The Lord of the box office gets some back-up

Bestselling book and now blockbuster movie The Lord of the Rings has been the talk of the town recently. And while all that is seen on-screen is mesmerizing, it’s easy to forget the amount of work that went into it behind the scenes. In order to support its part in the project, Weta Digital Effects in Wellington, New Zealand, deployed Network Appliance Inc.’s F840 filers with a total of 5TB of useable storage capacity. The company, which was responsible for all of the special effects in the trilogy, scanned more than one million images for the first film alone. After being scanned, the images were then stored for manipulation, and are being worked on by 143 graphic artists. According to a press release, a single frame can represent up to 12MB. The film, which hit theatres last month, features actors such as Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Sir Ian McKellan and Cate Blanchett.

Harvard e-mails get “junked”

Some Harvard University applicants who were waiting for word about their application status via e-mail last month never got an answer when America Online’s e-mail service identified the messages as junk e-mail, or spam. According to an article in The Boston Globe, the service provider bounced back dozens of e-mail messages sent out by the school to its early applicants, which let them know if they had been accepted by the school. Harvard had turned to e-mail as a means of informing applicants if they had been accepted or not after anthrax scares in the U.S., and used e-mail to notify approximately 6,000 students who had applied in the early-admissions process, according to the article. AOL ended up blocking between 75 and 100 of those e-mails when the company’s servers identified the messages as spam. An article published a few days later in ComputerWorld Online (U.S.) said that AOL has denied responsibility for the bounced back e-mails, saying it was not the fault of the company’s filtering systems. “They were returned for a variety of reasons, including if a person changed his e-mail address, closed his account or his mailbox was full. Having 75 or 100 e-mails returned out of 2,00 or 3,00 is normal,” said Nicholas Graham, a spokesperson for AOL.

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently.

While it has been busy defending itself in court, Microsoft Corp. has taken the time to put itself on the other side of the room and last month filed a complaint against a San Diego-based company which is developing an operating system. Inc., which expects its product to compete against Microsoft, anticipates that its first product will be released early this year. Microsoft has filed a trademark infringement complaint against the company, claiming that users could be confused by some similarities in the products. “We are not asking the court to stop the production of this product. We are simply saying that they shouldn’t use a name that confuses the public. We would prefer to work with them to resolve this problem voluntarily,” said Jon Murchinson, a Microsoft spokesperson. According to, its LindowsOS product has the “unique ability to run both Linux and Windows programs.”

State trooper gets nailed

A 17-year veteran state trooper has been suspended without pay after being accused of selling police equipment on an Internet auction site. Officials had originally believed only a handful of items had been put up for sale on eBay, but soon found a total of 54 items – including four riot helmets and two radar guns – were up for sale. Police found the “products” in two homes in early December, but at press time Sgt. James Murphy and his alleged partner, William Lee Crawford, had not yet been arrested due to an ongoing investigation. Apparently the accused told the investigating officers that they have collected the items at various yard sales or purchased them on the Internet, and then resold them on eBay. But officials stated that police-issued equipment could be considered stolen no matter how the men got the equipment.

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