WILL IT FLOAT? NOT ANYMORE
Beginning in late October, banks have been given more leeway to process checks
electronically. This could mean faster payment for retailers, but for customers
it’s the end of the grace period between the time a check is written and
when it clears.
Banks now can make digital images of checks, shred the originals and use the
images for processing. In most cases the new system still takes a day or two,
but banks and retailers envision that in a few years this could be a near-instantaneous
THE HOME WITH EVERYTHING
The Microsoft Home, Edmond, WA, is not where Bill Gates lives, but a technology-laden
demonstration project similar to the automobile industry’s concept car.
The 3,000-square-foot home is meant to showcase technology that Microsoft is
betting will become commonplace within a few years, and you can bet it’s
big on computer networking—everything is connected. Some of the bells and
Walls with microphones. They listen and can respond to commands, but only when
they include the “wake-up word.”
Electronic messaging system at the front door that sends notes to a universal
in-box that can also contain e-mail and telephone messages.
Hand-scanning locks on the outer doors that let in the right people faster than
using a key.
Unobtrusive flat screens built into the walls that can be painted over. When
the screen is on, the image shines through the paint. When it is off, it looks
like the rest of the wall.
PCs UNDER ATTACK
The Internet Security Threat Report released in early October says Windows-based
personal computers are under attack like never before. In the first six months
of 2004, the report finds, there were at least 1,237 newly discovered software “vulnerabilities” or
flaws that could compromise security. That’s about 48 new flaws found each
The survey response is particularly worrisome because of the increase in the
number of bot, or robot, networks out there. Bot networks are a number of interconnected
personal computers that have been compromised to inject large volumes of viruses,
worms, spyware or spam into the Internet. In the first half of the year, the
number of monitored bot networks rose to more than 30,000, from fewer than 2,000.