Monday’s Mouth Breather

Happy birthday Darth VaderThe news is strong in this one.
Bob Dylan was born on this day in 1941, but sad to say, Andy Kaufman is still dead.

Star Wars was released on this day in 1977. I still remember standing in line to see it.

  1. John Kerry is being Google-bombed, but the campaign is fighting back. Conservative bloggers are acting in concert to make sure a search for the word “waffles” on Google turns up John Kerry. The Kerry Campaign says it will respond by buying advertising for the “waffle” keyword that points users to George W. Bush’s waffles. Politics in the 21st century.
  2. Comcast has finally admitted that its cable modem users infected with Trojan Horse viruses are one of the worst sources of spam emails. They’re even thinking about doing something about the problem. Comcast’s own mail servers send 100 million email messages a day, but its cable modem customers are relaying an additional 700 million spam messages per day thanks to viruses like Bagle. With six million high-speed customers, Comcast customers unintentionally send more spam than Road Runner and Yahoo users combined. Comcast could block port 25 to prevent its users from running rogue mail servers – that’s what Earthlink and Cox Cable do – but the company refuses to because it says it would cost an estimated $58 million in tech support calls. They’re trying a different tack: quietly reconfiguring infected computers.
  3. Last year the company that produces the Opera browser accused Microsoft of crafting pages on MSN that make Opera look bad. According to CNET Microsoft has quietly paid Opera off to the tune of $12.75 million to head off a lawsuit.
  4. Four Alaskans are suing to stop CAPPS II, the Federal airline passenger profiling system that combines credit scores and other personal information to seek potential hijackers.
  5. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has banned camera phones from US bases in Iraq. Apparently some of the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison were taken with camera phones.
  6. As the smoke settles from the closing of Wi-Fi hotspot vendor Cometa, it’s beginning to look like hotspots aren’t the hot business investors thought it was. AT&T pulled out of Cometa in March. IBM and Intel were still partners. Cometa executives say losing the McDonald’s deal to Wayport had nothing to do with the sudden decision to shutter the business. Verizon is scaling back on its plans to wire NYC, too. Apparently the proliferation of free hotspots is making it difficult to charge for service.
  7. Symantec has purchased anti-spam company BrightMail for $370 million US. That’s a lot of money, and a demonstration that anti-spam might be the next big market. BrightMail was on the verge of an IPO.
  8. Meanwhile, Microsoft, which is widely expected to enter the anti-spam business itself, is looking to reconcile its CallerID for Email proposal with the SPF, Sender Policy Framework. Both are email authentication schemes which could go a long way toward ending spam.
  9. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation says it will be targeting 50 major spammers. This in response to a Congressional committee investigation the success of the US CAN-SPAM act which went into effect in January. Senator John McCain: “the volume of spam received by American consumers has risen unabatedly” since the law was first considered.
  10. Microsoft has angered some employees by cutting perks. The company announced it’s cutting prescription-drug benefits, tightening parental-leave policies and making it more expensive for employees to buy stock. It also will decrease the vacation time given to future employees. The free Mountain Dew is still flowing, however. The belt-tightening is expected to save Bill Gates $80 million a year.
  11. Privacy advocates may hate it, but netizens are doing anything they can to snag a coveted invitation to the Gmail beta test. Google’s free email service won’t go public until the end of the summer. I have an account and can talk about it.
  12. Apple has reorg-ed, splitting off its iPod bidness into a separate division. Apple sells more iPods than computers these days. Which division would you want to be in?
  13. Mac Users are a little less smug this week as the first real Mac virus in three years was discovered. One hole in OS X could allow a hacker to get into your system when you visit a malicious web site. Apple has patched the flaws, but has been less than forthright about what the patches are for.
  14. A small Toronto computer company filed suit against Intel for (insert Dr. Evil voice here) half a billion dollars US on Thursday, alleging the chip maker violated its patents in the Pentium.
  15. Forget receipts. A new email service called DidTheyReadIt uses techniques learned from spammers to let you check if your email was read, for how long, and where the recipient is, even what browser he’s using. This invasion of privacy is made possible by HTML-based email. That’s why I only use plain text email programs and recommend you do the same.

Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.

