Thursday’s Kris Kringle

Enough time off. Back to news…
News imageAre you scared of Santa? Me, too.

Forget Amahl and the Night Visitors. You want some really moving Christmas reading, try the amazing story of the Graphing Calculator.

Calling mod-master Yoshi. There’s nothing more festive for the holidays than a gingerbread PC. I don’t think it actually runs, though.

The Night Before Christmas was first published on this day in 1823. The BBC began daily broadcasts in 1922. The NBC radio network was created in 1928. The first nationally televised football game was aired in 1951. The LA Rams beat Cleveland Browns 24-17. The first documented case of space motion sickness occurred in 1968.

Happy birthday Harry Shearer. He’s 61. (Check out the audio of Bill Gates swearing on his site.)

  1. Microsoft says it will comply immediately with the European Commission’s decision forcing the company to unbundle Windows Media Player from Windows and publish its hitherto secret communications protocols. An EU judge ruled against Microsoft’s appeal yesterday.
  2. Google to the rescue. The Internet search site was being used by the new Santy.A worm to look up phpBB-based bulletin boards to attack. Google engineers have blocked the requests, halting the worm in its tracks. Santy may have infected as many as 30,000 BBSs before it was stopped.
  3. Here’s some consolation if you couldn’t find a Nintendo DS to put under the tree. USA Today is saying that the new Sony PSP is a category killer that has the potential to be a worldwide hit. With a 4.3 inch LCD, 32MB or RAM, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, and awesome graphics for around $190 the PSP should outgun the DS. USA Today’s reviewer didn’t like the proprietary UMD disc format, though. The PSP is available in Japan now, North America this spring.
  4. Will they or won’t they. Wednesday the Yomimuri Shimbun published a story that said that Sony would be abandoning the plasma TV market in the spring to focus on LCD and projection sets. Now Sony denies the story entirely. Hmmm.
  5. What a year for viruses. Infections hit a record of 37,102,323 this year according to Trend Micro. August was the worst month with 3,809 new viruses discovered. Netsky.P was the most distributed virus, and six of the year’s ten worst were spread via email.
  6. Security experts are saying that the Skulls (aka MetalGear.A) trojan that infected Symbian cell phones is just the beginning. Smart phones are more vulnerable to worms that PCs since they’re always online and have generally weak security features.
  7. A Federal judge has rejected the guilty plea of a former AOL employee who sold addresses to a spammer. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein says he is unsure a crime was committed. He says that what the defendant did wasn’t “deceptive or misleading to the recipient,” a standard set by the Federal CAN-SPAM act. He is challenging prosecutors to prove that a crime was committed.
  8. Yahoo is preventing the family of a soldier killed in Iraq from accessing his email account. This is a tough one. The family wants to make a scrapbook of his final messages. Yahoo says it has to protect the privacy of all its users. What would you do?
  9. AOL wants to get into the free web mail business. It will unveil AOL Mail on the Web for paid customers early next year and offer a free version some months later.
  10. Last week’s two-page ad for Firefox in the New York Times seems to have worked with 200,000 downloads last weekend, half a million on Monday and Tuesday. So far, according to Mozilla, 12 million copies of Firefox have been downloaded.
  11. Now Mozilla wants to zap Outlook. Project Lightning aims to integrate Mozilla’s Sunbird calender with its Thunderbird emailer. Lotus 1-2-3 founder Mitch Kapor has been working on an Outlook killer named Chandler. Microsoft says that without an Exchange-style server component, any open source attack on Outlook is doomed.
  12. Apple has begun blocking Realnetworks Harmony. The software is supposed to let iPod owners play music from Real’s music store. What’s weird is that there hasn’t been a hue and cry. Could it be that no one is using Harmony?
  13. Meanwhile, Napster is taking on the iTunes Music Store with a technology that allows users unlimited access to any song, any time on their portable MP3 players, as long as they keep paying the monthly subscription fee. Currently only players work with the new PlayForSure technology. Microsoft enhanced its copy protection technology to make this possible earlier this year. Napster is the first store to support it but others are sure to follow.
  14. Wanna buy a cat? Got 50 large? A company named the Genetic Savings & Clone (cuuute) has announced the first sale of a cloned kitty. Little Nicky was cloned for a Texas woman who paid $50,000 for the clone of her late Maine Coon cat Nicky. GS&C has six more kitties in the cloner.

Listen in tomorrow at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.

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6 Replies to “Thursday’s Kris Kringle”

  1. “The family wants to make a scrapbook of his final messages. Yahoo says it has to protect the privacy of all its users. What would you do?”
    Good grief, stop the gnashing of teeth and think for a moment. This is what probate is for. Have a personal representative (executor) appointed by the probate court. The PR exercises on behalf of the probate estate all rights and privileges the decedent had before death. PR demands the password, end of problem.

  2. LOL at the scared of Santa pictures. Having just finished up a week’s worth of programing at the library with Santa I’ve seen a lot of those faces lately. I have to say that Santa with the papier-mâché face would have scared the beegeebers out of me too.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Leo! Hope you all have a warm and wonderful holiday!

  3. Harmony was just a bad chord from a bad company trying to stir up bad publicity for Apple. This type of hack approach to make a buck will never work. And so the result shows by no one even giving a hoot about Apple blocking it. 😉
    On a happier note I would like to wish the Laporte Family a joyous holiday and a Happy New Year! 🙂
    P.S. And let’s get Call For Help back on the air in the US in 2005!

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