Internet::Observer::Archive::Year 2003

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404... 404... 404... 404...

In WWW land 404 means "Not Found." 404 is an HTTP error status code and it usually occurs because of a mis-typed URL. If a 404 results when you click a hyperlink in a webpage, then that hyperlink is suffering from what I call linkrot. The webpages that report 404s are called error documents. 404Lab.com:: 404 Research Lab. Back on 14 June 1998, Jakob Nielsen wrote an Alertbox article about Fighting Linkrot. [26 December 2003, top]

From WSIS to CAN-SPAM

Internet Society At WSIS
The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 10 to 12 December 2003. The second phase will be held during the middle of November 2005 in Tunis. The Internet Society (ISOC) participated in the summit. {ISOC.org:: Developing the Potential of the Internet through Coordination, not Governance}

Bush Signs CAN-SPAM Act Into Law
On 16 December 2003, George W. Bush signed into law the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (i.e. the CAN-SPAM Act). The CAN-SPAM Act allows for the creation of a Do Not Spam registry. It appears CAN-SPAM may override anti-spam laws created by states. {Whitehouse.gov:: President Bush Signs Anti-Spam Law}

[19 December 2003, top]

From JC Penny to Google

The following came from Bambi Francisco at CBS.MarketWatch.com.
   "JC Penney is expected to generate $500 million in sales 
    this year on its roughly 5-year-old online storefront sales 
    this year. It took JC Penney (the brick-and-mortar store) 
    42 years to reach the half-billion mark."

Thank You to Bambi Francisco for giving us an example of Internet time.

[Oogles::News About Google]

  • Google Deskbar is a "free program that places a search window on a PC screen enabling a user to search the Internet having to use a web browser. { Toolbar.Google.com::Deskbar}

  • On 11 December 2003, Google announced they were opening their first offshore R&D facility in India. Google says they are doing it in order to access "India's considerable engineering and technical talent."

  • Thanks to KevinO for telling us about Google-Watch.org.

[12 December 2003, top]

Some Dispute Netcraft Webserver Survey; ITFA Update

The Internet Observer has used Netcraft webserver surveys for many years, but we have always taken the numbers as crude approximations. The November survey from Netcraft indicated that approximately 66% of the webservers on the Internet are using the Apache webserver software. There are those who don't like Netcraft's results; therefore, they are disputing them. TheAge.com.au:: Survey Questions Business Relevance of Netcraft Web Server Data

[Extra] The U.S. Senate has decided to wait until next year to vote on the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). Here is a quote from a Yahoo.com posting.

"On the other side of the issue are Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, -- both former governors -- who say the existing legislation is unfair and if allowed to be reinstated would deprive states and local governments of millions of dollars in revenues."

Bottom-line: Politicians see the Internet has being a huge source of money, money, and more money obtained in the form of taxes, taxes, and more taxes.

[Extra] Forbes.com:: Can Google Group Up?

[05 December 2003, top]

Effective XML by Elliotte Rusty Harold

I have not had a chance to review the book Effective XML by Elliotte Rusty Harold, but I would probably rate it a BUY given its author.

My bookshelf contains the following XML related books.

   The Essential Guide to XML Technologies (Turner)
   XML: Extensible Markup Language (Harold)
   XML Schema (O'Reilly)
   XML-RPC (O'Reilly)
   XSLT (O'Reilly)
   Perl & XML (O'Reilly)
[28 November 2003, top]

Use Caution When Sending Email Messages

I sent an email message to somebody who forwarded the email message without seeking permission. The computing ethic for email forwarding is as follows.

If the sender explicitly grants permission to forward, then the email message can be unconditionally forwarded. If explicit permission is not granted, then the recipient of the email message should seek permission before forwarding.

Here is slightly edited copy/paste of the result of my email message being forwarded without permission.

"Please find included an email that was sent to the chair of XXX's industry advisory board for the YYY program, from Gerald Thurman, Faculty Member from Scottsdale. What is interesting and most troubling is that this faculty member choose to communicate with the chair of XXX advisory board, instead of communicating with the Faculty in the College, or through the administrative structures of the colleges."

I'm bad..., but the flaming continues.

"Additionally, what is even more offensive is that this faculty member provides these comments, [...]"

I sent an email message to Foo and only Foo, but Foo forwarded the message to Bar who in turn forwarded the message to a bunch of FooBars. As a result, my behaviors have been found to be "interesting," "troubling," and "offensive."

Foo violated computing ethics; however, I made an error by not explicitly stating in my email message that it should not be forwarded. Note: Foo is a computer professional.

[Extra] The following comes from CBS.MarketWatch.com.

"When Technorati.com started, it was adding as many as 3,000 Weblogs a day to its database. 'Right now, we're adding 8,000 to 9,000 every day, not counting the 1.2 million we already are tracking.'
{GoTo Technorati.com}

[21 November 2003, top]

More About the Internet Tax Freedom Act

Two weeks ago we observed how politicians were playing politics with the Internet and this continues to be true. The senate vote on making the Internet Tax Freedom Act a permanent fixture was delayed for at least a week allowing the moratorium, which was initiated in 1998, to expire. Law.Harvard.edu::Plain English Summary of the Internet Tax Freedom Act

I attempted to alert other using the Arizona Republic, but they ignored my letter. In addition, I sent the message the newspaper blog at PluggedIn.AzCentral.com, but they don't care either. Here is my Letter to the Editor.

