Saturday, April 16, 2005

Estone Car MP3 Player Ripper-510

Since I'm into computers, Audio and cars. Thought it was cool.

Friday, April 15, 2005

BBC NEWS | Technology | Bogus blogs snare fresh victims

"Cyber criminals are starting to use fake blogs to snare new victims.

The bogus web journals are being used as traps that infect visitor's machines with keylogging software or viruses.

Filtering firm Websense said it had found hundreds of bogus blogs baited with all kinds of malicious software to snare the unwary.

Websense warned that the baited blogs could get past traditional security measures that try to protect people from malicious programs."

Just another example of how careful, anybody surfing the internet has to be.

Are you breaking a social contract to use the Firefox Adblock extension?

I have alluded to this moral dilemma several times in the past. I agree with one poster that when the ads are offensive enough, there really is no dilemma. In that case I believe that the ad mongers have already broken the social contract with me. So read it, and see what you think.

IBM car tech to nab speeders | CNET

Thanks to Curtis for this link.

Would you willingly drive a car that had a black box to check on your driving habits?

Stopping spam at the source - Spam, Scams & Viruses -

Its good to see that Earthlink (one of the country's larger ISPs) is restricting their email servers on their end.

What are ISPs doing to prevent spam?

1. Configuring their servers so that they aren't relays (only accepts incoming email for mailboxes on their servers).
2. Requiring internal clients to authenticate when they do send mail (like what Earthlink is currently phasing in).
3. Restricting access to send email only from their own mail servers. They do this by blocking the outgoing mail port from all other computers.

Its a start. Personally, I'd rather just see spammers tar and feathered.


Progressive News - Is Cheap Broadband Un-American? by Tim Karr

Progressive News - Is Cheap Broadband Un-American? by Tim Karr: "We have Big Media to thank for saving Americans from themselves. Just as the notion of affordable broadband for all was beginning to take hold in towns and cities across the country"

We all want cheap Broadband, Don't we?


U.S. agencies ordered to be brand neutral | Tech News on ZDNet

U.S. agencies ordered to be brand neutral | Tech News on ZDNet: "The White House told federal agencies this week to stop specifying brand names in procurement contracts, a practice it says leads to higher prices for everything from paper clips to PCs and hurts the livelihood of smaller vendors."

My computers have AMD inside, do you demand Intel inside?


Linux programmer wins legal victory | Tech News on ZDNet

Linux programmer wins legal victory | Tech News on ZDNet

A Linux programmer has reported a legal victory in Germany in enforcing the General Public License, which governs countless projects in the free and open-source software realms.

Score one for the Linux Programmers!


Cerf: Hollywood interested in BitTorrent | Tech News on ZDNet

Cerf: Hollywood interested in BitTorrent Tech News on ZDNet: "Hollywood is anxious to embrace BitTorrent as a method of movie distribution, according to Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet. "

Are you using BitTorrent? I downloaded the new Fedora core 4 Release 2 in a couple of hours. 5 CD's


Major Security Flaw in Open Office Found

This one slipped below my radar. The patch is already out for download. Details of the announcement at the link above. Details of the patch and the patch itself can be found here.


Apple Salles Rise Dramatically

Well, we knew it would happen. A 40% rise in sales is certainly more than I expected, though. It's not just the "halo" effect of the iPod, either. The reputation of Macs as easy to use and secure is growing to where I hear it daily as fact from all sorts of people.

The release of OS X 10.4 (Tiger) comes at the end of this month and will almost certainly boost the popularity of the Mac.


Legal action threatens Microsoft's Longhorn

A smaller company, Alacritech, has sued Microsoft and obtained an injunction against the software giant to prevent MS' usage of networking protocols belonging to Alacritech as part of Longhorn's communication packages.

It is unknown at this time what effect this will have on Longhorn's release date or it's constitution. What is known is that the increased communications capabilities are near the heart of what MS will put forth as reason to upgrade to Longhorn from XP. How big a blow this is can be debated. That it is damaging is a certainty. Look for frantic, big bucks negotiations for licensing.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Librarians fuming over Intel magazine bounty

But feel free to search your attic or basement ;-)

Worm attack forces Reuters IM offline | Tech News on ZDNet

Worm attack forces Reuters IM offline Tech News on ZDNet: "Worm"

Have you ever received a Virus through an IM? I have!

You don't just get a Virus from Email, you can get it from all sorts of places.

