Wednesday's News

All the news that's fit to rant aboutCompuServe started on this day in 1979.

  • October 14 Microsoft will close its free unsupervised MSN chat rooms. MS says it's to protect children from being targeted by pedophiles and being bombarded with pornographic messages and spam, but critics say it's purely a financial decision since paid chat rooms will continue. And, of course, there's always IRC.

  • California Governor Gray Davis signs anti-spam measure. It's the strongest in the US, allowing penalties of up to $1000 per message, $1 million per campaign, to junk emailers who don't have an existing business relationship with their victims. Both spam services and the companies advertised are liable. Individuals and ISPs can also sue.Robert Wientzen, president of the Direct Marketing Association says in the New York Times, "This is a group of politicians trying to cash in on a popular issue and will create more confusion and problems than solutions." It may be unconstitutional, too, since it's an attempt by a state to regulate interstate commerce.
  • Acacia Research shuts down Go Entertainment over the weekend claiming patent violations, sending a chill over the entire streaming media industry. "All the methods we have looked at for streaming audio and video over the Internet are covered by our patents," said Rob Berman, senior vice president and general counsel for the company. Acacia is demanding license fees from companies that stream media.
  • Meanwhile, the EU approves software patents similar to the US over strenuous objections of Linux creator Linus Torvalds.
  • HP indemnifies HP Linux users from SCO lawsuit.
  • Comcast sent letters to 1% of its users this summer saying they're using too much bandwidth, but won't say what the limits are. Cox allows 2GB per day. Road Runner 40 GB per month. Possible poll question: Should there be a limit on unlimited Internet service?
  • Apple pulls 10.2.8 update saying some Power Mac G4 users suffered Ethernet issues when they applied it. Worked great for me.
  • Report by anti-Microsoft group led by Oracle, AOL, and Sun, says that continued reliance on Microsoft Windows threatens national security. Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for network monitoring service Counterpane Internet Security and one of the paper's three authors says Microsoft is "using security technologies to extend [its] monopolies."