The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.