[Internet Observer] Observer   [1999]
Year 2000 Edition
Archive: 1998
Search this Page  


CookExpress.com Currently Not Cooking

It is easy to believe that all websites are successful, but this simply is not true. CookExpress.com provides an example: the Internet meal-delivery service has suspended operations. Visit CookExpress.com and try to buy something. [Article: The Standard]
[26 Dec 1999, top]


Richard Stallman Goes After Amazon.com

Richard Stallman has posted a note to the web requesting that everybody refuse to do business with Amazon. This is because Amazon has received a patent -- that when coupled with Amazon's size -- can (and appears will) be used to monopolize the web. Stallman's plea: Please Do Not Buy From Amazon.

GDT::People:: Who is Richard Stallman?

[17 Dec 1999, top]


National Football League Sues a Cybersquatter

A website that offers gambling tips on football games for a subscription fee uses the domain names nfltoday.com, nfltoday.net, and nfltoday.org is being sued for cybersquatting. In addition, the website provides links to information provided by the NFL's own website -- nfl.com -- which are presented within HTML frames (i.e. nfltoday.com designs surround the information supplied by nfl.com). The NFL is suing for ownership to these domain names. [Article: The Standard.]
[11 Dec 1999, top]


Domain Name business.com Sells for $7.5 Million

The domain name business.com sold for a $7.5 million, the most ever paid for an Internet address. The buyer was eCompanies.com. an incubator for Internet startups. eCompanies founder Jake Winebaum was quoted: "If somebody bought a bunch of land a year ago in Los Angeles, they'd have paid very little for it then. Now we have a second industrial revolution. This domain is a prime piece of real estate." Business.com was purchased for $150,000 three years ago. [Articles: The Standard and Mercury News and PC Week.]
[04 Dec 1999, top]


eRatings of eCommerce Websites from Consumer Reports

The market for rating websites is wide open. There are not many reliable sources of information to judge the quality of websites. Consumer Reports has begun rating eCommerce websites through a new service called eRatings. The ratings are available only to paying subscribers. [More... The Standard and http://ConsumerReports.org]
[26 Nov 1999, top]


Internet Time Runs Faster, Judge Finds

EarthWeb, an Internet company that provides Internet-related resources, seeked to block a former employee from working for a competitor for one year (the employee had signed a contract that contained a clause preventing them from working for 12 months for someone in "direct competition" with EarthWeb).

Citing the pace of innovation in the IT industry, a judge refused to enforce the covenant. The judge found the one-year duration of the covenant "too long, given the dynamic nature of this industry, its lack of geographical borders, and the employee's success depends on keeping abreast of daily changes in content on the Internet." {NYLJ.com:: Internet Time Runs Faster, Judge Finds from New York Law Journal}

[20 Nov 1999, top]


An Interview with Tim Berners-Lee

Weaving the Web is a new book by Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee is the father of the World Wide Web. If we all had Berners-Lee vision, then we could rename WWW to WWWW -- the Wonderful World Wide Web.

If you are not aware of this link, then you owe me... An Interview with Tim Berners-Lee by Wired News.

[13 Nov 1999, top]


Marc Andreessen Forms a new Company -- Loudcloud

Marc Andreessen has rounded up a bunch of talented engineers and entrepreneurs (mostly with Netscape on their resume) and formed a company called Loudcloud This company will help Internet companies build "scalable sites" that can leverage the growing complexity of building and maintaining big websites. [More... Loudcloud Press Release ... Washington Post Article]
[06 Nov 1999, top]


Use the Web to Find Out About Professors

A California college professor has filed a suit seeking to block a student operated website at TeacherReview.com. The website features student reports on teachers and classes at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. The instructor claims the website has turned into an open forum for personal attack and vicious slander. While many of the comments deal with actual academic content, many others involve personal attacks on professors. The teacher was called a "homomaniac," a "racist," "emotionally unbalanced" and "mentally ill". Other teachers were called "reportedly homicidal" and "drugged out." [ More... Cnet News]
[29 Oct 1999, top]


Encyclopedia Britannica on the Web for Free

The front page of Wednesday's (20 Oct 1999) Arizona Republic had an article about Tuesday's (19 Oct 1999) launch of the Encyclopedia Britannica website. The website was hit so hard that it crashed; in other words, their servers couldn't handle all the traffic. On Thursday (21 Oct 1999) I visited the website and was greeted with the following webpage (I didn't save their image). The website, when it gets up and running, features the company's entire 32-volume encyclopedia set as well as articles from 75 magazines. Britannica provides the website to the public free of charge and aims to earn money by selling ads on the website's many pages.
[21 Oct 1999, top]


IETF to Study Planting Trap Doors in Future Internet Protocols

If the future implies we are going to be wearing computers that are constantly connected to the Internet, then I'm not sure I like what this posting is all about.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is debating whether to wire government surveillance into the next generation of Internet protocols.

