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Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

MSN Desktop

MSN held a massive telephone news conference earlier this week to announce its version of a desktop search application. Like Google desktop, MSN’s offering spiders and indexes various files found on your computer’s hard-drive such as Word documents, Acrobat files, PowerPoint presentations, and spreadsheets. Unlike Google Desktop, this program catalogs a wider variety of files such as Email attachments, photos, music, and even software packages. Read more…

Google is still down in many areas, one hour after we first noticed.  Oddly enough, some folks in our region (Pacific North West) can see Google while most can not.  We have also received reports from the Eastern Seaboard (USA) stating that some in Virginia can see Google while most others can’t.

The BBC website states that the cause of this outage is a varient on the My Doom virus.  We’ll continue monitoring and will post information as it comes in.

As of 10:15AM, Pacific Time, Google appears to be down.  We have tried visiting several of the International Google domains such as .CA, .CO.UK, and .DE but, when we try to run a search we get a page reading “Server Error”.  This has gone on for the past 20 minutes.

Apple Computers CEO Steve Jobs has scooped rival Bill Gates for the umpteenth time in their parallel careers. Yesterday, Jobs unleashed TIGER, the new Apple O/S. Tiger’s main feature, aside from providing an operating environment is SEARCH. Helping users find documents, email, and websites on their hard drives, intranets and the greater Internet, Tiger seems to have taken the important pages from the MS engineers’ notebooks. For anyone who has seen the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley“, this seems to be a bit of ironic justice. Sometimes I wish I was a MAC user.

Six months after coming into effect, the US Can-SPAM act is being called a failure. Montreal based Email security firm Vircom says that of the 547,685 email messages it has examined since January 2004 when the law went into effect, only 71 or 0.013% of them conformed with the law. “It is apparent from these results that spammers are not worried about any potential legal action,” said Marc Chouinard, head of Vircom’s Spam Buster Team. “If a business relies on legislation to handle the spam problem, they are pretty much out of luck,” Vircom spam expert Michael Gaudette said in a statement. Read more…

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Old News is Good News

British history students and researchers will be pleased to find their favourite 19th century newspapers are being scanned and put online by the British Library in a £2,000,000 project. The Library has set a goal of putting over 1Million pages from the last century of news publishing online within 18-months. Currently anyone wishing to see this material has to visit the Newspaper Library in North London.

Once online, the Newspaper Library will provide access to articles written by icons of English literature including works by Charles Dickens, W.M. Thackeray, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

This collection is particularly important as the time period spans several social eras, including England’s transition from being an agricultural economy to a modern, industrial economy. Anyone interested in England’s history and by extension our own should look forward to the completion of this site.

The following article is sourced from Canada’s most prominent newspaper The Globe & Mail. This article can be found in its original format in the Technology section here. Read more…

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

One Royal Pain in the ATM

“I swear to you, it must have been a computer error! The money is in my account.”…

How many times do you get to hear that old line in a year? If you are a landlord, collections agent, or bill collector, chances are you hear it nearly as often as a school teacher hears, “I swear the dog ate it…” Read more…

Google announced the development of a desktop based search tool that sounds an awful lot like the plans for Microsoft’s new operating system Longhorn. Due to be released in early-mid 2006, the Longhorn operating system is said to fully integrate search with the O/S, making any file your computer has ever accessed a searchable document. These files would include items from your hard drive, corporate Intranet and the common Internet. The idea behind the move was to a) create a better operating system that allows users to find information from a far greater range of documents, and b) to take large amounts of market share away from other (non-MS) search tools. Google is trying to counter this threat by introducing its own desktop based system that will have similar features to those found in Longhorn. According to today’s technology section of the New York Times which broke this story, the new software is being code named “Puffin”. (subscription to NYTimes required) As Google made this announcement this morning, there has (thus far) been no response from Microsoft.

We couldn’t let this one go past without sharing it. Apparently, the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia has experienced three weeks that could have come from a Stephen King novel. Their cyber-appliances such as refrigerators, toasters and televisions have been mysteriously exploding, for no reason whatsoever. If the explosions were isolated incidents or had only happened in one home, there might be an explanation for the things that go boom in the night, however, twelve houses have been ravaged by fire and the entire town has been evacuated. Read more…