From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli comes today's tech news. The US copyright law was enacted on this day in 1790. The Who performed the loudest concert ever with 76,000 watts of amplification in 1976. Seinfeld premiered in 1990.
It's Memorial Day.
- Online sales boomed last year with 51% increase over 2002. Sales reached $114 billion, representing 5.4 of all retail sales. More importantly, online margins went from zero in 2002 to 21% in 2003 and 79% of online retailers were profitable. Is it too late to buy that Amazon stock?
- A British beautician has won the "world's best female inventor" award at Inpex. Paula Ward was looking for a way to keep her daughter from logging on when she was away from home. Her device, which can block broadband access and access to specific phone numbers and can be controlled remotely, was picked up by Commtel and goes on sale later this summer.
- Computer Associates has donated its Ingres database program to the open source community. Ingres has had trouble competing with market leaders Oracle and Sybase, but it's a mature and solid product that will be a valuable addition to the open source world. CA hopes improvements will flow back into the code base from open source developers.
- 20th Century Fox and Paramount are going after an online vendor who was still selling DVD Xcopy. In a lawsuit filed in New York on Friday, the movie companies accused Technology One of selling the DVD cracking program despite a court order pulling it from the shelves. A Technology One employee said, "no one told us to stop selling it." Don't get your hopes up, the link to DVD XCopy is no longer on the site.
- If you're willing to give up some personal information you may soon be able to get a fast pass through airport security. The TSA's Registered Traveller program will begin testing in late June with 10,000 volunteers. Frequent flyers who want to join the program will have to pass a detailed background examination and pay an annual fee of around $100. Once approved they'll get a card with "biometric identification" that will allow them to skip all the airport security checks except the metal detector. Wonder how long before they start auctioning these off on eBay?
- Ewww. The Spot is back. The Internet soap opera which burned bright but briefly nine years ago is back and coming to a cell phone near you. Sprint PCS will beam audio and pictures from the soap to your phone for $3.95 per month.
- For the second time in two years, an Internet unknown has won the World Series of Poker. "Fossilman" Raymer earned a seat at the table in a $150 satellite event on PokerStars.com. The patent lawyer from Connecticut won $5 million dollars and the coveted silver bracelet on Friday. The 2nd, 7th, and 9th place finishers also qualified online.
- The LA Times has an excellent article that brings home the human cost of IT outsourcing. Free registration required.
Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.