"As Internet voice becomes a wider deployed reality, it is only logical that the subject has to come up," IETF chairman Fred Baker said. "We are deciding to bring it up proactively rather than reacting to something later in the game."

Computer Scientist Peter Neumann comments:

"The problem is any system or protocol that has a fundamental trap door in it is going to be misused ... Building in things that are fundamentally flawed does not make sense."

The FBI says:

"We think it's a wise and prudent move," said Barry Smith, supervisory special agent in the FBI's Digital Telephony and Encryption policy unit.

IETF member Scott Bradner says:

"Someone very high up in the US Justice Department told me that week that for the IETF to support encryption was an 'antisocial act,'" Bradner said.

Here is a potential log item:

Monday, 18 January 2038 from 20:14:17 MST =>
Thurman did a #1 with the seat down.

Here are some links:

[15 Oct 1999, top]


Virginia... America's Internet Capital?

The state of Virginia wants to be known as America's Internet Capital and they are offering car owners cool Internet related license plates. But, they also have some laws restricting Internet content. [Virginia is censoring the Internet and we need to have an opinion about this.]
[08 Oct 1999, top]


Intel's Chairman Bullish About the Internet

Here is the beginning of a speech given by Dr. Andrew S. Grove to the Confederation of British Industry:
Good morning everyone. What I would like to talk to you this morning about is the economics of eBusiness. My talk is basically based on a premise that belief and thesis, if you wish, that in some years' time, there will be no such thing as Internet companies because all companies that will be operating will be using the Internet in their business and in their internal operations. This belief is based on the conviction that the Internet provides a competitive advantage to companies that use it, that it is so compelling, and is going to grow even more compelling in time as to bring this thesis around. [21 Sep 1999]

Andrew Grove is a co-founder and Chairman of Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) .

[01 Oct 1999, top]


Are We Saving the Net or Censoring for Dollars?

The AZIPA mailing list has had a major discussion about Internet taxes (should they exist and if so, then how should they be applied). Commercialism of the Internet turns my stomach. The following is an article about how "big-business" wants to filter Internet content in order fatten their wallets. Are We Saving the Net or Censoring for Dollars?
[24 Sep 1999, top]


Looking For An ISP? Consider MindSpring.com

J. D. Power and Associates issued a report ranking MindSpring highest in customer satisfaction among the seven largest national ISPs. MindSpring finished above the industry average followed by EarthLink Network, AT&T WorldNet, and Microsoft's MSN Internet Access. America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy all ranked below average. [Go to the study: 1999 National ISP Online Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.]
[17 Sep 1999, top]


Dave Barry Describes the Internet

The following description of the Internet was obtained from Dave Barry's 15 August 1999 Miami Herald column.
What, exactly, is the Internet? Basically it is a global network exchanging digitized data in such a way that any computer, anywhere, that is equipped with a device called a "modem," can make a noise like a duck choking on a kazoo. This is called "logging on," and once you are "logged on," you can move the "pointer" of your "mouse" to a "hyperlink," and simply by "clicking" on it, change your "pointer" to an "hourglass." Then you can go to "lunch," and when you come back, there, on your computer screen, as if by magic, will be at least 14 advertisements related to Beanie Babies (which currently are the foundation of the entire world economy). This entire process takes place in less time than it takes for a sperm whale to give birth to twins. [Go to the article: Be an Internet Millionaire, and We May Like You.]

Here is a "real" description of the Internet.

[10 Sep 1999, top]


Details About Upcoming CPSR Conference

I am attempting to obtain funds to attend "The Internet Gold Rush of '99: Can We Pan for Gold while Serving the Good? The Pursuit of Wealth and Equity in Cyberspace." It will be held the 2nd and 3rd of October at Stanford Unversity and in sponsered by the CPSR: Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Here are details
[03 Sep 1999, top]


Syphilis Outbreak Linked to a Chat Room

The 25 August 1999 edition of the Washington Post reported that at least seven gay men who met through an Internet chat room have been diagnosed with syphilis. The men met using AOL's SFM4M (San Francisco Men For Men) chat room.