   To: opinions@arizonarepublic.com
   Subject: Internet Tax Freedom Act

   The Saturday, 08 November 2003, Arizona Republic had an article 
   about the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).  You erroneously placed
   the article on page three of the Business section.  Politicians 
   cannot agree on how-to define "Internet access" and this
   is front-page news.

   Internet users around the United States of America must be alerted 
   that many of today's politicians lack the computer literacy to make 
   the critical computing-related political decisions that need to 
   be made.  Yes -- many politicians consult with "computer consultants," 
   but who are these consultants?  Many of them are probably computer 
   professionals, which is good, but our political leaders must also 
   consult with "computing gurus" before placing laws on computing.

   Politicians are playing politics with the Internet and that 
   can be catastrophic to our computing freedoms.

[Extra] Senate.gov:: Senator Feinstein Urges Revision in Internet Tax Moratorium

[Extra] Online travel agency Orbitz Inc. is planning an initial public offering at $22 per share. Orbitz will trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol ORBZ.

[14 November 2003, top]

Information on the Internet Strives for Freedom

The NYTimes.com had an interesting article titled Whatever Will Be Will Be Free on the Internet by Steve Lohr. Here is a quote from Lohr's article.
"But the heritage and design of the Internet present a particularly disruptive technology. Today's global network had its origins in the research culture of academia with its ethos of freely sharing information. And by design, the Internet turns every user in every living room into a mass distributor of just about anything that can be digitized, including film, photography, the written word and, of course, music."

Lohr's article does a good job connecting the Internet with Open Source. Here is another quote.

"That concept of open-source is inseparable from the Internet, because it provides the vehicle for free exchange and widespread distribution -- the same idea that is at the heart of file sharing and one that is spreading well beyond the techies. A group, led by Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School, has established a creative commons project for collecting and putting creative works including music, film, photography and literature in the public domain, inspired by the open-source software model."

goto the article...

[A google moment...]
I executed a Google search on 06 November 2003 using the query string goto steve lohr and the following was the number one result.

	GoTo by Steve Lohr | PopMatters Book Review
	GoTo by Steve Lohr, review by John Biggs -- The story of computer
	languages is really the story of rock 'n' roll. It's the story ...

PopMatters.com::BookReview::GoTo by Steve Lohr.

[07 November 2003, top]

About the Internet Tax Freedom Act

I have not been paying much attention to the issue of Internet taxation, but this is potentially bad news for the overall health of the Internet.

Internet.com::Internet Tax Debate Is Going Down to the Wire

The Internet.com article tells us that the U.S. Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the Internet Tax Moratorium, which expires on Saturday, 01 November 2003. The vote is being delayed by a handful of politicians who are playing politics holding the Internet hostage to satify their desires. The U.S. House of Representatives on 17 September 2003 passed a bill to make the current moratorium permanent. The original moratorium was established by the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) enacted for three years in 1998 and renewed by Congress for another two years in 2001.

If the U.S. Senate does not vote to make this moratorium premanent, then we may see numerous taxes applied to Internet usage and connectivity. Example: If you send an email from Arizona to California, then a packet of your email message may transmit through Texas and Texas could apply a tax on that packet. States see the Internet as being a great source of revenue for them.

Law.Harvard.edu::Plain English Summary of the Internet Tax Freedom Act

[31 October 2003, top]

10 Gigibits per Second -- That is Fast

CERN (where the web was born) and CalTech have successfully transferred data between two Internet connected systems at speeds that were 20,000 faster than a typical home broadband connection. A full length DVD could be downloaded in seven (7) seconds (versus 15 minutes). Researchers believe systems operating at 10 gigabits per second "will be commonplace in the relatively near future." Wired.com::Data Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

[Extra] The following was obtained from Barnako's Internet Daily provided by CBS.MarketWatch.com.

   "More than half the U.S. population used the Internet last month, 
    according to ComScore Media Metrix. The total number of users 
    passed 150 million for the first time, compared to the Census 
    Bureau's national population estimate of 292 million."
More...

[Extra] Spammers are getting clever with respect to their email subject lines. I am noticing that an increasing number of spammers like to spell prescription as perscription. In addition, spammers are replacing lower-case 'l' and 'i' characters with the digit one '1' or an exclamation point '!'. Here are some examples I received during the morning of 21 October 2003.

   + Don't conso!idate it, Don't reduce it
   + kill pain...Vicod!n maxhng amff
   + Ha1f Off Perscript1on Meds...........

[24 October 2003, top]

From Bimbo.biz to HarvardParties.com

[Item] Titles are important. The following hyperlink was on my My.Yahoo.com homepage. [13 August 2003]
	"U.S. Bimbo Defeats Spanish Challenger in Web Bout"

What can this be about? I immediately thought it had to do with the upcoming governor election in California, but instead it is a WIPO story. More... from TechDirt.com. [Side-bar: The not-guilty party -- Bimbo.biz -- is from California. Note how GDT did not make Bimbo.biz a hyperlink.]