35 Replies to “Monday’s Mouth Breather”

  1. Hey there Mr. Ryan ๐Ÿ™‚
    If you’re offering GMail Invitations, I’d like one as well – I’d like to see what it’s all about and test it out. Feel free to email me or visit my site. Take care!
    ~RJ

  2. Gmail?! I want an invitation (I know… two people already asked for them ๐Ÿ™ )!
    I wonder if the people who have it are liking it…
    (good idea about emailing discovery about CFH)

  3. Dear Mr. ryan Veltidi,
    I’m from Montreal and yes, I’d like a g-mail invitation! ๐Ÿ˜€ Nice to see some awesome generosity here ๐Ÿ˜› Thanks again!
    Rob

  4. Leo….I’m calling for help! I keep clicking on your KGO 810 AM link and I’ve signed in but I can’t get any sound. I guess I need help figuring out how to listen to your show. I’m on IE 6.0 running WinXP and I’ve got a cable modem. What am I doing wrong?

  5. I dont like the fact that Comcast is quitely reconfiguring computers. At least they should warn people in advance before they go tinkering around inside… this makes firewalls pretty much a moot point.

  6. ha ha ha techtv-g4 is playin ur shows reruns up the ying yang the can’t let go of a great show just like friends sept better lol ha ha ha

  7. ha ha techtvg4 is playin reruns of call for help like all the time its kinda like friends they never want to let go hahahaha

  8. ha ha ha techtv-g4 is playin ur shows reruns up the ying yang the can’t let go of a great show just like friends sept better lol ha ha ha

  9. Off Topic, but I’ve noticed that the TTV crew are the WORST bloggers in history. Cat’s hasn’t been updated since May 5, Sarah’s since may 12, and, the shame of TTV bloggers, Morgan hasn’t updated since FEBRUARY 5! Even thebroken.com hasn’t been updated in a couple of months. Not much for role models, are they? Your blog is a bit erratic, but at least you have a valid excuse.

  10. Dude.. Leave Leo alone.. He’s got enough #### goin’ on right now…
    As for the Comcast thing.. thank god.. The cable modem here in Palatine is soooo much slower than the RoadRunner connection I had while I was at school. I’m guessing much of that is due to people with viruses.
    -A

  11. Dude.. Leave Leo alone.. He’s got enough #### goin’ on right now…
    As for the Comcast thing.. thank god.. The cable modem here in Palatine is soooo much slower than the RoadRunner connection I had while I was at school. I’m guessing much of that is due to people with viruses.
    -A

  12. “Vinnie Longobardo, the VP Programming for G4, also asked me to ask you to stop filling his inbox with mail. I appreciate your efforts but at this point it’s probably useless to keep harassing the poor guy. G4 is going for a different audience and my work is not really part of those plans. I understand that – I even agree with them. It’s time for all of us to move on.”
    Sounds like a petition is pretty much useless.

  13. I just E-Mailed the Discovery channel, telling them that “CFH” was being dropped by TechTV, after selling out to G4. I told them that I thought that Call for Help would be PERFECT on TLC (The Learning Channel)and that I wasn’t affiliated with TechTV, or G4 or CFH, that I was just a viewer. If EVERYONE here went to http://www.tlc.com and did the same thing, then MAYBE they would understand that they would get an increase in viewers for picking up this program, which is the ONLY way ANY network will pick this program, If they think it will be a hit, and bring in more advertising revenue. Personally I think that CFH would be PERFECT on “The Learning Channel” If you agree, then E-MAIL THEM LIKE I DID!!!!!!! Love Ya Leo!!!!!!!!!! Lets get CFH on another channel!!!!!!!! Later, Len Parr

  14. –Adam Said:–
    As for the Comcast thing.. thank god.. The cable modem here in Palatine is soooo much slower than the RoadRunner connection I had while I was at school. I’m guessing much of that is due to people with viruses.
    —-
    Palatine?? IL? Cool.. I lived there for almost 6 years. (over by Dundee and 53) I really miss Illinois.
    Anyway, it may be virus-infected PCs, but Comcast has been slowly ramping up the speed of their home service. Up here in the Twin Cities, it recently doubled in speed. May or may not have happened there yet.
    I have noticed that my WAN activity light on my cable modem is getting to the point where it’s not flickering much… it’s pretty much constantly on. I’ve noticed a big increase in the amount of spam I get every day too. Yea. Thanks, neighbors! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Star Wars did come out in 1977. I wasn’t 2, I was in College. I associate the date with another event not suitable for this site ;). Leo if the bandwidth cost isn’t a problem, can you put up an info page on leoville.tv. I realize you’ve been taking a lot of site hits with the merger and the costs must be adding up.