Participants in the chat room use "handles;" therefore, their names and identities are unknown. AOL (which has name information) refused to release data about the users of the chat room.

[27 Aug 1999, top]


Why is There an Internet Observer?

The Internet Observer is a blog related to the Internet. It is updated on a weekly basis and covers a wide array of Internet topics such as privacy, security, browser usage, server usage, domain name speculation, ecommerce, and so forth. The following blurb summarizes the goal of the Internet Observer.
Because of the constant evolution of the Internet this document could be updated every minute of every day, but that would result in too information overflow. The primary objective of the Internet Observer it to open our eyes to just how powerful the Internet is and to help us realize that the Internet is here to stay. We are becoming a "networked" society and if you use the Internet, then you are a member of the cyber-community. If users of the Internet are Internet-literate, then the Internet will be a better place for all of us to work and live.

The Internet Observer was started August of 1998 and as of 01 January 2006 it contained 376 postings. Reviewing archived Internet Observer postings is an one way to get an Internet related history lesson.

[20 Aug 1999, top]


General Motors Commits to the Internet (the NetMobile)

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) announced that it will launch eGM, a new division intended to tie together the automobile giant's various exercises in ecommerce.

In the 1950s GM's motto was "What's good for GM is good for America." Although this is not as true today as it was then, GM is still a major company and their move to the Internet will be followed by many.

The thing that I find most bothering about this is GM's idea for the NetMobile. This implies drivers will be surfing the Web at the same time they are suppose to be focusing on driving their cars. Yikes! Take a peek at this press release from GM's website.

[13 Aug 1999, top]


Yet Another Markup Language: RATML

Yikes... things just won't let up. First we have to master HTML, then it's XHTML, then it's DHTML, then it's XML, and now, if you want to add smell to your webpage, there is RATML -- Real Aroma Text Markup Language.
[06 Aug 1999, top]


Instant Messaging: AOL versus Everyone Else

Instant Messaging is the ability of users on the Internet to speak with one another in a "real-time" sort of way.

Microsoft and Yahoo and Prodigy developed programs that allowed their users to communicate with AOL users. AOL didn't like this and started to block incoming messages from Microsoft and Yahoo and Prodigy. Microsoft and Yahoo and Prodigy didn't like this.

Why does AOL care? AOL dominates the instant messaging market by a wide margin; its AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ platforms each have close to 40 million users, according to the company. Opening the AOL system to non-AOL clients would speed adoption of competitors' software and weaken AOL's grip on the audience it has built with Instant Messenger.

On 30 July 1999 the Washington Post reported that AOL Agrees to Work Toward Messaging Standard. Their goal: "To get instant messaging to work like email or the telephone."

Interestingly their goal is already being worked on by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Linux Today: Eric S. Raymond -- Microsoft is right, for once
Metcalfe's Law in Reverse (Alertbox July 1999)
[31 Jul 1999, top]


Web Storage Sites Loom as Next Big Thing

A number of Internet companies are offering online file storage to attract users who may want to access their files from any networked computer. Although Apple first declared the floppy disk drive to be obsolete by excluding it from its iMac, it took the innovation of a number of companies, such as NetFloppy.com, My Docs Online, and Visto to offer an alternative to floppy drives. Most of these companies provide free storage of 15 MB to 20 MB of data that can be accessed through the Internet. Although Web-based file storage has yet to achieve notable success, the companies cite the popularity of free email and online calendaring services as a sign that the service will catch on. DATA BUNKERS PROTECT OFF-SITE SITES Corporations are increasingly housing their Web sites in anonymous, ultra-secure warehouse structures located in metropolitan areas across the nation. The Web hosting business is expected to grow from $770 million in 1998 to $12 billion by 2002. The security at these facilities, which house the servers that run the Web sites for many different companies under one roof, is incredibly tight, and often with good reason. Most terrorism experts say that these facilities would make a perfect target for terrorists bent on disrupting the economy and the flow of information. These facilities never advertise what they are, and from the outside look like simple storage buildings. Video cameras monitor every single area of the buildings, and most of these facilities have palm readers that scan the hands of visitors and know who is allowed entry and who is not. Most of the buildings are made of bullet-proof Kevlar and reinforced with concrete so that they could technically survive a car-bomb explosion or withstand rounds fired from an AK-47. A power failure is almost impossible as well, as most Web hosting facilities are connected to two separate power sources, a backup generator, and an enormous battery pack that can power the building for a day if all else fails. (Washington Post 11/09/99)
[C|Net, 26 Jul 1999, top]


Top News and Shopping Websites of June from CyberAtlas

CyberAtlas reports that the top three shopping websites for June 1999 were: amazon.com, ebay.com, and download.com. Here is a table of the Top Twenty Shopping Websites.

