The Webby Awards -“the leading international honours for Web sites and individual achievement in creativity and technology,” according to a Webby press release – were handed out last month in San Francisco. One popular aspect of the Awards is the five-word limit for acceptance speeches – a rule which benefits attendees by ensuring they are not forced to sit through an extensive show. But the rule also manages to keep everyone laughing. Included in this year’s winner list was NationalGeographic.com for Best Education, and Google.com for Best Practices. Travelocity.com won for Best Commerce site, and accepted the award with the following speech: “Thanks. Now please go away.” On top of the regular Webbys, The People’s Voice Awards were also presented. Winners of this award are chosen by the Web-surfing public. To read the winners’ speeches, visit www.webbyawards.com.
Activists rally around “criminal”
Russian computer programmer Dmitry Sklyarov was last month arrested in Las Vegas under the U.S.’s new federal antipiracy law, at the Defcon-9 conference. According to a press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, the FBI filed a criminal complaint against Sklyarov, “charging a single count of trafficking in a product designed to circumvent copyright protection measures in violation of Title 17, United States Code, Section 1201(b)(1)(A). This is one of the first prosecutions in the United States under this statute, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).” Sklyarov is alleged to be the author of the “Advanced eBook Processor” program, which unlocks the “eBook Reader” produced by Adobe Systems Inc. According to the affidavit filed by the FBI, the program enables users to decrypt an eBook and open it in a PDF format, which would allow them to edit, copy or even print the book. Because eBooks are only sold in encrypted formats, authorities claim the program affects the copyright interests of the books. Sklyarov has been offered help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a technology-focused civil liberties group. Rallies in support of the programmer were scheduled last month in various cities across the U.S., and Adobe has also voiced its desire to see the programmer released.
Oxford dictionary recognizes tech terms
Influenced by the growing popularity of tech terms and text messaging, the Oxford dictionary recently released its latest revisions, which included some fairly technical – and not so technical – terms. New additions included “MP3” for the music file, and “digital divide,” which it defines as “the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet to those who do not.” But the dictionary’s editors and authors could not avoid the text-messaging craze, so they also included an appendix of common abbreviations. Expressions such as GR8 (great), RUOK (are you OK?) and KWIM (know what I mean?) have been included. As if that weren’t enough, a list of emoticons, such as the ever-popular smiley face :-), has also been added.
Sircam worm spreading makes its rounds
The W32.Sircam.worm computer virus has been infecting e-mails across the Internet and spreading rapidly. But the dissemination of the worm has occurred so quickly that anti-virus vendor Symantec Corp. upgraded its security warning about the virus within a week of its first appearance, giving it a Category 4 “severe” rating, up from a Category 3 “moderate” level on a scale of 1 to 5. The Sircam worm carries an executable file that, if clicked upon, unleashes an attack on the recipient’s PC. The damage sometimes includes the deletion of all files and directories on the C: drive and system performance degradation as hard-drive space is filled by errant code carried by the worm, according to Symantec’s Antivirus Research Center in Santa Monica, Calif. The worm borrows a random document from the infected PC and uses that file in the subject line of e-mails it then sends to people in the user’s address lists.