What is WIPO? WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organization located on the WWW at WIPO.org

[Item] A small group of Harvard University students have setup a website that allows visitors to post invitations to parties and to view pictures from past parties that are held in and around the Harvard campus. The website is not affiliated with the university. The website is located at HarvardParties.com. [17 October 2003, top]

Nuns; Porn; Suicide

[Item] The following is a copy/paste from Yahoo! News via My.Yahoo.com. [I do Yahoo!]
	"A reclusive order of Irish nuns has opened itself 
	up to the outside world for the first time by launching 
	a Web site to spread the good news.

	The Poor Clare nuns, who take vows of chastity, poverty 
	and obedience, say the information superhighway will help 
	them bring comfort to those in need of spiritual guidance.

	They usually only communicate with visitors, and even family 
	members, by talking through iron bars at their closed monastery 
	in Galway, western Ireland."

[Item] The following was copied from page 13A of the "Nation" section of the 02 October 2003 Arizona Republic.

	A senior cadet at the Air Force Academy pleaded guilty
	Wednesday to running a pornographic Web site from his
	dorm room and using the school computer to organize
	off-campus orgies.

[Item] A band named Hell on Earth was scheduled to broadcast over the Internet the live suicide of a terminally ill fan. The city of St. Petersburg, Florida, said public suicide was against the law, but supposedly the band ignored the city. The suicide was not broadcasted over the Internet because the band's website was attacked making it unusable. SPTimes.com::Radio Host Proclaims He has Suicide Video

[10 October 2003, top]

Usenet is Alive and Still Popular

The 26 August 2003 Arizona Republic had an article in which they described Usenet as a "bulletin board system where subscribers can share video games, movies and pornographic pictures." This description, albeit true, fails to describe Usenet for what it really is. Luckily, later in the article, the reporter quoted a chief technology officer who said Usenet "provides thousands of discussion groups ranging from computers to social issues."

In the future, if the Arizona Republic wants to write about computing topics, then I recommend they consult the Wikipedia. [ Wikipedia.org::Usenet]

These days, Google is the keeper of Usenet on the WWW at http://groups.google.com.

[side-bar] The Arizona Republic article goes on to state the following: "account was created by a hacker who used a stolen credit card to subscribe." Yes, this person was probably a hacker, but they are also a cracker and that is the term that should have been used to describe them. Crackers are hackers that violate computing ethics. A large majority of hackers do not use stolen credit card numbers.

[03 October 2003, top]

ULifeline.org; W3C on Country-Codes; Google and Friendster; MSN Chat

[Item] ULifeline.org is a website that offers help to college students considering suicide. The website was started by the parents of a University of Arizona student who killed himself. Universities indicate "that presenting useful resources for depressed students in an online medium is often the combination that college students need." [ More... from Wired.com]

[Item] Tim Berners-Lee, co-creator of the WWW, has co-authored a letter concerning the potential handling of country codes by the ISO (International Standards Organization). [ More... from W3.org]

[Item] Bambi Francisco of CBS.MarketWatch.com sent an e-mail message to her readers indicating Google may be interested in acquiring Friendster.com. [ More... from Com.com]

[Item] Microsoft has announced they are limiting access to their chat services because of the huge number of evil doers that lurk within them. [ More... from Wired.com]

[26 September 2003, top]

Is Google God?

This posting has been sitting around in the Internet Observer for at least a couple of months. I decided this week was a good time to use it.

I recently went out to Silicon Valley and brought home the URL to the Silicon Valley Linux User Group website. While I was visiting their website I observed that they displayed the current Slashdot headlines. One Slashdot posting contained a hyperlink to a New York Times opinion that asked the question Is Google God?

The following are some quotes from the opinion.

   NYTimes.com::Opinion
   Is Google God?
   by Thomas L. Friedman

   [...]

   "While you were sleeping after 9/11, not only has the process 
    of technological integration continued, it has actually 
    intensified - and this will have profound implications."

   [...]

   "I recently went out to Silicon Valley to visit the 
   offices of Google, the world's most popular search 
   engine. It is a mind-bending experience. You can 
   actually sit in front of a monitor and watch a 
   sample of everything that everyone in the world 
   is searching for."

   [...]

NYTimes.com::Is Google God? [registration required]
Slashdot.org::Does Google = God? [some of the user replies are fun]
SVLUG.org::Silicon Valley Linux Users Group

[19 September 2003, top]

My Favorite Domain Service Provider is Gandi.net

I have been a long time happy customer of Gandi.net. Gandi.net is a French website. These days many Americans are not happy with the French and in some cases they are boycotting French products and companies.

Gandi.net is a usable, reliable, efficient, and secure website. I'd like to use a locally based domain name service, but I like Gandi.net. If we forget about world affairs, then I recommend people use Gandi.net for domain name look-ups and purchases. If you don't like the French, then you can use of the many locally located domain name service providers (e.g. Scottsdale-based GoDaddy.com).

I recently registered the Gerald.Thurman.name domain name using Gandi.net.

[Extra] With football season starting, I found this bit of news from CBS.MarketWatch.com timely.

"The Web site of the Dallas Cowboys has been drawing an average of 316,000 weekly visitors since August, according to ComScore Networks, an Internet marketing and research firm. That makes it the most popular of the National Football League's sites, leading Packers.com's 235,000, Steelers.com, with 209,000, and ClevelandBrowns.com with 169,000."

[12 September 2003, top]

Oracle Versus PeopleSoft Email Messages

Since we are covering the email application in the Fall 2003 Introductory Internet class, it seemed appropriate to have an email related posting.

