Internet::Observer::Archive::Year 2004

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Air Force Using Secure Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging (IM) continues to be an increasingly popular Internet-based communication tool. There are, however, numerous security issues with respect to IM and it is good to see that the U.S. Air Force is using "secure" forms for IM. Here is a quote: "A husband and wife can feel comfortable having a one-on-one conversation, because it is secured and encrypted," Colonel Besselman said. {AF.mil:: Portal Allows Airment to Chat with Friends, Family } [31 December 2004, top]

Penn State Says No to IE; Google and Library Books

Pennsylvania State University has recommended to students that they stop using Internet Explorer (IE) as their browser. This recommendation was made to help students "increase the security of their computers." {News.com.com:: School's Out to Shun IE}

Firefox, an IE alternative, continues to grow. {NewsFactor.com:: Firefox Passes 10 Million Mark }

[Extra] Google is not a browser, but speaking of Google... {Google.com:: Google Checks Out Library Books}

[17 December 2004, top]

Web Turns 10; Professor Berners-Lee; MakeLoveNotSpam

I've always considered 1991 to be the birth year of the web, but I guess 1994 is more accurate. {eWeek.com:: Founders Face the Future as the Web Turns 10 }

Speaking of founders... Sir Tim Berners-Lee is considered a creator of the WWW. Now we will have to call him Professor Berners-Lee. {ECS.soton:ac.uk:: Tim Berners-Lee To Join ECS }

The web is only one of many applications that uses the Internet. It appears many Internet-based applications are harmful to the development of our communication skills. {News.Com.com:: What corporate America can't build: a sentence }

[Extra] Slashdot.org:: Lycos Anti-Spam Site Compromised { MakeLoveNotSpam.com}

[10 December 2004, top]

101gbps; "blog" is Word of the Year

At this year's Supercomputing Conference data was trasmitted between Pittsburgh and LA at a rate of 101 gigabits per second. CalTech.edu:: Internet Speed Quadrupled by International Team During 2004 Bandwidth Challenge

[Note: A gigabit is a unit of data equal to one billion bits.]

[Extra] Merriam-Webster, based on online lookups, proclaims the #1 "Word of the Year" for 2004 was blog.

[03 December 2004, top]

From Industry to the Internet; Blogging in China

Jakob Nielsen authored an Alertbox article in which he espouses the differences between our industrialized world the pastoral world of the Internet. Here are two quotes.
	"In the physical world, you win by being big, with economies 
	 of scale in manufacturing, worldwide distribution, and branding. 
	 Most of these benefits accrue even if you're mediocre, and in fact, 
	 you usually benefit from targeting the lowest common denominator."

	"In the virtual world, you win by being good: Automation reduces the 
	 benefits of scale, the Internet equalizes distribution, and reputation 
	 follows from quality rather than incessantly repeated slogans."

Nielsen's article provides another example of how the Internet is enabling us to become hyperlinked organizations versus operating using static hierarchies.

{UseIt.com::Alertbox:: Undoing the Industrial Revolution [2004-11-22]}

[Extra] If you blog the truth in American, you are probably safe from dangerous (e.g. imprisonment, amputation, death) ramifications; however, blog the truth in China (and other countries)... that may be a different story. {Weblog.SiliconValley.com:: Dan Gillmor's eJournal - China Bloggers Emerge, But Not Too Loudly }

[26 November 2004, top]

Google's Index Grows; How Spammers Spam; AT&T

Google has doubled the number of indexed pages its search engine processes from 4 billion to more than 8 billion. Google's homepage says: "Searching 8,058,044,651 web pages." {Google.com:: Google Blog}

A spammer is on trail for spamming. Testimony is showing that the spammer sent 10 million emails a day and made $750,000 a month. {Biz.Yahoo.com:: Trial Shows How Spammers Operate}

AT&T buried some fiber-optic telecommunications cables without getting authorization and now they have to pay their dues. {Boston.com:: AT&T Settles Land-Rights Suit Linking Internet Age With 1850s } [19 November 2004, top]


From SPAM to Spam to Spim to Spit

SPAM started out as a food product, but in the Internet age "spam" is also a term that refers to junk email messages. Spam that is sent using Instant Messaging is call "spim." Now, thanks to the rapid growth of VoIP (Voice over IP), spam is morphing into "spit." {USAToday.com:: Irritated by spam? Get ready for spit }

[Extra] FCC.gov:: Voice-Over-Internet Protocol

[12 November 2004, top]

Some Large Companies Go After Spammers

Microsoft, AOL (Time Warner), Yahoo and Earthlink are members of an anti-spam alliance. These for companies combined represent a market value of 430.5 billion U.S. dollars. Microsoft alone has a market value of $305.4 billion. These large companies have large legal teams and they are in a position to take advantage of laws that have been passed to "can" spammers.

