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HTMLfixIT Archive for February, 2005




Sunday, February 27th, 2005 by Don

Mrs. Obrien suspected her husband was cheating, so she installed Spector, a spyware program that monitors activity on your own computer. She is alleged to have caught Mr. Obrien in intimate conversations with women using on-line chat rooms. However, the Court ruled that the evidence she gathered was an electronic communications protected by the anti-wiretab statute as explained here in an ABA story. The article seems to suggest that employers could not use information gathered via monitoring of a companies’ employees. I think the difference is that the employees have consented in advance to the monitoring as a condition of employment and the equipment is typically fully owned by the employer. I don’t think the O’brien v O’brien case means nearly as much as is suggested.

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Saturday, February 26th, 2005 by Franki

In a nice boost for the popular Open Source programming language PHP, the gigantic IBM have joined Forces with Zend Technologies Ltd to embed IBM’s Open Source Cloudscape database system into a combined web dev platform that will be called “PHP Core”. The apparent goal of this is to create more enterprise interest in PHP, (and probably to detract from enterprise interest in C# and .NET). PHP is already used on millions of web sites, (including this one) and provides developers with an easy method of adding dynamic content to their sites. Read more here.

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Saturday, February 26th, 2005 by Franki

Microsoft has confirmed suspicions that it was targeting WINE (recursive acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator). WINE is a compatibility layer that tricks Windows applications into thinking they are running on Windows when in fact they are running on Linux or Unix. In their new Windows update tool, Microsoft specifically looks for the presence of WINE elements and generates an error message if it finds them. They (Microsoft) may be within their rights to block access to Windows updates to machines not running Windows, but if they start blocking people from other updates, (like MS Office) then it is likely to become an issue of sorts in the community. The WINE folks don’t seem miffed at all, in fact looking at their site, it gives the impression that they are happy about it because it shows that Microsoft views them as a threat. Read the full story here.

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Saturday, February 26th, 2005 by Don

And people said Microsoft didn’t care about virus issues? The technology used to fight spam is being explored as a logical model to attack the AIDS virus. Nebojsa Jojic, a University of Illinois scholar who has been involved in Microsoft Research for some time says that the patterns exhibited by the AIDS virus in some ways mimic the messages carried via spam. You can only change the pattern so much before it becomes ineffective. This may be the real story of Microsoft fighting viruses.

If the research is successful, it can be expanded to other illnesses. According to Microsoft Research pages, “Laboratory tests began this month on vaccine models developed using these Microsoft Research-aided approaches. The tests are the first step in what could be years of additional research and trials to determine the effectiveness of these models and determine if they could be used to develop vaccines for hepatitis C and other mutating viruses.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has more on the issue in a recent article.

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Saturday, February 26th, 2005 by Franki

For those of you that always just click “I ACCEPT” when it comes to your Windows and other Microsoft software license agreements, here is the low tech and somewhat humorous explanation of what you’re missing. Strangely enough, it is actually pretty close to the mark terminology aside, because he doesn’t appear to have said anything that is strictly incorrect. Good for a laugh and might cause some to actually read their End User License Agreement (EULA) in the future (and if you find doing that humorous, then you should join Law school immediately.)

While on the subjects of humour and Microsoft licensing, this little cartoon from userfriendly.org goes into the Microsoft spyware license that gives you a maximum of 5 whole dollars if your system gets trashed.

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Friday, February 25th, 2005 by Franki

Mozilla have released an updated version of their Firefox web browser (1.0.1) to change their support for IDN (International Domain Names) after a flaw was found in all existing browser implementations of IDN. The updated Firefox can be downloaded here. IDN will no doubt be re-enabled once the standard implementation is fixed. I doubt that 99% of the population will even notice the IDN issue. Basically the updated Firefox will display the “punycode” in the status bar, so that the paypal phish shown at above link would appear in the status bar as http://www.pаypal.com/ which should indicate to everyone that the URL is bogus.

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Friday, February 25th, 2005 by Don

The Britich Government has launched what appears to be a very sophomoric site in an effort to help people stay ahead of the bad guys propogating viruses and spyware. It suggests for example that you keep your Windows Operating System up to date. It doesn’t suggest basic things like, use Firefox, Thunderbird, Mac or Linux Operating Systems, etc. I would expect a high school class trying to assemble a site of this nature to have done a more complete job of it.

It promises in the future that it will help avoid virus threats to computers, mobile phones, white goods (like fridges, etc. that can be controlled by remote — can’t you see it, a whole country with ruined Christmas dinners because of a rogue virus turning up the temp on the ovens?). Anyway, I hope it develops, but it appears to us to be a weak effort, probably designed to get someone’s tail off the firing line because they can claim they are working on the problem.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   March 27, 2017, 3:26 pm
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