MICROSOFT INTRODUCES BLOGGING TOOL

“Blogging” has been named the “word of the year” by Merriam Webster. Blogs are online tools designed to allow easy sharing of opinions and information, typically in short entries presented chronologically. This news page is based on Blogger, now owned by Google, one of the original blogging sites.

Microsoft is hoping to attract non-technical people to its new blogging service MSN Spaces. […] continued

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GOTOMYPC

Remote access to an office computer is becoming a top priority for many people. Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 includes remote access options that are rich and satisfying; even very small businesses are putting servers in place to take advantage of the remote tools.

Individuals in home offices or very small businesses have more choices than ever before. […] continued

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AMERICA ONLINE: THE DEATHWATCH

It’s time to begin a deathwatch on America Online. It will be a lingering death but it seems inevitable.

AOL is screwed. Its dialup subscriber base is shrinking fast; even poorly informed subscribers are realizing there are better ways to get online. Its software was originally designed to be simple and user-friendly, but it has long since turned into a cluttered, advertising-driven mess. […] continued

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YAHOO MESSENGER

Yahoo released a new version of its instant messenger program today – same functions, but more cute smiley faces and cute games and not-so-cute advertising and screen clutter.

Make sure you do a “custom install”! The default installation will take over your Internet home page, your Internet searches, and your e-mail, in addition to other unwanted changes to your system. […] continued

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MUSIC FROM RUSSIA

A new music downloading service is attracting attention. AllOfMP3.com is hosted in Moscow and offers music downloads at dirt-cheap prices by the megabyte, in a variety of formats, from a large catalog, with no restrictions on the files.

Here’s an article from an Australian journalist who downloaded a gigabyte of mp3 files for less than fifty dollars and reports no subsequent abuse of his credit card. […] continued

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DRUG PRICE INFORMATION ONLINE

The government has revamped www.medicare.gov. Among other things, it now has comprehensive information about prices on a variety of prescription drugs in thousands of pharmacies, with and without various discount and Medicare cards. Here’s a New York Times article about the new information and the controversy over unexplained wide variations in prices. […] continued

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A9.COM SEARCH

Amazon.com has unveiled its own search engine, www.a9.com. Search results are drawn from Google as well as Amazon, and include search results from inside books indexed by Amazon. If you sign in with your Amazon account, you can store your search history, annotate web pages, and even see a history of web sites visited. […] continued

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MICROSOFT PASSPORT TO NOWHERE

Microsoft’s Passport was envisioned as a central place for your personal information, safeguarded by Microsoft, which would then be accessed during your online shopping so you wouldn’t have to type in your name and address and credit card information at each web site.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Here’s an article about the current status of the Passport service – currently only being used by Microsoft and a handful of its close partners, and giving every sign that it will continue to disappear from sight. […] continued

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MORE AOL INSTANT MESSENGER GRIEF

AOL Instant Messenger was updated recently to version 5.5 – and apparently it secretly installs Wild Tangent, a “game content delivery service,” along with the IM program. Wild Tangent is typical adware – software you didn’t ask for and don’t want, installed without your knowledge or consent (in anything other than a meaningless technical sense – a clause buried in a license agreement does not constitute “consent.”) […] continued

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AOL INSTANT MESSENGER ADWARE

There’s a new irritant spreading in the AOL Instant Messenger network, pretending to be a web-based game named “Night Raptor” from a service named “BuddyLinks.” DON’T CLICK ON IT! Once installed, you are barraged with popup advertising, which is bad enough – but it also starts bombarding everyone on your buddy list with ads, which is unforgivable. […] continued

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AOL INSTANT MESSENGER ANNOYANCES

AOL’s new 9.0 software continues to underwhelm me – I have yet to meet a computer that seems happy about having it installed. Too many times I’ve seen slowdowns and crashes where AOL 9.0 seems pretty clearly to be the culprit.

On the other hand, AOL Instant Messenger was always reasonably harmless – free, no requirement that you have an AOL subscription, a little cute but acceptable. […] continued

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NEW LOOK FOR HOTMAIL

Hotmail got an overhaul yesterday, including a new interface that resembles Microsoft Outlook 2003. Theoretically the junk mail filter keeps improving, grouping and viewing of contacts has been improved, and the calendar can now be shared with other users.

(Is it coincidence that I can’t get Hotmail to load this morning? […] continued

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SKYPE

The buzz is rising to deafening levels for Skype, new software for making telephone calls over the Internet. It’s a new project from the Swedes who invented Kazaa, and in the last two months it’s been downloaded at a dizzying pace, setting new download records.

Skype is free software and the concept is familiar – armed with speakers and a microphone, you can “call” and talk to anyone else in the world who’s on Skype. […] continued

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NAPSTER REBORN

Napster 2.0 will open for business next week, when Roxio releases a “public beta test version” of a new music downloading service.

Roxio purchased the “Napster” name last year, but the new service will otherwise have nothing to do with Napster’s previous incarnation. There will be a pay-per-download service, similar to iTunes and MusicMatch, as well as a subscription service. […] continued

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NEW ONLINE MUSIC SERVICES

Since Apple Computer’s iTunes service appears to be successful, a flood of companies are announcing sites for licensed online music downloads. Here’s an article about the recent announcements.

The first one to open is Buy.com’s buymusic.com, but Napster’s brand name will be revived by Roxio later this year, along with services from MusicMatch and AOL – and perhaps from Amazon and Microsoft, although they haven’t announced firm plans yet. […] continued

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