Biz.Yahoo.com:: Yahoo! Furthers Legal Action Against Spammers in Conjuction with Anti-Spam Alliance Parnters America Online, EarthLink and Microsoft

The homepage for Antispam.Yahoo.com says:

	"Yahoo! is committed to the fight against spam and is 
	 taking legal action to stop spam at the source. Learn 
	 more about legal and legislative news."

Spam that is sent to chatrooms is called "spim." AOL announced it has filed a "federal lawsuit accusing numerous unnamed defendants of violating federal and state laws by sending bulk messages known as 'spim' to instant message accounts and Internet chat rooms." {Biz.Yahoo.com:: AOL Files Lawsuit Against IM 'Spim'}

[Extra] VNUnet.com:: Spam Scam Creates Yahoo Zombies

[Extra] On 02 September 2004 the Internet celebrated the Internet's 35th birthday. Or did it? I am kicking myself for missing the 35th Anniversary of the Internet held 29 October 2004 at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles).

[05 November 2004, top]

Felony Spam Case Hits Virginia Courts

Virginia is called the heartland of the Internet and it appears they don't take kindly to spammers.

We must remember that we live in a world where we are innocent until proven guilty, but most spammers are criminals and maybe some guilty verdicts will help allay our current spam problem.

   "Virginia officials are pressing their case 
    because several Internet service providers, 
    including No. 1 America Online, have e-mail 
    servers in the state. About 80% of Internet 
    traffic flows through Virginia.

    AOL assisted in the investigation. Indictments 
    were announced at AOL's headquarters in Virginia 
    last year."
USAToday.com:: First felony spam trial begins in Virginia

[Side-bar] On 15 October 2004 I had dinner at the Tastee 29 Diner. The 29 Diner is a Virginia Historic Landmark located in Fairfax, which in turn is located in Fairfax county.

Extra] Something is going on with domain names. Specifically, the control of the dot-net gTLD (general Top Level Domain) and the introduction of "sponsered" TLDs (sTLDs). {ICANN.org:: ICANN Moves Forward in First Phase Commercial & Technical Negotiations with Two sTLD Applicants }

[29 October 2004, top]

Internet Addiction Still Exists

Internet addiction was a "hot" topic back in the late-1990s (i.e. at the height of the initial dot-com explosion). There hasn't been much discussion about Internet addiction during the early part of the 21st century, but that doesn't mean the problem has gone away. {Forbes.com:: The Addictive Internet } [22 October 2004, top]

Someday We May Be Switching Our JPGs to PNGs

First it was dot-gif files, now it appears like there may be copyright issues with dot-jpg files. Maybe this issue will cause websites to start using dot-png files exclusively.

A company named Forgent holds U.S. Patent number 4,698,672 which pertains to image compression technology. Forgent claims that their patent protects their IP (Intellectual Property) that is used in devices such as digital cameras, personal digital assistants, cellular telephones, printers and scanners.

{Forgent.com:: Intellectual Property: '672 Patent} {Webopedia.com:: JPG vs. GIF vs. PNG}

[Extra] On 13 October 2004, the Netscape browser turned 10 years old. {Mozillazine.org:: CNET News.com Marks Tenth Anniversary of First Netscape Public Beta }

[15 October 2004, top]

Another Smorgasbord of Internet Observations

This week we offer a smorgasbord of Internet observations.
  • Fool.com:: Is eBay Killing America? [commentary]

  • Biz.Yahoo.com:: Wikis' Offer Knowledge-Sharing Online

  • FirstGov.gov was rated number one federal website by Brown University. {FirstGov.gov:: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal}

  • The city of Phoenix, Arizona, was given a first place rating in the "city portal category" by the Center for Digital Government. {CenterDigitalGov.com:: Best City and County Government Web Sites Named}

  • Google.com did not like FAGoogle.com mimicing their homepage and ordered them to stop. {FAGoogle.com:: Banned by Google}

  • The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision from October 2002 that Web publishers cannot be forced to comply with the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is not surprising, but websites that are funded by taxpayer dollars probably need to satisfy the W3C's Web Accessability Initiative (WAI). {ZDNet.com:: Disabilities Act doesn't cover Web, court says} {W3.org:: WAI}

  • The following quote is from an MPAA press release.

