Ring in the New Year with a new PC
you didn't buy a computer during the Christmas shopping season,
you are in good company, according to news reports on holiday shopping
to recent reports, computer sales for Christmas 2002 were only a
fraction better than they were in 2001, which was considered as
a "down" year on its own.
shoppers who bought PCs this year were bought on the both ends of
the equipment spectrum: top-end, maxed-out computer systems and
budget-priced entry-level machines were the only ones that moved
off retailers' shelves.
a less-than-spectacular holiday sales season, this might be the
time to pick up a deal on a new PC as retailers unload unsold inventory.
course, as with any PC purchase, I recommend buyers first determine
what they plan to do with the computer. If you want to edit video
and play graphics-intensive games, you will likely be disappointed
with a low-end, budget-priced PC. But if you're interested mostly
in surfing the Web and sending e-mail, a budget-priced PC will fit
the saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait,"
and that can also apply to post-Christmas computer shopping. Retailers
often discount their existing models when new models arrive. The
secret is keeping close tabs on the clearance tags, and buying the
PC you want before someone else snaps it up.
point to remember is that nearly all PCs can be easily upgraded,
especially when it comes to adding or upgrading the hard drive or
CD-ROM drives. Aftermarket hard drives and CD-ROMs come as a kit
with software and simple step-by-step instructions. I've already
upgraded my hard drive in my home PC twice since I built it two
years ago, and its not as difficult as you might think. If you don't
want to tinker with your PC, you can always add an external hard
drive or CD-ROM or DVD if you need them.
GAME. A federal judge in New York has ordered the Domain Registry
of America to stop targeting customers of Internet registrar Register.com
with its mailings and implying that the two companies are affiliated.
year, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Domain Registry of America (DROA)
sent mailings to individuals with Internet domain names that had
been registered with Register.com and were coming due soon for renewal.
first glance, the DROA mailing appears to be a legitimate domain
renewal notice, even warning domain holders "failure to renew
your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of
your online identity." Like Register.com, DROA is a legitimate
devil, of course, is in the details. A sentence tucked in the top
portion of the "bill" mentioned the notice was not an
actual bill. "This notice is not a bill, rather an easy means
of payment should you decide to register or renew your domain(s)
that disclaimer, the DROA mailing was effective -- in its complaint
in federal court, Register.com said thousands of its domain registry
customers were duped into renewing their domains and switching to
DROA as their registrar. In addition to the federal injunction,
Register.com is seeking monetary damages.
close to falling for the DROA's carefully crafted mailing. I received
several DROA domain renewal reminders, and it wasn't until I checked
my records that I realized the company wasn't the one with whom
I had registered my domain. After re-reading the notice it became
clear that DROA was targeting soon-to-expire domains in the hopes
of prompting them to switch.
judge in the case agreed with my conclusions.
her injunction, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald found DROA's
methods "neither accidental nor innocuous, but calculated and
intended to confuse and mislead consumers."
it pays to read -- and re-read -- anything that appears to be a
new "bill" that arrives in your mail from an unknown company.
SPAM. If those junk e-mail messages cluttering your In-box every
day are a pain, take solace in the fact you aren't alone. Junk e-mail
-- also known as "spam" -- is on the rise and will continue
to do so, experts predict.
to a recent study, spam has a considerable financial impact on corporations.
The study by California-based market researcher Ferris Research
reports that 15 to 20 percent of all e-mail messages sent to corporate
organizations is spam.
annual cost to U.S. business who must deal with spam in their e-mail
networks is estimated at a staggering $9 billion. Lost productivity
accounts for an estimated $4 billion of the total. The balance is
attributable to hardware, bandwidth and support costs.
corporate cost of spam in Europe is smaller -- $2.5 billion -- but
the report noted that there is no indication the torrent of junk
e-mail is going to decrease in the future.
cost of spam eventually filters down to all of us as just another
cost of doing business. Don't be surprised to see Congress consider
legislation this year that could curb the flood of spam.
TURNS 20, WE THINK. This year marks the 20th anniversary of
the protocol that made the Internet possible: TCP/IP.
which stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol,
was implemented on Jan. 1, 1983. It was developed to replace the
older NCP protocol.
new protocol was created to handle the ever-growing network of computers
that was then known as ARPANET. ARPANET was begun 1969 as a Department
of Defense project to build a computer network that could withstand
a nuclear attack. As the network grew in the 1970s, the non-military
portion of ARPANET was splintered off. It continued to grow as computers
at universities, research institutions and defense contractors were
connected together. Due to the limitations of NCP, a new protocol
was necessary to allow the network to continue to grow; this led
to the development of TCP/IP.
Cerf, the man who is credited with co-designing the TCP/IP protocol
with Robert Kahn, has said the new protocol was "designed to
be future-proof and run on any communication system."
switch created quite a bit of controversy among users, and it had
to be forced on some who resisted the change. Fewer than 1,000 computers
were networked when TCP/IP was implemented in 1983. Today, the number
of computers that make up the Internet number in the millions --
proof, in my view, that Cerf and Kahn met their goal with TCP/IP.