Sun's Schwartz wants to fool you (but doesn't), Opera does, and phishing phools

Happy April Fools day. If you're up for a good gag, you won't get it from the most prolific public company executive blogger (Sun's Jonathan Schwartz).

Happy April Fools day. If you're up for a good gag, you won't get it from the most prolific public company executive blogger (Sun's Jonathan Schwartz). Indicating that his blog entries must pass muster with the company's legal eagles, Schwartz says in a blog entry entitled The Downside of Being and Officer of a Public Corporation "it's very difficult to write a good April Fools blog without feeling the need for serious engagement from the corporate legal team." (he's the one who boldfaced "very", not me).

Meanwhile, the folks at Opera Software apparently have no such restrictions. Today, the Oslo, Norway based Web browser developer announced that an accidental discovery has led to a peer-to-peer technology breakthrough that the company has decided to productize under the name Opera Soundwave. Says Opera's April 1 press release:

Based on open standards, Opera's patent-pending P2P speech technology uses analog signals carried through open air, enabling users to communicate in real-time without the use of computers or mobile phones....Opera is spearheading the development to let people communicate without using a keyboard, and the new SoundWave technology was accidently discovered during an R&D study to speech-enable Opera's e-mail client. One of Opera's desktop developers needed to find an alternative way to relay a message to his colleague at a time when the e-mail server was down, and was startled to notice that his verbal outcry was intercepted and understood immediately.

A demonstration of the company's breakthrough speech technology is available for download from Opera's Web site. There's no word yet on whether the company is seeking any patents. But if it does, one thing is for sure -- the examiners at the United States Patent and Trademark Office won't realize that the evidence of prior art is sitting right underneath their noses.

Meanwhile, in other April Fools news (and on a more serious note), a Microsoft spokesperson has sent me some of the backup documentation behind yesterday's announcement that the company has filed 117 separate lawsuits against phishers. One of these is a press release that was jointly authored by Microsoft, the National Consumers League, and the Federal Trade Commission with the headline Don?t Let April 1 Be April ?Phools? Day. In a surprising departure from the normally drab language found in press releases from public companies and government organizations, the document opens with:

In sharp contrast to the harmless pranks that will be played on April Fools? Day, deceptive phishing schemes are no laughing matter.

Also forwarded to me by Microsoft was a copy of the Powerpoint presentation entitled "April Phools Day-joint presentation" that was given at yesterday's press conference. It actually has some pretty good, easy-to-digest information on phishing, what to look for, and how to protect yourself. I've uploaded the PowerPoint file to our servers so you can download it.


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