       "These parasitic Web sites, which charge consumers fees 
        and counsel them to break the law, reflect the worst 
        elements of the pirate community."
    

    MPAA members include Walt Disney, Sony, MGM, Viacom, Paramount Pictures, News Corp., Twentieth Century Fox, Time Warner, Universal City Studios and other huge media companies.

    Thanks to groups like the RIAA and MPAA and various software companies, the word pirate has been pirated.

[08 October 2004, top]

MSIE, gbrowser, Mozilla, Opera

The Microsoft Internet Explorere (MSIE) browser has lost some market share and this has genereated lots of browser related news. One bit of news is about Google coming out with gbrowser and another bit of news is about the increasing popularity of the open-sourced Mozilla browser and its light weight component Firefox. Also, don't forget that many users like the Opera browser. {Fool.com:: Browsing at Google } {LinuxInsider.com:: Mozilla's Firefox, the Next Big Browser?}

While on the topic of browsers... Many websites work only if they are accessed using Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE). If MSIE usage continues to decline, then this may not be a good idea. Note: Microsoft has announced that if users want to get a more secure MSIE, then they must upgrade to their XP operating system. Many computers may balk at doing this; therefore, they may seek out an alternative browser such as Firefox or Opera. {NewsForge.com:: Dear one-browser Web designers: Don't say I didn't warn you }

[01 October 2004, top]

Google: SS#s and China; Whois: No Lying

There seems to be a never ending stream of news pertaining to Google.

[Extra::Don't Falsify whois Data]
Whois is an Internet application that returns information about a domain name or IP address. It is a tool you can use to find out who "owns" a domain name. I do my whois queries using Gandi.net:: whois search. These days our federal government is concerned about the mis-information contained in the whois database and they are thinking about passing some laws to make falsifying whois data a crime. {Reuters.com:: House Approves Penalties for False Web Records }

[24 September 2004, top]

6.63 Gigabits Per Second

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) transferred 859 giga-bytes of data 9800 miles from the CERN facility in Switzerland to Caltech in Pasadena, California. The transfer took 17 minutes, achieving a rate of 6.63 gigabits per second. {InternetNews.com:: Scientists Set Internet2 Speed Record}

[Extra] CNet::News.com:: Firefox drawing fans away from Microsoft IE

[Extra] We have observered our first dot-coop website and it turns out to be Open Source related. {InformationWeek.com:: Co-Op Puts A New Twist On Open Source } {Avalanche.coop} {FAQ}

[17 September 2004, top]

Wikipedia Discussion; MPAA and College Administrators

Not Everybody Likes the Wikipedia
Wikipedia.org is an online "open-content encyclopedia" that is published in many languages. Access to the Wikipedia is free. "We the Media" author, Dan Gillmor, posted stuff to his blog about the Wikipedia. The following is a quote somebody made about Gillmor's blog posting.
   "While I find Wikipedia to be a marvelous resource, 
    I question its long term viability. Two very nasty 
    words -- spam and vandalism."

I, too, find Wikipedia an excellent resource, but I can see how its quality could be compromised by spam and vandalism (i.e. the inclusion of mis-information).

{Weblog.SiliconValley.com::DanGillmor:: Wikipedia, Reputation and Accuracy }

MPAA Seeking Help From College Administrators
The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is asking college administrators to "step up their efforts to curtail online movie piracy." So far the MPAA has contacted 79 schools with 61 more on the list. "MPAA officials say, online movie trading is rampant." {Chronicle.com:: In Phone Calls, Film-Industry Executives Quiz Campus Officials About File Sharing}

[Extra] American Airlines (and American Eagle) are following Northwest Airlines' lead and will start charging ticket fees on tickets purchased at airport counters and reservation centers. Tickets purchased via the web are fee free. This trend may be good for online travel websites such as Orbitz.com, Travelocity, and so on.

[10 September 2004, top]

Filtering At Phoenix Libraries; Internet's Birthday

Phil Gordon, the mayor of Phoenix, wants to filter all content at public libraries to ensure computer users do not access pornography.

The law of the land -- in a nutshell -- is that libraries can have filters on, but the computer user has the right to turn the filter off. It appears as though the City of Phoenix wants to ignore the law of the land.

Let's assume the City of Phoenix gets it way and filtering is on 100% of the time. I want to know the following: Will access to Playboy.com be filtered? If the answer is "Yes," then computer users at the library will not be able to read part of the interview Playboy magazine did with the co-founders of Google.

