A company has found a loophole for selling Internet names ending in .pro. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) created the .pro suffix in 2000 for professionals. Lawyers, accountants, doctors and engineers in the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom could get such names if they submitted proof of their professions. So a law firm called Smith Jones could get smithjones.law.pro. ICANN later allowed second-level names such as smithjones.pro as long as the individual or firm already has a third-level name. But last month, EnCirca began offering second-level names without the third-level requirement, and said any profession at all could get one. ICANN responded by suggesting the new service violates the spirit of name restrictions. EnCirca president Tom Barrett said his company plans to keep offering the service unless restrictions are set.
Premier Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia said information technology rests at the heart of transforming the impoverished country where millions are dependent on foreign aid. Currently, the nation of 71 million people has just 30,000 Internet lines. Plans call for access to expand to 500,000 lines within six months. The government, working with Cisco Systems, has begun laying 6,200 miles of fiber optic cable and invested about $40 million in developing its Internet service. Plans call for providing 450 secondary schools around the country with Internet access and linking all regional and district government offices. About half of Ethiopia s population can t read or write, and most have never used a computer. Meles did not say how the government would train people to use the access provided.
The $599 Fretlight FG-400 has 132 computer-controlled LED s embedded in its fret board that display 3,000 chord variants, 500 arpeggios, notes and custom chords. Optek Music Systems, the manufacturer, says the guitar can reduce the time needed to learn a song to days from weeks. Powering the LED s on and off is the job of the included Windows-based GuitarPower software, which links a PC to the guitar with a USB cable. Notes and chords are displayed on the screen and played through the PC s speakers. When you are ready to play for an audience, the LED s can be turned off and are nearly invisible in the polymer fret board.
ScrapBook, a free add-on to the Firefox browser, lets you archive Web pages about as simply as creating bookmarks. The program opens a pane along the left side of the browser; you can drag pages into it or capture them with a couple of mouse clicks. The archived pages can be organized in folders, viewed offline and edited with tools that may be useful to researchers, like a yellow highlighter and an in-line commenter for adding notes to selected areas. The pages are saved in HTML format; they retain links and other qualities of Web pages. ScrapBook is one of an assortment of free add-ons, or extensions, for Firefox, a free open-source browser that has gained popularity as an alternative to Internet Explorer.
VIRTUAL TO REAL
A player in the online fantasy game Legend of Mir III has been charged with killing a competitor in a dispute over the sale of a virtual weapon, a newspaper reported. Qiu Chengwei, 41, who went on trial last week in a Shanghai, China court, could face a death sentence if convicted, the China Daily newspaper said. According to the report, Qiu confronted Zhu Caoyuan after learning that he sold to another player a virtual weapon that Qiu had lent him. It said Qiu reported the loss of the Dragon Saber to police but was told it wasn t real property. Prosecutors said Zhu promised to hand over the $870 that he received but Qiu grew impatient and attacked Zhu at his home, stabbing him repeatedly. Qiu surrendered to police and claimed he didn t mean to kill Zhu, China Daily said. Online fantasy games are popular in China, attracting tens of millions of players.
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