The top three news websites for June 1999 were: msnbc.com, weather.com, and cnn.com. Here is a table of the Top Twenty News Websites.

About CyberAtlas:

The site provides readers with valuable statistics and Web marketing information, enabling them to understand their business environment and make more informed business decisions. CyberAtlas gathers online research from the best data resources to provide a complete review of the latest surveys and technologies available.
[17 Jul 1999, top]


Netscape Uses Google to Search Its Open Directory

Google has become the underlying search facility for Netscape Search on the Netscape Netcenter portal website. [It replaces Excite.] This is a potentially powerful search engine: Google's search capabilities coupled with Netscape's Open Directory Project. Use Netscape Search to find ThurmUnit.

[10 Jul 1999, top]


Yahoo! Buys GeoCities and Tries to Screw Their Acquired "Homesteaders"

Yahoo! [NASDAQ: YHOO] has purchased GeoCities in a multibillion-dollar stock deal. Yahoo asked GeoCities "homesteaders" to sign away the rights to their content and was claiming ownership of all Web pages, articles and images on member pages. In order to create or update their pages, members had to give Yahoo "royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content" in any form or media.

GeoCities homesteaders were not happy and protest websites formed (visit http://www.come.to/boycottyahoo for an example). As a result, Yahoo has softened its position. [i.e. Yahoo Gives!]

[05 Jul 1999, top]


New Jobs for the New Economy

From July 1999 issue of Business 2.0 [www.business2.com] magazines comes this list of New Jobs for the New Economy:
   New Metrics Analyst, Virtual Organization Leader,
   Content Engineer, Chief Community Strategist,
   Ethical Hacker, Email Channel Specialist,
   Consumer Experience Manager, Metamediary CEO,
   Chief Knowledge Officer, and Chief Internet Officer.
Here are some more from ZDnet:
	Broadband Network Installer, Disaster Recovery Specialist,
	Piracy Investigator, Interactive TV Programmers, 
	Professional Surfers
[25 Jun 1999, top]


High-Tech Stars Becoming TV and Movie Personalities?

The following quote was from InternetNews.com:
Look for America Online CTO Marc Andreessen, one of Netscape's co-founders, to show up in a commercial for Miller Beer. The Miller Brewing Co., a unit of Phillip Morris, picked Andreessen over Internet luminaries Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com) and Joe Kraus (@Home) to star in a commercial for their brew. The spots have yet to filmed, but reportedly will feature Andreessen taking heat for the ".com" craze from comedian Norm MacDonald of Saturday Night Live fame.
The Open Source movement may help turn high-tech stars into TV and movie stars. If Miller Beer is good enough for the rich, then who am I to drink anything else.
[19 Jun 1999, top]


Malicious Executable Files Propagate a Trojan Horse Program

It is a bit scarey when the Internet's oldest and most popular Internet-based application has so many security holes in it. Time and time again systems are cracked because of defects with email. Attachments seem to be particular nasty. Bottom line: if a file has an extension that you are not familiar with, then leave it alone. Do NOT click on it or whatever.

Once again the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) does an excellent job describing the most recent email crack job.

[13 Jun 1999, top]


Google Gets $25M In Venture Capital

My long time favorite search engine -- Google -- has just received $25 million in venture capital. Thanks to Kevin Masaryk for the link to an article detailing this transaction.
[05 Jun 1999, top]


Interesting NETFUTURE Article About amazon.com

I just finished updating my Unix and C and C++ book recommentations. On those webpages, I have hyperlinks to www.fatbrain.com (formerly www.computerliteracy.com) for each book. The links are primarily provided to supply pictures of the books, but when a user is at fatbrain.com they can go ahead a buy the book.