Before the City of Phoenix is allowed to ignore the law of the land, we should be told exactly how the filtering rules will be defined. The people who define the rules will have lots of power. My website provides a URL (not a hyperlink) to Playboy.com, does this mean my website will be filtered?

To some human-beings Playboy.com is pornography; to others it is not. I want to know what the City of Phoenix thinks. Will Playboy.com be filtered? Yes/No is not a valid response; filter programs are not sophisticated enough to allow access to only parts of a website.

Phoenix.gov::Mayor:: Internet Porn at Public Libraries: Let's Pull the Plug

On 30 August 2004, I alerted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about this issue.

On 31 August 2004, the Arizona Republic printed an editorial supporting Mayor Gordon's anti-porn initiative. They end their editorial as follows: "It's a good fight, Phoenix. Go for it."

On 31 August 2004, after reading the Arizona Republic's editorial, I sent a second message to the EFF.

{AzCentral.com::ArizonaRepublic::Editorial:: Asking for a fight}

[Extra::Happy Birthday to the Internet]
CNN reported that on 02 September 1969 the Internet was born. {CNN.com:: The Internet at 35: Still Evolving }

[03 September 2004, top]

IOC Needs To Read "We The Media"

CNN reported that strict restrictions have been placed on those at the Summer 2004 Olympics with respect to what they can publish about their olympic experiences. CNN writes "The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other Web sites." The reasoning behind their actions can be reduced down to two factors: money and greed. I suggest the IOC members read We the Media. {CNN.com:: Olympians Largely Barred From Blogging }

[EFF Defends P2P Software]
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) reported that it was successful in helping defend P2P (peer-to-peer) software makers Grokster and Morpheus against being held liable for the infringing activities of their users. {EFF.org:: EFF Scores Landmark Win for P2P} [19 August 2004]

[RIAA Sues More P2P Users]
The RIAA (Record Industry Association of American) continues to go after computer uses who have used P2P (peer-to-peer) programs to share copyrighted music. {TheRegister.co.uk:: Music Labels Sue 896 More Music Lovers} [25 August 2004]

[FBI Cracks the "Underground Network"] The FBI cracked the "Underground Network" and became a "trusted hacker" to they could electronically transfer (i.e. upload and download) copies of "pirated materials." U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is quoted saying "an important message to those who steal over the Internet. Digital pirates put the livelihoods of millions of hardworking Americans at risk and damage our economy." {USAToday.com:: Fed Raid Pounces On Equipment For Digital Piracy }

[27 August 2004, top]

About GDT::Blog::Internet Observer

GDT::Blog::Internet Observer was started on 06 February 1998 as component of a Learning About the Internet and WWW resource. As of Wednesday, 18 August 2004, the Internet Observer contained 306 postings. Any news that is Internet related can end up being posting to the Internet Observer. This blog is updated every Friday and it is archived on a yearly basis. {GDT::Resource::Internet:: Learning About the Internet and WWW} [20 August 2004, top]

Google IPO Auction Starts Friday, 13 August 2004

Google had to delay its IPO due to potential problems with security laws and the way they structured its Initial Public Offering. But today (13 August 2004) appears to be the day bidding starts for Google shares. Note: the stock market for high-tech stocks currently sucks with many good stocks making new 52-week lows. Good luck, Google. {IPO.google.com:: Auction to Open on Friday, August 13, 2004}

[Extra] An interview with Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin will appear in the September 2004 issue of Playboy Magazine.

[Extra] eBay accounced it had acquired a roughly 25% stake in CraigsList http://Phoenix.CraigsList.org}

[13 August 2004, top]

Google Prices Its IPO; Google Accused of Age Discrimination

[Item::Google Prices Its IPO]
For some reason Google wants to go public. They are selling 9% of the company and the shares are expected to sell between $108 and $135. Google's ticker symbol will be GOOG.

[Item::Google Accused of Age Descrimination]
Say it isn't so Google... a civil complaint has been filed claiming Google "fired Brian Reid, 54, as its director of operations in February 2004 because he didn't fit in a culture emphasizing 'youth and energy.'" The leaders of Google are quoted saying: "Our employees, who have named themselves Googlers, are everything. We will reward them and treat them well." Let's hope this includes those who are in their forties, fifties, and older. {eWeek.com:: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1627392,00.asp'> Google Accused of Age Discrimination}

[30 July 2004, top]

Selling Votes on eBay; Kiddie Porn Remains Bad

[eBay::Selling Votes]
Although it is not legal, some people are trying sell their 2004 presidential vote on eBay. And speaking of eBay... the company posted a quarterly profit that more than doubled, but gave a full-year forecast that feel below Wall Street expectations. On 23 July 2004 eBay had a market value of $50.9 billion.

