Lycos Europe, according to The Register, is distributing “a special screensaver in a controversial bid to battle spam”. Make Love Not Spam “sends a request to view a spam source site. When a large number of screensavers send their requests at the same time the spam web page becomes overloaded and slow”.
The idea, of course, is to slow down servers allegedly delivering spam by overloading it with requests in what is called a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Lycos’ argument: The spam sites will get charged for the higher traffic, and eventually go out of business. As Aunty Spam, a website dedicated to spam issues, points out, Lycos may be skating on thin ice: denial of service attacks are illegal, at least in the U.S. “The problem is, just because you are part of DDOSing spammers rather than legitimate companies doesn’t make it any less illegal.”
I’d tend to agree. Tempting as it is to do this kind of thing, it’s not the way to go, and I’m surprised that Lycos is doing it. My bet is that Lycos Europe finds itself on the end of its own DDoS attack from vengeful spammers.
An interesting byproduct of the Gmail all-you-can-eat online email is the fact that online storage, a service sold by the likes of Xdrive, is likely to get a lot bigger, at least in terms of how much you can store there. If you can store 1GB of your stuff on Gmail for free (and, according to some rumours, up to 1 terrabyte), why pay for a measly 100MB of online storage?
Xdrive told its customers today that in July it will increase the space available per use to 5GB, “more than 60 times the size of your current subscription!” (no press release available yet). That means 5GB for $10 a month. Expect others to follow suit, although Mercury News quotes FilesAnywhere as saying they’re sticking with a flexible pricing model that starts at $4 a month for 100 MB. Their argument is that most folk only want limited amounts of storage, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.
That may be true, although if Gmail turns out to be an easy place to park files, my guess is users will go for that. In which case for-fee online storage is not going to make much sense. And with flash drives so ubiquitous, my hunch would be folk are going to look at online storage as a place to back up large quantities of data they can’t fit on a USB keydrive, rather than a place to store small chunks.
But I could be wrong. All that is clear for now is that Gmail have made nonsense of the idea that you can’t store stuff online cheaply. Yahoo! have taken up the challenge in part, by allowing users to store up to 100MB, while Lycos Europe is offering paid up members 1GB, and British-based Planet-Tolkien.com is offering 1GB for $7 a month, but Xdrive’s decision to go for 5GB now raises the possibility that for some folk it may actually be worthwhile to keep most of one’s stuff online, and then access it as, when and where it’s needed. That may be the most dramatic outcome of all this.
Here’s another one of those tools that should have been around a long, long time ago (in fact one was but it went away: AltaVista Discovery. And don’t get me started on Enfish Tracker). It’s the desktop search engine that indexes your hard drive, the net, all that kind of stuff. Welcome to HotBot Desktop.
HotBot’s Desktop will let you “search local files, email (Outlook & Outlook Express), browser history, and RSS subscriptions. The HotBot Desktop creates a local index to allow you to quickly find local content as you are on or offline.” It also comes with a RSS feed reader and a built-in pop up blocker.
ResourceShelf says it’s by no means perfect, saying there are some bugs that Lycos intend to fix in later versions. It will also only work with Internet Explorer. Anyway, it’s great news that these things are back. I’m building up a list of indexing engines here. Please let me know if I’ve missed any.
For those of you keen to emulate the runaway success of the loose wire blog, Terra Lycos , “the global Internet Group”, are trumpeting their Tripod Blog Builder
which this month won Editor’s Choice from PC Magazine. “Every step of the way, we found Tripod Blog Builder a pleasure and easy to use,” the rag gushed. “If you’re just starting out and want a simple, good-looking blog, this is the way to go.”
Revealing how little they know about blogging’s roots, Terra Lycos reckons: “Blogging is not just for the political pundits and technical elite anymore. >From families and friends to clubs, teams and students, anyone can now publish on the Web with Tripod Blog Builder. We’ve transitioned blogs from a technology tool to a lifestyle accessory, adding features most requested by our millions of members.” Er, no. Blogging has long been available to technoluddites like moi. I publish to mine via email, and you can’t get much simpler than that. Sheesh, people who claim to have ‘transitioned’ something make me cranky.