What do US$20,000 and digital imagery have in common? If you said the cost of equipment, that would be correct – just not in this case. The two go hand in hand for contestants entering the third annual Canon Digital Creators Contest 2002. According to Tokyo-headquartered Canon Inc., the competition encourages professional and amateur artists of all ages from around the world to delve into different areas of digital imagery. First place awards of US$20,000 may be won in each of the four categories: digital photo (print) images taken with a digital camera; digital graphics/illustration (print) printouts of computer-generated graphics; digital movie created with a digital video camcorder; and Web-based graphics, interactive or non-interactive that are viewable over the Net. Photography, videography, Web design and art authorities will act as judges for the competition. Entries must be submitted by Sept. 3 and winners will be announced Dec. 6 in Tokyo. If you want to get a sense of what the competition is like, visit the Web site – entrants’ work from previous years is posted there. For details on the contest, visit

Global spam buster group formed

As a result of what it calls a “tremendous need” for businesses to regain control over growing spam mail counts, a Montreal-based developer of Internet server solutions has created a consortium to fight unsolicited e-mail. Vircom Inc. is inviting its current VOP modusMail customers as well as non-users to become members of the VOP Anti-Spam Coalition (VASC), an international campaign to fight spam. According to Vircom, the concept for VASC comes from VOP modusMail’s use of Vircom-enhanced Sieve scripts – a standard Internet scripting language used to filter e-mail – and a ‘grassroots’ community of users who have been writing and sharing new Sieve scripts to expand on Vircom’s initial scripts. The new scripts are submitted and centralized via Vircom’s in-house ‘spam buster’ team which redistributes them to VOP modusMail customers.

Sex drive down on Net

Internet users have cleaned up their act and are less interested in sex and pornographic Web sites than they used to be, according to a recent report in the March edition of IEEE Computer, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The report stated that in May of 1997, 16.8 per cent of queries on the Excite search engine were for sex-related sites, but by May 2001, that percentage dropped almost half to 8.5 per cent. During the same period, searches related to travel, commerce, employment and the economy rose for 13.3 per cent to 24.7 per cent. One researcher attributed the drop in sex-related interest to changes in the content of the Web stating that there are more commerce-oriented sites since 1997. However, researchers found that online interest in sex remains strong despite the drop indicated in the study. Searches for sex and pornography sites outnumbered those for education, government and fine arts.

Yahoo Canada staff not cheering

Some production and engineering staff members at Yahoo Canada are without jobs after the parent company Yahoo Inc. made some staff reductions last month. The company noted that a number of people were laid off from Yahoo Auctions in the U.S. Between the two companies, it is reported that less than 40 people were laid off, and services in Canada should not be affected. Yahoo has steadily been seeing a decline in its shares -by more than 16 per cent mid-April – but the company is making an effort to change its outlook. The job reductions, as a part of that goal, were made in an effort to cut costs. In an ironic twist, a survey recently reported that Yahoo is the most trafficked Internet brand in the U.S., specifically in the categories of search, music, finance and personalized information. Results from a Nielsen//NetRatings Inc. MarketView report were compiled by tracking home and work Web use in February 2002 and by monitoring the length of time that users spent on specific sites.