  16. “person” wrote: “”Vinnie Longobardo, the VP Programming for G4, also asked me to ask you to stop filling his inbox with mail. I appreciate your efforts but at this point it’s probably useless to keep harassing the poor guy. G4 is going for a different audience and my work is not really part of those plans. I understand that – I even agree with them. It’s time for all of us to move on.”
    Sounds like a petition is pretty much useless.”
    Guess “person” has not dated much, or at least very sucessfully.

  17. “Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has banned camera phones from US bases in Iraq. Apparently some of the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison were taken with camera phones.”
    I am sure that may be part of it, but a lot of the people caught setting up the bombs on the side of the street had had camera phones with pictures of the bases and the leaders of the Iraq console.

  18. Keep the news coming, Leo – and we’ll keep reading!
    Also, let me compliment you on how you’re leading the youth through this difficult time.
    They’ve been allowed to vent without losing their professionalism.
    I know you realize the big networks would never have aired the honest consumer feedback of CFH and TSS.
    Ever thought of going independent? It’s big money, but this brouhaha must have raised
    your personal share points and your following to bring in the investors. Put a dollar
    figure out to this list and see what happens.

  19. Leo, I hope that you end up on a network that appreciates you and the audience that is loyal to you. This sounds so similar to the situation of Louis Rukeyser and his Wall Street Week show on PBS in how he was dumped from the show. In the end he found another network more than will to host him.

  20. Cheers to you and your future success, Leo, but please correct your article. It is not a Mac “virus,” it is a potential security hole, but it is not a virus (program) which can infect a Mac in the way people understand computer viruses.
    In this exploit, a hacker could theoretically gain control of a Mac by programming a special type of web link into a web site, but he/she would then have to find a way to get the Mac user to that site, and then be able to hide when the loyal Mac community finds out who runs the web server. There are as yet no known successful exploits which have been publicized.
    Also as of yet, there are still *no* viruses or worms for Mac OS X.
    I appreciate if you would correct your news story here.
    T

  21. I didn’t want to seem petty and correct that, too, but I think maybe Leo was typing fast today or something. Comcast is not planning to tinker with your computers; they are actually planning to alter the cable modem to block the spam. The article Leo links to explains it more completely.
    If more Windows users took an interest in getting and using and updating anti-virus software, this would not be such a problem.
    T

  22. Funny thing about “modifying” cable modems is that they can’t modify those belonging to the actual customers. Not that I am a customer of Comcast, but I do own my own cable modem and the provider cannot touch it.
    Also… it would take a Mac lover to come in and make all the petty corrections. As they’ve said many times on both CFH and TSS — all OS’s and software have holes, it’s just a matter of interest in searching for them. Unfortunately, Windows happens to be the most popular used and therefore the obvious to search out exploits.
    Bottom line is no system is invincible to attacks of any kind. There’s just not a lot to gain by exploiting Mac or Linux users currently because they are a small percentage of the whole. When that changes… so does the target of those attacks.
    Anyhow — Leo, best of luck in the future and I sincerely look forward to seeing more of you on another network if G4 doesn’t reconsider their options. I’m pretty disenchanted by the preview of G4 programming I’ve seen, and even many of the choices of TechTV programming they decided to keep. There’s a reason G4 was a flop on its own…the market isn’t there for that. Wake up G4/Comcast… *sigh*

  23. Read your blog all the time Leo. Sorry that G4 hasn’t seen the light and picked up CFH.
    I do need to know one thing though – where can I get a larger version of that pic of Vader you have? That thumbnail is cool enough, but I would love to have that pic in say a wallpaper size. Please!?!?!?!?!?!?

  24. Read your blog all the time Leo. Sorry that G4 hasn’t seen the light and picked up CFH.
    I do need to know one thing though – where can I get a larger version of that pic of Vader you have? That thumbnail is cool enough, but I would love to have that pic in say a wallpaper size. Please!?!?!?!?!?!?