[Internet::Kiddie Porn is a Problem]
British Telecom has reported "it is blocking up to 20,000 attempts each day to access child porn." {BBC.co.uk:: Extent of Child Net Porn Revealed}

[23 July 2004, top]

Yahoo Continues to Make Money; MPAA Fights Movie Downloading

Yahoo reported solid 2nd-quarter results, yet investors dumped their YHOO stock. Yahoo earned $112.5 million on revenues of $832.3 million. {Biz.Yahoo.com:: Yahoo Stock Plunges Despite Strong Profit }

[Extra] The RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) has been active in suing Internet user who downloaded copyrighted music. Now the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of American) is working harder to find those who have downloaded copyrighted movies. According to a ZDNet article "one in four people online has illegally downloaded a feature film." {ZDNet.com.com:: Stolen a film? MPAA Wants To Know}

[16 July 2004, top]

Google Sued Over Orkut.com

The 30 January 2004 Internet Observer posting was about a new Google social-networking application named Orkut. Orkut.com was created by a Google engineer named Orkut Buyukkokten as a personal project, but now it turns out he may have used code the legally belongs to his previous employer. {Wired.com:: Lawsuit: Google Stole Orkut Code} [09 July 2004, top]

U.S. Supreme Court Says No COPA Yet

On Tuesday, 29 June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote to prevent prosecutors from filing criminal cases under COPA (Child Online Protection Act). COPA was passed into law in 1998, but many question its constitutionality and the courts are still trying to figure out if it violates Free speech. {CNET News.com:: Supreme Court Keeps Net Porn Law on Ice } { Benson's View} [02 July 2004, top]

Google Does Site-Flavored Searching

Google has added a feature they call "site-flavored Google search." The following is from a Google FAQ.
Site-flavored search uses a Google search box to deliver custom web search results, based on a profile filled out by a site's webmaster. The profile reflects the content of the website, and when the site-flavored search box is placed within the pages of that site, users are able to view search results that are 'flavored' to be more relevant to them."

I setup a site-flavored search box that was flavored toward computing and did a search using the query string popular tools; most of the hyperlinks returned by Google were computer related. { ...try it...} Search engines will continue to get better and better and better with respect to helping us find specific information using generalized query strings. Google site-flavored search button has been added to the bottom of GDT::Search. {Google.com:: Site-Flavored Google Search}

[25 June 2004, top]

FTC Says Do-Not-Spam Registry Cannot Work

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) on Tuesday, 15 June 2004, issued a press release stating that a do-not-spam (i.e. a national email registry) cannot work given the way email systems currently work. The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) that Congress passed back in December of 2003 indicated that the FTC was to "develop a plan and timetable for establishing a National Do Not E-mail Registry." It is interesting to see the FTC gets better computing advice than do our politicians (at least in this particular case). {FTC.gov:: National Do Not Email Registry: A Report To Congress [Note: 60 page dot-pdf]} [18 June 2004, top]

More and More Domain Names Being Used

VeriSign has issued a report stating that "more than 4.7 million new domain names were registered during the first quarter of 2004-the highest quarterly figure for new domain registrations in the history of the Internet." The report indicates that "more than 63 million domain names have now been registered." VeriSign's study mentions that "Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) account for a growing portion of overall domain names, and currently represent 40 percent of all domain names registered in the world." {VeriSign.com:: Domain Report: Increased Internet Usage } [11 June 2004, top]

Internet Enabling Killer Girls in Japan

In Japan, a 12-year-old girl was killed by an 11-year-old girl for writing messages about her appearance on an Internet bulletin board. The 11-year-old asked the 12-year-old to stop posting the messages, but the 12-year-old ignored her and consequently lost her life. The Internet -- which does nothing more than transmit zeros and ones between computers -- is being blamed. {Reuters.co.uk:: Internet Blamed Over Japan School Killing } [04 June 2004, top]

Spam Goes from Porn to Drugs to Financial

The state-of-spam as of 28 May 2004.

The My.Yahoo.com begins with the following paragraph.

"Financial spam is close to overtaking pharmaceutical spam as the most common form of junk e-mail, according to the April Clearswift Spam Index announced Monday, 24 May 2004, as spammers appear to be abandoning porn for more profitable offerings."

Today's world is full of spam. Email spam is bad, but spam takes on many forms and for some reason those other forms of spam are more acceptable. I get upset with my P.O. Box spam.

