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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Quick Bytes

Gannett News Service

Up next: Disposable cellular telephones

Hop-On Wireless' disposable cell phones will cost about $30.

Gannett News Service

Cell phones are going the route of the diaper, the cigarette lighter and, more recently, the camera, which is to say into the trash once they're spent.

Two companies plan to hit retail shelves nationwide soon with disposable cell phones, promising to put the convenience of mobile calling into the hands of consumers who might not be able to afford traditional cellular service, or who want the safety of a cell phone for vacations and other outings without having to commit to a plan.

Starting next month, Hop-On Wireless, of Garden Grove, Calif., plans to start selling its red, white and blue disposable cell phone for a suggested retail price of about $30. The company plans to make them available through some of the nation's leading retailers, including Kmart, Target and 7-Eleven.

FBI, industry focus on online security

The FBI is joining forces with the computer industry and other government agencies to fortify cybersecurity.

Earlier this month, it announced a Web site offering software fixes and tips for businesses to avoid the 20 worst computer threats, from the Nimda worm to the Melissa virus.

In addition, the FBI said it is putting basic computer security pointers for consumers on the National Infrastructure Protection Center's Web site.

Tips include using updated anti-virus software and being suspicious of e-mail attachments.

"We're trying to educate ... users without confusing them,'' said Alan Paller, research director at the SANS (System Administration, Networking and Security) Institute, which is working with the government on the project.

Recent Internet worms and viruses have taken advantage of well-known vulnerabilities of computers. But businesses and consumers are reluctant to download software fixes, security experts say.

The site, aimed at businesses, offers information and software for Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems.

Sept. 11 attacks being archived

We watched the Sept. 11 attacks on TV. Many of us turned to the Internet to react and understand. Now, just a month after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, we can already reflect.

Two sister Internet projects —backed by respected institutions, including the Library of Congress — launched Web sites this month designed to archive coverage of and reaction to the attacks. One carries TV footage. The other holds copies of Web sites. Both are still in development and continue to look to the Internet community for help.

The Television Archive, a nonprofit collaboration of several groups, holds videos of broadcasts from Sept. 11 through 18, from 20 channels around the world, said Internet pioneer Brewster Kahle, who is overseeing both projects.

Downloads and 'streams'

MusicNet is the recording industry's answer to Napster.

Gannett News Service

MusicNet subscribers will get access to a certain number of downloads and instant-playing "streams,'' 100 of each in the preview.

As is usual with Net audio, downloaded songs, which reside on your hard drive, sound better than streams, which play (and sometimes stutter) as they move across the Net. The streams also take about 30 seconds to get up and running, having to go through a background process of "acquiring a license'' before playing.

MusicNet is sending its streams at a lower-quality 64 kilobits per second (kbps) rate, compared with 128 kbps and above at free radio sites such as Launch and MSN Music. That's fine for slow-speed modem users, but less than ideal for those with faster connections. Downloaded songs can't be transferred to portable players or burned to CDs, and the music expires at the end of the month unless you renew your subscription.