Wednesday’s Wobbler

All the news that's fit to rant aboutHere’s your tech news, served piping hot.

The 16th amendment was ratified on this day in 1913, paving the way for the Federal income tax. To add insult to injury, Oregon instituted the first gas tax on this day six years later. The first TV license was granted in 1928.

  1. Bill Gates, speaking at the RSA conference yesterday, said Microsoft is implementing a new system to block spam with a proprietary “caller ID” type system. The company is already using it in Hotmail.

    He also said passwords don’t work. He’s moving his company to biometric smart cards, but he’s planning to build SecurID into Windows.

  2. SecurID creator RSA Security has announced an RFID blocker just in the nick of time. Many companies are planning to include tiny RFID chips in their products to track consumer usage.
  3. Other news from the RSA conference: security experts say patching doesn’t work. More RSA news tonight on The Screen Savers.
  4. A new variant of MyDoom attacks Microsoft and the RIAA, but more importantly, it deletes random files. It’s been a while since we’ve seen overtly destructive viruses. Update your anti-virus and don’t open unexpected attachments.
  5. Meanwhile, there’s a new ICQ worm that targets financial information. The Bizex worm collects financial transactions and information about accounts then transfers them to the hacker’s computer. Beware of clicking on links in any Instant Messenger product unless you know they’re safe.
  6. The FCC is preaching hands off, but now Sen. Lamar Alexander is pushing to pass a bill to legalize state taxation of Internet telephony. “(VOIP) is a wonderful innovation coming down the track like a speeding freight train,” Alexander said. “I am here today to help make sure that our state and local governments aren’t tied to the tracks ahead of this train.” Woo woo.
  7. The National Academy of Engineering’s Draper Prize (worth half a million bucks) has been awarded to the four Xerox PARC scientists who created the Alto: Robert Taylor, Alan Kay, Butler Lampson and Charles Thacker. These four pioneers invented computer networking, the mouse, the GUI, cut and paste, and object oriented programming. Nice work.

3 Replies to “Wednesday’s Wobbler”

  1. Not that the Xerox PARC guys don’t deserve it, but what’s the point of handing out cash awards for accomplishments of thirty years ago? It seems to me that the award would have more utility if it targeted recent innovation, or even set up specific goals.
    How about a $500,000 award for research into large scale production of Hydrogen fuel, or creating the first economically viable room-temp superconductors?

  2. I recently purchased a Compaq Celeron with Windows XP. It only came with WordPad. I wanted to add MicroSoft Office, but the cost is prohibitive for me. What do you think about OpenOffice.org as a substitute?

  3. Cubs history will never be the same …
    On Feb. 26, Thursday, MSNBC will exclusively air live coverage of the destruction of the foul ball deflected by hapless fan Steve Bartman during the sixth game of the Cubs’ playoff series with Florida.

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