The users of email must remember that email messages are archivable. You should assume they are never deleted. What you write today in an email message may be re-used in the future.

SiliconValley.com::Court releases Oracle e-mails [27 August 2003]

[05 September 2003, top]

The Big Three; My 1st Google Error

eBay, Yahoo, Amazon are dot-coms that have refused to become dot-busts. The automobile industry was driven by three major manufacturers (the Big Three): General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. These days the dot-com world has a Big Three: eBay, Yahoo and Amazon.
   Company      Market Value (billions)
   ------------------------------------
   Chrysler.... $36.167   [actually Daimler-Chrysler]
   GM.......... $20.337
   Ford........ $19.548

   eBay........ $36.747
   Yahoo....... $20.027
   Amazon...... $16.389

[Extra] On 24 August 2003 I encountered my first Google error (i.e. failed search). Here is what the Google error page looked like.

  http://www.google.com/search?q=shooting+star+lyrics

  502 Server Error

  [Google Image] Error [displayed white on blue]

  Server Error [large bolded font]

  The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.

  Please try again in 30 seconds.

I immediately tried the search again and it worked.

[29 August 2003, top]

Pay Phones and Ham Radios Powerful Blackout Tools

On Thursday, 14 August 2003, the northeast part of the United States experienced a power grid failure that left nearly 50 million people without electricity. The blackout did eliminate some networks from the Internet. Renesys.com::Internet routing outages.

Pay phones and ham radios survived the largest blackout in U.S. history, while wireless demonstrated that it is not ready for prime-time.

[Extra] It appears as though Friendster.com is being polluted with fake profiles posted by fakesters. A quote from the article: "Identity is provisional. It's fluid." [ More... SFWeekly.com ]

[Extra] E-Commerce continues to grow and grow. U.S. retail sales over the Internet grew by 4.6 percent in the second quarter of this year to $12.48 billion. This is up 27.8 percent when compared to the same period a year ago.

[22 August 2003, top]

Internet Enables Flash Mobs

There has been lots of news locally, nationally and world-wide about the increasing popularity of Flash Mobs. Flash Mobs, which are not new, are easier to do these days thanks to the Internet. More... GDT::Computing::Bit::Flash Mobs [Note: A flash mob occurred downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue at 7:00pm on Thursday, 14 August 2003. I was not a participating mobster.] [15 August 2003, top]

Cable More Popular Than DSL; AzFoo, KCDX and Google

At the end of the first quarter of 2003, of the 18.6 million broadband households in the country, cable had 62 percent of the market and DSL had 35 percent, according to Current Analysis and MarketWatch.com. The battle for broadband customers is a big one. [ More...]

[Extra] A former student, MattD, learned about KCDX 103.1 FM Florence about a month ago. He liked the station so much that he did a Google search to find out more information about them. I ran into MattD while crossing campus and he told me that his Google search brought up one of my websites as the #1 hyperlink. Google Search::103.1 kcdx [true as of Thu Aug 07 16:17:30 MST 2003]

[08 August 2003, top]

The Internet Helping to Spread AIDS

I received an e-mail message from ZelmoB inviting me to join his group of friends at Friendster.com. Friendster is a web service that "connects people through networks of friends for dating or making new friends." Friendster provides an excellent example of the Internet's ability to form groups.

The Internet is a powerful enabler of group formation, but it doesn't give a foo about the who, what or why of these groups. One group could be a family unit, one group could be a troop of girl scouts, one group could be people who like to hike Arizona, one group could be a terrorist cell, one group could be a collection of computer hackers, and so on.

These days the Internet gets blamed for everything. It enables spam, identity theft, gambling, kiddie porn, music stealing, and so on. It also appears as though the Internet enables the spread of AIDS.

   "A growing number of gay and bisexual men in the 
    United States are engaging in risky sex with partners 
    they meet on the Internet, raising fears that the AIDS 
    virus could be poised for a major comeback in the group 
    hardest hit by the epidemic.  Online chatrooms and Web 
    sites are replacing gay bathhouses and sex clubs as the 
    most popular meeting point to arrange high-risk sex, 
    according to two new studies presented at the 2003 
    National HIV Prevention Conference."

Can Friendster be used to spread AIDS?

{Friendster.com} { StraitsTimes::Gay Pick-ups on Net Fuel Fears of Aids Resurgence }
[01 August 2003, top]

A Comment About Online Resumes

I don't understand why people put their home addressess and phone numbers in their online resumes.

My resume would instruct the reader to send me an e-mail message to obtain contact information. Example.

   Herb Mumford, Tempe, Arizona
   Contact information can be obtained
   by sending an e-mail message to:
   hmumford@foo.foo
[25 July 2003, top]

Planned Parenthood Goes After Cybersquatters

Cybersquatting... is not nearly the issue it was back in the last part of the 1990s; none the less, cybersquatting remains a problem that occurs on a regular basis. Note: with 2004 being an election year, there will be in an increase in cybersquatting because computer-illiterate politicians like to cybersquat.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has "sued several anti-choice extremists who unlawfully registered domain names that infringe on PPFA's service marks." Example: Teenwire is a registered trademark of PPFA, but the PPFA is suing a group that registered the domain name Teenswire.com. [ Planned Parenthood Sues Anti-Choice Cybersquatters ]

[Extra] Here is a Tip of the Day from the W3C Validation service. Cool URIs don't change!