I like buying books online and when I do I always use fatbrain.com (what a goofus name) instead of amazon.com. Interestingly, Steven Talbott (editor of the NETFUTURE reader-sponsered newsletter) on 14-May-99 authored Why I Never Buy Books From amazon.com. I guarantee you this is an interesting article. Read it!

[29 May 1999, top]


Ecommerce Shining in Campus Spotlights

The Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley announced last week that it is adding four new classes that focus on electronic commerce. Berkeley Professor Arturo Perez-Reyes says e-commerce is "the single greatest change to business since the invention of money," adding that the new classes are intended to help students adapt their current thought processes to the new and changing Internet market. The courses are: "Internet Marketing Strategy," which addresses online advertising and communication; "Internet Business Design and Development," which enlists the help of IBM to help students design their own online businesses; "Journalism and Business Models in New Media Publishing," which addresses marketing and the credibility of online reporting; and a general course titled "Business-to-Business E-commerce."
[E-Commerce Times, 20 May 1999, top]


Growth Rates: Radio vs. TV vs. Internet

From Yahoo! Internet Life and the May-99 issue of Communications of the ACM:

38number of years after its introduction the radio first attracted 50 million
13number of years after its introduction the TV first attracted 50 million
4number of years after its introduction the Internet first attracted 50 million

[08 May 1999, top]


Tidbit About the Trenchcoat Mafia Websites

www.trenchcoatmafia.com and www.thetrenchcoatmafia.com have been registered to keep them out of the hands of those who want to promote violence.

Many web users think www.trenchcoat.com promotes bad stuff -- but, the website has created a page defending itself and to set the record straight.

[02 May 1999, top]


www.wallstreet.com SOLD for $1.03 million US dollars

The domain name www.wallstreet.com, which was auctioned off on 20-Apr-99 by www.com-broker.com, sold for $1.03 million US dollars. One of the sellers (of which there are three) is a 24-year-old Unix administrator who lives in Tucson, AZ. The buyer is Players Sportsbook and Casino.
[23-Apr-99, top]


.com Domain Names are Running Out

What is domain name speculation? Pretend you have a company named XYZ Inc.. I know about you and your company and am convinced that it is going to grow into something big. I go out and register the www.xyz.com domain name. Your company takes off and you need a website. You attempt to obtain the www.xyz.com domain name but can't because I already "own" it. If the price is right, then I will "sell" the domain name to you (but only if the price is right).

There are approximately 25,000 standard dictionary words. Only 1800 of the them have not been registered as domain names. Here is a Newsweek.com Cyberscope article that gives a few more details. And here is a list of the remaining available English words.

On 20-Apr-99, www.wallstreet.com will be auctioned off. The are predictions that this domain name will go for seven figures.

One final note, I suspect that soon it will be difficult to have an Internet-related personal license plate. Checkout the Internet License Plate Gallery that is being constructed by internet.com.

[16-Apr-99, top]


The Internet: It Keeps Growing and Growing and Growing...

The Strategis Group issued a press release on 06-Apr-1999 indicating the following:
  • at the end of 1998 approximately 37 million U.S. adults use the Internet at home on at least a daily basis
  • the number of daily Internet users at work has mushroomed from 19 million to 32 million since mid-1997
  • 84 million Americans now use the Internet at home or at work -- 42 percent of U.S. adults.
  • 44 percent of Internet users spend less time watching television due to Internet use [this is definitely true in my case]
Go to the press release. Warning: if you want a copy of the complete report, then be prepared to spend $1500.
[09-Apr-99, top]


Thurman Speaks About the Melissa Virus

One of the benefits of having a website is the ability to express an opinion anytime you want. This week's posting is simply my opinion about the Melissa virus. Read it if you want; otherwise, click your browser's BACK button.

Ecommerce... this is where we are heading; this is going to be the next Internet-based "killer application." But, in order for ecommerce to be successful, websites must acquire and keep the  trust  of their visitors.

Email is the oldest Internet-based application in use today. It is also the most popular. The worst thing about the Melissa virus (and all the other email related viruses) is that they destroy  trust. Email is almost 30 years old, yet it is continually being mis-used to create disruptions in our lives.

