News that’s not got much spam in it.
Happy Birthday Dashiell Hammett, 1894, Harlan Ellison is 70. Samuel FB Morse completed the first telegraph line 160 years ago today. Richard Drew invented masking tape in 1930. Construction began on Disney World in 1969.
- Yahoo has announced a new toolbar chock full of anti-spyware goodnesss. You can download the Pest Patrol powered toolbar from beta.toolbar.yahoo.com.
- Police in Canada have nabbed a 16-year old boy for helping distribute the Randex worm. The lad faces charges of computer fraud and mischief to data. Taiwanese police have also arrested a 30-year old computer engineer for writing the Peep.exe trojan horse.
- Also on the police blotter, a Buffalo, NY spammer who was convicted of sending out hundreds of million pieces of junk email has been sentenced to 3.5 to 7 years in jail. Howard Carmack had already lost a $16 million judgement to Earthlink.
- Great moments in virus history: the first 64-bit virus has been discovered by Symantec. Rugrat was apparently written as a proof of concept by a hacker who specializes in virus firsts.
- The California State Senate has approved a bill that limits what Google and other web-based email companies can do with your information. Originally targeted at preventing Google’s upcoming GMail service from scanning email contents to determine ad placement, the bill was defanged to merely prevent Google and others from saving the information gleaned in the scans. The State Assembly has to weigh in next. The Gropinator hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill.
- The California Public Utilities Commission has passed a model cell phone customers’ bill of rights. The bill prohibits deceptive, untrue or misleading rate quotes, gives consumers 30 days to cancel contracts without penalties, and adds privacy protections. Other states are expected to follow suit.
- Microsoft will spend $300 million to launch Service Pack 2 this summer. Some of that money will be spent upgrading new computers already in the channel. If you already own Windows XP you’ll be able to download the 100 MB file via Windows Update or buy a CD from Microsoft for around $10.
- Our brothers and sisters to the north can finally use Napster legally. Napster Canada has opened, beating iTunes, Rhapsody, and other US based online music stores to the punch. For C$9.97/month users can listen to an unlimited number of songs on the Windows Media Player. You can buy the songs for C$1.19 each or C$9.95 per album.
- Who is Rance? All of Hollywood is wondering who is writing the anonymous blog on Tripod.com. Could it be Jim Carrey? Ben Affleck? J-Lo? Boing-Boing says it’s Owen Wilson.
- Cable/phone/broadband provider RCN has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- Eharmony, the web matchmaking site that separates itself from the pack by using personality tests to find suitable matches, has patented its technology. U.S. Patent No. 6,735,568, describes a “method and system for identifying people who are likely to have a successful relationship.” 20% of applicants are rejected because they’re not the marrying type.
- Steal music and go to jail in Italy. Sentences of six months to three years can be meted out for “transferring content via the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder.” And we thought the DMCA was bad.
Listen in tomorrow at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.