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Life On the Net in 2004 9 April 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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It's 6:30am some day in 2004.

The alarm goes and you rise from your bed to face the day's challenges.

After a quick shower and breakfast you wander over to your PC and check to see if any email has arrived overnight.

Hmm... 231 new emails but your filters say that 217 of those are likely to be spam. Even though they've been dropped into another folder you'll still have to wade through them to make sure that you don't miss an important message that might have been accidentally sidetracked by the less-than-perfect software.

Damn, it looks as if you've also received 5 new virus/trojan attachments as well and one of them was 20MB in size -- that's another $4 on your DSL bill.

Aardvark's Web-site Survey Service
If you're launching a new website, upgrading an existing one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then maybe you need an Aardvark Site Survey. Read more...

Suddenly a pop-up dialog box appears advising you that there are 2 new Windows Security updates that should be downloaded, totalling some 60MB in size (another $12 worth of traffic).

You just know that downloading these updates will require you to reboot your PC and you're in a hurry so you hit the "cancel" button and fire up your web-browser to check the latest news headlines.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Be careful... - Dominic
  • Computing in 2004... - Kez
  • damn that's scary!... - Chris
  • The Internet of 2004... - James
  • Have Your Say

    Within seconds, the PC's desktop comes alive with pop-up flashing, animated advertising banners -- but you're used to this highly intrusive advertising by now.

    Another dialog box pops up, this time warning you that the license for your copy of Windows XP2004 is due to expire in 10 days. It reminds you that should you fail to renew your license (another $199) then your PC may no longer boot.

    Fond memories of the days when there were alternatives to Microsoft's OS pass through your mind -- but that was before the government realised that software was like petrol -- a totally essential commodity in the lives of most businesses and individuals. Legislation was passed in 2003 that required all software developers and vendors to be licensed and a 45% tax added to all sales. Of course, much to Microsoft's glee, this killed the Open Source movement since being an unlicensed software supplier risks a stiff fine or even a jail term and those licenses are incredibly expensive.

    You type in "cnn.com" then enter the ID and password associated with your monthly subscription. Remember when there were hundreds of sites offering the latest news for free? Not any more. Sure, there still a few, but they're regularly hit with law suits by the big names who allege breach of copyright. Although such suits are inevitably dismissed -- the cost of defending them means that the independent news sites usually only last a few months at most.

    Flicking the remote beside you kicks your digital music player into action and you marvel that 95% of its computing power is dedicated to the sophisticated digital rights management system it contains.

    Following an unsuccessful attempt to copy-protect CDs, the recording industry forced everyone to a new mini-CD format that has yet to be cracked (although there are rumours that some Russians have succeeded). You just can't buy music on CDs anymore and the old CDR/RW media now costs $10 a disk, thanks to the $9 anti-piracy levy that was introduced in 2003.

    Another warning appears -- "Your license for this recording has expired, unable to play." Damn -- another $49 if you want to listen to that music for another year. You wonder, if as they claim, these new measures significantly reduce piracy, why music is now so much more expensive?

    You type up a quick email to a friend, inviting them to meet you for lunch. Of course you're very careful not to use the words "bomb" and "aeroplane" in the same message for fear of attracting the attention of the new anti-terrorism police. After all, every single bit that enters and leaves your PC is now scanned by the authorities -- under the premise that it is in the interests of (inter)national security and crime reduction.

    It's funny how they can supposedly detect even an unfriendly tone in an email but they can't (or won't) stop the endless tide of spam isn't it?

    Suddenly your PC's screen clears and the image of a naked woman in a seductive pose appears. Oh no, more porno-hacks. Maybe you should have downloaded those latest security patches after all.

    For a moment a smile crosses your face -- you're thinking of the "good old days" when the Internet was a much simpler, saner, safer place.

    Then you return to reality with the realisation that it's just 7:05am and you've already spent $264.

    Have your say.

    Aardvark's Garage Sale
    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export oriented) market. I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing "waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.

    Anyone interested in any of these things should drop me a line.

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    Security Alerts
    Two new "critical" bugs patched in IE (ZDNet - 01/04/2002)

    Second Java hole poses Windows risk (CNet - 20/03/2002)

    Microsoft offers patch for Java software (CNet - 06/03/2002)

    CERT Warns of Flaws In RADIUS Implementations (InternetNews - 6/03/2002)

    Webmasters Urged To Plug PHP Security Hole NewsBytes - 27/02/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    'Bill Clinton' Worm Gets Around (NewsBytes - 22/03/2002)

    Gibe worm poses as a Microsoft update (ZDNet - 6/03/2002)

    German worm makes PCs kaput (The Reg - 20/02/2002)

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