FIBER TO YOUR HOME, AND OTHER PIPE DREAMS

The phone companies – Baby Bells and Verizon – got a lot of press today for their announcement that they’ve agreed on a “standard” for rolling out fiber to your homes, enabling ultra-fast Internet connections.

It’s meaningless. Don’t get your hopes up. The FCC is working on the final wording of its ruling from a few months ago, relieving the companies from any requirement to open their broadband circuits to competitors. […] continued

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BROADBAND SERIES PRESERVED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

I wrote some notes a couple of weeks ago about choices for broadband access in rural Sonoma County. It’s scrolling off the news page now, but it’s such stunningly lucid prose that I wanted to reassure you it’s been preserved here on my Program Tips page. You can refer to it again and again and let it guide you in your daily life. […] continued

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HISTORY LESSON

Mark Minasi occasionally writes a column for a newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine. Today he makes an interesting point to support his contention that Windows NT 4.0 should not be considered obsolete. Minasi notes that the hardware in personal computers has changed less in the last ten years than in the ten preceding years. […] continued

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MEDIA MONOPOLIES

I was looking for this the other day – here’s a list of the companies owned by AOL Time Warner. It’s extraordinary. You can get similarly chilling information about other media conglomerates, like Clear Channel Communications and Disney.

Look at those charts and weep on Monday, when the FCC is expected to approve new regulations making it possible for those companies to have an even tighter grip on our sources of information. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TO PAY AOL $750 MILLION

You might have seen the news that Microsoft will pay AOL $750 million to settle AOL’s antitrust lawsuit. AOL acquired Netscape in 1998 and sued Microsoft in early 2002 for playing dirty to obtain market dominance.

The deal makes sense from an economic perspective for obvious reasons. AOL’s fortunes are sinking, it has a mountain of debt, and the payoff is pocket change for Microsoft, which has $46 billion in the bank. […] continued

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THE MATRIX RELOADED

You can read the conversation between Neo and the Architect here, in case you missed anything the first time. (For goodness’ sake, don’t read it if you haven’t seen the movie yet!)

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ADOBE ACROBAT READER 6

Adobe released Acrobat 6 today, including a new version of the free Acrobat Reader. Download Acrobat Reader 6 here. Acrobat PDF format is starting to be used everywhere – you might as well have this upgrade in case you want to view multimedia content embedded in a PDF file or simply use the improved interface. […] continued

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KAZAA SECURITY UPDATE

There will be an important update for Kazaa within the next 24 hours. They’ve identified a security vulnerability and they’re urging users to patch their systems quickly. Here’s an article with more details.

While we’re on the subject, though, don’t be confused by a different kind of warning. There’s been talk of “viruses” spread over the Kazaa network. […] continued

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MESSAGE FROM “SUPPORT@MICROSOFT.COM” CONTAINS A VIRUS

The latest virus making the rounds purports to arrive from “support@microsoft.com.” The file attachment contains a virus. It’s not from Microsoft.

You shouldn’t have to think about these.

If you are using Outlook 2000 with the security update, or Outlook 2002, the attachment will be blocked.

If your antivirus definitions are up to date, they will catch the virus.

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SPAMMER TESTIMONY

Yesterday a notorious spammer testified in front of the Senate Commerce committee. Here’s the Washington Post article about his testimony. Ronald Scelson, an eighth-grade dropout and self-taught computer programmer from Louisiana, claims that he sends between 120 million and 180 million e-mails every 12 hours, and said he can break sophisticated software filters within 24 hours. […] continued

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HOW GATOR WORKS

Gator is one of the most widespread and obnoxious of the adware programs out there – sneaky programs that might be installed on your system even though you don’t quite know how they got there.

Gator’s job on your computer is to deliver popup ads, lots and lots of popup ads. […] continued

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WORDPERFECT 11

There’s a new release of WordPerfect, so I went through the Corel support newsgroups to get an idea of what people think.

The reports are pretty good. It’s reasonably stable for most people, and Corel has taken out some of the most troublesome parts of the previous releases. I’m especially pleased to see that they’ve dropped “Corel Central,” the broken information manager. […] continued

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ROB BLACK BACK ON THE AIR

The world became dreary and pointless when CNET Radio went off the air a few months ago. True geeks can get a fix by signing up to receive daily downloads of 25 minute newscasts, served up in mp3 format for listening on the computer, portable devices, or anything else that will play an mp3. […] continued

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NEW DELL NOTEBOOK

Dell has just introduced another Latitude notebook, if you’re willing to pay extra to get less – less weight, that is.

The Latitude D D400 is a full Centrino notebook, with the power-saving Pentium M processor and built-in wireless, with a 12 inch screen and the usual accessories, in a little package weighing in at 3.7 pounds. […] continued

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APPLE’S FUTURE IN MULTIMEDIA

Apple’s new music downloading service, iTunes, reported two million downloads in its first 16 days of operation, a startling success. I continue to hope that it falls flat, for the reasons I wrote up on May 1. If consumers sign up to digital rights management at a dollar a song chosen from an inadequate library, the industry will seize on it and carve it in stone – and our chances for a better deal will go down dramatically. […] continued

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