Techno Babble

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Not as many articles this week due to two reasons. The first, work's been busy. The second, I go onto a bit of a rant.

Spam

To quote the Microsoft Hotmail site...


"How can MSN Hotmail protect me from e-mail viruses?"

"Whenever you receive attachments to e-mail messages, Hotmail will automatically scan them with McAfee VirusScan before downloading them. With Hotmail, you can also have your files scanned before you attach them to outgoing e-mail. Before you upload a file to send to someone, the file will be scanned for viruses before you send it, which reduces the spread of viruses to Hotmail users and other recipients of your e-mail."

"To ensure safety, we recommend that you never open attachments or Web site links from unknown sources."


Er... wrong. The Post Office email system has been down recently as some of you may well be aware. The reason for this was that someone, who shall remain name/blameless for the moment sent a virus through to shazz's email account there. Now, as has been stated before we don't particularly like spam email, let alone ones with viruses attached. This week we received two junk emails and one virus. Thank you to all those idiots who think spam email is a good idea.

In the past we have named and shamed as it were, companies who send spam email out to us. The @h2g2post email addresses we use are only listed within the h2g2 site, we don't use them for anything else. But still we get spam.

The House Rules say...


"Be careful with including email addresses, instant messaging numbers and the like in contributions, and please do not include anyone else's personal details. You may include your own personal email address or instant messaging number in Postings (providing it is acceptable, ie not vulgar or offensive), but please be aware that you are potentially opening yourself up to a lot of email, and possibly spam email too, and you should be absolutely sure that you want people to be able to contact you like this. We recommend you set up a new email account specifically for people to contact you on..."


Okay, so, set up a separate email account for the spam to go to? Don't worry, I'm not taking a pop at the House Rules here, in general I think that they are more than fair to us, and often things get let slide. But surely though, rather than saying, "it's your own problem if our site gets trawled", it would be better to stop it happening?


How hard would it be to stop spiders trawling h2g2? As hard as a not very hard thing. There is such a thing around as URL Encoding, this basically means that all special characters are converted into a string of letters and numbers that don't interfere with coding. Now, with GuideML it would be quite easy to set it up so that all email addresses have the "@" symbol converted into "%40". Clicking on a %40 mailto link would still send the email to the right person, but it would stop the spiders trawling the Guide. Fair enough I hear you say, but it doesn't look very nice does it? I mean, reading say, greg.dyke%40bbc.co.uk isn't as pleasant as reading, [email protected] I agree, it's not. But, what if you were to replace the visual part, the %40 ith an @ smilie? Not only would this process stop us all getting junk email, and viruses, but it would add that niche little twist that h2g2 has grown to embody. So, how about it? Can we have an @ smilie please?

UK Broadband


According to Oftel, the people who are supposed to be watching over the telecommunications industry in England, the number of people signing up for broadband internet access has doubled since the end of last year. Whoopee, if you happen to be near a BT exchange or in an area covered by cable. Not everyone is, I can't get cable. Heck, I can't even get the dire Channel 5 television station. So, here I am stuck with four tv channels and a slow internet connection, but it's okay because the number of broadband users has doubled since last year. I wonder why? Look at areas like Wales where £100 million is being pushed into getting the country broadband enabled.Wales is an area of outstanding scenic beauty. The people who live there can be some of the nicest you'll ever meet. They know each other and are friendly. Why? Because there's bugger all else to do in most parts of Wales. These are the sorts of places that need broadband internet, to bring a sort of social lifeline to rural areas, and being rural areas, these are the sorts of places that aren't likely to be offered broadband, except Wales of course where the local governments realise this and are forking out some cash to help set it up. Why do the cable and telephone companies continuously target cities and large towns with broadband? I mean, in those places you have a choice of what to do of an evening after work. You come in around 5.30pm, because you only work ten minutes walk, or twenty minutes drive away from your house. You sit down to dinner in front of the mindless pap on the television and then you can decide which of the dozens of pubs, clubs, bars, coffee shops, cinemas or whatever you'd like to visit that evening. By half seven you're on your way out the door and by half eight you're sat chatting with your friends. Compare that to the country and small towns; you get in from work around 7.30pm because your work is about thirty to forty miles away, if you're lucky. The mindless entertainment is over and the news programmes and intellectual stuff, soap operas aside, is on the four channels of telly that you can get. So, what to do of an evening? Well, there may be the local pub down the road, for local people, or, er... there's a cinema an hours drive away back in the town where you work or, um, you could always rent a video on your way home from work? The option of logging on and waiting for internet pages to download isn't the most appealing.


So why do cable companies target the cities? Because that involves laying down less cable per house hold. Regardless of the fact that only 6 percent of home internet users use broadband. The other 94% can't see the point in paying out extra when there're other things to do nearby. So come on cable companies, go for the captive audience. Broadband signup might suddenly jump from 6% to the 94%.

Browsers

Mozilla have finally got their v1.0 browser out. The nightly releases and the milestones that have been coming out during the development period have been superb, so good in fact that Netscape6 is just a Mozilla Milestone14 release with a new skin over the top. So, rush over everyone, download it and check it out.

There's only one small(ish) problem... h2g2 doesn't like it. Constant Proxy Errors do not a pleasant browsing experience make.

But do get it as we'll be featuring it's nick nacks more later.

Forward Thinking


Thumbs up to the Norwegian government. This week they've got rid of their contract with the megacorp. Why did they do this? Because they've suddenly all become Linux freaks? Maybe perhaps they've decided that they wanted to save a bit of money? Er... no. Actually they say they've done it because they felt the contract gave Microsoft a monopoly when they should really be facing competition. Yeah Free Enterprise! But this is from the government that only last month started fining ISPs because of the content that people using the hosted newsgroups shared.

Bring Back The Ludites!


I never thought I'd be mentioning this company here, but... Apple have decided to start charging for its' iTools. These have up until now been free and if you sign up before September 30th you'll only have to pay $49.95, instead of the $100 they're looking to charge.


Pastey


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