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Lighten Up 13 October 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Another week has passed and it's time once again to look at the weird, wacky and funnier side of the Net.

Microsoft's Linux Distribution
Can it be true? Is Microsoft preparing to launch its own Linux distribution late next year? Can pigs really fly?

Scott's Privy Page
This page proves that some people really ought to get a life. Check out what these dudes do in their spare time -- and always look before you sit perhaps?

A Potato-Powered Web Server
Yes folks, it's true! An environmentally friendly webserver that runs on spuds. How a-peeling! Powered by a new kind of computer chip perhaps?

Readers Say
I've tried to use - Graeme

Problems - yes - Peter

I live in Stokes Valley - Ian

Pizza Hutt - Dave

Have Your Say
Judge Judy Wouldn't Approve Of This
I've had a couple of complaints from people who have encountered hassles when using the online ordering service offered by Pizza Hut.

One reader emailed me and said:

"I ordered some pizzas online - gave them my card details and clicked order.

They brought it out 25 minutes later and asked me for some money!

I said " I've ordered on your site and given my card details and I'm not going to again".

I had 2 choices - pay them cash or cheque or give the pizzas back."

What's going on -- is their secure-server clogged with stringy cheese or something?

If you've had a similar experience, please let me know and I'll see if I can get to the bottom of it.

Idiots Force Closure Of NZ Herald Forums
Long-term readers of Aardvark will remember that I used to have an interactive forums area here in which many of the issues highlighted in this column were discussed.

While the overall quality of the discussions was high, a small group of childish idiots regularly repeatedly used this area to annoy others by launching personal attacks and firing insults. Following a wave of complaints by other users I was forced to shut down the service.

Well it seems that something similar has happened over at the NZ Herald.

Attempts to access the NZ Herald Forums now produces a page which explains the situation.

It just goes to show that the Net is just like the real-world. There are always a few idiots willing to spoil a good thing for everyone else :-(

Millionaire UK Inventor Agrees That R&D Is The Key
James Dyson, is the inventor of the bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner and when he spoke to meetings of local business-people and on several TV interviews this week he made almost exactly the same reference to Kiwis and number 8 fencing wire that I used in my draft paper several days earlier. (Great minds think alike? :-)

Now Dyson isn't just someone talking through a hole in his head -- he's a man who has, within a few short years, stolen 30% of a billion dollar market by turning "a good idea" into an outstanding commercial success. His success is an excellent example of why we should be working hard to create an active and highly effective R&D infrastructure in this country.

Let's hope his words haven't fallen on deaf ears.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

Security Alerts
Bug hunter finds another hole in Microsoft IE browser CNet

Microsoft issues new patch for Windows 2000 Telnet security hole (Computerworld)

Windows ME Bugged by Flaw (Wired)

Microsoft adjusts sign-on feature to patch Windows 2000 (CNet)

Word documents susceptible to "Web bug" infestation (CNet)

Trojan horse rears its head on Palms (CNet)

Virus Alerts
UBS warns of new virus (CNN)

Killer Virus Streaming Near You (InternetNews)

'Pokey' virus hits U.S. (CNN)

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The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Telecom jumps at hint of non-regulation
Telecom presented a positive face to shareholders at its annual meeting yesterday but admitted to being unhappy with its share price...
NZ Herald

4  Retailers Warned Of On-line Rush
Australian and New Zealand retailers have been warned to prepare for a rush of on-line sales over the Christmas holiday period and to deliver on time or face lost business and a damaged reputation...

4  Small businesses leaping on Internet
Growth in the number of New Zealand small businesses using the Internet continues apace, according to research company ACNielsen...


4  Warning on internet overload
With the internet fast becoming the centrepiece of economic activity worldwide, an international study by the US-based National Research Council has sounded the alert...

4  Digital Tunes Spin Out of Control
Digital music companies are feeling the financial crunch, forcing layoffs and closings. Yet entrepreneurs continue to fight the good fight...

4  World's Toughest Code Cracked
Swedish computer scientists win a $15,000 prize by solving a challenge issued in the bestseller The Code Book....

4  HP to spend $1 billion on Net access for poor
Hewlett-Packard said it will start programs to bring Internet access to the rural poor in developing countries and will set aside $1 billion in products and services next year to help the effort...

4  Big Four Mobile Makers Form Security Pact
German electronics giant Siemens AG has joined an alliance of the world's three biggest mobile-phone makers to develop secure mobile electronic transactions, the parties said on Wednesday...


4  Ten positions for digital TV and Internet
The third-ranked commercial television network is pumping funds into new media to catch up to its main rivals...

4  Giants fall in Great Tech Wreck II
MASS selling of US new economy giants has sparked falls in local technology stocks to fresh 12-month lows in what is being billed as the second Great Tech Wreck of 2000...
Australian IT

4  Inquiry puts Telstra sell-off on hold
THE full sale of Telstra has been put on hold by the National Party after the federal Government's own inquiry into telephone services found rural and remote Australia could not get an adequate basic phone service, affordable mobile phone coverage or reliable internet access...
Australian IT

4  'Racist' Web site sparks free speech debate
The freedom of speech debate is hotting up downunder, with an Australian-based Web site being told to take down racist, offensive material relating to the Holocaust...


4  Sex Sites Teach Mainstream Web Shops
The dress code and business cards in the adult entertainment industry may be tacky, but Internet start-ups should not be put off by appearances and pay close attention to lessons learned by porn Web sites...

4  Boo's Coming Back, But in Name Only
Just as many European e-commerce companies start looking ever sicklier, Boo.com, the most spectacular fatality to date, is coming back to life....

4  Sony adds bite (and camera) to robo dog
The ERS-210 has a camera in its nose, recognizes commands, and displays emotions -- at a lower price tag than its parent, Aibo...

4  Media World Spells Doom for Video, Music on Web
Video and music on the Internet are spreading like wildfire, but entrepreneurs with plans for Internet media should not expect any funding for the next few years, bankers and analysts said on Thursday...

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request