[18 July 2003, top]

Yahoo! Makes $$; Apache Stays Hot; Internet Users Depressed

Item [Yahoo! Makes Money]
Yahoo! reported 2nd quarter earnings that were more than double the 2nd quarter from a year ago. The company also raised its profit outlook for the entire year. Yahoo!'s stock was down almost 8% on the news.

Item [Apache Usage Remains Strong]
Netcraft.com::July 2003 Web Server Survey finds the Apache web server in the lead at 67% versus Microsoft IIS at 24%. The Apache web server remains one of the most visible Open Source success stories. [Apache.org]

Item [Some Student Internet Usage Due to Depression]
A recent study of students at two Midwestern colleges shows that excessive Internet usage is linked to depression. Here is a quote from EDUCause.

"The study finds that students typically use the Internet for about an hour and a half a day. Those who turn to the Internet initially to regulate mood and combat feelings of loneliness often can't regulate usage. The inability to regulate usage can intensify depressive moods and lead to further isolation. To work around the limitations of the notion of addiction as it applies to online habits, the authors employ the idea of deficient self-regulation to describe compulsive Internet usage. The study's findings are consistent with those for excessive use of conventional media, such as immoderate TV watching or reading too many trashy novels." [source::Chronicle of Higher Education, 2 July 2003]

[11 July 2003, top]

Tim Berners-Lee on Web Services and the Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee is always careful to acknowledge that he did not father the WWW in isolation. Web Services is a hot buzzword here in the early part of the 21st century. Web services, however, requires a semantic web. W3.org::Web Services - Semantic Web. [04 July 2003, top]

Amazon.com Uses Harry Potter to Make E-Commerce History

Amazon.com is probably looking forward to the next Harry Potter release. The following is a quote from a 23 June 2003 Amazon.com press release.
"In one of the largest sales and distribution events in e-commerce history, Amazon.com teamed up with FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver more than 789,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to eager fans across the country starting on Saturday, June 21 -- the first day the book was available to the public. As of midnight on Friday, June 20, more than 1.3 million copies of the book had been advance-ordered on Amazon sites worldwide, making the title the retailer's largest new product release ever."

Amazon.com::Press Release::
E-Commerce History with Release-Day Delivery of Highly-Anticipated "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

[27 June 2003, top]

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Sex.com

During the period of domain name speculation the domain name sex.com was worth lots of money. For the criminal who stole sex.com it was an expensive learning experience. [Hyperlink to sex.com not provided.] U.S. Supreme Court Does Sex.com [20 June 2003, top]

Email Causing Stress Disorders; E-divorces Becoming Popular

Email is the oldest and most popular Internet-based application, yet for some computer users email is causing them to experience stress disorders... "email has become an increasing burden on computer users with the power to ruin their personal lives."

It was only a matter of time before the Internet provided a cost effective way to get a divorce. Potential future headline: e-mail disorders causing increase in e-divorce cases. WiredNews::Business::Divorce, Online Style

[13 June 2003, top]

Clicking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day

The following article is going to be required reading in my Fall 2003 Introductory Internet class. ACM.org:: From Thinkers to Clickers: The World Wide Web and the Transformation of the Essence of Being Human [06 June 2003, top]

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

John Perry Barlow's declaration of cyberspace indendence starts with the following paragraph.

"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather."

Barlow continues the declaration by stating: "We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity."

The declaration ends with the following: "We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before."

A Declaration of the Indepedence of Cyberspace [John Perry Barlow, February 1996]

[29 May 2003, top]

YASA::The RID Spam Act

YASA (Yet-Another-Spam-Act)... The Reduction in Distribution of Spam Act (also known as the RID Spam Act) "establishes tough penalties for e-mail marketers who lie about their identities or engage in other deceptive tactics, but otherwise does not prevent businesses from contacting anybody with an e-mail address." Why do politicians think we can legislate away spam? [29 May 2003, top]

Defining spam is Not Easy; Google is Cool

Governments -- both state and national -- are busy passing laws to allay the e-mail spam problem. These laws may help, but they are also going to erode at our computing freedoms. How can we regulate something when something has no concrete definition? EDUCause offers the following.
"Results of the survey show that among business users, a majority believe that the distinction between spam and non-spam depends on whether the receiver has done business with the sender. If so, the e-mail cannot be considered spam, but if not, an unsolicited e-mail is spam, even if it comes from a legitimate marketer or company. Eighty-six percent of respondents support certain anti-spam legislation, and 85 percent support the use of anti-spam technologies within their companies. A majority of respondents said they would be willing to sacrifice certain existing capabilities, such as some amount of personal privacy or the ability to receive e-mail newsletters, for a reduction in the amount of spam."

During the week just ended, the California State Senate approved a bill that "would make it illegal to send unsolicited e-mail advertising and allows people to sue so-called spammers for $500 per unwanted message." Wow... in Arizona you can be fined $500 for littering; therefore, I spam is e-litter.

My gthurman@gmail.com e-mail spam catcher currently has 132 messages in it. At $500 a message, the spam is worth [not really] $66,000. If this was possible, that $66,000 would go directly in the CSZero::Learning About Computing Award Fund.

If you give away a can of SPAM, then you are a SPAMmer.

