It’s news time.
Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle was born on this day in 1915. The home video recorder was first demonstrated at the BBC in 1963.
Today’s TechTV Ebay auction items (aka the former TechTV employees’ retirement plan and party fund) include fridge magnets, a TechTV t-shirt autographed by Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, and Jessica Corbin, a crystal layoff cube (hey, where’s mine?), a Silicon Spin mug, TechLive and Big Thinkers caps, and a stained America’s Cup t-shirt.
- Comdex 2004 has been cancelled. Citing lack of interest, Medialive decided to forgo this year’s computer trade show, but in an unaccountable display of optimism they did book the Las Vegas Convention Center for November, 2005. Comdex, which was once the premiere computer trade show in the world with 200,000 attendees, shrank to 1/4th that size last year. I haven’t gone in two years, and apparently I’m not the only one. CES in January, also in Vegas, is now the show of the year.
- Citing Oliver Twist and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, late Tuesday. As I reported earlier, the act proposes fines and jail time for any company that produces technology that intentionally helps people violate copyrights. Hatch said that, like Fagin from Oliver Twist, companies like Kazaa were teaching children to steal. He does have a point there. Companies like Verizon and the Consumer Electronics Association are howling, though. CEA president Gary Shapiro said that if the law passes “the VCR would not be a legal product; TiVo would not be a legal product.” He does have a point there.
- Meanwhile a judge has temporarily blocked a Utah law that would make spyware illegal. Lawyers from WhenU obtained an injunction against Utah’s Spyware Control Act, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional regulation of interstate commerce. No court date has been set to decide on a permanent ban on the law.
- A little late to the game, Microsoft’s Hotmail has announced it will follow Yahoo’s lead and increase mail storage for its free customers from 2 megabytes to 250 and will allow attachments up to 10 megabytes. For $20/year you can get 2 gigs.
- Yahoo Messenger is blocking Trillian again, saying that third-party IM clients make it possible to spam their customers. Yahoo says it will change its protocols regularly to defeat services like Trillian. I say bye-bye Yahoo Messenger.
- A Russian kid who sent an obscene message to 15,000 cell phones has been convicted of spamming. He got a suspended sentence and a $100 fine. Russian authorities say this is their first successful prosecution of a spammer.
- A former AOL employee has been arrested for selling 92 million screen names to a spammer last spring.
- Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and Earthlink are joining forces to find a caller id for email system that works. User authentication is considered by most experts the only effective way to eliminate spam. The Anti-Spam Technical Alliance issued 21 guidelines for fighting spam on Tuesday. The companies say they hope to settle on a unified authentication system by next year.
- Y’all don’t sound like you’re from around here. Indian call center employees are taking “accent neutralization” classes after a group of Texans complained.
Listen in tomorrow at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.