XO ON THE BRINK

It’s almost over for XO Communications. According to this article, XO is weighing a takeover bid by Carl Icahn, and it may file for bankruptcy soon. More telling to me is that XO filed its annual report with the SEC; in it, the accounting firm said it has “substantial doubt about (XO’s) ability to continue as a going concern.” I understand those to be code words meaning the company is near death. […] continued

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WHEN ELEPHANTS DANCE

If you’re trying to catch up on the copyright wars, here’s an article that does a wonderful job of summarizing all of the issues and how the different players stand. Copy-protected CDs, the death of Internet radio, the DMCA, digital TV, digital rights management – all discussed in a straightforward way. […] continued

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DILBERT NEWSLETTER

Although I’m as bugged by spam e-mail as you are, I recommend signing up for a very funny newsletter from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. (Sign up at the Dilbert web site.) It only arrives three or four times a year, and it frequently has several things that make me laugh out loud. […] continued

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PAY MUSIC SERVICES

The music industry’s pay services, RealOne and PressPlay, are worse than you realize. Read the details here, then do what I did – uninstall all the RealNetworks software from your system and ignore the industry’s efforts to provide “legal” sources of music until they come up with something that isn’t insulting. […] continued

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YOUNGSTERS ARE ALL THUMBS

According to a new study (reported in the Guardian Unlimited Observer), the thumbs of people under 25 have become the hand’s most muscled and dextrous digits. Almost all people over 25 rely on their forefinger as their hand’s primary tools, but under-25s have grown up with handheld technologies – mobile phones, GameBoys, and computers – and they are more likely to instinctively use their thumbs. […] continued

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INTERVIEW WITH LAWRENCE LESSIG

If you’re following the copyright wars, you might be interested in a question-and-answer session on Slashdot with Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford law professor and one of the leaders of the fight to rein in the copyright police.

And consider donating to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the organization doing the most effective work to protect the interests of consumers in the courts and in Congress. […] continued

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COPYRIGHT POLICE GET UGLIER

Today’s news has more evidence that the entertainment industry is successfully shaping our world – by filling it with fear and intimidation.

An Austin, Texas, man could face up to $100,000 in fines and a year in jail for selling ten copies of live concert recordings of actor Russell Crowe’s band over the Web. […] continued

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DELL REACHES GOAL, SHUTS DOWN

The Onion is a treasure. One of its stories this week is just perfect:

AUSTIN, TX—After 18 years of striving, Dell Computer finally reached its long-stated goal to be the worldwide leader in computing systems Monday and promptly ceased operations.

“We did it,” founder and CEO Michael Dell said. “Back when I started this company, I vowed that I would not rest until we revolutionized the way computers are sold.

[…] continued Read more

TIME WARNER HATES AOL SOFTWARE

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that America Online has continued to use Microsoft Internet Explorer as its browser engine, even though it acquired Netscape last year – pretty ironic, eh?

Well, an even better commentary on Netscape’s software skills comes today from the offices of Time Warner. After the merger with AOL, Time Warner issued an edict to all of its divisions requiring them to use AOL’s email services – software developed by Netscape, running on AOL’s public servers. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP HOME vs. PROFESSIONAL

There are relatively few differences between Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional for home users and small businesses sharing computers in a workgroup. (If your company has a Windows domain, the workstations must run Windows XP Professional; the Home version won’t connect to a domain.)

I thought a significant difference was that only WinXP Professional included a backup program, a relatively lightweight program licensed from Veritas. […] continued

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EARTHLIGHTS

Here’s a cool photo of the earth. This is the information that came along with the link by e-mail, for what it’s worth.

The image is a panoramic view of the world from the new space station. It is a night photo with the lights clearly indicating the populated areas.

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NEW NOTEBOOKS

Today Dell is introducing a new notebook under a thousand dollars. The SmartStep 100N isn’t configurable, but its specs are darned good for $949 – 1.06GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, a 14-inch display and a CD-ROM drive, along with Windows XP Home Edition. Other manufacturers have models that are pretty close – Toshiba, in particular, has a Satellite notebook at $999 with more memory and a DVD drive. […] continued

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MORPHEUS TO ADD ANTI-COPYING TECHNOLOGY

Morpheus was looking like an ally in the fight to keep file trading alive. It didn’t include spyware in its software, and its new software tapped into the truly decentralized Gnutella world, where the record companies would be hardpressed to shut it down.

But its parent company now says it’s going to embrace digital rights management and include anti-copying technology in the software soon. […] continued

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SPYWARE

There’s more and more ways to get “spyware” on your system – programs that monitor your web surfing and report back to third parties without your knowledge or consent. In some cases they’re buried in other programs that you installed intentionally, but if there’s any disclosure at all it’s always deeply hidden. […] continued

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SEARCH ENGINES

This article starts out by explaining the different approaches chosen by Google, Yahoo, and AltaVista for indexing the Internet – and makes it easier to understand why Google is so scarily accurate. It drifts a bit at the end, but the first half is interesting reading.

[…] continued Read more