[Extra] Eric Schmidt has indicated Google has no plans on going public over the short term. He also forecasted that by 2008 everyone will have a continuous wireless Internet connection.

Schmidt is one the people behind Google.

[23 May 2003, top]

Forbes Says: All Eyes on Google

Forbes Magazine has an article about the Google search engine that many Google-ites will enjoy. Forbes.com::All Eyes on Google.

Forbes.com indicates that if Google was a publicly traded company with a stock priced at three times estimated 2003 revenues, then Google would have a market value of $2,100,000,000. [Note: Three times revenues is a conservative estimate for small high-tech companies.]

Here is a quote from the article. "For Wall Street and Silicon Valley, Google is the great bright hope for an initial public offering that might revive moribund tech stocks." Earlier in the week Google announced that it does not have any immediate plans to go public.

[Extra] Slashdot.org has a thread going this is titled "Death of Internet Predicted: Film at 11" Lawrence Lessig's blog.

One of Lessig's blog entries is a hyperlink to David Weinberger

How can the Internet die when the hyperlink just gets more and more powerful?

[16 May 2003, top]

Internet Plays Key Role is the Decoding of the SARS Genome

The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) genome has been sequenced. The Canadian scientists who broke the genetic code for SARS just weeks after the disease appeared say they couldn't have done it without the Internet. The scientists indicated that they needed to rapidly communicate with scientists around the world and that the collaboration was accomplished using the Internet-based email application. [Email is one of the oldest and most popular Internet-based applications in use today.] Canada.com::Internet Played a Key Role in Decoding SARS Genome

[SARS as of 09 May 2003] Scientists indicate the virus is "mutating to help it escape the body's immune defenses, which could make future cases deadlier." More from NationalPost.com.

[Update::09 May 2002 12:22pm; about 5 hours from initial posting]
I read this on My.Yahoo.com.

"U.S. and Canadian regulators said on Friday they had warned more than 40 Web site operators to stop making unproven claims about preventing or treating SARS with items such as air purifiers and herbal supplements."
Story.News.Yahoo.com::Technology::U.S., Canada Warn Web Sites About SARS Claims

Stuff would be confusing if a virus named SARS hits the Internet. The phrase "SARS virus" becomes ambiguous requiring qualification. SARS virus refers to the real-world virus; SARS e-virus refers to the virtual-world virus.

[09 May 2003, top]

spam... spaM... spAM... sPAM... SPAM

It's all about spam, spaM, spAM, sPAM, SPAM.
  • Virginia has passed legislation that makes sending fraudulent email a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and loss of revenues and assets connected to spamming.

  • Front-page headline from Thursday's (01 May 2003) Arizona Republic: "Legislature expected to make spam a crime." Arizona's law is similar to Virginia's except in Virginia a spammer is a felon whereas in Arizona spamming is only a misdemeanor.

  • A U.S. Representative is planning to introduce the Restrict and Eliminate Delivery of Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (REDUCE) Spam Act. The REDUCE spam Act will pay a bounty to persons who report spammers. [I want to report the University of Phoenix, DeVry University and Kaplan College (just to name a few).]

  • Brad Templeton [DreamTeam nominee] has researched that the earliest documented junk email was sent on 03 May 1978. Templeton.com::spam Turns 25 Years Old.

Note: The first can of SPAM (the food product) was produced by Hormel Foods in 1937. Hormel orginally called the product spiced ham and hence its name. To learn more about SPAM (the food product) visit the official SPAM website at SPAM.com.

[02 May 2003, top]

The GUI Browser Turns 10 Years Old

On 22 April 2003, the GUI-based browser turns 10 years young. Born with the name Mosaic, it morphed into Netscape, was cloned by Microsoft as Explorer and it become open source via Mozilla. Mosaic was created by students at the University of Illinois and it helped the WWW (World Wide Web) to become a tool of the masses. CNET News.com::Mother of Invention

[Extra] The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) as issued a report on the topic of junk email (i.e. spam). The CDT report contains a section about what you can do to reduce spam. One suggestion is to encode your email address using character entities. Here is an example.

My primary email address -- gthurman@gmail.com encoded is gdt@deru.com

CDT.org::Why Am I Getting All This Spam? [25 April 2003, top]

Hey America... Dear Abby Uses the Internet

Thanks to the AZIPA mailing-list for this hyperlink to a Washington Post article that indicates "42% of Americans don't use the Internet and the majority of them do not believe they ever will." The survey found that "half of the people not using the Internet are over 50 years old." [Both of the parents would fall into this category.] The article reminds us that the Digital Divide remains a problem. Many Americans Still Aren't Going Online, Survey Finds.

[Extra] Thanks to Yahoo!News for letting us know about the success the OperationDearAbby.net website. According to the article "Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, said Americans have sent more than 500,000 email greetings to members of the U.S. armed forces."

[18 April 2003, top]

Yahoo! Versus Google; Yahoo! Makes Money; Connecting with Soldiers

Yahoo is offering a new search engine promoted as more powerful and easier to use than Google. The new search engine combines Google's index with Yahoo's subject categories. Currently Google handles an average of 112 million searches a day compared to Yahoo's 42 million, which are generated by Google's software. Yahoo supported Google's creation and licensed its software three years ago for searches on Yahoo's portal. Yahoo purchased Inktomi so that it can free itself of Google. Yahoo.com::Yahoo! Introduces New Yahoo! Search.

