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(Past weeks)

By Jeff Schult 12/06/1998



Wanna go on the big Linuxbierwanderung next year? Germany, Linux, beer and geeks - be still my heart. Can you yodel and grep at the same time? Do you even own a clean pair of lederhosen?

This is the deal, sounds like Nerdvana -- a planned one-week hike and Linux crash-course in southern Germany hosted by Internet marketing and consulting firm Electric Lichen LLC. It's called Linuxbierwanderung, which is German for "drunken lost tourists with laptops."

The vacationer will head to southern Bavaria to hike the edge of the Alps, see the Neuschwanstein castle, sample the area's famed brews, and learn Linux tricks from expert programmers.

Trip organizers also hope to catch the 11 August total solar eclipse that will black out much of northern and eastern Europe at midday.

Close to 100 people have already signed up in the first week. I fear this geek vacation movement. Next we'll have nude Linux weekends on the Riviera, Linux big-game safaris, and such, and the end of the world will be ever nearer.

Free Kevin

A judge has postponed for three months convicted hacker Kevin Mitnick's trial on federal fraud and theft charges and added that she would probably order a separate trial for his codefendant.

Reuters reported that U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer delayed the start of Mitnick's trial to April 20 from January 19 at the request of his lawyers, who said they needed more time to prepare.

Mitnick is accused in 25 criminal counts of stealing proprietary information from Motorola, Nokia, Novell, Sun Microsystems, and other companies by hacking into their computers.

Mitnick was convicted of computer fraud in 1989 and sentenced to one year in prison. After his release, he was arrested again and convicted for violating his parole.

He has now been held in pre-trial detention for four years without a trial, and regardless of what anyone thinks he might have done - he's a political prisoner at this point, a symbol of all the government fears in an information society. That's not how we're supposed to do things in this country. For more details on the defense side of the case, visit www.mitnick.com.

Use Your Palm 3 to Steal Cars

Apparently, there's a hot new use for the IR ports on Palm Pilot 3s. You can open electronic car locks and disable alarm systems.

The technique was recently discovered by Lars Sørensen, of PC World, when he was trying out a new software package on his Palm Pilot, a "palmtop" computer. The computer has a built-in infrared port, with software designed to record the infrared signals from TV and video remote controls, enabling owners to use the Palm Pilot to control all their gadgets. Millions of cars in Great Britain may be vulnerable, according to New Scientist magazine, which reported the story last week.

Gates Watch

Bill and Melinda are reportedly having their second child in the second quarter of 1999. No word yet on whether that's a real release date or if Bill is going to make her carry the kid around until it's more robust and full-featured.


Jeff Schult and Nicole Chardenet can be reached at jeffbot at this domain.