Remember I sell NOD32, The Anti-Virus that works!


Microsoft Action Pack Subscription

Microsoft Action Pack Subscription: "The Microsoft Action Pack Subscription"

This is a great deal, I have had a subscription to the Microsoft Action pack for years.

The Microsoft Action Pack Subscription is a benefit that’s available to Registered Members of the Microsoft Partner Program.

You need to complete your program enrollment in order to be recognized as a partner on the Microsoft Partners website.

Action Pack software includes:
Microsoft Windows® Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 (10 licenses)
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition (10 Licenses)
Microsoft Business Solutions CRM Professional
And more all for $299.00 for the first year. and $199.00 a year after that.


Linspire 5-0: Surprisingly capable Linux desktop OS - Tech News & Reviews -

The next version of Linspire (formerly Lindows) is soon to be available for retail purchase. According to this review, its pretty plug and play, but is it worth the cost when you can get either Fedora, Slackware, Debian, etc for free?


Now taxes really can bug you

Oh My Goodness! Intuit and H&R Block use Web bugs on their Web based free filing service? Why doesn't this surprise me? It doesn't surprise me, but it does sadden me. Talk about a betrayal of trust. At least it is coming to light.

Dare to Explore: Microsoft's Web browser has a rapid rival in Firefox

It was interesting to find this article in one of our local papers today. It is an introduction to Firefox for the non-technically oriented who are just hearing about it for the first time. I think it's a pretty good article. It is fascinating for us techies to remember that while Firefox is old hat to us, it is brand new to the public at large.

P.S. After re-reading the article, I do take exception to one point. I hardly ever have to open IE -- maybe once every 2 to 4 weeks. Of course that varies with what Web sites a user frequents. I spend hours and hours each week surfing in Firefox alone and I'm making no particular effort in order to do so. Most of the time, I'm not aware that I'm using an "alternative" browser. In fact the only time I have opened IE in the last few weeks was for Windows/Office Updates, and to download Firefox to a computer that only had IE installed.

Surprises Lurk in Satellite Snaps

This is a fun article about finding unexpected things in in satellite imagery, most notably using Google. Nuff said, go exploring! - The new telephony - Apr 13, 2005

Another article on VoIP. The industry appears to be getting bigger, but the word in this article is just to make sure you know what you are doing first.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Internet phone service sometimes shaky

Yep. It's true. Generally old fashioned land-line phone service is pretty reliable and VOIP has to leap a high bar in equalling it, no less surpassing it as the recent 911 problems highlight. Nonetheless, I think the author of this article was a little harsh in terms of his "outtage" experience (he did not address 911 concerns).

While the documentation from ATT about the answering machine may have been a little weak, it was still probably a user error (leaving the answering machine plugged in), not a VOIP outtage that was the most likely cause of the problem. While inconvenient because of poor indoor cell coverage, he still had his cell phone. And what did we do in the days before cell phones and multiple phone lines in our homes when we needed to make a service call? We knocked on a neighbor's door, or found a phone booth (okay, that's getting difficult), or called from work. This guy "only" had a cell phone. That's more than most of us have had most of our lives. Nothing is perfect, but VOIP has great promise. Just be sure to do your homework and you will have few, if any nasty surprises.

On a slightly different, but realated topic, Joe and I had a conversation this morning about our impression that VOIP and cell competition is helping to drive down the cost of local personal and business landlines. I was surprised recently by some of the very attractively priced package deals offered by my friendly regional baby Bell. Not quite as attractive as VOIP, but since that's not an option here, I'm reaping the benefits anyway.

Firefox: 237% Growth in 9 months

Here is a .pdf file complete with all the Nielsen/Net ratings.

Now I'd like to figure out why more men than women. Speaking only for myself, I think Firefox has a more attractive interface and that it would appeal to women.

Did I Miss the iPod Becoming Uncool?

Gosh, fashion changes so quickly that you have to keep an eye on the Internet constantly. I missed the story two days ago in the International Herald Tribune about president George Bush's personal iPod, which was given to him by his daughters last year for his birthday.

If the president is using an iPod (with tunes to get his exercise heartbeat up to 170), will it become "uncool" to the glitterati? I sure hope not since I have yet to get all the songs I want locked down once let alone once and for all.