[28 May 2004, top]

65 Arrested Distributing Child Porn Via the Internet

The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces are working together on a national law enforcement operation directed toward illegal child pornography distributed through "peer-to-peer (P2P) file trafficking computer networks."

The operation started during Fall of 2003 and the "FBI, ICE and the ICACs have opened more than 1,000 domestic investigations into the distribution and possession of child pornography and conducted more than 350 searches."

On 14 May 2004 it was reported that more than "65 individuals have been arrested and charged with crimes to date as a result of this law enforcement effort."

   "The Internet is now the marketplace for child pornography, 
    and the Department of Justice is acting to ensure that 
    cyberspace is not a free trafficking zone for purveyors 
    of child pornography and predators of children."
   -- Attorney General John Ashcroft 

{ICE.gov:: Departments of Justice, Homeland Security Announce Child Pornography File Sharing Crackdown }

[21 May 2004, top]

Displaying Hyperlinks in Webpages

Jakob Nielsen has published his 10 May 2004 Alertbox article and it is about displaying hyperlinks in webpages. The following is one piece of advice given by Nielsen.
   "Don't use tiny text for links. Don't place links so 
    close together that users with reduced motor skills 
    will have difficulty selecting them. These guidelines 
    are particularly important to ensure usability for 
    older users."

GDT::Homepage provides a good example of what Nielsen tells us not to do.

{Useit.com::Alertbox:: Design Guidelines for Visualizing Links [10 May 2004]}

[Extra] The ACLU has come to the defense of a Ohio high-school student who has been expelled from school because he created a personal website that said unfavorable stuff about his school and teachers. The kid created the website off school grounds and he did not use any school resources. It appears as though the Lancaster, Ohio, school district doesn't like our 1st Amendment rights and that they believe words -- just like sticks and stones -- can hurt them. {NewsNet5.com:: Student Expelled Over Personal Web Site}

[14 May 2004, top]

Spam May Be an Email Killer; Don't Tax the Internet

Time and time again we hear that spam may be the death of email. I know from experience that large quantities of spam can render an email account unusable and this has happened to a California Senator. {PoliTechBot.com:: California's Sen. Feinstein No Longer Accepts Email}

[Extra] U.S. Senate approved a four-year extension to a ban on taxing Internet access. Compromises had to be made in order to get the extension and one of those concessions was to exclude Internet phone services from the ban. The bill has now moved onto the House of Representatives. Lots of politician's drool when they think of all the revenue they could generate by taxing the Internet.

[07 May 2004, top]

Berners-Lee Awarded the Millennium Technology Prize

Yikes... I cannot believe I let this sit on the queue for a couple of weeks.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was named the first winner of the world's largest technology award -- the Millennium Technology Prize -- by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation. Berners-Lee, an inventor of the WWW, was also awarded one million euros ($1.23 million) on 15 April 2004 for his outstanding computing efforts.

{TechnologyAwards.org:: Berners-Lee Winds Inaugural Millennium Technology Prize }

[Late Breaking Google News] SEC.gov:: Form S-1

[Ugly Extra] Reuters.com:: NY Suicide on Web Site Prompts Calls for Control

[Fun Extra] DACK.com:: Web Economy Bullshit Generator

[30 April 2004, top]

About Topix.net; Google IPO Central; NPR Search Engine Wars

I read about Topix.net in the San Jose newspaper while visiting Silicon Valley. Topix was started in 2002 to provide users will the ability to find specific news on the Internet. Topix is also provides users the ability to find "localized" news. {Topix.net:: Pick Your Topic, Get the News} {Topix.net:: Tempe, AZ News}

[Extra] Google-IPO.com:: Google IPO Central - Latest Investing and Stock Offering News

[Extra] TheWebNewsRoom.com:: NPR Launches Web Site, Series "Search Engine Wars"

[23 April 2004, top]

Porn Spam Must Have SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT Label

Beginning 19 May 2004, the subject line of adult-rated spam are required to include the words "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:". This rule comes from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Pornographic email messages cannot include graphic content; however, they can contain hyperlinks to pornographic resources. The new FTC rule overrides all existing state laws that require "ADV: ADULT" in the subject line of pornographic spam email.

I don't know why this rule is necessary given these type of email messages are supposedly illegal. It is sort of like telling robbers to warn us before they rob us.