[Extra] Yahoo! Inc. first quarter ended March 31, 2003 and revenues totaled $282.9 million, a 47 percent increase over the $192.7 million reported in the same period in 2002. Net income for the first quarter of 2003 was $0.08 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $0.09 per diluted share for same period of 2002. Yahoo.com::Yahoo! Makes Money

[Extra] I learned about the following URLs from the Arizona Republic and I passed them along to my daughter whose boy friend has been sent to Iraq.

[11 April 2003, top]

Cybersquatting on AzBiotech.net

I went to check to see if the azbiotech domain name was available. The dot-com version was taken, but all the others were available.

I executed a Gandi.net::whois azbiotech.com to find out who "owns" the azbiotech.com domain name and learned the following.

   AZBioTech
   Plant biology, Arizona State University,
   Tempe, Arizona 85287
   United States

   Registrar: DOTSTER
   Domain Name: AZBIOTECH.COM
   Created on: 13-NOV-01
   Expires on: 13-NOV-03

This prompted me to ask the following question: Would I be cybersquatting if I purchased azbiotech.net and/or azbiotech.org? I decided the answer was No and promptly proceeded to obtain AzBiotech.net domain name. Here is a copy of the confirmation email message received from Gandi.net.

   Date: Thu,  3 Apr 2003 14:46:03 +0200 (CEST)
   From: support@gandi.net
   To: gthurman@gmail.com
   Subject: [GANDI] AZBIOTECH.NET

   Dear Customer,

   This is an automatic confirmation for the creation of the domain you
   just bought from Gandi :

        AZBIOTECH.NET

        Your domain name has been registered without error. Notice that it
        will take some time (between *24 to 72 hours*) for your domain (and
        possibly your email and web redirections) to be fully accessible from
        everywhere in the world.

   [...]
http://AzBiotech.net
[04 April 2003, top]

Politicians Want to Restrict Online Gambling

This posting is not about gambling; it is about keeping the Internet free of rules and regulations.
[side-bar] Although this posting is not about gambling, I am confused as to why on an Indian reservation gambling is call gaming, while on the Internet gambling is called gambling.

Arizona Senator John Kyl is sponsoring a bill to prevent Americans from accessing offshore gambling websites by prohibiting U.S. banks, credit card companies, and other Internet payment systems from making payments to those websites.

According to Kyl, "Internet gambling is not a fun diversion, but feeds a dangerous and growing addiction. It is linked to organized crime, rife with fraud, ruins credit ratings, and allows many young people to build up thousands of dollars in debt on their parents' credit cards."

I don't know Mr. Kyl's definition of fun. It may be more difficult for young people to gamble in a physical location, but other than that I see little difference between gambling on an Indian reservation versus gambling on the Internet. Gambling is gambling even when it is called gaming.

Kyl.Senate.gov::Press Release [17 March 2003]

[28 March 2003, top]

Afghanistan Activates the Dot-AF Domain

Afghanistan, where the Internet was banned during the rule of the Taliban, with the help of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), has activated its dot-af country code domain name for Afghan websites and email addresses. Under Taliban rule, all non-governmental use of email services and webwites was punishable by death. UNDP.org::Afghanistan Gets "Dot-AF" Internet Domain. Here is a hyperlink to a dot-af website: http://www.undp.org.af [14 March 2003, top]

DNS Root Servers Busy Doing Nothing; Apache Usage Increases

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego has analyzed Internet traffic to one of the 13 Domain Name System (DNS) Internet "root" servers and they have found that the server spends the majority of its time dealing with unnecessary queries. UCSD.edu::Unnecessary Traffic Saturating A Key Internet 'Root' Server
DNS is an Internet service that converts domain names into IP addresses. The DNS is a "network" in that if one DNS doesn't know a domain name, then it gets the IP address from a different DNS.

[Extra] February Netcraft Web Server Survey shows that 66.75% of the webservers are running Apache. Microsoft usage is at 24.81%. [ Netcraft Web Server Survey]

[07 March 2003, top]

From the Top of Mt. Everest to Tribal Chiefs in South Africa

The Power of the Internet -- email; the hyperlink; an enabler of group formation; blogging... the Internet continues weaving its World Wide Web.

Tim Berners-Lee wrote the book Weaving the Web.

I may have made a mistake ignoring Ted.Hyperland.com::Ted Nelson and his Xanadu Docuverse.

[28 February 2003, top]

Google Buys a Blogger

SiliconValley.com::Google Buys a Blogger
Google has purchased Pyra Labs. Pyra Labs (which is almost four years old) created some of the earliest technology for writing weblogs. For the most part, Google's action have many bloggers excited. It goes without saying (but I say it anyway), bloggers are busy blogging this story.
<side-bar>
The 20 September 2002 Internet Observer posting declared GDT is a Blogger.
</side-bar>
   Blogger + Google = Blogoogle?
   Google + Blogger = Googoggler?