Peter S. Kastner

BigPond disconnecting Trojan-infected customers

In my opinion this is not only a fair repsonse to a customers computer flooding the networks with bogus DNS requests, it is a necessary one. To their credit BigPond is notifying its customers of the problem first and the disconnect is temporary in nature. In other words, once they clean their machines of the offending viruses, and trojans, etc. they can get back online. In fact, I think all ISPs should do likewise. If garbage spewing forth from my machine is ruining the Internet for others, I want to be disconnected so that I do the least harm. Anyone's machine can be compromised and become a menace on the Internet. It is in the interest of the ISP, the compromised customer, and the Internet for the ISP to be a watchdog in cases like this.

China Government Squeezes Foreign Software Companies

Fascism is a philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism. Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini were fascist. The People's Republic of China fits the definition in today's world.

The Financial Times (registration) reports that Chinese government agencies are strongly encouraged to buy software from local developers -- or foreign firms that must train local staff, invest revenues back into China and "transfer core software technology to China".

The "buy local or else" mandate comes a year after Microsoft won some local contracts in spite of national-level attempts to steer the business to local firms.

This is a helluva club to wield, especially given the virtually total disregard in China for intellectual property rights such as paying for software. Any foreign software firm that buys into these draconian Chinese government terms for some short-term revenue -- and with the hope of future China market share -- is making a pact with the devil. A pity that many software firms will ignore my warning.

Peter S. Kastner

Moore's Law is dead, says Gordon Moore

Well that's the title of the article. There is no quote of him saying "dead". However, he does share his thoughts on its limitations.

I don't know about you, but I've always been fascinated by Moore's law. It's nice to hear him comment on it.

First Reviews: Dell Dual-Core XPS Gen5

Intel's dual-core launch is expected before Memorial Day. The first review of a production-ready machine by PC Magazine confirms what we learned last week with the initial press publication of performance benchmarks.

For $4,000, buyers of the Dell XPS Gen 5 will get a very rich configuration, including 1 GB of memory, 500 GB of hard drive capacity, and a TV tuner.

Note that this is the second recent indicator of Dell's special relationship with Intel. Two weeks ago, Dell launched 4-way Xeon servers prior to Intel's public product announcement. The XPS Gen 5 reviewed here is the first of the Intel dual-core desktops. As the non-AMD OEM in a crowded market place, it's worth observing that Intel seems to be taking care of its best customer, Dell.

Peter S. Kastner

10 Things the Microsoft Longhorn OS Needs

From ExtremeTech:

1) New display system. This is what Avalon is supposed to address. The new display system needs to let us always run our systems as the maximum resolution our monitor supports and have the DPI (dots per inch) be fluidly scaleable without impacting software compatibility. I shouldn't have to run my laptop at 1024x768 in order to be able to read text if it supports 1600x1200. I should be able to run at 1600x1200 and size everything on the fly to be bigger.

2) Updated Searching. Google Desktop search only exists because the Find Files feature of Windows is essentially useless. I should be able to quickly find something on my system instantly. WinFS won't be out as part of Longhorn so what will they be improving in the meantime?

3) Smoother Multitasking. Windows still sucks at multitasking. Even when running on an SMP box, if the OS is "busy" doing something, you still can't quickly do something else. I eventually gave up on SMP since on Windows it's only good for CPU bound tasks and doesn't really affect multitasking efficiency very much (on MacOS X and OS/2, for instance, SMP basically made it so you could always be doing something in the UI, but on Windows, the UI is apparently not as multithreaded as it could be).

4) More Componentized. Whether we'll get Microsoft to make it so that pieces of Windows can be replaced or inherited from remains to be seen. I would like to be able to easily add more views (no, Ishell stuff doesn't cut it) to foldrers.

5) Stop bloating with needless bundling. Every new version of Windows throws in some half-assed immitation of third party software. While we can all appreciate having a "free" version of ZIP or uxtheme or movie maker, it damages third party software development. I'd rather think that when I BUY my copy of Windows that the work was put into features that only the OS vendor could do. Especially since Microsoft rarely puts any effort to let third parties expand on what they bundle (like adding RAR support to the compressed folders for example). There are some features only the OS vendor can really do. I'd rather see resources put there.

6) Make Networking better. I don't know about you guys but the LAN support in Windows is still quite a pain. As I type this, I am on a wireless LAN which has several computers on the same work group. It often takes several seconds, if at all, to find all the machines on the network. It would be nice if Microsoft re-thought how people use network resources and included ways of working with them in a more straight forward, ROBUST, centralized way.

