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This is the TBTF Log, the place where I report important breaking news in the most timely way possible.

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Saturday, July 22, 2000

7/22/2000 6:22:46 PM

  • ePrompter does the job. Longtime TBTF reader Craig McAllister has developed a near-perfect little utility that simplifies handling multiple email accounts. ePrompter unobtrusively notifies you of arriving mail in up to eight accounts. Use it to watch spam accumulate in your convenience Hotmail, AOL, and Yahoo mailboxes. ePrompter does not transmit any personal information back to home base, a refreshing policy in an era of rampant adbots and spyware. ePrompter runs on Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000. Its download is a slim 574K and installation and setup are foolproof.

Thursday, July 20, 2000

7/20/2000 7:58:42 AM

  • Frankenglowenmice. Last fall the Green Party of New Zealand protested the introduction into that country of glowing transgenic mice for laboratory experimentation. News about the bright rodents has been around for a while, but I've missed it completely. (Here it is in my hometown paper from 1997, and Google finds 128 relevant links.) Now Brian Tew passes the story along after a mention on the TV program The Hollywood Squares.

    Mice with firefly genes have been designed to light up selectively in response to certain conditions such as the presence of a particular antigen. It's the mice with jellyfish genes that will be of compelling interest to cats everywhere: under untraviolet light they glow from every cell.

    By now Bertha's Kitty Boutique must surely stock minature untraviolet miner's helmets with cutouts for your cat's ears.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

7/19/2000 6:39:52 PM

  • The CARROT and the STIC. What happens to the direct-target-marketing crowd when privacy fears really kick in and Americans begin to choke off the flood of personal data? This satire at SegFault had me rolling on the floor laughing and scaring the cats.

    "You no establish date of birth, we establish date of death, capiche?" -- STIC executive member Tony "The Tiger" Tetrazzini

    "We've gone to great lengths to accommodate that small but vocal minority of the American public which wants both personal privacy and freedom from grievous bodily harm."

    However, critics allege that the STIC opt-out provisions unfairly exclude those without access to electron microscopes and sophisticated atom-manipulation technology.

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

7/18/2000 1:08:35 PM

  • Get your NY Times bestseller lists a week early. The Times is now publishing their best-seller lists a week in advance on the Web. The list you read in the Sunday Times is two weeks old, and now the Web editions will be available only a week behind the calendar.

    As expected, this week (on the Web, or next week in print) the Times adds a children's bestseller list. Guess which book is number 1 there. That was pretty easy. Guess which four books are numbers 1 - 4. Um hmm.

Monday, July 17, 2000

7/17/2000 8:22:32 AM

  • ICANN votes for new top-level domains. In its Yokahama meeting, ICANN voted unanimously to add new top-level domains. All details beyond that single fact are left to be determined at a future time. No-one can now say how many new gTLDs will be created, what they will be, what policies might apply to their use, or how trademark issues will be addressed. Most outlets have chosen to run wire copy on this thin story -- Wired (Reuters), CNET (AP), NY Times (Bloomberg). According to the ICANN plan, applications (along with a $50,000 fee) will be accepted for new top-level domains in August. ICANN will choose some number of them and make them available by year's end.

    Perhaps this long-overdue move can forestall the fate recently parodied in the Motley Fool:

    Internet company Network Solutions announced today that the Internet is virtually out of available URLs... After an extensive search the company discovered that only five remained. They are
    • www.GrannySmellBad.com
    • www.12X23R-R7A.com
    • www.ButterButterButterButterFrog.com
    • www.VikingsWhoLikeLindaRonstadt.com
    • www.ArmpitPachinko.com

Sunday, July 16, 2000

7/16/2000 6:41:20 PM

  • Text messaging in modern warfare. Philippine guerrillas are sending insults to their opponents via SMS, using the address books of captured cellphones. The US Marines who played loud rock-n-roll at Gen. Noreiga are looking positively grown-up by comparison.

7/16/2000 12:58:49 PM

  • Magnetoresistive microscope may recover erased data. This story from Science News describes work by NIST in Colorado Springs on a new technique for recovering magnetic data. The device was designed in cooperation with the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board. The researchers hope it will find applications in forensics and in accident investigations. The article hints that the National Archive may try it out on the infamous Nixon tape with the 18-minute gap.

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