• United States
by Staff Writers

In brief: Let the court battle begin

Sep 01, 20035 mins
Enterprise Applications

Also: Teen arrested on virus charge; IBM expands monitor recall; Microsoft offers free Exchange support; Earthlink files suit against spam rings; and more

  • As expected, some service providers are suing the FCC over its Triennial Review order issued two weeks ago. The order sets competition rules that pertain to how the four regional Bell operating companies share their networks with competitors at discounted rates. Verizon and the United States Telecom Association, which represents local telephone companies, separately filed suits against the FCC claiming the commission’s ruling is illegal. The USTA suit is backed by BellSouth, Qwest and SBC. The group’s suit claims the FCC “ignored existing law.”

  • U.S. cyberinvestigators arrested a Minnesota man Friday on charges of unleashing a damaging virus-like infection weeks ago on the Internet, an Associated Press report said. The court in Minnesota identified the teenager as Jeffrey Lee Parson, 18, known online as “teekid.” A U.S. official in Washington, D.C., also confirmed an arrest was made early Friday. Collectively, different versions of the virus-like worm, alternately called “LovSan” or “Blaster,” snarled corporate networks worldwide. Investigators do not suspect the man was the creator of the original Blaster worm. That person has not yet been found, the source said.

  • U.S. phone companies could be forced to protect the coral if the state of Florida adopts rules this week governing how and where they lay fiber cables under the sea. The lines carry telephone and Internet traffic between Florida and Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, but environmentalists say the cables destroy the coral. According to the Reuters news service, Florida’s cabinet is scheduled to examine a proposal to ban undersea cables in some places or to make phone companies drill under the seabed in others rather than lay phone lines over coral reefs. The North American Submarine Cable Association, which includes AT&T and MCI, has played down the effect of cables on coral reefs and say they already incur extra charges for drilling under coral when possible and for installing artificial reef structures where needed. Other states, such as California, are looking at similar rules.

  • IBM is expanding an earlier recall of 15-inch computer monitors after 63,000 more were found to be at risk of overheating and smoking, which poses a fire hazard to consumers. IBM said it has received seven reports of circuit boards overheating causing smoke and fire. Big Blue announced the original recall in March. That recall included 56,000 monitors sold nationwide from June to September 1997. The latest includes models built through September 1998 and sold through December 1998. The recalled monitors are the G51 CRT and G51t Touch Screen CRT models bearing model numbers 6541-02N, 6541-02E, 6541-02S, 6541-Q0N, 6541-Q0E and 6541-Q0S.

  • A 2,000-processor Intel Itanium 2 supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Labs has edged out Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Intel Xeon-based Multiprogrammatic Capability Cluster for the title of world’s fastest Linux supercomputer, according to PNNL. PNNL last week said it had completed an upgrade of the 1,400 1.0-GHz Itanium 2 McKinley processors in its supercomputer in Richland, Wash., boosting the system’s peak performance from 6.2 trillion floating point operations per second (T FLOPS) to 11.8T FLOPS. The new processors run at 1.5 GHz. The box is about 11,800 times faster than the average PC, PNNL says. The 3,000-square-foot, $24.5 million system will be used for computationally intensive tasks, such as studying basic chemistry and biology, and modeling how leaked radioactive material might move underground.

  • Microsoft last week gave in to the drawn-out migration timetables of its Exchange 5.5 customers and said it would offer a free year of extended support on the server. Microsoft says it hopes the year of free support – which includes hot fixes, security hot fixes and pay-per-incident support – will give users extra time to migrate and guarantee they move to Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003, which is set to ship Oct. 21. The company also hopes it will keep customers from jumping to rival platforms. Microsoft would like to keep its more than 100 million Exchange users around for the “Kodiak” version that figures prominently in its .Net platform strategy. Kodiak isn’t expected to ship until 2006. Last November, Microsoft announced that mainstream support of Exchange 5.5 would end on Dec. 31, 2003. The company now is waiving the first year of the fee, which varies depending on the number of hot fixes a customer requests. Extended support ends for good on Dec. 31, 2005, and no form of support will be available after that date. Microsoft has tried to nudge customers off the aging Exchange 5.5 platform, which shipped in February 1998, ever since it shipped Exchange 2000 in November 2000. And with the impending launch of Exchange 2003, the company would like to accelerate the migration process.About 60% of Exchange customers are still on the 5.5 platform.

  • EarthLink said last week it filed suit against two unsolicited commercial (spam) e-mail rings with operations in the U.S. and Canada. The ISP is suing to recover an estimated $5 million in lost employee productivity and Internet bandwidth that it claims was spent managing more than 250 million e-mail messages sent from e-mail addresses on its network. The suit targets two unnamed spam concerns. The first, based in Birmingham, Ala., is believed to be behind a variety of spam campaigns including pitches for “herbal Viagra,” pornography and online dating services. A second ring in Vancouver, British Columbia, used about six phone numbers to connect to EarthLink accounts as part of a massive scheme to trick Internet users into passing on sensitive information such as account passwords and credit card numbers, EarthLink said. also filed suit against 11 online marketers, claiming that they misappropriated its name in e-mail solicitations.