Congress Finds Rare Unity in Spam, to a Point: At a time when lawmakers are sharply divided on everything from Arctic oil drilling to Medicare drug benefits, spam has emerged as a powerful bipartisan issue. [...] In this case, spam frustrates everyone - Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural residents alike. Lawmakers themselves are consumers with overflowing in-boxes. Crises also cut across partisan politics. Spam, the consensus says, has reached a crisis point - consuming an estimated 40 percent of all e-mail traffic. Technology solutions have not been a panacea. As a result, various other business interest groups (with the exception of the spammers themselves) that might normally defend the free play of market forces have converged in support of some kind of federal regulation. Technology companies, which traditionally eschew intervention from Washington, now fear the economic potential of the Internet will drown in the vast volumes of spam. Microsoft, America Online, Earthlink, eBay and Yahoo have rallied behind a fairly stringent Senate antispam bill sponsored by Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, and Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. And even the marketers have repositioned themselves.
How do I know who you are?: If your eyes move too fast, or are damaged, forget it. If you've got an extra finger, forget it. And being bald could turn you invisible. People are the problem for the new biometrics that governments are under pressure to use as global security systems get tougher.
MSNBOT - The Bot From Redmond Anonymous Source on MSNBot: MSN Search is currently the #3 search engine by queries worldwide. It's also the most profitable unit at Microsoft by headcount (they have less than 50 people and did $150 million in profit last year). MSNBOT - The MSN Search Prototype Web Crawler MSN search bot a glimpse of ambitions: In preparation for unveiling its own algorithmic search engine, Microsoft's MSN has quietly launched software that will index Web sites, a move that raises questions about MSN's relationship with Yahoo subsidiary Inktomi.
Robots without a cause: Thanks to the newest wonders of technology we can get robots to do our vacuuming, transmit pictures on our mobile phones and unlock our cars (and adjust their seats) merely by touching them. In the face of this wizardry, Stuart Jeffries has only one question: why? [...] "I like to call it a Faustian bargain," says Neil Postman, professor of media ecology at New York University. "This means that for every advantage that a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage. The disadvantage may exceed in importance the advantage, or the advantage may well be worth the cost. Think of the automobile, which, for all its obvious advantages, has poisoned our air, choked our cities and degraded the beauty of our natural landscape." You don't have to be a neo-Luddite to be queasy about the current tenor of technological innovation. You only have to ask yourself: "Do I need that?" or "Will this make me happier?" about a new gadget. And very often you'll find that the answer is no.
EU Improves Software Patent, But Outlaws Amazon One Click: A European Parliament committee Tuesday moved toward setting the first pan-European standard for software patents, but outlawed the U.S. practice of patenting "business methods," such as Amazon.com Inc.'s one-click Internet shopping.