'Did you hear...'

They'll never learn. Georgia Tech professors wrote a program to detect suspiciously similar code in programming assignments. It found 186 possible violations in the work of 1,700 students who took two computer courses last fall. Students had been warned the cheating detector would be used, so at least some of them are too dumb to be hackers.

Check the date. A story on Canadian political news site www.bourque.org said finance minister Paul Martin would quit his job to raise cows and ducks. The story, repeated in many media outlets, was credited with a drop in the Canadian dollar. It was posted April 1. 8Shop till the mall drops. Retail history buffs Peter Blackbird and Brian Florence have a Web site, www.deadmalls.com, that tracks malls and chains, whether thriving, dying or dead. Go there to learn the difference between a primary store and an outparcel.

21st-century marketing. Lots of marketers use envelopes that look like official government mailings. One fake e-mail summons for jury duty instructed recipients to fill out a form. When they clicked 'submit,' they got an ad for a TV show, 'The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.' It might have worked better for 'Judge Judy.'

What a gas. Your local service station is becoming one of America's most wired sites. New BP Connect convenience stores feature in-store Internet kiosks. ExxonMobil introduced a Speedpass Timex watch with a transponder for instant payments at the pump. And Microsoft Corp. has made deals to put Windows CE in dashboard computers in 13 vehicle lines. Drive your rumors to buzz@postnewsweektech.com.

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