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Tech Buzz 04/03

The new Intel Pentium 4; updates on the fight against spam

Three of a Kind
Whatcha got under the hood of your desktop? If it's the latest from Intel, it's a 3GHz Pentium 4 processor. Not only does it have a faster clock speed, but its hyperthreading feature also handles heavy-duty programs and multiple open applications better. The drawback is that hyperthreading really only reaches its potential when used with the Windows XP operating system and optimized software. Businesses using other systems won't find this special feature as attractive.

The chip's high performance is great for users who can't get enough fuel for their hungry graphics, video or database software. Other entrepreneurs are likely to pass on the hefty price tags these desktops carry (certain fully stocked Dell models with lots of memory and storage top the $2,000 and even $3,000 marks). The bottom line: The new 3GHz Intel Pentium 4 will suit high-end users with room in their budgets and the need for an upgrade.

Spam Wars
Spam: You can't live with it, and you can't get away from it. A recent report from Jupiter Research estimates the amount of spam we receive will more than double by 2007. E-mail security service provider Message-Labs estimates that the volume of spam e-mail will overtake non-spam e-mail in mid-2003. For entrepreneurs, clogged inboxes mean lost productivity and a burden on resources.

With these depressing figures, how do entrepreneurs spell relief? The FTC has stepped up efforts against deceptive spam advertising by sending out warning letters and threatening legal action. But for the most part, government regulation, particularly at the state level, has been confusing and ineffective. Growing businesses walk a fine line between consumer anti-spam offerings and expensive enterprise anti-spam solutions.

Setting filters on your e-mail client will only get you so far. The trick is to catch the spam before it clogs your server. One way is to sign up with an ISP that implements a strong anti-spam program, like Bright-mail (www.brightmail.com) or SendMail (www.sendmail.com). Check to see if your ISP has spam-blocking capabilities. If it doesn't, consider switching providers. Subscribing to an IP address blacklist provider like the nonprofit Mail Abuse Protection System (http://mail-abuse.org) or Spamhaus (www.spamhaus.org) can ease the problem but can also cut off some legitimate e-mails. Until we reach a convergence of anti-spam programs and government regulation, spam will continue to be on the e-mail menu for entrepreneurs everywhere.

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This article was originally published in the April 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Tech Buzz 04/03.

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