7) Better use of memory. I have 2 gigabytes of memory on my main machine. I turn off the swap file. And yet I still hear the hard drive chipmunks going away. Why is that? And don't even get me started about the limited number of handles. Even on my 2 gigabyte machine, if programs use more than 24,000 or so handles, programs start crashing. The average person doesn't even know why their system becomes unstable because limited user handles on Windows XP has been largely ignored.

8) Fix Internet Explorer. CSS 2.0 compliance would be a nice start. How about making it much smarter about what it caches? I have lots of friends at Microsoft who admit to having switched to Firefox (or Opera). That's sad.

9) Fix your third party licenses. One of the ugly secrets of the PC OEM market is that computer manufacturers can't install things on Windows that changes the first boot-up experience. At best, they can put a few things on the desktop. But they can't, for example, include an alternative shell or have WindowBlinds running by default or change the boot screen or many ohter things. In short, there's not much way for PC manufacturers to distinguish their computer from every other computer. That means a LOT of lost innovation.

10) Fix Security. Outlook Express is still a spyware/spammer's dream. We shouldn't have to "upgrade" to Outlook to have some basic protections. There should be more end user tools that make it very easy to monitor net traffic. The "Network" tab in task manager is a nice start but it needs to go much furthre than that. Worms and the like should be stopped at the OS level. SP2 was a nice start, but there's still so much more to do.

There's lots of little things that are being addressed that I'm very excited about. Avalon is the big thing for me. XAML in particular is interesting but I fear it may lead to a ton of wacky looking "apps". I don't want my apps to be as poorly designed UI as the typical website. Let me put it this way, the people who make Office are VERY different from the people who made
Link. I want the former writings the stand alone apps I use, not the latter.

Music Police Discover Internet2's Big Pipes

The Recording Industry Association of America today is issuing subpoenas to 405 John and Jane Doe college students over the mis-use of 930,000 media files. Internet2 is an academic research net that runs at 100 Mbs fast Ethernet LAN speeds. That means a DVD can be swapped during a bio break.

Needless to say, the media industry is none too pleased. I expect the RIAA's friends in Congress will go apoplectic about the mis-use of I2, a publicly funded net.

Stay tuned, folks, to the saga of emerging Internet content use law.


Best Buy and their NON Service!

This is a long story, but here goes. 2 years ago I bought a Laptop from Best Buy to use as my mobile Encoder for the OnComputers show. At the time I bought it I bought an extended warrantee from Best Buy for the Laptop. (I only get an extended warrantee for Laptops.)

Well about the 4th of November the laptop wouldn’t boot. I took it into Best Buy for service, and they sent it down to their service center in the lower 48 someplace. When I took it in I told them I needed it back for a remote show on the first weekend of December, I was told that is not a problem. The week of Thanksgiving the service center called me and told me they were replacing the harddrive, did I want to have them back up my data. (For a only $89.00) I told them no thank you. That computer only has one job; it is the encoder and only used to broadcast the show. They told me it would be finished that Friday, I said I will be leaving for Los Angeles on 12/1/04 I need it back here by them. They said that is not a problem.

When I arrived in Los Angeles I called the service center and asked when I was going to receive my laptop. I was told it’s finished and ready to ship. I told the same lady that called me Thanksgiving week I was in Los Angeles and needed my computer. (This was on a Friday) She checked with someone and came back and told me they would ship it Next day to the hotel in Los Angeles to me. I was happy. The next day UPS showed up at the hotel and I got my laptop. I brought it up to the room and plugged it in and turned it on. They replaced the Harddrive and there was NO Operating System on the computer, now I am in Los Angeles and have my laptop I use to broadcast the OnComputers radio show and it doesn’t have an OS. I called the local Best Buy and talked to the service manager, he told me to bring it in and they would take a look at it. Remember we were in Los Angeles for Deepak’s memorial so there were 12 or 15 of us there. We ALL went to Best Buy. I went up to the service counter and asked for the manager, I explained I just received this laptop from their server center Next day USP and there is no OS on the computer. He said he would see what they can do and came back a few minutes later and said there is nothing he can do. I need to bring in my restore CD from Compaq. I told him their service center had this computer for a month (from 5 November to 4 December) and I didn’t have the restore CD with me. I was then told by the Service manager they would send the computer back to the service center for me. (This is the second service ticket written up my Best Buy) We all went back to the hotel without my Laptop. An hour or two later they called me and said they can’t send it in to the service center for me I would have to come back to their store to pick up my Laptop. I pointed out that the service center UPS next day the laptop to me at the hotel because they couldn’t replace the harddrive in a month and return it to me in Alaska. I told the service manager I would be talking about the POOR service I was getting from Best Buy, The service manager then told me “They hear about their POOR service all of the time.” They had one of their GeekSquad Techs come to the hotel and give me back my laptop.