{Reuters.com:: FTC Says Pornographic 'spam' Must Be Labeled } [16 April 2004, top]

Dot-Sex TLDs; Shopping.com; Encyclopedias Gather Dust

[Internet::Push Continues for Dot-Sex TLDs]
Once again there are those who want to add TLDs (Top-Level-Domains) such as dot-xxx or dot-sex to flag adult oriented websites. The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Forces) has published RFC 3675 stating that this is not a good idea. {IETF.org:: .sex Considered Dangerous}

[WWW::Shopping.com Going Public]
Shopping.com has filed an Initial Public Offering (IPO) worth an estimated $75 million. Shopping.com operates two companies: DealTime, a shopping search engine, and Epinions, a consumer reviews and ratings resource. {Shopping.com:: Find, Compare, and Buy Anything in Seconds} {Speaking of shopping... Froogle.Google.com}

[WWW::Encyclopedias Gather Dust]
As more and more information gets placed on the Internet, the need for printed resources will continue to decline. {CNN.com:: Encyclopedias Gather Dust as Research Moves Online} {Wikipedia.org:: The Free Encyclopedia}

[09 April 2004, top]

Google Supports Personalized and Local Searching

Google has created a new service that allows users to pesonalize their searching. The following was posted to the google.public.labs.personalized Usenet newsgroup.

"The Google Labs Personalized Web Search demo is an experimental system that attempts to tune users' results to their interests. A user selects categories or topics he is interested in, and is then able to receive personalized search results based on those interests. The user is also able to control the degree of personalization in his results by using a slider that ranges from 0 (no personalization) to 10 (full personalization)."

{Labs.Google.com:: Google Personalized Search }

Google has created a new service that allows searching on be executed given a specific geographic location. {Local.Google.com:: Google Local} {Google for computer instruction near zipcode 85256}

Google has created many other forms of specialized searching. {Google.com:: More, more, more}

[Extra] Google is going to provide email services with Gmail [http://www.gmail.com].

[02 April 2004, top]

Using the WWW to Learn About Museums

The WWW can enable people to visit a museum without actually visiting the museum. {Story.News.Yahoo.com:: Offbeat Museums Attract Visitors Via the Web }

[Extra] If you can prove yourself to be museum, then you can register a dot-museum domain name.

[26 March 2004, top]

Ask Jeeves Gets Bigger and Bigger

The search engine industry keeps getting more and more interesting -- Google's potential IPO, Yahoo dropping Google in favor of its own search technology, Mamma.com exploding onto the seen.

Ask Jeeves -- an Internet search tool -- announced it will acquire privately-held Interactive Search Holdings for an overall purchase prices of $343 million. {IRConnect.com:: More...}

[12 March 2004, top]

AOL Outsources Chinwag Room Moderation

America Online is laying off about 100 employees who moderate their chinwag rooms (chat rooms) and screen for objectionable online content. Too bad for Oklahoma City. IslandPacket.com:: AOL to Cut 100 Moderator Jobs at their Oklahoma Call Center. [05 March 2004, top]

Internet Search: Yahoo vs. Google; Why Pangram?

[Item::Yahoo Says Goodbye to Google] Yahoo! has announced they are going to compete against Google rather than be a user (client/customer) of Google. The Internet search industry is morphing into a potential growth industry.
{Reuters.co.uk:: News Article } {Yahoo.com:: Press Release} { Search.Yahoo.com}

[Item::Why is pangram a Yahoo! Buzz Mover?] The following is the Yahoo! Buzz Index from Tuesday, 24 February 2004.

   Rank  Prev  Subject
   1      12     NASCAR
   2      1      Britney Spears
   3      2      The Passion of the Christ
   4      5      Paris Hilton 
   5      9      Christina Aguilera 
   6      8      Janet Jackson 
   7      24     Academy Awards
   8      4      Internal Revenue Service 
   9      6      Beyonce Knowles 
   10     36     Barbie 

   Movers
   1      Pangram       (Breakout!)
   2      Fred Noonan   (Breakout!)
   3      Eponym        (Breakout!)
   4      Wiley Post    (Breakout!)
   5      Amelia Earhart
   6      Jonathan Brandis
   7      SAG Awards
   8      Ralph Don't Run
   9      Dazed and Confused
   10     David Blaine
[27 February 2004, top]

XML; Phrase Finder; Sizeof Google; Can't Can Spam

[WWW::From XML to the Phrase Finder]
I will be attending an Effective XML Birds-of-a-Feather gathering at the 2004 Software Developers Conference. One of the birds will be Elliotte Rusty Harold. [Note: Harold recently published a book titled Effective XML.] I became curious about the phrase "birds-of-a-feather" so I used Google and the number one hyperlink took me to Prases.shu.ac.uk:: The Phrase Finder.

