Cyber Ramblings - June 19, 2001

19 June 2001
Compiled by Kevin Smith

Flour Flying Over Pastry URL

There are a few things residents of Wisconsin are adamant about. When it comes to Packers games on Sundays few teams can hold a state's interest like the hometown green and yellow, and when it comes to pastries, you better not touch someone's Kringles.

Kringle, a Danish treat, is popular in Racine, Wis., and is now the center of a URL dispute. The flour began to fly when Racine Danish Kringles Corp. (RDK) sued a local Internet provider that leases the domain name to a rival kringle maker, Larsen Bakery Inc. RDK contends that Patrick Flynn, president of, intended to profit from Internet domain names that infringe on RDK's kringle trademarks. RDK lawyer Tom Polcyn said while the words "Racine" and "kringle" might be widely used, together they refer to RDK.

RDK accuses Flynn of cybersquatting, or registering several Racine-related domain names for profit, which is banned under federal law. The lawsuit alleges Flynn tried to sell for $150,000. Flynn says he was trying to reserve the names for local businesses and denies the cybersquatting. His lawyers claim the names are widely used and not trademarked.

Midwest Firm Busted for Internet Con

An Illinois company offering free Internet access scammed customers out of about $500,000 in bogus setup fees, federal regulators alleged Monday., operated by New Millennium Concepts, allegedly encouraged customers to pay a one-time fee ranging from $10 to $16 to join its network. After completing a questionnaire, the customers agreed to complete monthly marketing surveys. In return, they would receive free or reduced-cost Internet service. The Federal Trade Commission, which is suing the company, said at least 59,000 people enrolled. Many websites that warn Internet users about scams have pages dedicated to

U.S. Government Busts Down Internet Pyramid Scheme

The government has charged four companies with using the Internet to con consumers around the globe out of about $175 million in a massive pyramid scheme., based in Tulsa, Okla., and three partner companies promoted a work-at-home business, charging $125 for an educational software package and the opportunity to earn money by recruiting others to buy the packages, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. The recruits would have to buy one or more packages and then could recruit still more people and so on, earning commissions for those above them in the recruiting chain, the FTC said upon disclosing details of sealed civil charges filed May 30.

Solectron Slashing Work Force

In the latest sign that the technology economy is far from a recovery, contract manufacturer Solectron Corp. is cutting nearly 12,600 more jobs than previously disclosed and lowering its outlook for the current quarter. Solectron, which makes high-tech products for companies that outsource their manufacturing, said Monday that at the end of August, it would have approximately 20,700 fewer jobs than the 79,000 it had in February--a reduction of 26 percent. The company already said in March that it was cutting about 8,200 jobs, mostly through layoffs. Most of those cuts and the ones revealed Monday already have been made, spokesman Kevin Whalen said. The announcement came as Solectron reported a net loss in its fiscal third quarter and fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Winner Selected in Sex-For-Madonna-Tickets Contest

Thema1, a German online tabloid based in Berlin, has picked the winner of its "In Bed For Madonna" contest in an "exciting editorial meeting" Monday evening, Thema1 said. Outside the United States, Germany is Madonna's single largest market. A reader from Frankfurt, identified as "Aaron T. --a 26-year old, well-built, black-haired guy" will get his ticket for the sold-out Madonna concert this Friday in exchange for sex with Thema1's sex columnist Shelley Masters. The contest had 135 of Thema1's readers try to win tickets for the sold-out show. They sent in three pictures and selected their preference out of the Thema1 staff members volunteering for the deal. Entrants from 12 countries took part, including Canada, the United States and Singapore. A Mexican reader even sent "a witty Powerpoint presentation," Thema1 said. The sex columnist, writing under the pseudonym Shelley Masters, received 90 applications, according to Thema1's publisher Bernd Heusinger: "Therefore she should get the opportunity to choose her personal favorite."

OpenTV Buys Static

OpenTV, a developer of software for digital interactive TV, says it has agreed to buy British interactive games firm Static in a deal valued at £42 million, extending OpenTV's position in the rapidly growing field of interactive gaming. In the combined cash and stock deal, shareholders of privately held Static will receive about 2.6 million OpenTV ordinary A shares and about $17 million in cash, a statement said on Thursday. The deal--which includes Static's PlayJam, an interactive TV entertainment and games channel--expected to be accretive to OpenTV's proforma operating profitability by the fourth quarter this year.

Compaq Gaining Ground on Palm

Palm Inc. remains the world's leading supplier of handheld computers, but not for long, according to market research firm Gartner Dataquest. In its report Gartner said Palm will lose its top spot in terms of revenue to Compaq Computer Corp. in the second calendar quarter. Palm will ship about 700,000 units worldwide, earning between $130 million and $135 million in hardware-related revenues for its fiscal quarter ended June 1. That's a dramatic drop from the record $507 million it earned two quarters ago. Palm will announce fourth-quarter earnings results the week of June 25. By comparison, Houston-based Compaq, whose current quarter ends June 30, is expected to ship as many as 500,000 units, resulting in revenues of more than $200 million. Gartner Dataquest did not have historical revenue comparisons for Compaq, but said the company shipped 250,000 units two quarters ago.

Microsoft Warns of Vulnerability in Software

Microsoft said Monday that a "serious vulnerability" in its flagship Web server software used by computers running more than 6 million sites could enable hackers and online vandals to take control of the computers. The flaw occurs in a component of Microsoft's Internet Information Service (IIS) software that is installed on Web servers by default. In a strongly worded advisory released on its website Monday afternoon, Microsoft told its customers to download a newly released fix and to secure their sites before the Internet underground publishes tools to take advantage of the flaw. The advisory reads, "Clearly, this is a serious vulnerability, and Microsoft urges all customers to take action immediately. Microsoft strongly urges all Web server administrators to apply the patch immediately."

The flaw affects all versions of IIS running under Windows NT, Windows 2000 and a limited-release beta version of Windows XP. That means the flaw could affect nearly 6 million sites, or 21 percent of the Web, according to a May survey by Internet researcher Netcraft.