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High-speed surfing and other letters

By DAVE GUSSOW,

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 13, 1999


"Should Web surfers have to pay twice for high-speed connections?" Since you made this a headline (July 26), it deserves answers. Mine is clearly yes. If some people still want the old-style America Online service content, why should other cable users subsidize that even indirectly?

The debate about whether to require cable companies to open their wires to other Internet service providers hasn't calmed down since our July story. Since then, San Francisco decided not to require access, though it left open the possibility of reviewing it later. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission repeated his stance that the commission won't review its policies on the issue, and the FCC also objected to regulation by local governments.

This came from a good source . . . We have been informed of a new virus -- Wobbler. It will arrive on e-mail titled California . . .

While it has been an active year for viruses, this particular one is a hoax. One to watch for -- and this is plenty of warning -- is called W32/Kriz.3862. It is designed to damage Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT machines on Christmas Day. Some anti-virus softwaremakers have produced fixes for it.

However, those will do no good if users ignore the threat of viruses. And, if some recent conversations are an indication, I expect to get phone calls in late December asking, "What should I do?" For example, one recent caller thought his machine had a virus and said he had anti-virus software. When did he install it? 1997. Had he updated it? No. That left him defenseless against more current viruses.

I received e-mails from people who have fallen for schemes from people claiming to have sick children: For every e-mail forwarded, 7 cents will be donated to a hospital or disease center . . . It is sad, to say the least, that people are exploiting real-life problems.

Yes, it is. The Internet knows no bounds when it comes to hoaxes. No matter how many warnings are issued, people fall for this stuff regularly. Here a few Web sites to check if you wonder whether something is a hoax: www.nonprofit.net/hoax/hoax.html, www.kumite.com/myths and ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html.

You don't have to buy a program to get your time from the Atomic Clock time server in Boulder, Colo. Just go to www.bldrdoc.gov/timefreq/javaclck.htm. It provides a program you can download to adjust your computer's clock to be coordinated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is all free!

Thanks for the tip. The reader was referring to an item in Solutions (Aug. 9) that mentioned www.atomictime.com as one possibility for keeping a computer's clock updated.

The article Getting High on Low Tech (July 5) was in error. IBM, Smith Corona and Brother still manufacture typewriters.

IBM typewriters are available -- but they are not made by IBM. Lexmark, which IBM sold years ago, retains the rights to produce IBM typewriters, according to information from IBM. The story said Smith Corona makes electronic typewriters and didn't mention Brother.

-- Readers can send questions, comments and suggestions to techtimes@sptimes.com, or to P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Comments may be edited and paraphrased for clarity and space.

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