[ACM.org::Crossroads] Being Held Hostage by Information Overload

[21 February 2003, top]

Tim Berners-Lee and the Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee is considered the creator of the World Wide Web. Early during 2003, Berners-Lee gave a progress report on his latest work, which he calls the Semantic Web. Berners-Lee gave his speech to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Chronicle.com::Tim Berners-Lee Advocates the Semantic Web

[Bonus] W3C.org::History:: Tim Berners-Lee Original Proposal of the WWW, HTMLized

[Bonus] The Mosiac Browser was officially released April of 1993 (i.e. it is almost 10 years young). To honor the event, Wired News had a Conversation With Marc Andreessen.

[14 February 2003, top]

More DeVry spam; Chatroom Assisted Suicide; Shuttle Debris on Ebay

spam Wars: DeVry University vs. University of Phoenix
I've been getting spam from the University of Phoenix for a long time, but now I'm getting spam from DeVry University. The following is a single copy/paste from my email in-box that was displayed on my computer screen on 30 January 2003.
  4 Jan 30 wkw156497zaktlx@yahoo.com   Safe sex with a bored housewife!
  5 Jan 30 trdfyfynq083@tfz.net        Men add inches to your private part 
  6 May 20 DeVry University            56,000 students can't be wrong

Note a few things: The date on the DeVry University message is either eight months behind or else four months into the future; and, ASU Main campus has an enrollment of 56,000 students (thus, based on Subject Line alone, we could conclude that DeVry is telling us choose ASU over them).

Chatroom Members Aid a Suicide
Some young person commits suicide while participating on a chatroom. Via a web-cam, Internet users were able to watch a person overdose on drugs. Reports indicate that many on the Internet were cheering the person to take more and more and more drugs until eventually he died. Sad story, but this person's death is not the fault of the Internet -- it is the fault of human-beings.

Shuttle Debris Sold on Ebay
The Columbia Space Shuttle explodes over Texas and debris falls from the skies for miles and miles and miles. Some people find the shuttle debris and put it up for auction on Ebay.

[07 February 2003, top]

Rural Internet; Ecommerce Stats; Web Usability

Item... [The Internet is for Everyone]
On 30 January 2003, President Bush announced that he wants to spend $196 million of the Agriculture Department's 2004 budget on loans to telecommunications companies to improve Internet access in rural towns and communities. [ More... from USDA.gov]

Item... [Ecommerce Continues to Grow]
The U.S. Census Bureau says ecommerce spending increased by more than 34 percent year-over-year to US $11.1 billion from the third quarter of 2001 to the same period in 2002. Note: ecommerce accounts for only 1.3% of all retail sales. [ More... from Census.gov]

Item... [Website Usability is Important]
Website usability must be good in order to people to return to a website. People who design webpages must constantly keep usability in mind and remember that Human Factors needs to be respected. Here are two articles the discuss the topic of webpage and website design. HumanFactors.com::Research Supported Do's and Dont's and Digitial-Web.com::Pychology of Navigation

[31 January 2003, top]

Wired Magazine::Google vs. Evil

Learning About Computing students learned about the Google search engine back when its URL was http://google.stanford.edu. [The Stanford URL still works.] These days, Google is one of the most popular websites on the entire World Wide Web (WWW). During January 2003, Wired Magazine published an excellent article about Google. Here is a quote from the article.
"At Google, purity matters. Over the years, Brin and Page have resisted pressure to run banners, opting instead for haiku-like text ads and unintrusive sponsored links. They've taken a stand against pop-ups and pop-unders and refused ads from sites they consider to be overly negative. All the while, they've stubbornly kept the Google homepage concise and pristine."
Wired.com::Google Versus Evil

[Extra] Learn about Google by taking a tour of Google.

[24 January 2003, top]

Case Quits AOL; Military Spam Iraqis

Steve Case, founder of AOL (America OnLine), has resigned. Three year's ago AOL purchased Time Warner, but they have not been able to make enough money to please shareholders; therefore, Case is calling it quits. Here is a quote from the Company's largest shareholder (Ted Turner).
"The decline in the stock has prompted criticism from many shareholders, including Ted Turner, vice chairman of the company and its largest shareholder, who has seen his personal fortune fall by billions with the decline in the stock."

Hey Teddy, show us a non-biometric, non-defense, high-tech stock that didn't go down after 911?

Steve Case Quits AOL

[Extra] Ebay refuses to let a man auction off his family unit. [Recall last week's posting was about a town (Bridgeville, CA) that sold itself on Ebay.]

[Another Extra] The United States military has resorted to sending email messages to Iraqi military people and they have received some positive replies. Learn from the mistakes of others (in this case Iraqi military): Don't reply to spam. CNN.com::U.S. Email Attack Targets Key Iraqis.

[17 January 2003, top]

Bridgeville, CA Sold for $1.8 Million on Ebay

On 20 December 2002, Bridgeville, CA became the first town sold on the Internet [potential trivia question]. The town sold for nearly $1.8 million. Bridgeville's zipcode is 95526 and it is 260 miles north of San Francisco in Humboldt County. [ More... from Wired.com::News] [10 January 2003, top]

The Missing Internet is for Everyone Who is Living

According to some computing historians the Internet turned 20 years young on 01 January 2003. On 01 January 1983, ARPANET computers switched to using TCP/IP.

Note: During 02 September 1969, two computers at UCLA were connected together (i.e. networked).

A year ago, the Internet is Missing was published and it still holds true today. But for those of us who believe the Internet is for Everyone (rfc3271), we know the Internet is Living.

[03 January 2003, top]

Author: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:18:20 MST