Early morning news…
Cartoonist Thomas Nast, creater of Uncle Sam, was born on this day in 1840. Meatloaf is 57. So is supermodel Cheryl Tiegs.
- The first JPEG virus has been discovered in the wild. The virus, which takes advantage of a serious hole in Microsoft’s GDI+, infects your computer when you view a specially crafted JPEG image. The image installs winvnc and radmin and logs your machine into an IRC server to await orders. The virus was found Sunday on the newsgroups. Meanwhile security expert Tom Liston says Microsoft’s scanner is worse than useless. He offers his own here.
- Virgin is getting into the download music business – choose from any of one million songs for 99Â¢ – monthly subscriptions are $7.99. Virgin Digital is based on MusicNet but offers a completely rewritten jukebox program. Files are encoded in protected Windows media format. Branson has been busy – he also announced plans to offer zero-gravity flights for Â£100,000 .
- Microsoft announced Monday that it’s going to start charging if you want to use Outlook or Outlook Express to access your Hotmail account. If you’ve ever used Outlook to get your mail you’ll have until spring 2005 to get over it. The rest of you will have to start paying $19.95/year right now. The company says it’s to thwart spammers.
- Russians are pirating so many copies of Windows that Microsoft has decided to offer a low cost version to Russians to keep them from piracy, or worse, Linux. Russia is the fifth country to be offered Windows XP Starter Edition, a stripped down version of the operating system. It costs about $36 but the Russkies have to buy it with a new PC – standalone versions are not available. The Business Software Alliance and IDC reported that 97% of all software in the former USSR was stolen.
- According to USA Today, a little known branch of the Department of Defense is pointing spy satellites at the US. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is paying particular attention to big events and public gatherings. Privacy rights activists ask who’s watching the watchers.
- Want to run a green website? Use Solar Data Centers for your host – they run their network centers entirely on renewable power.
Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.