Wednesday in Bill Gates's America

All the news that's fit to rant aboutSome big anniversaries in today's Tech News... Netscape turns 10 today. According to the original press release, the browser was "optimized to run smoothly over 14.4 kilobit/second modems."

And OpenOffice.org turns four today.

  1. Microsoft has released 10 new security fixes - seven of them critical. Run Windows Update kids. One of the patches fixes the JPEG patch released last month because it didn't work on machines with Office XP. Surprise!
  2. But Bill Gates isn't moping over the miscue. His date for the Windows XP Media Center 2005 roll-out on Tuesday was Queen Latifah. Gates said, "Today, the dream of digital entertainment becomes a reality." Today? Really? Wow. When asked "what about Apple?" in an interview with USA Today, Gates said, "We have a more ambitious view of software than they do." I believe that's true. When asked about the holes in Internet Explorer Gates said, "Understand those are cases where you are downloading third-party software."
  3. The Funner worm is spreading itself using MSN Messenger. It spreads itself as a file named funny.exe, modifies the registry, changes the Hosts file, then sends itself to entries in the host machine's Messenger buddy list. It's not just fun, it's Funner.
  4. PayPal's technical issues are mostly resolved. The electronic payment service was up and down all weekend and early this week due to an upgrade that went awry.
  5. Motorola is adding credit card capabilities to its newest phones. You'll be able to pass the phone over a reader in stores and restaurants to pay for goods. A password is required to authorize the transaction. The company is currently testing the technology in 100 phones and will expand the tests nationwide by the end of the year. Nokia has been testing PayPass in its phones since May 2003.
  6. But wait. Who needs a phone? The FDA has approved the implantation of VeriChips in humans. The RFID chips are the size of a grain of rice and can contain a patient's medical records. Or, as in the case of some Spanish club hoppers, credit card information to speed the purchase of drinks and food.
  7. Virgin announced a 5GB MP3 player to compete with the iPod Tuesday. The $249 player weighs 3.1 ounces and supports MP3 and WMA formats.
  8. Dell's new Axim X50v PDA also plays MP3 and WMA files on its 624Mhz processor, runs PocketPC 2003SE and supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The $499 handheld comes with 64MB of RAM, 128MB of flash, a 480x640 display, and CF and SD slots. This thing is more powerful than my first dozen computers.
  9. Maui X-Stream has announced Cherry OS, a Mac OS X emulator for Windows. The $49 program claims to run Panther on a PC. I find this very hard to believe, but I'm not willing to waste $50 to find out. If it is true, the authors will be shut down before you read this. In order to emulate a Mac you'd have to copy a considerable amount of proprietary Apple software and firmware. It seems highly unlikely that a lone programmer in Hawai'i could reverse engineer such a significant amount of code.

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