Monday's Persiflage

All the news that's fit to rant aboutGood morning! Fall Comdex opens in Las Vegas today to a much reduced crowd of 50,000, down from 200,000 three years ago. The Leonid meteor shower is tonight, but don't expect last year's fireworks.

Famous stripper Mobius was born on this day in 1790. President Nixon said "I am not a crook" in 1970.

  1. Bill Gates kicked off Comdex with his 20th yearly keynote last night. "Security continues to be a top priority for Microsoft," he says. He demonstrated security improvements that will ship with XP service pack 2 later this year, saying Microsoft plans to "shift the tide" on security and spam. Looking ahead, the goal for Microsoft is seamless computing. "The changes users will see in the technology they use will be gradual, but the difference between the computing experience of today and the experiences that will be possible a few years from now will be like night and day" with Longhorn, the next version of Windows, at the center, of course. He pointed out that Microsoft spend $6.8 billion dollars on R&D this year, and denied that they had ever had acquisition talks with Google. This years Gates/Ballmer video production featured the duo as Morpheus and Neo, with Gates offering Ballmer an "integrated innovation pill."
  2. The SEC has charged three former Gateway execs with fraud for cooking the books to meet analysts expectations in 2000. The management team was replaced in 2001 and the company restated the fraudulent results.
  3. H&R Block has filed a lawsuit against an unknown "John Doe" for defamatory statements on a Yahoo message board. The company believes the poster is an employee. This isn't the first time Block has subpoenaed Yahoo for the names of its users. In 2000 the company obtained the names of nine posters. In some cases the courts have upheld the free speech rights of anonymous posters on message boards, but in at least one case last year, a California court held that such postings were "commercial speech" and not protected.
  4. Both Qwest and Cablevision are launching voice over IP (VoIP) service. Qwest's Minnesota offering will be the first ever from a Baby Bell. Cablevision will be offering the service to its 1 million New York City customers.
  5. A Federal judge in Illinois has ruled that the DMCA doesn't protect garage door openers from being reverse engineered. But Best Buy is attempting to use the law to prevent Fat Wallet from posting its Thanksgiving sale prices.
  6. Garry Kasparov has evened the score in the man vs. machine chess championship. The fourth and final game is tomorrow.