PERSPECTIVE ON SECURITY HOLES

You’ve probably read some of the articles about security holes in various operating systems and programs, each one describing a theoretical possibility that hackers might do pernicious things to your computer. Most of the articles in the mainstream press are focused on Microsoft products, but rest assured there are many, many more reports in the technical press, and the security problems are by no means limited to Microsoft. […] continued

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XO COMMUNICATIONS UPDATE

XO Communications may yet survive. It is on schedule to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings as a going concern, with a manageable debt load and Carl Icahn holding more than 80% of the stock. Here’s an article with more details.

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KAZAA AND THE LAW

The recording industry has a lawsuit pending in US District Court in Los Angeles against Kazaa, seeking to grind it away to nothing as it did to Napster. Kazaa is currently the most popular online file-swapping software, downloaded by more than 160 million people. At any given time, more than 3 million people are running the program, double the number that Napster had at its peak. […] continued

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NEW HORRORS IN POPUP ADS

Although some services are backing away from popup ads – America Online has promised to behave itself better, for example – but there are still some ways for things to get worse. Orbitz has just begun inundating popular sites with popup ads that include an insidious new feature. If your mouse passes over the popup – no click, just move the cursor across the body of the ad – your Internet browser is hijacked and automatically shuttled to the Orbitz web page. […] continued

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I HATE SPAM

The onslaught of spam continues to be everyone’s number one complaint. Recently I’ve been hearing very nice things about a program named I Hate Spam, from Sunbelt Software. It’s spam blocking software that works with either Outlook or Outlook Express, and reportedly blocks 95% of the spam. It does this by several techniques – among other things, it allows all messages through from people in your address book, and it blocks all messages from spam mailers identified in a list that’s updated every day. […] continued

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WINDOWS MESSENGER vs. MSN MESSENGER

Microsoft has completely mucked up the marketing of its Passport service and its instant messenger products. I follow this industry pretty closely, but I’ve frequently been baffled about how the various pieces fit together.

I get an e-mail newsletter from WinXP News (not overly technical, not completely flattering to Microsoft, and frequently filled with useful tips and tricks – recommended!) Here’s an easy guide to Microsoft’s instant messenger products from this week’s newsletter. […] continued

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NIGERIAN FRAUDSTER BAITING

With the raging popularity of the Nigerian e-mail scam (see my writeup and links on October 24), a new sport has sprung up – Nigerian fraudster baiting, leading the scammers on the road to ridicule.

Here’s a wonderful example – an exchange of e-mails between “Dr. Graham Douglas” in Nigeria, and gullible victim Norman Bettison. […] continued

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FUN WITH GOOGLE

Google has a division named “Google Labs” that occasionally offers a look at its work in progress. Two new toys are online today.

Google Viewer turns your search results into a slideshow, displaying each search result in a customized viewer for a few seconds. Well worth a look!

Google Webquotes annotates your search results with comments from other websites – which at times amounts to instant feedback on the reputation of the sites. […] continued

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MICROSOFT XMAS GOODIES

If you’re running Windows XP and you want to kill a little time, drop by www.microsoft.com/holiday for some Christmas-themed computer toys – screensavers, skins for Media Player, digital photo greeting card templates, and the like. (Be warned – the screensavers are extraordinarily dull. Don’t bother.)

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THE WIRELESS FUTURE

The story of the moment is the explosive growth of wireless technology. Prices are plummeting on 802.11b technology and the equipment is being gobbled up for use in homes and small businesses. (Large companies are going more slowly because they have different concerns about security and management.)

Here’s a New York Times article about the wireless boom. […] continued

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SPAM KING

The Detroit Free Press wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about Alan Ralsky, one of the top five spammers in the world. Some people estimate that 150 major spammers are responsible for ninety percent of the spam we get, and Ralsky is one of the biggest. He’s sending out a billion messages every single day, he’s getting rich, and he just loves what he’s doing and can’t wait to do more. […] continued

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XMAS BLUES

Interesting wrapup from a newsletter sent by Windows & .NET Magazine.

”There are signs of recovery in the tech sector. Technology research firm IDC reports that 2003 worldwide PC shipments will jump by more than 8 percent to 136 million units; portable computers will be the star, jumping 14 percent, year over year.

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SAVING INTERNET FAVORITES

Here’s a little feature of Internet Explorer that might come in handy – an easy way to save your list of Internet Favorites. If you use the Favorites list very often, it would probably be a pain to reconstruct it if your system crashes or you buy a new computer.

In Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6, click on File / Import and Export / Export Favorites. […] continued

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CHEAP COMPUTERS – REVIEW

PC Magazine has written a review of a few of the computers on the market now for under $500. It’s already out of date – Dell is selling sub-$500 systems, the HP models in the stores aren’t quite the same as the reviewed model – but it will give you an idea of what to expect. […] continued

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LORD OF THE RINGS UPDATE

Getting ready for The Two Towers? Here’s an early look from Time Magazine, which notes that “Fellowship was often quiet and deliberately paced. Two Towers is an unabashed action film.” They predict that we’ll like it even more than the first film.

There’s no introduction in The Two Towers, no prologue to remind you where the first film left off. […] continued

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