It’s -20C in Toronto, but I’m safe and warm in California.
Thomas Edison patented the light bulb on this day in 1880. The National Geographic Society is founded in 1888. John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of television in 1926. The first tape recorder is sold in 1948. Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chafee become the first American astronauts to die in a launch pad fire aboard Apollo 1 in 1967. Movie ratings began in the US in 1970. The Vietnam cease fire was signed in 1973.
Mozart was born on this day in 1756. Lewis Carroll in 1832.
- 9.3 million consumers were hit by identity theft last year. Only 12 percent of it happened electronically, however. Most identity fraud comes from dumpster diving, stolen wallets and mail. In fact, according to the study by Wells Fargo, Visa, and Checkfree, people with electronic accounts suffered lower losses because they were more likely to catch the thefts early. The good news is that there was a slight drop in identity theft in 2004 over 2003.
- Microsoft will demo Longhorn to federal and state regulators next month, as pert of the ongoing enforcement of the anti-trust consent decree Microsoft signed in 2001.
- Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, says the flaw in Microsoft Office encryption is serious and deserves immediate attention. He says, “if Microsoft wants to earn the respect of the cryptographic community and the public it must rise to the occasion by producing competent security.” No patch is available.
- There’s a new network worm out that’s designed to lower your self esteem. The Cisum worm will display the text ‘YOU ARE AN IDIOT’ while playing an MP3 that sings the same thing every five seconds or so. Meanwhile it’s shutting down your firewall and anti-virus and spreading itself to other computers on your LAN.
- SBC is apparently in talks to buy AT&T for $16 billion. Ironically, SBC is composed of two baby bells: Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell which were formerly parts of the original AT&T, which was split up by court order in the 70s. SBC is part owner, with Bell South, of Cingular, which bought AT&T’s wireless business last year.
- Apple has already cut prices on Mac mini add-ons. A gig of RAM is now a more reasonable $325, down from $470. The Airport/Bluetooth combo is just $99. Maybe this is just a way to hype Apple Stores’ price protection.
- If you see an Amazon van driving up and down your block don’t worry, they’re just taking pictures for A9’s new Yellow Pages that features actual pictures of the store fronts. Read how they do it here. Does this seem a little creepy to you?