Day four of unemployment and I’m about to go squirrely.
Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD from a bread mold on this day in 1943.
It’s the 40th anniversary of the modern mainframe. IBM shipped the S/360 on this day in 1964. Mainframes still sell well – $4.5 billion in 2003, and that’s up from the year before.
It’s also the 35th anniversary of the first Internet RFC.
- The FCC has joined forces with the cable companies to overturn a ruling that would force cable systems to open their high speed Internet lines to competitors. Unless there’s a stay, starting today cable companies will have to offer you a choice of Internet Service Providers when you order broadband from them.
- I told you about Google’s plans for a new ad-supported email system. Now Privacy International has filed a complaint in Britain over the proposed service. There are two issues. First, Google scans the contents of all email in order to embed appropriate ads in the messages, and second, Google’s terms of service state that even deleted mail may be preserved by the system indefinitely. Salon quotes a number of US privacy advocates who are equally perturbed. Google says, “we’re not going over to the dark side.” Steve Linford of Spamhaus says that if the user has agreed to the terms, it shouldn’t be regulated by government. I’m inclined to agree as long as the terms are quite clearly spelled out.
- Twenty percent of all US homes have high-speed Internet access according to a report from In-Stat/MDR. Twenty seven million US homes and businesses had broadband access by the end of last year. Comcast and Time-Warner dominate the cable modem industry with 91% of subscribers. SBC and Verizon are number one in DSL with 94% market share. Fixed Wireless Broadband is in third place and coming on strong.
- Flash your car’s BIOS lately? The LA Times says that increasingly computerized cars are suffering the same kinds of software glitches that plague PCs. For example, last year GM issued a technical service bulletin warning mechanics that the keyless entry systems in some of their cars were crashing, locking owners out. The BMW 745i suffered acceleration issues traced to a software defect. In both cases a firmware update fixed the problems.
- Intel is set to introduce unleaded chips by the end of the year. The new processors will have 5% of the lead of current chips. They knock less, too.
- IBM has purchased India’s largest provider of back-office services. Daksh employs 6,000 people while providing call-center services to 13 clients including Amazon.com.
- Anandtech has the latest on ATI’s next generation video chip, the R420. It will be called the Radeon X800 Pro and ships April 26 with 256MB of DDR3 memory. A high-end XT version will ship May 31. The PCI-X version will launch June 14.
- It all started with a Forrester report that Windows was just as secure as Linux. (Don’t bother clicking the link – the report costs $899.) In a joint statement issued this week, Debian, Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE all took issue with the report, saying it had treated all security vulnerabilities as equal, regardless of the real-world threat. The Linux vendors say security holes get fixed faster on Open Source platforms. And the debate rages on.
- Now you can get the Pope’s message of the day sent directly to your Verizon phone for 30¢ each.
- According to a study by Beth Israel Medical Center and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University, surgeons who spend at least three hours a week playing video games are both faster and more accurate.