Computer Power User
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Microsoft Security
July 2002• Vol.2 Issue 7
Page(s) 76-77 in print issue

FRINGE
Caught In The Web


May I Borrow Your Browser?

I hate Internet ads. Big ads, small ads, pop-up ads, pop-under ads: They bother me immensely, especially the dreaded Shoshkeles:the animated ads that walk across your browser when you’re trying to read the latest news on your favorite Web site. Yeah, Shoshkeles can be kind of cute, but I’m trying to read here, OK?!?

Word has it the company that inflicted Shoshkeles upon us, United Virtualities, has cooked up a new and intriguing way to slip promotional material in front of our faces: Ooqa Ooqa. Soon, Web sites will be able to use Ooqa Ooqa to place ads or graphics in a user’s browser toolbar when a user visits a particular site. Granted, the slate gray toolbar is as exciting to look at as cement, but at least it leaves me alone.

One unsettling feature of Ooqa Ooqa is that it can add or usurp existing browser buttons with its own, so a car manufacturer’s site could include a button to an auto loan calculator. Some users will find these tools interesting, but I’m sure some Web sites will use Ooqa Ooqa’s power for Evil rather than Good. Fortunately, users will be able to choose whether their browsers can become Ooqa-ized. I envision a pair of ruby red slippers on the toolbar that we can click to go home.



Get On Board

So what’s an innocent civilization to do when the world is suddenly scarfed down by next-generation nano-critters? Get the hell out of Dodge. Way out, in fact. The Lifeboat Foundation (lifeboat.com/ex/) is betting that future nanobots are going to treat planet Earth as their personal holiday cheese ball some day, consuming everything in sight, including you and I. The lifeboaters....

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