[Google::6,000,000,000 and Counting]
Google provides access to "4.28 billion web pages, 880 million images, 845 million Usenet messages, and a growing collection of book-related information pages." These numbers were obtained by a 17 February 2004 press release. {Google.com:: Immediate Access To More Than 6 Billion Items}

[Email::There is No Canning Spam]
This Internet Observer continues to believe that spam cannot be legislated away. We are spam-friendly society and until that changes email will continue to get fat on spam. {CNET News.com:: Spam Can't Be Canned [2003 in Review]}

[20 February 2004, top]

Whitehouse.com Website Up for Sale

Whitehouse.com -- a pornographic website -- is for sale. The website claims it has had 85 million visitors since 1997. Whitehouse.com should not confused with Whitehouse.gov -- the official website of the United States of America. Yahoo.com:: Porn Web Site Whitehouse.com Up for Sale [13 February 2004, top]

Mr. Spam Man; Janet Jackson Makes Internet History

[Item::Scott Richter -- Mr. Spam Man] On 04 February 2004, Slashdot.org provided a hyperlink to a story about Scott Richter -- one of the biggest spammers in the who makes money by spamming. His service -- OptInRealBig.com -- sends out "between 50 million and 250 million emails a day, generating close to $2 million a month in revenues." {WestWord.com:: Mr. Spam Man}

[Item::Janet Jackson Makes Internet History] Lycos is claiming that searches for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" made Internet history becoming the most-searched event since 911 (i.e. the attack on America). Here is a quote from the Lycos posting. "On Monday (02 February 2004), Janet Jackson and the halftime show received 60 times as many searches as the Paris Hilton sex tape and 80 times as many searches as Britney Spears." {50.Lycos.com:: Janet Jackson Makes (Internet) History}

[06 February 2004, top]

Google Does Friendster Via Orkut

An employee at Google has created a Friendster-like website that supports an online "meeting place." Membership is currently restricted (i.e. by invitation only), but this may change if it becomes popular.

Here is a quote that highlights what a cool employer Google must be.

"Google's development of Orkut came about due to its policy of requesting employees to devote one day a week to personal projects with a high-tech application. Google News, a very popular feature that aggregates the news of the day in several categories, originated that way."

[Extra] Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was not a spammer because he didn't use email. Yahoo.com:: Clinton's Gift to Internet Age -- Only 2 E-Mails

[30 January 2004, top]

AOL and Spam; Yahoo! Makes Money; Goofy Patents

[Item] Slashdot.org:: AOL Blocks 1/2 Trillion Spam

[Item] Yahoo, Inc. saw a 62% jump in 4th-quarter net profits to $72 million. 4th-quarter revenue was $511.3 million up from $285.8 million a year ago. MarketWatch.com:: Analysts weigh in on Yahoo earnings.

[Item] USPTO.gov:: United States Patent: 6,671,714 [USPTO is the United States Patent and Trademark Office]

[begin USPTO.gov copy and paste]

   What is claimed is:

   1. A method for assigning URL's and e-mail addresses to 
      members of a group comprising the steps of:

      assigning each member of said group a URL of the form 
      'name.subdomain.domain'; and

      assigning each member of said group an e-mail address of the form 
      'name@subdomain.domain;'

      wherein the 'name' portion of said URL and said e-mail address 
      is the same and unique for each particular one of said members 
      such that an only difference between said URL and said e-mail 
      address for said member is that in said URL the '@' symbol of 
      the e-mail address is replaced with a '.' and wherein said 
      'subdomain' portion of said URL and said e-mail address is 
      the same for all members of said group.

   2. The method of claim 1 wherein said members of said group 
      comprise members of a licensed profession. 

[end USPTO.gov copy and paste]
[23 January 2004, top]

Tim Berners-Lee Knighted

Tim Berners-Lee has been awarded a Knighthood in London. The following quote comes from a UPI (United Press International) press release: "Without his creation, there would be no computer addresses, no e-mail and the Internet might still be the exclusive domain of a handful of computer experts." This is erroneous reporting by the UPI.

Two hyperlinks to this story are given. The ZDNet title is correct and the Washingon Times title is wrong.

[Extra] Somebody registered the jrrtolkien.com domain name and the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organzations) told them they were cybersquatting. Reuters.com:: Lord of the Rings: Return of the Domain Name

[16 January 2004, top]

Welcome to Year 2004

Happy New Year! welcome to 2004. The 2003 Internet Observer has been archived. [01 January 2004, top]

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