More Junkmail from Bob!

Thursday, February 15, 2001
Important Stuff.

Last week I sent out the Junkmail and our DNS servers went down shortly afterward, so you may have had trouble seeing the pictures the next morning. If so, try again and they should work OK. Unless you were looking at a text version, in which I forgot to include"" before the picture name. If that's the case, you can go to and see them now. Surely you don't expect quality here, do you?

Napster News

It's surprising to me to see Napster in the national news. It doesn't seem important enough. But I guess if several million people do anything controversial, it will get in the news. Napster is still up and running though. I just downloaded Woody Guthrie's "House of the Rising Sun" to make sure. It's really awful.

When and if Napster shuts down, I think freenet or gnutella or something that doesn't require a server for searching will take its place.

They're taking this Napster stuff seriously in Belgium. Brussels police have raided the homes of Napster users. The prosecutors say that this is not so severe because the people have been warned about copyright violations.

Here are the details:

Here are two outlaws in Brussels:


The statue in the background is the Jubelpark Arch, erected in 1880 for Belgium's 50 years of independence. I'm hoping they don't have it copyrighted.

One-Click is Intuitively Obvious

In October '99 I was ranting and raving about Amazon's stupid one-click patent (, as I am prone to do on occasion. Finally, now that Amazon is having some financial difficulties, an appeals court decided that Barnes and Noble can go ahead and use one-click shopping until the trial is over. The trial starts in September. This means that Amazon will probably lose the trial.

It adds insult to injury, since Amazon announced laying off about 1300 people a couple of weeks ago. I don't think the patent business will help or hurt Amazon that much.,1367,41824,00.html

NEARly Eros

The NEAR Spacecraft survived the crash landing on the asteroid Eros the day before yesterday. Here's its last picture. It took the picture at the altitude of 120 meters before smashing into the asteroid at the blinding speed of 5 mph. The bottom of the picture is messed up because it stopped transmitting when it hit the ground. Or the rock. NASA is still in communication with NEAR, and they're going to spend a week or two to grab all the data they can from NEAR from its permanent resting place. Well, it will rest there for a lot of years anyway.


Here's the NEAR Picture of the Day gallery.


Windows XP is coming. It stands for "Experience." I think that means that anybody who successfully installs it will have a lot of computer experience before they're done.  Windows XP is based on the Windows NT/2000 operating system. It's more reliable, according to Microsoft. I think by that they mean it will crash an application that runs amok through memory instead of crashing the computer. I expect it will have some incompatibilities with older applications -- more than Windows ME does.

Microsoft Office XP is coming too. It's the next version of Office 2000. I'm still using Office 97 because I don't like a lot of the Office 2000 changes. Maybe I'll go back to DOS...

Windows XP is supposed to be simple. I haven't looked at it, but in their simplification, Microsoft will probably have my computer doing a lot of things I didn't ask for and don't want.

Microsoft announced a bug in Windows 98 and Windows ME that lets people access your password lists and then your computer if you have sharing turned on for your hard drive. I didn't read all the details on this, so I might have some of that wrong. At any rate, you can install a patch for it at the Windows Update site.

I just bought a PCMCIA "datawriter" that lets me download GPS aviation data (for a fee, of course) and copy it to the GPS data card. It wouldn't work. When I ran it it just said demo mode. I called them (Jeppessen) today and asked what I was doing wrong. They said it doesn't work with Windows ME or Windows 2000, and they don't expect and update any time soon. I guess Windows XP is out of the question. Aviation companies are generally not the first to adopt new technology.

So rather than uninstalling WinME and reinstalling Win98 on my notebook PC, I thought I'd get a USB PCMCIA adapter for my desktop. I had the foresight to ask if this was compatible. It's not. I think Jeppessen needs some education in programming standards. Maybe their new owner Boeing can straighten them out.

Word Economic Forum

In celebration of world economics, some people broke into a computer and copied the registration data and credit card numbers of the people who attended the World Economic Conference in Switzerland. The computer crackers were "spurred on by the violence directed against peaceful protestors who attempted to voice their concerns in the town of Davos during the forum.",1283,41760,00.html


Now HERE are some serious crystals. These were found in a cave in Mexico. They're hoping to make a tourist attraction out of it. If not, they'll probably mine and sell the crystals.



Anna Kournikova

In the Netherlands, a 20-year old guy downloaded a virus kit and wrote a worm. It was the Anna Kournikova worm that hit email servers all over the world on Monday. He was just messing around.

Tuesday night in an email he said, "I never dreamed it would spread so fast. It only took me one minute to write it. When I started seeing the news reports about how fast it was spreading all I could think was Oh GOD!! So many infections? How could this happen?"

Today he turned himself in to the Dutch police. He said, ""I regret writing that virus!!! That's why I turned myself in. I'm sure I will never write/spread a virus again.",1282,41817,00.html

You'd think that a company that wrote the software that allows a simple worm program like this to create widespread havoc (like Microsoft, for example) might be at least partially at fault.

eTown Local Zero

Etown made the news in December when they customer service staff tried to unionize. This was significant because U.S. labor union membership is down to a new low, and it would be good for labor if they made inroads into the high-tech sector.

Etown laid off a couple of dozen people in December, about 22% of their employees. The Northern California Media Workers Guild said Etown "illegally tampered with the employees' unionization attempts by retaliating with the job cuts."

I think Etown has done some more "tampering." As of yesterday there are no more employees at Etown. They closed down.

Pictures of Today

There's really only one picture of today. It's gray, from this afternoon.


For weather contrast, here are a couple of pictures from White Sands (either national monument or missile range, I'm not sure which) a few years ago.

       IMG0022.jpg     IMG0023.jpg

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I'm Bob Webster and I live at most of the time.