1. Jailbirds remember porridge online
They did the crime, they did the time, now they're going online. Cons and ex-cons are revisiting the days they spent counting the days. Convicts Reunited is an online gathering place for those who want to catch up with their peers from the pokey. It was the "time" of their lives after all! The site was originally set up as a joke -- a spoof of all those high school and college reunion sites. But some 3,000 people signed up! Source: The Register
A town in Australia reeked of revenge thanks to a foul-fingered hacker. He was so mad that he didn't get a job at a sewage treatment plant, to say he raised a stink would be an "understinkment." He hacked the plant's computer system, and the you-know-what really hit the fan. And a river. And a park. And a hotel. This guy programmed the plant to flush millions of liters of raw sewage into the area, wasting fish and plants and challenging the gag reflexes of everyone in the stench zone. The hacker is now getting a whiff of justice; he'll spend two years in jail for turning his grudge to sludge. Source: The Register 3. Pope says geeks shall inherit the earth
The geeks shall inherit the earth? Despite the fact that Pope John Paul doesn't surf, not even to download his favorite Gregorian chants from MP3, he is giving some props to the digital age. The pontiff plans to dedicate his message for World Communications Day to the Internet. That day is a ways away, not until May 12, 2002. This isn't the first nod the Net has gotten from the Vatican -- the Web was blessed earlier this year with a pair of patron saints. Source: vnunet 4. Mini computer points way to the pub
Now here's an intoxicating idea -- a computer that curbs crawl time. Computer geeks at Bristol University in the U.K. have brewed up a computer that shows the shortest way to the pub. Ale swillers wear it like a watch. A global positioning satellite helps point the way to the Tanqueray. More importantly, the pub finder also tells pint pounders the quickest way to stumble home. The people who made the computer eventually want to create a "cyber-jacket" that will guide tourists around cities. Source: vnunet 5. Hacker claims Web worm meant to combat sexism
Is this what the Spice Girls meant by "girl power"? A 17-year-old Dutch girl, who claims to have bred the "Sharpei" worm to nip Microsoft's .NET Web services platform, said she did it to show that women can write viruses too. She told security firm Sophos that she didn't want the worm to do any damage, but she did want it to spread a message -- that cyberspace isn't just a man's world. I am woman, hear me hack? Source: Reuters 6. Audit reveals true nature of "work" e-mail
Personal e-mail at work? Egads! Inquiring minds at a security software company wanted to know just how much of that work e-mail is related to work. According to research from Peapod, which stuck its nose into British businesses, 54% of e-mails going through corporate gateways are personal, 7% are pornographic and slightly more than 1% are the kinds of e-mails that could get a company in trouble with the law. So the next time you're on the clock and forward elf bowling to a mate in Manchester, remember, you're in the majority! Source: vnunet 7. From ABBA to IT?
If you're still associating Sweden with ABBA, Volvo, pancake piles, Pippi Longstocking, pornography and Ann-Margret's birthplace, get with the times! Sweden's leadin'! This slice of Scandinavia is where IT's at, according to IDC. Researchers say Sweden has the best information economy on earth. The top ranking is based on the nation's killer IT infrastructure, sweet educational systems, smart nurturing of IT business growth, cheap and widely-available broadband service, and Net-savvy citizenry. Maybe ABBA should remix one of their old hits to celebrate -- call it "Dancing Geek." Norway iced the number two spot, Switzerland peaked at number three, the U.S. was fourth and Denmark fifth. Source: InformationWeek 8. Spam week cooks up old memories
Spam. You don't have to remind the 2,000 members of Britain's Spam fan club that it was in the lunchbox long before the inbox. Yes, fan club. They're celebrating National Spam Week this week, reveling in the maligned "meat's" glory days -- days when you'd gladly eat it, not gladly delete it. To them and many Britons, Spam inspires nostalgia instead of nausea -- not only did many a British school kid grow up eating Spam, but the little can of processed protein also helped fell the Third Reich by fueling Allied troops and sustaining civilians. It also made one heckuva hilarious Monty Python skit. Spam was reborn in 1994 as a name for junk e-mail, but fans of the cans hope the meaty memories will keep forever. Source: Reuters 9. Websense warns against "March Madness"
Party pooper alert! Websense, a company that gets paid to make offices run more efficiently, estimates that March Madness (aka the NCAA basketball tournament) will cost U.S. companies more than $500 million in lost productivity. Evidently the time employees spend checking hoops scores and updating their brackets is time they could be scoring for the company. Websense is telling its customers to beware of the tourney and the possibility that illegal betting could be going on between the cubicles. The office, after all, is no place for fun! Source: InternetNews 10. Brit farmer's pie in the sty idea
A dirty new Web-based reality show shows lots of skin. Its boorish "players" love to squeal, roll in the hay and dig up the dirt. Orwell's "Animal Farm" meets "Voyeur Dorm" with a dash of swine "Real World" for "Pig Brother." A British farmer has set up Webcams all over the sty so you can observe the lives of his five young boars and sows. You could say he has put the "live" in "livestock." No privacy here -- you get to see it all. (Just be glad you can't smell it all.) Sounds silly, but the site's profits go to support farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in England and Wales. O Pig Brother, where art thou? Click over to http://www.pigbrother.co.uk/. Source: Wired