  25. RJ wrote:
    “it would take a Mac lover to come in and make all the petty corrections.”
    What are you? A ‘Windows” lover? I am a computer lover, if anything. I know Windows as well as Macs, and I teach Windows. And I also know the difference between a virus/worm and a potential web-based exploit, and I think the general public should, too. If that’s being petty, so be it.
    “As they’ve said many times on both CFH and TSS — all OS’s and software have holes, it’s just a matter of interest in searching for them.”
    Definitely, I say something similar. Except I believe that *nix-based systems have the potential to have *fewer* holes, if configured properly. MS has made some dumb mistakes with Windows XP which may never be completely fixable until Longhorn.
    “Unfortunately, Windows happens to be the most popular used…”
    I agree, that is unfortunate.
    “…and therefore the obvious to search out exploits.”
    Yes, and if there was a more even distribution of OSes, there would still be lots of exploits and worms, but they would not have the mass effect that Blaster and other prominent attacks have had. For years, consultants preached the benefits of “standarizing on a platform,” and we see now where that has led us: to, as you put it, “obvious” targets and mass attacks. A little more diversity in mission critical systems would have prevented much of it.
    Pettily yours, T

  26. “What are you? A ‘Windows” lover?”
    No, and I actually like Macs now that they have a useful OS. Moot point though because a Mac isn’t really a “Mac” anymore since it’s *nix-based OSX came about. Much more stable now, just as Windows XP (and of course Linux) has done on the x86 side of things.
    “And I also know the difference between a virus/worm and a potential web-based exploit, and I think the general public should, too…”
    Well, if you’re inferring I don’t then you are sadly mistaken. However, typically when an exploit is found or announced… it is via a virus/worm that the exploit is taken advantage of. But yes, this URI exploit in OSX is actually much more dangerous of a exploit than those on the Windows side of things (to go along with the fact that historically Macs may not have had as many viruses or exploits, but when they do — they are major and potentially devestating). Not to mention, also historically speaking… when macs crash, they typically crash hard.
    Again… moot point because I do honestly believe OSX is a big step in the right direction, just as I believe Windows XP was for MS, and Longhorn will be once released.
    “I agree, that is unfortunate.”
    I won’t be so bold as to say that Windows being the dominant OS is unfortunate, however, it’s unfortunate from the standpoint that it gets the most abuse because of vulnerabilities – even though other OS’s could very well have plenty of major vulnerabilities as well, just lack of “bang for the buck” in exploiting them.
    With that said I agree that it was a mistake to focus on standardizing OS platforms in business/production environments. Though, the consultants and IT analysts can’t be held 100% responsible because at the time there just weren’t the options available that there are now. With Linux, OSX, and Windows XP as options now (and Longhorn on the way), there is really no excuse for multi-platform support in business environments. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers mate. And sorry, I just have noticed that many Pro-Mac folks tend to have egos the size of Texas about their beloved Mac. Anymore there’s no real advantage of either…they’re about equal and it’s time they are treated that way.

  27. Interesting article about comcast. I actually run my own mail server because I got tried of all the spam. I use MailEnable. I have it set up so it can not be used as an open relay, I use dns blacklists, spam filtering, attachment blocking( block all executable including zip), and antivirus.
    It has dramaticully cut down on spam I receive.

  28. Ok folks I emailed Discovery about picking up CFH Let’s try to get more than a couple thousand, It shouldn’t be hard, I have seen more than a few that are complaining about it being cancelled. CFH was one of the best shows on that vast wasteland and Comcast and G4 are trying to turn techtv into that wasteland totally. I checked out the programming guide on my cable system, and the only techtv show scheduled for Friday May 28 was The ScreenSavers. Interesting, they are apparantly making a clone of G4. Even my 14 year old daugter called that channel lame. I also checked out the corp site for G4, it seems they want the channel to appeal to the 13 to 34 crowd. Isn’t that a slap in the face for the “adult” crowd! Oh well all of this action people are taking will probably amount to nil, but at least they can’t say we didn’t try. Cheers!

  29. TechTv and Call for Help as well as the other program on the channel have been a staple in our home since RCN (NYC) began to carry the network. We enjoyed the shows daily (as well as nighttime)and we and our children felt that there was at last a channel that the entire family could watch, enjoy and learn from. Our daily routine had us getting the kids onto their buses in the morning and watching Leo and Cat and the rest of the team on Call for Help, as we got ourselves ready to get out to work. Now, we feel lost in the morning, no help for us, and saddened that G4 has busted our day as well as night. We subscribed to the email news, enjoyed the web site, followed its links and learned alot. Now we have de-listed channel 38 (RCN NYC) from our favorites. So, we do hope to see you again.

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