It's snowing in Toronto, so I'm staying indoors and doing the news. Today is a day that will live in infamy. Pearl Harbor was bombed on this day in 1941. The Model A was discontinued in 1931. Happy birthday Noam Chomsky, Tom Waits, and Larry Bird.
- A study released Monday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that musicians do not see online file sharing as a threat to their livelihood. According to the study, "artists and musicians are more likely to say that the Internet has made it possible for them to make more money from their art than they are to say it has made it harder to protect their work from piracy or unlawful use." Nor do most musicians agree with the RIAA's tactics. Around half still think it should be illegal, however.
- Lycos Europe has dropped its plans to use an anti-spam screen saver to launch denial of service attacks against accused spammers. Lycos's Make Love Not Spam screen saver was taken offline on Friday. There's apparently no law against launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the UK.
- The Pennsylvania Attorney General has sued two men for advertising an online diploma mill. The two allegedly sent out spam offering graduate degrees in less than 72 hours. Among the recipients, a cat who got an MBA. The men face only civil penalties, not jail time.
- MessageLabs says online phishing scams have increased tenfold this year. The company has intercepted 20 million phony emails so far this year.
- A German online ad firm, Adtech, says Internet Explorer users are four times more likely to click on banner ads than Firefox users. This is based on actual clickthrough on the 1,000 European sites that use Adtech. I hear Firefox users are better looking too.
- Another German study says computers hinder learning. Researchers at the University of Munich studied 175,000 15-year-old students and found that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among those who had more than one computer at home.
- Former President Bill Clinton is helping to boost a Chinese-owned web search engine, saying "I hope you all make lots of money." The service, Accoona (from the Swahili phrase "accoona matata" meaning "no worries") claims to use artificial intelligence to improve search results. When I did a search for "Bill Clinton" on the site it came up with a page of paid placements (after a long minute) including an anti-Clinton site. Worse than that, the second unpaid result was for a site selling Saint Clinton memorabilia. Hey Google, no worries!
- According to insiders, IBM is close to inking the deal to sell its PC business to the Chinese owned Lenovo Group, formerly known as Legend Computers. The $1-2 billion deal is expected to be announced tomorrow morning. The IBM brand would be retained for at least a few years. IBM would continue to sell its corporate servers. The PC business pulls in $10 billion in revenue but only breaks even.
- Apple shared jumped yesterday on rumors the company will announce an inexpensive flash-based iPod at MacWorld in January.
- Phew. Ken Jennings has found a job. The Jeopardy champion who lasted a record 75 games will become a spokesmodel for Microsoft's Encarta encylopedia. Jennings (whom a Microsoft spokesman called "Jenkins" in a press interview) will embark on a "Quiz The Whiz" tour where reporters will be asked to challenge him with questions culled from Encarta. Here's a piece of trivia: Jennings answered 2,700 questions on his way to winning $2.5 million dollars.
Listen in Tuesday at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.