Did Security Dynamics get a bargain?
Security Dynamics, owner of RSA, bought Intrusion Detection, continuing the recent round of consolidations in this industry . C|net notes  that the price, $32.5M or about 3 times Intrusion Detection's 1997 earnings, was surprisingly small for a company ranked number three in a $100M market. Last month Cisco bought fourth-ranked WheelGroup for 12 times earnings. Other small players in the intrusion detection market, now possible acquisition targets, include Netect  and Secure Networks . Here is a recent overview  of the players in the market for intrusion detection software and firewalls.
First such state law on the books
On 3/25 Washington's Governor signed a bill  outlawing unwanted and deceptive email within that state. The bill allows ISPs to sue spammers to recover damages. It forbids forging a return address, hijacking another's mail server, or otherwise misrepresenting a message's point of origin -- practices employed in an estimated 80% of all spam. The law applies to anyone within the state of Washington who sends forged junk email and also bans anyone from sending such spam to Washington residents.
The Green Paper fragmented and sharpened opinions
The Electronic Freedom Foundation has registered its comments  on the Commerce Department's domain naming Green Paper. EFF weighs in from the side of radical Internet self governance. It wants the evolution of the domain naming system left completely in the hands of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and it wants NSI cut off completely from any ownership in the common property of domain namespace. The EFF urges balance for the rights of small companies and individuals against those of trademark holders.
Gordon Cook replied  to the EFF comments; suffice it to say he is not sanguine. As Phil Agre notes in introducing Cook's comments, this debate has polarized almost beyond reason.
The sun shines on 3Com, but not on Rockwell/Lucent
The March Boardwatch magazine's cover story , written by the self-titled Editor Rotundus Jack Rickard, is a characteristically rambling and bit-dense account of the magazine's program for testing modems and dial-up connection rates. Like most of the industry, Boardwatch had assumed that the competing 56K modem technologies were more or less equivalent. Beginning last December the magazine set out to determine call completion rates at a number of nationwide ISPs; 140,000-odd calls later, the results constitute an embarrassing walkover in favor of x2. The two thumbnails below link to graphics ,  (about 94K each) that encapsulate the following results:
K2flex x2 Number of calls 10,325 10,470 Avg. connect speed 30,849 43,192 % connected above 40K 6.51% 93.51%
In Java suit, Senate hearing, and Justice appeal
A cuppa cuppa cuppa cuppa cup
Sun got a boost during its JavaOne conference last week when US District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte ruled that Microsoft must stop using the Java logo in its products until the companies' lawsuit is resolved in a trial. Whyte ruled that Sun had shown a reasonable likelihood of winning its case, and that Microsoft's interpretation of the Java contract would essentially allow the Redmond company to destroy the cross-platform nature of Java.
Senate committee wants to investigate Win98
Orrin Hatch, the Senator from Novell, sent a letter  to Bill Gates stating that the Judiciary Committee will extend its antitrust investigation to include Windows 98 . The committee wants Microsoft to release its partners from any confidentiality agreements so that OEMs, ISPs, and content providers can discuss details of their Microsoft contracts with investigators.
Appeals court judge removes himself from Microsoft case
The appeals court that initially looked friendly toward Microsoft just got a little frostier. Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, took himself off the case because he oversees a trust that invests in Microsoft . He was replaced by Carter appointee Judge Patricia Wald. In the coming weeks the appeals panel will decide the fate of Special Master Lawrence Lessig, opposed by Microsoft, and review injunctions on the company's browser.
A new online store tries alternative revenue models
Release Software and @Home have launched a site, SoftwareNow , that takes advantage of @Home's fat pipes to provide downloadable software . It's available over the open Internet as well, but since it sits on @Home's high-speed backbone, downloads to @Home customers should occur at megabit rates. The store uses Release Software's  SalesAgent ESD technology, and to me its salient innovation is supporting alternative revenue models for electronically delivered software. Some software is available in a shareware-like, try-before-you-buy form. A few items can be rented by the week for prices ranging from $7 to $16. Which software is offered in which delivery model seems to depend on the vendor. For example, all 31 Microsoft titles listed are available only for snail-mail box delivery. (Microsoft is known to be working on their own online ESD store, to the ill-concealed alarm of their channel partners, so it's not surprising that they don't authorize SoftwareNow to offer their products in this way.) Here's a rough box score:
Delivery method Titles Download & buy 250+ Ship box 90+ Try before you buy 23 Rent by the week 7Note SoftwareNow's .net address . Confusingly, an unrelated shareware operation owns the name softwarenow.com.
Web-design.com puts geography first
The Net is everywhere and nowhere, so it's easy to assume that location shouldn't matter for Web workers. Perhaps this is why listings of such professionals rarely make it easy to search based on geographical location. But in fact someone hiring you to build a Web site is probably going to want to shake your hand and look you in the eye. A new database  being promoted by Premier Internet Corp. addresses this very issue -- it supports searches by state, metropolitan area, and country. Web-design.com is just getting started. Some of the links don't work yet -- Help, for example -- and when I visited yesterday it listed a total of six designers in California. But if the site attracts a good collection of listings it will provide a needed service.
If you're a Web designer, go and add yourself to Web-design.com's database. It only takes a minute. The site mails you a password so you can edit your entry later.
A couple of words of advice to the site's creators: lose the pervasive drop shadows, they make me blink and squint. Don't force the output into Helvetica/Ariel mouse type, let me choose the font and size in my browser. Finally, replace the dubiously useful "skills" listing with a space for designers to list the URLs of sites they have created.
A maze of twisty items, all a little different
Y2K, the Euro, and D10K
The April Wired lists the Millenium bug, a.k.a. Y2K, as "Tired," while the changeover to the Euro  is "Wired." Now a third software glitch looms as the Dow Jones industrial average looks ready to run out of room in four digits.
From Edupage, 1998-03-26:
Mozilla dot party
On 4/1 the Open Source community is invited to a party  in Multimedia Gulch , San Francisco, to celebrate the release of Netscape Communicator source code. This is no April Fools joke, it just happens that Communicator is being freed the day before. Netscape is not supporting the party -- sounds like the lawyers got involved -- it's the sole doing of Netscape employee Jamie Zawinski , who toils on the mozilla.org side of the house.
Who ya gonna call (Drive Savers)
Pray you never need the services of this outfit , which specializes in recovering bits from nightmarishly damaged disks. My favorite story from the museum  is the PowerBook that spent several days at the bottom of the Amazon River before Drive Savers recovered 100% of its data.
Zip code optional
TBTF for 1997-03-21  noted that elements 104 to 109 had been added officially to the periodic table after long disputes over what to call them. A note forwarded by Peter Langston <psl at langston dot com> indicates that that announcement was premature. The March 1998 issue of the publication of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers says that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry had officially named the six elements only in September of last year. AIChE Extra (great name, that) quotes Discover magazine on the unique distinction held by Glenn Seaborg, still a researcher at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Berkeley Labs:
TBTF home and archive at http://www.tbtf.com/ . To subscribe send the message "subscribe" to email@example.com. TBTF is Copyright 1994-1998 by Keith Dawson, <dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com>. Com- mercial use prohibited. For non-commercial purposes please forward, post, and link as you see fit. _______________________________________________ Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.