Be on the wave or under it
The News – 04/25/02
Bits & Pieces
(The Broadband Content Wars series will continue
in a future SNS)
Here are a few interesting items that have piled up here at
- InfoWar in the Middle East: Israel
has been under an escaleated hacker attack over the past month.
According to mi2g,
Israel’s Internet domain, .il, has seen the most web defacements
over the past three years, suffering 548 of the 1,295 attacks
in the Middle East. In first two weeks of April, the domain
has suffered about two-thirds of the significant web defacements
in the Middle East.
CyberCrime Alerts List
Crash a Classical Gas:
Some chiphead at Award, a leading maker of computer BIOS (Basic
Input Output System) chips for computers, definitely had a
sense of humor. Because of his or her brainstorm, you may
be alarmed one day by your computer suddenly developing an
appreciation for the finer things and playing Beethoven. A
Microsoft TechNet write up explains it all:
normal operation or in Safe mode, your computer may play ‘Fur
Elise’ or ‘It's a Small, Small World’ seemingly at random. This
is an indication sent to the PC speaker from the computer's
BIOS that the CPU fan is failing or has failed, or that the
power supply voltages have drifted out of tolerance. This is
a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed
by Award/Unicore from 1997 on.
The wags at Silicon.com,
where I happened upon this item add: “Suggestion for Mr B Gates:
Could the blue screen of death be replaced by the stately sounds
of the Funeral March?”
- Stop the Spam: Tired of junk mail,
both physical and virtual? Reduce.org has some tips for reducing
both, and links to sites you can use to get off marketers’
lists. You can start by getting a 30-day reprieve from those
ubiquitous, annoying “wireless video cam” ads: X10. And they say
Web advertising doesn’t work. You know exactly the ads I’m
talking about, and you can probably quote the price of the
- No Longer Free to Yahoo! The online
portal this week discontinued its free email forwarding and
POP3 services, planning on charging users $29.99 a year for
these services. This decision comes at a time when users with
Yahoo or HotMail accounts are being closed
out from some online services due to the high proportion
of abuse coming from free accounts and the difficulty in determining
users’ identities. The Yahoos are probably worried about a
e-mail scam that promised free video-game consoles but instead
delivered a connection to a pornographic Web site that charged
$3.99 per minute. In a (probably) unrelated move, Yahoo is
on charging $1.99 a minute for phone support. I wonder if
their customer service people are naked?
- Style vs. Substance: I recently came
upon this very interesting article written in January by Jason
Pontin, editor of Red Herring. It draws parallels between
Carly Fiorina of HP and Jeffrey Skilling, former Enron CEO.
Pontin accuses both, and most of modern technology marketers,
as being empty suits, more concerned with the “message” of
their company than with the company’s business. It’s an interesting
Your 20, Good Buddy?
services (LBS) form one of the major waves of the wireless
future. Due to the FCC’s E911 mandate, which requires wireless
network operators to be able to locate a cell phone with
a high degree of accuracy in an emergency, US wireless networks
have been quite interested in developing the technology
to determine a cell user’s location. Sprint became the first
US wireless network to roll out E911-compliant services
late last year.
However, the marketing side of this technology is more well-developed
in Europe and Asia. For example, in Switzerland, wireless
has been using GSM-based
cell ID technology since December 2000 (!) to provide such
LBS services as guides to points of interest (POI), friend
finders, and reports about weather, traffic, sport and other
areas. Orange uses the wonderfully-named Webraska
Platform. Webraska recently merged with AirFlash and, disappointingly,
has headquarters in Silicon, not Silicorn, Valley and in
To use Orange’s LBS services, the user must first place
a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) call and select the
service from a menu. The caller is first localized at a
town level, then selects from a list of nearby streets to
narrow his or her location down. Finally, the user selects
a means of transport to the desired destination. The phone
then displays turn-by-turn navigation instructions.
In June 2001, the Orange POI database had about 60,000 entries,
including transportation facilities, shopping, entertainment,
cultural institutions, dining, lodging, sport facilities,
exhibition centers, universities, and car dealerships. Preliminary
data indicates that the vast majority of LBS users request
information while driving rather than when walking. The
most common services requested were routing, point of interest
information, and restaurant locations.
Orange is planning on offering customization services, a
search engine, and index capabilities in the future.
Pulver Location Based Services Report
- Spafford Speaks: Noted security expert
Gene Spafford (a mainstay
of the StratVantage Security Resources directory for years)
was interviewed recently by PKIForum.com. When asked what
the biggest challenge in information security today is, Spafford
replied: “If it had to be a single challenge, from a societal
point of view, it would be getting the everyday user who knows
very little about how computers work and what security means
and what the risks are to embrace and use good
technology and techniques to protect their systems.” It’s
an interview well worth reading.
- More Trouble for 3G: As if it wasn't
enough that wireless network operators are going to face competition
from 802.11b ad hoc networks for data services, now Cahners
In-Stat/MDR predicts that Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN)
could rival VoIP as an alternative to cell phones.
The analyst firm estimates shipments of VoWLAN handsets
of 80,000 in 2002, up from 20,000 shipments in 2001. Demand
will be driven by vertical markets such as education, healthcare,
retail and logistics. Eventually, In-Stat/MDR predicts voice
over 802.11 handsets shipments will climb to 500,000 units
by 2006. How do you suppose you pronounce VoWLAN? Vow-LAN?
- Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: CTOMentor
has just released a new wireless white paper, the first in
The Wireless Future series: You Can Take It With
You: Business Applications of Personal Wireless Devices.
This first paper in the series is free; others that will be
available for a nominal fee will include:
- Islands Make the Net: Wireless Networking
and the Evolving Mesh
- Taking Your Business On the Road: The
Car As Wireless Office
- Standards, Standards Everywhere: A Business
Guide to Wireless Standards
- M-Commerce: Are We There Yet?
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mobile
Location-Based Wireless Services
- The Wireless Last Mile: Fixed Wireless
- Beyond Keyboards, Beyond Wires: Voice
Activated Wireless Services
- Information, Entertainment, and Access
At Your Fingertips: Interactive Wireless Information Services
These white papers will be released over the coming months.
To be notified when a new white paper is released, send an
or check www.CTOMentor.com/wireless/.
You also may want to check out the article I wrote on Instant
Messaging in the latest issue of the TaylorHarkins Insights
to Action newsletter.
Return to Mike’s
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