Here I was in Los Angeles with a Laptop without an Operating System. It cost me $42 to have the useless laptop FedEx home to Alaska. I installed XP on it and it was up and running again.

On January 17th the Laptop would not Boot again. Once again I took it into the Best Buy store in Anchorage for service. (Service ticket number 3) This time Best Buy had the laptop until February 12th and replaced the Motherboard.

On March 4th it went in to Best Buy again for the same reason it wouldn’t boot! (Service ticket number 4, this time because it was the 4th ticket the tech requested the laptop be replaced.) After a few weeks I looked on their ( web site and it said the computer was back at the store so I called them. After waiting 30 minutes of the phone ringing someone answered it. Chris the service manager in Anchorage told me the laptop was shipped to the wrong service center (I was told it was shipped to Compaq, even their web site said it was sent to their service center.) and was returned and had to be shipped out again. This time it was going to Best Buy’s service center. (Service ticket number 5, March 21)

At this point I called the Best Buy Public relations office. I got someone’s voice mail. On March 31 I was given a UPS tracking number and the laptop was going to be delivered to the store on April 1st. (Remember this time it went it for them to decide if they were going to replace it as a lemon.) April 1st I called the store and asked about my laptop, I was told they didn’t know anything about it, I told them USP said it was delivered at 10:47AM Friday April 1st. They then said they would send Chris an email and Monday when he came in he could look into it. Tuesday April 5th Chris called me and said it was fixed that a cable going under the power button was stopping the button from going all the way down and wouldn’t let it turn on the computer.

I picked up my laptop at 11:57AM April 5th. We will see how long it runs this time. Since November 5, 2004 Best Buy has had this laptop in for service for 90 days! Out of the last 5 months I have had my laptop for 2 months; Best Buy has had it for service for 3 months.

A little FYI, I have another Compaq laptop I bought at Best Buy, but this one I bought the extended warrantee from and I call them on a Sunday and tell them I had a problem, they have FedEx pick it up at my door on Monday and Wednesday it is back here repaired! It also cost about $100.00 less.

Joe Polinsky the on air host for the OnComputers radio show. Joe at

EU's data retention laws could be illegal

Thank goodness the EU's data retention laws could be illegal. The proposed legislation would require that Internet Service Providers keep all data (e.g., traffic) transmitted by customers "indefinitely". Which means, of course, that the government could look at your Internet traffic anytime and for any purpose.

Bad idea and flawed legislation.

Peter S. Kastner

Harvard Says Optical Computers Practical Using Frozen Light

It's really pretty simple (not!). Just take ultra-cold atoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), which can preserve the phase and amplitude of a light pulse. In normal matter, these properties would be smeared out, destroying any information content. If a device can be built that preserves that information, Harvard professor Lene Hau argues, it could be developed into the CPU of an optical computer.

Apple "Tiger" OS X 10.4 Ships April 29th for Clients and Servers

We discussed the imminent release of the next version of Apple's Mac OS X, code-name Tiger, on the radio show. Apple has begun its teaser campaign leading up to the launch.

Mildly surprising is the planned release of the server version simultaneously with the Mac version. That's good news for Xserve customers, who in the past had to wait for the server version.

Peter S. Kastner

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Microsoft Reports Five Critical Security Fixes

As we discussed extensively on the radio show last Sunday, everybody needs to get these fixes to Windows installed pronto. Details here. A restart of Windows is required after installation. The whole process is about 6 minutes at broadband speeds.

Windows to Linux Conversion Guide

IBM has a "roadmap" for transitioning from Windows to Linux at the link above.

While far from a comprehensive guide, it is still detailed enough that the merely curious will probably shy away from it. That's a pity because even a casual reading of the document and it's associated links will detail the differences between Windows and Linux, along with the strengths and weaknesses of the philosophies which underly their design.

If you really want to know the functional differences between the two, this might be your best shot at an honest appraisal of them, albeit one written by Linux advocates.


