reading for consumers, but there’s more than enough details to keep IT professionals interested too. […] continued

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MICROSOFT PASSPORT

More and more online merchants are signing up to accept payments through Microsoft’s Passport system. It’s an important part of Microsoft’s long-term goal to take over the Internet and collect fees for every online transaction. I signed up. If you have a Hotmail account, you’re already plugged into the Passport system. […] continued

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THE COPYRIGHT POLICE ARE WATCHING

The conventional wisdom has been that the record companies would target services like Napster with threats and lawsuits, but they would never attack individuals – for practical and PR reasons.

Forget it. The copyright police are watching.

The new services popping up to replace Napster – Gnutella and the like – do not use central servers. […] continued

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CDR BACKUP

As more people get CD recorders, it makes sense to use them for backups. There’s a number of ways to do that, but many of you should consider investing in a backup program that works with CDRs. I’m going to get Veritas Backup Exec Desktop Pro. It backs up across a peer-to-peer network onto CDRs and includes disaster recovery features and a lot of flexibility. […] continued

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SATELLITE UPDATE

I’ve had the Pegasus/DirecPC satellite for about ten days. Right after it was installed, the entire two-way DirecPC system went down for about three days, which created a poor first impression. Tech support was easy to reach and helpful, but a bit slow to acknowledge that the whole system was down, which was frustrating. […] continued

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AOL TIME WARNER LIVING DOWN TO EXPECTATIONS

When the AOL TIme Warner merger was being evaluated, one important issue concerned “open access” to the new company’s cable systems. If AOL Time Warner refused to let anyone else use its cable systems to deliver Internet access, then it would be in a position to monopolize local markets and put competitors out of business. […] continued

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R.I.P. NETSCAPE BROWSER

According to this article, Netscape will essentially get out of the browser business soon. Its web site will be turned into an Internet media hub to showcase Time Warner artists and publications. Keep your eye on AOL Time Warner’s plans to cross-market all of its different businesses. It promises to be an overwhelming experience, marketing and advertising on a level we’ve never seen before. […] continued

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WEB BLACKOUT AFFECTS E-MAIL

I had trouble sending some e-mail during the last few days – messages were being returned as undeliverable, but it was hard to understand why. A couple of other people have mentioned the same thing to me. I don’t know for sure, but this article about a squabble between two major Internet service providers may have the answer. […] continued

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SHRINKING INTERNET

The Internet is turning into just another broadcast medium – a limited number of channels controlled by big companies, designed to maximize revenues to copyright holders and megacorporations. And we’re facilitating the takeover.

A thought-provoking and disturbing study shows that the Internet is shrinking, collapsing in on itself. Here’s some statistics:

  • More than half of all time spent online centers around the web sites run by four companies – AOL Time Warner, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Napster.
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SATELLITE UPDATE – HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

The dish is on the roof. Consumer-class two-way satellite service from Pegasus Communications.

Equipment was delivered about three days after I placed the order, and the installation took place about eight days later – almost exactly what was promised. The installers arrived on time and did a nice job – about two hours total. […] continued

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HANDHELDS

There’s been an unpredictable development in the world of handheld devices. Palm is no longer the king of the hill.

In fact, Palm is struggling. Here’s an article with details of the various problems – an inventory glut, dwindling cash reserves, a depressed stock price, and more. It faces a tough competitor in Handspring, which is marketing a very attractive Palm-compatible device. […] continued

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COMPUTER RECYCLING

Disposing of old computers is a headache. They’re hard on the environment (monitors are no longer permitted in landfills, I believe), but the schools and traditional charities aren’t interested in computers that are more than a couple of years old. Hewlett Packard deserves kudos for beginning an extensive recycling campaign. For a fee (from $13-$34), HP will pick up your old equipment, refurbish it if possible, and recycle it in an environmentally friendly way if it can’t be refurbished. […] continued

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