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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SOFTWARE SECURITY FLAWS

Every so often I feel compelled to respond to the incessant coverage of the security flaws in Microsoft products. It’s easy to get the impression that Microsoft products are inherently insecure and that alternative systems are better.

Analysts from the Aberdeen Group reported today that open-source software and Linux installations have overtaken Microsoft as the leading security risks. […] continued

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INTERNET USAGE CHARGES

The high-speed broadband providers, especially the cable companies, are driven to distraction that some people download more than others. Some people are using their broadband connection for broadband purposes – watching streaming movies, downloading music, doing video conferencing, and the like. It drives the ISPs crazy that they’re not yet picking the pockets of those users more deeply. […] continued

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USB DRIVE FOLLOWUP

The little drives discussed below (see November 20) are truly wonderful. Here’s a roundup of six more that are less than thirty dollars each, for 16Mb of storage space –more than enough to transfer your work files around.

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DMCA MADNESS

Everybody’s favorite legislation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, got a workout yesterday. WalMart, Target, Best Buy, and Staples served notices under the DMCA on a bargain hunter web site, FatWallet.com, claiming that their sale prices are copyrighted trade secrets. Here’s The Register’s summary of what happened.

The DMCA notice is directed at lists of sale prices compiled by FatWallet.com on items in the stores. […] continued

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MICROSOFT RESEARCHERS: DRM DOOMED TO FAILURE

A fascinating report delivered to a conference on “Digital Rights Management” yesterday. A group of Microsoft researchers presented a paper which concludes that all efforts to stop file swapping are in the long term futile and doomed to failure.

The Register summarizes the paper here. It looks at the history of file swapping, which started with people mailing files or handing CDs to each other, and evolved into Napster and the current file sharing programs – Kazaa, WinMX and the rest. […] continued

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USB DRIVES

Lexar JumpDrive

I love my JumpDrive.

Many people need to carry files from home to office. Floppy disks don’t hold enough, and zip drives break. (Zip drives break a lot! Don’t trust them with important data!) CD-RWs are a pain to use, and CD-Rs are cheap but not well suited to moving files back and forth frequently. […] continued

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POCKET PCs FROM DELL

As expected, Dell announced two new Pocket PC handhelds, breaking new ground for low prices at $199 and $299. Each has comparatively generous amounts of memory, built-in slots for CompactFlash and Secure Digital/MMC cards, and all the usual features that go along with Pocket PC systems. Very appealing – I hope the reviews don’t uncover some weakness, because these could turn the handheld market around. […] continued

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MAC VS. PC: HYPE VERSUS REALITY

I hear it from people all the time: PCs might have some advantages, but boy, there’s nothing like a Mac for graphics and video work, especially if you’re a professional.

Well, nonsense. The Adobe programs are identical on either platform, and PCs have long outperformed more expensive Macs. And the gaps in price and performance are getter larger. […] continued

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ACCESS TO OUTLOOK FROM ANYWHERE

As we get more mobile, it becomes difficult to leave Outlook behind when we step away from our desk. America Online and MSN/Hotmail are awful services, but the idea of having access to your mailbox whenever you’re online, regardless of where you’re sitting, is pretty appealing.

There’s several answers. Companies running Microsoft Exchange Server can set up Outlook Web Access, which provides access to Outlook through any web browser. […] continued

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COREL DEATHWATCH CONTINUES

Canadian news is reporting that Corel is laying off 22% of its remaining workforce in another last-ditch effort to stay alive. That leaves Corel with a grand total of 769 employees worldwide. Corel has zero momentum in any market.

Attorneys, if you’re clinging to WordPerfect, you’re endangering your practice. You’re relying on an effectively unsupported product created by a nearly bankrupt developer and you’re saving your work product in an obsolete format. […] continued

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VERISIGN DOMAIN MANAGEMENT

Verisign built a distinguished name for itself as “Network Solutions,” with sole responsibility for handling domain names for many years. It was, hands down, the least friendly, most obnoxious company to deal with in United States history, with online tools to manage domains that were at best a joke and at worst a nightmare of dizzyingly incomprehensible forms and impossibly complex instructions to make any change. […] continued

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WEB SITE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Speaking of Slashdot, somebody over there nominates American Airlines for the longest web site statement of terms and conditions, a behemoth that you have to accept before joining its frequent flyer program. 181 paragraphs, 3,482 words of dense legalese. As Slashdot says, it’s probably a violation of the agreement even to mention it here. […] continued

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MICROSOFT DECISION LEAKED EARLY

An interesting technical sidelight on Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s approval of the Microsoft-DOJ settlement. The release of her decision was carefully scheduled for 4:30pm US Eastern time, after the markets had closed. The folks running the Court’s web site apparently didn’t realize anybody would find it, so the decision appeared on the Court’s web site two hours early. […] continued

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DELL COMPUTERS AT COSTCO

Here’s an unexpected announcement. Dell Computers is going to sell computers through Costco’s web site at www.costco.com. The announcement is unclear about whether to expect Dell-branded computers at Costco stores as well. Gives an indication of just how popular the discount warehouses have become for computer shoppers.

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