I'm a typical John Doe Internet user and this is what I'm thinking:

If programmers can't secure a relatively simple tool like email in all of this time, then how in the heck are they going to provide secure ecommerce this year and next (if ever)?
Everybody who uses the Internet becomes a member of the computing community. The Internet can end up being a great asset in all of our lives, but only if we all abide by the golden rule. We must have zero tolerance for those who treat the Internet as a tool to cause havoc.
[04-Apr-99, top]


Radio B92 Banned in Serbia

Prior the initial bombing, Belgrade independent Radio B92 was shutdown by the Yugoslovian government.

Radio B92 was and still is an organization with an influence that goes beyond the scope of a local radio station. A number of intellectuals were included in Radio B92 projects, including one, started in 1993, to establish an Internet site within B92. The obstacles were great, with total misunderstanding from Serbia's official agencies and departments to extreme difficulties in locating foreign partners willing to work on the project in a country under international sanctions.

A tiny light at the end of the tunnel appeared in September 1994 when the Amsterdam Internet site XS4ALL agreed to become an Internet provider for B92. It took over a year for B92 to clear all of the paperwork, locate space, arrange for just one leased telephone line to Amsterdam, and find funding for this new adventure. www.openet.org, Belgrade Radio B92's Internet site, opened on November 14, 1995.

For an excellent article about Radio B92, see Internet in Serbia: From Dark Side of the Moon to the Internet Revolution by Drazen Pantic.

Late 1998, Radio B92 won the MTV Free Your Mind Award.

Email from Veran Matic (28-Mar-99) thanking the world for its support.

Article by Veran Matic (31-Mar-99) opposing the bombings.

[27-Mar-99, top]


Al Gore: Father of the Internet?

In an interview that aired March 9, 1999 with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Al Gore said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.".

Say what? I've seen a lot of history reports on the creation and development of the Internet, but I have never seen Al Gore's name associated with anything. Gore was 21-years-old and still in law school when the Internet was born.

I guess if some people want to be President, then they will say just about anything. I can only conclude that Gore inhaled prior to making this claim to fame.

[CNN, 12-Mar-99, top]


Internet Spurring Surge in College Applications

Colleges around the country are reporting a surge in applications this year, in part because the Internet is making it easier to apply.

In many cases, application fees are dropped for those who do apply using the Web.

In the past, prospective applicants learned about colleges by sending away for materials and digging through guidebooks. Now, most universities have a website that describe everything from admissions policies to recreation facilities.

[AP/AZ Republic, 06-Mar-99, top]


University Filters Content

Talk about a friendly school, read this article about what happened to a student at Southern Utah University. In a nutshell: the school didn't like what she was looking at so they booted her out of the lab.

What is your opinion on this? I'm of the opinion that we should have an opinion. The Internet is probably going to become a integral part of our everyday life (whether we like it or not) and there is potential for us to lose some of our 1st Amendment Rights.

[26-Feb-99, top]


Internet2 Ready to Launch

Internet2 is ready to go live this month (24-Feb-99 is the date). What is Internet2? It is the next-generation Internet and it hopes to be as widely available and as reliable as the telephone. Read this article from ZDNET for more details. If you want lots more information, then the "home page" for Internet2 appears to be located at http://www.internet2.edu/.
[19-Feb-99, top]


Professors Need Permission to Download Pornography

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reaffirmed a Virginia law prohibiting state employees from using state-owned computers to access Internet pornography. The law had been challenged by six professors who said it infringed on their First Amendment rights and restricted their ability to do research; for example, several of the professors said the law hampered their research on human sexuality or their studies of sexually explicit poetry. The American Civil Liberties Union calls the ruling an outrageous abridgment of academic freedom. The state attorney general's position is, "All the professor would have to do is get permission to download the material, so it's not going to be a problem... Taxpayers in Virginia should not be forced to pay for state employees to use state computers on state time to download pornography."
[Washington Post, 12-Feb-99, top]


A Bug Found with Cookies

A cookie is a special text file that a website puts on your hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time. Some people don't like having cookies stored on their computer because they think they are a liability. To date, cookies have been deemed safe and users have been told not to worry about them. Well, guess what? A new bug (defect) has been discovered that can cause both Netscape Communicator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer to display information from cookies that contain passwords and other personal data. See the Browser Bug Exposes Cookie Data article written 10-Feb-99 from InternetNews.com for details.

On 11-Feb-99, Internet.com provided the following update:

Netscape said the problem was caused by corrupted cookie files and not any problem with the browser or Web server software. Netscape said the cookie files Smith supplied are missing a carriage return command at the end of some entries, causing the Web server to keep reading the file after the point where it would normally stop.