Tougher data-leak law proposed

Here in California we have most of the protections offered by this proposed federal law. Considering the recent privacy kerfuffles that have come to light thanks fo the California law, why not extend this protection to everyone? Read the article and see what you think.

REAL Software - Free Offer for Visual Basic Users

REAL Software - Free Offer for Visual Basic Users

If you want a free copy of RealBasic VB here you go.

Thanks to Al_K in our chat.


Monday, April 11, 2005

CHAOS - Everybody's Computer Cluster?

Even after being the butt of a lot of jokes over my experiment with clustering 486s, I'm interested in the concept(s) involved. Here's one effort I'm following.

Pure Hacking, an Australian security firm, has created a version of open Mosix which overcomes that system's security problems and has the capability to turn an unused PC into a node of a computing cluster running Linux. The distribution itself is 6 MB and the nodes of the cluster are booted and commanded remotely by a master computer. (It doesn't matter which operating system is installed on the machine for it's "regular" usage and the contents of the hard drive aren't ever touched by CHAOS.)

Check it out.


States gang up on Vonage | CNET

An update on the 911 case against Vonage. Apparently, there are a couple of other states looking into this as well.
The moral of the story: If you have Vonage, remember to activate 911 dialing.


Adobe To Release Acrobat Reader v7 for Linux Tuesday

Adobe's support of Linux has been spotty, over recent years. They're back though, with version 7 of their Acrobat PDF Reader, according to this CNet story.

I'm curious about this one and wonder if the new Acrobat Reader will have any advantage over the open source programs I'm using now to read these files. (I mainly use Ghostview or KPDF.) I'll give it a try and let you know.


Microsoft whiffs on tools, database betas

SQL Server and Visual Studio.Net will be delayed. No big surprise there. Huge collections of programs are hard to get out the door on time. This CNet story has the details.

There is more to it, though, if MS employees are to be believed. Many of them are saying in confidence that the delayed releases will contain new tools to integrate older Visual Basic code safely and securely into the new server apps. In addition, there will be tools to actually convert some of the older code to the newer Visual Basic.Net language. This addresses the concerns of VB developers who have felt abandoned as MS has sunsetted the language in favor of VB.Net and provides them a transitional route between the two languages.


A Look at the Current State of Mozilla

A critical, though accurate, look at Mozilla from a security standpoint. A short read, but worth it.


Spam: You just don't care

Yep, it's become a daily routine. Download the spam, er, e-mail, and delete it using any number of blacklists and bayesian filters. Yesiree, it's under control in that it is almost automatic and I hardly see it. I don't let it take my time or energy. Better living though better filtering.

Though this ariticle doesn't ask why folks have come to an uneasy peace with their spam, my personal belief is that since almose every ISP and many e-mail clients offer some kind of filtering these days it is just not in folks' faces as much of the time.

Computer keyboards havens for superbugs: study

Does your keyboard serve its hightest purpose in keeping the crumbs from rolling on the floor? Do you prefer black keyboards because the don't show the dirt? Do your fingers stick to your keyboard?

Well fear not, this article deals with hospital keyboards and the supergerms that generally are only found there. On the other hand (forgive the sick pun) I think I want to wash up when I finish typing this blog entry.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

OC Podcast

This is the On Computers podcast for 04-10-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Tip: Watch Internet Port Traffic with Free Utility

PC Magazine has a nice utility to track what programs are accessing the Internet. You might be surprised.

Spammer Gets Serious Hard Time

One of the world's top ten spammers was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating a Virginia law. He is free on bail waiting a challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia's state law to regulate the spammer's North Carolina activities.

This is one of those times when the majority would prefer to tar and feather the SOB before hanging him from a nearby limb, vigilante style, leaving legal niceties to the lawyers.

AMD to Launch Dual-Core Opteron Server Processors April 21st

AMD will launch its server version of dual core microprocessors on April 21st in NYC. HP. IBM, and Sun are expected on stage to announce new server products based on these first-for-AMD chips.

Note that last Monday Intel allowed tech sites to publish performance data on the forthcoming dual-core Pentium Extended Edition microprocessors. We blogged this story.

The key differentiation between AMD and Intel is simple: AMD's dual core efforts are in the server space, where the company is trying like crazy to get to double-digit market share versus Intel's Xeon; Intel will this quarter launch two versions of dual-cores for consumer and business desktops. Both companies will follow on next year with their respective desktop, server and mobile dual cores.

Peter S. Kastner