More Junkmail from Bob!

Sunday, April 30, 2000
Important Stuff.

The Department of Justice wants Microsoft to be broken up into a systems software company and an applications software company. Judge Jackson is likely to go along with it. The appeals could go either way, but I'm guessing the Microsoft has the edge there. However, The DoJ (not related to DoS) wants a bunch of restrictions in how Microsoft conducts business during the appeal. If this goes through, it will really change the way Microsoft does business. I think Microsoft will still be very successful, no matter what the government does to them. Here are some details. is a company that has lots of music free to download, legitimately. They went public last July, and the stock hit a high of over a hundred dollars. Now the stock is at $4.625. A judge named Jed ruled against them in a big way for a new service they started in January. lets you have immediate access to MP3 versions of commercial music as long as you own the CD. They have a library of thousands of popular songs, and you can download the MP3 files to your computer provided you have purchased the CD. figured since you've already paid for the music, you should be able to use it any way you want. The problem is that you might give your MP3 files to a friend, thereby sending thousands of rock stars to the poorhouse. I'm not real clear on what makes this so much worse than copying a cassette tape and giving that to a friend. Now it's even easy to copy songs from one CD to a new one using a relatively cheap CDR drive.

But the music industry sued the heck out of 'em anyway. Judge Jed sided with the music industry. He issued a summary judgement against Friday. He sided completely with the music industry, specifically BMG Entertainment, Sony Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Elektra Entertainment Group, Capitol Records, and Arista Records.

It's a good web site to find free music, but I don't see how can make a lot of money at it. But then, some dot-com stocks don't intend to make money. They are kind of like pyramid schemes, always looking for a bigger fool to buy the stock from the previous level of investors.

A long time ago in a land without the internet and Windows,  there were a couple of shareware programs called pak and unpak. They were used to compress and decompress files. Then a company sued the author for patent violation. A guy from Milwaukee named Phil Katz rewrote them to avoid the offending algorithms. He called his new programs pkzip and pkunzip. These shareware programs gained popularity with modems and bulletin board systems (BBS), and eventually zip files became the de facto standard for file compression on MSDOS and Windows systems.

Phil Katz was successful financially, but he had other problems. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Authorities obtained a search warrant in 1997 after Katz's Mequon neighbors complained about odors, insects and mice at his luxury condominium. Authorities said they found knee-deep garbage and decaying food at the condo. Katz's lawyers paid the city of Mequon about $8,000 for the cost of the cleanup, pest exterminators and legal fees."

He also drank too much. I use the past tense here, because he died a couple of weeks ago from "complications from acute alcoholism." He was found dead in a motel room holding a bottle, with 5 other empty bottles in the room. I think that's a pretty sad story.

You can buy a Gulfstream V, one of the most advanced business jets in the world, for a mere $40,000,000. The Larry, head of Oracle Corporation, the richest man in the world after Bill's stock went down, gets in trouble for flying his Gulfstream V in and out of San Jose at night. But if you live in Europe, you can't buy a Gulfstream V, even if you have 40 million dollars. Three years after FAA certification, the FAA's European counterpart has not certified it. They said it will be a few years.

There's a fairly major security problem with the Eudora email program. Rumors that Judge Penfield will require this security hole to be added to Outlook 2000 might not be true. Here are some details on the Eudora security hole.

I'm in Nunavut. Find THAT one in your atlas. Temperature is around -15 degrees C. Latitude is around 63 degrees N.

This is Iqaluit, formerly Frobisher Bay. The airport is on the right.


Here are a couple of pictures of the bay, frozen, with some islands. People "skidoo" (snowmobile) all over:



More cold places:



On the way up here, I flew UNDER the aurora borealis -- the northern lights. I saw them in the distance, thinking it was a big cloud bank. When we got a little closer, it was pretty obvious what they were. They move! There was a big arc across the sky, and we ended up going right under it. Afterward we could look back to the SOUTH and see northern lights. It was my first time to see them. Here's what the northern lights look like taken with a Canon S10 digital camera:

But they were really there -- I promise!

Today's picture is an airplane and a boat:


I took this yesterday over Lake Michigan.

There are thousands of message boards scattered around the internet. Some of the more popular ones are the stock message boards. Yahoo has a separate message board about most stocks, including Learn2. People frequently argue about whether a company is good or bad, who in management should be fired, and whether the stock will go up or down. It's a little bit like people arguing about whether a football team is good, who in the coaching staff should be fired, and whether the team will have a winning season.

Like sports arguments, people get wound up discussing their favorite company, and this sometimes leads to confrontations. It's pretty comical to read, but it gets pretty boring fast. Someone told me that I was in the message board, with a poster claiming that Yahoo traced a message criticizing someone to me through an IP address. No, it's not true, it wasn't me, but it raises the questions of whether you CAN be traced on an anonymous message board.

The short answer is yes, but it's not likely without a search warrant. Every computer on the internet has a unique IP address, something like This is necessary for information to be routed to and from the proper place. However, this is not something like a phone number that can be readily traced, at least not at the moment.

If you dial in to the internet, your Internet Service Provider assigns you a new IP address every time you dial in. So if someone wanted to find out who an email or message came from, based on an IP address, they would have to read through your Internet Service Provider's logs to match the logon name, time, and IP address. This presents a problem because many ISP's don't save that information. Then whoever is tracing has to match up the login name with the sender's real name, which also requires ISP cooperation. Since this information is private, ISP's will almost always refuse to give it out without a search warrant lest they be sued.

If you are connected to the internet on a DSL or a network, you may or may not have a permanent IP address. Usually it's different each time you boot your computer. If someone wanted to trace this, they could only trace it to the group of IP addresses assigned to your location. To determine who exactly sent the message, email, or data of interest, they would have to access some data from your computer or from your network.

So you are mostly private when you use the internet. Although law enforcement agencies can track you down through your IP address, this requires some time and effort.

There are some Internet Service Providers that do not keep records of what person owns what login name. To trace you on one of these systems requires sophisticated telephone tracing equipment. By coincidence, the U.S. government is trying to have a lot of money added to the budget to provide this equipment to the phone companies.

There is also a web site called You can go here and access other web sites on the internet. When you access a web site through, it changes your IP address to a meaningless IP address making it pretty much unfeasible to track you down. This is free for non-secure web sites, but there's a monthly fee to use anonymizer with secure sites like or

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