Netscape said the problem was rare and stressed users could take precautions against cookie corruption, including shutting down the operating system before turning off their computers. Users also have the option of turning off cookies in their browser preferences.

[InternetNews, 12-Feb-99, top]


Court Rules a Website Dangerous

There is a lot of goofy stuff out there on the Internet and most of it is provided under the protection of the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech. However, on Tuesday (02-Feb-99), a federal jury ordered anti-abortion activists to pay more than US$100 million over a website and posters. After a three-week trial and more than five days of deliberations, the jury agreed with plaintiffs who argued that The Nuremberg Files website and wanted-man-style posters depicting physicians who performed abortions intimidated doctors and limited access to abortion clinics. Short article from Wired News.
[AZ Republic/USA Today/Wired News, 04-Feb-99, top]


Watch What Other Users are Searching For

Search Voyeur @ Magellan Internet Guide lets up peek at what type of search queries people are using. This is a complete waste of time and you can end up coming across some perverted stuff, but it can be interesting if you have absolutely nothing to do. Not only do you see the search strings, but you can also see what the results of their search was. Needless to say, be prepared to encounter anything and everything.
[29-Jan-99, top]


Man Charged Under New Cyber-Stalking Law

A North Hollywood man has become the first perpetrator to be prosecuted under California's new cyber-stalking law. Gary S. Dellapenta, a 50-year-old security guard, has been charged with stalking, computer fraud and solicitation of sexual assault. After his romantic advances were rebuffed by a woman he met at church, he proceeded to post ads in her name on America Online, Hotmail and other Internet sites that described fantasies of being gang-raped. When people responded, he revealed personal information about her, from the address of her apartment to her physical description, her phone number and how to bypass her home security system. Law enforcement officials have predicted that such crimes will proliferate, aided by the decrease in personal privacy and the anonymity of cyberspace.
[EDUpage/Los Angeles Times, 22-Jan-99, top]


Yahoo Goes After YaHooka

In order to provide a sitemap for my website, I created a "yahoo-like" webpage called ThurmHoo!. I doubt if Yahoo! will be upset about this, but they are definitely mad at YaHooka -- The Guide to Marijuana on the Internet. Yahooka is a "yahoo-like" website (similar name, similar format) that is a directory of marijuana-related information and sites. Yahoo! is concerned that the public will mistakenly believe that Yahooka is connected with, sponsored by, or approved in some way by Yahoo! Here are a bunch of details found at the Yahooka website.
[13-Jan-99, top]


Cybersuicide Websites Alarm Japan

Nawaki Hashimoto, a science teacher/pharmacist, created a website from which he peddled cyanide pills. He had stocked up enough of these potassium laced pills to kill 3000 people. On 15-Dec-98, a Tokyo woman swallowed a dose and died. On the same day, Hashimoto himself was found dead from cyanide poisoning. Japan is concerned about this stuff and many are saying that some type of Internet monitoring is required.
[AP/AZ Republic, 09-Jan-99, top]


Microsoft Sues "cybersquatters" Over Use of Domain Names

Microsoft is suing two Texas men in federal court for registering the Internet domain names microsoftwindows.com and microsoftoffice.comnbsp;. Calling them "pirates" and "cybersquatters," Microsoft says the men have also registered domain names such as AirborneExpress.com, AlamoRentalCar.com, AssociatedPress.com, Hollywood-Video.com, and TravelersInsurance.com, all without permission from the companies that bear those names. Related article.
[AP/USA Today (31-Dec-98), 05-Jan-99, top]


Hobbes' Internet Timeline v4.0

This is the definitive history of the Internet and an updated version of it is now available at http://www.isoc.org/zakon/Internet/History/HIT.html.
[05-Jan-99, top]


Internet Stocks are Hot -- How About Internet Funds?

It is been tough watching Internet related stocks go bonkers (e.g. during 1998 Amazon up 966%, Yahoo up 606%, AOL up 522%, Ebay up 434% and so on). For the small investor (e.g. John Q. Public and Jane Doe) picking individual stocks can be tough and it is difficult to get properly diversified; therefore, many of us turn to Mutual Funds for help. Lately, I have been wondering if there are any Mutual Funds that concentrate on Internet stocks only. Guess what I found? An article on Internet Funds.
[05-Jan-99, top]
Author: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:18:20 MST