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Free ISP Model Takes Another Bashing?
A major Free ISP in the UK, Breathe.com has gone belly-up with losses of over NZ$150m.

Closer to home, local free ISP ZFree has stopped accepting new members after reaching its 250,000 target.

The Worm Wave Has Started 18 December 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

As predicted in the weekly edition of Aardvark, an onslaught of email-borne worms, trojans and viruses has started just in time for the festive season.

Just last night I detected and disabled an email carrying a copy of the Hybris Worm as it arrived in my mailbox. I doubt it will be the last nasty little package that will be received in the coming weeks.

I'd be interested in hearing from others who find similar unwanted payloads over the next few days.

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Online Shopping's Time Has Come?
Dot-com etailers have been going to the wall this year faster than most of us can keep count -- but the silly thing is that those who have been able to tread water long enough and who have their fulfillment systems sorted out are (by all reports) doing very well right now.

The Christmas rush, combined with the death of many etail wannabes has left those remaining in a good position to post some very impressive turnovers.

However, that which is etail's greatest strength can also be its greatest weakness.

By this I mean that you might as well put your mouse away now if you were planning to do some last-minute online shopping for Christmas.

Why?

Well, with less than a week to go there are only a very few online vendors that are willing to promise delivery in time for the 25th. If you want that last minute present for Aunty Maude then you're going to have to leave the keyboard and fight the crowds on the streets I'm afraid.

Which is why I'm surprised more etailers haven't woken up to the potential for selling vouchers online.

It seems that every time I visit The Warehouse (in person) you can guarantee, no matter which check-out queue I join, the person in front of me wants to buy a dozen gift vouchers for friends and family. This means the poor checkout operator is burdened with the task of typing in a whole lot of information through a keyboard not really designed for the task and then positioning and printing each and every token separately.

If you're unlucky enough to be behind such a person then you might as well swap queues there and then because I've yet to see this procedure performed in under 10 minutes -- per voucher!

So why not offer an online system where you can, at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, drop into a shop's website, fill out a form, hand over your credit card details and have your PC print out a valid gift voucher that can be redeemed as soon as the shop is open for trading again?

Come on retailers -- wake up -- start using the unique power of the Net to your advantage and to the benefit of your customers. Let's get creative!

Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
I'm still sorting out the "features" of the Aardvark Weekly mailing list so some subscribers won't have yet received the latest edition -- but I'm planning to clear the backlog today. Please be patient.

If you want to subscribe, just drop me a note and I'll put you on the list.

As always, your feedback is welcomed and...

Did you tell someone else about this website today? If not then do it now!

Latest
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AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Stacks: (CERT)

Sun advises of a potential compromise of 2 specific security certificates (CERT)

IE 5.5 hole lets hackers read files (CNet)

Bug hunter finds another hole in Microsoft IE browser CNet

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

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Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

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